Archive for May, 2007

Project Workforce Management: Jim Carroll to Speak on Managing People and Projects in The Flat World

Don’t mess with my powder, dude.

I am happy to announce that Jim Carroll, futurist, innovation expert, and author of What I Learned from Frogs in Texas, will be one of our keynotes at the Tenrox User Group Conference in September. Jim also wrote the foreword for my upcoming book.

Jim announced the topic of his talk on his blog: "Don’t Mess with my Powder, Dude: Managing People and Projects in The Flat World." The "powder" he refers to is a snowboarder’s powder: fresh snow. Jim discusses how the new generation in today‚Äôs workforce cares about having fun at work more than anything else — and how their new way of thinking and priorities are affecting the workplace.

I encourage everyone to read Jim’s blog and web site–in particular, his document 10 Unique Characteristics of 21st Century Skills is a must-read for all project managers–any type of manager, for that matter–who wants to survive the coming changes in "Workforce 2.0."

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A Secret of Project Management: POTS

POTS = Plain Old Telephone System

I have been concerned about our team’s ability to respond to customer inquiries, so I followed up with some of our staff to see why some issues were still outstanding. They tell me:

"I sent an email no one replied."
…or…
"I created a workflow request and no one replied."

I love technology as much as the next guy. But human interaction beats any technology in existence today. So I’m encouraging our staff to try an old fashioned remedy: pick up the phone and call.

In our market–and I’m sure in many others as well–our company can show some real leadership just by being responsive to our customers in a timely manner, plain and simple. It’s a plain and simple problem with a plain and simple solution: POTS.

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Did Your IT Guru Write Your Time Tracking Software Program? Read This.

I was invited for a meeting with the VP of HR, CIO and senior VP of a division of a large UK-based company. I walked into the meeting not sure what to expect. Usually, such meetings are very pleasant and friendly, but not a lot is accomplished in the near-term. Inaction always “happens” first.

But in this meeting we got right into it. They needed a project time management system that connected to their payroll system, and were anxious to know when we could deploy it.

About 45 minutes into the meeting, I could not resist any longer; I asked: “Why this sudden urgency to move forward with this initiative now? We tried to schedule this meeting with you months and months ago and we would never get any firm answers.”

The VP of HR shrugged and in a very sad voice said “Our IT guru just died suddenly and unexpectedly. He is the one who wrote our in-house project management system and was maintaining it all along. With him gone, we have no one who knows about the pay rules, timesheet management, and project tracking like he did. If we do not take action soon our timesheet system may stop working or not support our division’s timesheet policies. That is why we wanted to move forward with this project. We do not want to hire another IT guru and create dependency for such a system that is not a part of our core business but is a critical operational system.”

So, if you have in-house systems developed and managed by in-house IT gurus, maybe it’s time to look for a company and a solution that can provide you with a better, more cost-effective and long-term out-of-the-box solution.

The moral of the story? Don’t wait until your IT guy is dead!

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