Author: Shiv Sivakumar

ProMentor – A framework for PM Competency Development

Yet another framework?! I start with a prayer – that you will not be put off by the word “framework” (the f-word!!) and not read further! The f-word has been sort of over-hyped – especially in the software world to the point that “you ain’t nothing if you don’t have your own framework to brag about!” In our case, when we, at PM Power Consulting (“PM Power”), homed in on project management competency development as a focus area, we also felt the need for a framework – not for sounding cool (well, that too!) but also for somewhat more down-to-earth reasons such as a vehicle for communicating with our customers and organizing ourselves to meet their expectations. This framework with moving parts! Project management competency development (or any competency development for that matter) in an organization is a big canvas. Many aspects need to be addressed in a coordinated manner. For example, some key inputs typically come from the performance management system of the organization in terms of individual competency development needs. Before launching training & development initiatives for individuals, the organization needs to ensure that the performance management system is effective in providing quality inputs for planning. Another example is the linkage of the talent acquisition processes with overall competency development. If these processes and the linkage are weak, then no matter how effective the other initiatives are...

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Coaching for Performance – Discovering Whitmore

Several years ago, when I was getting started on becoming a coach, a good friend recommended the book “Coaching for Performance” by Sir.John Whitmore (JW). Although I did not pause to ask the question then, I do now: “Can one learn swimming by reading a book?” So, what is the point of reading about coaching when you have to learn by jumping in and doing it? To take it even further, why should you, as an aspiring coach perhaps, be reading this article right now?! Are you not better off spending the time in more fruitful activities in preparing to be a coach? Rather than answering these questions right away, let me park them for the time being. But I promise to come back to them at the end of the article. Let us now go back to the book by .JW. Up front, I must clarify that this is not a book review per se. Nor is it an attempt to promote the book. Coaching for Performance has already sold over 500,000 copies worldwide and has been translated into 22 languages. It scarcely needs my endorsement!! So, my objective is to bring it to your attention if you not already aware and share with you how I got great value from it – to get started and on an ongoing basis – even now, years later. As I...

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Journey of a coach – the beginning

The motivation for this series of articles is to share my personal journey as a “performance” coach for software project managers since 2006. These days, one sees a number of professionals in their late career starting out as coaches – former CEOs, senior HR professionals, operations executives and so on. I hope that this series would be of use to them in understanding and preparing for what lies ahead. Firstly, let me share reasons as to why I myself chose coaching as a professional pursuit. 1. After working in software delivery for over 25 years, I was getting a sense of déjà vu in leadership roles – “more of the same” syndrome regardless of the companies I worked for. I simply grew tired of it and wanted to try something different, yet connected to my experience. 2. I was also reaching a stage in life & career where I wanted to do something more “meaningful”. I figured that being of assistance to others is a very meaningful activity – in this case, assisting young professionals in meeting the demands of their managerial roles. 3. Thirdly, I observed that in many organizations, developing the potential of employees was a lofty goal – but only on paper with little to show for it as a formal practice. But there seemed to be a crying need of managers to get contextual help...

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Transitioning to the role of a Delivery Manager-Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, we covered the “terrain changes” in making the transition from a Project Manager (PM) role to a Delivery Manager (DM) role. Terrain changes include the aspects to “learn” and “un-learn”. In Part 1, we covered the following: –          Terrain change #1: Portfolio diversity –          Terrain change #2: Dynamic aspects of “delivery assurance” –          Terrain change #3: Enabling rather than controlling In this part, we will cover the remaining three terrain changes. Terrain change #4: Greater focus on people & their development Learn:  As a DM, a key responsibility for you would be people development – especially development of PMs. You need to learn to use project situations as a way to achieve that goal. For example, reviews, besides being project necessities, provide an excellent opportunity for people to learn. If you adopt a natural coaching style of management, people in your teams would develop a greater sense of responsibility and ownership over time.  Also, be conscious of the fact that you are now managing managers and seek guidance on its nuances from your senior management and coaches. Unlearn: There may be a big change in mindset here for you. As a PM, you are probably very conscious of seeing people mostly as part of a work schedule – a result of task orientation that is natural for the role. As a DM, you...

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Transitioning to the role of a Delivery Manager – Part 1

If you are a successful Project Manager (PM) with a solid track record, it is only natural that you aspire to get promoted soon. In software services organizations, this promotion often means donning the role of a Delivery Manager (DM). While your project management experience is doubtless a strong foundation for performing as a DM, that alone does not suffice. There are additional role dimensions and associated competencies that are crucial for your success as a DM. You may even have to un-learn some of the things that you made you successful as a Project Manager. If you come to know of these aspects ahead of time, you would be better prepared and avoid the pain of having to learn everything the hard way. This article is to make you aware of the “terrain changes” in the PM-DM transition and provide pointers for you to prepare and learn on the job. In our experience, we have seen some typical role characteristics (refer diagram above) and role transitions (“points of discontinuity” in the diagram above) in software delivery organizations. We have assisted a significant number of DMs in such role transitions and effectiveness on the job through a combination of contextual workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions. This article is based on our experiences in working with DMs and our own learning in the process. But first, let us understand the two...

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