Lakecia Carter, PMP


Balancing Strategy and Execution

by Lakecia Carter, PMP

Given today’s complex and dynamic environments, PMPs need to be strategic and task-driven at the same time. Balancing the big picture with the small details is often a challenge for us. Balance Strategy and ExecutionOne of Merriam Webster’s definitions of balance is “Here are 5 tips to show you how: equality between the totals of the two sides of an account”. Is it possible to have equal degrees of strategy and execution when leading your projects?

Here are 5 tips to show you how:

#1 Articulate how your solution aligns with the business strategy and goals. Project charters are great tools to create a project road map. However, they often fall short of tying the end goal to the business strategy. Engage key stakeholders to help craft a vision to set a strong foundation to build upon. The big picture is not just big; it is visual, factual, compelling and real. Use it to steer the ship.

#2 Give your strategic players “just enough” detail and your implementation team “just enough” strategy. All projects include stakeholders at various levels in the organization. Communication issues arise when we aren’t paying attention to the message. Cross-functional teams responsible for execution need to be aware of how all the pieces work together to form the big picture. However, you can’t overwhelm them with too much information. Senior executives and business owners are primarily interested in milestone achievements, issues and risks they need to be involved in. Be careful not to leave out important information trying to keep it high level. Learn More »

“What is Success?”

by Lakecia Carter, PMP

One of the most powerful questions a PM can ask a project team is “What is Success?”. In one of my team meetings, I asked the group to participate in a discovery exercise around Define Success CollectivelySuccess. Each team member wrote his or her definition of success on a sticky note. As each person posted notes on the board, it became apparent how aligned and misaligned we were. The rest of our meeting was spent debating and arriving at a common definition of “Success” for our project. What about you? When was the last time you asked this question of your team? Here are 4 things to remember when you do:

#1 Don’t assume that your definition of success is the same as everyone else’s. Success is in the eyes of the beholder. Asking the question opens up interesting dialogue and possible debate. Spend time upfront and you will avoid standing around at the end saying “What was that?”

#2 Discover the drivers behind each success criteria.  Ask why stakeholders define success the way they do. What is motivating them? It will give you greater insight into their behaviors and help manage expectations better. Learn More »

PMP Career Check: Are You Growing or Going?

by Lakecia Carter, PMP

Change is inevitable, but growth is optional. How do you know when you are growing as a PM or just going? Growing means you are developing your skills and continuing to evolve in PMP Career check: Are you growing or going?your personal and professional life. Going means you are simply existing and going through the motions to get from one day to the next. The difference in the two is: Growth. Are we PMs forever or do we evolve from project management to something greater? Here are 3 questions that will help you discover the answer:

  1. Are you in control of your career path? Most of us don’t have the luxury of picking our projects or our teams. It is generally the other way around. With that in mind, you should remember that you still have the power of choice. You may not choose the project, but you can choose the process that drives the success of the project. You have the ultimate say in where your career ends up. I challenge you to think beyond life as a PM.
  2. Is your current journey moving you closer to your destination or farther away? This assumes you have a clear destination or idea of what success is for you. It is possible to land on a dead-end project. You know the ones that are “opportunities” but are doomed before they start. You only have two choices – either turn it around or make the best of it. Take whatever lessons you can learn and continue moving forward. The best lessons I’ve learned came from project failures. Learn More »

5 Ways to Achieve Team Member Engagement

by Lakecia Carter, PMP

When do we know we have achieved engagement on a project? Is it when we sign the project charter or when we hold the kickoff meeting? I don’t believe so. Many times we aren’t sure if Team Meetingthe team is engaged. As project managers, we are responsible for creating an environment conducive to achieving high levels of engagement. In my opinion, engagement is not being happy all the time. Engagement is enthusiastic commitment. If we reach a high level of engagement in our teams, we need to sustain this momentum throughout the project’s life cycle. How do you do it? Here are 5 tips to help:

1. Encourage authenticity as part of the team culture. Even though we are PMPs, we are human. We don’t have all the answers. It is okay to admit it from time to time. Showing our humanity helps tear down the facade that many people struggle with on teams. Lead by example.

2. Visit and re-visit clarify of purpose, role identity and expectations – Don’t underestimate the importance of having a clear and full understanding of these areas. This is not a one-time occurrence, but a continual evolution as you move through the project. Consider the individual and group needs, as they are often different. Learn More »

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