Skills and Issues in Project Management

Conflict with Co-worker

I was working as an aircraft scheduling supervisor for DHL, where I provided flight scheduling assessment for the air traffic controllers. I had to train a staff member to take over my case load as I was leaving the job and embarking unto further education. The co-worker who I was training was new to the organisation and didn’t know much about her position. Our first few interactions were a little bit negative. She was very short with her responses to me when I would ask her questions or provide her with information. I initially didn’t think too much about it but as we continued to meet I realised that the interaction had started to became more negative which made me feel uncomfortable. At this point I realised that this wasn’t going well and was worried that she wouldn’t be trained well enough for when I left (Singleton, Toombs, Taneja, Larkin & Pryor, 2011). I knew that I needed to do something but I wasn’t sure that going to my managers was really the best course of action as I really didn’t want to blow the whole situation out of proportion and I certainly didn’t want to get her in trouble.

I decided that I would speak to her privately to let her know how I was feeling while trying to understand how she was feeling (Tjosvold, 1998). I let her know that I thought that our meetings were unproductive and I was worried that she wouldn’t have enough information to be ready to take over my case load. I also asked her if there was anything I had done to make her feel uncomfortable and to let me know if there was anything I could do better. She apologized and said it wasn’t me. She mentioned that she feeling overwhelmed with her task at her new job (Starks, 2006).

I think this talk was important as I could clear up the communication issues and conflict that I was feeling and we both could tell each other of what we were thinking and what we needed (Williams, 2001). since she was feeling overwhelmed with some of her tasks I helped her with those and brought her back up to speed and because of this she was ready to take over my case load and there was no delay in flight scheduling while I was leaving which was really the most important thing.

From this experience, I learned that taking the initiative to be accretive and addressing the conflict with the co-worker is an important first step especially before involving managers into the situation. I also think that I gained a lot more confidence when having to deal with conflict with co-worker in similar situations.

Tell Me about Motivating

During the start of the second semester at university I was introduced to a course called Engineering you are hired where I had to work with a group of students who I had never meet before. We were placed in a group of 6 students from different faculty of engineering and had to come up with the idea of making smart home product.

We came up with an idea of building a smart light switch and began working on the project. During the first few hour I realised that some of the team members were not contributing towards the project at all (Kozlowski et al., 1996; Morgeson & Hofmann, 1999). I could also see that my team was gradually deteriorate due to lack of input from some of the members. In order to stop further deteriation I conducted a meeting and asked individual members about their view on EYH projects and what they wanted out of this week (Marshal – 2009).From their answers I realised that the students were not interested as it wasn’t relevant to their course (Ramlall, 2004) and didn’t contribute to any credits (incentive at work). I formulated a plan to make this project more interesting and began to divide the project task base on individual field of study (Eccles and Wigfield, 2000). I began to divide the group into section based on their relevant experience for example, the Electrical student was responsible for carrying out all the electrical design and calculation, Computer science student was responsible for designing user friendly interface for the switch, material science would be responsible on choosing the cheapest and the best material while mechanical engineers would design the overall casing for the system which made the individual feel more valued ( lecture notes )as they were leading their own smaller projects (Dewhurst, Guthridge and Mohr).

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This made the team more involved and motivated as the project now had become more relevant to the courses they were undertaking which helped on increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the team performance. The team started functioning properly and began generating ideas and tackling problems. As a result of the motivation of the team members my team was the only team in EYH to have an actual working prototype of the product that we had designed. Some of the features in our designed were also requested to be used by industrial experts who came to monitor us. We were also awarded distinction for our outstanding performance and I also received an award for the best pitch for funding 2017for EYH.

I learned that by making a team member feel valued, they can be motivated to work effectively and efficiently which would give better results.

Team Working

During my job as an electrical consultant at boots, I had to work with employees of different store across midlands to organise an electric sales training event to train new staffs joining the company.

The aim of this event was to train new employees as quickly as possible about all of the electric product within the department. I scheduled a meeting with my team few weeks before the main event where we planned the itinerary for the event and allocated each member with their respective task (Davis, 2009) to increase efficiency. I was given the role to design the leaflets and flyers for the new employees which had to consist of all the learning materials.

I began to formulate a plan and made a Gannt chat to organise and prioritise all the task that I had to complete within certain time for example when to print, what to write, etc. (Herrmann, 2005, 2006a). I also reached out to other stores outside of midlands to capture their view on staff training and what they would like their new staff to be trained on which provided me with understanding on what to put on the leaflets and flyers which would be used by the trainees. I also scheduled meetings with my team every day to discuss about the advances we had made so far. I also opened a group chat and kept in touch with one another via social media. The use of social media to stay in touch enabled us to monitor each member progress as we had a very tight deadline so in an event when a team member was facing difficulties on accomplishing their task on given period, other members who were free could provide extra help to complete the task. This helped us to finish all the task on given timeline (Luca & Tarricone, 2002).

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The electrical sales training event was a huge victory with positive response from my area manager and all the trainees. Some manager also took the event leaflets and flyers to be kept in their store to refresh the knowledge of some of the older employees about sales strategies. The area managers and my team members thanked me for designing the leaflet and flyers, and explained that it was the most difficult task and many staff had rejected to take this responsibility, they also explained that without the leaflets and flyers the event wouldn’t have been a success.

From this event, I learned that by effectively managing time and by communicating well within a team. A good team can be formed. I also learned that by working as a team, results can be achieved effectively and efficiently which wouldn’t have been possible by working alone.

