A successful first Negocards event on 10th October 2018

On 10th October, PeopleBlendIT hosted the first #openseriousgame in Belgium. Alliance Merode, the game café, welcomed 20 participants for this first presentation of Negocards. 

Aurore served to the attendees a Korean “Bibimbap” vegan dinner.

The participants experienced a new way to learn. The theme of the evening was the art of negotiation. 

It was followed by a long networking evening, enjoying a great selection of beers of the house.

The next Negocards workshop will take place on 8th November 2018. It will be hosted at Alliance Merode.

Negocards agenda

Toyota: a success story for PeopleBlendIT

“We asked Jord from PeopleBlendIT to support our company at a very crucial time in our company development. At the time our business was rapidly growing and we needed to quickly enhance and standardise our project management activity. We presented Jord with 3 key challenges: How to improve the communication and standardisation across our project team members, how to boost our project managers capability and how to consolidate our project information into a single dashboard. I can say that this was a very challenging task considering the varied skill sets of our members, the different approaches to Project Management within our organisation and the diversity of our activities. Jord tackled this challenge with a huge amount of enthusiasm and pragmatism. Within the course of his mission Jord quickly identified where improvements needed to happen and how to implement changes that were complementary to the organisation. His starting point was to focus on quick wins to drive immediate results and build confidence from the team while maintaining a keen eye on the end target. Furthermore, as part of Jord’s activity with us he worked both on group workshops and individual member training jumping back and forth to ensure that there was a consensus among all stakeholders. The workshops and trainings focused on topics such as how to negotiate with suppliers and customers, how to gather requirements and manage expectations, project management best practices and more. Each module delivered with a strong consideration of the particular audience and desired objective. The result is that we have noticed a significant improvement in our project delivery and communication We look forward to working with Jord in the near future considering the positive experience we have had so far.”

Salim Aridi – General Manager at TTNI-E (Toyota IT Company- Belgium)

Negocards workshop 10th Oct 2018 in Brussels, Belgium

negocards

Acquire negotiation skills by playing an #OpenSeriousGame

Map to access l’Alliance Merode cafe – 
https://goo.gl/maps/XrkX4TdWe8T2

When: Wednesday 10th October 6 pm: Welcoming dinner
7.30 -10 pm: Workshop

Where: Brussels, Alliance mérode cafe, rue de la gare 44, 1040 Brussels

Registration: Free, contact peopleblendit@outlook.com  to register.

Negocards workshop card game

The fundamentals of the negocards:
• Nobody is a born negotiator
• Negotiation is a skill that can be learned
• The negocards serious game allows learning by playing with negotiation best practices.
• Based on cards, best practice reference cards and role-playing session, attendees are learning by practising

The game material is available free of copyright to foster dissemination of knowledge. We recommend people willing to attend the workshop not to read the three last pages presenting the scenarii of the roleplay.

The 5 “Why ?” of PMP applied to Agile practice 

Why this article?

I recently wrote a post on online resources to practice for a PMP certification examination. When my wife read this article, she commented that she didn’t understand why I promote PMP everything in my daily practices and services that I sell to my customers is turning around Agile. 

Why introducing PMP in the context of Agile practice?

My company, PeopleBlendIT, promotes the idea that pure Agile organizations don’t exist. Even in the leanest organization, you will find a management board, one of the services like the finance or customer service which is organized in a traditional way.

When dealing with these parts of an organization working in a traditional way, it is useful to know how to structure the project assets. PMBOK remains the best source of inspiration of best practices when it comes to managing a project in the traditional way. And even without dealing with external a non-Agile team, you need to inject Project management best practices in your Agile project.

But why do you need these best practices applied in in an Agile project?

Because when it comes to lead an Agile implementation you still need configuration management to version documents; you still need to manage expectation of stakeholders; you still need to manage the end of life of a product. For these management topics, PMBOK best practices is a reference.

But why talking about PMP certification?

