People are afraid to approach someone they think is struggling, because
What if they’re wrong?
What if they say the wrong thing?
First of all, it doesn’t matter if you’re wrong.
“What? No, nothing’s wrong. The hay-fever just makes me look like I’ve bawled my eyes out.”
No, it really doesn’t matter if you’re wrong.
You just shrug, smile and move on.
Secondly, if you approach the situation in a non-judgemental manner, you’re unlikely to say the wrong thing.
Even if you do accidentally say the wrong thing which makes the person more upset, you apologise.
“I’m sorry that came out wrong. Let me try again. I’m just really concerned about you.”
Even after years as a listening volunteer, I can still say something that’s taken the wrong way by our callers.
By asking the question
By taking that first step
you open the door to a deeper conversation that would help someone feel safe enough to share their burden.
Don’t let the fear of asking the wrong question or saying the wrong thing stop you from reaching out.
“Hey, I noticed you’ve been a bit quiet/subdued/anxious/down/upset lately. I know we haven’t caught up recently but how are things?”
Start with that.
And remember, it doesn’t matter if you get it wrong the first time.
Practice makes progress.
You don’t have to be perfect.
You just have to care. 🌹
One of the reasons for companies engaging #SalesforcePartners when implementing a system is getting that kick in the butt to make change happen.
The act of setting up an RFP and engaging partners gears the company for an organisational change. Much like getting that gym membership and retaining that Personal Trainer.
You’ve now committed to doing this, and assigned budget and internal resources to make this happen.
What you now need to be aware of is that once you’ve had the kick-off meeting with the consulting project team, the gears will start kicking up very quickly.
You’ll be asked for information, and requirements and processes and current reports, and a whole lot more.
You’ll have to do some corporate soul searching.
– Is what we have been doing, working for us?
– How do we want our future to look like?
– What do we want to be?
– Are we willing to push through the pain and discomfort of this process to get there?
– And, are we able to be honest about ourselves, about our weaknesses, and address them head on, regardless of how painful it might be?
Just like a lot of things in life, you will get out of it what you put in.
And yes – it does require effort to get results.
(Refreshed illustrated post from 3/1/20)
Ninja # 2 got caught doing something he shouldn’t have been doing.
However I had expected it to happen at some point, given that the kids are going through teenage years and they are discovering the edges of boundaries.
I think he expected me to get mad but I didn’t.
We talked about it and then I let it go.
I hope that this incident will help build trust as he grows up into adulthood.
Expectations go both ways.
The key to a life that is limited in dysfunctional conflicts is to make sure that
– expectations are crystal clear
– both parties have the competence and capability to meet them, and
– both parties have the DESIRE to meet those expectations
Otherwise the result is an unhappy outcome.
So the reasons why scraping my car would be less alarming 😱 than goldfish murder are –
1. I expect accidents, scrapes and dents when they start driving and
2. We haven’t any goldfish 😁
Also, if the last item happened, I’d worry about aliens taking over my child!! 😧
Set expectations right, and ye shall have a less stressful life.
In this episode, I talk to Julie Palmer, a fellow Salesforce Project Manager.
It’s such an enjoyable conversation, because her journey was a very interesting one – on how she got into the ecosystem, and how she found her calling within the consulting side.
I invite you to listen in on our conversation here. Enjoy!
Hello, Julie, welcome to my podcast. It’s called OnThePeiroll. How are you doing today?
I’m well, thank you. Thanks for having me.
Pei Mun Lim
Glad to have you on board. You’re a project manager. And I think we can both talk about lots of topics that are very fascinating to us both. But why don’t we start with you giving us a history or a journey of where you are today and how you got there? Yeah, sure.
