Why Performance Reviews Often Fail and What We Can Do Differently

I would guess that approximately 90% of performance reviews are a complete waste of time. They are based on misguided metrics and establish goals that are often not revisited or are unattainable. In my own personal experience, I have found just that. So what can be done to remedy this?

The text provides us with several options for how to complete reviews while a project is going on and once it is complete. The first suggestion which we can all apply to performance reviews throughout our careers, is to first ask the subordinate to review their own performance. This is a great way to establish a baseline and also allows the reviewer to gain insight into the reviewees perspective of the project.

Another performance review best practice, which I found to be the most practical and applicable, is the 360 review. This involves soliciting feedback from several colleagues who have touched all facets of the employees responsibility and witnessed their strengths and weaknesses across the board. Even with this tactic though, there can be outliers or skewed reviews due to conflict unbeknownst to the superior or internal competition for upward mobility.

Taking this all into account, as well as what we have learned in this course, I have come to the conclusion that performance reviews should be seen as an opportunity to grow professionally, improve team dynamics, and learn from constructive criticism. For the time being, they are simply a required procedural measure but I hope to be able to change that some day.

A Correlation

https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/keeping-tabs-on-projects.php

After completing my project management course at DePaul, the dots began to connect. The course has created a well round view of what goes into managing a project. The various tools, skills, and resources necessary to being a successful project manager. From estimating project cost and timelines, managing risk, to scheduling resources and cost, this course has taken me from an unclear idea of what project management is to a more refine idea of what a project manager does. The experiences I have encountered while working on our group project and the individual interview helped immensely define and illustrate the responsibilities of a project manager.

Furthermore, after reading the article “Keeping Tabs on Projects,” I have drawn similarities to my experience in the group project and to Kevin Wood’s experiences (the person I interviewed) as a project manager. Projects have a lot of moving parts as I have discovered in our teams experience. I would imagine at a company, one might even have multiple projects going on simultaneously. To successfully run a project, being able to keep tabs on every aspect of the project is vital. In my experience with my group we did this extensively through emails, meetings, formal reports for class, and informal conversations over the phone/texting. In the interview with Kevin, this was one of the topics we discussed in-depth. He mentioned some days he only spends reporting on various aspects of his project, whether its to his supervisor or his client.

“Keeping Tabs on Projects” discusses implementing a systematic way to keep tabs on everything without having to dig through emails and notepads. My group did this by creating a workflow chart. Its important to keep upper management informed along the way. By doing so, it can make the project easier with them as far as support and proper resource implementation.

In the article it discusses that in the beginning of the project its important to identify the roles every player will be responsible for. By identifying those individuals and what roles they each will play, the project manager will understand what information they will need for further execution. By keeping tabs on the individual deliverables, it allows the project manager and the group to help identify problems and potential roadblocks. In my groups experience, I was responsible for finding potential locations for our event. By getting the appropriate information to my group early on, we were able to make a sound decision on where our event would best benefit our cause.

 

DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BECOME A GREAT PROJECT MANAGER?

DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BECOME A GREAT PROJECT MANAGER?

Going through my first project management class I have observed what skills are needed are need to be a great project manager. This class has created a snapshot from practice that has led to a wonderful experience in the field. Experience is everything and is the greatest teacher I believe. This class was organized to help students understand the competitive positions of an organization, develop the ability to understand and formulate solutions.

As stated from an article that was published in PM Network magazine some things have not changed, of course. I still contend that common threads are woven into the personalities of successful project managers:

  • Love of their work … and embracing the challenges
  • Clear vision … and communicating this vision
  • Strong team building skills … and setting positive tones
  • Structure and alignment … creating the environment and direction
  • Strong interpersonal skills … listening to and leading their teams
  • Discipline … completing each phase of the project properly
  • Communication skills…knowing when and to whom to communicate
  • These threads go by various nomenclatures — “enthusiastic, optimistic, self-controlled, direct, team builders,” but the fabric is the same.

