About ‘Project Management Communication Tools’ Book. Expert Interview With Bill Dow

Bill Dow

BILL DOW is a result-oriented, industry recognized, passionate professional who has a strong background in PMO management, development methodologies, and tactical project execution.

Why you should listen to him:

Bill has successfully built several PMO’s, as well as having ran large industry impacting projects. His IT industry background spans government, health care, real estate, software, and wireless. He has strong organizational and planning skills, and focus on building customer partnerships. He has a proven track record on being able to drive strategy, vision, and be forward looking. He is also focused on staying on top of the latest project management industry trends. Through the books that he has published, he has created PMO and Project Communication tools that are used in companies all around the world.

He is the co-author of the Project Management Communication Bible. This is an 801 page reference manual, published in 2008 for Wiley publishing. It can be found on Amazon.com and consistently in the Top 100 for Project Management books.

The second book he wrote is called “The Tactical Guide for Building a PMO” . The book takes his personal experience in building and implementing PMO’s over a 10 year period and puts it into a format that is easy to read and use for any PMO Manager. This book can also be found on Amazon.com.

His third book “Project Management Communications Tools” will be release in the June 2015 timeframe. More information on this book can be found on his www.dowpublishingllc.com website in the coming weeks.

Bill is, also a part time Adjunct Professor at Bellevue College where he teaches several project management classes in the certification program. “I have a deep passion and enthusiasm for teaching and mentoring, so my work at Bellevue College is one of my great accomplishments.” – he says.

Interview:

Bill Dow has written a new book: ” Project Management Communication Tools“, that is the authoritative reference on one of the most important aspects of managing projects–project communications. You can buy his book on Amazon.

We decided to interview him about his wonderful work.

Mirla Ferreira: Hi Bill, I see in your new book, that you have mapped social media tools to project communication tools. What a great concept. Why, did you do that? What motivates you to connect those two worlds?

Bill Dow: Thanks Mirla, yes, I thought it was important to get the word out on social media from a project management communications perspective. So many times, project managers are rushing to use social media, my chapter walks project managers who the process.

Mirla Ferreira: How do you do that? How do you walk project managers though using social media on their projects?

Bill Dow: It is really easy, actually, I get the project manager thinking about why they are communicating the project information. For example, I have a chart where I map, communication tools to the 5 communication purpose for communication. They are Inform, Persuade, Motivate, Interact and Inspire. When project managers see that mapping table from social media tools, communication tools, and the purposes of communicating it ties it all together.

Mirla Ferreira: I also see a topic on Project Management BI in your new book? What is that?

Bill Dow: Great question, Project BI is a process of combining various project data sources into a single dashboard or report. The goals of the Project Management BI process is to allow executives, customers, team members to quickly interpret, understand, and act on this project information to improve the project’s chance of success. I have included a 8 step process for project managers to follow to compile their project information into dashboard reports.

Mirla Ferreira: Thanks Bill, I’m very grateful for your time “.

Share your experience/doubts about Project Management Communications Tools

Implementing A PMO Is Often Facing Challenges. Expert Interview With Bill Dow

Bill Dow

BILL DOW is a result-oriented, industry recognized, passionate professional who has a strong background in PMO management, development methodologies, and tactical project execution.

Why you should listen to him:

Bill has successfully built several PMO’s, as well as having ran large industry impacting projects. His IT industry background spans government, health care, real estate, software, and wireless. He has strong organizational and planning skills, and focus on building customer partnerships. He has a proven track record on being able to drive strategy, vision, and be forward looking. He is also focused on staying on top of the latest project management industry trends. Through the books that he has published, he has created PMO and Project Communication tools that are used in companies all around the world.

He is the co-author of the Project Management Communication Bible. This is an 801 page reference manual, published in 2008 for Wiley publishing. It can be found on Amazon.com and consistently in the Top 100 for Project Management books.

The second book he wrote is called “The Tactical Guide for Building a PMO” . The book takes his personal experience in building and implementing PMO’s over a 10 year period and puts it into a format that is easy to read and use for any PMO Manager. This book can also be found on Amazon.com.

