Four Attributes of a successful project management consultant – The Project General Company Jakarta

The Project General Company Jakarta Manages Project in Indonesia, Trains Projects Managers (PMP, PMBOK, AGILE) in Indonesia. www.project-general.com  pmo@project-general.com

The project General Company Jakarta believes that there are four attributes of a project management consultant:

(1) a solid foundation in project management or a subject matter expert (SME) in a particular area of project management, such as a PMP® or AGILE, or ISO 21500;

(2) demonstrated experience applying project management “best practices” in practical situations;

(3) genuine customer relationship management (i.e., understanding the client’s problems, formulating recommendations, and implementing solutions); and

(4) credibility 

As a project management consulting company, our services are based on providing our clients with resources with the appropriate knowledge and skills. We hire staff with educational and/or certification requirements. We look for candidates with a college degree in the functional area in which they will be working (e.g., information technology, health care, finance). Since we operate in government regulated markets, the PMP® is a minimum requirement for our project managers. Other certifications and credentials provide our clients with specialized knowledge, such as the Certified Cost Estimator/Analyst (CCEA®) from the Society of Cost Estimating and Analysis or the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) from the ScrumAlliance®. A solid foundation in project management or a subject matter expert (SME) in a particular area of project management, such as a PMP® or AGILE, or ISO 21500.

Client Relationship Management

The biggest challenge for many project management consultants is not applying project management knowledge and demonstrated experience in client engagements, but having to manage a client’s expectations. This involves another set of skills that are often difficult to master:

Strong communication skills. Consultants need to establish open and frequent interactions with the client and have the ability to speak and articulate thoughts clearly and concisely. This includes being able to present well, to write clearly and effectively, and to listen actively

Proven problem-solving skills. When a problem is identified, consultants need to able to define the problem, identify and assess root causes, and develop recommendations that will address the problem and satisfy the client.

Managing client relationships also involves a different set of expectations and challenges. To be successful, the consultant will have to understand the client(s) and their roles in their organizations. Project General identified several challenges when working within a client’s organization:

Adjusting to the methodology. The client’s organization may have established project management processes and practices and the consultant will have to “align” with the skills and knowledge the client is providing. The client’s methodology needs to be followed and any “best practices” implemented needs to be in terms of the client’s processes and practices.

Understanding the organizational structure. The client has constraints and opportunities offered by the client’s own organization. Obtaining an understanding of the organization and the client’s business processes, organizational resources, and reporting requirements is an important part of the consultant being able to help their clients.

Understanding the organizational politics. It is important to know the world in which the client must operate so that the consultant understands how to successfully help their client.

Being the outsider. This could be a good thing, but it could be problematic. The consultant is often in the role of a “sword or shield” for the client—delivering unfavorable messages or defending the client’s position. If the consultant focuses on doing what’s best for the client, their work will provide better results for their organization.

As a project management consulting company, our success and continued business is based on sound client relationships. All new employees are required to participate in an introduction to consulting training. This helps sets expectations and provides new employees with resources for developing client relationship management skills. We use mentoring and coaching to help refine communication and problem-solving skills of all staff, but with particular attention to staff responsible for client interactions. We also use personal performance assessments, with input from clients, peers, subordinates, and managers, to identify strengths and weaknesses in client relationship management. Weaknesses are addressed through professional development plans.

We also understand that client relationships are about personalities. We involve senior management in helping establish and maintain client relationships. This helps with the early identification and resolution of personality conflicts between consultants and clients.

Credibility

Credibility comes through relationships with clients who have become confident in the consultant’s abilities to meet their expectations. Clients appreciate qualities that all of us should be capable of providing: honesty, dependability, integrity, and hard work. By establishing trust based on sound relationships, proven project management capabilities, and the ability to meet their expectations, clients will share the consultant’s accomplishments with others, which establishes credibility.

Credibility also comes from delivering value. Value could be measured by successfully delivering that project on schedule, within budget, and to performance requirements. However, when a consultant can help a client address their “pain points” while delivering that project, the consultant is now focusing on the client’s true needs. Consultants must develop the ability to identify and understand their clients’ problems, empathize with their pain, and find solutions. When a client asks, “What do you think we should do?” the consultant has established credibility in being able to help with what’s best for the client.

Successful consultants are:

As a project management consulting company, we know what it takes to be a successful consultant. In addition to what we have presented on this web page, here are several attributes we have observed in our more successful project management consultants:

Credibility also comes from delivering value. Value could be measured by successfully delivering that project on schedule, within budget, and to performance requirements. However, when a consultant can help a client address their “pain points” while delivering that project, the consultant is now focusing on the client’s true needs. Consultants must develop the ability to identify and understand their clients’ problems, empathize with their pain, and find solutions. When a client asks, “What do you think we should do?” the consultant has established credibility in being able to help with what’s best for the client.

