Dr. Louis Taborda

Experienced Project Professional and Passionate Educator. Co-founder of Projectize.Me Check out my LinkedIn profile for more!
Delivering-Presentation

Presentation Tips

A presentation provides an opportunity for a project manager / team to communicate the key points relating to their project in a constrained timeframe. When you have only 12 to 15 minutes to deliver a clear message, it is vitally important that you pick the right things to cover – so learning to determine and prioritize what’s important to your audience is a valuable skill. Indeed, learning what to say and how to say it clearly and concisely is at the heart of all good communications. Then the art of delivery requires us to rehearse the presentation so that we stress key points without rushing our presentation. Delivering a good presentation is an art because it requires the balancing of different things – each of which is important in themselves, but allowing any one of them to dominate your presentation will weaken the result. An experienced presenter will know how to apply the different suggestions in just the right way to suit the audience – but for the rest of us, it is a matter of practice makes perfect. The First Slide The opening slide is often a missed opportunity. Many of my students show a title slide that offers administrative information like course name, assignment details, team members, etc. But as the first thing that the audience sees, think about using your opening slide to (silently and subtly) provide context for your project. If your project is about an event you might include appropriate imagery to communicate that. You need to establish the project…

Unplanned-Deviation

Unplanned Deviations

Often a project’s real problems only come to light as we get closer to the pointy end of the lifecycle. Like the Rutherford scattering experiment, the nearer we get to final delivery, the greater the chance is that we encounter problems that can throw the project completely off course Project execution might seem to be going smoothly with the required product or solution taking shape when we find out it isn’t what the sponsor actually expected. The positive interpretation of this situation is that it’s better to get the bad news sooner rather than later because it would be worse to deliver an unacceptable final product. So, the earlier we detect the issue, the more opportunity we have to remedy the situation. Indeed, experienced PMs would be looking to mitigate the risk of misunderstood, or misinterpreted requirements, as early in the project as possible. They would also be wary of sponsor or stakeholder silence, preferring robust critique of plans, specifications, or early prototypes of the product. The late discovery of problems is what every project team tries to avoid, yet there is also an inevitability to the problem. And we cannot blame the sponsor for identifying issues late. The end-goal of any project is often vague and blurry at the start, and it is not until the project advances that the required product or solution reveals itself – and sadly, that required deliverable is not always what the project team is building! Early detection of problems needs to be actively encouraged – a projectized version…

Tony Sattout - Project Exec | Change Catalyst

Interview with Tony Sattout

Lightly edited transcript of Tony Sattout’s interview, conducted by Louis Taborda. Bio Tony Sattout has had a successful career starting in construction projects and moving to the executive ranks in a large Australian financial institution. He consults widely as a change catalyst and executive coach for major programs in diverse industries. You can learn more about Tony from his LinkedIn profile. Introductions Louis: I have Tony Sattout in front of me, a highly experienced business executive. Thank you for talking with Projectize.Me, Tony. Could I start off by asking you to describe the variety of business contexts in which you’ve worked? As our readers are interested in the project management aspects of your career, could you explain what part projects have played in your various roles? Tony: Okay, well, I’ve been in projects, almost my whole business career – started off in the property business, doing refurbishments of heritage buildings and other types of buildings, then moved into financial services where I was managing very complicated change type projects, including improving performance in sales environments, right through to running mergers and acquisitions of large competitors. I’ve also worked in banking, I’ve worked in industrials, I have worked in logistics. And I’ve even done work in educational services. So, I’ve pretty much covered the whole Australian gamut of organisations, driving projects, managing funding, reviewing the quality governance, all the roles that are potentially in projects, I’ve played them at some stage in my career. Louis: Excellent. And that’s why I’m interviewing you. Tony: You’re too nice.…

Teamwork – More Than Getting Along!

Successful project teams need to do it all – plan, collaborate and delivery. I have been teaching Project Management (PM) for nearly a decade now but only recently discovered that “teamwork” for PM students can sometimes be this abstract concept. Students think they understand that the word teamwork relates to getting along with team mates, distributing work, allocating responsibilities and perhaps making collective decision – all of which is good stuff. However, only getting together to have what we might call “planning sessions” can result in people mostly working individually on their assigned tasks. There seems to be less of an understanding of how teams can do work together, dynamically sharing ideas and collaborating on the same task! This latter form of teamwork is what every team should aspire to achieve as it can dramatically improve the quality and productivity of a team.  While this may occur naturally when teams have been working well together for some time and have developed easy communication paths that are founded on mutual trust and understanding, it is more difficult for newly formed teams. Which means that these newer teams can benefit from a more structured approach to working together. An easy way to do this is to apply the idea of brainstorming to tasks, ideally before individuals are allocated responsibility to complete them. Brainstorming can not only ensure that all members of the team shares their knowledge and so can easily contribute to improve the quality of the output, it also ensure that everyone on the team is…

Brainstorming Post-Its

Simple Brainstorming Steps!

Brainstorming sessions are easy! They do not have to take long time – there are no fixed rules and the duration will depend on the context, but an hour is a reasonable time for a successful brainstorming session and offers an opportunity for productive team interactions that can generate a lot more (good) ideas than an individual could have done alone. A simple structured approach to a brainstorming session revolves around the use of the Post-It (be it physical or virtual) which has become a regular feature in types of group activity. The popularity of the Post-It as the medium for capturing individuals’ contribution is that it forces everyone to be brief and write down their thoughts succinctly. There is simply no space to write too much on a Post-It which forces everyone to summarise their point and use some key words or phrases. That’s a good thing as it takes little time to write them down and the best ideas can be expanded later – perhaps by the individual who is responsible for the completion of the task. The Post-It also provides a mechanism for individual ideas to be collected by sticking them up on a shared space – a real or virtual whiteboard, depending on whether you are doing this in a physical room or using a collaboration tool. There are many descriptions of how to run a brainstorming session with Post-Its on the Internet – here is a simple one that is used with children. In summary, the session can comprise the…