Okay, so I’m in a reflective mood – in particular thinking about the soft skills of management. No, not team building or leadership – something more fundamental.
What triggered this blog, was having a business meeting with a business project partner tonight. You see, he has a photographic memory – yeah, I know, how many times have you heard that phrase – but it’s true in Darren’s case. He really is amazing. His skills are built-in. The rest of us have to struggle.
But I remember some 10 years ago, I was watching a programme on TV that featured memory skills – but went a step further than the usual techniques you may have already heard of…
Now I tried some of these, and although would not call myself a ‘memory man’ by any measure, I did find that they worked – spooky Eh?!
So try this if you dare:-
Think of a part of your house that you are VERY familiar with – it might be your hallway or your kitchen for example. Maybe even your office space. Whatever.
Now concentrate. I want you to initially close your eyes and remember particular features/objects of that area. If it’s your hallway, enter by the front door, and LOOK to your left to your left and right – what do you see?
Pick out particular items – the hall mirror, the picture by the stairs, the cupboard, the ornament…etc….find about 10 or 12 objects that you are VERY familiar with. Got Them?
The human brain is a powerful database isn’t it? See how vividly you have remembered these familiar objects?
Okay, so here’s the transition you have been waiting for…
Suppose, you are meeting several new clients and you are introduced to them one at a time. Suppose the first name is Bob. Think of the first object as you walk in your front door – lets say it is a mirror. In an instant, relate Bob in some way with that mirror – perhaps see yourself ‘bobbing down’ to avoid your reflection.
Job Done. Because you have ‘tied’ Bob with that familiar object – when you see him again you see yourself ‘bobbing down’ and remember his name – instantly.
The more humorous or stupid (or even rude) you can make the analogy, the easier you will remember him. Does this take practice? Of course!
But try it – and prepare to be amazed at yourself…meeting clients, seminars and parties will be so much more fun after this.
Oh yes. And in case you’re thinking that rembering a person from an ‘analogous thought’ is common knowledge – becasue you have made the tie between a familiar relationship – such as your kitchen, bedroom, etc – the results are FAR more powerful…
I remember that whenever I held a PRINCE2 training event, there were always cries of “you need to get my boss to attend”. By the end of the week I knew exactly what they meant. You see, senior managers also need to get savvy about providing direction to PRINCE2 projects, after all, it will make their lives (and their success) so much better!
A handful of PRINCE2 training companies do offer some form of project board briefing, usually for one day and at a cost of several hundred pounds. Not many folks get round to attending though – as I can testify to after some 15 years of delivering PRINCE2 live training seminars.
And you know, it’s not normally the money that stops senior managers – it’s the time. All that travel, staying in a hotel overnight, attending the event and travelling back. It knocks a big 2 day timechunk out of a busy exective’s agenda…
The foks at the Office of Government Commerce have even created a companion manual to the standard PRINCE2 – and called it “Directing Successful Projects with PRINCE2”
But again, for the busy senior manager – it’s a bit of a dry and text-dense read…
So I’ve come to the rescue (sound the trumpets please….)
Hot off the press (I’m just doing the final rendering of the videos), I’ll be launching my Directing a Project Primer tomorrow, the 2 April 2011.
I’ve designed it as just 8 ‘easy to watch and listen’ video modules with an accompanying full colour workbook. You could watch the whole thing easily over a weekend with around 6 to 7 hours total viewing.
Reserve your copy now at my special ‘early bird’ price for the first 100 customers…
Go home Friday night as Clark Kent – arrive Monday morning as a Hero project director…
At Last! For countless years I have been bombarded with requests to teach the skills of PRINCE2 Directing a Project to Project Board members. Two years ago the OGC brought out a new accompanying Manual to PRINCE2 – and called it ‘Directing Successful Projects with PRINCE2’.
So I finally did it. I have completed a brand new 8 Video and supporting Workbook based on the above book, and called it my Project Board Briefing Primer.
It’s aimed exclusively at those senior managers who are either already sitting on PRINCE2 Project Boards or will soon be in the near future. Even senior managers who need to focus on those parts of PRINCE2 that they wish to learn more about…
You see, senior managers are normally too busy running the organization to spare time attending training events – yet they are the folks that sponsor, underwrite, or sit on Project Boards for PRINCE2 projects. These folks NEED to know about PRINCE2 from the senior management helicopter viewpoint.