Reading PMP certification examination preparation is a good way to challenge yourself and review your knowledge. Going back to the basics is the occasion to find back the less common best practices that you don’t apply often enough. For instance, you most certainly often go to meetings or even organize meetings. But when was the last time you reviewed the best practices on how to organize a meeting, to be a good host for a meeting.

Doing so is a reminder for me that I need to practice my Agile mash-up skills in which I transform Agile into something more elaborated merging best practices from different project management methodologies.

But why do you need something better than Agile?

You think that Agile is the definitive model, that there is nothing after it? Think about SCRUM of SCRUM, tribes, Spotify, think about SAFe, scaling Agile for large organizations. All these approaches came to solve the limitation of Agile. Release trains in SAFe and story mapping are spin-offs of PMP road-map management. Weighted Shortest Job First, WSJF, is somehow an evolution of metrics like Earned Value optimization technics used in PMP.

If you listen to Lean and Agile Adoption with the Laloux Culture 

Model, you might become as convinced that I am that we need to look at the past to continue to re-invent our future project management methods. For me, looking at the past is digging into my PMP best practices. Looking at the future is finding ways to infuse participative decision making into the organizations I am working with.

 

Online resources to prepare PMP certification

Why ?

I received a comment from my wife when she read this article. Why do you speak about the traditional project management practices since your reason to live is Agile?  I realized that before explaining how to rehearse on PMP topics, I had to explain why PMP practice is essential to elaborate a good Agile practice.

This disclaimer delivered, I can explain you why it is necessary to find online resources to practice for a PMP certification or simply to rehearse your PMP knowledge.

Image result for PMP

Why free online resource ? When you are intensively preparing for examination and certification, it is important not to get you head stuck in a single source of information. You need to relax your brain by looking at the same topic from different angles: reading books, watching videos, taking hand written notes. This is own the memory works best.

It is assumed that if you engage yourself in a PMP certification, you have attended a training and you received a set of books and examination preparation material. Therefore the current web page is looking for the additional stuff: free online resources.

A short list

In the end of this blog post you will find many online resources. Here is a short list, because if you can’t use them all and have to spare your time, you have to go straight to the most useful one.

My preferred ones are those offering a long list of examination question accessible without having to register and those providing explanations for the answers.

https://www.simplilearn.com/pmp-exam-prep-free-practice-test

It provides an interacive test with a countdown of the time, in the end it provides the answers.

PreparePM

https://www.preparepm.com/mock1.html

It provide the answers immediately, you don’t have to pass the entire set of question to get the the answers. It provides only 75 free question, that’s not sufficient to get a decent test preparation

Capm time 150 question final key slide share

It is not the most interactive but it contains the answers and a decent set of questions. The positive point is that being on Slide share, you can print the PDF to work away from the screen and changing your rehearsal practice from the other online resources.

List of the website offering free support

 

https://www.simplilearn.com/pmp-exam-prep-free-practice-test

 

Project Management Professional(PMP®) Certification

https://www.pmexamcoach.com/offers/ddcn7fVC/checkout

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pmp-exam-free-oliver-lehmann/id981704212

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/capm-exam-free/id1011761235?ls=1&mt=8

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.digit.pmpexamfree

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.digit.capmexamfree

https://www.microsoft.com/de-lu/p/pmp-exam-free/9nblggh0g09j?rtc=1

http://206-free-pmp-exam-questions.blogspot.com/p/questions-1-20.html

http://www.oliverlehmann.com/contents/free-downloads/175_PMP_Sample_Questions.pdf

http://www.tutorialspoint.com/pmp-exams/pmp_mock_exams.htm

https://www.skillset.com/certifications/pmp

https://proxalt.com/USA/index.php?option=com_freeresource&view=freeresource&Itemid=40

 

https://projectmanagementacademy.net/free-pmp-questions

https://mosaicprojects.com.au/Free_CAPM_Questions.php

 

 

Business dashboards

Why “Business dashboards” and not “Business intelligence”? In my experience, the intelligence doesn’t come from the dashboard but from the dialogue that you engage with business experts, in elaborating the scenarios that would make sense; finding new answers to challenges that recurrently encounter.

