Change Management: Fundamentals

Recently, Kolme Group aired our second chapter of the EmPOWer your PMO Series titled – “Change Management Powers, ACTIVATE.” In this webinar we discussed the interesting fundamentals of Organizational Change Management.

Kim Essendrup, Kolme Group Co-founder and our PMO Superhero, teamed-up with Kelly Smith, one of our Change Management Subject Matter Experts (SME) to bring back some of our favorite characters for a new adventure. Read on to see what our superheroes are up to this time, or check out the replay on our Kolme Group YouTube channel and download our Change Management Cheat Sheet!

The Mission: Creating a Standardized Project Intake Process

I have to hand it to Kelly and Kim, they picked a pretty great example for demonstrating the power of Change Management: Fundamentals. They went with Standardizing the Project Intake Process since that’s a big pain-point many PMOs struggle to gain organizational alignment on. Although it can seem like a daunting undertaking, it’s a vital investment; put simply, the intake process is used to assess which projects are important enough to a) be approved and funded, and b) prioritized among the other new and/or in-flight projects.

This type of data-driven decision making is at the heart of what we do here at Kolme Group, so it makes me excited when we can relate our mission back to highly relevant, real-world project management examples.

Change Management: Fundamentals

As the opening credits rolled, our presenters set the scene by describing the obstacles our heroine,  PMO Powerhouse, is likely to face when initiating the new intake process. Some of these include common murmurings like: “We’ve tried that before…” or “We don’t like ABC department’s intake form, it has completely different requirements…” and maybe even “I’m not sharing my budget for DEF team to use GHI process unless they use their JKL Cost-Center…”

Oh, PMO Powerhouse, we’ve all been there! Sounds like we need to do a little tag-teaming ourselves and bring in a Change Management SME.

Cue…

The Magnificent OCM!

Change Management: Fundamentals

Our newest character, the Magnificent OCM, understands that organizational changes happens first at the individual level, then compounds to ensure the success of a larger organizational change. Lucky for PMO Powerhouse, the Magnificent OCM has mastered Change Management methodology, tools & techniques, and follows the Change Management industry leader and certification authority, Prosci® for her best practices.

Here is The Magnificent OCM’s most important advice for PMO Powerhouse:

  • Sponsors play a vital role in Organizational Change, so we need to assess and prioritize where we should offer them guidance by evaluating their areas for improvement on communicating, networking, and bandwidth for visibility.
  • Prosci®’s ADKAR® model helps assess the barrier point for the change and guides us on where to focus the efforts of the Sponsor and/or the Direct manager.
  • In alignment with Project Management, we should define Organizational Change Management plans to help step leaders through their OCM responsibilities such as preparing for resistance, training their teams, communicating effectively to build change awareness and momentum, and, of course, being a stronger, more visible change leader.

Rising Star: Our Sponsor

Change Management: FundamentalsAs our adventure unfolds, we learn that the Magnificent OCM and PMO Powerhouse are paired up with their project’s sponsor, Rising Star, to lead the Project Intake Process change initiative. Rising Star has some great strengths; he is a powerful speaker and can be available to lead various State-of-the-Organization or Department-All-Hands meetings to help drive the “Why?” of the change. But Rising Star is new to the C-Suite role and is still building his networking muscle, so the Magnificent OCM set her sights on helping him build a sponsorship coalition in order to gain cross-functional, top-down alignment. While doing this, she introduces PMO Powerhouse to one of our favorite plans, the Sponsorship Roadmap.

In addition to touting the importance of the Intake Process Change to the organization, Rising Star and his sponsor coalition of senior- and mid-level managers also need to listen. Feedback and a Feedback Loop is key. This is because resistance can and will happen, and as good Change Practitioners we need to be ready with a plan to address it. As Kim describes, sponsors and managers must understand that change is not just something we do once and then walk away from. We need to empower leaders to be an ongoing part of the change, and give them the tools to make them successful. You can do this by communicating that “a Change is coming – Let’s talk about how we prepare YOU to help manage the change for YOUR team.” Magnificent OCM has got Kim’s back: She builds a custom Coaching Plan specifically for Rising Star to set him on the right path to further develop his and his team’s leadership skills.

Change Management: Fundamentals

With the plan in place, Rising Star now needs the tools to help his organization learn the new Intake Process. The Magnificent OCM collaborates with Rising Star and PMO Powerhouse to create a Training Plan that will ensure their teams are armed with both the knowledge and the ability to successfully adopt the new Intake Process. As the project manager, PMO Powerhouse will make a plan of action for each department to be trained on the new process, including: identifying a pilot group, finding key champions to help train-the-trainers, and reinforcing the learning with friendly competitions and quizzes.

Sounds like we can call this Change Mission a success!

Next Time On…

We are continuing on our journey with PMO Powerhouse as she navigates the challenges of leading PMO initiatives. We’re excited for Chapter Three of the series, “I’m Ready to PowerUP! How To Select a PPM Tool”… Capes, Spandex, and All.

We’re Here To Help

Contact Kolme Group to find out more about our Project and Change Management Services or email us at PPManswers@KolmeGroup.com.  

Be sure to follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and YouTube  and use #KolmeGroup on shared posts!  

Project Management: C-Suite Conversations

Kolme Group aired our first episode of the EmPOWer your PMO Series titled – “Crushing Conversations with your C-Suite.” This webinar focuses on tough C-Suite conversations Project Managers often have to have and how to best prepare for them. 

If you’ve finished binge-watching the Netflix show Tiger King during social distancing (vendetta against who??), you can catch Chapter 1 on our Kolme YouTube channel now. Be sure to download our Crushing Conversations Cheat Sheet or read on for a quick recap.