Well, they can rest up now, because I’ve created a Step By Step 8 – Video downloadable Project Board Briefing Primer that can be watched and absorbed over just a weekend. You can watch and learn at your own time and pace.
Leave work on a Friday night – and return on Monday morning confidently able to provide PRINCE2 Project Board Direction!
Find out how YOU can learn the art and skills of a Project Board Member – CLICK HERE
Paint Me Happy!
Today I have just released my Brand New PMP Primer – the world’s first entirely downloadable PMP training course. It comes complete with a phenomenal 21- Module Video Reference Library, with an amazing 289 exercises….
But it gets better, my PMP Primer contains 360 PMP exam questions AND answers all on an entertaining PowerPoint Slide Show – betcha can’t put it down…
Right now, I’m offering it to my subscribers for an amazing $127 (about £78). When you consider that less effective PMP ‘training’ is charging over $600…hmm, tough choice Eh?
It has taken me since last summer to carefully sculpt and create this PMP training product, and I was determined not to release it until it was as good as I could make it.
And I can tell you I am exhausted – but with a big smile on my face, because I am over the moon with the quality and content of this, my latest Primer.
The downloadable videos have been recorded in High Quality 800 by 600 MPEG-4 video files, and they will look sweet on your PC, Notebook, or even iPod…
As is usual, I have broken down the complex 2011 PM Body of Knowledge Syllabus in Easy Step-By-Step Bite Sized Chunks, so you can absorb the training at a time and place that suits you – no classroom cramming over an intensive 5 days away from the office (while you’re STILL spending the hotel evenings trying to run your project and the office!)
I’m pleased to put my name to this, my brand new PMP Primer, and it will help YOU enormously on your path to become a Project Management Professional.
Check it out HERE
So How Do You Intend To Boost Your Project Management Career In 2011?
As I write, I am close to completing my study material for the PMP exam and I’m really stoked as to how it is all coming….
Here are a few screen shots of the dynamic full-motion PowerPoint Slide set that the downloadable video Modules will be based against:
This will meet the full and latest syllabus when I release it at the end of January 2011
Keep an eye out on:
For those of you wishing to become an accredited Project Manager, and go on to forge your career in that direction, you need to check out my APMIC Primer.
The Association Of Project Managers is the finest proof you can get that you are a capable project manager. My APMIC Primer is based on the Introductory Certificate, including the exam – and it tracks the official Syllabus to the letter – so you won't miss a thing!
It's a set of 7 videos, it not only comes with a workbook, but also, and here's the kicker, a set of 120 real APMIC exam Questions and Answers to help test and hone your knowledge and application.
You'll be able to turn up for the exam/training 100% prepared to pass!
Check it out here for a crazy low introductory price:
For those of you out there that have an interest in project management and PRINCE2 in particular…
I am writing a whole book-full of PRINCE2-related blog articles – starting yesterday! I will be adding one juicy article each day.
I’m calling this series of blogs “PRINCE2 In Bite-Sized Chunks. Easily the sort of information you could swallow whole before breakfast each day!
The articles will be focused right down at activity level and will be a great source of free ‘how-to’ ideas for the PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner student!
Right after I finish this blog, I will upload my third PRINCE2 In Bite-Sized Chunks blog – so keep an eye out for it….
For more information CLICK HERE
At Last! I'm okay after all, and so are the ladies too….
Turns out this great book I'm reading (Why men don't listen and Women can't read maps) acknowledges we are different because nature designed us that way for good reasons. Phew! I'm off the hook….
Ever go to the fridge and can't find the butter no matter how hard you 'look'? Yet my wife goes there and finds it immediately. Her favourite expression to me in such situations is "if that was a snake – it would have bit you by now" Her definition of a man is " a woman without common sense"
Men are 'hunters' so we have great long distance 'tunnel vision' but women take care of the home (by nature – not social preferences) – so they have almost 180 degree peripheral vision to protect the 'nest'. That's why men are often caught 'ogling' at another woman – we have to turn our heads, but women can ogle other guys without being detected. Fascinating stuff.