I recently managed a project based on Qlik Server to create reporting dashboards. Project officers were continuously consolidating several sources of data in Excel. The process was tedious and time-consuming. It was distracting them from performing tasks that add value: scrutinizing the figures and monitoring business activities.

Qlik server business reporting
Business reporting view created with Qlik Server

The dashboard allowed them to replace the manual consolidation with an automatic process linking several data sources based on the criteria they were inserting manually.

Users on a map
Yellow pages created with Qlik server

Once this tedious manual consolidation was no longer needed, it was possible to engage in a dialogue on the new connections that were established between the data. From one predefined set of manually applied rules, we could start building many business views.

Engaging this dialogue allowed to open many paths investigating on how the business is run.

There lies the intelligence: in the dialogue to create new ways connecting the dots.

Visual recording

Visual recording is also called graphical facilitation. It captures on a graphical supports the ideas  coming from a conference, a brainstorming session and can replace meetings notes.

If the graphic recording can be performed by artists, you don’t need to be an artist to create one. Many books are offering to develop your graphical recording skills. These books offer to elaborate a personal gallery of graphic icons to use during the visual recording sessions. Pikablo is a good source of inspiration.

The graphic recording is popular in conferences. It allows to keep a record of the presentation in an entertaining way. It extends the user experience.

The following capture is part of a visual recording during an Agile conference organised by Agile Consortium in Brussels in February 2018.

In the video captured during the event you can see that the visual performance is captured during the speech. The visual recording can be prepared when the slides of the event are available in advance or with a interview of the speaker. The live performance remains a key element.  It creates a visual attention which keeps the audience focus on the speech.

Visual recording can also be used to record notes of meetings. Visual notes  deliver a stronger impact. Visual record of an event will help people with a visual memory to better remember the elements of the discussion.

The graphical facilitation is also a good media to attract the attention of a group of people in a workshop or in a brainstorming session.

Visual recording and graphic facilitation is a tool which becomes popular. It is creating a new communication channel to convey a message and create a visual  impact.

You can start learning by replacing you meeting doodles by visual recording dooldes. You will certainly discover that on top of delivering to you notes which are easier to digest, it also greatly increase your own attention during meeting.

Lessons learned with the sail boat

Lessons learned are team workshops during which a team thrive to identify how to improve the way to work as a team.  In AGILE retrospective meeting team members gather their feedback in 3 categories:

  • Start doing
  • Stop doing
  • Continue doing

Navigating through the AGILE games literature and inspiration for coaching workshop I recently rediscovered the speed boat.

Picture your project as a speed boat going very fast, what anchors are slowing you down ? The format is described in Game storming, a book and online website for brainstorming workshop.

The speed boat lessons learned proposes each participant to categorize their experience with the project in few categories:

  1. The wind, blows in the sail of the boat. It represents all the factors which have been helping the project to move forward
  2. The boat represent the team, the work environment, the team work and /or  the products delivered.
  3. The anchor, as in the original speed boat, represent the forces which are driving the team backward.
  4. The rocks are the dangers ahead. The risk s for the boat to wreck and for the project to fail.
  5. The island represents the goal of the team, where everybody is heading toward.
  6. I added the sun to picture the fun part in the team journey. The sun represents the things which are not essential or not part of the products delivered by the team but that the team loves doing or would love starting doing. It is the sanuk way of working in Thailand.

I created a template that I gave to each participant. I gave 5 minutes to the team members to collect there ideas on their template. I recommend the usage of yellow sticky notes to reduce the time consumed in the collection of the team feedback.

To empower the team to decide what are the positive elements to promote and the most important issues to address, you can propose the team to use dot voting. Each team member is given 5 dots to use to vote next to feedback given by the teams. The issues (anchors, rocks) receiving the more dots are the most urgent ones to address. The positive points (sun and island) which are receiving the more dots are the one to promote in the team organisation.

