Apex 3 Blog
A blog to offer ideas, suggestions and techniques to turn around or fix troubled or failed IT projects

A.C.T.I.O.N. For Your Project

by Mark Davison February 2. 2011 14:43
Attitude
Commitment
Teamwork
Improvement
One hundred percent
No nonsense/practical:  Get it done!

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Reminders for Achieving Top Quality

by Mark Davison February 2. 2011 14:35
Commitment
Measurement
Tool utilization
Continuous improvement
Do the right things right the first time
Walk the talk
Recognition
100% is the standard
Define requirements well
Cascade the process
Prevention
Training

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Suggestions for Teamwork Success

by Mark Davison February 2. 2011 14:33
Support each other
Share a "can do" attitude
Communicate clear expectations
Provide meaningful feedback
Meet deadlines/fulfill project objectives
Hold meetings with purpose that result in specific actions
Handle challenges and problems effectively
Generate deliverables with top-notch quality
Motivate fellow teammates to participate enthusiastically, working at top capacity
Blend different personalities into a harmonious, productive group
Respect each other

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For Productive Team Meetings

by Mark Davison February 1. 2011 15:19
- Start the meeting on time
- Follow the agenda
- Conduct one piece of business at a time
- Allow each attendee to participate in his/her own way
- Offer support and challenges to understand concerns and issues, and expose different viewpoints
- Use silence to seek opinions; it doesn't always mean agreement
- Lead the group to decisions and through the decisionmaking process
- Validate commitment for the decisions made
- Assign roles and responsibilities to avoid lack of clarity
- Agree on follow up actions and delivery dates
- Review next steps (including follow ups) before the meeting ends
- Establish the time and location for the next meeting
- End on time
- Review:  in your mind was the meeting necessary?  What can be changed to be more effective next time?

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Managing Conflict? Some Thoughts...

by Mark Davison February 1. 2011 15:15
Types of Instigators:
- Competitor - uses conflict to compete with others in gamesmanship to get their way
- Dominator - uses conflict to trounce the competition and get their way
- Avoider - avoids conflict (refrains from participation) to get their way
- Influencer - uses cooperation to get their way
How to Address the Instigators:
- Competitor - use collaboration skills to reign in unhealthy competition and clear the way for resolution
- Dominator - use teaming/partnering skills to tame the right-v-wrong power trip of the Dominator
- Avoider - reach out and engage in the process, don't allow them to abstain
- Influencer - extend negotiation skills beyond singular results toward a win-win for the team
Also:
- Foster healthy disagreements to advance thinking, but insist on unity to resolve  persistent problems
- Encourage creativity to arrive at win-win solutions
- Bone up on negotiation skills to understand deeper motivations and identify elusive compromise opportunities

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Engage Your Team to Fix that Project

by Mark Davison February 1. 2011 14:57
1.  Determine the strengths and weaknesses of team members, and identify ways to leverage them
2.  Provide firm but realistic deadlines
3.  Emphasize results, but don't let up on process and diligence where quality is essential
4.  Avoid getting sucked into providing all the solutions; tap into the brainpower of the team
5.  Establish measurements and assign team members to track them toward goals
6.  Respond to questions with discretion; turn them around to get input from the team
7.  Report on progress by assigning team members to publish measurements and accomplishments periodically

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Consider this Before You Hire or Promote that Team Member

by Mark Davison February 1. 2011 14:51
Proficiency in duties of current assignment or position?
Excellent communications skills?
Demonstrated use of technologies required?
Experience/qualifications to fulfill new responsibilities?
Expertise (functional/technical) required to fulfill new responsibilities?
Positive attitude/enthusiastic about a new assignment or position?
Familiarity with new position requirements?
Fit with team members/colleagues in the new position?

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Leadership Traits for Pressure Situations

by Mark Davison February 1. 2011 14:47
-Promote the vision - help others understand where you're heading, provide that vision
-Make others feel valued - emphasize others' contributions and strengths, and leverage their enthusiasm
-Admit mistakes - be open if mistakes are made and take corrective actions
-Get into the mix - be visible, talk to people, visit offices and work sites, and ask lots of questions to stay close to what's happening
-Be firm and fair - treat others with respect and the way you would like them to treat you

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Productive Meetings Tips

by Mark Davison February 1. 2011 14:41
1.  Define an agenda
2.  Include times to discuss each item
3.  Circulate the agenda in advance
4.  Start the meeting on time
5.  Don't let the agenda get sidetracked, and take problems off line to handle later in small groups or one-on-one
6.  Avoid criticizing others in the meeting
7.  Call out follow actions and document them
8.  Distributed minutes with 24 hours

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Do We Need A Meeting?

by Mark Davison February 1. 2011 14:39
Don't waste our time in endless meetings - save your project team and their lamenting about it.  In a turnaround situation here's why you should have meetings:
- Communication - to share a message, one or two way
- Status - communicate current status, issues, next steps
- Problem solving - need groupthink to find a solution to a problem
- Crisis management - address critical situations, issues or conflicts
- Emotional - recognize or support others

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