So yeah, as you say, so I’m a project manager within the Salesforce ecosystem, and have been for about 10 years now. And but I didn’t, I didn’t start here or kind of find Salesforce first. So where I’ve come from, so I started with, I was actually educated. And my background is in biochemistry. So I’m a, I’m a trained biochemist. And that’s where I started. And I’ve joined a number of biotech companies working on kind of product development of different types. So one of my first jobs was kind of growing back to to be co live and extract proteins for testing kits for HPV and HPV, for example. And as I started working on product development, I started becoming part of being the SME in part project teams. So I was kind of the scientistic was developing a product, testing it, doing kind of trials with the product. And it was an opportunity that came about where the project manager left at all, we were halfway or three quarters away through a project and they weren’t backfilling the PM. So they what they asked if I would kind of take take on the pm side of things, because I because I knew the context and the product well. And so I did. And I realized that this was kind of opening a wall to be that I didn’t know, in my white lab coat in a lab. And I really enjoyed it, I enjoyed stepping out kind of in time into a different environment. So I kind of like ran with that, really. And I enjoyed it. They enjoyed what I I brought what I delivered, until I ended up following some of those products through to manufacturing and supply chain and trying to quickly delivery to customers, etc. And then I was asked to pm, the change of the CRM. So admittedly, at that moment in time, in that meeting, I had no idea what’s there before. And it was a vertical learning curve, I’d say, for the next six months, where we were moving from Siebel to Salesforce. And so we did a two year global rollout of the changes for the different regions, over Yeah, for about 1500 users. And it was about bringing a number of different divisions together into being one life science, which was kind of our vision of the project. And when I finished that, I then moved into a Salesforce consultancy, and have been able to fortunate to like work and deliver different visions and for different companies and organizations who have used Salesforce for a multitude of business reasons and you know, business directions that they’re going in. So I’ve worked in the private sector, the public sector, and nonprofits. And yet I’m still doing that today.
Pei Mun Lim
That’s quite fascinating. So you start the journey from an end user point of view, the end client point of view, what were the learnings you took away from that, that helped you in your role on the other side of the fence as a consulting project manager.
So when I started the sell the Salesforce project with GE, I came from it as a PM, but we had no domain knowledge. And I find that quite interesting because some people are very polar about their opinions about whether or not a pm has to, or, or does not have to know the subject area of what you’re delivering. So you can be a textbook pm or not. And I’m quite a nosy pm by nature. So what I found was that I’m actually more I was more comfortable if I knew more. And so I like I say I did have to go through quite steep learning curve around sales processes and kind of governance around that the forums, the senior stakeholders that are involved, because my domain before that had been very much in r&d, and in kind of product effect. So I think what I learned was that I as a PM, like to know the domain, that’s my preferred kind of stance. And I think what I also had the fortunate situation of is program manager was absolutely so by witness that I witnessed her with all the soft skills that I think that I’ve then taken away from it, which was probably one of my biggest learnings. So it’s not a case of I now know how to configure Salesforce, I think my biggest learnings for her witnessing her manager room and being able to bring different heads of divisions. Who I used to be in top of their chain coming together and asking them to be one. So maybe not the not the sole person making the decision in the future state, and how that works and how you bring that together, how you nurture people on that journey, how you have very difficult conversations, but that’s okay. And how you may get things wrong, and you need to go back and how you address that by trying to kind of maybe repair some relationships that have been fraught in the past, but trying to get into a positive, positive place through the through the project. So I think people management, stakeholder management, tone of communications, delivering a message, they were probably some of the biggest things I learned going through that two years. And also I had because I mentioned at the global rollout, there are a lot of cultural differences, right. So we started working with letter, then we started working with India, then we started working with the US. And then we were doing Europe. They’re very, they’re for very, very, very different cultures set by themselves, and then also within like regions within some of those as well. And I think I learned to emphasize, I learned to listen, more than I probably had before. And I think all of that really nurtured and developed, which I needed a time to develop my communication, style, and tone as I as I dress and work with others. So I think that’s probably my biggest take home from that.
Pei Mun Lim
What made you decide to move from, you know, into consulting from a, what is the science base background and Korea?
I think I, by the time that I had left the lab, I think I’ve been in the lab for about 12 years. And so I had I’d been doing it for for a while. And I had worked in a number of different companies. I also traveled during that time on worked abroad in a laptop, I seen a lot of different types of product, but always done product development. I’d never worked in kind of manufacturing or QA where you’re kind of in a regular testing or regular making cycle. I like progressing products, I like to testing new things. And yeah, sometimes they wouldn’t work. But that was still progression. Because like that’s, that’s a no go. That’s not something that we can do here, or the product range or the product use cases, isn’t there. So I was always in that mind frame of what’s next? Can we innovate to do this? How can we change it to address something else that maybe something needs, or maybe a customer comes to us and says your product good. But ideally, I’d like it to do this. So you’re always in this kind of cycle of iteration and development. And I think Salesforce as a domain for me isn’t too different. For me for that. There’s a use case, the products always developing, you’re always kind of moving forward. But I think from the PM side, I think it’s more I just found a groove where I enjoy working with people, we’re all kind of working towards a common goal. And projects can be quite intense. And I think you learn the best and worst about yourself, see the best and worst of others, but but you keep going forward. And I love that. I think it really kind of validates. So all the things I love about people. And I think moving from an end user to a consultancy, once the GE project had turned operational, we were in quite a stable state. And I enjoyed the as I was showing just before we started, I enjoy that kind of piece of a project where you’re you’re learning the most it’s really saturation point of knowledge, both from the client about what it is they’re looking to do, how they work, the people that you’re working with, and how you can kind of get into a rhythm. So we get the most out of the projects that we you know, we kind of get into a roll as soon as possible. And I like to see how different people do different things, both culture within the company, the products that they’re using, the problems they’re trying to solve, because I think as a PM, my experience and the knowledge I bring can be well actually I’ve seen different people doing it in these different types of ways. And I think a consultancy can give you that breadth both of industry and different types of organisations. And I that was the draw that was a draw for me towards results.
