“We just don’t work as a team!” Janet, a group manager for a large insurance company, was complaining to Larry, her human resources consultant. “Everyone just seems to do their own thing, they don’t share information, don’t try to help each other, and don’t seem to care about anyone else’s problems. What we need is a team building offsite!” Janet and Larry decided to put together a two-day offsite for the team at a resort about two hours away from work. Janet wanted immediate focus on the problem so Larry worked double-time to put together the event to be held later in the month. Larry put together an agenda full of trust-building exercises, ice-breakers, and brainstorming sessions on how the team could work better together.
Since Microsoft Project's initial release in 1984 it has evolved into an incredibly powerful and sophisticated project management tool. One of those sophisticated features is calendars. As one of my heroes Spiderman says, "with great power comes great responsibility". As a project manager, you can exploit some of the cool capabilities with Microsoft Project calendars, but beware, you could really tie your shorts up in a knot if you start getting too fancy with project calendars. In addressing this topic, I want to start off by telling you what Microsoft Project help says about calendars then give you a few tips to help you avoid Project Manager hell when trying to develop a meaningful and realistic project schedule.
What we learned was more than what we had anticipated; not necessarily about their purchases, but about how they worked and the importance of urgency versus importance in their jobs.
Recently I've noticed a trend which frankly really ticks me off. My observation is that more and more project managers are becoming hyper risk-averse and demonstrating an unwillingness to accept accountability for the projects they manage. One tell-tale sign which I've noticed is the usage of "matrixed" organization charts. In matrixed organization charts, the project team is depicted using different types of team leads shown vertically and horizontally on the organization chart. With a matrixed organization, team members may have a "solid line" reporting relationship to one manager and a "dotted line" reporting relationship to one or more managers. Now, I fundamentally don't have a problem with the collaboration aspect that a matrixed organization enables; where I do have a problem is when the matrixed organization makes it difficult to pinpoint who has accountability for the project.
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