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Project Management

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by FPrice, Jul 1, 2019.

  1. FPrice

    FPrice Retired Zoomie NES Life Member NES Member

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    Does anyone here work as a project manager?

    I have (hopefully) one year left in my current position and am starting to look beyond June of next year. I was thinking about trying to learn a little about the field in hopes of picking up another job if this one does not translate into another contract.

    What I am doing might lend itself to practise some project management skills with the objective of increasing my marketable skills.

    Also, if you are a project manager, is www.Monday.com a worthwhile website or not?

    Any advice on the subject greatly appreciated.
     

  2. atmay

    atmay NES Member

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    Theory of Constraints is a good place to start. Buy and read "The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement" by Eli Goldratt, and then see if you can find a class on the subject.

    Another good direction to venture in is "High Velocity Learning". Book is entitled "The High Velocity Edge", written by Steven Spear.

    Our entire project management scheme is built off of TOC, and HVL is one of those things that moves everyone's brain blood directly into their boners these days. Both, when applied correctly, can yield some very good results.


    Obviously, Lean/Six Sigma/Toyota Production System/etc are decent boxes to check as well.
     
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  3. NHKevin

    NHKevin NES Member

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    Get a PMP certification in your spare time now.
     
  4. Paul455

    Paul455 NES Member

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    This - it's a good credential to have as a PM.
     
  5. Spanz

    Spanz NES Member

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    PMP certificate?
    upload_2019-7-1_18-28-28.png ??
     
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  6. headednorth

    headednorth NES Member

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  7. Skysoldier

    Skysoldier Forum Curmudgeon NES Member

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    I can't help you much here, because I have spent the last 40 years as an Engineer, and my experience with Project Managers is that they are usually the
    Engineers that couldn't "Engineer!" About all they could do is make schedules and powerpoint presentations....you know, like junior military officers.
    [laugh][laugh][laugh][laugh]
     
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  8. Sparkey

    Sparkey NES Member

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    What kind of projects do you want to manage ?
    Most PM’s I deal with are ass clowns that could never do the job come up with silly paperwork and schedules
     
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  9. CoastieRon

    CoastieRon NES Member

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    It's not, but there are "boot camps" for it.

    Lean, kaizan, GANT, six sigma are all good places to start.
     
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  10. Spanz

    Spanz NES Member

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    Well obviously, if you have to get the PMP certificate!
     
  11. richc

    richc NES Member

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    I asked a friend what makes a good project manager. This fella was VP of engineering for a large software company. He was brought in because of his PM chops to make some structure out of an engineering group gone wild. He's since retired with his millions in stock options and is enjoying life... but here's his theories on what makes a good PM:



    People skills
    Project managers usually work in a matrix with functional managers. The team does not report directly to the project manager. Consequently they need to manage by "influence" not by "control". People that are more comfortable in a command/control organization struggle as project managers. To successfully influence, they need great people skills. They are subconsciously aware of personality traits (e.g. Myers Briggs), and can flex their approach and personality to suit the person and situation. They ask more questions, than state directives. Eg "Do you need to do that on OSX and Windows?" Instead of, "Do it on OSX and Windows!".

    Attention to detail
    The project team is made up of different functions. The interface between the functions is where problems arise. Defining the work accurately is essential. What will be delivered? Are there 10 or 11 files? Exactly when. Friday isn't good enough. Is it Friday @10:00AM or 6:00pm. What are the dependencies? They must identify what needs to be defined, and they are exact in the definition.

    Communication skills
    They are the spokesperson for the team. They must take complex issues, understand them, simplify them, and communicate them. Often this communication is back to the team to create a common understanding. However it can be to other organizations, other management, or customers.
    Written communication includes: Clear concise emails (Eg decision, actions); More detailed documents (Eg New hardware impact and plan of action); Full project presentations (Eg Project plan).
    Verbal communication includes; 1:1 with individual contributors; 1:1 with functional managers; Functional team meetings; Project team meetings; Presentations.

    The project manager needs enough domain knowledge to be able to question the team members, but they need to let the team members be the experts. The right project manager acts as a catalyst to bring out the best individual performances, and creates the best team performance.
     
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  12. jek

    jek NES Life Member NES Member

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    Sadly, nowadays they look for formal training and generally want some type of certification like PMP vs. learning it OJT. If you do become a PM, know the limitations of people on the team, have strong negotiation skills, and become very good at holding people accountable for their commitments. Be assertive and not aggressive, otherwise you will alienate the team and probably fail. If a person is not performing or delivering on their commitments, confront them before escalating. Learn RACI (responsibility matrix) and use it. You will usually be managing teams where you will have no direct authority over anyone on the team (that is, you're not their direct supervisor/manager). And remember, you will ultimately be held accountable for the team's failures. Have fun!
     
