Archive Page 2

APMG Launches New Business Relationship Management Professional (BRMP®) Certification


APMG International recently announced the launch of their new Business Relationship Management Professional (BRMP®) qualification. This new and relevant qualification was developed in partnership with the Business Relationship Management Institute (BRMI). BRMI has partnered with APMG International to promote wider adoption of world-class BRM training and facilitate widespread availability of BRMI professional certifications.

The BRMP qualification provides foundation-level knowledge of Business Relationship Management (BRM). This qualification is a comprehensive foundation for Business Relationship Managers at every experience level who require knowledge of effective BRM as part of their roles or are seeking certification to enhance their careers. The new BRMP qualification targets project managers, business analysts, architects, external service providers and representatives of shared services organizations including IT, HR, finance, sales, and strategic planning. This may be a worthy credential to acquire and enhance your PMP or PRINCE2 certifications.

The Business Relationship Management Institute (BRMI) is a non-profit corporation that serves the business relationship management (BRM) professional community by providing membership, certification and professional development to help maximize BRM capability in organizations around the world.

Check out the new BRMP qualification on the APMG website and let me know what you think.

Happy studying for your new certification!  I am having fun preparing to sit this new exam!

Susan Weese

Are You Participating in the BABOK® Guide v3 Public Review?


Hello everyone and Happy Memorial Day weekend!  Did you know that version 3 of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK® Guide v3) is currently under public review around the world? Project managers and business analysts may want to join in and participate in the review period, which runs from May 12 to July 11, 2014.  This is an opportunity to get a sneak peek at the new draft standard and provide feedback on its contents.

According to the IIBA, participants can review the entire document or focus only on their areas of expertise. The international, volunteer Core Team working on this revision is interested in your contributions.

In a nutshell, the BABOK® Guide v3 reflects the evolution and expansion of the business analyst role.  Like it’s predecessor, this revised standard outlines the skills and knowledge business analysts need to create better business outcomes and drive business success.  The IIBA website outlines the major changes made to the standard, which include the new Business Analysis Core Concept Model (BACCM).  The BACCM uses six terms that have a common meaning to all business analysts and helps those analysts and other project team members discuss business analysis with a common terminology or lexicon.

The new revision also expands and adds five new views of where business analysts add value to the business and to its projects:  Agile, Business Intelligence, Information Technology, Business Architecture, and Business Process Management.  The techniques and underlying competencies of business analysts are also enhanced and updated.

To participate in this public review, please go to the IIBA website and link to the public review.  I would be very interested in hearing your comments, opinions and suggestions about this latest version of IIBA’s business analysis standard.  Please provide a comment on your reviewing experiences and your perspective on the changes, thanks!

Happy reviewing!

Susan Weese

If you are considering sitting the CBAP or CCBA certification exams for business analysts, check out our study guide (for version 2!) that can help you prepare to pass the test, the CBAP/CCBA: Certified Business Analysis Study Guide by Susan Weese and Terri Wagner! It’s a great place to learn more about each of the 6 knowledge areas and everything else you need to know to successfully pass the certification exam.

Are You Ready to Stop Telling and Start Asking?


Communicating effectively is a foundational project leadership role. Communication is essential in a healthy project. All too often, when we interact with team mates—especially those who report to us—we simply tell them what we think they need to know. This shuts them down. To generate bold new ideas, to avoid disastrous mistakes, to develop agility and flexibility, we need to practice Humble Inquiry. Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling, by Edgar H. Schein, is a testament to the importance of asking questions in a way that enables others to feel comfortable giving honest answers.

Schein defines Humble Inquiry as “the fine art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not know the answer, of building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person.”

Sally Helgesen reviewed the book in Strategy+Business magazine as one of the Best Business Books 2013: Managerial Self-Help. The rest of this blog adapts her review to apply to project management/project leadership.

In Schein’s view, there are two essential problems with communication on projects. The first is our preference for telling rather than asking. He finds this especially characteristic of project managers in the United States, who are immersed in a tradition of pragmatic problem solving that places a premium on efficiency and speed. The second problem is the high value many project leaders place on task accomplishment as opposed to relationship building, which can make them impatient with the slow work of earning real trust. In Schein’s experience, many project leaders either are not aware of these cultural biases or don’t care enough to be bothered with redressing them.

Schein believes that such attitudes have become newly problematic in a diverse global environment in which a growing proportion of individuals do not necessarily share those values, and in which project teams are an increasingly common organizational unit. Despite the prevalence of language exalting teamwork, Schein notes that promotional and rewards systems in many companies remain almost entirely individualistic. This creates an emphasis on star performers that can undermine engagement and trust.

He describes the various circumstances under which cultural and status constraints inhibit this team from engaging in the kind of frank exchange that their complex work requires. Though each team member has specific expertise, they all fail to use it to advantage unless those with higher status humble themselves by asking questions that demonstrate their reliance on others. He further notes that some variation on this situation occurs in every kind of project, often every day, because even as project leaders struggle to create conditions that promote free exchange, expressing humility can make them feel vulnerable. True humility requires admitting dependence on those lower in the hierarchy. Only when project leaders are able to overcome their fear of exhibiting such dependence can they allow their curiosity to lead them to vital information.

