Published here March 2019


Musings Index

Sound Advice

The other day I had some time on my hands so I decided to do a little clean up of the data drives on my computer system. That was a bold decision. Not just because of the number of files I have — numbering in the tens of thousands — but also how many of those files seem to exist multiple times, not to mention also in multiple progressive revisions.

So be it. But instead, I came across a couple of thoughtful pieces that I saved and now feel it is worth while showing them as one of my Musings. The first piece is by email from Kiron Bondale circa July 2014 who writes:

What are the characteristics of your ideal project sponsor?

From Manager's Choice By Bec Morse
Business Transformation Consultant; Project Management Trainer and Speaker; Capability Builder

Kiron Bondale, PMP, PMI-RMP
Senior Project Portfolio & Change Management Professional responds:

Here are a few snippets of advice to your sponsor to get the discussion thread rolling (in no particular order):

  1. Please respect role boundaries with your PM and don't micromanage or undermine the PM's role,
  2. Demonstrates true commitment to project success (not just being involved!)
  3. Please ensure you have sufficient influence and authority to effectively support the project and
  4. Act as a highly visible champion and spokesperson for the project's benefits & outcomes to the team and to key stakeholders.
  5. Please have the funding required to ensure the project's survival to completion, and
  6. Act in an appropriate, responsive fashion when risks, issues, actions & decisions are brought to your attention

Advice to the project manager and team members: 15 tips on good email etiquette

The second piece I found is by Denise Dudley from Work It! Get In, Get Noticed, Get Promoted (Skill Path Publications). It appears to be from around June 2017.

  1. Reply in 24 hours or less.
  2. Begin with a salutation.
  3. Introduce yourself.
  4. Show the topic in the subject line.
  5. Avoid joking or sarcasm.
  6. Make sure grammar, spelling, and everything else are perfect.
  7. Don't use text lingo.
  8. Avoid all caps.
  9. Be careful what you write.
  10. Close with a sign-off.
  11. Take 5 to review your message before hitting "send".
  12. Don't overuse "Reply All".
  13. Keep it short.
  14. Don't send negative messages via email.
  15. Keep a thread.

Yes, I know this is pretty well standard stuff. However, in my experience, in most exchanges or threads whether associated with a project or some discussion forum, only about a half of these recommendations are actually heeded. What a pity!

But there are occasions when all of these "requirements" are particularly important. That is, as project manager or team leader you have to straighten out an issue that is either sensitive or personal, or both.

In which case — DON'T HIT THE SEND BUTTON.

Save your missive overnight and re-read it in the morning. Then you will know what it feels like to receive such a message. Fix or smooth as necessary to make your message more likely to be accepted as good advice rather than being rejected out of hand as arrogant, or rude, or both.

If the message passes that test, and it is still needed, go right ahead and hit the SEND button. Now you can get it out of your mind and move on to the next project challenge.

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