I also had the occasion once to see the sail boat used in a recruitment. The candidate was proposed to picture his drivers,  assets, blockers, fears, goals and ideals as the wind, board, anchor, rock, island and sun. It think it remove the anxiety of the situation were you are requesting to judge yourself.

In the same way it allowed my team members to share more openly about the team using the boat allegory than the typical  3 categories of AGILE lessons learned.

Heading image Image from  http://www.ironlionperformance.com/blog/2017/4/17/the-monday-mindset-grit

Coach and Mentors

What makes the difference between a coach and a mentor? Do they use the same tools and do they have different intentions?

Coach and mentors use similar tools: transactional analysis, Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), Non-violent communication, meeting facilitation, Cynefin, balanced scorecards, and a wide range of communication and self-development technics. Does it make them delivering the same service? We may explore the origin of the knowledge of the coach and the mentor to explore their difference.

Where does a coach get its training from? I often heard that it’s necessary to be trained by a coach to become a coach. A similar image is said about studies to become a psychotherapist: “ … before you start being a practitioner and deliver psychotherapies, you must first receive one”.
If that’s true, you still get a lot of online resources to train yourself to coach yourself, maybe you have already visited the “self-development” section in libraries. These are labelled as coaching resources.

So where do you get the resources to become a mentor?

There are plenty of success stories about mentors related to articles in Harvard Business Review and The Economist but where can you find a training on mentorship.
I’m not even sure that I could find a mentor in mentoring. Let’s assume it exists, for the minimum I would ask you to agree they are rare. Is that the difference between a coach and a mentor? I feel there is something more substantial to it, maybe we can continue to explore together.

Both are seasoned guides delivering educational content for professionals. A coach can deliver a few hours, few days to several months of coaching but a mentor would probably tend to be present for a longer duration.

Mentors will probably address one individual when a coach can help one individual or a large group. Agile coaches are familiar with the education of an entire tribe and groups of Agile coaches are collectively addressing swarms of tribes.

Alternatively, a mentor may educate a single professional. He illustrates his lessons with examples of his own experience, serving as a reference and a guide. A mentor relates to situations he experienced or witnessed similar to the one he tries to help with. A mentor will probably have a long-term vision of where he wants to take a mentee to.

Notice that if the mentor/mentee exists in the language, nothing equivalent exist for a coach. Coached doesn’t seem to be an appealing equivalent to the mentee. A coach acts less than a Sensei and more as a facilitator to help an individual or a group to discover a knowledge, a tool or a practice.

The listening skills are important for a mentor to succeed in delivering its knowledge. It probably makes the difference between an average and a great mentor.

But not a single coach can survive and thrive without great listening skills. There is not one but many ways of opening your attention to an audience, and that is maybe the most difficult coaching skill to acquire.

I’m interested in reading your comments.

 

Image copyright associated with https://workplacepsychology.net

Merci d’être en retard

L’edito d’Amid Faljaoui dans le numéro 51 du 21 Décembre 2017 donne une piste intéressante pour booster votre créativité: des temps morts.

“A force de petit-déjeuner avec ses interlocuteurs à Washington, Thomas Friedman avait remarqué que certains d’entre eux arrivaient souvent en retard. Les uns prétextaient que le métro était resté en rade, d’autres que le réveil n’avait pas sonné, d’autres encore que leur fils était malade. Et puis un beau jour, Thomas Friedman s’est rendu compte qu’il s’en fichait et il leur a même dit : ” Je vous en prie, ne vous excusez pas. Au contraire, merci d’être en retard ! “. Pourquoi ? Parce que grâce à ces retards, l’éditorialiste a pu découvrir un espace-temps précieux. Il a eu droit à quelques minutes de liberté pour penser, s’amuser des conversations à la table voisine ou du spectacle des allées et venues. Mais surtout cela lui a permis un jour de relier deux idées qui le tarabustaient depuis longtemps. “

“Merci d’être en retard” : nouveau mantra pour 2018 ? – http://www.levif.be/s/r/c/773235

 

image used in this article is free of copy rights http://www.clockwatch.de, the author has the right to request the removal of the image.