Your Biggest Project Challenges

Deasún Ó Conchúir in the Berner Oberland, to ask a very simple question: “What are your biggest project challenges?”

It is by understanding the issues well that we come to the best solutions and by pooling ideas we have an even better chance of good solutions.

For this reason we are running a mailing in parallel with this video to find out among our readers what their biggest issues are and I would appreciate your feedback.

Thanks very much.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

Why is project governance important?

Hello, I am Klas Skogmar from Sweden. I work as a methodology specialist and help organizations to improve the way they work with project, program and portfolio management.

I also hold seminars and teach courses in these areas and I’m here to talk a little bit about governance.

Project governance is something that restricts management; it limits how managers can manage things. Governance can be things like:
-policies
-processes
-roles are responsibilities,

but it can also be softer things like culture, as that also restricts how a manager can manage in an organization.

It’s very, very important to understand how projects are being governed in an organization and how we can use governance to govern the organization, because that is one of the most important ways you can influence management in the organization.

If you’re not going to influence the management in the organization with governance, you need to manage everything yourself. So if you want to write a policy, you can ensure that people behave in a certain way without directly managing everything in detail.

So that’s why governance is so important and that’s the basic description of what governance is.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

Everyone has to do everything in virtual teams

“Everyone has to do everything in virtual teams” – a short video from Scatterwork.com.

Here is a project scenario: the team do all the technical work they have been assigned,they ask for the constraints and requirements and then they focus on the work. In the same scenario, the project manager specifies the technical work and delegates it to the team and manages the external communications, for example with stakeholders, and watches for issues and interacts if something seems to be going wrong. But this can be a particular problem for a Virtual Team.

If for example the work was not specified or understood correctly and the other person is not nearby, this may not be noticed. Or the project manager is not aware of some issue at another location; they ask for work which, for some reason, genuinely can’t be done.Or maybe the project manager cannot act due to overload or illness, and nobody notices because they’re not in the same place.

So what is a good solution?

Simply stated, “everyone has to do everything in virtual teams” but maybe we could fine-tune that and say “everyone needs to take joint responsibility in virtual teams” for watching the deliverable of the entire team or maybe we could fine-tune that again and say that “The individuals within the team need to take joint responsibility, much more than they would in a co-located team”.

If this does not happen and something goes wrong, nobody from another site notices and then the project suffers. So if you have any project issues you would like to discuss, please connect with me through LinkedIn or any of the other methods.

Thank you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

How to keep everyone on the same page

‘How to keep everyone on the same page’ a short video from scatterwork.com. In team work commitments matter, colleagues undertake work expected that the others will also deliver and of course this principle applies to life in general not just a business.

So commitments are important and we share them by a combination of person-to-person communication and keeping the commitment visible. So to keep it visible or to keep everyone on the same page, we publish the team commitments in a format that is easy to read, easy to find and easy to review.

If we do this we can keep their commitments in front of people’s eyes but if the commitment is deep inside some document after several clicks it will never be rates and of course we give praise friend praises due to people who meet their commitments and we do that in public.

So to discuss your project issues please contact with me over LinkedIn or any of the other methods.

Thank you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Online Training for Project Management & Team Building.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

Do I have to join yet another team meeting?

“Do I have to join yet another team meeting?” A short video from scatterwork.com.

Why do we have meetings? Because it is a good way of working for things like Problem Solving, Team Building and Completeness. But what do I mean by Completeness?

I mean making sure that nothing has been overlooked. It is very easy not to see the detail when we are deep in some issue or problem and the best solution is to involve others who will immediately spot what you overlooked. So this can be helped by Creative Thinking, Open Communication and Checklists, for example.

So we can get everybody’s contribution by scheduling regular team meetings to brief each other on ideas and progress, to get insights from different viewpoints and to check for completeness and to avoid rework. If a colleague identifies something that we forgot and it might save us weeks of work, then we should be very thankful that we got their inputs.

So if you want to discuss your project issues please connect with me through LinkedIn or any of the other methods, thank you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

How to Develop a Communications Charter

Why have a communications charter at all? The answer is that the scope for misunderstanding in virtual teams is large, unless communication norms are explicitly stated and agreed. This is because there is such a variety of backgrounds within a team.

So how do we do it? We set up a shared document (wiki) so that everyone can enter their constraints: I need this; I can’t talk at that time; I prefer to talk by telephone and so on, then hold a teleconference using the wiki to identify the main types of communication: reporting, problem-solving, complaining, idea sharing and so forth.

And then for each category of communication, work out the rules as bullet points.

Then pool the results, adjust them according to feedback and publish them to the written communications charter for the team.

