Chaco Canyon Consulting

Is "Leading" Your Organization
A White-Knuckle Ride?

As a leader of a project-oriented organization you probably often feel like you're riding a hurricane. Juggling multiple projects, all competing for resources, many of them late or over budget or floundering, while at the same time you "manage" your organization, you sometimes wonder if there's a better way. There is.

As a Skip to the Details: How To Orderleader of a project-oriented organization, you face an unprecedented degree of uncertainty. Today's dynamic conditions and competitive environment are conspiring to make executing even the most conservative project plan a thrill ride, but that's only a small part of the problem — all managers face that one.

52 Tips for Leaders of Project-Oriented OrganizationsYour organization does its work as projects — unique or first-of-a-kind activities that your organization has never done before. And often, no organization has done them before. Projects, as distinguished from operations, present special problems. And managing organizations that tackle projects, as opposed to operations, requires special approaches. That's why I wrote 52 Tips for Leaders of Project-Oriented Organizations. It's for people who don't even have time to read the directions on their prescriptions.

People who ordered this item also ordered 52 Tips for Resuming Paused Projects and How to Spot a Troubled Project Before the Trouble Starts.52 Tips for Leaders of Project-Oriented Organizations is an ebook that contains 52 ideas that managers and leaders of project-oriented organizations can use right now to address the special problems of managing these organizations.

You'll get as much from this little tip book as you'll get from one of those two-pound books you don't have time to read. And once you start deploying some of the ideas you'll be reading about, you'll free up some time to think.

Some sample tips

Here are some samples:

Never confuse the accounting system with reality
Accounting systems are fairly good at measuring concrete items, such as cash, revenue, outlays and so on. But many cost drivers in the project-oriented organization are difficult to measure, and they're often unrepresented in the accounting system.
For instance, when we choose cubicles over walled offices, the cost savings are well represented in the Facilities budget. But the increased costs due to interruptions and depressed productivity of the cubicle occupants appear nowhere.
When we rely on the accounting system to make decisions, we probably do well in the short term. But the long-term effects of the failure of the accounting system to model all costs often depress organizational performance.
Make decisions based not on the projections of accounting-based systems, but on more realistic models of organization performance.
Choose status-neutral site names
When managing dispersed teams, we sometimes refer to the sites where team members work by names such as "HQ," "Corporate," "home office," "plant," "fab," "lab," "remote site" and "field office." These names can be toxic because they contain organizational status information.
When site names denote organizational status or role, they affect the self-image of the people who work there. The effect can be so strong that it can actually influence career decisions. In team decision-making, people who work at high-status sites can have undue influence.
To help manage these effects, choose site names that are either arbitrary or geographical. For instance, name your sites after mountains or rivers, or national parks. Or refer to sites by local geographical features, such as a city or street.
Status-neutral site names help members of dispersed teams see each other as peers, which leads to better decisions.


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Table of contents

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The Basics

  • Never, ever, kill the messenger
  • Subsidize your food service
  • Geese don't land on twigs
  • Tame the time card
  • Make project restarts more common
  • Have too many too-well-equipped conference rooms
  • Look before you leap
  • The cheapest way to run a project is with enough resources
  • Know how to hear No
  • Never confuse the accounting system with reality
  • Walls are cheaper than hours
  • Choose status-neutral site names
  • In dispersed teams, distribute travel
  • Understand the Hawthorne Effect
  • Avoid Pygmalion side-effects
  • Make space for serendipity
  • Learn how to fight fire
  • Don't rebuild the Chrysler Building
  • Use custom software only where you can get an edge
  • Size doesn't matter
  • Know when to be at the leading edge
  • Adding people slows things down
  • Train too much
  • Use bake-offs
  • Find new ways to exploit information networks
  • Recognize risk takers
  • Master meeting madness
  • WIIFM is toxic
  • Educate everyone about trips to Abilene
  • Learn from the lioness
  • Know when to let someone else "sit in"
  • Let the consultant do the diagnosis
  • Start a project nursery
  • Know the principles of quantum management
  • Know when to declare Condition Red
  • Understand scope creep
  • Understand why complex projects are usually late
  • Create a positive culture
  • Don't just paint — decorate
  • Put widely dispersed teams on Zulu time
  • Know how to manage rumors
  • Don't spam your own organization
  • Commend commendors
  • Support your travelers
  • Manage your metaphors
  • There are no full-time equivalents
  • Take regular temperature readings
  • Resistance to change isn't
  • Risk management is a whole lot more than a risk list
  • Provide coaching for non-executives
  • Practice renewal
  • Bonus Tip: Tell others about this booklet
How to Spot a Troubled Project Before the Trouble StartsLearn how to spot troubled projects before they get out of control.
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