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A Coordinated Project Manager

A Coordinated Project Manager

“If I become a project manager, then I am responsible for the success of the project, but I am only one person and there is a lot of things to do.”

When I was younger I never said, I want to be a project manager. I doubt very many teachers hear a child mention “project management.” There are the unique few that make the declaration and seek out a career in project management, but that is only after some research or encountering a PM professional.

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A Systems Approach: The Facilitator (11 out of 11)

A Systems Approach: The Facilitator (11 out of 11)

"If we address needed behavior change within Project Management, team performance will improve, but that will increase the required skills of Integrated PMs."

Integrated PM Managers and project sponsors often tell me stories of how, despite their best efforts to help a project team in a difficult situation, the situation gets worse. Each time the facilitator does something to improve things; the situation either deteriorates immediately or temporarily improves before getting even worse.

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Changing the Way We Think: The Facilitator (9 out of 11)

Changing the Way We Think: The Facilitator (9 out of 11)

“If I improve team communication, then the organization will see project performance improvements, but I’m not a behavioral scientist, and don’t know how to improve the teams communication habits.”

Facilitation is difficult work because it is demanding cognitively and emotionally. It is especially difficult when you find yourself in situations you consider potentially embarrassing or psychologically threatening. Research shows that if you are like almost everyone else, in these situations you use a set of core values and think in a way that seeks to unilaterally control the conversation, win the discussion, and minimize expression of negative feelings.

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Clear Roles: The Facilitator (3 out of 11)

Clear Roles: The Facilitator (3 out of 11)

“If I identified my role as a facilitator, then I’d have greater adoption rates 6 months after I left, but my role must be aligned with my objectives and position within the organization.”

To help project teams, you need a clear definition of your facilitator role so that you and the teams you are helping have a common understanding about the kinds of behavior that are consistent and inconsistent with your facilitator role. This has become more difficult in recent years, as organizations now use the word facilitator to indicate many roles. Human resource experts, project sponsors, organization development consultants, trainers, coaches, and even managers have sometimes been renamed "facilitators."

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Core Values: The Facilitator (5 out of 11)

Core Values: The Facilitator (5 out of 11)

“If I participate in the volunteer coaching program, then I can have a richer and more effective experience in the Center of Excellence, but I don’t know what to expect from the facilitator, consultant, and coach.”

Every third-party role is based on a set of assumptions about human behavior. Assumptions include values (things worth striving for) and beliefs (things considered to be true) that typically are accepted as valid without testing. Because assumptions clarify biases, identifying them is important.

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Diagnosis-Intervention: The Facilitator (7 out of 11)

Diagnosis-Intervention: The Facilitator (7 out of 11)

“If I try to facilitate change within our project teams, then we might be able to increase the organization’s project performance, but every time I try, it seems that I become more destructive than if I let things alone.”

The group effectiveness model, the core values, and the ground rules for effective groups that I have written about in previous blog posts are all tools for diagnosing behavior in a project team. But you still need a way to implement these tools. Specifically, you have to know when to intervene, what kind of intervention to make, how to say it, when to say it, and to whom.

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Effective Project Teams: The Facilitator (6 out of 11)

Effective Project Teams: The Facilitator (6 out of 11)

“If I look at the project team as my client, then I can better influence the process of the team, but it is easy to confuse your role as a facilitator or team member.”

Ground Rules for Effective Project Teams

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Effectiveness Model: The Facilitator (2 out of 11)

Effectiveness Model: The Facilitator (2 out of 11)

“If our project sponsor fills the role of ‘Facilitator’, then our team and project will become more effective, but the Sponsor will need to focus on the correct measures, and not micro-manage the project state variables.”

The Group Effectiveness Model

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Facilitating Integrated PM Projects (1 out of 11)

Facilitating Integrated PM Projects (1 out of 11)

“If as a project manager I try to facilitate decisions, then the project team will feel more impowered, but they see me as always biased to my own desired outcome.”

OVERVIEW

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Interviewing Integrated PM Stakeholders

Interviewing Integrated PM Stakeholders

"If we begin thinking in terms of Integrated PM, then we’ll need to manage stakeholders, but there are more specialists who become stakeholders, which can complicate things."