PMO PowerHouse (Our PMO Leader)

During the webinar, Kim Essendrup – our real-life project management superhero, led us through a PM packed adventure where our PMO Lead Character, PMO Powerhouse, discovers some important lessons to level-up her projects. For instance:

Project Management: C-Suite Conversations

  • The sponsor support you get (or lack thereof) can make or break the project – so we need to Crush these conversations!
  • Your PPM (project portfolio management) utility-belt is your secret weapon – it can provide data insights which help your C-Suite make well-informed business decisions.

And something we all need to hear:

  • The superpowers that got us to where we are today, are not necessarily the ones that will continue to fuel our career trajectory – there is an opportunity to level up! 

League of Leaders (C-Suite)

Project Management: C-Suite ConversationsAs PMs and PMO leaders, we often need to communicate with various leaders within the organization to gain important decisions and move our initiatives forward. As PMs, sometimes we tend to get lost in the details of our project – RAG (Red Amber Green) indicators, issue & risk logs, status reports, etc. But as Kim mentions during the webinar, it is important to take a step back and think of the information the Executive wants to hear. This includes reliable and meaningful information that will help keep them informed to drive action and awareness from their strategic perspective.

In addition to what information you deliver, it is also important to understand how to deliver it. By recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of how each leadership personality will process the information, you can craft the message in a way that helps them consume the information more efficiently and effectively. This helps your leadership team make better decisions, faster. Now that’s a superpower!

During the webinar, Kim introduced us to an exciting cast of leadership characters that spanned the full spectrum of personality types inhabiting the C-Suite. These included Mr. Factual, Gut Check, Rising Star, and the 5-Headed Beast… (I know we are all picturing a previous leader who fits at least one of those descriptions).

Each member of the League of Leaders has their Modus Operandi (their MO), for how they make decisions. For example, Mr. Factual is very direct and wants the bottom-line up front; he doesn’t have time for big reports or fancy tools, but he still craves facts and data. Playing counterpoint to Mr. Factual, Gut Check relies more on intuition and experience; she needs the data to resonate for her to make a decision.

The journey continues as PMO Powerhouse goes into each new Boss-Battle! Kim describes how to prepare for these skirmishes and which tools to choose from your PPM Utility Belt so you can Crush your conversations and best deliver the data to the C-Suite elite.

Knowing how to support and prepare them for decision-making, whether by teaching the narrative or helping them “Say No” to themselves, can set you on a greater, and quicker path for decision success. You might not only be the superhero they deserve, you’re also the one they need!

Next Time On…

We bring you the next chapter of our “EmPOWer your PMO Series titled – “Change Management Powers – Activate!” Join Kim and Kelly as they discuss how Change Management skills can be another great resource to have in your Utility Tool Belt. Who knows, we may even meet a new character. 😉

We’re Here To Help

Contact Kolme Group to find out more about our Project and Change Management Services or email us at PPManswers@KolmeGroup.com.  

Be sure to follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and YouTube  and use #KolmeGroup on shared posts!  

Managing Change: Absent Processes Hurting Your Projects Future!

Change Management Skills

Change is inevitable in today’s professional climate. We are constantly transforming the way in which we work, where we work, and whom we work withOrganizational Change Management (OCM) is a practice that is recently gaining global recognition – although it has been around for decades. Change Management success is possible with the right knowledge and tools! Everywhere you turn people are name dropping OCM and its importance.  

So, what exactly does managing organizational change mean?   

Defining Organizational Change Management:

OCM is the science of managing people through change. This is a social science as its research is focused on human behaviors or people’s reactions to change. Change management involves supporting organizational evolution as employees move into a new way of being; organizational Change is the result of a collection of individuals changing.  

Organizations do not make the decision to change… people do. People are the living and breathing things that make organizations run- the heartbeat of the structure. We need them, value them, and honor the change journey they travel. All improvements (big or small) require change and OCM aids in championing these efforts by providing assessments and plans to arrive at the best business outcome. 

 What Organization Change is Not  

Organizational change is not project change. Project management processes that are concerned with shifts in an initiative, like change requests/logs/committees, are not the focus of OCMThese types of changes within projects are most commonly referred to as a “Change Control Process.” 

OCM, instead, focuses on interventions throughout the project that can promote an initiative. It affects communications, project leadership, managing resisters, and many other things.   

Why use Organizational Change Management?

OCM is an investment (time and financial) in getting leadership the tools to support the people side of change. The benefits of this investment far outweighs the “costs”. 

Organizational change management has been proven to help:  

  • Increase project success   
  • Support clear messages about the change and improve communication with teams   
  • Make changes happen in a faster, more cost-effective way  
  • Make peoples’ work lives better by prioritizing human beings   
  • Empower employees to embrace and be comfortable with the change  
  • Create a feedback loop for managers and employees to talk through opportunities 
  • Provide a system or methodology for the change, increasing the likelihood of change readiness  

 

What is the difference between Organizational Change Management and Project Management?

Project management focuses on the technical side of change. Project managers are concerned with fulfilling requirements of time, budget, scope, quality…among many other areas. Change management addresses the human/people side of change. Change managers are dedicated to preparing people in the areas of awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement. Although there can be crossover on what change management and project management focuses, they are very distinct and separate disciplines and, in some cases, professions

Change Management Skills

Each has specific methodologies, tools, and techniques, and desired outcomes. The shared goal of both is to create a sustainable change, improve adoption, have a positive impact on resources.  Change management and Project management complement each other and are most effective when implemented simultaneously and with a strong leader or sponsor.   

