How do I put together the best team?

2 min.

Summary

Team composition and understanding of roles are a success factor for successful project implementation. The Belbin model can be used to analyse and define an optimal mix of colleagues in the team with a wide variety of characteristics. My observation is that in international teams the mix is often easier to achieve due to the different cultural backgrounds. In teams without clear leadership authority it is even more elementary that the team members are deployed according to their strengths and the composition of the team is “optimal”.

Why do I have to take care of this?

In addition to my firm conviction that international and thus interculturally assembled teams are the best, we should take a closer look at why this is so. An analysis in an environment where leadership is given without epaulettes is particularly relevant. This is where optimally assembled teams become particularly important.

The origins of intercultural effectiveness with regard to team composition are determined by the cultural dimensions (e.g. according to Hofstede) and thus the stronger or weaker character of the people involved.

What does Belbin say?

Meredith Belbin presents nine roles in 1981, which should be taken into account when putting together a team. These nine roles are divided into three groups.

  • Action-oriented roles
    • Implementer = implements ideas and plans
    • Finisher = Ensures quality-conscious work and ensures that deadlines are met
    • Shaper = Encourages the team to improve. Eliminates problems.
  • Communication-oriented roles
    • Co-ordinator = Coordinates the team and promotes results orientation.
    • Teamworker = promotes team building
    • Resource Investigator = Promotes the exploitation of opportunities and forms a network in the project environment.
  • Knowledge-oriented roles
    • Plant = Shows ideas and possible solutions.
    • Monitor-Evaluator = Analyzes options for action for their feasibility.
    • Specialist = Brings in his expertise.

How does it work?

Team members and managers can identify the respective strengths and weaknesses in their own team by looking at the various roles and reflecting on them in order to use the potential of the individuals as well as the potential for the composition of teams. The team can be “balanced” through a mutual understanding and awareness of the characteristics. Surely the above mentioned roles will never be found in their pure form, because everyone assumes different roles depending on the project context or the project task, but nevertheless the understanding at least about the tendencies in the role characteristics for team cooperation helps.

From the “Tripple Constraints” to the “Six Interdependencies”

3 min.

Summary

The project objectives, the Magic Triangle, Tripple Constraint or also called Objectives Triangle is a consolidated representation of the project objectives. In the course of time, a further target variable has been added to represent stakeholder satisfaction, especially client satisfaction. The project is carried out in the context of organisations. At least one organization provides resources in the form of project personnel and material resources. A simple resource planning of the project optimized for the project isolated from the context is not target-oriented. Further each project has not only positive aspects, but causes also a damage. These are the “six interdependencies” which also apply to agile project management approaches.

Origin and Development

The project objective variables, the magic triangle, triple constraint or also called objectives triangle is a consolidated representation of the project objectives on the basis of the measurement variables

  • scope or service,
  • cost (hours or person days and costs) and
  • time (duration and dates).

In the course of time, a further target variable has been added, which is to represent stakeholder satisfaction, especially customer satisfaction. An extension to the magic square did not take place, but was seen as an extension of the magic triangle.

A magic square in connection with project management was mistakenly included in the literature, in which the quality was recorded separately. However, we must clearly distance ourselves from this, since quality is inherently anchored in the aforementioned goals.

We can therefore state that there are at least four indicators for the success of a project: scope, time, cost and stakeholder satisfaction.

Project success in the context of the environment

The project will be carried out in the context of organisations. At least one organisation provides resources in the form of project personnel and material resources. These are also limited and it is a component of the planning duties and thus criterion of the project success, how effectively the project personnel and how careful/limited the project resources are used for the entire organization. Because the project personnel is often entrusted with other tasks in the line and / or the coworkers are just as urgently looked for in other projects. The material resources such as an excavator become just as important for the course of the project on another construction site, for example. A simple resource planning of the project optimized for the project isolated from the context is not goal-prominent. The optimization needs which the project director, the project portfolio manager or the specialist departments specify for project resources are not only a one-sided process. Perhaps the consideration of this interdependence resource optimization in project success would also nip in the bud the thought construct of “thinking of project members only as inputs”.

