Saturday, November 23, 2013

More on mentoring

In the previous post I have covered different types of mentoring and today I would like to talk on the benefits and how to kick it off. In the last part on the mentoring subject I will publish an interview with my mentor.


There are a lot of benefits of mentoring for both mentees and mentors but also for the companies.
q  Mentee
Ø  personal growth, development, help in applying learning, higher commitment to the company
Ø  opportunity to explore ideas in a neutral environment
Ø  faster transition into new roles or during change
Ø  develop expertise, wider perspective and larger network
Ø  better management of career goals/progression
Ø  increase confidence and self awareness
q  Mentor
Ø  understanding issues faced by other areas and levels
Ø  improve coaching and communication skills
Ø  satisfaction from helping to develop others
Ø  personal growth, development and enhanced credibility
Ø  exposure to new ideas
q  Business
Ø  better employee focus, engagement and retention
Ø  higher performance and increased knowledge
Ø  more effective transitions, e.g. new roles, change
Ø  employees clearer about their role and the company
Ø  improved communications and inter-departmental co-operation

What are we expecting from both parties?
From mentees:
  • Initiate and drive the relationship – the mentoring process should be mentee driven!
  • Identify initial learning goals
  • Seek feedback and take an active role in their own learning
  • Set up meetings and initiate discussions and activities
  • Allocate time and energy
  • Follow through on commitments

From mentors: 
  • Have reasonable expectations of the mentee
  • Be a resource and provide feedback
  • Allocate time and energy
  • Help the mentee develop an appropriate learning plan
  • Follow through  
Research has shown that effective mentoring can be achieved by just 60 minutes per month, even if not face to face. From my personal experience 60 minutes fortnightly would be the best. Usually mentoring relationships last from 3 up to 12 months, but can take longer if both a mentee and a mentor want to continue it – in my case it is already 3 years.

How to start the mentoring relationship? First 3 meetings goal:
          Meeting 1 – Interview and Agreement
          Establish the relationship and begin building trust
          Define the general direction and expectations for the relationship
          Meeting 2 – Clarifying goals
          Expand the relationship and continue building trust
          Clarify the learning objectives and set preliminary goals
          Meeting 3 – Effective dialog on initial issues
          Expand the relationship and continue building trust
          Use an effective dialog worksheet to clearly discuss your mentoring question or issue

Roundtable session at Agile Management 2013 conference
TIPS for Successful Mentoring:
For the mentor:
-       Assume you know best what’s in the mentee’s interest
-       Decide on the subject of discussion
-       Do most of the talking
-       Hide personal weaknesses
-       Forget that this could be a learning experience for you too 
For the mentee:
-       Bring the long list of things you want the mentor to do for you
-       Expect the mentor to be available whenever you want them
-       Expect the mentor knows all the answers and decide for you when to meet and what to cover
-       Blame the mentor when the advice does not work

-       Forget to follow up on commitments you made.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Celebrating International Project Management Day - a reflection from Synergy 2013

Let me start from the idea and the founder of International Project Management Day (IPMD), Frank Saladis. The purpose of IPMD is to promote appreciation for project managers, their teams and their achievements. And to promote the value of projects as a method for achieving success in any industry. International Project Management Day is a great idea from Frank so every project manager should be aware of this and join in the annual celebrations - it is always the first Thursday in November.

Frank suggests doing 5 things in support of IPMD
1.     First do something positive for yourself to increase your sense of personal power and self-worth
2.     Second, take the time to say thanks to your project managers and team members. Do something organizationally to recognize and appreciate those working on projects with you
3.     Third, participate locally in project management events
4.     Fourth, create or join a regional mission to enhance the public relations of the industry
5.     And finally, identify actions you can take to build your international network and become an international ambassador of project management.

For the last three years I celebrate this day in London at Synergy, so this year was the third time I had attended this event and must admit that the best ever - a world class conference, world class speakers and out of this world volunteers! Well done PMI UK Chapter.

