June 2021 – Prepare to pass your PMP® exam in 1 week!

Join us for our new online program offering a mixture of 5 day long live sessions with a leading expert and practitioner, access to our self paced Project Management Tools & Techniques program for 1 year, as well as access to practice exams and other learning materials.

Introductory session 14th June 2021.

Program: 28th June – 2nd July 2021.

Gain your PMP®.  Enhance your career competitive advantage. Demonstrate your project management experience.

PMP®, or Project Management Professional certification, with more than 1 mil certified professionals worldwide, displays a project manager’s knowledge and extensive experience in managing projects, hence is a valuable qualification to hold across all business sectors.

This online instructor-led PMP® Prep course covers all knowledge areas and processes covered in the PMBOK Guide, and focuses on the new three project management domains of People, Processes and Business Environment.  At the same time, it provides a thorough preparation for the new PMP exam, with almost 50% of the questions referring to agile and hybrid approaches in managing projects.

This PMP course reflects all changes on the test that will be taken into effect according to PMI on the 2nd of January 2021

More info here

Download Course Overview:  PMP Exam Prep June 21

Download Registration Form: PMP-Course course registration form-21.41

and email to:  vandamme@bmc-global.com

Newsletter January 2021

With Recovery Comes Risk: How to Manage the Resource Challenge of the Roaring 20’s.

With the arrival of numerous vaccines, most of us recognize that the greatest damper on the global economy will soon be history. By late next year, the world should start to experience what some are calling a “the Roaring 20’s”, a reference to the economic boom of the 1920’s following the first World War. Along with freedom to socialize, shop and travel again in 2021 will come a revival in capital spending and renewed hiring in developed economies. This is welcome relief for everyone.

  • But for project managers, the economic recovery comes with an acute resource threat: key project staff will be looking for greener pastures when things improve, and our projects could quickly become short-handed. Project managers must proactively deal with this threat now.

If we invest some of ourselves in others today, we’ll reap the rewards of a stable and productive workforce in 2021. But how to do this? By reinforcing the vision and leveraging regular, transparent and personal communication to build trust and loyalty.

Reinforce the long-term vision

Acclaimed public speaker, Daniel Pink states that more than ever, people are looking for a sense of autonomy, mastery and purpose to be satisfied in their work.  During these times of working from home your team likely has more autonomy than ever.  But they also need to be reminded of the vision and purpose for your project and that you are committed to their career development and mastery of their craft.

  • This is the perfect time for you as a leader to invest in project management training to help them sharpen their skills toward achieving the project’s purpose and objectives.

Transparent and frequent project team communication.

During the first quarter of 2021, uncertainty and separation from colleagues and managers will continue to impact your team’s emotional well-being. They are likely to feel, “out of the loop” – even if they are not.  What should a good project manager do?

  • Go out of your way to brief team members by phone or video calls. This should occur at least weekly to discuss overall project progress, how each is contributing, expectations on team performance and your commitment to helping them succeed. This direct, regular conversation today is an investment in your project’s future because it makes the team feel like they belong.

Regular, personal individual team member communication

The pressures of the pandemic extend beyond the work and into your team members’ families and personal lives. Working from home blurs the line between “work life” and “personal life.”  Combined with the erosion of trust last year in political leaders and medical authorities, employees are looking more to their company’s managers for guidance and support-even with personal issues. How you help them manage these personal issues will affect how they manage their work issues.

  • As project managers, look for ways to initiate one-to-one telephone calls to check in with each member of your core team. Enquire about their emotional well-being and family issues. Empathy and support of these issues during this tough time will send the signal that you are with them for the long term. In turn, this will build personal loyalty that makes them think twice before jumping ship.

We have always advocated that the project manager is a risk manager. With the coming recovery, there is a looming resource risk to be managed. By investing in your people through reinforcement of your commitment to their success and well-being, you are mitigating that risk. You may just be saving your project from a disaster in 2021.

If you would like more information on how to build strong project teams through training and project management consulting services, please contact us at info@bmc-global.com.

 

All GBMC Past Newsletters are available here you can also join our Newsletter email distribution if you wish through this link.