Every project not only has positive aspects, but also causes damage. For example, an implementation of software may lead to job losses. Or an environmental protection project for the creation of a new nature reserve leads to the loss of a farmer’s arable land. This causes damage to the farmer, even if he is certainly compensated for it. So here we have a clear contribution to the project success in this case with a negative sign. We cannot simply deduct this negative contribution from the performance. Here we would make it too easy for ourselves, because the service is the desired dimension of the client and automatically does not take the damage into account.

In addition to scope, time, cost and stakeholder satisfaction, we have now established two further success criteria such as resource optimization and project damage.

We have thus outlined the “Six Interdependencies”.

Six Interdependencies

Agility and the reflection of the Six Interdependencies

Now you might think the magic triangle was never relevant for me as an agile product owner anyway, because the performance is never relevant due to “fix” number of story points that can be processed in a sprint. This is deceptive and not really true, because by prioritizing the backlog the most important performance is of course defined as “part” of the project. Reprioritizing, adding or removing stories at the start of each sprint deliberately changes the performance of the project. So the six interdependencies are also likely to be relevant in agile practice.

Activity list – why is that?

3 min.

Summary

After work package planning has been completed, the activity list is created as a table. It is the following method to be applied according to the work breakdown structure. The activity list is the link between the work breakdown structure and the schedule.
The real added value is the task list, as a means of reducing the project duration, in that the core team with its expertise and the project manager identifies as many logical sequences as possible that can contribute to reducing the project duration. Even in an agile environment, dependencies need to be identified and taken into account. Splitting user stories without creating additional dependencies is an important skill of the SCRUM team.

What is the task list?

After completion of the work package planning, the process list is created. It is a table of all work packages and contains essential information from the work package planning from which the scheduling is derived in the further course.

The work breakdown structure (WBS) does not yet have any information on the functional sequence (“technical” dependencies). The activity list helps here. In project management, it is a “bridge medium” between WBS and the schedule. The activity list is a table of activities in the project. Based on the activity list, the project manager can determine the start and end dates of the work packages.

What is the added value of the activity list?

After creating the task list, it can be estimated for the first time whether it is possible to achieve the project goal within the framework of the available resources. Now it is possible to add all costs and capacities that were considered necessary by the WP managers. However, it is not yet possible to draw conclusions about the sufficient availability of the necessary capacities, since normally there is no uniform utilization, but rather individual capacity peaks represent the problem. It is also possible to record which predecessors are necessary to start a work package.

The real added value is the task list, as a means of reducing the project duration, in which the core team with its expertise and the project manager identifies as many logical sequences as possible that can contribute to reducing the project duration. So a lazy use of the end-start sequence, because this is so convenient and easy to do, would cost the client project time and drive up project costs. Alternative sequences such as Beginning-Start help the project manager reduce the number of tasks on the critical path. This simplifies project control. The work package managers should not define the inputs for the sequence relationship in a quiet chamber, but communicate them to the core team (sub-project manager or project manager in the program), which then determines optimized sequences. The creation and discussion of the process list thus raises the potential for later optimization of the flow and schedule at an early stage.

Differentiation / forerunner to the schedule

From the sequence of the work packages it can be derived when which work package starts. Work packages that do not have a direct predecessor can start immediately. All others follow. An initial schedule can be derived from this. This, however, is not much more than an indication, since diverse framework conditions such as staff vacation, capacity limits of few available qualifications are not taken into account.

What is the task list in an agile environment?

Even in an agile environment, dependencies need to be identified and taken into account. Here, for example, SCRUM teams already take into account how dependencies between backlog items are represented in the overall backlog planning. The split of the backlog items can be done initially by the product owner, but should be validated by the entire agile team lastest during the initial sprint planning. Even within SCRUM teams, dependencies are constantly re-evaluated, since the continuous prioritization of user stories can possibly lead to additional identified dependencies. Splitting user stories without creating additional dependencies is an important skill of the SCRUM team. However, it should be taken into account that the user stories are not only split according to the technical paths, but that the functional questions are also taken into account. Otherwise, the agile approach will be counteracted. Because then an early and small-scale delivery of functions is no longer guaranteed. As already mentioned, this balancing act of splitting up is a core competence of the entire team.