 

Organizational Change Management Methodology & Stats:

Kolme Group utilizes the Prosci® methodology as the basis of our Change Management practice because it is evidence-based. In fact, Prosci’s change management techniques are backed by 20 years of research. This investigation shows that when effective change management is incorporated into project implementation the project is: six times more likely to meet or exceed their objectives; two times more likely to stay on budget; and five times more likely to stay on schedule. Click here to learn more about the Prosci Methodology.  

   

Tools of Organizational Change Management:

The main tools used in Organizational Change Management are assessments and plans. Assessments can be utilized throughout the life of the project but are especially useful in preparation for change. Various assessments are available to determine:  

  • Individual/departmental/organizational readiness for change 
  • The risk the change might pose 
  • Whether or not the components of leadership, change management and project management resources are in place 
  • A Sponsor evaluation  
  • Team member competencies 

The results of those evaluations are used to create tailored/scaled plans. The purpose of the plans is to teach your sponsors/managers to be good leaders throughout the transformation. These documents spell out activities or roles that will need managerial attention during the execution of a project or institutional change. These tactics are developed, and action must be taken for them to be effective.  

Next Steps Exactly how important is sponsorship visibility?

Studies have shown that strong sponsorship is as important (if not more important) than communication.  Sponsors often think they are solely needed at the beginning of a project or just to make large, executive decisions. Change Management Skills

The fact is sponsors need to be involved throughout the life-cycle of the project, make decisions, and participate in exercises like communicating the change and coalition building.  Sponsor presence can create an atmosphere of support and excitement… leading the way for the rest of the team.  

  

Does the sponsor act alone as the sole leader of the change?

The answer to this question is a strong, hard, NO!  Primary sponsors should build a coalition to support change. This is key if the change is enterprise-wide or spans across multiple departments. It is wise to solicit executives charged with other business units to gain support from the leadership/staff who are affected by the change. Mobilize a team of talent that can cheer a project on throughout the whole company.  

 

To Wrap Up…

  • Organizational change management is not a new trend. It is backed by decades of studies.  
  • Sponsorship is key to the success of your change initiative 
  • Organizational change management helps by creating a structured approach to the people side of change 
  • Organizational change management and Project management complement each other as we implement projects 

Want to learn more on the fundamentals of Organizational Change Management, check out our webinar here

Why do we care and how can we help?  Kolme Group has helped our clients with free Change Management assessments and high-level planning so they can focus the value of Change management for their organization. Our experienced consultants see great value in using all the tools in our toolbox to make projects thrive!

Next Steps

Contact Kolme Group to find out more about our Project and Change Management Services, please email us at PPManswers@KolmeGroup.com 

Be sure to follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and YouTube  and use #KolmeGroup on shared posts!  

 

Resource Management Skills: Foraging and Collecting Data

Resource Management Skills

This is part two of our series on Resource Management skills and best practices. 

In part one, “Learning to Crawl,” we helped you determine if resource management is right for your team or organization. Now to start building – it’s time to gather the appropriate data your resource management practice will build upon. While this may be a tedious process, it is a crucial step in ensuring that you have the foundational building blocks needed to implement a successful resource management solution.

Following are nine critical datasets to provide resourcing recommendations and enhance your project management skills. Remember, it is an iterative process but accuracy and completeness are key here. The more accurate and complete the compiled information, the better your resource management practice will run.

Resource Management Skills

1. Get to know your team.

This may sound ridiculous, but you really need to take the time to know your team. Learn about their individual strengths and weaknesses? What are the idiosyncrasies of their personalities that influence how they work? How do they handle stress? Are they good at multi-tasking or do they become overwhelmed with too many assignments? Do they play well with others or do they work best on their own? Asking these questions will provide you with your resources’ soft skills. Soft skills are just as important in aligning appropriate resources to projects as harder, technical skills. In fact, it can be the determining factor of how effectively a project team performs. Invest the time in learning your team.

2. Capture the current demand.

The goal here is to understand everything that your team is currently working on and the remaining duration of that effort. Identification at a team level typically doesn’t work as each team member may be working on different aspects of a single project. This data set is a living, breathing unit. You will need daily or weekly updates, depending on fast your environment changes, in order to ensure that everything is captured accurately. Ultimately, if you don’t know what is currently absorbing your team’s capacity, how will know their availability?

3. Identify pipeline and forecasted efforts.

To create a full picture, you will need to identify what projects are currently in the pipeline waiting for launch and what projects are hanging out in the forecast. While gathering this list, do your best to obtain accurate probability of fruition, scale of effort, and high-level requirements. This data set may not need to be updated as frequently as your current demand data but don’t let it sit idle for too long as projects may be added or drop from the list frequently.

4. Learn your project flow.

While each project is different, you can typically start to see the pattern of ebb and flow of actual work, and how long each high and low period last. Take some time to study this pattern and learn the impact of each project phase to your resources. Understanding this fluid pattern will allow you to strategically move resources between projects, maximizing efficiency.

5. Gather estimated efforts for project assignments.

For the resource management iterative process to work, you need to be able to estimate how much engaged, working time will be required for a project request. Without knowing how much time a resource will be dedicated to a project, it is very difficult to provide resourcing recommendations. How broad or granular you want to go on gathering efforts is up to you and how your team operates. However, I typically recommend that you go somewhere in the middle. I find trying to estimate the overall effort for an entire project never works. Going down to task level is too complicated and quickly becomes overwhelming. So, go somewhere in between. If your projects deliver in phases, how much effort is required for a resource for each phase? If the work doesn’t really lend itself to phases, where is the ebb and flow? Regardless of the level of detail you gather, do your absolute best to ensure that the estimates are as accurate as possible.