If you want to find out how things are going on your project, start with asking humble questions and take time to listen  . . . instead of telling. Many project management mistakes can be avoided by just listening to all the members  . . . sponsors, core team and part-time participants . . . of the project team. They have the information you need. Intrusive asking or telling turns people away. Humble inquiry opens space for everyone on the project
to share his or her information and ideas.

James L. Haner

Top 10 Workplace Trends for 2014


According to China Gorman, CEO of the Great Place to Work Institute, the Top 10 workplace trends for 2014 are:

  1. Millennials make their mark
  2. Global goes global
  3. Talent, talent, talent
  4. Investing in development
  5. Values training
  6. Wellness matters
  7. Employers up the ante
  8. Always on work environments
  9. Using inspiration to motivate
  10. Forward thinking

Just based on these 10 trend titles, you can pretty much define what the meanings are behind these trends. FYI, the Millennials are the generation with ages ranging from the early 20s into the early 30s. Some generational models call the Millennials by another name, Generation Y or “Gen Y”. My daughter will turn 32 in April, and is right on the cusp between the Millennials and Generation X. There are several trends in this list that I identify with, starting with “Wellness matters”.  The other two trends in my top 3 are “Investing in development” and “Employers up the ante”.

“Wellness matters” Seems to me that wellness really does matter more these days. In fact, wellness has actually become an employee benefit.  Many companies offer incentives and in-house programs focusing on wellness, such discounts on programs like Weight Watchers, in-house yoga classes and on-site gyms.  My daughter is a big fan of incentives such as these, and it seems that a large proportion of Millennials in the workplace will use these incentives when they are available.

“Employers up the ante” Many companies have gotten better at upping the ante (and raising the performance bar) by recognizing happy employees equal a happy bottom line. The benefits many businesses offer to their workforce are competitive and are a great way to attract new hires and keep the staff that they already have. This also links into the motivation and inspiration trend, don’t you think?

Investing in development” I have been lucky enough to spend time consulting and training with large firms who want to put more efficient and effective project management processes in place and teach everyone how to use those processes correctly. Investing in development and values training fall right in line with what I have been observing. Many companies go to great lengths when developing and training their people. Enhanced staff skills can definitely have an impact on customer service, satisfaction and the bottom line.

I am curious, which of these 10 trends do you identify with the most?  Do you think the trends you prefer are related to your age and generation, or is it a bit more complicated than that?

Susan Weese

Reference: Madell, R. (2014). U.S. News Money Careers. Top 10 Workplace Trends for 2014. Retrieved from http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2014/01/07/top-10-workplace-trends-for-2014

 

Adding Thought Diversity to Your Project Teams


 “The future of workplace diversity is here, and it’s not what you think. In fact, it’s how you think.” — Alison Griswold

In Griswold’s article, “Why ‘Thought Diversity’ is the Future of the Workplace”, she looks at the idea that diverse thinking methods are the next trend in workplace diversity. What a great focus for today’s project managers and hiring managers as they build their teams and organizations.

Seems to me like the demographic trends in today’s workplace are not the “barn burners” that they used to be. The combination of HR training programs and the existing acceptance and tolerance of diversity found in our younger staffers allows many organizations to thrive on diversity.

That makes these organizations and their project teams ready for Griswold’s thought diversity. “By mixing up the types of thinkers in the workplace, … companies can stimulate creativity, spur insight, and increase efficiency.” Perhaps it is time to vary the types of thinkers we have in our organizations and on our project teams.

Just think of the possibilities of building a team containing thinkers of many different types.  I would like to have analytical thinkers, problem solvers, creative thinkers, detailed planners, and spontaneity seekers all on the same team and see how things go.  Sure seems like varying the types of thinking in an organization or on your project teams will encourage everyone be more innovative and think “out of the box.”

Thoughts?

Susan Weese

Reference:  Griswold, Alison. (2013). Why ‘Thought Diversity’ is the Future of the Workplace. Retrieved March 20, 2014, from http://www.businessinsider.com/the-future-of-workplace-diversity-is-here-2013-9

Lessons in Leadership from Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos


After the Denver Broncos Super Bowl loss earlier this year, it took me a while to realize that there were some positive lessons to be learned from watching my favorite team lose at the very end of the season.  My husband and I are serious Broncos fans, which means we always watch the whole game from start to finish, win or lose. In this particular game, the team and its quarterback provided a number of lessons on leadership and some things I think will work very well on my projects and with my teams.

Here is my list of leadership lessons learned from the Broncos loss in this year’s Superbowl and Peyton Manning’s behavior, both on and off the field that day.

Lesson 1: Never stop trying.  As the Broncos got further and further behind, the team continued to play their game.  After watching the Broncos play all season, it was painful to watch their offense be ineffective against the Seahawks.  However, the team stayed on the field and in the game right up to the bitter end.  Seems like a good approach to getting your projects completed, too.  Never retreat and never surrender.