His third book “Project Management Communications Tools” will be release in the June 2015 timeframe. More information on this book can be found on his www.dowpublishingllc.com website in the coming weeks.

Bill is, also a part time Adjunct Professor at Bellevue College where he teaches several project management classes in the certification program. “I have a deep passion and enthusiasm for teaching and mentoring, so my work at Bellevue College is one of my great accomplishments.” – he says.

Interview:

Mirla Ferreira: Hi Bill, as an author of “The Tactical Guide for Building a PMO” book, What do you think is the highlighter obstacle to implement a PMO that really works?

Bill Dow: I think that PMO Managers throw away process to quickly. Process is a good thing, too much process is not good, but too little doesn’t work either. There is something to be said for all project managers to be managing their projects in a repeatable and consistent manner. So many PMO managers are quick to throw out process because of the growing pressures to be agile, and I would say those folks have the biggest obstacles to be successful.

Mirla Ferreira: In your opinion, what are the best benefits of PMO as a service? In what circumstances should a company choose a PMO as a service approach?

Bill Dow: PMO as a service is a brand new concept that is just starting to take off. I would say that we are far too early to have this model working consistently across companies. Companies are so different and I think this concept of PMO as a Service has a long way to go before it is proven and we see consistent results. If companies are going to go with this concept, then they would be one that are much smaller and want to have outside experts driving their end to end efforts. Still too early frankly and not yet proven.

Mirla Ferreira: For you, what is the biggest challenge that professionals have when leading an effective, value driven PMO?

Bill Dow: The challenge is around executive support. I see PMO’s fail all the time and even document it in my book with a term called the “PMO Cycle”. Basically, it states very simply, when you lose your executive support, you lose your PMO. I have seen it happen many times myself and to my PMO Manager peers. It is a way of life of this profession and something that we to live with. So, go out there and secure the support from multiple executive for the best chance of your PMO succeeding into the future.

Mirla Ferreira: Thanks Bill, it was a pleasure talking to you today”.

Share your experience implementing a PMO!

The Conversations That Transform Business Performance Every Day. Expert Interview With Sandy Richardson

Sandy Richardson

SANDY RICHARDSON is a recognized expert in the areas of strategic planning, strategy mapping, performance measurement and management, accountability and governance framework development, and organizational alignment.

Why you should listen to her:

Sandy is a business performance management professional who believes that every organization deserves to be the best that it can be and has a true passion for working with visionary business leaders and engaged employees to achieve their business performance objectives.

Sandy has over 20 years of business performance leadership experience, including 7 years of hands-on strategy creation and execution, and balanced scorecard management leadership at companies such as the Canada Life Assurance Company and Barrick Gold Corp, and 12 years as a strategic planning and strategy execution advisor in both the public and private sectors. She is currently focused on helping business leaders and their teams achieve exceptional business performance results by helping them pinpoint and overcome their strategy execution challenges quickly, effectively, and permanently.

Sandy is a frequent conference speaker and regular blogger, commenting on the process and benefits of strategy execution excellence and building a strategy-focused organization.

Sandy Richardson is the author of the books Business Results Revolutions and The Practical Guide to Strategy Mapping.

Learn more about Sandy Richardson

Interview:

Mirla Ferreira: Hi Sandy, when we read your book Business Results Revolutions, we understand that sustainable success is achieved through focused conversations that answer the right questions. Can you tell us more about this approach?

Sandy Richardson: A critical first step in achieving business success is knowing the right questions to ask. When I say “right” I mean the questions that are focused on ensuring that your company is optimally positioned to achieve maximum customer and financial results and success. Of course, I believe that the three questions outlined in Business Results Revolution are the essential “right” questions!

Once you have those questions in place, you need to answer them – HOW you go about answering the questions is, in my opinion, more important than the answers themselves! When you look at successful organizations you see that they put a great deal of effort into the how of answering the questions and their preferred method is through conversation. That is, they engage people inside and outside their organization in a two-way dialogue that enables thoughtful discussion and the exchange of ideas in response to each business question. Besides ensuring that an organization has the best possible answers to the right business questions, conversations inspire high levels of commitment and emotional investment by employees and customers alike. This, in turn, translates into better customer outcomes and better business results.