 

My top four personalities to become a great project manager are….

1. Show their worth

“Project management is a science and not just a practice. Best in class’ project managers lead companies to exceptional performance, they benchmark their processes through various means.

  1. Understand business strategy

You can’t live forever in your project management bubble. Project managers must be able to see how their projects fit into their organizational strategy.

  1. Overcome hurdles

Companies continue to look for project managers who can meet timelines and stick to budgets – even when not everything goes to plan, flexibility is key as a project manager. Listening to clients and outperforming their expectations is the goal!

  1. Improve team performance

The growing importance of “lean teams” is increasing demand for project managers who can help optimize accomplishments.

Companies continue to look for project managers who can deliver results on time and on budget. But today’s business environment demands more. Show hiring managers you outperform other project managers, and you have a great shot at making a lasting impression.

http://www.pmsolutions.com/resources/view/what-makes-a-good-project-manager1/

By Kenneth White

 

 

 

Who’s Bertha and how hindsight is 50/50

After taking our Project Management class, I have been fascinated about how organizations manage risks, and how project managers put together a risk management plan.  There is one project that is on-going in the city of Seattle. The project is replacing a double decker highway or better known as the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The viaduct, as it’s commonly known, is a road system that sits on top of each other and runs a long Elliott Bay about the roadway, Alaskan Way. The risk of having this roadway is similar to the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 in Northern California, where multiple roadway infrastructures were destroyed. The San Francisco Bay Area had a similar viaduct, called the Cypress Viaduct, and it ran along the Bay Shore in Oakland.  This viaduct tragically tumbled down during the earthquake killing 42 people.  I was 5 years old at the time, and I vividly remember when the earthquake occurred, as multiple buildings and infrastructure were destroyed (the Bay Bridge even lost part of his bridge). The earthquake was famous because it occurred during the World Series, when the Giants and A’s played each other, known as the Battle of the Bay. Seattle is in a similar position, as geologists have been theorizing that the area is long overdue for a massive earthquake.

Washington state and the city of Seattle have addressed this risk, and knew that the viaduct needed to be retrofitted or replaced with a tunnel.  Residents were asked to vote on a measure on either saving the viaduct or boring a tunnel to replace the infrastructure.  I voted on the measure, as I remember the tragedy in the Bay Area, and I asked for the city to build a tunnel.  The measure passed in favor of the tunnel, and the project started in late 2012. However, the project has been delayed due to the boring process, where the machine called Bertha suddenly stopped mid-way through the project. It has been 2 years since this delay, and I can’t help but think that they did not accurately account for Bertha stopping. Let’s quickly recap the risk management steps, and what steps might have been missed with the Alaskan Way Viaduct project.

Risk Management steps:

  1. Risk identification – the process of listing out the possible scenarios of a risk occurring, including brainstorming, problem identification, and risk profiling. A common mistake is focusing on the objective (completing the tunnel), and not the events that could produce the consequences (Bertha stopping). In addition to identifying the risk, the organization needs to understand their Risk Breakdown Structure, split into four parts; technical, organizational, external, and project management. Bertha fits squarely into the technical breakdown, specifically under performances and reliability.
  2. Risk Assessment – this is broken down into 2 categories; probability and impact. Organizations generally utilize a semi-quantitative scale, and the likelihood on a numerical scale, 1-5, where 5 is very likely of occurring. For the Alaskan Way Viaduct, I assume that Bertha had a likelihood of breaking down, but the probability of breaking down was unforeseen, and the project management team might have given Bertha a score 1-3, while a 4-5 might have prevented the long delay.
  3. Risk Response Development – this has four components, and includes: mitigating risk, avoiding risk, transferring risk, and retaining risk. Mitigating risk would include how to avoid Bertha breaking down or how to reduce the impact of failure. However, Bertha broke down due to being overheated, and experienced mechanical failures. Mitigating risk also includes reducing the impact. In this case, the project management team did not anticipate a mechanical failure, and thus not being able to mitigate their risk. Lastly, retaining risk includes that the project management team makes a conscious decision to accept the risk. This seems unlikely as Bertha’s failure has cost the project more than 1.1 billion dollars.
  4. Risk Response Control – this includes risk control and establishing a change management system. Risk control includes execution of the risk response strategy, monitoring triggering events, initiating contingency plans, and watching for new risks. For change management, this includes monitoring, tracking and reporting risk, foresting an open organization environment, repeating risk identification exercise, and assigning responsibility for managing risk. For the Viaduct project, the contingency plan was to fix Bertha, which took 1 year to fix.