As you know, stakeholders are individuals, groups, or organizations that have a direct interest in the outcome of the project. Your project's success or failure will directly affect the way they complete their work, use their existing technology, or continue to buy from your company. Stakeholders within Integrated PM can include Management, the Project Manager, and the Project team, Project Sponsors, Program Managers, Portfolio Managers, Capacity Planners, Customers, End Users, Specialists, and even a Community.

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Low-level Inferences: The Facilitator (8 out of 11)

Low-level Inferences: The Facilitator (8 out of 11)

"If we use the Integrated PM approach to team facilitation, then we will improve communication and project performance, but we have to reduce high-level reactive speaking and pay more attention to low-level thinking."

As an Integrated PM facilitator, you are constantly trying to make sense of what is happening in a project team. You watch members say and do things and then you make inferences about what their behavior means and how it is either helping or hindering the project's process. An inference is a conclusion you reach about something that is unknown to you, on the basis of what you have observed. For example, if in a meeting you see someone silently folding his arms across his chest, you may infer that he disagrees with what has been said but is not saying so.

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Mentoring New PMs (Part 1 of 8)

Mentoring New PMs (Part 1 of 8)

“If we increase the number of PMs we have, then we can do a better job on more projects, but then we will need to train and mentor our new staff.”

Part 1: Assess and enhance your coaching competence

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Mentoring New PMs (Part 2 of 8)

Mentoring New PMs (Part 2 of 8)

“If I accept the challenge of volunteer mentoring, then I will also grow, but I might not get along with the person I’m supposed to mentor.”

Part 2: Optimize the developer-learner match

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Mentoring New PMs (Part 3 of 8)

Mentoring New PMs (Part 3 of 8)

“If I decide to be a community coach, then I can help others contribute, and we all benefit, but I don’t know how to do it right.”

Part 3: Clarify your coaching role

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Mentoring New PMs (Part 4 of 8)

Mentoring New PMs (Part 4 of 8)

“If I become a community mentor then I will increase the value of the community for everyone, but what commitment am I making?”

Part 4: Select the appropriate coaching methodology:

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Mentoring New PMs (Part 6 of 8)

Mentoring New PMs (Part 6 of 8)

“If I begin coaching, then the learners will be successful in PM, but I may not succeed with some people.”

Part 6: Asses the learner’s level and range of self-mastery, then use level-appropriate coaching approaches

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Mentoring New PMs (Part 7 of 8)

Mentoring New PMs (Part 7 of 8)

“If I want to coach other PMs, then we can have a more competitive organization, but I will have to deal with difficult personalities.”

Part 7: Use coaching techniques that challenge growth

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Mentoring New PMs (Part 8 of 8)

Mentoring New PMs (Part 8 of 8)

“If I help other PMs, then they will expect me to continue, but how do I sustain a coaching effort?”

Part 8: Accelerate and sustain the learner’s transformation

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PM Sponsorship: The Facilitator (10 out of 11)

PM Sponsorship: The Facilitator (10 out of 11)

"If we use additional resources, then we can increase our productivity rates, and quality, to a point, but additional resources can be problematic."

Internal Facilitation such as the kind the project manager should perform, or External Facilitation such as the kind the project sponsor should perform, involves developing a relationship with a the project team a psychological contract in which the team gives you permission to help them because they consider you an expert and trustworthy facilitator. Building this relationship is critical because it is the foundation on which you use your facilitator's knowledge and skills; without the foundation, you lose the essential connection with the project team that makes your facilitation possible and powerful. To build this relationship, you need a clear understanding and agreement with the team about your role as facilitator and about how you will work with the team to help it accomplish its objectives. I have found that many of the facilitation problems my colleagues and I face stemmed from lack of agreement with the project team about how to work together.

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Range of Roles: The Facilitator (4 out of 11)

Range of Roles: The Facilitator (4 out of 11)

“If I chose to use a facilitator, then I could become more effective, but many times I’m a member of the team using the facilitator.”

A facilitator can be useful in a range of roles within an organization and within the Center of Excellence. It's important to understand the different roles, learn to perform in each of the roles, and then select the right role given the circumstance. There are 4 common Facilitator Roles: the Consultative/Mentor Role, the Coach Role, the Trainer Role, and the Leader Role.

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