Five Common Mistakes of Project Managers - Part 2

Video Activity

In this lesson, Subject Matter Expert (SME) Kelly Handerhan concludes a discussion of the Top 5 Mistakes that Project Managers make. You will learn the final four of the Top 5 mistakes that Project Managers make (the first mistake was covered in Lesson 3): Underestimating the importance of organizational change management Handeran discusses how Pro...

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2 hours 27 minutes
Video Description

In this lesson, Subject Matter Expert (SME) Kelly Handerhan concludes a discussion of the Top 5 Mistakes that Project Managers make. You will learn the final four of the Top 5 mistakes that Project Managers make (the first mistake was covered in Lesson 3): Underestimating the importance of organizational change management Handeran discusses how Project Managers must - sell the positive benefits of change - have a rollback strategy - prepare users for change Believing the rosy estimates provided by your team You will learn how to: - validate all estimates before making them part of your project timeline and/or budget - view estimates in terms of risk management and worst-case scenarios - consider the level of experience of the person giving the estimate - help team members give more accurate estimates Failing to understand complex dependencies Handerhan discusses the fact that projects are not linear. Many dependencies come into play, and they must be accounted for in all aspects of the project plan. Not recognizing the importance of quality assurance(QA) You will learn how QA saves money and time in the long run, and you will learn the three elements of assessing quality in your project: 1) quality planning through the project's design 2) quality assurance through following the plan and ensuring that the processes are working as planned 3) quality control through evaluating the process, not the product