6. Identify project roles.

Project roles tend to be the first category that you filter on when mapping possible project resource assignments. These should be generic roles assigned to an individual project and not job titles assigned to resources. As an example, your project may need a Project Manager, Developer, Subject Matter Expert (SME) and a QA Technician. These are temporary roles that can be filled by any resources and terminate once the project completes.

7. Identify resource skills.

Please do not go crazy here! You want to go as high-level as you can while still being able to identify an appropriate resource for a project. Developer would be too broad of a category and usually refers to a role within a project. However, a Java Developer, or a C++ Developer is enough to classify skilled resources. To identify level of expertise, consider using a skill level.

8. Identify skill levels.

Skill level is completely different than an assigned skill. A skill level is a ranking system, within the assigned skill, that allows you to differentiate beginners from experts. Your skill may be Java Developer and the ranking (an attribute) for that skill would be 1-4 indicating beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert levels. Administration is greatly reduced by keeping your skill level as an attribute within the main skill rather than breaking out each level as an individual skill assigned to resources.

9. Gather additional resource factors that impact projects.

Is your resource fluent in a foreign language? Where are your resources located? Is there any scheduled PTO or holiday times that you need to work around? Do your customers have regulatory or security requirements that must be met? Each of these factors impact project assignments. Gathering and maintaining this information for each resource will be key to accurate project assignments.

Resource Management SkillsTime Well Spent

Yes, foraging for and gathering this amount of information is time consuming and occasionally difficult. However, it is well worth your efforts. If you take the time now to gather accurate data in a manner that can be consistently monitored and managed, you will be well on your way to creating a sound foundation that is the centerpiece of your resource management practice.

Stay tuned for our article on the next step in the resource management process, Resource Management: From Crawling to Walking. In the meantime, check out PMI’s article on Mastering Resource Management for some additional learning.

Next Steps

Contact Kolme Group to find out more about our Project Management Services, please email us at PPManswers@KolmeGroup.com 

Be sure to follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and YouTube and use #KolmeGroup on your shared posts!  

 

Resource Management Skills: Learning to Crawl

Resource Management Skills

This is part one of our series on Resource Management skills.

What is resource management, and how do we develop resource management best practices in our businesses?

The journey into resource management often starts with one, or several, of the following statements being broadcasted long and loud around a conference room table.

“We need resource management!! Let’s purchased (XYZ) tool that will provide it.”

“Our problem is that we don’t have enough people! We need resource management.”

“I need to prioritize my team’s work. I need some resource management!”

And with those magic words a decision is made to dive headfirst into the world of resource management, often without having the slightest idea of where to begin or even what the practice of resource management encompasses. Tools are purchased and some unfortunate soul is tasked with implementing “resource management”.

Whoa!!!! Slow down there… Take some time to learn to crawl and walk before you run full speed ahead into the world of resource management.

What is Resource Management?

Throughout my career I have heard the statement “we need resource management” more times than I can count. My responding question is always: “What does resource management mean to you?” While the solution of resource management may mean different things to different teams, the concept of resource management is quite defined within the resource management industry:

Resource management is the practice that uses information and processes to align skilled team members with the requirements and expectations of current and future projects.

Stop! Go back. Read that statement again.

Resource management is a practice. It is something that you must grow and develop, nurture and expand, and constantly monitor. It takes time, knowledge, and skill to successfully implement and maintain. I liken resource management to playing chess. You must be able to identify when to move the right people, with the right skills, into the right location to gain maximum advantage or ROI on your workforce.

What Resource Management is Not

Just as you must understand what resource management is, you also need to understand what resource management is not.

  • Resource Management is not a tool – A tool (or commonly known as an application), will not provide you resource management. It will provide you with a location to gather and analyze the fact-based data that you need for the resource management iterative process.
  • Resource Management is not people management – If you are understaffed for the number of projects that your team has in the portfolio, no amount of resource management will fix this. However, it can be used to identify that you are understaffed and provide the data to support that conclusion. After that identification, it is up to Leadership and HR to help resolve those issues.
  • Resource Management is not task management – When team members are overloaded or jumping from one task to the next extinguishing fires, managers often assume they need resource management. Remember, resource management is about aligning the appropriate skilled team member with the appropriate project at just the right moment. It will not alleviate the expectation that you drop everything you are doing to put on your firefighting hat. Only project control process and changing expectations can assist you with this.

Crumpled up paper on a notebook with a pen. MaxPixel CC0

Establishing Your Practice

Now that you have a better understanding of what Resource Management is and is not, you’ll need to understand how to get started. The first thing you need to know is that there is quite a bit of work that needs to happen before you can start building your resource management practice. This is your “crawling” stage.

I’ll just go ahead and state it – this stage can be very frustrating! With everyone screaming that they need immediate help, you may be tempted to skip this step entirely. I strongly urge you not to. This is when you gather your base, your building blocks. If you take the time to walk through each step of the process, you will have a good foundation to build your resource management practice.