Research has shown that successful organizations employ an integrated process of conversation that features four important elements: intentionality (they have a clear purpose), intimacy (they enable mental and emotional closeness), interactivity (they include an exchange of ideas), and inclusion (they enable people to participate in determining the topic of discussion). When conversations include all of these elements, you will notice a significant improvement in the confidence you have in your company’s responses to the key business questions.

Everyone in an organization should be encouraged to develop conversation leadership capabilities. The good news is that conversation is a skill that can be learned. As people across your organization develop their conversation skills, the quality of the answers will improve. And there is a direct relationship between the quality of the answers to the business questions and the level of the business results achieved.

Engaging in conversation as an organization on an ongoing basis helps a company ensure that the answers to its critical business questions are always current and relevant. Conversation helps companies succeed by giving employees a venue to highlight what is and isn’t working, to learn and innovate together, and to get on the same page so that they can move forward together. This capability translates into a more efficient and capable organization. Conversation with customers allows companies to remain responsive and relevant to the changing needs of their customers – a capability that is critical for staying ahead of the pack in a competitive marketplace.

The reward for making conversation the centrepiece of your approach to strategy creation and management is an energized and focused workforce and organization that is a customer magnet because it delivers high levels of customer value, consistently and reliably (a key differentiator in almost every marketplace you can think of), generating high levels of customer loyalty, business performance, and growth.

Mirla Ferreira: I hear people talking about their goals all the time, but they seem to resist any action to put into practice these goals.  This also happens to organizations. What are the basic points to consider when we try to put the strategy in action?

Sandy Richardson: There are so many things that get in the way of strategy execution but here are three “must have” success secrets I’ve discovered over time:

Involve people in creating the strategy, activities, and goals/results you want to hold them accountable for. People are more open to doing things when they participate in creating/defining them. Why? Because they understand where they came from, how they fit into the big picture, and how they contribute to success. When this is clear to people it’s easier for them to get behind what they are being asked to do. Also, when employees are involved, it’s more likely that the goals and actions that are created are more achievable – many times business strategies are so high level that it’s hard to see how to put them into action or the actions that get defined are too stretch for the organization to realistically achieve. Employee involvement in developing action plans can help eliminate this problem. Finally, I find that involving employees in the strategy process builds their passion for achieving the intended results – it’s easy to put strategy into action when you are emotionally invested!

Assign clear accountabilities and then reward people when they come through. Sometimes ownership for getting things done is unclear – when this happens, it’s no wonder that strategy-critical activities don’t get completed! Establishing clear performance expectations and assigning responsibility and accountability to specific people are the first steps in enabling successful strategy execution. Formalizing these accountabilities in personal goal plans puts greater emphasis on the importance of getting things done successfully and opens the door to rewarding people for delivering on their accountabilities through your employee performance management process. When accountabilities are formalized in this way, organizations stand a much better chance of successfully translating their strategy into action.

Give employees (and your organization) the resources needed to execute your strategy. Too many times I see organizations establish a new strategic direction without thinking through what the organization needs to do to achieve that strategy. Many times successful strategy execution requires an organization to do new things or do existing things at a new level. It’s often not realistic to expect that existing resources and capabilities will be sufficient to enable new levels of performance. This usually requires investment in additional tools and resources and/or investment in training and building new employee/organizational capabilities. In the end, it doesn’t matter how accountable your employees are – if they don’t have access to the resources they need to execute your strategy well, your strategy execution efforts will be sub-optimized.

For most organizations, if they focused on doing these three things well they would be in a much better position when it comes to strategy execution.

Mirla Ferreira: Why is so important the answer to the third question: “Are you sure”?

Sandy Richardson: It is always important to confirm or validate that your organization is actually doing what it said it was going to do AND that doing what you said you were going to do is actually translating into desired customer and financial results. Asking and answering the question “Are we sure?” helps you do just this.

