Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Strategic Execution Conference on Innovation - Free Innovation Playbook

Tamara Carleton, one of our world class speakers at the IPS/Stanford Strategic Execution Conference, offers a free download of her fantastic new Playbook for Strategic Innovation and Foresight hereThe Playbook is a free hands-on guide for learning innovation best practices and inculcating them in an organization. It is packed with over 250 pages of step-by-step instructions, diagrams, tips, examples, worksheets, case studies, and more.

Thank you Tamara!

Friday, January 18, 2013

7 Must-Have Project Management Skills for IT Pros

A good--or bad--project manager can make the difference between a project coming in on time and on budget and it being a failure. How can you spot a good project manager? CIO.com talked to experts and IT executives to find out.

Skill No. 1: Be highly organized and a good multi-tasker.

Skill No. 2: Take charge and know how to lead.

Skill No. 3: Be an effective communicator.

Skill No. 4: Know how and when to negotiate.

Skill No. 5: Be detail-oriented.

Skill No. 6: Recognize and solve problems quickly.

Skill No. 7: Possess the necessary technical skills.

Read the article in full print here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

First Ever Strategic Execution Conference--Join Us!

IPS Learning and the Stanford Center for Professional Development will jointly present “The Strategic Execution Conference: Linking Strategy to Execution through Innovative Techniques” April 24 and 25 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport, 1333 Bayshore Dr., Burlingame, CA. Ram Charan, highly acclaimed business advisor and author, will keynote the opening conference session. 
The two-day conference will bring together more than 1,000 executives, leaders and senior managers from major high-tech and innovative organizations worldwide to gain insight on current and future challenges surrounding strategic execution from the world’s preeminent thought leaders. Details at www.executionconference.com

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Scaling Large Projects and Programs

Stanford Professors, Bob Sutton and Huggy Rao, teach in our Stanford Advanced Project Management Program, and are completing research and a book on scaling-up excellence. In a recent post, Bob pointed to Ben Horowitz's thoughts on "Taking the Mystery out of Scaling a Company". Working with leaders of complex project-based work or PBW (programs and projects) in a variety of global companies, I have seen the challenges of scaling from a small, co-located program team to a globally-distributed team with hundreds of employees and myriad vendors and contractors. Horowitz suggests three scaling techniques:

  • Specialization: you can not do everything and know everything as you grow
  • Organizational design: communications architecture for your PBW but recognize there is no perfect one
  • Process: purpose of process is communication
Helping firms scale large PBW, I find Horowitz's critical steps around organizational design for scaling (my comments are in italics) to be especially insightful:

  1. Determine what needs to be communicated (Who needs to know what, why, and what is the smoothest way to provide it? We are talking not just technical but also management information; engineers with minimal leadership experience often overlook the importance of non-technical information.)
  2. Identify decisions that have to be made (Start that decision log, however small and own it. Be crystal clear about how your PBW leadership team needs to make decisions. De facto approaches cause problems...fast. Decide by design not default.)
  3. Prioritize the most important communication and decision paths (Especially critical for globally-distributed teams in multiple cultures and time zones. Focus on what makes it easiest to get the program's work actually done.)
  4. Decide who runs which groups (no multiple owners of work--one, single person is responsible for each group)
  5. Identify communication paths that you did not optimize and mitigate (You cannot give all paths the same weight; recognize which ones that have less attention and plan for addressing those issues that may surface.)

Horowitz's post is worth a serious read for application to designing and leading PBW.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Olympics 2012--great resource for learning how it was done

The London 2012 Olympic Development Authority has created a very useful web site on what they have learned in designing and building the facilities.  Even if you are not in construction, there is much of interest here for any of us that lead large, complex projects!
Through the Learning Legacy project, the Olympic Delivery Authority is sharing the knowledge and the lessons learned from the construction of the Olympic Park, to help raise the bar within the sector and act as a showcase for UK plc.

5 things that happen when you really know your strategy

Wow---what a succinct way to know you (and those you lead "get your strategy").  This post is from an interesting group Anectdote in Australia, focused on the power of storytelling in organizations. Wonderful diagram of their work is below.  Worth a look and they offer a very useful newsletter!

Here are five things that happen when you really do know your strategy:
  1. you know when to say 'no.'
  2. you get better support from your colleagues--they are trying to achieve the same things
  3. you can wing it with confidence--the strategy is your safety net
  4. you can focus on doing the right things rather than just doing things right
  5. you can act with more autonomy because you know where others are going, and autonomy is motivating

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wonderful graphic @ organizational culture

In our Stanford Advanced Project Management program we are always addressing the power of culture in executing strategy through project-based work.  This is a neat diagram from Agilitrix that succinctly captures the critical aspects of the Schneider Model. Their site provides other discussions about the model.