Confident—the consultant being able to successfully use the four attributes to deliver value to the client, continually, and be willing to assess and improve his or her skills and performance.

Proactive—continually assessing the client’s business objectives for potential impacts. By establishing sound client relations, the consultant can identify potential client “pain points” and prepare for possible solutions.

Innovative—taking proven practices and, with slight modifications, address their client’s “pain points.” Providing value by using common tools and techniques, effectively and efficiently, to meet unique client needs.

The Project General Company specializes in Project Management in Indonesia.

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Satya Nadella needs more than one trick to fix Microsoft

Satya Nadella needs more than one trick to fix Microsoft

Satya Nadella needs more than one trick to fix Microsoft

(Updated by Endah)

Office for iPad move is a symbolic victory for Nadella’s Microsoft, but the company is still weighed down by many of the same old issues.

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FORTUNE — How does a CEO grab attention when he’s the follow-up act to a brash, voluble leader like Steve Ballmer? For Satya Nadella, who hardly seems prone to the same kind of sweat-soaked stage performance of his predecessor, the answer lay in a bold strategic gesture: Get Microsoft (MSFT) Office onto the iPad.

Office, of course, had long been Microsoft’s great cash cow fenced off from the green pastures of the tablet market. Some believed it was the reason Microsoft started making Surface tablets after decades of not manufacturing personal computing devices. That expensive experiment hasn’t exactly delivered a hit. Surface sales are growing, but its 2% market share lags those of Samsung, Amazon’s (AMZN) Kindle Fire, and of course the iPad (AAPL).

With Nadella taking the reins from Ballmer, Microsoft has the chance to begin a new era — distinct from the Ballmer years that saw modest growth and a move into enterprise software, and even more remote from the Gates years when Microsoft ruled PC software with an iron fist. Nadella’s Microsoft appears to be a company that aims to compete in markets rather than control them.

MORE: Nadella: Microsoft needs a ‘data culture’

Nadella’s experience is aligned with the same technologies that promise future growth — cloud computing, multi-platforms, mobility, big data — the antithesis of the proprietary software that Microsoft built its historical success on. That’s why the Office 365 for iPad announcement was notable. It wasn’t so much two longtime enemies sharing revenue. It was Microsoft risking its own mobile platform by expanding to another, bigger platform. It was a Microsoft open like never before.

The announcement was also Nadella’s first big public appearance, a product launch cum CEO debut. The move was a risky one: It could telegraph that Microsoft was capitulating to Apple (AAPL), running its prized wares on its old rival’s device while paying a 30% share of revenue for the privilege. Increasingly, Nadella is instead being seen as a leader who can finally usher the company out of the PC era and into the cloud economy.

Last month, when Microsoft announced that Office apps would be available for the iPad, the news stirred a ripple of notice. Analysis was mixed. The New York Times wondered if it wasn’t the right move too late. Techcrunch found it to be worth the wait. Someone at Forbes dismissed it as anon-game changer.

After a few weeks in the App Store, Office for iPad is proving the early skeptics wrong. More than 12 million people downloaded Office Apps in the first week. Today, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint are the three most popular free apps in the iPad App Store (excluding games, which shows that tablets may be better for idleness than productivity). The basic apps are free for bare-bones functionality, but a subscription to Office 365 opens up more features.

For investors, the arrival of Office for iPad is unlikely to translate into material earnings, at least any time soon. It may open Microsoft to businesses that prefer tablets over traditional PCs, but it could also cannibalize the company’s older, high-margin markets. Desktop and laptop sales have been declining since the iPad’s introduction, although recent months have shown signs those declines are stabilizing.

MORE: For Microsoft’s Nadella, signs of leadership potential

If the move has little short-term benefit for Microsoft, its symbolic value is higher. CEOs of prominent companies like Microsoft often set the tone of a company, and in some ways Microsoft now appears to have lost the cloud hanging over it when Ballmer was there. Ballmer, of course, also worked to push Microsoft into a more open direction, but somehow Nadella’s presence makes it seem like it may finally be happening.

Office, of course, is only one part of Microsoft’s business. It’s the prime contributor to the company’s business division, along with Sharepoint and Exchange. That division makes up a third of Microsoft’s revenue and three-fifths of its operating income. But growth in the division has been flat — revenue rose only 2.5% in Microsoft’s last fiscal year (ended June 2013) and declined 6% in the last six months of 2013.

