A Practice-Based Methodology for Productive Innovation
Project Management is the hallmark of successful human organizations in the 21 st century. It is the most effective way to meet the challenges of this unparalleled era.
Technology and the accompanying methodologies are changing the environment for every kind of organization. They are creating incredible opportunities, yet intensifying end-user expectations and competitive pressures. Product/service life cycles are shortening; skill demands are rising. Global competition and opportunity are in every corner of the economy, for organizations large and small.
This revolution is accelerating, and penetrating every corner of our civilization.
To thrive in such an environment, people must become more productive, in ways that do not exhaust their capacity to learn, create and invest effective effort.
Projects are the defined processes of moving organizations, ideas and groups of people from Point A to Point B when there are significant areas of uncertainty and complexity. They invest resources in efforts specifically designed to build a significant innovation. There always is risk in projects, and the risk increases in proportion to the value of the intended outcome.
Project Management is the discipline by which diverse groups of people develop team synergy in making productive investments of time and physical resources in controlled risk environments to produce maximum defined quality in innovations.
Jim Milliken's Project Management curriculum is a set of workplace-based training modules that move groups of people through the orderly steps of an effective process, using cases and team simulations as a base for realistic discussions and practice.
In these designs, the work breakdown structures, precedent diagrams and Gantt charts are the tools through which people of varying specialties can communicate, problem-solve, goal-set, negotiate and manage through the uncertain circumstances of the typical project.
The training is available for multidisciplinary groups or intact work teams. It comes in designs from one to eight days, or customizations of any duration. It is in 90-minute modules, so can be scheduled to allow for workplace tryout of each sequential step before moving to the next. Customization can go even to the point of creating original cases based on worksite-specific consultation, questionnaires and focus groups.
An eight-day version is regularly offered through the Center for Continuing Education at the University of Southern Maine
Typical titles of presentations are:
Organizing for Project Management
Implementing Project Management
Advanced Project Management
Project Management Operations
Building Project Teams
Mastering Multiple Projects, Priorities & Demands
Jim Milliken holds the Project Management Professional certification of the Project Management Institute, and can provide training designs based on the PMI Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge as desired.
THE MANAGEMENT WORKSHOPS
Targeted Skills Sets for Managers, Supervisors, Professionals
The most valued person in the workplace, without regard to title or status, is the one who does what he/she promised to do, on time and to the satisfaction of all involved. At the other end of a continuum, and far more common, is the person who regularly misses delivery dates, produces partial or defective work, fails to communicate problems or shortfalls, ignores potential assistance and doesn't work effectively with others.
We attribute the "good worker" characteristics to attitude, and that certainly is a key ingredient. However, there are specific skills integral to top performance, and the good worker's attitude - and work results - arise from such skills. It's a lot easier to have a positive attitude when you know what to do and are confident you can do it.
The WORKPLACE WORKSHOPS specify the "how-tos" of skill sets we tend to take for granted. These practical training designs, generally in one-day form, make the skills and practices clear in text, cases and workouts.
The workshops are in four-module designs, meaning each is composed of 90-minute parts that can be pulled out for stand-alone delivery, or for combined delivery with modules from other designs.
Mastering Multiple Projects, Priorities & Demands is the "superbusy person" course. It is aimed at go-to people who keep absorbing work and attempting to solve problems beyond reason. They often are involved in overlapping responsibilities for multiple projects as well as key continuing functions, often in management or supervisory positions. They are superior workers and don't know how to say no.
They don't have to say no. This workshop provides them with the practices they need to establish sensible structure in their workdays, set and manage short-term and long-term goals, manage daily time and tasks and maintain productive worksharing relationships with others.
Managing a Busy Job, an alternative design, focuses on workload management for people who must deal daily with numerous competing responsibilities, not necessarily including management of projects or other higher-level functions.
The other workshops go into greater depth with more narrowly focused skills, and often are customized for specific groups:
The Workable Plan for Managing Your Job devotes a day to the development of a personal, customized plan for organizing and managing the use of time. It assumes the participant knows the broader skills of Mastering Multiple Projects or Managing a Busy Job (above) and seeks specific action-oriented steps to implement them.
Taming Workplace Stress addresses workday management from the aspect of personal anxiety as a barrier to productivity. It combines some aspects of project management and time management with physical and emotional exercises that directly address workplace stress.
Problem Solving is the basic structure of all rational efforts to manage personal and organizational productivity and change. This design concentrates strictly on the sequence of actions necessary to thoroughly examine and identify problems and develop effective solutions.
Planning & Organizing details and practices the formats and actions required for effective implementation of projects, organizational change and process improvements. Participants work through steps in goal setting, estimating, priority setting and schedule management for individuals and teams.
Delegating is one of the absolute necessities for productivity in organizations, but it frequently is ineffective in practice. This workshop lays out the actions of successful delegators and delegatees from start to finish of the process, emphasizing the skills the two parties must be putting to work.
The Delegator-Delegatee Assessment , a self-administered tool written by Jim Milliken for improving individual skills in Delegating, can be introduced in half-day as well as one-day training sessions. The booklet is available through CRM Learning of Carlsbad, California (1-800-421-0833).
Teambuilding explains and practices the skills and behaviors that make group action productive, even when the participants are diverse. The practices are necessary any time people have to work together, without regard to whether they are truly a team. Topics such as communication, collaboration and group decision-making are included.
An alternate version, Team LEGO , conducts the training through a series of exercises using LEGO blocks.
Meeting Management makes practical sense of one of the most pervasive workplace wasters of productivity, time and morale. While meetings are necessary as well as frequent, they can be managed to contribute significantly to group success while taking dramatically less time. There are sensible steps to take, and this workshop covers them.
Essentials for Supervision/Team Leadership deals with the particular difficulties encountered by top individual performers who have moved or are moving into responsibility for the work of others. The unexpected differences in expectations and workplace demands are profound and often result in severe limitations on the person's ability to perform effectively in the new context.
This workshop often is expanded into four parts of half-day to full-day duration each. It provides, in easily understandable form, the insights and practices the supervisor or leader - new or veteran -- needs to use.
Cooperation & Motivation in Your Organization is the workshop for leaders who understand that organizational/group productivity is high when the processes and personalities are organized wisely, led properly and motivated consciously.
This is a one-day look at the practices of "internal consulting" that help leaders develop objective tools for process management and effective means of staff development.
THE COMMUNICATION CURRICULUM
Written and Oral, Coached in Units Brief and Extended
Communication is the bedrock practice of organized human activity. Unfortunately, its importance most often is acknowledged through an expression both negative and hopeless: "The communication is terrible around here."
While the factual message is correct - communication IS terrible in many organizations - the wording implies that the imperfection is an organizational absolute and nothing can be done.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Communication, in its countless forms, is a set of identifiable, learnable, improvable business skills. Jim Milliken's Communication Curriculum presents them in four areas:
The Dynamics of Workplace Communication
Communication in Management & Supervision
Managing Your Workplace Communication
Mediation & Dispute Resolution
How to Sell Ideas, Products & Services
Writing Effective Letters, Memos & Reports
Writing for email
Grammar, Punctuation & Usage
Managing the Writing of Others
(plus many custom formats)
Newswriting & the Media
The Productive Reporter
Writing Columns, Features and Editorials
Press Release Writing
Managing Media Relations
Information & Persuasion through Print
Advertising & Promotion (small-business & specialized versions)
Newsletter Writing & Editing
Brochures, Leaflets & Flyers