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Advice on Professional Development- Part 2

June 2017- From PMO Experts Neal Whitten, PMP and Lisa DiTullio, PMP

Neal Whitten and Lisa DiTullio recently hosted a “Let’s Talk” discussion for Apex employees to voice their questions related to topics ranging from handling conflict in the workplace to current trends in the project management space. This week, we’ll feature the questions they received and their responses.

Neal is a popular speaker, trainer, consultant, mentor and best-selling author in the areas of leadership and soft skills, project management, team building and employee development. He has more than 35 years of front-line leadership, project management and human resource experience.

Lisa is a Principal of Your Project Office, a PMI REP and consulting firm. Her group offers training programs and services around project management, leadership, and team-building. Lisa is also a well-known author, trainer, and PMI SeminarsWorld and Congress Speaker.

Topic 1: Stakeholder Engagement

How can projects be successful without stakeholder accountability?

Neal: The term “stakeholder” covers all players related to a project from team members to senior stakeholders. I assert that a project cannot be successful without stakeholder accountability. If accountability is weak, the burden is on the project manager to ensure acceptable accountability is in play—no matter where the problem lies.

Topic 2: Vendor Management

What are your expectations with third party Vendors or VMS partners?

Lisa: I expect them to be treated the same as all stakeholders in terms of planning, accountability, and oversight. Many projects suffer with poor vendor performance because the vendors are not held accountable with the same acuity as onsite project members. All stakeholders should be held to the same level of accountability whether they are company employees, contractors, vendors, client employees, etc.

What are some best practices for capitalizing on vendor partnerships?

Lisa: Always incorporate incentives and penalties. Money is the key motivator. Bear in mind that you may be competing for their time and attention from other clients they serve. Also, as I said earlier, treat them the same as other stakeholders in terms of planning, accountability and oversight. Lastly, include expectations in the contract. If you don’t say it in the contract, it likely will not happen.

Topic 3: Project vs. Operational Activities

How do you handle when Executive/s want you to track operational activities as a part of the project?

Neal: First of all, because we all can read an org chart, you do what you need to do. However, if tracking operational activities in any way will harm the success of the project then you need to speak up and say so as well as propose alternatives. But I don’t have a problem if you and your team do double duty of operational activities and project activities as long as the project commitments are not being harmed.

Topic 4: Communities

Other than the Project Management Institute, are their local groups / blogs for Project coordinators/managers?

Lisa: Local PMI chapters are a great project management resource for acquiring PDUs, training, networking, mentoring and speaking opportunities.

As far as the internet, I am always astounded at the free information and advice that is readily available to anyone in the form of articles, blogs and other services. For example, LinkedIn has dozens of groups such as:

  • Project Management Central – Best Networking Group for PMs
  • Project Management Community – Best Group for Project Management
  • Leadership in Project Management

To view the free recording of Neal and Lisa’s talk, click here. Stay tuned for more tips here later this week!

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