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Melanie Franklin 5 articles
Residence: GB London
Making the case for Portfolio Management

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The Unified Project Management Dictionary

Estimate At Completion (EAC)

Estimate at Complete (EAC) is the expected total cost of completing all work ( schedule activity, a work breakdown structure component, or the project) expressed as the sum of the actual cost to date and the estimate to complete. The EAC is calculated as ETC + ACWP.

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Emotional intelligence is a critical skill for Project

Emotional intelligence is a critical skill for Project, Programme, Change and Portfolio Managers. The essence of our work is to persuade our stakeholders to co-create with us a new way of working.

We need to appreciate the different perspectives that we (the lead creators) and our stakeholders in the business (our co-creators) bring to this work. 3 key themes spring to mind"
1. Excitement versus fear
2. Priority versus disruption
3. Short term versus ling term

1. Excitement versus fear
For those of us in project roles, a new assignment is an opportunity to test our skills, and enjoy the satisfaction of stretching ourselves, learning new things and creating something new that didn't exist before.

For those in the business, the new project deliverables represent a steep learning curve. Existing well known processes that can be done almost on auto-pilot have to be sacrificed for the stress and the fear of the uncertainty of the unknown. One of the most popular discussion points on my Agile Change Agent course is how this loss isnt just about process knowledge.

New ways of working trigger a change in relationships, power and authority. This can be more intimidating than changes to steps in a process. It threatens the confidence and status of those affected. How often do we consider this when we are excitedly demonstrating to our business colleagues the new features and functionality of our project deliverables?

2. Priority versus disruption
For those of us in the project teams, creating the project deliverables is our priority. We might have to split our time between several projects (sole focus on one project is a rare treat these days) but we can work with a common lifecycle model, techniques and tools.

Our colleagues in the business don't have the chance to focus exclusively on the new ways of working. This means they have to balance their familiar work and colleagues with unfamiliar terminolgy, tasks, techniques and people from the project. They are often under pressure to fit their contribution to the project alongside the unpredictable demands of "business as usual". Their role in servicing customers means peaks and troughs in their workloads are not easy to predict which causes more pressure.

3. Short term versus long term
Projects have a finite lifespan. We give them all our energy and commitment and then we move onto the next challenge.

Our colleagues in the business live with the consequences of decisions taken during the project lifecycle for several years, until the next project comes along to redefine their ways of working.

Do we give this enough thought when we are taking decisions based on the pragmatism of getting something into use, with the promise of future features that will make things simpler to operate?

As well as appreciating the differences in orientation between the project and business communities, we need to think about the information preferences of those we engage with.

We all have different requirements when we are receiving information. One of the most interesting is how we position the benefits of our project to meet the needs of our stakeholders. Essentially the world can be divided into two interests:
1. Present focused
2. Future focused

1. Present focused
Present focused means that people concentrate on the "here and now". Stakeholders with this preference will react best if we describe the benefits of what we will deliver in relation to current problems. Listen for complaints about speed, number of mistakes, rework, customer complaints etc and describe how the project deliverables will remove these annoyances.

2. Future focused
Future focused means people jump ahead to the achievement of the benefits and all the advantages that they will gain. These stakeholders like to hear about how things will work differently, finding the differences between that and what happens today exciting and motivating.

I think we also need to consider the approach that our stakeholders bring to their work. Last week I was caught between 2 different views of the world:
1. Say no more often than they say yes - needs lots of evidence of why what is being proposed is workable.
2. Says yes and wants everything fixed immediately, doesnt have the interest or patience to listen to the details.

Clearly I had to tailor what I was saying to meet these different needs. I needed to bring examples, data and the results of prototypes into my conversation with the "No!" stakeholder.

With the "I want it now!" stakeholder I needed to create a very high level.plan with just a few key dates and a description of what would be achieved atceachnof these dates, emphasising the new capability at each step.

Of course I am using the same project information, but I am tailoring it to meet the needs of my stakeholders. It is my emotional intelligence that helps me understand what their needs are.

Essentially emotional intelligence is about creating empathy between ourselves and our stakeholders. Can we step back from our view of the world and our preferences for how information is provided? Can we use this space to consider how others might see the same situation in a different light? And most important of all, are we prepared to soften the edges of how we like to work to move closer to the preferences of those we seek to influence and persuade?

If you want to hear more from me on this subject, connect with me on linkedin or join me at my next Agile Change Agent course.

Published at pmmagazine.net with the consent of Melanie Franklin