Newsletter October 2020

How to Motivate Virtual Project Teams

 

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Screen fatigue! Constant disruptions! Feelings of isolation! We are bombarded by the media about the downside of working from home (WFH) or working remotely on projects. We may also have evidence from our own employees and team members about how difficult it is to stay focused and productive.

Your project management (PM) organization probably believes that it is the responsibility of the PM to motivate project team members. We at GBMC whole-heartedly concur.  In fact, we have trained hundreds of PMs on that very skill.

Now, it’s time to offer up some suggestions on how you can prepare your PMs to motivate and sustain motivation from afar.

Migrate principles of human motivation from the physical office to the virtual world. Some principles remain the same: Most non-supervisory, individual contributors are motivated by 1) Full appreciation of the work being done; 2) Feeling of “being in” on things; 3) Help with personal problems; 4) Job security. So, remind your PMs that frequent check-ins and short status meetings are great opportunities to show appreciation and give team members a sense of “being in on things” or at least, not missing out on too much. We no longer have opportunities to stop in the hall, socialize at the coffee bar or copier/printer room. Give PMs permission to coach, and perhaps counsel employees who seem to be struggling with personal problems or job anxiety. Provide your PMs with relevant details about the company’s Employee Assistance Program.  Encourage PMs to get creative about how they engage their teams – both collectively and as individuals.

Pay attention to WFH ergonomics.  By now, we all may have heard the saying that sitting is the new smoking. Give your PMs some training on how to encourage employees to optimize their WFH workstation. Empower them to remind team members to take stretch breaks and quick “mini vacations” during the work day. Make stress reduction ideas available to them. Convince your PMs that caring about team members’ well-being is motivating. 

Watch for burn out. The lament of WFH burnout is real. Workers complain of too many meetings, and if your organization is international, meetings when their time zones are out of synch. Since travel is limited, a 5-day visit to a location / site, can turn into several meetings in what might be called “the middle of the night!” Help PMs set aside connection zones and use time swapping so only one set of team members has to get up super early or stay online super late each week. Remind your PMs that it’s OK to have a meeting-free day every once in a while. 

 

  • Many say work will never be the same as it was pre-pandemic.
  • At GBMC, we don’t have a crystal ball, but we do know what works right now.
  • Take some time to help your PMs motivate their teams while they work from home. 

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All GBMC Past Newsletters are available here you can also join our Newsletter email distribution if you wish through this link.

 

 

 

 

Newsletter September 2020

Training PMs Virtually

What is the most frequent excuse given for NOT training your project managers (PMs) virtually? Here are a few:

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“Upskilling in turbulent times is too difficult. We’re too busy trying to stay afloat. We just don’t have the technology. We have to undertake reductions in force, so we really don’t know right now who should be trained.”

We will concede that if your organization hasn’t kept up with instructional technology, when turbulence hits, it may seem too difficult. Advancements in digital technology may be outpacing your ability to convert existing training programs to new platforms or your ability to design for the virtual world.

No matter if your organization is keeping up, or seems behind the digital curve, here are some tips for training project managers when face-to-face training is not feasible.

sept 1Use existing technology. Most organizations have some type of remote meeting technology. Find a tech savvy instructional designer and let them use some creativity to repurpose meeting technology for delivery of awareness and knowledge transfer training. Skill-building training may be difficult, unless the trainer/instructor can use video to observe a learner demonstrate the new skill. Alternatively, skills can be developed if the trainer can examine a deliverable the learner produces. Many polls and studies reveal that lack of training is a major reason for employee flight.  Show your PMs you care about keeping them up to date and are willing to invest, even though virtual training may have to start out on a shoestring budget.

Invest in instructional technology.  Upskilling your PMs is a bona fide way to improve project performance. Don’t let your PMs repeat the same mistakes on their projects because there’s nothing going on to advance their careers. Try some of these suggestions: 1) If you have a learning management system, seek out existing courses or catalogues that you can purchase and “push” to your PMs. 2) Consider using virtual reality as a training delivery mechanism. Virtual reality hardware is much more affordable and transportable these days. 3) Leverage features on existing platforms such as chat, virtual labs, screen sharing. 4) Consider using open source software to deliver training remotely. Investment can be minimal and incremental. If you don’t already have one, there’s no need to roll out an upscale, enterprise-wide technology suite. 