As we can see, the Alaskan Way Viaduct has experienced a major setback, and might have been prevented with a better risk management plan. Do you think this project was too big of an endeavor to complete? What else should have the construction firm have done to prevent Bertha on breaking down? I believe that Bertha should have been tested before starting the project, which could have mitigated the risk of failure.  Hindsight is always 50/50.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/17/us-usa-seattle-tunnel-idUSKCN0PR2GW20150717#PMM4oPLPYAlM4yiB.97

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2987391/Construction-workers-prepare-lift-world-s-biggest-tunnel-boring-machine-streets-Seattle-repaired.html

 

Cypress Viaduct:

Cypress Viaduct

Image of Bertha:

 

 

Bertha

Eighty for 365 for FMSC

Eighty for 365 for

FMSC

FMSC Bowling

Description of the Project and the Charity
Our project for the Project Management 598 class was to create, plan and execute a strategy to support a charity of our choosing. We chose to support a charity called Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), which is an Illinois based nonprofit (founded 1987) which seeks to conquer malnutrition in poor communities. They are 100% donor funded! Volunteers package nutrient dense meals comprised of rice, soy, vitamins, minerals, and dehydrated vegetables which will be distributed worldwide to needy people. Each meal costs only 22 cents with 92 cents of every dollar going straight into the purchase and production. These meals are sent across the globe to over 70 countries (see map below), for children as well as adults. Many people are not aware of the spread of malnutrition in modern day. According to statistics from their website, a startling 6,200 children die from starvation every day.
We hosted two micro events and one final service event, as well as well as developed active social media (awareness) and personalized website for fundraising campaigns. The micro events were organized to raise awareness and raise funds while Online media and personalized websites were utilized to promote the charity and raise funds.
Our first micro event was a happy hour at Beercade, a vintage arcade bar located in River North, Illinois. The event took place on Wednesday, October 8th from 5pm – 8pm. Attendees paid a $10 donation entrance fee and 15% of our group’s sales were donated back to the charity. The primary objective was to raise awareness and raise funds. Walk in customers and Beercade employees shared the event and the charity with their connections through social media and word of mouth.
Our second micro event was bowling at River Rand Bowl in Des Plaines, IL on October 18th. Attendees paid $20 for one pair of shoes and two games. We also provided pizza and beverage to attendees. We were able to secure sponsorship from local restaurants who supplied free pizza for the event. In addition, we held raffles, silent auction, and a bake sale at the venue. This event was a major success as we were able to raise more funds than expected, raise awareness for the charity by talking to patrons and finally, by having a lot of fun.
For the final event, we secured 37 volunteers to pack food at the FMSC location in Libertyville, IL. As mentioned before, FMSC uses volunteers to pack foods so that they can save on overhead. We covered two packing shifts for our volunteer events. In addition to offering our time to pack the food, we also learned more about the charity. Our efforts produced the following results:
• 251 boxes packed
• 54,216 meals
• 149 kids fed for one year
• $11,927 worth
Objectives and Success Measures
Our objectives for the project were to:
• Raise awareness for FMSC (Measurable)
• Raise funds for FMSC (Measurable)
• Learn Project Management Skills and Have Fun (Subjective)
To raise awareness for FMSC, we created a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a personalized webpage. We were able to promote our events, share updates and request donations through these mediums. In addition, we promoted our events by creating flyers. We distributed and displayed them in libraries, at local businesses and churches.