Which brings me to the map reading problem. In ancient times men were traditionally the lunch-chasers, so we would all starve if men weren't good at spatial ability. Stuff like being able to calculate speed, movement and distance of prey. Generally boys 'see' better in three dimensions than girls. It also explains why computer games are so addictive to boys.
Us men are problem solvers, which explains why we can't take criticism, whereas women don't focus on the problem so much, but get great comfort by talking about it (and since men aren't so good at listening – you can see why this also leads to problems…)
Now I understand why sports tend to be male dominated (and admired mainly by men); ball skills for example, are a demonstration to the watchers of great 'hunting' skills. Whereas women will admire them for their tight rear ends – read the book to find out why…
Now, before you start labelling me as sexist, read the above book first, as it puts my comments above in clear perspective. But for now, it gave me great comfort about the things I'm not so good at, and a better understanding of those my wife finds difficult. And vice-versa too…
Final quote from the book: We are who we are because of hormones, we are all the result of our chemistry.
I feel so much better now I know it's not really my fault….
They are at it again, you know, the soothsayers, prophet profiteers, all coming out of the woodwork with doom and gloom. Why? – because an ancient civilization, the Mayans well known for their study of astronomy and sacrificing of virgins (obviously a bunch of deep thinkers), came up with a ‘long count’ calendar due to end in 2012.
So now all the bar-room doomsday merchants are predicting we will perish in a variety of ways – all of which are extrapolations (= guesses) of possible outcomes.
That won’t stop stop them from worrying the heck out of millions of people though. Just like the Millennium Bug.
Whether it’s being burnt to a crisp from the sun’s rays, colliding with another galaxy, magnetic pole reversal (compass manufacturers will make a killing), collisions with another planet/asteroid, or Arnold Schwarzenegger making another Terminator movie – we are all screwed.
You’ll hear of lots of ‘evidence’ and lots of theories.
That’s it then, stop paying your mortgage, cancel your holiday plans for 2012, sex, drugs and rock and roll for us all…..and ruin the next two years of your life on this wonderful planet of ours.
In my short lifetime alone, I’ve lived through numerous ‘end of the world’ predictions. The Jehovah Witnesses almost seem to make a career out of this bunkum.
When I was a lad back in the sixties, I remember an Ad along the lines of “Crime and Banditry will continue until Joanna Southcroft’s box of sealed writings are opened” Well, eventually they were opened, and guess what? Crime and banditry continued. There’s a surprise then. Who forgot to tell the cops in New York or (name any large city on the planet) to take early retirement?
So am I a relative of Nostradamus? Am I a Wise Man? Am I the fountainhead of all knowledge? Am I 100 percent sure of the future of civilisation? Nope.
But better men than I have advised that there is nothing to fear but fear itself. As human beings, we are ‘wired’ to look for evidence that supports our thinking, so watch out for all the garbage-spewing cranks appearing over the next 24 months.
Oh yes, and do you know how this Mayan calendar came into being? Apart from being based on shorter (52 year-length) calendars – heavily influenced by moon and planets, religious hokum, and menstrual cycles, the Mayans used the numbers 13 and 20 as the basis for their counting systems. Imagine checking your change from Sainsbury’s based on that lot…
And those contributors for this piece of voodoo happenstance ‘calculated’ the year 2012, AND by the way, the Mayans did not predict the end of the world – just significant change…so go ahead, base the remainder of your life on the opinion of a tribe of star-gazers if you want.
Me? I’m off down the pub.
I've got a good buddy in Leeds, Dave Shillito, and he Skyped me a few days ago with an idea. Now Dave and I go back a few years and like me, he makes an excellent living by selling stuff online. He fired straight from the hip, "Dave, he says, I'm surprised you haven't thought about passing on what you know about creating a financially independent lifestyle onto your fellow ex-pats"
We yarned away for over an hour with me getting more and more excited about the prospect of helping folks just like me, who could use a few extra grand each month without ever needing to leave their villa!
So I ask you, what if I showed you how to build a £50K/year on-line business – how much would this be worth to you? And it doesn't matter which country you live in. You can earn by your poolside working a couple of hours each day. It's scalable, so if just a few hundred Euros extra every month is all you want, then that's okay too…
Would you be really interested in finding out how?