  1. Analyze if resource management is what you need to resolve your current pain point. Look at what isn’t currently working. Write down where your team is struggling and be specific! Overloaded resources are absolutely a pain point, but how are they overloaded? Do you have one or two team members that can barely breathe because no one else has the skills to assist with the workload? Are your projects behind schedule because you frequently must stop what you are doing to jump onto something else? Is your entire team drowning because, even with focused work, the demand is simply too much for the available capacity? Put on your truth googles here, managers – A good manager will be able to identify where the issues are. Ultimately, will resource management really resolve your issues?
  2. Identify a single location to house the data that you need to gather for resource management analysis. This may be the tool your company has been itching to purchase from the start! I recommend using an application that is designed to provide both project and resource management activities. The practice of resource management is much easier when you have a single source of information to pull from.
  3. Compile your foundational data. This often means that you have months of information gathering to complete but this is a critical step in the development process. As you gather the necessary information, you will want to ensure that you capture it in a manner that can be consistently monitored and managed. You will need to consider the following data points:
    • Get to know your team – recognize the soft skills and how your team members work best
    • Capture the current demand on your resources
    • Identify the pipeline and forecasted efforts
    • Learn the natural flow of your projects and how it impacts resources
    • Accurately estimate resource effort for each request
    • Identify project roles
    • Identify resource skills
    • Identify skill levels
    • Capture additional resource factors that impact projects

If you determine that resource management is right for your team or organization, understand that it requires careful planning and execution to successfully implement. Resource Management is only effective when there is synergy of multiple units including live data that can be analyzed, tools that house the data and aid in analysis, knowledgeable resource managers that understand what to do with the data, and Leadership’s support to act on the resource management process results. Start to crawl towards your own resource management solution by getting a handle on the data that will support it.

For more information on what exactly data you need, check out the next article in this series, “Resource Management Skills: Foraging and Gathering Data.”

Next Steps

Contact Kolme Group to find out more about our Resource Management Services, please email us at PPManswers@KolmeGroup.com.  

Be sure to follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and YouTube  and use #KolmeGroup on shared posts!  

Avoiding the Timeclock Blues: Gamify Time Tracking

It’s Monday morning, and you are about to send a status update to your project team and sponsor. You pull up your project tracking resources and…nothing. Now, you’ll spend the next few hours emailing, texting, pinging, or calling your project team to submit their timesheets so you can send your status report.

I think as project managers we have all sung this same tune. Let’s face it – even with the best intentions, we’ve probably forgotten our own time sheets a time or two. The time-tracking application may even be up on your screen, but a few urgent emails or client calls later, and the task is forgotten.

In today’s technology-induced and distracting world, our attention spans are flooded with task-switching overload. One best practice to combat this, while also driving positive employee engagement and increased productivity, is the use of a technique known as Gamification.

In this blog we will review Gamification as a Time Tracking Best Practice and what elements to include for proven success when creating for your team.

What is Gamification?  

Gamification is not simply making a game out of something; it is using specifically designed methods – game mechanics — to tap into the reward center of our brains and provide positive reinforcement (by way of an uplifting dopamine release)1 for completing a task. It enables opportunities to fuel both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors within us. Small Business Trends2 provides a great explanation for gamification: “A process for integrating game mechanics into something that already exists to motivate participation, engagement, and loyalty. This can be almost anything, from your website to social media presence, day-to-day operations, customer engagement and more.”

Gamification may seem like a trendy buzzword especially when the concepts reference digital examples, but its benefits have been around for several hundred years. The theory was first introduced by Russian Scientist, Dmitri Mendeleev, during the 19th century3. Mendeleev used his interest in playing cards to help him understand and categorize elements by arranging and listing the information on each card. He was able to turn a mundane task into something that held his attention; this research helped him create the first publication of the Periodic Table of Elements.

From scientific discoveries to updating a timesheet, gamification could be…wait for it… a game changer.

Gamification for Time-Tracking

There are ten primary game mechanics in gamification: Fast Feedback, Transparency, Goals, Badges, Leveling Up, Onboarding, Competition, Collaboration, Community and Points4.

Each has their place to help motivate your employees with different incentives and engagement goals. They can be used together or separately. The seven game mechanics mentioned below have been specifically curated to help with the dreaded timeclock blues – how to increase timesheet compliance and get your employees motivated to submit their timesheets.

Fast Feedback

The first helpful time tracking best practice to remember in gamification is providing fast feedback.

We all love encouragement, especially when it is coupled with instant gratification. The use of notifications tied to your timesheet application can help your employee or project team member feel a sense of accomplishment and provides a quick pat-on-the-back to reinforce that they are doing a good job.

  • Many applications can be configured to use workflow rules integrating third-party apps such as Slack or coded right into the tool itself. When an employee enters their time for the week, they’ll have an instant note saying they are a time-keeping rock star.Time Tracking best practices

 

Badges and Leveling-Up

The next helpful time tracking best practice in gamification is rewarding with badges and level-ups. 

Badges are tangible evidence that someone is performing well. Coupled with leveling-up, a great partner to badges, employees can proudly display their continuous, long-term achievements. Badges can be awarded during staff meetings or individually shared out by members in a department message board or team discussion post. They can be tailored to your company culture and provide an opportunity to get really creative.

  • Fitbit has done a great job using badges in a unique way to help motivate the number of steps a person should take each day (Have you earned your Great Wall of China badge yet?) Similar badges can be created with the theme of time logging:

    You’ve logged enough time to have watched every episode of Game of Thrones

    You’ve logged enough time to have read the Encyclopedia Britannica 

    You’ve logged enough time to have traveled to Mars in 1965 via the Mariner 4

    Time Badge 65hrs Book Time Badge Mars time badge
  • Create several levels of badges for employees to proudly display they are hitting their goals and then some – helping you to rack up more even points with this incentive:

    Congrats! You have leveled-up to a Quarter-Time Warrior. Thank you for submitting each timesheet for the quarter by Friday afternoon.