Leverage micro learning. Designing and developing a 5 to 7-minute mini tutorial is low effort and high return. PMs can access a relevant lesson on demand that is focused on one topic only, and available though a good search engine. For awareness training (you want the PMs to recall a few key concepts) podcasts are a good way to engage learners. Gather up a decent microphone and user-friendly recording hardware with audio editing software. Install them in a small room with some sound-proofing, add a knowledgeable expert willing to share, and you have a recipe for fast development of PM training. Be creative with the scope and scale of virtual training. 

 

We’re not recommending you interrupt what your business needs to be doing to weather turbulent times, but GBMC is suggesting that training your PMs virtually can be a modest sept2investment with a good return. You will see benefits in employee retention and satisfaction. Now, more than ever, employees need to know you value their skills and career advancement.

Our self paced online Project Management Tools and Techniques program is available now.  Please click here for more information.

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All GBMC Past Newsletters are available here you can also join our Newsletter email distribution if you wish through this link.

Newsletter August 2020

Leading Virtual Teams

Are your project managers (PMs) equipped to navigate and lead in these turbulent times? 

In times of uncertainty, when stress can be acute, the managers of the PM organization must ensure its PMs are skillful enough to lead their teams through trouble and setbacks.

This month, we continue our discussion on how to lead virtual project teams. GBMC has some tips about how to support your PMs in three areas:

 

Maintain Composure. If you see or hear your PMs losing their composure, they may be in the grips of extreme stress from the project, the challenges of leading virtually, or something in their personal life. This is the exact time their teams need to see their leader exhibiting a sense of calm. Set up or step up one-on-one check-ins with your PMs. Provide stress management coaching or training. Ask the PM for what would make a difference. Don’t impose your solution. You should not condone PMs losing their composure. Support and coach.

 

 

 

Be authentic – See the person. Encourage PMs to put more effort into informing others and revealing more about who they are. Suggest they simulate informal information transfers that used to take place in the hallways and coffee bars. Encourage them to use many different channels of communication, perhaps some never used before. Let them experiment with short virtual sessions that are fun—the teams can use their imaginations to organize pet happy hours, coffee chats, in other words—non project topics.  Ask your PMs to step up the coaching of individual team members. You may want to ensure your PMs have the skills to have challenging conversations with team members that may end up including very personal topics. Encourage more authenticity and a sense of caring for each other.

 

 

Flex on Project Requirements. Amid unusual times, your employees want to know what’s going to happen next, and that may not be clear. Your PMs are trained to know the “big picture” of their project and to communicate the plan. That may not always work to full effect when there is uncertainty and ambiguity about the future. Allow your PMs the freedom to be more agile with project constraints and requirements. Teams have to work harder these days to stay aligned. Give some thought to allowing PMs to eliminate or scale down some “nice-to-have” requirements if those particular requirements are becoming unmanageable constraints.

 

Trust your PMs to deliver on the “must-have” requirements and flex on the “nice-to-haves.”

 

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Newsletter July 2020

Leading Virtual Teams

The perils of overdue action items! They eat away at your budget and schedule.

Project managers who follow the good practice of tracking and closing action items may find this difficult to do remotely. It takes more effort and it’s harder to engender team-driven accountability without the peer pressure, normally associated with social interactions. It’s even harder if the PM doesn’t have a method for monitoring and controlling action items.

This month, we continue our exploration of virtual project leadership. Here are some tips for identifying, tracking and closing project action items in a virtual world, assuming PMs already use a tracking system for action items.

 

Closing action items begins with accountability.  Improve your PM’s leadership skills in the area of accountability. Very often, action items don’t get closed on time due to a lack of accountability in the team, and this can be traced to how the leader behaves. The team should hear and see the leader model accountability for him/herself and others. When leadership takes ownership for an action item, and admits (without blaming others or circumstances) that it didn’t get done, the PM sets an environment where it’s safe to be transparent about missing deadlines and asking for help. The PM needs to be explicit in holding team members accountable. Ask those who are tardy what support or resource is needed to get an action item closed. Give recognition to those who close on time. Set up an early warning system for those who know they may be late, so they can get help early.
Instil a sense of caring. Teach PMs to ask about team members’ well-being, and in particular, about their work/life experience working remotely. Coach them to ask about their plans, problems and aspirations. For some team members, virtual work is less stressful, less costly and provides more autonomy. For others, it may result in opposite outcomes. In the latter case, find out and help with a remedy if you can. Team members who are shown care, tend to work more effectively with and for their PMs. (Lominger, 2010)1. This can be a boost to closing action items. In most instances, when action items are closed on time—and meet the performance standard—the team is actively involved in project control. Encourage PMs to promote team-based project control through caring.