Quantum computers – practical applications

3 min.

Summary

The quantum computer is now finding its way into the business world and its practical applications and is leaving the purely scientific realm. The quantum computer will enable us to face previously unsolved challenges in the field of artificial intelligence and diverse simulations. In all areas where large amounts of data and parallel processing are necessary.

Miniaturization of transistors reaches its limits today

On a chip of 2 * 2 cm there are 18 billion transistors. Now the physical limits of production are reached with a transistor size of 10 nanometers. The transistor represents the well known characteristic 0 and 1 (1 bit).

The previous manufacturing process using ultraviolet light is now reaching its limits. With transistors in these small sizes (a few atoms large), the electrons jump over the barrier in the transistor (pass through the closed transistor) and the transistor loses its effect of representing 0 or 1 because the electrons become independent. This effect is called quantum mechanical effect.

How does a quantum computer work?

Exactly this effect is used for the production of quantum computers. Because a quantum computer no longer uses only one bit (i.e. 0 and 1; “either or”), but a qubit (0, 1 and 0/1; 2both as well as”). The qubit thus allows 2 states (0 and 1) to be taken simultaneously. This property is called superposition. If now the state of the transistor is measured, this qubit “colabrates” in a clearly defined probability 1 or 0.

With classical bits, four different combinations are represented in the transistor: 00, 11, 01 and 10. With a qubit, all four combinations can be used simultaneously. Thus it is possible to represent N bits for N qubits = 2 high. In addition, parallel arithmetic operations are also possible due to the superposition. These multiply exponentially with each additional qubit.

Furthermore there is another quantum mechanical effect of the “entanglement” = linking of one qubit with another qubit. A qubit reacts automatically to the change of its partner qubit.

The weakening of the Moorschen law (every 18 months a doubling of the computing power) should be stopped again with the development of quantum computers in many applications.

Sensible applications of the quantum computer

Therefore, the quantum computer can perform parallel computations better and is therefore very well suited for searching databases, decrypting encryptions and simulations. The quantum computer does not play an advantage in sequential computations and here the classical computer (digital computer) will certainly continue to be used for cost reasons until further notice.

Examples for simulations can be:

  • simulations of molecule cooling in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries
  • traffic simulations
  • quantum algorithms in artificial intelligence
  • cryptography

The quantum computer is now moving from the scientific research niche into the business world and its practical applications.

How do you program a quantum computer?

The algorithms to be used differ from the algorithms of the digital computer to use entanglement and superposition. Several arithmetic operations, so-called quantum gates, are used to entangle, read or modify the qubits described above. Special algorithms for prime factor decomposition (in crypotography) and special search algorithms (for database query) have existed for a long time, but are now used in business environments.

Ethics and morals and how they determine our future

4 min.

Summary

Ethics and morality as delimitable concepts form the guard rails for our shaping of the future. An action is seen as morally correct if it is regarded by all as correct or just. It must now be defined who “all” are. A different evaluation by different cultural circles of “future topics” leads to different standards of values and thus to accelerated or slowing trends in the introduction of “future topics”.

How do morality and ethics differ?

Ethics and morality as delimitable concepts form the guard rails for our shaping of the future. First a differentiation between the two terms is necessary before we consider how these guard rails apply to the respective context and thus directly influence our future.

Ethics is derived from the Greek word ēthos . Translated, this means character or sense. Morality comes from Latin and means translated custom. Ethics is therefore the higher authority and illuminates various morals and considers them from a philosophical point of view. Morality is the practical application of ethics. Morality is the practising or practical ethics.

What is ethically correct now?

