The 1 “Killer” Mistake That Project Managers Make…and Why They Keep Making It!

VERY TRUE … I have been in this situation, the GM of the company committed to a deadline to deliver a project and I was the project manager and I did the mistake of not having the courage to stop him. The result was agony. We took double the time to deliver the project because the deadline he committed to was extremely not realistic given the requirements. It was a nightmare and the customer was furious and by the time I finally delivered and the project worked successfully the whole team was worn out and under stress for too long!
Ever since this experience I learnt the lesson and I never allowed it to happen again!

Dale Myers' Blog: Think. Plan. Act. Repeat.

Business Man on phone in distressBeing a project manager is hard work. You have to deal with team members, sponsors, stakeholders, subject matter experts, and other nosey types that all have opinions. Some of these folks love to sit around and dissect every action and decision that a project manager makes. Often they are just looking for something to criticize. When they find a perceived mistake, they have the nerve to call it “educational,” or worse, a “learning moment.”

Who needs this crap, right?

As I’ve written in the past, mistakes happen (see my post, When Bad Things Happen to Good Leaders”, December 2012). It’s how you deal with mistakes, and how you learn from them that matters.

“There are no failures – just experiences and your  reactions to them.”  ~ Tom Krause

There’s one mistake that I often see Project Managers make from which it’s hard to recover. It sits at…

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Samsung Entaleq …. OR rather Stand Still!

Samsung Entaleq is a competition done by Samsung Egypt for developers.  Any developer who has an idea and is able to implement it on Android or on SMART TV can join.  The competition started back in April 2013.  I joined with an application on Android with two friends.  The deadline for us to deliver was July 31st.  We were promised to know the winners on August 15th.  The prizes are monetary, Samsung products and some sort of partnership with Samsung for the top three to help in marketing products and making money out of it. http://www.samsungentaleq.com/samsung-entaleq/Default.aspx

August 15th passed and nothing was announced.  We kept calling them several times to know why the delay but we never received an answer except we will inform you.  Ever since several dates were set and then postponed again to announce the winners. Through September, October and now November all what we are getting is emails to postpone the results.  Now all applications are tested already and published on the Samsung store so they are not still testing or anything.  We were also told that the committee already decided on the winning applications.  The last email we received was today postponing the announcement again to an unknown date? They said we will inform you when.  What is this? what kind of planning and organizing is this?  How come Samsung would act like amateurs?? Doesn’t Samsung have standards? is it OK to lie to the contestants like this??  What could be an acceptable reason to delay announcing the winners for almost 3 months!!!!  I have every right now to think that they are liars and they never intended to give the winners the prizes and they just did it as a marketing campaign and they will never pay anyone anything.  I also have the right to believe that it could be fixed from the beginning and that they agreed with the winners even before the competition starts and it was all an act.

hoax

I have every right to believe anything because I was not respected by Samsung so why should I respect them???  How come a company like Samsung acts like this??  Doesn’t Samsung care about its name and reputation?? Why did they leave this competition to some amateurs to plan and organize??? IS there a competition really or is it a hoax??  Did someone already take the prizes and we are being lied at?? or did they announce prizes that they can’t afford to give and this is why they are postponing??

I don’t know exactly what they they are doing but definitely it is a Shame and it shows disrespect to the contestants.

By the way for those who don’t know Arabic,  Entaleq in Arabic means launch, start with speed, dash, set off ….. along this meaning. In fact it is not Entaleq at all, but rather Stand Still!!

Just do it!

Waiting for the perfect timing, the perfect decision, the perfect way to put it ,……. You will wait forever!

so many senior managers, CEOs or company owners stall and delay decision making because they are afraid of making the wrong decision.  “What if I make the wrong decision? how much will it cost me?” …. Well from my point of view, waiting for the perfect decision will cost you much more than deciding and moving forward.  Even if you decide on something and turns out to be a wrong decision, you have the mistake to learn from and become better able in the future to make the right decision.   But delaying, stalling and hesitating will make you stand still.  You will not learn from a good or bad experience because you will not have an experience to learn from.  The worst thing in the world is standing still.

get-it-done-coffee-mug

Moving forward is always the way to grow and become better. And believe it or not even wrong decisions and mistakes are a form of moving forward because you learn from the experience and use it to grow.