Facebook

To raise funds for FMSC, we created a personalized webpage. We were able to collect most of our donations through the website. One of the advantages of having the website was that the donations went directly to FMSC and we didn’t have to deal with physically collecting donations and sending them to FMSC. We also collected offline donations which we submitted to FMSC in person.

FMSC Page

Below are the results of the success measures:
• Donations: $2,200
• Number of people at bowling event: 20
• Number of people at packing event: 37
• Total number of like or followers on Facebook and Twitter: 120
• Maximum number of people reached for events: 471
Project Management Lessons
We have learned a lot of project management lessons during this project including lessons from our successes and challenges. Below are three lessons we feel are important:
• Having a designated, dedicated, and dependable Project Manager on the team. We feel it’s important for the Project Manager to be collaborative and not authoritative unless when the project is not moving in the right direction.
• Assigning responsibilities to each team member and holding them accountable is important. If a member is unable to meet a deadline, communicating that to the team early so others can pitch in also important.
• Being able to pivot quickly or having a contingency plan is very important. Initially we started the team with 6 members. The team member who was assigned to coordinate the first micro event dropped out of class and we were left to scramble to identify another venue and event. Fortunately, we had a contingency plan so we were able to reassess and deploy the contingency plan immediately.
Advice
Our advices to future teams doing similar projects are the following:
• Assign a project manager immediately after the group has been selected and start on the events and marketing early. Ideally, someone with experience could be useful but not required.
• When organizing events, be aware of other events going on in that location. Unfortunately for us, we had our first event on the evening the Chicago Cubs were playing a playoff game, so the turnout was not as expected.
• Have a good communication tool and communicate well. We used GroupMe mobile app as our main method for most of our communications.
Photos related to the project. Examples could be event photos, website, team members, etc.

http://www.fundraising.fmsc.org/faf/search/searchTeamPart.asp?ievent=1112103&team=6540715
http://www.fmsc.org/

Risk Management in Relation to our Group Project

As I was submitting the last of the assignments for this Project Management class, I realized with a start that I never submitted my second blog post. Without further ado, I decided to write about what I thought was the most valuable takeaway for me from this course: risk management. With the entirety of the course in perspective, risk seemed to be the most important aspect of planning on our group project. We had to manage conflicts with each other’s schedules, externalities in terms of events that might affect our cause, such as negative Facebook comments, and a highly unfortunate incident of a volcano eruption in Indonesia, which no one could have predicted or prevented, that ended up affecting presentation timelines.

I found the below interesting article on CIO.com that described the importance of risk management in project management and how they truly go hand in hand. The possibility of obstacles arising affects everything, from the budget, to timelines, to implementation and scope. As I’ve overseen my team at work in implementing a high profile campaign for my client, I’ve found myself proactively planning any and all obstacles that may arise. Much to my disappointment, one of the situations we had planned for did end up cascading down the wire last week. Due to having a risk plan in place, we were able to get a hold of it within a few hours and keep our client from having a complete meltdown. As we move on from this obstacle, we still have to keep in mind that there are always more risk factors involved that could pop up at any minute. All projects come with a variety of risk factors, but there is no need to worry about the jeopardization of a project due to risk if you have the right plan in place from the start.

http://www.cio.com.au/article/385084/risk_management_project_management_go_hand_hand/

No One Fights Alone

No One Fights Alone

Our team decided to work with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise awareness and donations to benefit the research and support of children with cancer.  We planned an event at the Chicago Loop Sports Bar and Grill in Streamwood, IL.  In order to raise money, we held a raffle and charged admission of $5.  We sought out donations from local businesses and Chicago sports teams in the form of tickets and gift cards.  We also created a Facebook page where we paid for advertising to reach out to people both locally and around the world to spread awareness about childhood cancer.