Microsoft is seeing faster revenue growth in its server and online services divisions, although these segments have much lower margins. (The online division has been a perennial money loser.) So while the Office move is seen as a symbolic victory for Nadella’s Microsoft, the company is still weighed down by many of the same old issues: an enterprise software market and the aging business in PC operating software.

Office for iPad is a strong start to Nadella’s follow-up act to Ballmer. But it will need to be followed by a lot more creative, bold moves to change Microsoft into the dynamic, future-oriented company that investors are hoping it can become.

 

 
 

Tech job forecast for 2014: Hot, and getting hotter

Tech job forecast for 2014: Hot, and getting hotter

Tech job forecast for 2014: Hot, and getting hotter

(Updated by Endah)

By December 27, 2013: 9:42 AM ET

 

Companies plan to hire more IT staff in the year ahead, and pay them bigger salaries, too. For the computer science class of 2014, the outlook is sunny.

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FORTUNE — Dear Annie: I read your column about how women can get ahead in the information technology field, so I’m curious. What advice have you got for guys like me? I’ll be graduating in the spring with a bachelor’s in computer science, minor in business. I have a couple of good internships behind me, where I got to develop programs that companies are still using. I’m about to start seriously job hunting, so I’m wondering what the IT job market will look like over the next year or so, and how to best position myself to get hired. Any thoughts? — Brian in Berkeley

Dear B.B.: The year about to start looks bright for people with tech skills, especially if they have picked up the right ones, and who bring with them at least three to five years’ experience. (Internships do count, the more hands-on the better.) Consider: Dice Holdings, which runs tech job site Dice.com, reports that 55% more employers — a record high — say they’re ready to hire large numbers of techies, up from 42% in the second half of 2013.

Moreover, so many opportunities are opening up now that companies increasingly need to offer higher salaries than in the past, both to hold onto current tech employees and to attract new ones. “A year ago, the tech job market didn’t look like this. For employers, it’s only going to get harder,” says Rona Borre, CEO of Chicago-based tech recruiters Instant Technology.

That’s good news for you, of course. Borre adds, “IT people are getting multiple offers and picking and choosing among them — not only to get more money, but to go with the employers who are on the cutting edge, who can offer the latest and greatest technologies.”

The skills most in demand: Software development. Wanted Analytics, which aggregates job listings from all over the Web, reports that help-wanted ads for software developers are up 120% over last year, and Borre is seeing the same trend. “Development, whether mobile or web or back-end support, is where the driving need is now,” she says.

Mobile apps are another hot area. “People with three years’ experience in mobile apps are considered senior now,” notes Borre. “There is also a huge demand for people who can help companies move to the cloud. And there’s always demand at big companies for people who can run SAP and other large-scale ERP [enterprise resource planning] systems.”

In putting your resume together for your job hunt, it might help if you have any experience with the four technologies most often mentioned in recent help-wanted ads on Dice. They are Javascript-based frameworks like KnockoutJS and AngularJS (whose adepts, Dice reports, boast a tiny 1.8% jobless rate); Jenkins, an open-source integration tool; Elastic Path, an e-commerce platform gaining in popularity with employers; and HL7, a framework for the exchange, sharing, and retrieval of health information.

But beyond your knowledge of specific tools and programs, Borre has three suggestions for you about how to launch a career in information technology. First, she says, “Accessibility of information is more important than ever, so be ready to show a prospective employer a project you created or completed” — whether it’s that software program you developed as an intern or a computer game or mobile app you created at school. “If you can bring examples of your work, companies will have a job for you,” says Borre.

Second (and in common with the advice to women in that earlier column you cite), start building a network of fellow techies. “Especially right out of college, but really at any point in your career, it’s important to get involved in groups on LinkedIn and be active with local user groups,” Borre says. “You might also look for local volunteer groups where you can use your skills, or hone new ones.” Getting lots of exposure to what your peers are doing is not only interesting and fun, she notes, but could open the door to future job opportunities.

MORE: 2013’s biggest moments in tech 

Most important, Borre says, go into job interviews with a clear idea of what each employer does and what its goals are — and how your tech skills can help them get where they’re trying to go. “Employers want innovation that will further their business. They want to hire people who understand the role technology plays in the bigger picture.

“So being able to play that dual role of tech person and business analyst is what moves people’s tech careers forward now,” she says. “The days of the tech guy or gal sitting alone in the corner are over.” Noted.

Talkback: If you’re in IT, have you noticed an upward trend in demand for your skills? What skills have served you best in the current job market? Leave a comment below.