I am not saying of course being hasty, but once you have the information you need and you studied your move right, make up your mind and take action. Don’t stall and hesitate.

Stop wasting opportunities and “Just do it!”  ….

Lethal habits

Procrastination

 

Two habits I find to be lethal around the office: Procrastination and Perfectionism.  They waste time, money and energy.  Procrastination is the habit some people have of delaying tasks for no good reason except that they keep coming up with excuses why it should wait.  Sometimes it is because they think they can’t do it but they don’t want to admit it, because it is a big task and they are unable to divide it to smaller manageable tasks, because they are wasting their time on other issues that don’t really matter, because they don’t like the task but can’t say, …. so many reasons for procrastination and the result is delaying work, missing deadlines, increasing project budgets, increasing costs, angry customers and so many other negative effects.

 

Perfectionism is also another lethal habit, it is when a task takes too much time more than it should because the person wants it to be 100% perfect, so he keeps revising his work too many times and he always finds something to fix even if it is not relevant or effective.  One of the reasons of procrastination is also perfectionism, people tend to wait until it is the best time to do the job and finish it perfectly well and this time never comes! Of course perfecting your work is a must but when it turns into a negative thing that makes you take double the time to finish a task you must stop and ask: Am I spending my time right?

efficiency-perfection

 

Every job must take its right time to finish it right no more and no less.  Taking too much time under the claim that I am perfecting what I am doing is actually too much a cost to handle.  Companies can actually lose a lot of money and customers because of missing deadlines.

So how can we handle employees with such habits?

1- Make sure they are doing the right job for their character.  They should not be involved in any job that requires writing documents, offers, presentations, doing designs,….. Anything of the sort will take forever to finish and they will never get it done.

2- When assigning a task for such people never assign big tasks at once.  Divide any big task to smaller manageable ones and give them the small ones, one by one

3- Don’t tell them the real deadline, but rather make it a sooner tighter deadline to make them start feeling guilty for being late before your actual deadline.

4- Keep explaining the scope and aim of the task and reminding them of it so that they won’t go on perfecting irrelevant details and to make sure they understand the task at hand 100% so that they won’t procrastinate because they can’t do it.

5- These people must be handled with care. Never tell them in the face that they are wasting time and costing the company money but rather try to encourage them and give positive feedback about their work but at the same time keep reminding them of the time factor.

6- Assign check points with every project they are involved in and don’t wait for the delivery date to check on them.  Check points will make you evaluate the work done on intervals and remind them of the deadline.  Keep pushing on the time factor but gently without stressing them out.  Most probably people with these habit if stressed out will delay even more.

7- Give them training courses on time management.

Sometimes employees with such habits produce very high quality outcome but their throughput is the problem, so don’t lose them or get rid of them but rather try hard to get the best out of them.

But what if you keep trying and they keep wasting time and increasing your costs? what if it starts to threaten your business and reputation in the market? what then? Needs thinking especially in the case of perfectionists.  I would say if you keep trying and there is no other way but to replace this employee then do it because at one point of time you will regret the lost opportunities because of them.

More and more on productivity

I agree with this article, we need to plan our time right and choose carefully what to do when:

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505125_162-57589536/6-things-that-feel-productive-but-arent/

especially the point of pointless perfectionism. Some people waste a lot of time and effort trying to make things perfect when actually it doesn’t  have to be 100% perfect.  Or maybe if you go do some other thing and be more productive, when you come back to the same task you will do it even better.  Plan your time right and you will be more productive.

 

Busy or Productive?

Being always busy does not mean that you are actually getting anything done!

