Archive for March, 2011

Problems


When managing a team as a Project Manager, who owns a problem when it arises?  Is it the person who noticed it first or perhaps the one believed to have caused the problem.  Your working as a team therefore  everyone one has some responsibility when something goes wrong.

What is a problem?  A problem is any error or malfunction that needs to be corrected.  Problems have different levels of technicality and should be handled by the correct person.  A level of severity and priority should be give to the problem.  Make sure problem is assigned to someone who will be able to address it.  As a Project Manager if you will not be directly handling the problem yourself, be sure to follow closely and be aware of how it is being addressed.

Quick steps to managing problems:

–  Have a plan of action, to figure out how severe an issue is and how to best decide who will address the issue.

– Have a centralized reporting system like excel.

– Always assign a team member to handle the issue directly.

-Follow up make sure issue is taken care of and handled correctly.

When a problem  is found it is important to Maintain communication with your team members.  Manage, that the problem is being handled by the right person and keep track of who was assigned to the problem and how long it took to address it.  Focus and attention need to be given to the problem before it gets out of hand. Never play the blame game remember you are a team and everyone is responsible for the success  of the project.

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Power

I am new to the field of Project Management and have heard of the all mighty Project Manager. Teams will consist of engineers and business professionals. In many cases you’ll have highly skilled engineers that are being led by a Project Manger who perhaps is less technical.  This can lead to a frustrating situation when someone feels like they are being lead by someone who does not have the expertise they do.  In these situations it is important to recognize that everyone is on the same team and that a variety of expertise are needed to complete a team.  The Project Manager is specialized in overlooking the project as a whole and therefore may have  power over the team.

A good project manager realizes that the best workers are ones willing to do the work not ones that have been forced into submission.  There are several types of power a Project Manager can use to  influence the team.

Expert power-  The Project Manager can take the training necessary to become an expert on the product or project they manage.  Become the go to person, know the answer or know where to find it.

Reward Power- The Project Manager can reward team members with status or recognition or by simply allowing team members to do the tasks they enjoy.  The key here is to give team members what they desire so you can ask them to do something in return.  Reward power may also work in the reverse by withholding a reward if the people do not comply.

Legitimate Power-  Power that is given to the Project Manager from a higher authority, formal authority.  When a team member is hired on they also accept who is in charge according to senior management.

Representative Power- The group voluntarily elects who to follow which may not always be the Project Manager.   The Project Manager needs to get to know the team members and build trust.

Coercive Power-  The project manager has the ability to inflict punishment on group if tasks are not completed.  The team finds the punishment to be worse than performing the task itself.  Always use this power as a last resort.

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Project Management and Renewable Energy

It has been about 3 months now that I started my blog to brand myself in the field of Project Management  so far I have been very successful with my objectives. My objectives were to find a job in the field of project management and to educate myself in this field.

I start my new position as Assistant Project Manager next week.  Especially with everything that’s going on right now with the Japan nuclear pant I feel very lucky to have gotten my foot in the  field of project management in renewable energy.  I know that there are many unemployed individuals out there, for example project managers for construction projects since construction has been greatly limited.  I recommend that unemployed individuals put their expertise to use in the growing industry of renewable energy.  Many international company’s are coming to the United States to invest in this growing industry.  This is providing jobs in the US’s economy. There is a great push for renewable energy since the rise in gas prices and the nuclear disaster in Japan. Renewable energy is all over the news has government tries to find safer methods to provide  energy to everyone.

Renewable Energy Sectors:

  • Solar
  • Wind Energy
  • Biomass
  • Geothermal Energy

Project managers handle all aspects of putting a plant to work. Bellow is a list of the resources that are managed:

  • Business Development
  • Engineering
  • Manufacture and Assembly
  • Installation Maintenance

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Always Look to the Positive When Moving on

As  a young professional, I have never liked to change jobs often.  I remember my first job I lasted 5 years, and my most recent job I have been there almost 3years.  The time has come for me to move up in my career and say good bye to my present job.  How do you say good bye to 3years of memories and hard work?

A job is a job and I could sit here and dwell on all the negative things about my job but instead I have decided to concentrate on the positive aspects.  Working 11 hour shifts including a 1 hour lunch can be very difficult. It leads to a really long day, I’m taking this experience and using it to my advantage. Moving up into a salaried position means you don’t leave until the job is done. Working rough hours day in day out has prepared me for those tough days.

My job was repetitious and easy so I always looked for volunteer work to spice up my experience. Large corporations often have special interest committees that required great leadership and communication skills. I joined 2 committees at my current job to hep me network among employees outside of my department.  These opportunities have helped me develop professionally.  Remember, it doesn’t matter how easy a job is you still need to prove that you can complete the easy tasks in order to be given and opportunity to do more difficult tasks.

The most difficult part of leaving a current position is saying good bye to all your great coworkers.  It’s always a tear filled event for me saying goodbye to all those people that have held my hand through out  the years to make sure we succeeded together.  Don’t forget to say good bye to upper management and everyone who made a difference in your daily work life.  Below is a good guide line to follow when turning in your resignation.

  • Always give 2 weeks notice so that the company has a chance to hire someone new and plan for changes
  • Don’t brag about your new job
  • Don’t tell anyone off who has made your job hell, remember you won’t be dealing with them anymore
  • Be sure to thank management for all the training and opportunities to develop (face to face or through email)
  • Never talk negative about past employers
  • Don’t leave any open ends

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Building the Right Team

When working on large scale projects that will require many resources  and an extended period of time to complete, it is important to have the right team.  Keeping a project within its scope and time line can be accomplished by putting together the right team of dedicated professionals.

One project can have multiple tasks.  The best way to have a compatible team is to rotate tasks. That way the whole team is cross trained and knows how to handle any situation that has the potential of getting out of control.  It is a good Idea to be involved in your teams training that way you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of individuals.  This will allow for employees to get the proper training they need without overlap.

Listen to your teams concerns and be sure to follow up with a concrete answer.  Many supervisory rolls will listen to and employees concerns and not follow up  with guidance.

A team can be well trained and get the job down but you also have to set up the work envirement.  When building a team it is imprtant to choose individuals who work will with others.  A project will run more smoothly in a positive envirement.  Be ready to remove individuals who just aren’t fitting in with the team.

I have started up a list of helpful hints to building a successful team. Please feel free to reply to my post and share your ideas.

  • Match individuals to their strengths
  • Provide cross training
  • Give the guidance that is requested
  • Have focused training sessions targeting a team members weakness
  • Pick individuals with people skills who like working with others

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Negotiation

As a young business professional I was never taught the skill of salary negotiation.  Just recently I attended a seminar and learned that on average a women will make $1,200,000 million  dollars less than a male coworker with the exact same skill set.  The gap gets wider when compared to Latino women.  Being a Latino women I began to think to myself why this could be so. Is it the businesses fault for being discriminatory or is it the individuals  fault.

I am first generation born in the United States.  I remember living in a beat up mobile home.  Our family didn’t even own a car and sure enough when I turned 16 I started working.  My life was absorbed by school, sports and work.  I think back to how I did it and I don’t think I could do it again.  I use my life as an example to show how hard individuals work to make it in the US and to find the answer to this growing wage gap.

I feel that having experienced the worse,  juggling  a  low paying  job and attending school  has made me vulnerable.  Vulnerable in the sense that I’m going to settle for the first offer that’s offered to me because its better than anything I’ve had in the past.  No one should ever have to settle.   I think that as a group many Latinos & Women  in the same generation as me or before me have felt this.  They have worked hard to educate themselves to move up and live the American Dream they were promised.   I believe that the wage gap exist because as a group we settle for the first offer given to us.  Bellow is a list of tips to help close the ever growing wage gap among  Men, Women & Minorities.

  • Know your worth and the worth of  the job you are being offered.
  • Don’t accept the job write away give yourself sometime to think about it.
  • Remember the employer made you the offer they want you.
  • Create a budget, will your salary be enough.
  • Never be the first to mention a salary amount, if asked answer:  I would like to learn more about the position first.  I was wondering what you think the job is worth. or I would like to be paid fairly for what I bring to the position.

A wage gap exist today because women  & minorities are settling for less.  Always negotiate and don’t be afraid to ask if it’s possible to be offered more.  I advise any individual looking for a job to search online there is a wealth of information to set you in the right direction.  Negotiate don’t settle no manager is going to offer you all he’s got.

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How to Make Social Media Branding Work for You

I first started branding myself in the field of Project Management and I’m already seeing great results.  I would like to share with everyone how I have been successful so that others can do the same.

The hardest step is deciding how to brand yourself.  I new that the objective of my brand was to help me find new job opportunities in a field that I enjoy, Project Management.  At first it was really hard because I have a degree in International Business and I didn’t really want to limit myself to one area of interest.  I took a chance and did it anyway.  So here I am 2 1/2 months into branding myself for Project Management and I already received my first job offer.

How did I do it?

It still feels like a dream! Let me tell you it has been hard until I started branding myself.  About 2 1/2 months ago I started taking a Personal Branding class as part of MBA studies.  It seemed like it would be a fun easy class but it has turned out to be perhaps the most important class in my career.  In this dying economy I have been stuck in my career without being able to move up or out.  Part of the objective of this class is to build an online portfolio of yourself in your area of interest and to prove to the professor by the end of the semester that this portfolio will either help you find a job or start your own business.

The Portfolio consist of starting a blog in word press and blogging at least twice weekly on our brand.  We also have to open up a twitter account and tweet a least 3 times a day articles we find in blogs we’re following.  A Face book page was also created to give our image a more personal touch in which we can share pictures.  To emphasize our professional background we created a linkedIn account. Finally to get the finishing touch all this links have been compiled  on to an about me page from aboutme.com.

To get started decide your brand and open the following accounts: (don’t include  your complete address or phone number)

1. Word Press blog

2. Twitter

3. Face book

4. LinkedIn

When I first started branding myself I had never used word press, twitter or linkedin.  A good guide to teach you about this social medias that has helped me is,  The Zen Of Social Media Marketing, by Shama Hyder Kabani.  This is an easy read and explains everything you need to know to be successful at branding yourself using the above media sources.  When you open your account leave everything open don’t privatize your pages, remember you want to be found.

I was successful so quick because I combined all the above social media’s and began looking for work in my area.  When I applied I would send my cover letter and resume with my word press and linked In links so the employer could find me online.

Another important part of branding your self is to be Remarkable. In other words to write about things that help other not just yourself and help other send their hard work across the web. Remember to be remarkable you have to create a lot of content for your social media sites.  If anyone has any further questions feel free to comment on my blog and I will respond.

Good Luck!

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