An action is regarded as morally correct if it is regarded by all as correct or fair. Now it has to be defined who “all” are. In the context of globalisation and the ever closer intermeshing of cultures and economies, this is not so easy. In our European culture, ethical values are determined by questions like:

  • Is that natural?
  • Is that normal?
  • Is it human?

In other regions, such as the Silicon Valley or often in Asia, demand is high:

  • Is that causing damage?
  • Is that useful?
  • Does it have a side effect?

This diversity is already empirically underpinned at Hofstede with the cultural dimension “uncertainty avoidance”, as explained in my article International Project Portfolio Management, taking cultural differences into account. Germany has a value of 65 for uncertainty avoidance, in contrast to China with 40 and the USA with 46, for example. The other two cultural groups are therefore rated as much more daring in comparison to Germany.

Ethical diversity and inhomogeneity of cultural groups

As written in my article “Project manager in 2030” over a year ago there will be “in 500 weeks … robots support the care of old people.” Is this natural, normal or even human? The majority of Europeans will say no.

In the USA or Asia, the illumination of this aspect on harm, benefit and side effect will be a very different answer to the ethical question. For through these communities will be put forward: The shortage of caregivers will become more and more apparent and then the benefit of a robot in elderly care will certainly be greater than potential damage. On the contrary, it will be argued that damage will be avoided because the elderly to be cared for do not “lie down” in bed due to the amount of lying down and the constant need to change beds. Does it have any negative side effects? Certainly not, because instead of the staff doing lifting and cleaning, the staff will be able to take care of communication and personal care. Depending on the cultural context, these ethical considerations may differ. The consideration of the thesis from the same article “In 500 weeks we will eat meat bred in laboratories” can be illuminated analogously and the same discrepancy of the approach will be found.

In addition to diversity, the inhomogeneity of cultural circles must also be noted. Within each culture there will be adherents of both forms, which is now ethical. On the one hand followers with the focus on testing for naturalness and humanity vs. followers who rather focus on damage and benefit evaluations.

Effects on the development of future trends

This fundamentally different evaluation of “future topics” leads to different standards of values and thus to accelerated or slowing trends in the introduction of “future topics”. Therefore, will we in Europe lag behind in the new trends and will be other regions be a pulse generator?

I think it depends a lot on the topics. In the field of “immortality”, i.e. DNA replications and changes in the first steps, Asian research laboratories and companies are already a long way ahead in concrete research into immortality. In the field of autonomous driving, there is likely to be a certain dominance in the scientific field in Europe, but this has already neutralised itself in the commercial field. In the blockchain sector, Germany has fortunately established a good basis of start-ups that are internationally competitive.

Do future trends need new regulations?

Now the question arises whether regulations are already necessary for these trends. These are established for topics such as social media (already established commodity products such as Facebook). On the subject of autonomous driving, there are worldwide prototypes of regulations that are used as limited regulations and have been temporarily established by politics on an experimental basis. Here, German policymakers must succeed in adapting these in good time in order not to slow down these new trends in our region in comparison to other regions. Here, key industries such as the German automotive industry are hanging by a thread and could fall behind due to a lame legislation. For it will not be decisive who has completed the first and best autonomous journeys in realistic environments on which test site, but who can and has demonstrated this to the masses. It is already the case today that autonomous systems can drive safer than any human driver (in most environments). The only future trend area I know for which even the world’s greatest visionaries want clear regulations is the field of artificial intelligence. Here, limitations should be set early on so that man, as then the second most intelligent creature after AI, does not become a servant of AI. Fears in this area are not completely unfounded but extremely complex to regulate. Exciting times.

Leading without shoulder epaulets but with emotional bond to the project

3 min.

– Bridge between old and new forms of project organization –

Summary

The central skill of our time: lateral leading, i.e. leading without authority to give instructions, will require more attention. While the classic project organizations are based on technical authority to issue directives or even disciplinary authority to issue directives, the lateral leadership and the (new) project organization, which has not yet been named, is based primarily on trust and understanding through the creation of a common thought construct in order to emotionally connect the possible divergent interests of the participants, at least for the duration of the project.