Imagine launching your own product, and waking up each morning knowing that you had been making money while you sleep? I get this buzz EVERY DAY.
Now, I knew what to do because I designed a formula and taught myself all I needed to know – so what if I put all my "how-to" knowledge together and SENT IT TO YOU in an easy step-by-step system? Call it an Internet Business In A Box if you will…
And in addition to teaching you how to do this, I give to you 5 or more already made successfully selling on-line products so that you can start immediately and keep 100% of the profits? All for the price of a local restaurant meal for two.
Imagine. Being able to treat and help your children and grandchildren, easily pay for trips and holidays, effortlessly pay your way in life. Eat well and live well. And get to pass on a valuable business as an inheritance.
Now, you'll need a PC of course and some form of connection to the internet, but that's about all, apart from putting a bit of your time and effort up-front to follow my precise instructions…
I'm several weeks away from putting this together, and can only invite around 100 folks to join me, but drop me a one line email to say you're interested, and I'll put you 'front of queue' and send you a link to the full details when I'm ready: firstname.lastname@example.org
Because I've been on the tail-end of a summer cold my thoughts have been somewhat introvert – always a dangerous thing! I got to thinking about my earliest recollections – around 5 years old when my whole life revolved around Mum and Dad. They were my authorities and they had the power. No problem there then.
Later, I got sent to school, now teachers shared the power and authority with Mum and Dad. They shouted at me, screamed at me, threw things at me…. and I jumped.
They beat the heck out of me, they made sure I knew my place. They made sure I was punished. I was smacked, canned, whacked, slippered, rulered, ear-twisted, clipped, punched…and I haven't got to the bullies yet…
At least the headmaster was a local magistrate (he gave me 6 strokes with the cane for drinking milk without a straw)
Phew! justice at last Eh?
Little boys should be seen and not heard. Those who ask don't get. Patience is a virtue. Oh yes, and in between, they taught me to read, write, and add up. They were LAW.
Then I went out to work. My bosses were now The Law, and I jumped and danced to their tune. Around the same time I became aware of the Government and it's Laws. These had to be obeyed or some form of punishment was coming my way. So I kowtowed.
These facts I give you shaped my thinking, and I blindly followed these sources of power and authority.
My Mum and Dad did okay by me, they were good parents, but they instilled my deference to authority. I was polite to policemen for example – by instinct.
Fast-forward to 2010.
With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that my schoolteachers for the most part were post-war and mediocre, they were just doing the minimum possible. And much later, my bosses were no better than me – they just got there before me.
And with the benefit of 60-plus years behind me, I can see that the UK has been governed by a bunch of career politicians being led by their balls by greedy and controlling bankers. Civil Servants are Self-Servants to their Masters – not to us…
All the wars in my lifetime have been encouraged by money, the banks play monopoly (= stocks and shares) with our livelihoods, and my pension will now only pay for my basic food… When complaining, I was told "sorry, your contributions were used to pay for those retiring at that time, but now affordability is an issue"…So much for entrusted Power and Authority.
By the way, I'm still polite to policemen…I just can't help myself. I'll need therapy.
So Thank God For My Internet Life. At least I'm finally my own boss.
I'm sure I'll feel better and more balanced after a few more paracetamol…
It's no secret I used to be a hot guitarist, well, in my head anyway! But truth be told I used to be okay, and played in the earliest 'pop bands' in the 1960's through to around 1985, when I 'retired'. I still play of course, but only for my own amusement, well, my wife Jude laughs every time I pick up the guitar…
If I had to pass on one tip to younger guitarists picked up from my 20 years on the road, it would not be related to actually playing the guitar, it would be the money I've saved throughout my years of regular gigging – by boiling my guitar strings.
If you're a UK guitarist, a set of strings will cost over £5, and if you ask most guitarists, they will tell you the tone starts to go after a couple of gigs, and for me that was less than a week. So I used to boil them, and instantly get them back to that 'out-of-the-packet' new crisp tone.
My dear old mum gave me a small metal saucepan only to be used for my strings, I used to get a pan of water to boiling point, take the strings off my guitar and roll them up – and pop 'em in!