    Whoa! Watch out! You are a Six-Month Slayer. Thank you for submitting each timesheet for the first half of the year on time.

    Time Tracking best practices Time Tracking best practices

 

Goals

Another helpful time tracking best practice to remember in gamification is creating goals.

Goals help us know what is expected of us and how we are being measured. This game mechanic can be used in several different ways to motivate both individuals and managers of teams. Determining the key performance indicators that the team should be striving for is the first step. Then, input this data into your Project Portfolio Management (PPM) tool so employees and their leaders can monitor their progress on achieving their goals.

  • Below is an example from Clarizen, a SaaS-based PPM tool, which shows how KPIs and goals can be easily reported:
    Time Tracking best practices

 

Competition and Transparency

Continuing on, a helpful time tracking best practice to remember in gamification is creating plenty of competition and transparency.

Competition can be a great game mechanic to drive participation and engagement for timesheets, especially when paired with another game mechanic, Transparency. By showing others how well they are performing in comparison to their peers, they will be motivated to have a friendly competition to improve their rank. This can be at an individual level as well as between managers of different groups within a larger organization.

  • The image below shows an example dashboard you might build within your PPM or time tracking tool’s reports module to be shared with various user groups. This shows where the user ranks for their individual timesheet compliance, department timesheet compliance, and then an overall leader board.
    Time Tracking best practices

 

Community

Another helpful Time Tracking best practice in gamification building a community.

Community caters to our innate feeling of belonging. It is why we are curious about what is happening with our favorite celebrities, the occasional check-in on acquaintances using social media, and the reason happy hour invites are well received. This game mechanic can be applied to help timesheet engagement by augmenting the earlier mentioned game mechanics of Transparency, Badges, and Goals. By seeing the progress of peers, employees can set their sights on their next badge to conquer or cheer on others to help reach individual and department goals.

  • Use your PPM tools collaborative features to allow team members to share their achievements. If your current PPM tools do not offer a social post feed, there are other popular instant message apps such as Teams or Slack that can be used for sharing and allowing others to join in on the congratulations.
    Time Tracking best practice
  • The same collaborative tools can be used to help provide a platform for the community to join in and share where the team stands on timesheet submittal progress, promoting a team approach to achieving the overall compliance goal.
    Time Tracking best practices

Conclusion

Gamification is not a new term, but its benefits can be realized more easily than ever using today’s technology. It can be a great resource to help you conquer the mundane or easily forgotten tasks – like the ill-fated timesheet entries. By applying gamification and game mechanics, you can also provide an opportunity to foster a greater sense of community and company culture, more transparency into department-wide goals, and increased engagement with your team. Game on!

Next Steps

Contact Kolme Group to find out more about our Project and Change Management Services, please email us at PPManswers@KolmeGroup.com.  

Be sure to follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and YouTube  and use #KolmeGroup on shared posts!  


Sited Sources:

  1. The Science Behind Gamification: Why it Works
  2. What is Gamification and How Can it Help My Business?
  3. 5 Benefits of Gamification
  4. What are Game Mechanics
  5. Ultimate Fitbit Badges Guide: Everything you need to know about these motivational badges
  6. Prevent Timesheet Under-Reporting

ContinuousNEXT – Digital Business, Maximum Value!

ContinuousNEXT

Hello from London!

Last week, Kolme Group EU team members attended the Gartner Program & Portfolio Management Summit 2019. This year’s two-day summit had a variety of interesting sessions related to this year’s hot-topic: Digital Business, Maximum Value!

Key Note speaker and opening act of the Summit, Dave Aron, explains:

Digital business is no longer only a challenge for companies that are directly related to the digital world. Due to the fast-paced changes digital has made in the lives of all of us, both in business as well as in our private lives, it has become a challenge for everyone everywhere in business.

Where in the previous year’s we focused on digital business being the end station, we now realize that for now and the future, the continuous digital development is the trend.

Gartner has identified this trend as the ‘ContinuousNEXT’. In order for PPM to be enabled, Gartner has identified 4 key areas that play a vital part:

  • Digital Twins for programs
  • Augmented Portfolio Intelligence
  • Digital Product Management and the SRO
  • Culture and Change Management Performance

During the summit these 4 key areas provided the framework for all the various sessions presented. ContinuousNEXTMr. Aron further highlighted that the need for ContinuousNEXT in digital business transformations is driven by more and more complex choices, deeper change and more uncertainty for businesses.

Complex Choices with ContinuousNEXT

More and complex choices require a new way of dealing with those. Managing your gut feeling no longer is enough to drive business change, and existing methodologies require a more dynamic approach. Old fashioned task-orientation, accommodating shocks and changes, the growing pressure to choose well and the realization that the current harvesting phases are weak or even non-existent drive the need to start changing these approaches.

Deeper Change with ContinuousNEXT

For deeper change to happen and to be adopted, businesses need to start ContinuousNEXTchoosing product and platform management over traditional project management. 

The Bimodal commitment is the way forward. In that process uncertainty is a key factor, so embrace it with the following in mind:

  • Strengthen, deepen and broaden sensing capabilities;
  • Develop and diffuse value driver models;
  • Commit to bimodal and be more agile;
  • Build and use scenarios;
  • Socialize concept – test with one environment.

In the end, both businesses as well as people just rather focus on doing great and good work and avoid doing bad work!

Let’s Continue The Chat…

Contact Kolme Group to find out more about our Project and Change Management Services, please email us at PPManswers@KolmeGroup.com.  

Be sure to follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and YouTube  and use #KolmeGroup on shared posts!  

