Recent Posts by J. Scott

 
I am a father, entrepreneur, philanthropist and CEO. My PURPOSE is to inspire people to reach for THEIR potential. I enable my fortune 100 clients to successfully execute Project Portfolio Management and enterprise-wide change efforts that generate breakthrough results, create meaningful jobs that my team members love, and run a company that leverages its successful business platform to drive positive transformational change in the world.
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The Power of SWAG (a.k.a., a Scientific Wild-Ass Guess)

The following is adapted from The Irreverent Guide to Project Management.

When you’re starting a new project or tackling a new task, a Work Plan is indispensable. This plan can help you gauge what needs to be done, how much work each step is going to take, and which tasks are assigned to which team members. 

Of course, there are a lot of variables, contingencies, and problems that can disrupt that Work Plan, and at the outset of a project, it can be difficult to tell how long work is going to take. Team members often feel uncomfortable about providing estimates of how long they will need to complete their designated tasks. That’s a totally understandable feeling, but that reluctance can get in the way of progress. 

That’s where the SWAG—or, Scientific Wild-Ass Guess—comes in. Of course, some guesses are better than others, so I will provide some tips on how you can make your SWAG lean more towards the science side than to wild-assery. That said, no matter how accurate the guess ends up being, a SWAG will move your project forward every time. 

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How to Stop Strained Relationships from Sabotaging a Project

The following is adapted from The Irreverent Guide to Project Management.

Any time you get enough people together, you are likely to encounter friction, and work is no exception. It’s wonderful to have a supportive, sympathetic, open-minded, egoless team, but realistically, there are few cohorts that can measure up to that Utopian dream. 

When the inevitable bumps and glitches arise, it’s best to already have an idea of how you can get them under control. If they aren’t managed right away, interpersonal tensions have the power to derail an entire project, and what’s worse, they can foster grudges and animosities that linger amongst team members moving forward. 

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Efficiency Isn’t Everything: 3 Practical Tips for Using Email Effectively

The following is adapted from The Irreverent Guide to Project Management.

It takes mere seconds to jot en email and blast it across the aether. Meetings, on the other hand, are better measured in minutes—or even hours! That’s why it’s tempting to ditch face-to-face contact altogether and opt for the more efficient means of communication. 

Yet efficiency isn’t everything. Professor Albert Mehrabian has shown that the written word can only convey 7 percent of the intended meaning, while 93 percent of our message (the part that conveys our tone, emotion, gestures, and nuanced feelings) gets lost. That’s why you should never use email to diffuse complex information, communicate, or solve a problem.

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Need a Solution to a Problem? Follow the Rule of 10!

The following is adapted from The Irreverent Guide to Project Management.

Problems are inevitable in every project. Something is going to make you slow down, miss deadlines, shift gears, change the scope of the project, or spend more money than you expected. The trick is to solve these problems in a way that enables you to keep on time and on budget.

When these impediments arise, it’s best to inspect the problem, adapt, and respond to the changes, but the best way to do that is not always clear. At my firm, we’ve learned that when challenges arise, the best way to handle them is to tackle them with what I call the “Rule of 10.” Read on to learn how the rule works and how it can get you out of tricky spots in your projects. 

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Stop Holding Your Project Managers Accountable, It Doesn't Work

Everybody, say it together: “Great leaders hold their employees ... .” If you said “accountable,” you’re dead wrong. And I don’t blame you. It’s a common, and destructive, misconception that hits at the core of human nature.

But if you want your project management teams to succeed, you have to stop holding team members accountable.

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How to Create the Right Project Management Team with Less Churn

Turnover is wrecking businesses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people are quitting at the fastest rate since 2001.

Churn within a project management team is especially brutal. When your project manager gives two weeks’ notice, it can stop the project—cost a ton of time and money, seriously impact customer satisfaction, and disrupt your entire business.

The good news? You can prevent churn within your project management team before it starts. Read on to learn how to create the right project management team and eliminate the churn.

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Why Hiring a Staffing Agency to Find Your Next Project Manager Won't Work

I’ve been there. You’ve got a project manager role you need to fill fast because your business needs to deliver something yesterday, or your current PM just gave you two weeks’ notice! And in comes the flood of staffing agency offers.

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The Difference Between Authority and Leadership

The following is adapted from It’s Never Just Business.

There’s a major difference between authority and leadership. Can you articulate it?

Many people can’t, but almost everyone knows the difference when they see it.

What is authority? Telling others what to do. Why? Because that way you win.

People in authority are the top dog and get the big paycheck. They’re amazing because they’re the boss. But, just because an executive has authority over their employees doesn’t mean their employees will follow them. Here’s a great example.

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The Key to Getting Buy-in When Your Organization Needs to Change

The following is adapted from It’s Never Just Business.

Ask any organizational leader how their team members would react to a big change, and they’re likely to say that fear would be the default reaction.

Here’s what’s funny: I don’t think people actually fear change.

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How Organizations Can Use Lag and Lead Measures to Drive Progress

The following is adapted from It’s Never Just Business.

When your team sets a goal at work, how do you track progress to see how you’re doing? Are you more prone to using a lag measure or a lead measure?

Uh oh, did I lose you?

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