Pei Mun Lim
So in your, in your career within consulting, where are you doing projects for inclines. As I say, you know, there are the good fun projects. Then there are the character building projects. When you are on those character building projects, slightly stress here ones, what are the things that make them memorable to you? Can you draw some things about what made them more challenging than it should have been?
Yeah, okay. So I’m going to give you an example start off with and then I’ll talk about the themes. So my first project within the consultancy, I, I went to a kickoff which I had aligned with the project manager. But it was the first time I was meeting face to face I’m the kind of like the sponsor of the project. And I knew that the sales process had been a bit bumpy. But when I came into the kickoff, I think there was about 15 people or so in the room, we were going through it had been quite, it’d been a really good conversation, actually. And at one point, I asked a question, and he stood up, and he just shouted me down in front of the whole front of the room. And it was very awkward, it was really tense. And no, you can see nobody knew how to respond. And I’d gone in assuming that everything had been aligned up front, because I’ve been working with a pm on and off for the last week to make sure that we were tackling everything that we needed to get out in the open in the kickoff. And obviously, it was a bit of a curveball. So I kind of addressed addressed him and in the room. And obviously, just to say we need to work through this together to make sure everyone’s on the same page, you may already know this, you know what I need to do. And but obviously, inside your heart popping up, you know, 1000 beats a minute, and it’s really uncomfortable, and I feel as comfortable as everyone else’s facial expressions are in the room, but you need to kind of keep, you need to be proposed. And so I think one of the themes of what I take away from challenging projects, and a learning is, I try I’m trying to become as an analogy, like a swan. So on the surface, I’m coming across, and you know, want to make sure that I articulate myself, and is as smooth as possible, that I may be, you know, paddling for my life underneath. So I think, Pete, I think people can make it difficult. And I think misalignment of individuals could is probably the one thing one of the top five things that I see as causing challenging times within a project. And that can happen throughout that can happen because they weren’t involved in the bid process. So maybe something was agreed, and they didn’t feel that they were really part of that decision. And so they’re coming to it, they feel like they’re coming to a bit of a backfoot do you really need to kind of identify that early and bring them back on board. And I feel like there could be functions which are impacted that maybe aren’t brought into party at key points within it. So there’s those kind of dependencies, but they’re not your state. They’re not a primary stakeholder, but they are maybe indirectly impacted in some way. And it’s just being considerate of the people who maybe need to just be taught, like, you know, informed about what’s going on. So it’s a classic racy, right, it’s a case of who do I need to inform who needs to be consulted us accountable, and you focus on RNA, that may be the CNI is aren’t always either known. Or maybe, you know, maybe there’s a capacity issue where actually, we just can’t get to everyone that we need to get to. So there’s just definitely learn that the stakeholder management mapping, understanding their styles upfront, can kind of alleviate some of that. So I think misalignment of people is kind of a key one for me. I also think, expectations. So customer expectations, or client expectations is something that you try to manage as much as possible with a statement of work or a contract. You know, this is in scope. This is out of scope. But you know, language is super important, right? So you start talking to people about Salesforce language, that’s not the language of business users. That’s not what they call their process, the steps that they go through. And I think, as you start kind of working through requirements, showing people something in a tool is much more valuable than talking about it. Because if people can see it, and you’d be like, oh, it doesn’t do X, Y, and Zed, you will Oh, you wanted it to be you wanted it to x, y and Zed. So I think working models prcs, kind of even if it’s just quick and dirty, showing them kind of a walkthrough or click through or something within the tool can really bring to life and then no one’s making assumptions without realizing that they’re making assumptions. And so I think customer expectations is something that has to be top of mind consistently through a project. And that, again, could be those challenging times where maybe you’re running with an assumption you weren’t aware of. So I’ve done quite a few trainings of like, you know, the sort of like the unconscious bias, like being aware of your own kind of, yeah, natural biases as you as you go into a project and the assumptions that you make. And so, you know, I like to say, there’s two things I like to say in a project. One is I don’t agree with the Royal way. So if someone says we do it, like they know who I need, I need a name, like who’s going to do it? And the second one is, is like now explain that to me in laymen terms, and I’ll give the answer in laymen terms. So not because I think you don’t understand or I don’t understand, but if we talk about it in a common language, then there’s no there’s no assumption surrounding that. So I’d say, yeah, I think I think people being misaligned and customer expectations are probably the two things Everything else that comes up. If it’s unforeseen, or unanticipated, or we know it’s a risk and unfortunate, it’s become an issue. It’s already been flagged, but I think it’s the people element of expectations and misalignment, maybe incomes that can cause the cause extra effort being needed that maybe hasn’t been accounted for.