“I don’t have time” , “too much to do” , “didn’t have time to read your email” , “ImageNo didn’t see your message, I am overloaded”

Familiar with these sentences? You are busy busy all the time but unfortunately you are not productive.  You can be overloaded and you can have a lot of things to do but yet you can get things done.

Time and priority management are the keys to success!

1- Prioritize your tasks. What is urgent comes first then what is important then normal tasks.

2- Don’t accept interruption while you are doing something. Interruption is a waste of time and effort and causes erroneous output. SO unless it is really urgent, once you start a task don’t leave  it until done.

3- Read your email and any form of messages you receive once you get them. Sometimes you’re concentrating in the task at hand but the incoming message could be related and will cause you to redo a lot of work unless you read it on time.  So go through your messages quickly once received and read carefully the ones you need to read now and then once done with the task at hand start reading the rest. Sometimes the reply is as simple as “Received thanks”, but people need it so do it!

4- Shorter job first is a valuable advice.  If you have something that will not take time and is very simple, why make it wait for a task that could take days? waste of time and effort.  Get all the small tasks out of the way and then give the time and concentration to the long tasks. You will be amazed that finally your pipeline is not full of yet to do tasks anymore because you simply planned your time right.

5- Stop trying to show everyone how busy and overloaded you are and get down to work and get things done!  When people see how much you accomplish they will appreciate you. But when you talk all the time about how busy you are and then the size of your output is negligible no one will acknowledge your being overloaded!

6- Focus on being productive not busy

7- DO it NOW not later!

Effort is very good and most appreciated but without accomplishments, real output , getting things done, effort becomes meaningless!

So stop whining all the time about putting a lot of effort, put it right and in the right way and on the right time and you yourself will be proud of how much you accomplish.

Positive Management effect on Productivity and Turnover rates

As part of my MBA, the objectives of my thesis research is to be able to prove that:
1- As part of Organizational Development, Organizations need to deploy positive management strategy to achieve their goals.
2- Show the good effect of positive management on motivation and hence productivity and turnover rates.
3- And accordingly the final target should be being able to set some guidelines to organizations on how to deploy positive management strategies. The research assumes the following hypothesis and seeks to prove it:
Positive management strategy is the way to motivate employees, increase productivity, decrease turnover rates and hence accomplish organizational goals.

Positive management is defined as a style of management that helps organizations build a competitive advantage by adopting management techniques that encourages employees to give their best instead of stressing them out to perform. Positive Management is about making good relations with employees to inspire them to give their best. It is about giving employees a reason why they should get up early in the morning to come to work every day to give their best and deliver. Positive management is very much related to organizational culture. Organizational culture is a set of values, understandings and beliefs that company members share together and positive management is about working within those beliefs and nurturing them to make employees motivated to get the job done. It is about realizing that people are the most valuable company resource and hence must be treated as such to make them belong to the place and want to give their best. Positive management is about building and sustaining a competitive advantage to organizations.

As part of the research I conducted a survey that received 234 answers with the following results:

a manager who fails to adopt positive management is resp for loss of prod

a stressful environment negatively affects productivity

consulting employees

do you believe management strategies have direct impact on employee productivity

how imp is it that your manager cares about your development

how important is it to adopt a motivational technique

how important is it to have a motivational plan

how would you define a manager who gives an inspiring tip every morning

if communication channels are closed

if manager demands and never accepts discussion

if manager fails to motivate u achieve your full potential

if manager listens coach and train would this positively affect you

if not innovation

if not treated with respect would you resign

if your manager doe sany of the following would you resign

if your manager is not your role model

keep a list of achievments

why keeping a list of achievements does not matter to you

would keeping a list keep you enthusiastic
male female percent

management strategy is more important than money

manager should coach and is responsible if emp fails to deliver

manager takes all decisions and does not consult

no clear strategy to follow

number one reason to resign

putting all considerations aside would you resign

reaction when you excel and never receive appreciation

relation between management behavior and employee well being

those who said no won't resign if bad manager mentioning the reasons why

unfair perfromance evaluation

years of work experience

———–

What do you think? What conclusions can you derive from the results?