flier

About St. Baldrick’s Foundation

This foundation really hit home for some of our group members as some of us have kids or work in the medical field where we see these children fighting for their lives.  According to St. Baldrick’s, 175,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year.  Cancer causes more deaths than any other disease or deformity in children.  This is a fairly new foundation that was founded in 2000.  St. Baldrick’s is known for their head shaving events which happen in March.  These shaving events are in support of the children who are diagnosed with cancer and many times lose their hair due to the chemotherapy and radiation treatments.  In the more recent years, this foundation has been supporting many other events such as eating contests, 5k run/walks, bake sales and many more.  This foundation is dedicated the overall transparency with their financials. For every dollar they receive, about 75 cents goes to research for a cure.  To note, their administration fees make up only 3.7% of their total funding.  Our group found this to be remarkable in comparison to many other foundations that we considered.

MC Matt

Objectives
-Raise awareness on all the main social media platforms
-Reach over 500 likes and followers on Facebook
-Raise over $5,000 in donations combined from our event and online outreach

Donations $$

Outcome

Our event alone raised $2,915 which exceeded our forecast of $1,500.  We were able to reach 164 likes on Facebook and 7,303 page/post views.  Through our donations from work, friends and online support we were able to donate a total of $6,010.  We consider this a great success as we not only hit our donation goal but also we reached out to over 7,303 users on Facebook to spread awareness.

Lessons Learned

There are many notable lessons that we learned throughout this event.  We all agree that communication needs to be regular and everyone needs to be on the same page with initiatives.  Our regular communication via text and email proved to be effective and not overwhelming.  Communication is the key to a successful project and we cannot stress that enough.  Second, we learned that we need to be flexible with our plans.  Many things come up along the road to a successful event.  Our group had to cope with many obstacles and changes in order to successfully plan our event and hit our goals.  Third, we recommend setting ambitious yet achievable goals.  If we set a goal of raising $1000, we would have quit fundraising before the event even started. The goal needs to be within your reach but not easily achievable in order to keep motivation high.  Last but not least, we recommend leveraging your network as much as possible.  This was exceedingly important in the success of our event.

st baldricks logo

Advice for future groups and project managers
-Leverage your networks
-Communicate regularly
-Hold weekly check-ins
-Local businesses are quicker to help than corporations
-Use social media to your advantage
-Set an ambitious yet achievable goal
-Pick a charity that all the group members are moved by
-HAVE FUN

Closing Thoughts

Overall, this project great experience.  We learned and demonstrated project management skills all while contributing to an honorable cause.  Our group had a great time bonding and seeing our hard work pay off.

Cancer Killers Group Pic

Thanks all for your support!
-Cancer Sucks- No One Fights Alone!

An Answer to Cancer Audit

An Answer to Cancer Audit

For our field project, our team, An Answer to Cancer, supported the Rush-Copley Cancer Care Center through a fundraising event and volunteer service event in effort to promote cancer awareness and generate revenue in support of the fight against cancer. The events were as follows:

Making Strides of Fox Valley 5k Walk: Sunday, October 18, 2015 at Pottawatomie Park in Saint Charles, IL

Support the Cure: Friday, October 23, 2015 at The James Joyce Irish Pub in Berwyn, IL

IMG_8987Project Description

The team first met on September 18, 2015 to choose our field project. Of the six different charities we all brainstormed, we decided to choose one that made an impact on our lives in some form. Our final selection was a charity that promoted cancer awareness. The team figured the timing was ideal to raise awareness towards such a cause since September was Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, October was National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. With the help of Doug’s connections at Rush-Copley Cancer Care Center, we were able to get kickoff this project and meet with key staff members at the center. On September 24, 2015, the team had their first visit to the center and met with Ryan Alvarez. As the Business Manager who supports the operations and programming of the center, Ryan was very insightful with explaining the services this organization offers to the community and its members. In addition, he provided us with a list of the Rush-Copley Charitable Funds that we could choose to support. After careful analysis, we selected the Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center. Our group was very fortunate to have an individual so passionate about his job and the mission to support and promote cancer awareness efforts.

