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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Effective Listening and 139 Other Tips

My colleague John Estrella just published a book titled "Lessons Learned in Project Management: 140 Tips in 140 Words or Less". I contributed one of those tips in his book related to listening which I share below.

Effective listening is crucial, it avoids incorrect perceptions and ensures proper understanding. As I write this blog entry, I am part of mediating a large community fracture, the disagreements and conflicts started only because of poor listening skills by those leading this community, and that quickly developed in suspicion.

Tip 61: Listen more than you talk
Project managers are inherent leaders. You need to inspire your team to work harder to accomplish more work for less cost and
better quality. Listen to the team’s concerns, their understanding of
the value of the project, its significance and their role in the bigger
picture. Make sure your team is immersed in the mission of the

Listening skills for a project manager are crucial for effective
communication across the project. Make sure messages relayed to
the team by self or others are (1) clear, (2) accurate, (3) relevant, (4)
concise, (5) at the correct level of detail and (6) transmitted using
the most effective medium.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Demand for Business Architecture

As the business world and the impact of technology on our lives increases, the demand for an architecture governing how business gets done is of paramount importance.

A couple of months ago I gave a talk at the International Institute of Business Analysis on Business Architecture and one of the interesting observations I gained from the audience is that we have all become accepting of the fact that we can introduce some chaos and uncertainty to our business operations. I have seen this trend across the business spectrum recently, regardless whether the business is a startup or a multinational conglomerate. We are more accepting of delayed projects, loose guidelines, higher risks, less than optimum quality, rework, compromised rights and invalid solutions simply because we can not deal with the complexities of new challenges and complications.

Take for example the recent outcry by the public regarding the use of full body scanners across the nation's airports [1, 2, 3], or the European debt crisis [4, 5], or other failed technology and business initiatives such as the recent Indian Space Program [6] setback. All of these could have been mitigated, minimized or avoided should a business architecture existed which integrated well with other enterprise architectures of the organization.