Monday, December 19, 2011

Holidays Happier with Project Management?

With the holiday season fully upon us, I have to wonder, how many of our readers find themselves putting their project management skills to use for personal projects?

Be it planning your gift choices or organizing a holiday party, there are many moments during this busy season when those skills can come in handy. For example, do you find yourself identifying your holiday requirements say, sometime around Thanksgiving? What about having a daily scrum over breakfast with family members ("Yesterday I purchased stamps, today I'll be writing and addressing cards.")? Certainly project cost estimating and cost management skills can be extremely useful during this period and New Year's resolutions look a lot like retrospectives to me.

This post on Project Management Essentials links to a more in-depth exploration of this concept, with diagrams and all!

So, do you project manage your holidays? Or does the idea seem too cold to you, and you would rather use this time as an opportunity to relax and let go of the reins? Share with us in the comments and happy holidays to all of our readers here on the ProjectWorld® & World Congress for Business Analysts® blog!

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA and the voice behind the @Project_World twitter. She may be reached at

Friday, December 9, 2011

Let's go ROWEing

This recent study by two University of Minnesota sociology professors looks at the effect of the the Best Buy headquarters switch to a ROWE, or "Results Only Work Environment."

The study found that, as a whole, employees working in the ROWE format were overall more invested in their work and had a lower turnover rate.

Reading the piece by Fast Company, I couldn't help but be reminded of our PW&WCBA presentation by Terri Dickson, "Soft Skills in a Virtual Team Environment." In this presentation, Dickson discussed ways to work with a team when you aren't meeting in person regularly: specifically how to maintain accountability and avoid trust issues or project slippage.

In her experience, when the team used specific strategies for maintaining good communication working virtually was as or more effective then working on site and meeting in person. Much like an environment where employees have more freedom with their hours, working remotely can allow team members to have better work/life balance, and feel more in control of their work.

Would you ever consider moving to a Results Only Work Environment? Do you think this would have a positive or negative effect on your overall ability to accomplish projects? How does this approach mesh with Agile methods?

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA and the voice behind the @Project_World twitter. She may be reached at

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Creating Magic for your Project Team!

Disney's Approach to People Management - The Magic Behind Great Teamwork

Ah, the magic - this session started off just with that - a montage of clips from Disney movies, ABC shows, ESPN, Disney Parks, Pixar, Marvel comics (all part of the Disney family)........if I wasn't so interested in hearing what we could each do to create a piece of magic within my own teams, I might have been next in line for Splash Mountain!

The Disney Institute was created to share Disney best practices - and, our speaker, did just that. Each cast member (employee) at Disney, has the responsibility to all other cast members to help them "deliver the magic". The Disney Chain of Excellence - since a for-profit organization, works to achieve financial results by ensuring guest satisfaction. This is done by cast excellence - which is driven by leadership. The magic of teamwork is woven together through culture, selection of cast, and training.....for the guests (customers), value and satisfaction is based on guest experience - setting the common goal for cast members "to create happiness".

Food for thought - though we can't all have a fairy godmother to sprinkle success into our projects, by focusing on our team members - the folks who really get the job done - to understand their role, why it is important, and how they contribute to the vision, to respect each team member as if they were our customer/guest, and to help each team member realize that he/she has value/information to share, we are well on our way to creating that magic within our own teams.