Tuesday, July 30, 2013

PW&WCBA Speaker Spotlight: Malgorzata Kusyk

In our brand new Project World and World Congress for Business Analysts 2013 Speaker Spotlight series, Malgorzata Kusyk, PMP, Senior Project/Program Manager at Thomson Reuters, recently sat down with us to discuss what it takes to be a great project manager and business analyst in an environment that is growing increasingly competitive every day. Here is what Kusyk had to say:

IIR: How do you, as a PM or BA, stand out in a crowd in this competitive business world?

Kusyk: Today slow economic growth, shifting global market priorities and a push for innovation all make for a very complex and risky business environment and put additional emphasis on the need for excellence in project, program and portfolio management.  Research conducted with senior project management leaders on PMI’s Global Executive Council found that the most important skill for managing today’s complex projects and programs is the ability to align the team to the vision of the project and design the project’s organizational structure to align people and project objectives.

I have been managing very complex projects and some of them were very successful and the other ones struggled, not because there were more difficult but because there was no social engagement and collaboration between stakeholders. The shift from micromanagement and looking at the project from a task perspective to team empowerment, self-organization, self -motivation, trust, authority and ownership are the key to success of today’s complex and risky projects. So, I put a lot of effort to build a collaborative environment, that means ownership of shared goals, links with a purpose and commitment to one another’s success (T.E.A.M = Together Everyone Achieves More).

IIR: What are characteristics of a GREAT project manager?

Kusyk: Projects are people not equipment or PERT diagrams, so for me the most important competency of a great PM is people focus. A great Project Manager builds relationships, is  interested in others’ success,  is emotionally intelligent, gives positive and constructive feedback, coach and teach other to perform their best, is exceptional communicator and listener and provide formal and informal recognition.

Moreover, focuses on process and  outcome, and by that  I do mean “task focus,” control or micromanagement, but rather keeping himself and team on track and motivated (trust). And last but not least is a learner by nature – demonstrates attitude “what can I learn?” rather than “who’s to blame?” recognize and respect cultural differences etc.

IIR: What are some tips you would suggest to someone who is just learning Agile?
Kusyk: Agile is…
  1. Mind shift. Agile is about a fundamental shift in thinking - Agile is not a process is a mindset! There is a good presentation on this topic by Bob Hartman– Doing Agile isn’t the same as being Agile. The essential point is that we are “Doing Agile” when we follow practices and we are “Being Agile” when we act with an Agile mindset – set of values and beliefs defined in Agile Manifesto. 
  2. Not a “silver bullet”. According to the survey results and recommendations presented in Agile Maturity Report – Benchmarks and Guidelines to improve your effectiveness,” a broken waterfall based project execution approach is not sufficient reason to commit to Agile. Agile is not a “silver bullet” or a solution to a mission critical initiative without any background in the approach. Agile will expose problems such as team dysfunctions. It doesn’t always fix them, but visible problems tend to be easier to solve.
  3. Bridging the gap between IT (or other departments) and the business.
  4. Business/Feature driven versus traditional task/activity driven.
  5. About self organization! Self organizing team makes decisions, commits to the work that they have to do, has few specialized roles, is cross functional, and organizes its own work.

IIR: How do you as a PM or BA build leadership skills?

Kusyk: First, we need to define the leadership skills? IBM study reveals that creativity is the most important leadership quality followed by integrity and global thinking  (1500 corporate leaders, from 60 nations and 33 industries were pulled on what drives them in managing their companies in today’s world). Creative leaders are more prepared to break with the status quo of industry, enterprise, and revenue models. 

So how do I unlash creativity, build integrity and think globally? 

  1. I support and reword creativity &  innovation. I’m open to new ideas and give the team freedom to try new ways of working or new tools or processes.
  2. Build trust and high level of honesty – I trust people until I’m proven wrong. 
  3. Find or create some rituals or common symbols – special designed t-shirts, morning coffee together.
  4. Create positive work environment.  Add some fun to work – integration/team building activities, interviews with team members on their passions, hobbies or achievements (both from work and outside).
  5. Formal and informal celebration. Birthdays, milestone/project accomplishments.
  6. To understand the cultural differences and make relationships I try to visit a country where my team members are based – very often at my own expenses. If cannot effort a visit  try to find out more on cultures through reading, speaking to people or visiting a restaurant representing the ethnicity of a team member.
  7. Coach and mentor rather than control.
  8. Focus on personal development and knowledge sharing – encourage team members to  taking part or speaking at conferences and then sharing the knowledge and experience with others.

IIR: How does a successful PM communicate?

Kusyk: Clear communication is the most important ingredient of managing projects. A  successful project has a communication strategy in place. I find a Communication Plan as a very powerful tool and use it extensively. For me it’s crucial that there’s not too much, not too little, but just enough communication in my project, that’ why it is so important to find out what are the needs and preferences of the project stakeholders with regard to communication. A good Communication Plan includes but not limited to: kicking off a meeting, defined roles and responsibilities, project status meetings and frequency, identifying project communications, defining the level of detail to the level of management, developing communications standards and project de-briefing.

Stay tuned for more upcoming expert interviews right here on the PW&WCBA Blog.  

Kusyk is a speaker at the annual PW&WCBA 2013 in Orlando, FL in September. To register for the event, click here: http://bit.ly/13sfECq

Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA in New York City, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments: