jim@millikenproject.com

jim@millikenproject.com 207-808-8878 Our book "Life is a Project: How are you managing?" is now available!


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Too Confident?

     “He has too much confidence,” the woman said.
     This was after a guy had dominated a discussion, declaiming at length and raising his voice to talk over the other participants. He even bulldozed those who were trying to agree with him. He brooked no contributions.
     We see a parallel in actual behavior. There are people who always have to be the boss, the decider, the center of attention. Some of them fail repeatedly. To them, being Number One is much more important than doing something well.
     Most of them have difficulty working with others, especially when they have management or leadership responsibilities. People go along with them, but without energy, enthusiasm or imagination. It’s not fun working with such people. It’s a morale killer, making for mediocre performance.
     There is a real question as to whether people who love authority should ever be allowed to have any. To them, power over others becomes a possession to enjoy, not a responsibility to manage. They see themselves as smarter and better because of being the boss.
     Are all those examples of too much confidence?
     No. Any one of many personal and attitudinal faults can lead to such behavior, but too much confidence is rarely one of them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

More Certain, Less Project

Clean mind, clean body – take your pick.
                                                                Lou Gottlieb
                                                                The Limeliters

Did you ever have to make up your mind
-- take up with one, and leave the other behind?
                                                                John Sebastian
                                                                The Lovin’ Spoonful

 Whenever you see a successful business,
someone once made a courageous decision.
                                                                Peter Drucker
                                                             Management Guru

     Gottlieb was funny. The Spoonful was empathetic. Drucker was knowledgeable and dead serious. All three provide windows into the human need for certitude, which is a burden – often a barrier – to successful project management. 
     Good project managers not only live well with ambiguity, they thrive on it. The more rewarding the potential payoff for a project, the more uncertainty and risk there is likely to be. Therefore, the greater is the need for correct decision making.
     And there’s the rub. If the information were available for a sure decision, you wouldn’t need all those project management skills we work so hard to develop. But those skills don’t provide certitude. The project manager doesn’t, either, but he/she provides a decision anyway.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Project Communication: Not Quick, Not Easy

     “The communication is terrible around here.”
     Of course it is. Communication is terrible everywhere.
     Communication is the lifeblood of collaborative human behavior, especially in the pressurized environment of a good-sized project. True projects are innovative, meaning they’re intended to create something that hasn’t existed before, at least with those particular people in that place.
     So there is uncertainty, and there are gaps in information and there is risk. Often, you are dependent upon people you don’t know well and usually have no real control over. Time and resources are tight, and persons of importance can have demanding expectations.
     Yet, despite all that, nothing will happen unless those involved get active and make it happen. Not so easy.