This year, the event took place on Friday 8th November (one day after IPMD) at Westminster Central Hall and gathered .... delegates. The theme of this year was: "What does good look like and How to achieve it".  The conference was kicked off by Mark Langley, the PMI CEO, taking on "The Pulse of Profession" that reports on the "High cost of Low Performance" and states that the organisations that perform best come at project, programme and portfolio management from a different angle. For more go to The Pulse of Profession. Two top class project management experts, David Hillson and Michel Thiry, hosted the event in a great manner, sumarising the speeches and in the end the whole conference.

Great international speakers have been invited, including Jim Lawless advising on "Ten Rules for Timing Tigers" (more you can find in my previous post). Hamish Taylor presented "The Innovation of Managing Change", where he stressed the need for changing the way we understand our customers. Alison Charles in "Coping Strategies for Project Mangers" shared her story and suggested being mindful, taking care of yourself and learning saying no. Nick Fewings in "Arabian Nights: turning a Project team Around in the Desert" explained how important is knowing your team and yourself. Steve Carver  tried to answer the question "What does good really look like?" using the Olympics 2012 example. Not sure if you are aware, but: " In the end it's all in the eye of the beholder! And James Brown closing the event with the advise to "Kill What's Ugly While it's Young" - make people accountable, build the relationships and do not estimate the power of compliments!
68% of projects fail!
As in today's business complexity is increasing this topic appeared not only in the executive panel session: "Managing Projects in a Complex World: Real-Life Lesson Learned", but also in other presentations. We have learned that complex is not the same as complicated and people interactions create complexity. Availability is not the skill set, so because someone is available does not mean can deliver an we need to understand work first and then mach the right PM.  Complicated is linear and predictable and easy to understand for experts. On the other hand complex is nonlinear and unpredictable and can be divided to 3 categories: structural, emergent (ex: technological & commercial maturity) and socio-political. 246 PMs have asked two questions: 1) Which complexity is the most difficult to manage? The answer: socio -political. 2) In your own formal training and development which has received the most attention? The answer: structural!

To sum up let me share a fee take aways and my reflection in the end.
  • Write your own story! Jim Lawless.
  • Know and understand your customer! Hamish Taylor.
  • Talk to each other! Alison Charles.
  • Make sense before you engage! Know what the success looks like! Panel discussion.
  • Audit the team regularly to support the high performance! Nick Fewings.
  • Perception is nearer the truth than reality! Steve Carver.
  • Take responsibility! James Brown.

My reflection below:

I really enjoyed the event! Thanks a lot my friends from UK Chapter and see you next year. More pictures from the Synergy can be found here.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

AgilePMO celebrating one year anniversary and recommending project management books!

Today AgilePMO blog is celebrating one year anniversary! During this year 40 articles have been posted covering not only project management but also leadership, risk management, virtual and multicultural teams, collaboration, dream mapping and defining goals, creativity, team spirituality, motivating others, mentoring and more other topics! I hope you find the articles interesting and inspiring. Thank you very much for this year and fingers crossed for even more fruitful next years.

We have also a small gift for you - AgilePMO books' recommendation. Enjoy the reading!

2. To explore each of the project management approach: Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme by Robert K. Wysocki. In Polish: Efektywne Zarządzanie Projektami.

3. To develop as a Project Manager: The World Class Project Manager: A Professional Development Guide by Robert K. Wysocki, James P. Lewis, Doug DeCarlo.

4. To manage risk properly start with A Short Guide to Facilitating Risk Management (Short Guides to Business Risk) by Penny Pullan, Ruth Murray-Webster.

Hungry for more on managing risk not only in projects but also in your business or life?  David Hilson’s books should be your choice. You can also find “A Short Guide to Risk Appetite” review in one of my previous post.

5. To change the world and become the top class leader: Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn)) by Jurgen Appelo