Time Tracking: Should We or Shouldn’t We?

Time tracking in today’s professional business world may be similar to playing a tense game of Frogger. You know you need to cross the road but no matter which way you leap, there is a high probability that you will encounter obstacles that will ultimately end your game. So, the question remains: Should we or shouldn’t we require time tracking?

As a certified Resource Manager, I can easily persuade you into landing on whatever decision you are leaning towards; for or against it.

If you are leaning against it, then most likely I would recommend that you don’t do it.It probably isn’t worth the stress and disruption to your team at this time.

If you are leaning towards it, or if your business requires billing for services operations, you need to determine what type of tracking you will require: Full Day or Time Against.

Before you decide, take a walk with me for a few minutes as I share some of my lessons learned about implementing time tracking.

Time Tracking

Full Day Time Tracking

Full Day time tracking requires a resource to account for 100% of their working hours. This is the more complicated, more demanding, and most difficult type of time tracking to successfully implement and get adopted. While, there are several key benefits, the drawbacks can come with real consequences to both the organization and the team environment.

Benefits:

  • Provides a full picture of productive vs non-productive time/activities
  • Provides resource allocation justification
  • Provides performance accountability
  • Identifies where processes should be improved
  • Provides process improvement KPIs
  • Provides the most detailed level of estimating work effort and forecasting resource capacity

Drawbacks:

  • Can generate largely false data – Resources often arbitrarily enter in 8 hours just to meet the requirement. Others may under report or inflate time to appear that they are either more efficient or more overloaded than they may be.
  • Often creates a negative working environment by generating a feeling of “Big Brother Watching” or being micromanaged.
  • Difficult to get buy-in from the resources and managers. This requires a lot of tough conversations and a strong dedication to taking the most unpopular avenue.
  • If Applied to Global Users – Can create complications in countries that have Work Counsels and/or strict privacy rules
  • Can create legal complications if global, contracted or non-exempt employees consistently report more than the agreed upon contracted hours

Before you decide to implement a Full Day time tracking requirement, take a minute to be brutally honest with yourself – is this truly required to achieve what you need?

If you are unsure that this is right for your team, then don’t do it! You need to be fully committed to deal with the objections, consequences, and occasionally out right defiance if you plan to go down the Full Day time tracking path.

If this option worries you, perhaps consider implementing the less daunting time tracking type, Time Against.

Time Tracking

Time Against Time Tracking

Time Against tracking requires a resource to account for the amount of time they spend working on a particular assignment and the overall daily sum of hours is not as important. While time tracking will never be popular with resources, this is the less demanding, more user friendly, and easier type of time tracking to successfully implement and get adopted. Following are a few of the benefits and drawbacks for this method.

Benefits:

  • Provides a more accurate picture of actual time spent on individual projects
  • Can identify where processes should be improved
  • Provides resource allocation justification when combined with resource management best practices
  • Provides performance accountability
  • Provides the most accurate level of estimating work effort and forecasting resource capacity
  • Eliminates the “Big Brother Watching” and micromanagement feeling
  • Easier to get buy-in from the resources as they are more likely to understand the request versus harboring feelings of having their privacy invaded.

Drawbacks:

  • Resources need to change their working behaviors in order to make entering time against projects a routine activity
  • There may be times that large blocks of time are unaccounted for which ultimately should generate a conversation with the resource
  • If Applied to Global Users – Can create complications in countries that have Work Counsels and/or strict privacy rules
  • Can create legal complications if global, contracted or non-exempt employees consistently report more than the agreed upon contracted hours

Which way to go?

Between the two time tracking types, I have historically seen greater implementation success with the Time Against option. Resources are more open to accounting for how much time they spend working on something so long as every minute of their day does not need to be tracked.

The result of this that you typically have more reliable data that you can use to improve overall performance.

Time Tracking

But First, Ask Yourself…

Regardless of which path you choose, there are several other questions that you need to take an open and honest look at:

  • Will time tracking improve your working environment or simply create more overhead? – This is a difficult question to be honest about. Our initial inclination is to start listing off all the ways things will improve: accurate effort estimating, resource forecasting, resource load balancing. All good responses! I would challenge you, however, to look at it again. Especially after looking over the next few questions. Time tracking will always come with additional overhead, negative emotions, and change management. It’s worth being honest with yourself on if it is truly required.
  • Once you have this information, do you know what to do with it? – Be honest!!! Gathering information is great! Gathering accurate information is even better!! Now that you have it, do you know what to do with it? Do you have an established resource management plan that you will be utilizing? Do you have knowledgeable Resource Managers that know how to analyze the data and turn it into some that can be used for both executive level and team level decisions? If you don’t, take some additional time to evaluate your needs.
  • Are you willing to risk changing the work environment by implementing time tracking? – Let’s face it, we hire our resources for their skills, their knowledge, and their experience. Asking them to track their time is often perceived as a slap in the face, even if you have very valid reasons for the ask. Time-tracking discussions are very difficult to have! Be aware of the impact that this will have on your team’s morale.
  • Do you have Leadership’s buy-in and support? – If they are not fully committed to backing up this requirement, it has a very low chance of succeeding. If your Executives are not fully on board, consider implementing another method to gather the data you require.
  • Are you willing to link time tracking to a compliance program?  – This typically impacts resources’ financials or reviews, positively or negatively. If you aren’t willing to take this step, understand that compliance will be extremely low. If it isn’t required, and there are no consequences for being non-compliant, then why should I bother?