IMG_6730 IMG_6737

 

Charity Description

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately “1,658,370 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2015”. About “589,430 Americans are expected to die of cancer in 2015”. However, according to The World Health Organization, “40% of all cancer deaths can be prevented”. With such alarming statistics, our team decided to raise revenue to benefit the Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center at Rush-Copley. The mission of Waterford Place is to compassionately connect with and offer support, guidance and resources to people with cancer and those that care for them. Waterford Place is a home away from home for cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers by providing a variety of support services including counseling, support groups, free integrated health treatments, stress management classes, and educational programming to improve health outcomes and emotional well-being. We all understood the hardship and difficulty cancer can be for the patient and their loved ones which was one of the group’s main motivation to support the development of a facility that will provide the community a space for physical and spiritual reflection. Simply put, “Waterford Place is where help meets hope.

waterford poster board

Project Objectives and Outcomes

In support of our chosen charity, the group decided on two events:

IMG_7023The first one was a service event to assist as volunteers at the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” 5k walk on October 18, 2015. At this event we worked with the American Cancer Society to collect petition signatures requesting Congress to continue funding cancer research. This event allowed us to interact with community members that supported the fight against cancer. In addition, we utilized this opportunity to promote our main event, “Support the Cure”. The walk was a huge success; with 76 teams and 909 participants, the event raised a total of $88,196.68.

Our main event took place on October 23, 2015 at the James Joyce Irish Pub. “Support the Cure” was a social gathering event that our group hosted in efforts to raise funds to support our charity through ticket and raffle sales. Our goal was to generate profit with minimum overhead cost which was possible thanks to The James Joyce Irish Pub who worked with us to ensure a successful event. As a group, we decided that in order to keep overhead cost at a minimal, we would have to seek donations from local businesses. Fortunately, Rush-Copley was able to provide us with a letter stating their tax-exempt status as a nonprofit charitable organization. Using this letter, we were able to collect donations of all food items and raffle prizes towards our event.

IMG_7195

flyer_cancer_event_final_100715

Our goal was to raise revenue of $1500 or greater through the combination of on-line donations, ticket sales for our main event “Support the Cure”, and in-kind donations. Our actual amounts were as follows:

Net Cash Donations: $852.00

In-Kind Donations: $1,199.00

Total Collected Value Towards Fundraising Efforts: $2,051.00

Although our ultimate goal was to raise $1500 in cash donations for Rush-Copley Cancer Care Center, we still managed to exceed our original target when we combine collected revenue with in-kind donations.

Lessons Learned

Managing project teams
As a group we met all of the conditions of a high performing team. First order of business was to create a team atmosphere. We selected our project manager who served as the coach of the team. Team members also volunteered for different assignments and other times our project manager assigned task. Every team member was responsible for a specific task and we trusted that everyone met their objectives.  We all shared the same vision once making a decision on which charity to go with. Our team did a great job of taking advantage of everyone’s strength. For example, using certain team member’s social media skills was an effective way to promote our charity and event via Facebook. As a group I think we have all been able to grasp a great understanding of the material covered in chapter 11 – managing project teams.

Developing a project plan
In order to get the finish line there must be a drawn out route to get there. Developing a project plan is key to the success of our project. There are different techniques you can use to map out your plans. For our project we  used the critical path method. The team knew the task that needed to be completed before the next event can occur. For example we set up our donations page prior to being able to post the link on our Facebook page.  I believe all the techniques described in chapter 6 can be applied to any project whether it’s for your company or a home project. AOA or AON is a great way to track and measure lead times on activities to arrive at an accurate ETA for completion.

Communication
The method of communication used by the group was primarily email, text messaging, and phone conferencing. Our project manager touched base with team members almost daily to gather updates, set reminders, and provide assistance if needed.

