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I've spent the better part of a quarter century working with some very talented individuals on a variety of interesting and highly rewarding technology projects ..... and been lucky enough to have done this across a number of different clients, countries, continents and cultures.
My experiences have led me to understand and be a strong proponent of two practices that I believe maximize the chances of success in any project or initiative.
By combining practical planning and execution best practices with a people-centric culture where everyone feels valued, any venture immediately becomes an achievable opportunity.
So how do we go about making this happen? Well, a structured, but flexible, adherence to agreed upon project management principles and practices lays the foundation to then encourage motivated resources (employees, contractors, vendors, etc...) who bring the initial idea and vision to its full fruition.
I've always believed that a healthy blend of the right attitude, people and process will ensure that "Today is better than yesterday... but not as good as tomorrow can be"
When staff (including contractors or temporary employees) are fully engaged in the business they feel valued, are eager to go the extra mile, inspire their colleagues and become leaders. This leads to the entire team and/or organization being more motivated and productive.
True engagement comes from a holistic understanding that we are all different and as such our needs are unique. While we all understand the objective of a particular project or business strategy, each of us helps achieve it in a slightly different way.
The key is to build and nurture your team so that everyone has a vested interest beyond simply "doing what I've been assigned to".
Engaged employees know their opinions matter, they help each other for the betterment of the group and they manage their differences before they are ever allowed to become a conflict.
A Gallup report estimated that "disengaged employees cost the U.S. between $450 billion to $550 billion each year in lost productivity."
Yet within any organization, department or project team it isn't difficult to develop a conflict-free culture of openness, unity and desire to work together in a collaborative and productive manner.
A strong Project Management Office (PMO) will help any organization deliver more projects within budget, will ensure these projects align with corporate objectives and will lead to an increase in customer satisfaction.
While there is no silver bullet that guarantees project and organizational success, implementing project, program and portfolio standards and best practices (with or without creating a PMO) will better position any business to address customer needs and the ever changing demands of the marketplace.
"The State of the PMO 2012" - PM Solutions
In my presentation entitled "Portfolios, Programs, Projects and the Enterprise PMO" (freely available in PDF format here) I look at how the Project Management Office supports an organization and helps deliver real business value and results.