A former project of the author cannot be typified according to any of the classical forms of project organization such as pure (autonomous), matrix or staff organization. A mixed form of staff and matrix organisation is most likely to be identified, where clear delivery items are agreed, but only partially clearly assigned project members are integrated in the team. In principle, however, all project participants contribute their contribution to the delivery items, even those who do not report to them – not always in a technical sense.

Surely one could say that such a project should never be accepted as a project leader or will never be successful.

How can an emotional connection to the project be established here in such a non-binding project organisation?

Formal power relations are no guarantee for a stable emotional bond. Project team members must feel comfortable and supported in their project environment in order to feel committed. Every employee looks for fixed points of attachment that are decisive for the development of a sense of belonging. The good relationship with the project manager without authority to issue instructions, the friendly relationship with colleagues or the activity itself can be a fixed point of attachment for well-being and participation. Because those who see themselves as part of the project show more commitment and loyalty.

Team members are only strong if they have attractive and challenging project tasks. Furthermore, a sense of purpose and a comprehensible project goal are important for the project team member.

For project team members, motivation is determined by the fact that their opinion counts in the project and that they have the opportunity to help shape it. The mood and attitude of colleagues within a team can affect the motivation of the entire project team. Working together with motivated and committed colleagues is often stimulating and also creates a bond through integration into a community.

How do you take this lead when it matters?

The recognition received for the work performed has the greatest influence on the commitment of a project employee. Praise from the project manager creates satisfaction.

But the central skill of our time as a connecting element: lateral leading, i.e. leading without authority to instruct, will require more attention.

When and how do you let others guide you? Which rules apply in this interplay of forces? This can only be achieved through emotional bonding.

How do you exercise leadership in this scenario? How do you set goals correctly? How do you delegate tasks correctly? What motivates and what demotivates?

While the classical project organisations are based on technical authority or even disciplinary authority, the lateral leadership and the (new) project organisation not yet named with it is based mainly on trust and understanding through the creation of a common thought construct in order to connect the possible divergent interests of the participants at least for the duration of the project.

The power to issue disciplinary directives as a source of power no longer exists. Other sources of power such as expertise or information control are often tapped and internal power games are deliberately used. Here, however, it is necessary to find out whether this leads to success. Here the practical experiences from the author’s project can be reflected upon and lead to new insights into how emotional attachment can be achieved even beyond loose project organisation.

Lateral leadership in cross-departmental or cross-organisational situations always holds a certain potential for conflict. Conflicts of objectives and interests of the organizational units involved, but also different ways of thinking and behaving of the persons involved cannot be excluded. Here it is to be discussed whether more conflicts are to be determined than in a classical project organization.

GPM Barcamp „Leadership in projects“

3 min.

Summary

On 27.09.2019 the third GPM Barcamp “Leading in the project” will take place in Fulda. This unconference has established itself, where each participant can actively suggest topics to benefit as much as possible from the ideas and knowledge of our participants, who have very different functions and come from very different companies.

What’s a barcamp?

Since many participants can come to a bar camp, large group methods can also be used for moderation. Usually the open space method is used. Participants advertise their own topics on the Barcamp and create one group each. In this group possible topics are prepared or knowledge and experiences are exchanged. The results will be reflected at the end of the Barcamp. The Open Space method can produce a large variety of concrete measures in one day. And spread a lot of knowledge and generate motivation.

On a barcamp, little is done with PowerPoint but much with pens, packing paper, adhesive tape and flipcharts. Also the collection and distribution of the results needs a good structure.

At each Barcamp we have held a vernissage at the end of the day, which presented the results briefly and concisely. This was done with the help of pin boards, where the audience passed by in small groups and had details explained to them.

Principles of the Barcamp

  1. Whoever comes, these are the right people: Whether one or 20 people follow your invitation to a session/working group does not matter. Everyone is important and motivated.
  2. Whatever happens, it is the only thing that could happen – the unplanned and unexpected is often creative and useful. Free yourself from expectations as to what should be.
  3. It starts when the time is ripe – energy (not punctuality) is important.
  4. Past is past: Sometimes a topic is quickly through. Don’t artificially prolong it just so that time goes by. Use the time to go to another group or do something else you enjoy.
  5. And not over is not-over: Sometimes a topic only really gets going at the end. Find a free space and write down on the timetable where others can find you.