Advice

As a reflection on the past 8 weeks, the key piece of advice we would recommend for future teams is to thoroughly develop a well defined plan and prepare for the unexpected. We were given a very limited timeline from start to finish but our team completed both events in under 6 weeks. This would not have been possible if we did not identify the critical path and prioritize the activities that needed to be completed before proceeding to the next step. Developing a detailed project plan that listed all the activities and who they were assigned to was an effective method to ensure we met our project goals. In addition, ensure that you include a contingency plan should any unexpected circumstance occur. Our team faced that situation in the process of requesting donations from local businesses. We established a backup plan that included a contribution from every team member in the worst case scenario. The combination of persistent team members and supportive local businesses helped us achieve our goal and we held a successful event.

This field project was a great experience and opportunity for us to meet and network with other people in support of a great cause!

My thoughts for being an effective leader in project MGT

While looking over my notes for chapter 10, which deals with leadership. I began to compile my thoughts on what I believe what makes an effective leader. Great leaders are able to get team members to perform at their best when they can reach them on a more personal level. An example would be talking to them versus talking at them. Knowing what means of communication to use is key to managing a project. I would rather someone over communicate than not to communicate at all. Getting feedback from the team is also critical. I’ve learned from experience you get more buy in when you collaborate with team members. They feel like they are valued and are willing to go the extra mile sometimes. Another key to success is to build trust amongst team members. When you include your team member’s ideas and strategies you are building trust. Once a project manager or leader has the trust of the team then that’s when task begin to really roll along. When assembling teams for the first time everyone is feeling each other out. It’s not into the project manager builds that trust than you will see productivity increase. On my current job I built the trust of my employees by engaging in talks with them daily not only about the job but topics outside of the job. Then I began to work on other things that would make them more successful on the job. And once they see that I delivered on my promises. The trust levels increases. Now that the trust is there project managers can implement the game plan and began to tackle the critical path tasks. Leadership change for starters is not always welcome on the job. In my opinion more times than not workplaces does not stress change enough. From my own experience every time there is some kind of change whether it is a process or equipment implementation on a work cell. Operators are reluctant and always question why we changed. Great project managers are good at leading change and as mentioned above building trust. Once the team knows you have the project and team best interest at heart, you will then be able to lead change. Honesty is the last element I would like to add. Project managers must always be honest. Not just the project manager but everyone should be honest on the job. In my opinion, what makes people dishonest or with hold information is the fear of hurting team members feeling. To increase productivity of a project and stay on track project managers must be honest with himself and team members. Class I found the below article online an it discusses traits of a great project manager and leadership. What are your thoughts on leadership?

http://www.cio.com.au/article/577425/5-signs-great-project-manager/

NavaH20 Nation Audit

Clean Water for the Navajo Nation

NavaH2ONation

Project Description

On our first day of class, we learned that we had eight weeks to select a team, then a charity, organize a fundraising event, obtain donations, create a social network presence, and submit a final report and presentation.  When we learned about our project assignment, we all agreed that we wanted to support a cause within the United States and a cause that would get everyone’s attention.  Our group was lucky to have an individual who had both a personal and professional relationship with water charities.  Through this connection and a CBS news story, we discovered the Navajo Nation.

Charity Description

Within the Navajo Nation, there are nearly 100,000 individuals without access to running water.  Not to mention that these individuals also have unreliable electricity and unemployment is rampant.  The CBS news story featured a woman called the “water lady” who drove miles away each day to obtain water for her fellow Navajo Nation residents. Unfortunately, so many individuals rely on her, she is only able to deliver to each family approximately once a month.  We all reflected on how this would affect our daily lives, we were shocked this was happening in the United States.  With this realization, we understood we had found our cause: it was local and it was definitely jaw dropping.

