An IT Analysts View of the business world.




Change
December 27th, 2010

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“Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

George Bernard Shaw


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I’m developing free multimedia learning on business and project management topics, if there are any subjects you would like to see let me know.

PMP Training Podcast
November 23rd, 2006

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Cornelius Fichtner, PMP who produces The Project Management Podcast™ has been working on a new podcasting project that will be of benefit to anyone studying for the PMP (Project Management Professional) exam from the PMI (Project Management Institute) appropriately named The Project Management PrepCast™.

The website is now available and contains some sample free podcasts of the content that will be available when he launches the premium content in January 2007. Judging on the standard of content Cornelius already produces with his The Project Management Podcast™ this will be a great resource.

The Project Management PrepCast


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I have authored an article entitled “Soft” Skills for Project Managers for the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA). This has been published in a white paper entitiled ‘Project Management – Our Plan for Your Plan’. Click on the link above to download the pdf of my article.

Please feel free to distribute as you see fit providing my name and the reprint permission on the last page are kept. If you are interested in the subject and want to discuss any points please let me know.

I also recommend you head over to the pmpodcast by Cornelius Fichtner and look for the podcasts on “Soft” skills.


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During a project you should be communicating according to the communication plan approved for the project. This plan also needs to be re-evaluated throughout the project. You should also check to see if you are communicating efficiently to the goals in the plan.

One way to analyse this is to keep a communication record for a week of all the correspondence relating to the project. The headings you need to record are what, to whom, why, how and response. An example entry being:

Letter, project team/IT director, request for additional disk space, e-mail, no

When you have finished the record you can analyse it for patterns that should correspond to the communication plan. You may find out that you are consistently being ignored by an important stakeholder or team member or alternatively you may be getting needless communications. These need further investigation but you can also change the plan or your communication style to better suit the interested parties.


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As an advocate of constant self-development I’ll be introducing the occasional classic business book.

The first book is Peopleware – Productive Projects and Teams by Tom DeMarco & Timothy Lister. The first edition of this book was written nearly 20 years ago and it is still relevant to today’s businesses. This is a pleasant, easy and humorous read for anyone having to deal with software development and teams. The main gist of the book is that the major issues associated with software development are not technical in nature they are in fact human.

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams


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Cornelius Fichtner of The Project Management Podcast™ provided a resource link to the ILTA Peer to Peer Project Management Issue published in February 2005 in his podcast no 34. In the podcast he highlighted the fact that I incorrectly categorised the Frameworks discussed as Methodologies. I must admit, in hindsight, I should have picked this up.

Two important characteristics I value is being honest and having the ability to re-evaluate past experiences objectively, so thank you Cornelius for providing me with the feedback and the lesson is learnt.

The Art of Listening
May 21st, 2006

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‘Above all, listen.’ – David Ogilvy

Listening is an important skill for anyone interacting with other people. Most people are passive listeners but to gain the most you need to actively listen. To actively listen you need to:

  • concentrate on the speaker and what is being said
  • focus on the content and not the style of presentation
  • have an open mind, pre-conceived ideas block active listening
  • ask questions or summarize a point if the meaning is not clear
  • not interrupt
  • don’t over use it, it will appear patronizing
  • check for conflicting body language signs
  • be personally receptive and not fatigued

Active listening requires more concentration than passive listening and you also need to take into account other factors such as tone of voice and attitude.