Should you manage project risk?

July 20th, 2009

Amazingly, doing nothing is an acceptable response in some cases….

Recently, I was quoted in Projects@Work in an article titled, “A Guy Named Murphy” about whether you should manage risk in a project: “I’ve led project teams, it is common to have unexpected events and challenges arise. But once you have established an effective project team and defined a critical path, stop risk mitigation activity, as it will be a waste of time and resources.”

Of course, we do not leave the reader hanging on “what to do”. In my experience in working with many project teams across different industries, sized companies, etc, it all boils down to the following: “First, it starts with the people. Immediately bring the project team together to understand the situation in order to brainstorm and develop plans. Then, I advise reviewing the project schedule. “Will the unexpected circumstances affect the critical path?” If not, rework a solution and remain steadfastly focused on the critical path. If yes, utilize the team to brainstorm and develop alternative critical path options.” Finally I believe it is critical to ensure that the communication channels are in place so that everyone knows what’s going on, “Ensure the critical changes to the project plans are communicated with clear next steps, project milestones and with accountabilities assigned. The only time it is too soon to communicate to the organization or relevant sponsors is before the project team is in the loop.”

Read the entire article here

Does customer service matter?

July 19th, 2009

Consider my recent story…..

I borrowed my friend’s car because my car was being serviced while I was on an out-of-town trip, and, although it was ready when I landed at Ontario, my flights were delayed such that I arrived 15 minutes after the Shell station (where my car was being serviced) closed. They Shell station night person stayed to wait for me; however, since it would take me awhile to get off the plane and get there, I told him I’d get it the next morning. Since I didn’t have a ride but was able to borrow a car the next morning, I was running a few errands when the engine light went off on my borrowed car and an annoying beep started (and would NOT stop, even after I pulled over). So, called my Shell station contact, George, and asked him about it. George asked, “How is the hot or cold needle?” I realized, “It is all the way at the top of HOT”. George said, “You cannot drive the car here. Where are you? I’m on my way.” 5 or 10 minutes later, George and a mechanic arrived to check the car over. Not only did they bring water to get the car drivable but they brought my car and George’s car (in case my friend’s car wasn’t drivable and they had to get it towed). So, I drove home with my car, and they took my friend’s car to find out why it ran out of water. Now, that is customer service……who do you think I’ll call with my next car issue?

Is there a good time for advice?

July 11th, 2009

“You weren’t ready to absorb it at the time”……

Many years ago, I sat in MBA classes and listened to a plethora of topics. I did well in my classes. Then, 10 years later, I discovered some old textbooks in the garage and was amazed that I had a book on how to save taxes (I assume from my financial planning class). I remember nothing about that topic (let alone the book) from that class. At the time, I realized it would be beneficial to purchase a house – and so I did that.

Fast forward 10 years, and I was concerned about how to keep more of my income as opposed to working everyday with no progress, and so I started studying several topics related to financial planning including saving taxes. I ended up buying the newer version of the book I had stashed in my garage at Borders and thought it was amazing, new information, which I started implementing immediately. And I thought I had a good memory! (at the time)

About that time, I talked with a friend, and she had a profound statement, “you weren’t ready to absorb it at the time”. After thinking about it, I realized that I had a focus (buy a house), and so I was saturated with immediately useful information.

Why bring this up today? I just returned from my HR mentor’s wedding, and while I was in town, I talked with my great friend Sandi, and she gave me some advice that I’d heard before (several times actually) but it was profound since I was currently ready to think about that particular topic. And, interestingly, she is the same person who had the profound statement, “you weren’t ready to absorb it at the time”.

So, what is your focus? It might worth noting.

Join Us for the Business Value Series…

July 10th, 2009

Join Pacific Premier Bank, Steddom Accountancy, APC and my company, LMA Consulting Group, Inc. for a cup of coffee and interactive discussions with business, financial and banking experts on building value in your business.

I believe now is the best time to work on your business! The current economic conditions have created a season ripe for business revamping, renewal, and value building. Please join us for a series of monthly business building interactive discussions.

Whether you intend to continue building value in your business for many years or sell and exit in the next three to five years, take advantage of the opportunity now to work on your business. Here are all the details: Flyer

Hope to see you at the first session, July 16th!

Does Everyone Need a Vacation?

July 7th, 2009

Absolutely! Several years ago when I was a VP of Operations, my HR mentor used to give me a hard time about taking more vacation, as I had to not only enjoy more time off but she also wanted me to set a good example for my team. It was tough to fit it in – after all, isn’t there always a new crisis brewing? She was absolutely right.

Time off not only gives you a chance to rest and rejuvenate which typically helps you come back to work in a refreshed frame-of-mind but it also gives you quality time with family, friends and/or alone. After all, what’s life about if you cannot take time to enjoy it.

The last few years, I’ve been fortuante to be able to go on vacations with my family (parents, brothers, nephew etc), friends, and alone (typically to visit relatives, friends etc). I see a lot of people working really hard especially in the recession (for example, my brother is a high quality electrical engineer who works a significant # of hours in order to keep the projects on track with fewer peers to help complete them), and so I think it’s important to remember vacation/ rest. I’ve been on vacations ranging from low cost (enjoying time with friends at the beach) to the luxury/ rare (such as going to Europe), so there can be something for everyone. I just returned from a family vacation – it was a bit crazy at times (what family vacation isn’t after all!) but it was a great experience – full of family, fun, new experiences, and learning.

When is your next vacation, even if it is “the weekend”?