Current State of Resource Management in Corporate America

Resource Management Survey

Resource Management is one of the key areas to successful project management and yet most organizations seem to put little process or technology to work in this area.  I am delighted to tell you about a UT student who is doing an internship and conducting a (what I consider to be groundbreaking) study on Resource Management in Corporate America.

Please take a few minutes to participate in her survey!!!

 

Subject: Project Resource Management Survey — Request for Participation

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am a senior at the University of Texas at Austin, and am currently interning with Cognitive Technologies. I am conducting sponsored research in a relatively unstudied field: project resource management. I have worked with project management experts to create a short survey to collect data on the resource management tools and processes organizations currently utilize and to explore resource management challenges organizations face.

I believe the analysis of the data will reveal a strong correlation between organizational and project success and the level of resource management employed. I also will observe how management practices vary by organization size, type, and industry. Finally, I will sort the data by the title of the respondent to analyze any gaps that may exist between the beliefs and expectations of project managers and upper-level executives.

To ensure this much needed research is viable, I will need a large response pool. I am asking for your help in this area. Would you please distribute the link to our survey to your collegues? Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide.

Thank you,

  Hook ’em Horns!

  Kathryn Jackson, Senior,

 The University of Texas


Take the Project Resource Management Survey. Respondents receive free digital copy of findings report for completing survey.

Take the survey now: http://cognitive-technologies.com/rmsurvey

This is a survey to determine the impact project resource management has on the overall success of projects. It should take less than 10 minutes to complete. The survey contains:

  • Basic profile questions about your organization, so that we can determine how practices vary by organization size, type (i.e. public, private, etc.), industry, and how beliefs vary by the title of the respondent.
  • Questions to assess the usage of resource management tools and processes and the existence of any challenges across organizations.

To thank you for your participation, the survey sponsor, Cognitive Technologies, will provide you with a complimentary digital copy of the final findings report.

Take the survey at: http://cognitive-technologies.com/rmsurvey

Kathryn Jackson, Senior, The University of Texas

 

Project manager – having difficult conversations

Whether it’s an underperforming developer, a lazy team member, some type of inappropriate behavior, or a prima donna on the team that makes everyone angry, there are times in every project manager’s life when he or she must have a difficult conversation with employee team member. These conversations are always difficult because you will be saying something that the other person doesn’t want to hear. You will be asking the employee to change his or her behavior which is not something people are often motivated to do.

First things first
Ask yourself: What makes you think there is a problem that requires having that difficult conversation? Are deadlines being missed? Is the work suffering? Are there angry words or emails being exchanged? Has someone complained? Have you seen a problem or heard about it through the grapevine? Are you constantly putting out fires that seem to circle around this employee? Make notes. Be specific.

  • What happened
  • When
  • How often
  • Who was involved
  • What was the impact

Next decide whose problem it is. Some problems must be addressed at the organization level, even though you are responsible for initiating the action. These problems include violation of laws or corporate policies. Beyond that, problems that impact your team and meeting your goals are in your bailiwick and require that you have the difficult conversation.

Prepare for the meeting
Schedule a meeting location that offers privacy. Depending on the problem to be discussed, you may want to stage the meeting in a way that is somewhat informal—no barriers like a desk between you. Check your notes and be prepared to provide your employee with specific information not generalities.  Decide what would be a good or ideal outcome so you can work toward that goal.

Be aware of your attitude and assumptions and how they will be perceived.

Once you are prepared—you have defined the characteristics of the problem, assured yourself it is a problem, know what behaviors you want changed—then get on with it. Invite the employee to a meeting as soon as possible.

Having the difficult conversation
Begin by presenting the situation in a non-threatening manner. “Joe, I believe that there are issues that are negatively affecting our team’s performance.”; “Mary, I would like your help in solving a problem on the team.” Do not make the initial statements in a way that implies blame, but rather describe a problem that needs to be solved. Present your perception of the issue and then ask for feedback.

Listen. The initial part of the conversation is about discovery. Does the employee perceive the problem the same way that others do? Do they believe that their behavior is contributing to it? For example, was Mary’s intention to be helpful, but the perception was that she was pushy and interfering? Was Joe failing to get his tasks done because he was preoccupied with his sick wife, or did he not know the tool he was supposed to be proficient in using, or did he think his assigned task was beneath his abilities?

Stay focused on the desired outcome—do not get embroiled in a debate or become defensive

Give feedback on what you heard
Your employee will be more receptive to solving the problem when they believe that you understand their point of view. Paraphrase what they said and ask for confirmation. Keep in mind that you are not agreeing with them or their perceptions, you are clarifying their stated position and indicating that you listened to them.

Be careful not to take their comments personally

Now it is your turn
State the problem in terms of effects using the information gathered in step 1—first things first. Specify how you want behaviors to change and how you will measure that change. Make the consequences of failure to change crystal clear. Be prepared for resistance, anger, defensiveness, or finger-pointing. However, do not get sucked into these emotional and self protective responses. Do not get distracted from where you want the meeting to conclude. A couple other do’s and don’ts:

  • Do not make broad generalizations about behaviors or intentions
  • Do not make accusations
  • If there are multiple issues, deal with one at a time
  • Let the employee know you really want this problem to be solved
  • Be prepared to listen to alternatives as long as they address solving the problem
  • At the conclusion of the meeting, summarize the expected behavior changes
  • Schedule a follow up meeting, if appropriate

So this post isn’t up beat and talking about some great new way to do project management better – it is just about how dealing with people is the MOST important thing you have to do!

Your thoughts??

 

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