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Posts Tagged ‘Project management’

When you facilitate workshops (or teach, or train, or preach, or….), you have to pull illustrations from wherever you can.

Even a toddler’s bedroom. Let me explain.

People marvel when my wife or I explain how we enforced bedtimes (and wake-up times) with our kids when they were young.

When I explain the simple technique, and the principle behind it (The External Authority), any parents in my Project and Vendor Management workshop start scribbling notes furiously. It may be the most high-impact takeaway in the course!

Here’s what we did – we used THE CLOCK as the authority. When THE CLOCK says it’s 8:00 pm, then it’s bedtime. It’s objective and non-personal, and you can’t argue with Mom and Dad, because the external authority has decreed what the reality must be.

Even better – they weren’t allowed to leave their bedrooms in the morning until THE CLOCK said 7 am.

7-00-clip-art

In this way, we remove any nagging negotiation between parent and child by pointing to something “above” all of us, something that carried with it a sense of inevitability and external authority. How can you argue with the march of time??

(Have young children at home? I know you’re scribbling notes right now!!)

OK – so, what does this have to do with project and vendor management, or any other facet of corporate life?

A great deal.

When projects begin to go off the rails due to miscommunication or scope creep, it’s generally because there hasn’t been a carefully defined and articulated project plan. An agreed-upon project definition, with an agreed-upon process, a defined timeline and budget, and an agreed-upon scope of work.

That project plan is THE CLOCK.

The last thing you want to get into as a project manager is a schoolyard brawl with internal stakeholders or external vendors over what has happened to a going-south-project. The project manager(s) often end up getting the blame in these scenarios. This is prevented is by creating a detailed project plan that everyone consciously agrees to up-front. The plan, and its scope, becomes the external authority, reigning in unauthorized changes and enforcing a level of project discipline on all contributing stakeholders.

Now, it’s not you against them. It’s you and them being accountable to The Plan. Which can only be changed by high-level stakeholders (ultimately) responsible for budget and timing.

You can see how the appeal to an external authority is used all the time in corporate life. Sometimes, with very good effect; other times, as an excuse and evasion of responsibility.

For example – what sounds better: “I’m firing you because I just don’t like you,” or, “According to our manual of company behavior, we’re going to have to let you go because you violated Rule #37b on April 12th.” One of these is strictly personal and can lead to a lawsuit; the other has a whiff of objective inevitability.

Or this: “I tried to herd all the cats, but somehow the project ended up 20% over budget and 3 weeks late,” vs. “The VP of Sales signed off on a change to the original scope in order to include 2 extra videos on August 3rd, which impacted the budget by 20% and pushed back our final deliverable by three weeks.”

Are you involved in managing projects or vendors? Your best friend is detailed definition and up-front agreement. You always want to the clock on your side!

Also on the Impactiviti blog: Tossing Trainers into the Deep End of the Pool 

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Malpractice. I’m on a mission to stop it.

Specifically, the malpractice that happens when unprepared trainers are put in charge of managing projects and vendors.

You can help me stamp out training malpractice! Here’s how…

By and large, people do not join our training departments with these skills already developed. That’s where Impactiviti comes in.

We set you, and your department, up for success by providing training and consulting services to implement best practices in vendor and project management.

Here are our unique offerings to set your department up for success:

  • Focused workshop on Best Practices in Vendor and Project Management, imparting the skills and knowledge necessary to transition from field sales, to effective training management and collaboration (coming soon – on-demand eLearning version!)
  • Targeted vendor recommendations – we talk about your needs, and I identify (through the Impactiviti network) the ideal vendor(s) to consider.
  • Vendor Optimization/Alignment Consulting – see this post about the benefits of a strategic “reset” of your vendor roster.

So, call me and let’s talk (973-947-7429). There is no charge for discussing your training needs, or for receiving vendor recommendations. I can explain more about how that works when we talk.

Let’s set your people up for success!