It actually turns out the “Are we sure?” question is really three questions:
“Are we sure that our organization is positioned to execute our strategy as planned?”
“Are we sure that our company is actually executing our strategy as planned?”, and
“Are we sure that our customer value proposition is producing loyal customers?”

Answering these questions helps you assess how your company is currently doing and identify gaps and opportunities for improvement. When you have this information you can take focused action that will translate into higher levels of customer and business performance.

However, it’s not good enough to guess at your answers to the three “Are we sure?” questions – you’ve got to know the answers for certain. The best way to do this is through a combination of measurement and conversation.

While measuring results gives you good information to start with, measurement isn’t always as powerful as you might think. It rarely gives us the insights we need into what is really going on. That’s where conversation comes in. Conversation adds depth and insight to measurement results, giving you the confidence you need to answer the three “Are we sure?” questions and take appropriate action if needed.

Mirla Ferreira: Thank you so much for your time, Sandy!”

Now it’s time to take some action. I want to see how many companies want to focus their strategic models in strategy conversations!

Produtos, Projetos e Estratégia. Entrevista Com Ricardo Vargas

Ricardo Vargas

RICARDO VARGAS Especialista em gestão de projetos, riscos e portfólio.

Porque devemos ouvi-lo:

Ricardo Viana Vargas é especialista em gerenciamento de projetos, portfólio e riscos. Foi, nos últimos 15 anos, responsável por mais de 80 projetos de grande porte em diversos países, nas áreas de petróleo, energia, infraestrutura, telecomunicações, informática e finanças, com um portfólio de investimentos gerenciado superior a 18 bilhões de dólares.

Atualmente, é diretor do Grupo de Práticas de Projetos do Escritório de Serviços de Projetos das Nações Unidas (UNOPS, na sigla em inglês) e vive em Copenhagen, na Dinamarca. Seu trabalho tem como foco a melhoria da gestão dos projetos humanitários, de construção da paz e de desenvolvimento de infraestrutura em dezenas de países, como Haiti, Afeganistão, Iraque e Sudão do Sul.

Foi o primeiro voluntário latino-americano a ser eleito para exercer a função de presidente do conselho diretor (Chairman) do Project Management Institute (PMI), maior organização do mundo voltada para a administração de projetos, com cerca de 600 mil membros e profissionais certificados em 175 países.

Ricardo Vargas escreveu doze livros sobre gerenciamento de projetos, publicados em português e inglês, com mais de 250 mil exemplares vendidos mundialmente. Recebeu em 2005 o prêmio PMI Distinguished Award e em 2011 o PMI IS CoP Professional Development Award pela sua contribuição para o desenvolvimento do gerenciamento de projetos. Recebeu também o PMI Professional Development Product of the Year pelo workshop PMDome®, considerado a melhor solução do mundo para o ensino do gerenciamento de projetos.

Conheça mais sobre Ricardo Vargas diretamente no seu website ricardo-vargas.com

Entrevista:

Mirla Ferreira: Olá Ricardo, em linhas gerais muitos responsáveis de empresas não sabem bem “por onde começar”. Qual é a sua opinião?, devemos começar por elaborar a estratégia, os produtos que suportam essa estratégia e os projetos associados? ou pelo contrario, começamos por uma abordagem de criar produtos que preencham uma necessidade do mercado, criamos as estratégias e logo os projetos?

Ricardo Vargas: Na minha visão a estratégia permeia todo o direcionamento. Se vc não tem uma estratégia vc não sabe nem qual projeto escolher. O grande problema das organizações é que pensar estrategicamente é abstrato e nem sempre conclusivo. Aí todos preferem pensar apenas nos projetos. Esse é o desafio permanente.

Mirla Ferreira: Segundo a sua experiencia porque é tão difícil fazer uma boa Gestão de Portfolio. Qual é o maior desafio que as empresas enfrentam nesta área?

