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Dan Vickers's Blog (16)

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - A New Perspective

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man

A New Perspective

As a project manager it is easy to get caught up in meeting deadlines, holding status calls, ensuring tasks are completed and driving towards go live dates.  It is sometimes easier to be the driving force instead of thinking what it means to be the driven one.

Carol, my manager, asked me to get involved in a project to develop project management training material as a resource, and not as the project…

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Added by Dan Vickers on December 5, 2011 at 9:42am — 4 Comments

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - How Much is Too Much?

Are you working on tasks efficiently as possible? How much is too much?

On Monday, I had been working away at several new projects that had come my way.  I had had several meetings on my calendar.

Tuesday was more of the same.  Existing projects needed to be updated.  Administrative work needed my attention.  Carol, my manager, invited me into her office and asked me to consider documenting a new process for posting our timesheets.

By Wednesday, it had been a long week…

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Added by Dan Vickers on October 25, 2011 at 3:36pm — 1 Comment

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - Carefully Worded Answers

My distraught client, who didn’t pay attention during training, sent me an email in all caps, in 18 point bold font, “I HATE YOUR PRODUCT!!!” 

We have the number one product in our market.  We are part of a large global firm.  If he truly hates our product then he is in the minority of users – namely him and maybe a few others.  My first feeling was one of disappointment, then frustration and then anger. 

This user preferred to fiddle with his phone during training…

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Added by Dan Vickers on October 3, 2011 at 11:22am — No Comments

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - Why Not Me?

I had just gotten a bad review; some of my colleagues got promotions.  I worked as hard as they did and I had a strong knowledge of our product and processes.  Apparently I had made some mistakes in my focus.  I didn’t think that I was a poor project manager, but my manager did.  Others got recognized and promoted.  Why not me?

I was disappointed.  I was working hard, long hours for what I thought was the best interests of the client.  Apparently I needed to also focus on the best…

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Added by Dan Vickers on September 26, 2011 at 1:15pm — No Comments

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - Risky Communications

We were nearing the end of a lengthy and complex implementation.  If we missed our deadline, an impending lawsuit was looming over our efforts like an angry cloud thick with rain.  It was team meeting time.

We reviewed the list of deliverables again to ensure nothing was missed.  There were two ancillary deliverables for this project that had not been discussed in awhile because they were both marked as…

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Added by Dan Vickers on June 1, 2011 at 2:09pm — 7 Comments

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - Group Think

Problems come and problems go.  Sometimes problems seem to set in for awhile.  We had such a problem.  We needed a decision on how to handle a database issue.  My intent was to hold a meeting with the subject matter experts and to let them develop a solution that I would then deliver to the client.  This seemed to me to be a good idea.

“Frank, what is your idea for resolving the field mapping issue for this new client?”

“Dan, I think we should use the fields twice, as long as…

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Added by Dan Vickers on May 8, 2011 at 11:11pm — No Comments

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - Project Fundamentals

Many years ago, when project management in the information technology world was still young, I asked my project mentor what it meant to be a good project manager.

She replied to me that I needed to understand the process, that I needed to follow up on tasks constantly, and that I needed to communicate the status to everyone consistently.  She didn’t use terms like project schedule, risk mitigation, resource leveling or earned value management.  We focused on getting work done,…

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Added by Dan Vickers on April 25, 2011 at 9:58pm — 3 Comments

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - Leading Change

The client’s workflow was all wrong.  Using our product for a purpose it wasn’t designed made upgrading them to a new version of software almost unworkable.  The change in functionality caused them great consternation and they refused to continue the upgrade until we found a solution that could accommodate their unorthodox usage of our software.

We needed this project to close.  We met as a team and devised a plan.  It took weeks to develop our plan, set it up and then test.  Our plan…

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Added by Dan Vickers on April 14, 2011 at 10:21am — No Comments

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - Avalanche

It had been a long time since we had such a drought in new projects.  Bothersome projects were getting closed, resources were being released, and the project paperwork was getting completed.  A few new projects were starting, but nothing of real significance.  I got caught up on training, organized my desk, and filed my expenses.  I read through some project management publications and even began to plan a ski trip.