 

Teach PMs Effective Virtual Meeting skills.  In the virtual world, planning and conducting meetings can be challenging. Ensure your PMs have the basic skills to plan, facilitate and follow up meetings and provide tutorials or coaching on how to succeed leading online meetings. In virtual meetings, some good practices may need to be exaggerated slightly. For example, have all or part of the meeting standing up, use an online timer (visible to everyone) to monitor the agenda timing, or put a walk around break in the middle of the meeting. Consider having two or three short meetings rather than one long one. Keep the action item status visible and dynamic. Promote innovation in good meeting practices so action items are respected. 

Lominger (2010). For Your Improvement: A Guide for Development and Coaching. Minneapolis: Lominger International: A Korn/Ferry Company.

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All GBMC Past Newsletters are available here you can also join our Newsletter email distribution if you wish through this link.

GBMC helps SNCB-Belgian Train in PM² adoption

Global Business Management Consultants (GBMC) offers PM² consulting, training and certification services to SNCB and YPTO

GBMC Belgium has formed a consortium with CAPGEMINI Academy for the provision of Consultancy and Training Services to SNCB-BelgianTrain. Since 2010 the consortium partners have trained thousands of PM² certification candidates both within the European Institutions and in the private sector.

GBMC is PM² Alliance Affiliated Training Provider (ATP) and its trainers are PM² Certified Trainers by the PM² Alliance. GBMC has helped with great success in large organisations and public sector organisations to roll-out PM² in their organisations and projects.

CAPGEMINI trainers are also experienced in PM² and currently provide in-class and online training to the European Commission and other EU Institutions.

The objective of this collaboration is to deliver expert assistance to support the tailoring and implementation of the PM² Methodology (B-PM²) at BelgianTrain. The B-PM² aims at improving the collaboration and management of projects across SNCB departments aligned with a common PM² (and portfolio) approach, governance, best practices, tools and processes.

 

The consortium will support the SNCB Corporate PMO (cPMO) to:

  1. Tailor PM² and Agile PM² Methodology to the needs of SNCB
  2. Align existing business processes, including programme & portfolio processes
  3. Adapt B-PM² to current management tools
  4. Advise on organisation wide Business Implementation strategies and activities

Global Business Management Consultants have already delivered a large number of PM² trainings to YPTO – SNCB’s subsidiary that provides IT services to the rail operator. The trainings were successfully delivered in 2019 based on the European Commission’s PM² Methodology and on GBMCs experience in providing such trainings.

The PM² Alliance Trainer Programme has prepared all GBMC trainers to teach PM² and the highest level in accordance to the PM² Alliance standards so that in turn, they can also prepare SNCB staff in using PM² effectively in their projects and in achieving a PM² Certification.

https://www.pm2alliance.eu/our-news/gbmc-helps-sncb-in-pm2-adoption/

Newsletter May 2020

Iron Sharpens Iron during Virtual Interaction

Isolation has led many to muse that working remotely may become the norm rather than the exception for many organizations. With this comes continual virtual meetings. However, as weeks of isolation turn into months, we are seeing that effective team leadership via the screen is more complex than simply inviting everyone to a virtual meeting. So, what can we draw from our experiences thus far and what can we learn from others to optimize these “virtual interactions” (i.e. allowing others’ experiences to “sharpen us”)?

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A March 26 article in The Economist provided insight by interviewing two tech CEOs with long experiences leading distributed workforces. The results highlight changes in how we should interact virtually for maximum effect. Let’s put some of their insights into practice by looking at how good project management techniques lead to better operations management in these times of screen communication.