GlenD

Also on the blog: Tossing Trainers into the Deep End of the Pool

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Stephen Covey was right. When it comes to strategy, sales, life, just about everything – we must define our destination if we intend to get there!

Project Management? Absolutely so. How can you succeed if you don’t have a clearly-defined outcome? One of the very first steps in successful project management is clear definition….what’s the Point B?

PointBPrinciple

In my Best Practices in Project and Vendor Management workshop (geared very specifically toward Life Sciences trainers), this is one of the very first points we emphasize. Project Management is a pro-active process of moving an initiative forward to a clearly-defined goal.

  • You need to be pro-active
  • You need to have a clear goal (business outcome)
  • You need an effective process to get there

This is one of the main differences between successful, and ineffective, project management.

Let’s talk about bringing these best practices to your training department (now available either on-demand/on-line, or as a live facilitated workshop!)

Reach out to Steve Woodruff, President, Impactiviti: AskSteve@impactiviti.com

Also on the Impactiviti blog: 5 Compelling Reasons to Provide Project Management Training

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deepI have often likened what happens to new Life Sciences sales trainers coming in from the field as being tossed into the deep end of the pool – at least, when it comes to figuring out how to perform unfamiliar tasks like vendor and project management!

And yet – what is one of the most important competencies listed by our life sciences training leaders? That’s right – Project Management.

The ability of training managers to plan and execute projects is crucial to their success. The last two editions of LTEN FOCUS Magazine certainly make that abundantly clear:

(derived from LTEN/TGaS Advisors survey, FOCUS magazine, Spring 2017)

(derived from LTEN/TGaS Advisors survey, FOCUS magazine, Winter 2016)

Over the last 20+ years working with Life Sciences T&D departments, I have found a consistent gap in the on-boarding and developmental training of staff in the key skills required for project and vendor management. I don’t know how many people I’ve talked to who have nodded knowingly when I talk about “the deep end of the pool.”

Yet, here’s a crucial perspective to understand – the competencies developed for this role are central to ALL future roles, because, if you think about it – it’s all about pro-active collaboration skills (planning, influencing, communicating, defining, process-shepherding, teaming, evaluating, etc.).

It’s not merely project management – it’s corporate life.

So, here’s the 10 million dollar question – are we training our trainers to become effective vendor and project managers? Or are they being thrown into the deep end of the pool to “learn as they go” the hard way?

We certainly don’t send sales reps out that way, do we?

So…what’s the solution?

Impactiviti offers industry-specific training for Project and Vendor Management. This targeted program (delivered either on-demand or live) is built specifically for Life Sciences training departments, and has been embraced by many top companies over the past 6 years.

We address all the money-saving best practices that lead to successful engagements with vendors. The things that you definitely don’t want to have to learn the hard way. Here’s an overview of what we cover:

The Impactiviti workshop is available in both live and on-demand formats.

It’s time to put an end to lost training budget dollars and preventable mistakes that lead to project failures. Contact Steve Woodruff at Impactiviti (973-947-7429; AskSteve@impactiviti.com) to discuss how we can help you implement these best practices in your training department.

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Way back over a decade ago, when I was still working with a vendor company, we ended up involved in a project that started taking on water and sinking fast.

The main reason why? Company failure to effectively on-board a new training manager.

This high-profile, pre-launch project was not with some small-time startup pharma. It was with a division of a major drug company. And there was a perfect storm of circumstances that propelled this project toward disaster.

This learning system initiative was begun with one trainer heading up this department, who then was cycled to a new position. A new trainer was brought on board from the field, who had no prior experience in training.

Or managing projects.

Or working with vendors.

And whose on-boarding (if there was any) didn’t even include awareness of the headquarters Medical/Legal/Regulatory review process!

Rough waters? Oh, it gets worse.

This drug was a co-promote with a startup that had never commercialized a product before, but which had its say in any kind of training and messaging to be developed!

Needless to say, this effort devolved into a navigational nightmare. It was not at all clear how were going to arrive at a safe destination.

Perhaps it was a mercy that the drug was ultimately not approved by the FDA.