Here is an example: “Guidelines for resolving misunderstandings”:

If possible, talk instead of writing; do not allow annoyance to build up; contact the partner by a short short message simply asking for a call. Say what you feel and the impact on you. And then ask for suggestions that would help avoid what you find difficult, and summarize your results in a note to both parties.

To discuss your project issues, please connect with me either through LinkedIn or any of the other methods. Thanks very much.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

Can virtual teams do agile project management?

“Can virtual teams do agile project management?” This is a short video from scatterwork.com.

Let’s remind ourselves what agile project management is, using this description from MindTools: It’s built around a flexible approach; team members work in short bursts on small but functioning releases and then they test the releases against the customer needs, instead of aiming at some big deliverable right at the end of the project.

Our question is: “For virtual teams, what does this mean?”.

One of the requirements is team cohesion and one of the ways we can help this is to capitalize on face-to-face visits when the occasion arises. For example, a customer visit may bring people together, where a visit just for the sake of meeting may not be justifiable.

Another requirement of agile project management is trust and in the virtual team environment this can be helped by sponsors showing trust by visiting the team. This requires much less travel than if the entire team moves around it sends a message: look guys – you are important; we think so because we are taking the time out to visit you.

Another of the many requirements is informal communication: agile project management requires a lot of come and go of information and sometimes this is informal, but then we supplement it with documentation,particularly when we have a virtual team.

We capitalize, we summarize the status that was arrived at in one location so everybody gets the message. One of the ways of making sure this happens is to have visible process data, so instead of the various flip chart type presentations that are familiar in the agile environment, we need some sort of application that gives the same information but is accessible, usually through a browser.

So if you want to discuss these or other project issues, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to talking to you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Online Training for Project Management & Team Building.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

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Do you know how to communicate effectively?

Do scheduled meetings support effective communication, particularly of teams that are distributed globally? I would say “No, not all the time”. The key issue here is the word “scheduled”. One of the things that we can do is watch the presence indicator – these little green lights for example you get on a lot of applications to tell you if the other person’s machine is online.

Maybe they are not online but at least it looks as though they are at their desk and able to communicate. If they are, that is a good time to call. In different time zones it can be much easier to notice that somebody comes online and then just call them there and then. And the second tip is to use a cloud-based collaboration service which has video in it,because then you are all using the same system and you can click on a person’s name; it goes straight through; you can talk to them immediately.

So the conclusion is that the word “scheduled” is maybe over-used and in this type of environment, it may be better to look for opportunities to talk when the other person is obviously online. So if you want to discuss this or any of your own project issues, please connect with me.

I look forward to talking to you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

Make your working hours work for you

“Make your working hours work for you” – a short video from scatterwork.com.

The challenge is what to do if you have different working hours in different places. A simple way of addressing this is to adjust working hours. Either one side works late or the other side works early. In extreme cases people shift their entire living pattern for a few weeks to work on a project where the center of activity is somewhere else.

Long term that’s not easy to do so the suggestion is that we should learn from hospitals because they also have this situation. The nurses are there during the night, then they go away early in the morning and they hand over to their colleagues.

So how do they do it? They hand over the work with a handshake process and they document the status at the close of work.

These are two very simple steps which means that the people who are coming on are sure to pick up in the right place. So if you want to discuss this or any other project issues, please contact me through LinkedIn or any of the other methods.

Thank you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

Overlap time costs money

“Overlap time costs money” – a short video from scatterwork.com.

To give an example: When can we meet for a call? We have participants in New York, London and Sydney.

One combination is, 7 a.m. in New York (somebody gets out of bed a bit early), midday in London, 11 p.m. in Sydney (somebody goes to bed very late).

Here’s another combination; 5 p.m. in New York is OK, 10 p.m. in London – that’s a bit late, but Sydney is OK.

So our conclusion is that overlap time is very limited and it costs money, particularly if the people involved have to be paid overtime or there are additional costs for communication. So here are some strategies for dealing with this.

1. One strategy is to share documents before a meeting. Don’t waste meeting time just to say “I’ll send you this”.

Share access to databases and documents for the same reasons. If you make edits, comment them in the document so that the discussion can take place in writing and then it can be asynchronous; in other words you can make the comment when you see it, without needing overlap time to talk.

2. Partition the work so that you don’t need so much communication. If each work package is done in a particular place, then the communication within that work package is local and the actual amount of communication can be reduced.

3. Make the communication easier using a cloud-based collaboration service with workrooms (we use Podio). This is much easier than using email because the messages come in and they are tagged onto the particular deliverable or task.

With emails you have to always ask what they relate to and connect them back, so that’s a big tip.

To discuss any of these issues or indeed your own projects please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or any of the other methods.

I look forward to talking to you.
Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.