My Time Tracking Recommendation For You…

Ultimately, there are many, many factors that should be reviewed thoroughly when considering project time tracking. At the end of the day, here’s my recommendation for you:

If you feel the need to require time reporting, and a minute by minute breakdown isn’t absolutely necessary, have resources report time against particular assignments rather than a full day’s accounting.

Balance the non-reported time by adjusting their overall availability. Link this initiative to a compliance program, whether you choose to utilize the carrot or the stick – although you will get a much better reaction with carrots! Take the time to explain to your resources exactly why this information is needed and lay out the WIIFM factors.

Finally, make sure to follow up your team after some time has passed to review the results of this effort. Let them not only see, but understand, what benefits time tracking brings to the organization.

Let’s Continue To Chat…

Contact Kolme Group to find out more about our Project and Change Management Services, please email us at PPManswers@KolmeGroup.com.  

Be sure to follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and YouTube  and use #KolmeGroup on shared posts!  

The Art + Science Behind Project Leaders and Coordinators Working Together

Seth Norburg of Caterpillar spoke at a “lightning talk” during the PMO Symposium ’17 short-format breakout session. In his session, he discussed how they split project management duties, in all projects, between what they call a Project Leader, and a Project Coordinator. This is particularly interesting for teams that have both PM’s and PC’s, and are trying to figure out how to best utilize both. In Caterpillar, they intentionally split these roles on all projects. Their logic is that, if they don’t, the Leader too often gets tied up in the project details, and the project goes off track. By engaging a Coordinator to do the “head’s down” work, the Project Leader is free to keep a “head’s up” view, ensuring the project stays on track and realizes its expected benefits. Continue reading to learn the Art + Science behind this needed relationship…

The Art

The Art + Science Behind Project Leaders and Coordinators Working TogetherThe Project Leader / Manager is responsible for the overall success of the project, and manages the “art” side. Their responsibilities include:

  • Manage project to achieve its objectives
  • Acquire resources
  • Accountable for project execution
  • Monitor project performance KPI’s
  • Identify issues and take corrective actions
  • Provide technical expertise and direction, and coaching
  • Business partner relationship management
  • Communicate to stakeholders
  • Manage conflicts and crisis

The Science

The Project Coordinator takes direction from the Project Leader, and is responsible for execution, as directed by the Leader. The Art + Science Behind Project Leaders and Coordinators Working TogetherThey are the “scientist.”

This includes:

  • Following established PMO methodology and standards
  • Facilitate project planning, and manage execution to the plan
  • Project creation and validation
  • Project analysis, management and control (critical path, risk)
  • Project report generation and distribution
  • Project planning updates and maintenance
  • Project administrative functions, including financials

In this strategy, Coordinators are typically assigned on multiple projects.  With this approach, a clear definition of roles and responsibilities is key for success.

Let’s Unite!

Contact Kolme Group to find out more about our Project and Change Management Services, please email us at PPManswers@KolmeGroup.com.

Be sure to follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and YouTube  and use #KolmeGroup on shared posts!

5 Components To Competitive Advantage

Dr. Rita McGrath kicked off the PMO Symposium ’17 with a talk on the 5 Components to Competitive Advantage. In her keynote, she noted that the goal of strategy used to be achieving a sustainable competitive advantage. But the pace of innovation today makes any such advantage transitory at best.

To illustrate this, she shared an interview with RIM CEO Jim Balsillie, from 2008 when RIM was on the top of its game. In that interview, Jim Balsillie said they planned to just keep doing what they are doing, because it was working well so far. To contrast this, she shared a quote from Jeff Bezos, 

“It’s day 1 forever, because day 2 is death”

 

Be On The Look Out

She noted that industry borders do not stay in place – the greatest competitors will come to you from 5 Keys To Competitive Advantageoutside your industry with a new approach, creating a strategic inflection point.

To illustrate this, she shared the example of how Arcades were completely supplanted by home gaming consoles.

 

The 5 Key Components To Competitive Advantage

In her strategic playbook, she outlined the following key components to staying on top of the transient advantage game:

  1. Continuous Reconfiguration – build in flexibility so you can respond and adapt to change
  2. Healthy Disengagement – have a safe way to exit a failing business or idea, and repurpose you resources. This is very important, because success is often preceded by failure.
  3. Separate Power from Resource Management.  This is because resources are too often put into a position where they are defending a current position, rather than developing strategies that should be driving toward the next advantage.
  4. Accelerate the organization – this starts with Innovation driving ideation, which goes through incubation, then accelerating the business
  5. Finally, create new requirements for leaders. They need to be able to take in new information and act on it, rather than shooting for the status quo. As she puts it, leaders today more often take “tour of duty” assignments, rather than fill static roles.

The Innovation Matrix

Dr. McGrath then took us through her innovation matrix, which depicted where and how to diversify your portfolio to help drive agility and advantage.

  • New Positioning Options should be explored, even if they are contrary to each other. Typically, one positioning strategy will remove the need for others. But, this is still important, as the right new positioning strategy can have a huge impact.
  • Stepping Stone exploration should be done in a small, niche market with a specific problem – the solution for which could make a huge opening in a big market.

She closed with words of wisdom:

  • Transient advantage makes fools of us all – because we expect those benefits to last. And they don’t.
  • There needs to be a balance between supporting current operations and innovation – too much on either side is not good.
  • There is no secret – well developed innovation practices work.

She also has a newsletter and a number of books you can find on her blog, here

Let’s Unite!

Contact Kolme Group to find out more about our Project and Change Management Services, please email us at PPManswers@KolmeGroup.com.

Be sure to follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and YouTube  and use #KolmeGroup on shared posts!