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Project Assistants

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Best Practices for Staffing Project Leaders: Setting Requirements

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In this series, we provide detailed coverage of each of the steps in the staffing process.

This post will cover Communicate process and define requirements.

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How to Do Project Management Staffing Right

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As the economy recovers, capital spend is returning to perform more projects, increasing the demand for qualified project resources.  Unfortunately, leadership for these new projects and programs cannot always come from within.  The organization may be unable to secure long-term funding for full-time employees and so have to seek out contract work, or the internal staff might simply not have the necessary skills or experience available for critical roles.

When seeking outside talent, a myriad of common challenges arise, including unrealistic timelines, unclear requirements, and process gaps between the organization and its staffing partner.  But far and away the biggest challenge when staffing project managers is an overemphasis on technical skills for a leadership position. (more…)

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A Project Leader Isn’t a Gallon of Milk: How a Commodity Approach to Staffing Costs Organizations Time, Money and Morale

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Far too many organizations treat staffing project leaders like they treat grocery shopping. So long as a staffing company is providing them with a bevy of resumes with competitive prices and a good return policy, many organizations are content to shop there.

The problem is that, unlike with a gallon of milk, quality varies when shopping for project managers, and choosing the wrong product costs an organization’s time, dollars, morale, and efficiency. The impact of a poor hire is multiplied when it occurs at such a crucial position as a project manager.

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View from the Top: How Harmony Solves Organizational Enigmas

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Project Assistants CEO Gus Cicala will write semi-monthly contributions for the blog that provide his view of what is going on in the world of project management and what it might mean for your organization.

Two of the most frequently quoted business aphorisms are seemingly at odds with each other. Steven Covey prioritizes strategy with his famous quote, “Begin with the end in mind.” But that seems to contradict the saying, “A mediocre strategy well executed is better than a great strategy poorly executed,” which has all-but been business’ battle cry of the century. So which is it? (more…)

Posted in General Project Management, Project Leadership, Project Portfolio Management, Theory, View from the Top | Tagged , , , , , , ,

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Project Assistants Announces New Executive Leadership Workshop

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Strategy, Portfolio Management and Project Delivery are like the gears of your organization, engaging with each other to drive the organization’s vision. Leading Project Leaders is a new executive program that works with your organization to hone the soft skills necessary to achieve this harmony that ensures realization of projects’ intended benefits. (more…)

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Project Assistants CEO Selected As Keynote Speaker for ProjectSummit

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We are thrilled to announce that Project Assistants President and CEO, Gus Cicala, will be the keynote speaker for the Day Two of ProjectSummit Boston. The conference runs from October 20-23, 2014, with Gus set to speak on October 21st.

This honor is the latest in a long series of acclaim Gus has received for his topic “Leadership Is Taken, Not Given.” (more…)

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Leadership Is Taken, Not Given – Part 3: Execution and Closeout

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In our last post, we introduced the concept of Defining Moments for projects and their leaders. Unlike in life, they are predictable–they arise at certain points, or “hotspots,” of projects.

We’ve already covered the hotspots pertaining to planning, but as the ancient saying goes, “A mediocre strategy well executed is better than a great strategy poorly executed.” As such, this post will demonstrate effective leadership during the Execution and Closeout phases of a project. (more…)

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Leadership Is Taken, Not Given – Part 2: Defining Moments for Projects

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In life, there are moments that define people. As we discussed in Part 1, Al Haig’s defining moment was when he took the podium and said, “I am in control here.” When one hears the name Al Haig, they think of that event and frame their evaluation of him as Secretary of State around it.

As project managers, we have defining moments, too. Fortunately, though, projects differ from life in that there are predictable points where these defining moments will arise. If we prepare for the four hotspots appropriately, we can avoid many of the pitfalls and lead our projects to success.

This week, we will cover the defining moments on the planning side. Next week, we will cover the defining moments on the execution side. (more…)

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Leadership Is Taken, Not Given – Part 1: Doing the Al Haig Thing

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Project managers face a paradox. The ultimate responsibility of project success falls on us, so clearly we are the leaders. Yet, the matrix structure of organizations leaves us with very little tangible power—we can’t lead through traditional leverage (eg: hiring and firing) and, since we’re not in direct, day-to-day interaction with the project, we can’t even lead by example.

As easy as it is to get caught up in the hard skills that directly relate to our job description—making project documents, setting schedules, using project management technology, etc—this isn’t what separates the effective from the ineffective. (more…)

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The #1 Advice from the Top 25 Project Managers

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What if 25 of the leading project managers were to come together and share their best piece of advice for success in project management? That is the premise of the newly-released The Keys to Our Success, for which Project Assistants President and CEO, Gus Cicala, is a contributing author.

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