Video Transcription
now, the second mistake that project managers make frequently is we fail to understand how important change management is within our team within our project. Within the organization as a whole,
people again are resistant to change,
probably because change in the past has been negative because changing the past may not have been handled properly and handled well. People don't like surprises. And as a general rule, people are creatures of habit,
right? You bring in a new ergonomic chairs for everybody in the organization, and everybody complains until a week later, when everybody goes, all these are better. So what we can expect is when we bring in change,
probably regardless of what the changes, unless you're changing the payroll system to double everybody's salary,
probably the first reaction to change is gonna be negative. So what that means is, I better come in with some enthusiasm, and I better sell that change. I need to come in and justify why the changes happening and how it's gonna benefit. I gotta sell as a project manager.
We've got new technology and I know it's gonna take a little bit of time training.
However, here, the things it's gonna do for you rather than having to make seven clicks. To get to the screen that you need, you're gonna be able to access what you need in a manner of two clicks. You're gonna find the safe's time. It's much more efficient. Okay, we want to sell that change. We also want to make sure that changes don't happen on the fly that we don't just say
that's a good idea. Let's do that right. That doesn't come across as being very professional from one standpoint. But the bottom line is, changes must be considered. We need to look at them for cost benefit analysis. We need to think about the risks associated with the changes. We need a rollback strategy in case
Ah, the particular change that we implement doesn't work.
We need to give our people heads up. We need to train them on the proposed change. We need to make sure that the change happens as smoothly and as gracefully as possible. So failing to organ, you know, failing to understand that
we're gonna do this. It's something new. Get over it. Not a really good presentation for a change.
Believing the rosy estimates provided by your teams?
Absolutely. And I think many people are guilty, perhaps myself included in We want we get enthusiastic about the work that we're providing. We want to show that we're hard workers that we deliver value, so we tend to under undercut ourselves, perhaps by giving
estimates that may not be accurate. You know,
I'll have that on your desk by tomorrow, when in reality, I know that in order to do that, I'm gonna have to work 23 hours tonight, and I'm probably not going to. We have to understand that our team, they understand that they're working for us and they want to deliver the value, and they tend to promise.
I won't say they tend to. I want to say that that sometimes people promise more than they can deliver, and it's not that they're trying to cut short. It's just kind of human nature to want to please the people that we work with and for so what's helpful? There is asking things like, Well, what's worse, case scenario. I know this is what you want to deliver,
but let's sit down and talk about things that might prohibit you
from meeting that goal How can we figure out? Because usually
out there in the world, there's a best case, a worst case and a realistic. And we've got to figure out what the realistic is, because that's where I'm putting my money. Okay? It's usually somewhere in the middle, So Okay, here's what you think it'll take you three days? Great. What if
the weather's bad? What if you're not able to get the resource is what do you think? The worst case. What if you're not moving as quickly as you think,
Right. And then we'll look at those together. Um, risk management comes into play here looking at the risks associated with an activity. Um, also a lot of times, people that aren't as experienced at performing and activity, they're gonna undercut with their estimates as well.
We all tend to think things are easy and then you roll up your sleeves and you jump in and you go,
Whoa. This is a lot more work than I'd anticipated. So again, our goal is the project managers not to come down hard on people that don't give us accurate estimates. It's to help them give us more accurate estimates. That should be our philosophy, right? How can I solicit from you? How can I get you to give me an estimate that I can really bank on?
Learn from the past? If somebody under cells
previously, they're probably going to continue to do that? Sometimes his project managers, I'll say, OK, client a tells me three days. It almost always takes him five days. I'm getting five days time.
I will caution you about that, though.
There's a principle called Parkinson's principle, and you've probably heard of Parkinson's principles somewhere along the line in several different context. But one of the waste Parkinson's principle is used is to describe the phenomenon that work expands to meet the time allotted for it.
What that means is I have an hour's worth of work. I need it done by 5 p.m. Today.
It's two o'clock now.
It's only an hour's worth of work. Get it done by five.
When's it gonna get done?
5 p.m.
Because when I tell people, I expect I'm gonna give you a few extra days, just in case they will take those few extra days. Another way to look at Parkinson's principle with cost estimates, expenses rise to meet your budget.
So the more money I have, the more money l spend. So you give me an estimate to paint this room for $300 I tell you Well, good. We've got a $500 budget for that. That's terrific. Then I come back and get my building. It's for for 99 98. So
when we do add reserve funding for particular activities based on risk based on historical information
would probably want to keep that information to ourselves. We want to use that truly as a little cushion. Rarely do I say take a couple extra days, take your time. Just get it done whenever you can. So we need to look at the estimates are people give us. We need to find a way to
get more accurate estimates from our people.
We need numbers that we can count on because ultimately I'm gonna be committing to a sponsor A timeline. Ah, Budget. And that sponsor expects me to be accurate. The only way I could be accurate if I get accurate information from my teeth.
Failing to understand complex dependencies organizations are more and more complicated. Today we know that. Especially if you're in a large multinational organization, you know, working in i t for so long when we would talk about risk management. We talk about business risk, and I t risk.
Well, I t risk is business risk, and very few processes within the organization can exist without i t I t needs a lot of other processes in the organization to work as well. So when we understand the different elements that come together, you know, again, we're not just
producing widgets anymore.
We're performing complex and sophisticated work. We're delivering huge products for that our customers are gonna use to make or break their organization in some instances. So we have to make sure that we get a true understanding off the nature of the work that we're performing
and what those related elements are.
The dependencies. Very few things are going to exist in a vacuum. You know the example here? I'm developing a piece of software to be used in this environment. What I didn't realize is everybody in the environments on Penny, um, two computers that run have a processor of 600 megahertz. Right.
My software is dependent on having the hardware that's capable of running it.
What's your network infrastructure like? What's your security posture? What sort of legislative requirements do you have to meet? Things are a lot bigger than majors building a piece of software for you, all right, and then last Not organizing the importance of quality assurance.
You have two elements when we talk, actually have really three elements with quality. You have quality management quality management says we're gonna plan for quality. And the way we're gonna plan for quality is we're gonna figure out what design will deliver his quality. We're gonna have a clear cut definition of what quality is
how we're gonna measure for it, how we know when we've achieved quality and how we'll know when we didn't
and what to do about it. That's quality management. Or that's really that's more quality planning. Let's call that planning for quality. All right. Now, the next element quality assurance am I following the plans that I set out in planned quality?
Am I following the process is am I using the checks and balances
or the process is working? Are they delivering as expected?
And then we go to quality control where we look at the product.
it's warm, part important to focus on the process than the product I cannot inspect in quality.
I think about that idea you can never inspect in quality.
So let's say that, um, I pull a product off the line and it does not. It's not a quality product. It doesn't meet our requirements. Ah, that's a bad product. Throw in the trash. How many more products piece of product do I have to look at before it gets better?
You keep looking all day. It's not gonna get better unless what?
Unless you go back and fix the process. Focus on quality assurance. Have your quality assurance lead directly into the product. Inspect the product. Take the results of your measurements from inspecting the product and proper quality control and feed back into quality assurance.
Really, the best validation that your project your process is good
is. Do you produce a good product If you produce a good product consistently, your process is probably working pretty well, so quality assurance and quality control go hand in hand, but you'll never meet your quality control requirements unless you have a good quality assurance program in place
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