All Shapes and Sizes

January 16, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Project management, Teamwork 

I spent a few years facilitating an award winning PM Certificate program in Vancouver, up to about a year ago. One of the things that astounded me in that program (and I’m sure the scenario plays out elsewhere as well) is that on the first day, most of the students were looking for a standard set of templates and a recipe for project success.

I guess I astounded them right back when I said “Nope, sorry”. Here’s my reasoning. Read more

An Outside Perspective

January 27, 2011 by · Comments Off on An Outside Perspective
Filed under: Leadership, Teamwork 

In a consulting role for the past 12 years, I’ve worked with organizations from an outside perspective. Whether mentoring project teams in an academic environment, performing due diligence for a venture capital firm, or facilitating key team discussions, the value that I bring from the outside is something that is difficult to replace. Here’s my view on the synergy produced by this relationship. Read more

Reductio ad Absurdum

January 24, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Process, Quality, Teamwork 

I got a note recently from someone halfway across the world, asking about a detail in my white paper about quantifying the quality requirements of a system. The query me ponder for a moment before I came up with a reasonable response, but I think it highlighted something that applies in a broader sense as well. Read more

Working the Fundamentals

October 15, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People, Teamwork 

With all the time we have watching our kids in their activities this fall, a pattern begins to emerge. All of these activities involve practice and drills intended to improve proficiency in fundamentals of each activity: dribbling and passing in soccer and basketball, scales and chord progressions in guitar, footwork drills and off-ice practice in figure skating. While the kids generally loathe this portion of their activities, there’s a good reason for this: they are working the fundamentals. Read more

Expertise vs. Teamwork

September 22, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: People, Project management, Teamwork 

We were working through a project management workshop that I have blogged about in the past, where we have a fun blend of theory and practice centred around a brief construction project. With more than enough resources to go around, we decided to try to design an experiment for the last round that might help answer the question of which is more valuable: expertise or teamwork? Read more

Come Together

July 5, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: People, Teamwork 

Conflict in a team setting is one of the natural hazards of the workplace. Unless you are on a project with no schedule pressure, and no technical challenges, and a single obvious way to get the job done, there will be some form of conflict (if you do happen to work on that sort of project, then you’re probably going to have to deal with the challenge of keeping yourself awake). Different perspectives of how to get the work done are healthy, but when we get into situations where it gets personal, trouble is brewing. Listening to how we express our frustrations with someone else on the team can be quite revealing. Read more

Leveraging the Frog in the Pot

July 1, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, Process, Quality, Teamwork 

Everyone has heard of that metaphor of a frog in a pot of water: put the little guy in hot water and he’ll jump right out, heat the water gradually and he’ll just hang out there. The gradual changes are too subtle for him to perceive them and do anything about it. This explains why a lot of team environments are the way they are, and might even give us an idea about what we can do about it. Read more

Pushing Too Hard

May 24, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: People, Quality, Teamwork 

We often make commitments to get things done within a given timeframe. Whether the time constraint was handed to you or you chose it is moot, as long as you have agreed to the commitment. If that time commitment is firm, and you find that it is not looking possible at some point, strange things start to happen. Read more

Spotting Potential Conflict

May 4, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: People, Teamwork 

With almost any team endeavour, whether it is called a project or not, there will be ample opportunities for stresses to creep in, for decisions to be made that don’t make everyone happy, for things to not go according to plan. Just as with any stresses, if left unchecked there is a really good chance that matters will only get worse. Everyone on the team needs to be able to spot when something is not quite right, and deal with the issue at first opportunity. Read more

From Telling to Asking

April 30, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People, Project management, Teamwork 

There are a number of flavours of project management workshops I’m involved with these days, online and face to face, running the whole show or facilitating with wider participation. One thing that they all have in common is that many of the issues have to do with team dynamics, and the many ways in which this manifests itself. Here’s another example. Read more

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  • What’s Happening

  • On The Road Again

    Jim frequently travels across Western Canada for engagements, and welcomes opportunities to meet, run a workshop, Diagnostic or Lunch and Learn session.


    Contact Jim if you would like to connect around any of the upcoming dates:

    • Blissfully at home in Vancouver, BC over the summer!
  • What People are Saying

    We found the diagnostic very effective in providing a way for our teams to express their views on areas that we need to improve. At the same time, seeing where we were doing relatively well offered some great perspective and encouragement.

    — Michael Nienhuis, VP Operations, Class Software Solutions Ltd.