The two laws

“Freedom of choice and self-responsibility.”

The law of the two feet is an expression of freedom of choice and self-responsibility: the only binding point. You go to the sessions (topics) that interest you most – and you stay in a group only as long as you think it makes sense. So as long as you can learn or contribute. If you can’t learn or contribute anything, leave it. The application of the law is easy: you don’t have to justify or apologize.

“Of bumblebees and butterflies.”„

When people apply the law of two feet, they sometimes show behaviors that could be metaphorically expressed by the terms “bumblebee” and “butterfly”.

“Bumblebees” buzz from group to group and form a bridge between the themes through group changes. The “butterflies” flutter and pause after contributing to the small group. They follow what they feel like at the moment and are just there.

What will be worked out?

All topics which are of interest to you in the context of leadership in the project or which you can give active input on.

Führung im Projekt

How do I register?

The Barcamp will be held in German language. Registration here. For GPM members 50€ and for non-members 100€. A free cancellation of participation is only possible until 13.09.2019.

Subscribe to blogs

1 Minute

Summary


I was asked how best to “follow” my blog. Social networks like Linkedin, Facebook, XING etc. don’t always show all posts of all people you follow. Would also be too much of a good thing. Because you don’t want to see each post divided x times more than once. How do I make sure that I don’t miss an important post?

Why do I not see all contributions?

LinkedIn and Co. only show a selection of my posts on your timeline. There you will preferably see those posts that have been commented, marked as interesting or clicked.

Subscribe to blog posts sensibly

I know the following meaningful and free ways. The first alternative is to subscribe to my newsletter and the subscriber receives 1-2 times a month a mail with all articles of my blog.

The second alternative is to install an RSS app on your mobile phone or to choose a free provider like TheOldReader.com and add my RSS feed there.

The third alternative is to use the free service IFTTT to make a query on my blog and then directly save the results to Pocket (see also “Self-organization“) or another service.

Do you know other good alternatives? Please add them in the comment below.

Self-Organisation

4 min.

Summary

I’m always asked how I organize myself with regard to my private and business tasks and how I manage my information. This article gives a brief overview of the tools and principles I use every day.

Task Management

I manage my tasks depending on my project environment. If I am in a smaller team, I mainly work paper-based regarding my task management. The basic principle of this system is based on Stephen Covey’s weekly planning from [The 7 Ways to Effectiveness*]. I created the week plan in this file and I print a DIN A4 sheet landscape for each week of the year. I place the sheets in the lovingly configured Roterfaden-Taschenbegleiter. The principle behind the Covey template is first to note the important things / strategic goals and the associated tasks in the weekly plan (left column). Appointments and the derived tasks then turned into the daily planning. It is important to work with pencil, because rescheduling is often in demand.

While working in larger teams, I exclusively use an electronic task management system such as MS SharePoint (task lists with MS Office Integration) or Trello (Kanban Board), because task delegation and mutual transparency are very important there. I then manage my personal tasks in Todoist*. With this app my tasks on desktop, the tablet and the mobile phone are relatively easy to create (because that is the most important feature!). If you first have to open an app for a long time or something similar it takes too long and the thought is often already lost. At home I linked my Amazon Echo* with Todoist, both for the shopping list and especially for the to-do list.

I find the change (depending team size) every couple of months between paper-based and electronic systems beneficial, because it “cleanses” the process and promotes a renewed awareness of the principles. In general, my recommendation is to start with the paper-based system in any case, because the principles are easier to apply and graphically more conscious (because the overarching goals are noted directly next to the daily tasks).