And then it started.  Sometimes a single phone call is all it takes. …

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Added by Dan Vickers on April 3, 2011 at 9:58pm — 2 Comments

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - Double-booking

I had just finished a call with our resource manager.  My resource on the Laramie project was double-booked.  I needed to deliver the news to our client.

“Hello John, this is Dan over at PM Pro.”

“Hi Dan, what’s up?”

“John, we may have to delay your Go Live date.”

“Why is that?”

“We are having some resource challenges.”

“How is your challenge my issue?”

“Well, our resource on this project accidentally got double-booked.”

“I repeat, how…

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Added by Dan Vickers on March 21, 2011 at 9:52pm — 10 Comments

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - Stuck Between a Deadline and a Milestone

Have you ever been stuck?  I mean really stuck.  Such as when there is no easy solution?  I got a call last week from my manager.  She asked some questions about projects in general. 

She started with the words, “Dan, have you ever been stuck?”

“I am stuck right now,” I answered.

“Where?” she asked.

“I’m stuck between a deadline and a milestone.”

“Please explain.”

“It started before I was assigned the Laramie project.  Before the contract was signed,…

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Added by Dan Vickers on March 2, 2011 at 9:10am — 2 Comments

The Stench of Arrogance

I had just closed my third project for the month of May.  The team was efficient and quick with their tasks.  I sent congratulatory emails to the team and to their line managers.  Emails from senior management commending the team for their hard work were coming in – but something wasn’t right.

There was arrogance on the team.  It started before the project got into full swing.  Well-deserved pride for a job well done is completely acceptable.  This arrogance was different.  It felt…

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Added by Dan Vickers on February 11, 2011 at 5:49pm — 6 Comments

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - Turning Proactive into Active

I reviewed my portfolio for the third time this week.  All of my projects appeared to be in order.  I was ready for the weekly PMO call.

A number of my projects were in the closing stages and not many new projects were in the pipeline.  I began to think of ways to ease the pain of managing multiple projects.  When a crisis is in full gear it is easy to fill every minute of every day and still feel overwhelmed and behind schedule.  However, when the crisis is over and projects are…

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Added by Dan Vickers on February 8, 2011 at 10:36am — 1 Comment

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - Mismanagement 101

“Dan, why is this project going to be late?”

I tried to explain.

“That’s not good enough Dan.  I want you to call your client, read this section of the contract to them, tell them this is what we are doing, and then get this project closed!”

“But you don’t understand Carol,” I protested.

“You don’t understand Dan.  You have a responsibility to close projects.  And I have a responsibility to make sure you close projects.”

“What about the client?” I asked. …

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Added by Dan Vickers on January 28, 2011 at 9:03am — 6 Comments

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - Delegation Dilemma

I was having a stressful day.  My project portfolio was bulging, my calendar was full, and the team was looking to me for direction.  I had task lists for this project and for that project and for the projects over there.  I was beginning to feel overwhelmed.  I needed some help with my tasks.  But where do I begin?  How do I get someone up to speed quickly and then turn the tasks over to them?  Could they do a good job with these tasks?

I wanted to do all of the tasks.  I didn’t want…

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Added by Dan Vickers on January 19, 2011 at 10:40pm — 2 Comments

The Adventures of Dan the Project Manager Man - Managing Team Conflict

“I won’t work with Jocelyn on this project.  You have to find someone else!”

“Okay, Dora.  I will think about what can be done.”

I frankly didn’t understand the reasons for the dislike between Dora and Jocelyn.  They are both very smart, very determined to do their best for the client, and very capable of delivering a quality product and service.  Personally, I felt their dislikes were rather unprofessional.  Professionally, I had to find a workable solution without dismissing…

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Added by Dan Vickers on January 14, 2011 at 10:47am — 2 Comments

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