UA-39398177-1 PrestaShop themes

sábado, 23 de marzo de 2013

Networking workshop focused in projects

This week I have attended a workshop organized by the PMI Madrid Chapter, related to networking from a project management perspective, in order to find out if our networking skills are helping or damaging our projects, and how to improve our skills. The workshop was given by Pino Bethencourt, senior advisor to top leadership and founder of "Hill of Tara foundation".

The event took place in the meeting room of a hotel where there were several round tables. Just after Pino introduced herself, she asked: "Please stand up all of you who are sitting down in a table where you already know someone from before". Not surprisingly, in all the tables stood up at least 2 persons. This is something very common in Spain. We always sit nearby someone we already know even if we are attending a networking event where we should meet new people!! Of course, Pino requested to everybody to move to tables where we did not know anybody else.

The first exercise of the workshop consisted on discussing in each table which one are the benefits and disadvantages of networking from our point of view. In my table, and I guess in most of the other tables as well, we had never thought about networking in a project context, as we assumed that it was embedded in the communication plan of the project. After some brainstorming we chose these ones:

  • Benefits:
    • Increase the commitment of the project team members
    • Facilitates the professional relationships (key to have a first face to face meeting with each member)
    • Having a good network helps to get quick access to subject matters expert

  • Disadvantages:
    • It can create internal groups inside the project trying to influence to the others
    • Inequality in the team members may happen, getting the ones who are networked benefits
    • Informal relationships could be not alligned to the project communication plan
After putting in common our thoughts we got from Pino her definition for networking:

"Networking is the art of starting and developing mutual beneficial relationships in an strategic way".

It is key to remark, that both persons must get benefits from the relationship. Networking in one way, trying to get something from the another person, not offering anything in change, it does not work.

Recently I have heard about a scientific experiment where it has been measured that the human beings get higher levels of personal happinnes when we try to make happy to other people. This could be related to the law of attraction: Whatever you give, you get it back.

The workshop concluded with an exercise where we had to get introduced to other people in the room that we did not know from before, and then get and provide feedback about the verbal and non-verbal communication and feelings experienced when talking to the other person.

In conclusion, a very interesting workshop where we got some basics for networking, that helped us to perceive what is networking from different angles and perspectives.

viernes, 15 de marzo de 2013

The benefits of Mentoring for Mentors and Mentees

Mentoring is a practice that is becoming quite popular in these last years all around the world as the benefits for the Mentors and Mentees are quite significant, The companies have measured and recognized the value of it, and are working on internal and external initiatives for spreading its use.

Mentoring has been used since the old times of our history. In fact, the name of mentoring comes from the old greek mythology. (Mentor was a close friend of Ulises who acted as a Mentor for his son Telemaco).

When talking to different people about what is mentoring, I have seen quite confussion between what is mentoring and what is coaching. I believe this is due to the popularity of the word Coaching and the role of the Coach in comparison to the less known word Mentoring and the role of the Mentor. Due to this, let me expose some of the "hundreds" of definitions available:

Mentoring: is a two-way mutually beneficial learning situation where the mentor provides advice, shares knowledge and experiences, and teaches using a low pressure, self-discovery approach. Mentors in either a formal mentoring program or informal relationship focus on the person, their career and support for individual growth and maturity. The Mentor has a deep personal interest, personally involved—a friend who cares about you and your long term development. As the Mentor is usually a more experienced individual, he/she can more easily facilitate reflection and problem solving, but generally refrains from giving direct advice or skill/knowledge transfer. 

The Mentor is both a source of information/knowledge and acts as a "Friend, Philosopher and Guide" towards the Mentee.

Coaching is a process whereby an individual gets support while learning to achieve a specific personal or professional result or goal. A Coach facilitates the development of specific skills for the task, challenges and performance expectations at work. The individual getting coached may be referred to as the client, the mentee or coachee, or they may be in an intern or apprenticeship relationship with the person coaching them.

Coaching may also happen in an informal relationship between one individual who has greater experience and expertise than another and offers advice and guidance, as the other goes through a learning process.

And the best way to see the differences between both are with examples:

Typical mentoring situations:
  • To support/advice for professional development over the long term (e.g. career exploration, moving around the organization, feedback on goals setting or gaining perspective on the organization, etc)
  • Guide the learner to grow in maturity / seniority
  • To give advise, for discussion and give feedback on a variety of sensitive issues (e.g. change in behavior, cultural/gender/racial awareness, etc) situations)
Typical coaching situations:
  • Developing a learner new in a position, new in a role or new at the company
  • Building skills within technical/business areas, methods and for specifically defined competencies
  • Individual career planning – what is the next step

The benefits for the Mentees are described above, but which one are the benefits for the Mentors? Why should I spend time doing this, that by the way, is a non-profit activity from an economical point of view?

Well, some of the benefits are:

  • Get visibility in the organization and in the community
  • Get recognition
  • Expand your network
  • Enhance your communication skills
  • Develops active listening
  • Helps you to review your past experiences and knowledge

And last but not least, in fact for me the most important, is the satisfation of helping to other people.

I have had the chance of experiencing the benefits of Mentoring from both sides, as a Mentor and as a Mentee. First inside my company, and later on as a volunteer in the PMI Information Systems Community of Practice.

Nowadays, as I strongly believe in the benefits of mentoring, I keep acting as a Mentor in my company, and I have recently joined the initiative launched by the PMI Madrid Chapter where I will work together with other colleagues of the chapter in the management of the mentoring program, trying to apply my own experiences, and the lessons learnt in similar programs by our colleagues from the Montreal Chapter and the Information Systems CoP.

I recommend of all you to promote these mentoring initiatives inside your companies and your associations, as the benefits for the persons involved, the companies, and at last, the whole society, are clearly significant and remarkable.

martes, 5 de marzo de 2013

PMI´s Pulse of the Profession

PMI has delivered this week the PMI´s Pulse of the Profession 2013. PMI's annual Pulse of the Profession charts the major trends for project management - now and in the future. It features original market research that reports feedback and insights from project, program and portfolio managers, along with an analysis of third-party data.

Many interesting conclusions can be extracted from this year´s report. Some of them are:

 - Organizations undervalue project management and put inadequate focus on talent development
 - Project success rates are declining
 - Only a small percentage of companies (~15%) report to have high maturity project management practices
 - Training and development in project management is declining
 - Only four of ten project managers say there is a defined career path for project management within their organization

Do you feel identified with these results?....

For access to the report:

PMI´s Pulse of the Profession 2013

viernes, 1 de marzo de 2013

First Steps MS Project Online

As mentioned in the previous post, MS Project Online is already available. Microsoft has launched an agressive market campaign, as it can be seen in several ads published in different medias these days.

Project Online is based on the Cloud. This has allowed to reduce the price of the license dramatically, and it has made possible to offer a more flexible licensing model, based in use per month per user.

In the following link it can be seen a video where a demo is performed describing the first steps on MS Project Online. Unfortunately it is only available on spanish.

Primeros Pasos Microsoft Project Online

One of the most remarkable features is the integration of Project Server with SharePoint what it facilitates the management of all the resources of the organization under the whole project portfolio of the company.

Most of the companies manage the projects independently having each project manager his own project plan in the MS Project Client. The move from this way of working towards the integration of the whole company project portfolio must be done in different phases based on the project management maturity of the company.