With the help of Kevin’s water connections, we formed a partnership with Water Is Life.  Water Is Life is a charitable organization that has implemented water and hygiene projects internationally, Water Is Life has been active in Haiti and many African nations; and they were looking for a way to help the Navajo Nation.  At this point, we evaluated the possible support options for the Navajo Nation.  We set a lofty goal of raising $20k in order to purchase an item called a SunSpring.  The SunSpring is a solar and wind powered water filtration system.  Our plan was to work with Water Is Life to place the SunSpring near the Animas River to provide clean water for a nearby school.  However, we knew that $20k was ambitious, so we developed less expensive alternatives, including permaculture and hygiene initiatives, which would cost approximately $5-6k.

As a group, we decided our primary means of fundraising would be by utilizing our own personal and professional networks, as well as through social media.  We reached out to our friend, families, and colleagues via email.  The email was standardized across our group, with a personal touch at the introduction.  Also, as it turns out, our team included a social network genius and our Facebook page took off, beyond our wildest hopes (see us here: https://www.facebook.com/NavaH20Nation).   Our main fundraising took place through our MyEvent page: http://www.depaulnavah2o.myevent.com/3/donate.htm.

As for our event, our goal was to make the most profit with as little overhead as possible.  As a result, we ruled out places such as restaurants that would offer donations such as 15% of what our event spent at their facility.  Our event went through many brainstorming phases, but we settled on a two day bake sale at the DePaul Lincoln Park Student Center.  We all contributed our own baked goods and flyers and posters were created.  During this event, we were able to not only raise funds, but also awareness.

Mgt 598 - One Pager (Illustrative Communication)

bake sale photo

Project Outcomes

Throughout this quarter, we have all become passionate about this cause and have vowed to keep our fundraising and awareness campaigns going.  We have been blown away by the support we’ve received on Facebook, as well as the interest we received from our networks and the undergraduate students at DePaul.  At this time we have raised nearly $3k on our MyEvent page and have secured the following additional donations: $2.5k match donation from a local bank, plus another $2.5k and an additional $5k match from one our team member’s employers, and another $3k donation from another one of our employers.  This adds up to an astounding $16k!!

Lessons Learned

  1. Scope creep: We believe that our team avoided scope creep successfully. We had co-project managers who did an excellent job of keeping our team focused and on schedule.  Without the guidance of these two, we could have easily ventured off our project plan.
  2. Communication: We utilized email and text message to share ideas and updates. Our project managers hosted a weekly phone call in which we reviewed our current progress and addressed the next steps.  Our calls were well organized and kept to the designated appointment times.
  3. Shared responsibility: Each team member had components of the project that they were responsible for, some of which were shared. We trusted each other to be responsible and accountable.  In the end, all team members met their objectives and communicated the progress clearly to the team.
  4. Organization: Our team, led by our project managers, was incredibly organized.  We had a set timeline and plan, which we all understood.  This shared understanding, which was rooted in our clear communication, was key to our success.

Advice

If you can, pick classmates you’re comfortable with and have compatible schedules with.  Due to the short duration of the quarter, it will be important that you are able to communicate frequently and have times that you can meet with all team members.  For our group, that meant that most of us were in the weekend program, because weekend days worked best for us.

Select a cause that everyone can support.  If you select your charity well, you will see everyone’s dedication grow throughout the quarter.  Your passion will also be conveyed during your donation request and awareness events, which makes a big difference in the support you receive.

For our team, the weekly phone calls were a great opportunity to summarize the emails and texts that had occurred, as well to finalize that week’s activities.  While it may have been challenging for everyone to make it onto every call, we all made the effort and appreciated the outcomes of the weekly meeting.  The summary emails that were sent out following the calls also played a large part in keeping everyone on task

Lastly, try to be prepared for the unexpected.  None of us would have expected that bringing clean water to the Navajo Nation would be a controversial topic, but it turned out to be (see our Facebook page).  In our case, the positive responses vastly outweighed the negative, but that may not always be the case.

myevent page