Ricardo Vargas: É difícil por causa da falta de estratégia e pela falta de critérios claros. A disputa pelos projetos deixa de ser um assunto técnico focado em critérios claros e passa a ser uma disputa de poder onde quem é mais forte tem os projetos escolhidos…

Mirla Ferreira: Considera que a criação de um PMO na empresa ajudaria a estabelecer o equilibrio necessário entre Produtos, Projetos e Estratégia?

Ricardo Vargas: Depende do PMO. Se for um escritório estratégico de projetos com foco em portfólio sim. Agora se for um PMO operacional esse benefício certamente não é atingido, uma vez que o foco está no cumprimento de prazos e custos.

Mirla Ferreira: Excelente. Muito obrigada pelo seu tempo, Ricardo. Foi um prazer poder conhecer a sua opinião sobre um tema tão interessante como este. Até a próxima!


Ricado Vargas – Critérios de Seleção de Projetos


International Project Management Day. Expert Interview With Frank Saladis

Frank Saladis

FRANK SALADIS Founder IPM Day

Why you should listen to him:

Frank P. Saladis, PMP, is a Consultant and Instructor / Facilitator within the project management profession. He is a senior trainer and consultant for the International Institute for Learning and has conducted numerous project management training seminars domestically and internationally. He is a Project Management Professional and has been a featured presenter at the Project Management Institute ® Annual Symposiums and World Congresses and many other project management events. Mr. Saladis is a graduate of the PMI Leadership Institute Masters Class and has held several positions within The Project Management Institute including President of the NYC Chapter, President of the PMI Assembly of Chapter Presidents and Chair of the Education and Training Specific Interest Group. Mr. Saladis served as editor of the internationally distributed project management newsletter for allPM.com, and is the author of “Positive Leadership In Project Management,” co- author of Value Driven Project Management with Dr. Harold Kerzner, and numerous articles about project leadership. Mr. Saladis is the originator of International Project Management Day and was recognized as PMI Person of the Year for 2006.

Interview:

Mirla Ferreira Project Managers focus their days getting projects completed on time, and within budget and scope, meaning that Project Management is a profession with a lot of accountability in organizations. What was your main idea when you created “International Project Management Day”? Why an International Project Management Day is so important for the profession?

Frank Saladis International Project Management Day was created to set aside some time to recognize the dedication and commitment project managers provide to their organizations. Many people really don’t understand the role of the project manager and how challenging that position can be. It is often referred to as ” the unappreciated profession.” project managers must provide leadership, managerial skills, and must have a strong sense of business to achieve project success. Often the work of the project manager is not properly recognized. International Project Management Day is a way of saying thank- you to the many thousands of project managers who work very hard to meet their organizations needs.

Mirla Ferreira Do you think organizations have to create a culture with a clear focus on Talent Management? In your experience, what is the most important thing when developing mentor programs for Project Managers?

Frank Saladis A few thoughts: project management training provides an individual with “life skills” such as planning, organizing, leading, managing, dealing with conflict and working with people effectively. The project manager is part of a very special group of talented individuals who understand the importance of teamwork and also in achieving business objectives. Organizations who promote project management will have a solid talent pool to support the missions and objectives and will find “talent management” to be less difficult. The truly effective project manager is adaptive to the organizations needs and can develop an effective strategy to meet the challenges of each new assignment.

When developing mentor programs for project managers it is important to emphasize the leadership aspect of the assignment. Project managers are accountable for success. They must motivate their teams, set clear direction, and focus on the big picture. Leaders create an environment of pride, respect and trust. All of these are essential for project and organizational success.

Mirla Ferreira For you .. What is the biggest challenge facing Project Managers today?

Frank Saladis There are many challenges a project manager must deal with but one of the most significant challenges is the lack of managerial support, the gap between what executives perceive to be project management and the actual project ,and the tendency of upper management ignore the processes that are put in place to manage a project effectively, such as change control. Project managers must develop the skills and capability to manage upward and work to clearly set expectations with sponsors and executive management.

IPM Day is always the first Thursday in November. Are you planing to schedule some event or activity in recognition of the Project Management Profession?