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  13. Brucewillis4316

    Brucewillis4316 NES Member

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    I like “herding cats” aka engineers, mostly they turn to jello when the ship date approaches. I love it when they ask can we have another couple days to work out the bugs and I have the opportunity to say yes, because I‘ve built in the time to accommodate their inability to understand a calendar.
     
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  14. AHM

    AHM NES Member

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    Back in waterfall days, my perhaps most successful supervisor would
    invest a lot of time coming up with good task estimates
    (eventually including an offsite meeting cranking a Delphi process).

    But after the experts had come up with their final numbers,
    she would also sneak in even more pad for
    the inevitable bugs and overlooked dependencies.

    (She also would never schedule baselevels -
    with their intermediate deliverables -
    between Thanksgiving and New Years. Because,
    "nothing gets done between Thanksgiving and New Years").

    We'd end up delivering more than was committed, working,
    on/ahead of schedule. I suspect that her peers were in awe...
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019 at 11:11 AM
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  15. atmay

    atmay NES Member

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    We add months of buffer to schedules.

    Anyone that doesn’t under-promise, and then over-deliver, is doing it wrong, IMO.
     
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  16. Paul455

    Paul455 NES Member

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    Been teaching PM for 25 years at Harvard Extension School.

    What do you need to know?
     
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  17. 67ray

    67ray NES Member

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    People are jumping ship when it comes to PM. Agile is where it's at - get an agile certification and you will be standing in a river of opportunity. If you are going to study then why not learn the skills that are most relevant
     
  18. Broccoli Iglesias

    Broccoli Iglesias NES Member

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    I used to be a PM. Best thing that ever happened to me was getting laid off. I took that opportunity to move to Sales and never looked back. Made 5 times more my first year.

    I enjoyed the PM role. But I was getting sick of dealing with the BS and managers constantly taking people from one project and putting them in another, messing up timelines.

    It was a great learning experience and something that has been very usefull in sales, but the money wasnt worth the headache.

    I dont regret it, but I dont think I could have made a career out of that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
  19. Broccoli Iglesias

    Broccoli Iglesias NES Member

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    That's what I tried to do. A 2 week project ... it will take 4. Deliver in 3 because I knew some of my resources would be taken away from me.

    But Management gets pissed when you tell them 4 weeks and then they make up their own timeline. Yup, that used to happen to me.
     
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  20. Palladin

    Palladin NES Member

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    I'm a PM at a medium sized electrical construction firm. learn how to be an a$$hole, while still having people like you [rofl]
     
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  21. atmay

    atmay NES Member

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    For us, those buffers will never be taken out of the schedule. How much buffer there is varies by project length/scope, but their inclusion is mandated by our scheduling process/procedures.
     
  22. SgtHal75

    SgtHal75 NES Member

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    And take credit for all their foreman and tradesmans work......the only decent junior military officer by far was LT. Dan! Lol!
     
  23. kevin9

    kevin9

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    Engineer: That task should take 2 weeks.
    PM: What if something goes wrong?
    Engineer: Okay, okay, maybe 3 weeks.
    ...
    Scheduler: What does engineering say for this task?
    PM: 3 weeks, but round their estimate up to 1 month, and double it because it's engineering, then add 2 weeks because that's a critical path task.
    Scheduler: I'll round it to 3 months so it falls on the quarterly boundary.
    ...
    PM: Engineering, I gave you an extra week on that task.
    Engineer: Thanks. No problem. Easy peasy.
     
  24. SgtHal75

    SgtHal75 NES Member

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    How to change Circuit breakers in my house .... i’m kidding, I’m kidding!!!! Lol!!!!!
     
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  25. Broccoli Iglesias

    Broccoli Iglesias NES Member

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    One mistake. Telling the engineer he has an extra week. Now it will take 2 extra weeks.

    Make people believe the deadline is aproaching. Then use the extra week to build a relationship.

    You see they are stressed out and overworked ... "hey, I will see what I can do to get you one more week, would that work?" .... the following day "I went to bat for you. I got you that extra week".
     
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  26. smokey-seven

    smokey-seven NES Member

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    There you go!
     
  27. atmay

    atmay NES Member

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    We man and execute based on the aggressive estimates made during initial scheduling. You don’t talk about buffers until eating into it is literally the only thing that can be done to stay on track.
     
  28. kevin9

    kevin9

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    No no. The extra week is on the engineering 3 week estimate. Give it to them up front to build rapport. There's still 2 months in the back pocket for what you describe.
     
  29. 1776

    1776 NES Member

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    PM = First one to get hit with a felony when the shit hits the fan. What happened to the last PM assuming the position?
     
  30. Paul455

    Paul455 NES Member

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    ROTFLMAO!
     
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