Document Management

I scan my paper documents, which are important/I need to keep, with my ScanSnap IX500* (very fast double-side multi-feed scanner) and with a press of a button I place the documents directly into Evernote* and also into Dropbox*. I don’t just trust the proprietary Evernote system (who knows if this provider will still exist in 20 years), but I also automatically save the files locally and in the cloud. The advantage with the ScanSnap Scanner is that the documents are also scanned directly via OCR and therefore the saved documents can be searched directly via full text search. When I am on the road, I scan the documents on my mobile phone with the app Scanbot (also with OCR-function also for multi-page documents) and save them in both places. Application for mobile scanning are mostly warranty receipts when shopping or receipts for travel expense accounting. I put the important paper documents classically in folders, because I don’t know if I can still use Evernote, PC or something similar in my old age. All not important but already scanned paper documents go directly into the trash.

For people who don’t want double coverage, I recommend the purchase of a Bates Numbering*. Apply the consecutive number with the stamp to each document before scanning, then filing by number and not by subject area in folders. Then it is ensured that as few physical folders as possible are needed and that the document will probably be found faster (via the consecutive number) compared to my structured filing. As I said, in this case you always have to search for the document first on your PC or in Evernote and then for the paper document using the number. Since I’m not sure if I can always ensure that, I have a structured paper file as a backup, which is admittedly more time-consuming.

I also save important internet pages in Evernote. Then I can always access them with a full text search. Alternatively I use the app Pocket, if I just want to save the pages for a short time, in order to read them later once.

Sort Thoughts

To sort my thoughts, also for such blog articles I use SimpleMind Pro on the desktop and on mobile phone and tablet. It’s nice that you can synchronize all mind maps to e.g. dropbox. What I especially like about SimpleMind is the completely free positioning of the “branches” of the mind maps. This is not always so easy with other mapping programs. In addition, the price for the apps is acceptable.

An interesting combination of possible task management tool and thought structuring tool is workflowy.com* for all “who think in lists”. Here you can record meeting minutes, ideas, tasks and everything else (also divisible in the team). In my opinion the ideal tool for the list thinkers mentioned. A mobile app is also available.

Meetings And Workshops

Timing in meetings and workshops: Here I use a real TimeTimer* or the original app.

To look up sketch notes I also use the app “Visual Helferein” and “Iconfinder” in workshops.

So much for the approaches and tools I use. Probably I didn’t think of everything. Have I not covered a task? Then comment below and I’ll be happy to complete the article.

The links marked with an asterisk (*) are so-called affiliate links. If you click on such an affiliate link and buy through this link, I get a commission from the relevant online shop or provider. The price does not change for you.

Escalation Rules

2 min.

Summary

Escalations are nothing bad in the project or program. They are the demand for spontaneously necessary or not yet taken decisions in a defined way – provided that a regulated governance is established.

Rules

The facts of the case should always be described and agreed upon by both parties (customer and contractor).

Contents of the escalation

  • Precise description of the facts so that they can be understood directly by third parties.
  • In what area and at what time did the facts arise?
  • Who put the facts on the agenda in which reporting medium (e.g. weekly status report)?
  • What has been done to avoid the original risk or problem, to solve it when it occurs or to mitigate it?
  • Who was involved in the solution search?
  • How time-critical is the situation or by when is a solution needed?
  • Identification of the degree of risk and evaluation of the impact.
  • Which activities are proposed for the solution?
  • Description of the solution approach with estimation of the timeline, the resources and the name of the person responsible for the solution.

Communication

  • Escalation always via e-mail. Mails that do not contain all of the above should be returned.
  • Clear mention of the word “ESCALATION” in the subject line as well as in the mail itself.

Further information on the communication rules can also be found here.

Escalation steps

  • All possible measures should be taken to resolve an escalation issue at the lowest level. Before starting an escalation process, the consequences should be clearly articulated.
  • At each stage, an attempt should be made between both parties to find a solution. If this is not possible, the escalation issue should be passed on to the next escalation stage after prior agreement and taking into account the number of escalation days. (Escalation days = length of stay in working days at an escalation level)
  • The project manager is responsible for solving the problem and remains so at every escalation stage.
Escalation Pyramid