Many vendor/partners have similar stories they can tell. A lack of best practices in project and vendor management can lead to very expensive mistakes and inefficiencies.

titanic

While there are many lessons to be learned from this incident, one of the key ones for me was: companies need to quickly and pro-actively on-board their trainers with the skills and knowledge needed for their new set of responsibilities. This is a relatively small up-front investment with a huge ROI in role effectiveness.

I never forgot how disruptive the incomplete on-boarding training was to to this overwhelmed trainer as he faced a bunch of unfamiliar challenges. In fact, it was one of the incidents that led me to eventually develop the Impactiviti Project/Vendor Management workshop for life sciences trainers, which we’ve delivered for many training departments over the past years.

Costly disasters like this one are preventable. Contact Steve Woodruff at Impactiviti (973-947-7429; AskSteve@impactiviti.com) to discuss best practices in on-boarding your trainers, including the annual subscription to our Project/Vendor Management course (also available this spring in on-demand format!)

ALSO: Five Compelling Reasons to Provide Project Management Training

 

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If you could invest $10 to gain $100 (or to keep from losing $100), would you do it?

I would.

Especially if that same investment could keep my team from embarrassing failures and losses. That’s why we invest in training trainers in Project and Vendor Management Best Practices.

Putting training managers in charge of outsourced training development projects is risky business. Here are some of the common (& very expensive) failures that regularly arise:

  • Poorly-defined specifications that lead to scope changes (always more $$!)
  • Miscommunications with internal stakeholders and external vendors leading to missed deadlines
  • Choosing the wrong supplier for the project and ending up with a costly, sub-standard deliverable
  • Time and money lost trying to get an out-of-control project on track due to lack of clear process

benjaminsI worked on the vendor side for 10 years and saw first-hand how costly it can be to have people running projects who have never been trained in the basic principles of project and vendor management.

I have also served as a vendor/client consultant for almost 11 additional years, and I cringe to remember all the budget dollars I’ve seen floating out the windows of client training departments. One bad decision in just one year’s time can lead to losses of 20K, 50K, even 100K or more.

You’ve seen this happen before, right? Maybe multiple times.

What’s the solution?

Impactiviti offers industry-specific training for Vendor/Project Management. This targeted program (delivered either on-demand or live) is built specifically for Life Sciences training departments, and has been embraced by many top companies over the past 6 years.

We address all the money-saving best practices that lead to successful engagements with vendors. Here’s on overview of what we cover:

pm-outline

It’s time to put an end to lost training budget dollars and preventable mistakes that lead to project failures. Contact Steve Woodruff at Impactiviti (973-947-7429) to discuss the best investment for your training department.

ALSO: Five Compelling Reasons to Provide Project Management Training

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Have you ever built something that didn’t come out quite as expected?? :>)

Of course you have. Join the club.

In a recent post about successful project management, I explained the fact that we need to carefully define all aspects of the project, because we each have different meanings of words floating around in our heads (I call this the “mental metadata” issue).

Your idea of a “module” may be quite different from mine – your mental hashtags may not match mine at all, though we are using the same word. Misunderstandings like this derail many a project.

Closely related to reaching agreement on the meaning of words is this next step – being sure our expectations are aligned.

I wish I knew who to credit with this brilliant graphic, because I use it all the time in my Vendor/Project Management workshop, and it never fails to elicit a knowing chuckle:

how-the-pm

Learning how to properly describe and scope out a project is one of the key ingredients to success. The trainer/project manager needs to pro-actively work with internal stakeholders and external vendors to make sure that there is a clear roadmap, with a well-described deliverable at the end – BEFORE any work begins!

In fact, I challenge project managers to drive agreement by distilling the essence of the project – its key expectations, including business outcomes – down to a simple, one-sentence summary:

one-sentence

Contact us here at Impactiviti to discuss how we can help your department move toward best practices in project and vendor management (AskSteve@Impactiviti.com; 973-947-7429).

See also: 5 Compelling Reasons to provide Project Management Training

 

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