Lesson 2: Be gracious, even in defeat. After the game, one of the first things Peyton Manning did was to walk over to Richard Sherman of the Seahawks and ask if he was okay after injuring his ankle and leaving the game.  After a game in which Sherman led the Seattle defense at smothering Manning and the Broncos offense, Manning still sought out Sherman after the game to ask Sherman about his ankle injury. I agree with Sherman about this: “To show that kind of concern for an opponent shows a lot of humility and class.”

Lesson 3: Don’t play the blame game. People are more important than their mistakes.  I will never forget Manny Ramirez, Denver’s center, hiking the ball over Peyton Manning’s head in the Broncos first offensive play of the game. After the safety, cameras showed Manning and Ramirez on the sideline briefly talking. My guess is the conversation was about not doing something like that again.  Sounds like a good example of how to handle issues and problems on your project team – discuss the issue or problem with no finger-pointing or raised voices.

Lesson 4: Mind your manners. I found it funny how the only team captain among the eight to shake the hands of honorary captains Joe Namath and Phil Simms after the coin toss was Peyton Manning. His mother must approve, I know my mother called me and mentioned this very thing after watching the game.  Good manners are never a bad thing, in football or when working on your projects.

Lesson 5: Get over it and move on. Peyton Manning stopped to sign T-shirts and autographs on his way out of MetLife Stadium Sunday night after the loss to Seattle.  Enough said.

I am looking forward to the next football season and hoping to see the Broncos in the Superbowl once again! Stay tuned…

Susan Weese

Project Outsourcing Does Not Equal Simplicity


How’s that project outsourcing working for you? In my experience, entire projects or just some of the project work can be outsourced for a number of reasons.  Sometimes organizations are required to outsource project work due to a lack of resources, lack of skills or a need to reduce costs. Whatever the reason for outsourcing all or part of your project work, project managers need to be prepared for an additional layer of complexity within their project structure once outsourcing takes place.

I grew up working on Information Technology  (IT) projects, and it was no surprise for me to read that IT takes first place in most studies for the percentage of outsourced jobs. According to many of these studies, the most popular destinations for these outsourced jobs these days are in India, China and the Philippines.

Let’s take a look our projects and see where outsourcing might have an impact on our project, our project plan and our internal project team members.  There are three key parts of our project life cycle: the controlled start, middle and end of the project.

Controlled Start. The controlled start to a project includes the pre-project activities where we determine if this is a viable and worthwhile project for the business. A project’s controlled start where we do more detailed planning for both our overall project and the next stage. At the end of initiation, we should have our project scope finalized, our project plan built, and be ready to get to work.  Outsourcing can add some serious tasks here, such as making the decision to outsource work in the first place.  Once the decision is made, we need to get the approval and the funding for the outsourcing that is to take place.  Then it is time to find the right contractor, consultant or consulting firm to work with.  Vendor selection requires negotiating the proposals, bids and resulting contracts.  And don’t forget to clearly define and agree upon the requirements for the scope of work.

Controlled Middle. The controlled middle of a project is where the technical work gets done, one stage or phase at a time. The project manager is using the plan to measure and monitor project performance and to control what is taking place. When we are outsourcing project work, everything we do needs to include the vendors – regular status, informal conversations, checking the health of the project, dealing with stakeholders, forecasting future performance, and dealing with issues and risks.

It can be challenging to rely on an external person or a company to get your project work done.  Outsourcing adds some overhead to the project manager’s day job, including managing the administrative overhead of outsourcing for accounts payable purposes. Someone has to educate the outsourced staff members on our internal project processes, procedures, goals and operational requirements.  It can be a challenge to track project progress without direct authority over the outsourced staff members.  What do you do when you find yourself, the project manager, relying on project team members that may not be “visible” to you or that you have never actually met face-to-face? You may find yourself juggling priorities as you managing your outsourced team, your in-house team and any resulting issues that occur.

Controlled End. A controlled end to a project is when we are wrapping up a job well done. We are taking stock of achievements, reporting on the effort, ensuring objectives and acceptance criteria are met and transitioning the final product of our project into its operational life.  If you are outsourcing work, be sure to plan for knowledge transfer to operationally maintain your project’s solution and deliverables after your outsourced team is gone.

Seems like outsourcing is just like any other tool project managers use for project definition and delivery. As such, outsourcing must be carefully weighed, planned and managed as part of your project to ensure project success.  So, how’s that project outsourcing working for you?

Susan Weese


Learning Tree logo

Project Management Training

Learning Tree offers over 210 IT and Management courses, including Project Management training and Business Analysis training.

Enter your e-mail address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by e-mail.

Join 279 other followers

Follow Learning Tree on Twitter

Archives

Do you need a customized Project Management training solution delivered at your facility?

Last year Learning Tree held nearly 2,500 on-site training events worldwide. To find out more about hosting one at your location, click here for a free consultation.
AnyWare live, online training

*PRINCE2® is a registered trade mark of the Cabinet Office.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 279 other followers

%d bloggers like this: