Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wacky Wednesday - Video Conference Call

Tripp and Tyler have some pretty entertaining videos. In this one, you get to experience all the pain of a Video Conference Call. Behold the future of work, and what we will continue to look forward to on a regular basis (if trends continue):

Monday, May 23, 2016

Leadership Quote of The Week - Robert Louis Stevenson

Provided by Erin Morey

Leadership Quote of the Week (#QoD):
Keep Your Fears to Yourself, But Share Your Courage With Others - Robert Louis Stevenson

Again, thanks to my wife and son for the pic! Sometimes the things that are strange are the things that you fear (like a worm when you're a little kid). Courage cannot exist without fear, and either can be contagious. What you share will spread. In combat I learned that what the leader showed was what the platoon would reflect. As a leader, if you want your team to move forward, then you keep the fear inside, display the courage, and you’ll be amazed at what your team can accomplish!

Join us weekdays at 12CST on Periscope (@C4Leader) for our Leadership Lunch. If you missed one, check out my YouTube Channel (C4ELT, See you then!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The 5 (That's Right, 5) Creeps

Project Managers talk about the Triple Constraints, Three Legged Stool, Iron Triangle of Scope, Budget, and Schedule.
The Iron Triangle

Created by Erin Morey for

For the unfamiliar, according to the Project Management Institute:

Scope: The Work that needs to be accomplished to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions 

Budget:The approved estimate for the project or any work breakdown structure component or any schedule activity.

Schedule (not defined in PMBOK 4th Edition): A model reflecting the timeline for execution of the project.

Each of these has a factor which adds a specific word: "Creep." When Creep happens, it impacts the overall project and most likely falls into one of three categories.

Scope Creep: Sometimes identified as Feature Creep or Gold Platting is the addition of unapproved new requirements to the already defined and approved scope. Just because the changes are documented doesn't mean

Budget Creep:  Items cost more than originally budgeted, or more money is spent on higher quality items than required; and these items are not approved by the management of the project. Budgets get blown on a regular basis.

Schedule Creep: Tasks take longer than originally planned, pushing out the schedule and impacting the final completion date. Again, the deadlines are missed, but the impacts are not identified or approved by project management.

These are typically deadly to a project when not properly managed. However there are two more Creeps not typically discussed yet just as deadly. These Creeps sneak up on the management team, and can dramatically impact the original three Creeps. These Creeps are:

Dream Creep: Related to status reports, this is typically represented as a % Complete that is only true in the providers dreams. However if the leadership of the project doesn't have strong awareness, this is taken at face value and can suddenly manifest itself in the other Creeps. Another way that this manifests is when progress is going really quickly for the first 2/3rds of a project, and then suddenly slows to a crawl.

Hope Creep: Typically appears hand-in-hand with Dream Creep. This is where the team hopes to maintain the deadlines or budget, rather than report the changes. Items are missed, fall behind, or underestimated, but the leadership team is unaware, because there is still hope of a recovery.

Which means we need to revise the Iron Triangle. How about this:

Created by Erin Morey for

What should we call it? The Steel Pentagon? The 5 Creeps? I'm open to suggestions, comment below to let me know!

Back to Hopes and Dreams. The Hopes and Dreams of the project team, while being their own Creeps, will also dramatically impact the three recognized Creeps of Project Management.

How do you fight the Creeps? The initial starting point is awareness of the Creeps. Awareness means that you can at least be on the look out for it.

Another solution for immediate implementation: % Complete Rules. What I mean by that, is that a specific % complete can only be claimed when something tangible is done. An example:

1. 10% of the task can be claimed for starting the associated documentation
2. 50% can be claimed when the documentation is under peer review
3. 75% can be claimed when the documentation has been submitted to the client for the first time
4. 100% can be claimed only when the document is approved by the client without changes.

This would need to be defined by task type, and may not be as easy as what I identified above, especially if working in an Agile environment. In those cases, because of the daily stand-ups and the consistent level of involvement, misleading Hopes and Dreams may be less prevalent.

The true solution in either case is strong Change Management. Unfortunately, that is a lot more complicated topic than the 5 Creeps. I have a program for Change Management which includes The 5 Creeps, a workbook, templates to get you started, and an audio of my workshop titled The Game of Change: Without Change Management It All Comes Tumbling Down. As we are looking at a website revamp, send me an email if you would like to know more, or look for it in my store once the revamp happens!

Thanks for reading, and don't forget your suggestions for the new icon. I look forward to your input!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wacky Wednesday - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I've reminded of the glass elevator in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory...

What would you do? How would you react? After all, we all try to bus through the ceiling right?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Leadership Quote of the Week - General George S. Patton

Special thanks to Erin Morey for the picture of the III Corps Statue on Fort Hood

When you are in leadership roles, you may have the title, but what are you really doing? In some cases, people can be more hindrance than help, even when they are trying to be a leader. One of the lessons I learned from the military was that I didn’t need to always be providing “leadership”. I didn’t need to lead, and the platoon didn’t want me to follow, so I had to get out of the way! I have a couple of sergeants to thank for teaching a young LT that lesson.

Join us weekdays at 12CST on Periscope (@C4Leader) for our Leadership Lunch, where we will discuss the quote of the day. See you then!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Inc. Magazine - How To Stop Worrying What Other People Think Of You

Inc. Magazine showcased an article: How To Stop Worrying What Other People Think Of You by Lolly Daskal, President and CEO of Lead From Within. Within the article Lolly shares 14 (for some reason she skipped number 10. Oh well.) different ways to eliminate the worry associated with wanting people to like us.

Leadership always means doing what is right for the goal, mission, and team. Unfortunately, that also means that you can't always be liked by everyone. A lot of the time, in fact you will have to make hard decisions that others won't agree with.

Back in 2012, I shared Colin Powell's Leadership Lessons. In this particular case numbers 1 and 18 hold significance:

Being Responsible Sometimes Means Pissing People Off
Command is Lonely

A leader has to be able to make decisions (in some cases THE decisions). That means (s)he needs to be prepared to piss people off, and honestly, be lonely within the team. If  you try to please people, or are worried about what people think, somewhere / sometime you will make a decision based on that criteria, rather than what is best for the entire team or goal.  In fact, that worry will shackle your (leadership) hands more strongly than handcuffs.

As is my habit, I would encourage you to read the article, as I won't rehash the 14 tactics here. There is one thing not listed in the 14 that I wanted to express (and perhaps it was the missing 10th item?):

10. Take the Long View: People in general are short sighted. Your job is to think long term. As a leader, you should find the long term perspective, which sometimes means breaking some things now in order to have a better future. One of the items I've learned is that people may not like you in the short-term, but if you do the right things for the goal / team, in the long run they will always remember you and the majority will think highly of you. 

Now, I would be very interested in knowing what you think about the article and her recommendations to stop worrying (personally, I lean towards 7-9). Do you have a personal favorite? What was missing from the list. Comment below to let me know!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Procedures Are Like Roads... Morey's Law #24

Procedures can make or break a team, project, or even company. In the military we created Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), designed to define how jobs were to be done. Basically, best practices. Every industry has best practices. In Oil and Gas, most companies have a set of procedures designed to make the jobs move faster and safer. Most of these standards should be aligned with American Petroleum Institute (API) Standards or from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), as two of many examples (ISO, ITIL, DNV, etc.). By maintaining this alignment it helps the industry to have a common level of understanding and comfort with partner companies; knowing they all work toward the same standards.

The catch, however is keeping up with the Procedures (and standards). API, ABS and every other organization responsible for maintaining standards releases periodic updates to their standards. The individual companies are responsible for maintaining their own procedures, so that means they must keep an eye out for these updates and react accordingly. In addition, lessons learned by the company as it progresses through work should be identified and incorporated into the procedures; so that they are always reflecting the most current standard, best practices, and lessons learned. That is where Morey's Law #24 comes in:

Procedures Are Like Roads, Properly Maintained Ensures Smooth Travel, Unkept And Ignored Guarantee Potholes. 

Several years ago, I came across a situation with a company I was brought in to help with their Project Management (PM) Practices, among other things. As I started to develop the PM practices, I also started looking at other company procedures, in order to better understand the company and help use the same "voice" when writing these new standards. As I explored the procedures, I learned that although the company claimed to live up to API and ABS standards, they were 6-8 years behind in updates! Not only that, but their own best practices were 8-10 years since their last update.