Project Management Skills (447 worlds left )

Identify your best Project Management Skills and justify these by giving examples of why you believe these to be strengths

I believe that I am a good communicator which can be proven by my skills during EYH where I was awared the best pitch for funding. I also think that being able to communicate is one of the most important aspect in project management as most project fail due to impropercomminication and leadership and because of the communication skills it also makes me a good negosiator as during a ESA cubesat project they were asking us to pay for the lauch I managed to negosiate with the design technique which they accepte and wo0uld do free lauch into the orbit. I am also a good organiser as I have never missed a signle deadline in the university projects. I also use grant chart to organise myself. I also have a good leadership and tream management skills which can be proven with my work for Sky Plc where I worked as a team leader. When I fist joined the team the productivity of the team was 59% but later when I started building report and started indroduing new policy the productivity increased to 78%. I was also very few managers in the team who was able to retain most of the staff. I also have an eye for details and I plan for many diffrennt circumstances (Proof)

Good Organiser , Good communication ,Negotiation Skills,  Risk Management , Leadership , Budgeting, Planning , Team Management

Sampson (2007, p. 41) writes, “The skills required for project management are now often divided 50/50 into traditional ‘hard’ skills, such as risk management and scheduling, and ‘soft’, peopleoriented skills, such as interpersonal communication.” Drossel (1980) places leadership skills on the same level as any other technical activity with which the project manager is faced and writes that project success is based on planning, establishing an effective team, feedback through team meetings, and commitment to the task at hand. Zachary (1984) also suggests a balance between the technical and leadership aspects of project management and states that the project manager’s goals are to build team morale and foster good working relations so everyone is eager to work toward a common goal–project completion. VanIngen (2007) notes that effective project management is a balance of organizational skills and people skills; and Corcoran (1997, p. 125) contends that “Ideal IT managers offer a blend of business and technical know-how. An MBA is helpful, but effective IT managers also need a technical background. They should understand the complex issues and trade-offs of new technologies.” Zielinski (2005, p. 22), however, points out that “If you had asked project-management gurus five years ago to name the most important competencies project managers should have, most would have said technical skills. Today they’d be more inclined to place communications or negotiations acumen at the top of their lists … There’s no denying the importance of technical expertise to successfully orchestrating a project. Managing an initiative’s scope, cost, risk, resources and schedule are all essential skills. Indeed, the quality of up-front planning–and a project leader’s skill at replanning as project conditions change–can determine a project’s fate all on its own. But in rethinking skill hierarchies, many companies have come to view these more as baseline competencies. Now they regard soft skills … such as communication, negotiation, conflict management and persuasion, as higher-order skills.” Almost two decades earlier Posner (1987) made a similar observation and noted that the fundamental problems confronting a project manager are related to the management of people, not to the technical challenges. He further asserted that a lack of organization and management skills are the primary reasons project managers fail. Brousseau (1987) agreed with him, maintaining that flexible leadership style and well executed management are essential to successfully managed projects. He carried the argument a step further by stating that the communications and

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References:

Starks. G. (2006). Managing conflict in public organization, Public Managers 35(4): 55

Singleton, R., Toombs, L. A., Taneja, S., Larkin, C., & Pryor, M. G. (Winter 2011). Workplace Conflict: A strategic leadership imperative, International Journal of Business and Public Administration, 8(1); 149-163.

Tjosvold, D. (1998). The cooperative and competitive goal approach to conflict: Accomplishments and challenges. Applied Psychology: Ab International Review, 47, 285-313.

Williams, M., (2001). In whom we trust: Group membership for an affective context for trust development. Academy of Management Review, 26, 377-396.

Eccles, J., & Wigfield, A. (1995). In the mind of the actor: The structure of adolescents’ achievement task values and expectancy- related beliefs. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21,215-225.

Kozlowski, S. W. J., Gully, S. M., McHugh, P. P., Salas, E., & Cannon-Bowers, J. A. (1996). A dynamic theory of leadership and team effectiveness: Developmental and task contingent leader roles. In G. R. Ferris (Ed.), Research in personnel and human resources management: Vol. 14: 253-305. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Morgeson, F. P., & Hofmann, D. A. (1999). The structure and function of collective constructs: Implications for multilevel research and theory development. Academy of Management Review, 24: 249-265.

Ramlall, S., (2014) A Review of Employee Motivation Theories and Their Implication for Employee Retention within Organization. Journal of American Academy of Business: 52-63.

Dewhurst, M., Guthridge, M., Mohr, E., (2009).  Motivating People: Getting Beyond Monkey. McKinsey Quaterly. Organizational practice: Web:http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/motivating-people-getting-beyond-money Accessed on: 24/03/2017

Davis, B. G. (2009). Tools for Teaching. Jossey-Bass Inc. 2nd Revised Edition , San Francisco: California. Pg 97-98

Herrmann, Jeffrey W., “A History of Decision-Making Tools for Production Scheduling,” 2005 Multidisciplinary Conference on Scheduling: Theory and Applications, New York, July 18-21, 2005.

Herrmann, Jeffrey W., “A history of production scheduling,” in Handbook of Production Scheduling, 2006a, Springer, New York.

Tarricone, P. & Luca, J. (2002) Successful teamwork: A case study, in Quality Conversations, Proceedings of the 25th HERDSA Annual Conference, Perth, Western Australia, 7-10 July 2002: pp 640-646.

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