I have just the blog for you! The article I found includes six project management skills taught by FranklinCovey (“7 Habits of Highly Effective People”). The article is dated, but hopefully you will find the skills still very relevant. I have provided the six skills (paraphrased) and included my thoughts.
1. Implement foundational behaviors to master informal authority. Respect all stakeholders that may affect the outcome of the project, and you will receive the best work. Showing you value the stakeholders helps you inspire following, without formally establishing authority.
- Thoughts: One easy way to develop this skill is to lead a meeting. This informal leadership is accomplished through organizing the discussion, seeking feedback, and keeping the meeting focused. If there is someone else who wants to lead, you always have the final say to end with a summary and a list of next steps.
2. Initiate. Identify and interview a project’s stakeholders. It is best to avoid the question “Why didn’t you check with me?” when verifying stakeholders. Planning ahead ensures you do not make the wrong assumptions about key people, and helps to set expectations and results.
- Thoughts: This skill takes time because you have to learn who to seek for information. From my experience, you may not know a key stakeholder at the beginning of a project. Based on issues raised, you may have to reach out to someone you had not previously worked with. It has been effective to include that person in the middle of the project, and explain that a new issue may require their feedback.
3. Plan. Identify risks, and create a plan to manage them. It is strong wording, but the article mentions failure if you do not have a schedule, in writing. Also, what is your number one risk?
- Thoughts: I found this one to be the most straightforward. A great practice of risk is to ask “if I do nothing, will it get worse?”
4. Execute. Holding people accountable is the article’s main focus. The leader should not embarass anyone, but ensure support is given to complete a task.
- Thoughts: This may prove most challenging to a project manager. What has worked for me is to ask questions like “what can I do to help?” and “where do you see the bottleneck?”
5. Monitor and control. The most important thing here is managing changes in scope. The Project Manager has to have that conversation if change occurs, and discuss results of a change in scope in dollar value or other measure.
- Thoughts: I read about team projects from the blog and listened to 2 students in class as they shared what can happen with “project creep.” Project creep is costly in time or resources, so it’s advantageous to stay focused.
6. Close. Review lessons, and recognize accomplishments.
- Thoughts: There is a sense of excitement to completion! Celebration is necessary and also creates an environment to do it again!
I most identified with skill numbers 1, 3, and 5. What skills do you most identify with?