 

May 3Michael Pryor, co-founder of Trello (whose workforce is 80% remote) says that virtual communication must be more transparent and explicit than face-to-face interaction, and that documentation is key. Another Tech leader, Nat Friedman, CEO of the open source project company, GitHub, (which arguably is the world’s biggest distributed enterprise, managing millions of online projects) goes further. Friedman says distributed firms favor wordsmiths, not good speakers as traditional firms do, and good writing demands clear thinking and discipline.

Does it seem strange that virtual verbal com­munica­tion requires better written discipline? It shouldn’t. When interacting virtually, you can’t be an effective communicator with vague, rambling, ad hoc comments. Crisp written communication, like a succinct, well-conceived verbal message is the product of an organized thought process. Here are some tips you can draw from the field of project management to better manage all virtual interactions.

 

 

Agendas are golden. The strength of a written agenda, sent ahead of time, sets the scope of the discussion and limits rambling.

Lead with a consultative, coaching approach. Ask leading questions of participants. It sets a tone of openness. A good leader has the Situational Leadership technique of coaching (when appropriate) mastered.

May 4Break meeting issues down into explicit, bite-size chunks―what project managers call “creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).” All participants will benefit from a leader who applies this technique to framing complex issues virtually.

Make action items SMART. After the team discussion, when conclusions and actions are drawn, the discipline of leaving the meeting with SMART tasks (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) captured in written meeting notes makes expectations both transparent and explicit.

Motivate your team virtually. Finally, motivating your team to action online requires the leader to take a genuine interest in the career development of the participants. Explaining how a task assignment can help build a valuable skillset and passing along helpful topical articles you’ve read are two tips that can convey a sense that you care about people in a holistic way, not just as task machines.

How is this different from effective face-to-face interaction? It isn’t. It’s just that with virtual interaction, the bar has been raised. People listening via computer audio pay more attention to the leader’s content than when they relied on in-person visual cues. Transparency and explicitness are now at a premium. Writing things down before and after using techniques from the project management toolbox benefits any leader or manager who wants to optimize their virtual interactions.

If you want to explicitly learn how to sharpen the iron of your virtual leadership skills and those of your team on projects or in operations, GBMC offers proven results in project management training and coaching. One of our participants in a course last week said it all:

“Despite the virtual environment, the training is very interactive allowing participants to ask questions, debate, share experiences and contribute actively. The content is presented in an understandable manner with concrete examples. Great work….”
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All GBMC Past Newsletters are available here you can also join our Newsletter email distribution if you wish through this link.

Newsletter April 2020

The value of training in the midst of a downturn

You probably read the headline of this newsletter and shook your head. GBMC cannot really be recommending an investment in training when the economics for my organization are grim.

Yes. This is an unabashed attempt to convince our readers that investing in your workforce, even in an economic trough, is one of the best ways to prepare your organization for the future. And we always recommend that any investment in your people be aligned with business strategy.

Here are some tips for how to align training with three different strategies for weathering the downturn.

Reduction in Force – In addition to the toll it takes on those who leave, research has demonstrated that it also takes a huge toll on those who stay. Reassure those who remain that the organization has a plan, and their ability to take on additional duties, or switch duties, is being supported by training. This investment signals confidence which, in turn, can improve motivation, which leads to per­­­­form­­­­ance. Show your resources they are valued and worth the investment.

Change Over in Products or Services – If your strategy is to focus on markets
that have greater need or potential, you’ll need a capable and willing workforce to execute that strategy. Re-tooling takes care of the operational system, but our experience shows that if the human system is not re-tooled, most change strategies falter. Throwing your workforce “into the deep end” with no floaties is counter­­productive. Communicate and train for change.

Ride it Out – If your strategy is to hold tight and stay the course, you can still reap benefits from investing in training. Perhaps the downturn means a reduced workload. It’s a perfect time to have your workforce catch up on the training they’ve been putting off. Provide positive incentives, and push some personal and professional development training to their training plans. Deeds, not just words, communicate confidence in the future.

Now comes the harsh reality.

How do we pay for training when the organization’s economics are so poor? Money-saving solutions are readily available:  online, on demand, micro learning, royalty-free training, and so on. We all know the real cost is seat time. How do you fund your workforce on an already stressed overhead?

April 2020

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