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Ask a PM: What to Do When Your Sponsor Is Too Busy

Dear Elizabeth: We have quite an established project management office, and we use a standard methodology and tools. My team is good, they have experience, and we work well together. My problem is with the levels above me. My sponsor won’t even meet me. She’s a very senior executive, and I can’t get past her...

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Ask a PM: How to Avoid Your Own Burnout When Your Team Doesn’t Pull Its Weight

Dear Elizabeth: There are people in my team who don’t pull their weight. They don’t deliver what they say they will, and they don’t seem committed to the goals of the project. I need them to step up and do what’s required, but I can’t seem to make that happen. Instead, rather than let them...

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Ask a PM: Where to Start after Taking a Career Break

Dear Elizabeth: I start a new job in a week after a couple of years away from work on a career break. From what I know, I am entering a complex project with multiple stakeholders. They are active in leading the work, so at least I don’t have to worry about not having support for...

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Ask a PM: How to Recover a Project That Is Struggling in Execution

Dear Elizabeth: I’ve been brought into a project part-way through. The project is struggling, and my manager is expecting me to get it back on track. Are there specific tools I should be using to make it easier to pick up a project that is already in the Execution phase? How can I start to...

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Ask a PM: How to Motivate the Team When It Thinks It Should Stop

Dear Elizabeth: My project team and the exec leadership team are not on the same page. How do you motivate the team when it thinks it should stop but the senior stakeholders direct us to keep going? This situation has a major disconnect in it. Your team thinks the project should be stopped, but the...

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How to Create an Inclusive Workplace for Women and Men

It’s widely acknowledged that a positive, inclusive office culture leads to better morale and higher productivity amongst staff. Figures from research by Deloitte and The Female Quotient show that 67 percent of knowledge workers believe that diversity and inclusion drive creativity in the office. Nearly 60 percent believe that diversity improves profitability, and you don’t...

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Ask a PM: How to Tell a Client You’re Behind on the Project You Just Took Over

Dear Elizabeth: I have taken on an in-flight project. We’re about halfway through, and I think we need to make changes to the schedule. Specifically, we need more time. The client has already signed off on the original deadlines, and I don’t think they will take the news well. How can I break it to...

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Why Finding a Mentor Is Hard (and What to Do about It)

Mentoring is known to have positive effects on career paths, both for new entrants to a role and for more experienced personnel. In a study by Gartner, over 5 years at Sun Microsystems, the results were startling. The analysis showed that 25 percent of people in the mentoring scheme had a salary grade change, compared...

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Ask a PM: How to Get a Stakeholder to Take Action on a Problem

Dear Elizabeth: My project has problems. On the team, we all know and can see them, but the project stakeholders don’t understand the issues. Even if I can explain the problems, they fail to take any concrete action to resolve them. How can I get them to see what we can see and do something...

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Ask a PM: How Do I Cancel a Struggling Project?

Dear Elizabeth: My project is struggling, but no one except me can see it. I don’t have the authority to cancel the project, but I don’t think it’s worth my team working on it. On top of that, my project sponsor has unrealistic expectations, and those demands keep changing. We can’t keep up with new...

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What Project Managers Need to Know about GDPR (Even If You Don’t Work in Europe)—Part Two

In the first part of this series on the General Data Protection Regulation, I discussed how GDPR provides for one set of data protection rules for companies operating within the European Union so people have more control over their personal data and what happens to it. I also discussed how GDPR affects businesses outside the...

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What Project Managers Need to Know about GDPR (Even If You Don’t Work in Europe)

It seems like every week a company is in the news for misusing data. Whether it’s concern with how our data is being used by marketing firms or about companies “losing” thousands of credit card records to a hacker, data is regularly making the news—and not in a good way. Amongst all the database dramas...

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