It only needs two minutes of boiling to do the trick. Take them out (they cool down in moments), wipe them with a dry cloth and pop them back on your guitar. Job done, showroom twang is back in residence! Plus, a set of strings will last for months!
For those of a nervous nature – look away now…
For Project Managers only: I took great interest in the launch of Earned Value Management qualification by the APM Group in June this year. At last, a step toward 'growing up' and thinking about using EV as a control tool rather than just a reporting tool (" I'm only using it because management/customer insists").
If projects were your personal investment fund, wouldn't you want to know the answer to the question "what did we get for the money we spent?" Of course you would. If you hired a handyman to fix something in your home, and their response to your question "why is this so expensive" was, "well mate, it took me over 4 hours", you might feel sympathy, but you really want to know if they completed the job so you get value for money!
So you know that for a particular duration within your project that you planned to spend, say, £5000, and let's suppose you had actually spent £5,500, you're not sure whether you're ahead of schedule (we spend more because we did more work), or that you're overspending (it cost us more than we thought to do the work).
The third variable is Earned Value of course, which is the planned cost of an activity multiplied by the percentage complete. So a £1000 activity that is 50% complete means you've 'earned' £500.
The easiest way to determine your progress is to base all your interpretation from the standpoint of the Earned Value amount. If the planned cost amount is more than your EV amount – then you're behind schedule (and vice-versa).
If your Actual cost is more than your EV, then you're overspending (and vice versa).
Okay, so this is not a tutorial on EV – but I hope I've whetted your appetite to make better friends with this invaluable project management control tool.
Hmmmm, I think I'll put this on my Project To-Do list to create an EV Primer at some point in the future…..
Late last night, as an awesome Thunder and Lightening storm swept through the Pego valley I was sitting out watching it bang and crash while trying to chart my new digital life.
It's been a week since Nick relaunched this Website and the concept of blogging, vlogging and just plain being active on-line is a new one. My mind is definitely working overtime with all the new ideas that Nick spent pressing home.
It's also something that is sometimes hard to focus on with so many other things to work on. 😉
I'm hard at work developing the new PMP Primer product – for all Project Managers involved in the American based Project Management Institute arena (PMP certification) this is going to be a massive boost. I have power point presentations recorded, voice over and classroom lessons video now I just have to use some of Nicks cunning techniques to bring it all into one cohesive product.
Check out the countdown at https://www.pm-primer.com
However, Nick is insistent that I keep a regular blog and give you guys a regular update on what I'm working on… I guess the concept works as it focusses my brain every morning on todays goals and what I've achieved since my last blog. Video Logs are going to be a more and more active part of the site.
Check the polls and let me know which kind of blog you would rather watch: https://www.davelitten.com/poll/what-best-way-keep-diary
I've given way, and created a brand new PRINCE2 Sample Practitioner Paper and included the answers!
So I woke up this morning and decided to talk to my cdn Nick (of projex fame) and try to prioritize all my website ideas. He suggested (well threatened, coerced and forced is more accurate) that I list all my brainload of ideas so we can have a plan of attack and a schedule for implementation over the next couple of weeks.
Here are my achievements to date:
1. update PRINCE2 Primer website to include new free Practitioner exam paper
2. Launch special price of my Project Management Primer as a partner to PRINCE2
4. Launch my brand new APM Introductory Certificate Primer
HOT OFF THE PRESS: I'm working on my PMP Primer set against the PMI syllabus to fully prepare folks who want to take the PMP exam.
There's an old saying, "necessity is the mother of invention" and it proved itself to me again over the past few days. See, I needed to learn to do two new things, one was help a buddy by explaining how to set up PowerPoint slides, and the other, how to use a screen capture application. Well that was straightforward enough, but it got me to thinking that just maybe there were other folks out there who wanted to learn how to create Website sales videos.
So to cut to the chase, I created three 'how-to' videos of me doing just that. And if that wasn't enough, I decided to include a "done for you" set of Power Point Templates. They are already set up with headlines, animated bullets and footers. All you need to do is edit them to generate whatever your video topic will be.
You can see the finished result of my efforts HERE