Pei Mun Lim
Okay, so I’m just going to pin on the racing you’re talking about earlier, we’ll circle back to that, as well, as they called a mapping. You mentioned that you thought that there were five things top five things that cause projects to fail mentioned to do you want to flesh out the other three?
Yes. So I mentioned that right. Okay. So I think the third one, for me is, I’m a bit of a lover, lover log as a PM, right. So write log, which I think I haven’t put in my list view is probably one of my favorite things of all times, which nobody else would agree with them. It’s your opinion. And I think it’s the documentation of decisions. So the number of times that you’ve been in a situation where someone’s made a call in a meeting, and you know, circle around the room? And if I said yes, yes, yes, yes. And then two weeks later, you’re either in a playback, or maybe something where that decision has led you down a certain path, because you’ve made, you’ve kind of gone off on a tangent, and you’re now down this other path, because they don’t remember it, there’s no documentation of it, and you end up spending a lot of time then having to redo the conversation that maybe took a while to get to, then plus, you’ve now added complexity onto that, that you then need to unpick again. And I think that can really mushroom, especially in a program where you’ve got dependent workstreams, the knock on effects can actually be quite severe for a number of different teams. And so I think what you have to have is logging off decisions. So decision making is great. But you need to actually log who went in exactly what it was. And make sure that in a any kind of like status reporting or something, you play it back. So if you’re doing a recap of your status for that week, these are the decisions that were made these this wants to have. And so it does sound quite, you know, people roll my eyes roll their eyes when I talk to him about my raid log, but it’s one of my favorite things, because it keeps us all honest, be included. It just keeps everyone honest. So I think decision making and tracking your decision making I think can also be a problem. And third, fourth one, and one of my ones that I’ve definitely definitely come unstuck with is ambitious scoping.
So as a delivery in a consultancy, sometimes you are involved in scoping, sometimes you get handed the scope, right. So the Engagement Manager in a salesperson has scoped out the client, they’ve understood it. And part of that initial before we have a kickoff for the client, you’re handing it over and there’s like an internal, you know, this is now your responsibility kind of thing. And you take it and the first thing you do is you look at what they put in scope and the plan that there’s all been agreed. And the first thing is like, are you sure these two married together today. And if one of the first things you have to do is go in there and say I think we just need to reassess the plan. But by that point, they’ve committed resources, they’ve maybe internally seconded people to kind of make sure there’s enough support for things. And so I think there’s a point where delivery or someone from delivery has to be involved in scoping. And there has to be a realistic view of best case. And worst case, just as you would do in pricing, right best case, worst case and you meet somewhere in the middle, there has to be something like that on a plan. Just because the client, there’s repercussions for people on the client side, whether it’s not because you’re meeting, and hopefully not, but maybe you have a hard stop, because that has to be done before they’re going to start recruiting for their events on their events cycle just starts or because a contract for an existing tool runs out. And so they’re expecting you to get a swap over at this particular point. So you don’t leave them kind of empty handed. delivery. Being involved in scope is definitely one thing that I’ve been burned, and something that has to be has to pay for. And you know, from what I’ve seen more and more that now happens. And I think in previous projects, that wasn’t always the case. So that was really big for us. And my fifth one I think is skills, skills. Both sides, again, client and consultant or client and the implementation team. It’s if you have a scope, and you know this custom field or this configuration, we all are in the business of developing people. And I think if you have people in a project, who are an architect or a senior consultant, who have maybe worked on some products, but not others or want to step up and maybe lead a team of developers, for example, there needs to be a realistic view of what support people need within the role they’re taking. And if you don’t have the skill set, call it out. Don’t just it’s just not a name in a box because if you put a name in a box again to a particular role, there’s an expectation that comes with that title, there’s an expectation of what people think people could deliver, and how they will operate in that role. And sometimes you come to the table, and on both sides didn’t happen on both sides. That’s just not the case. And I think you have to be honest about internally from a consultancy, if you’re putting someone that you know would be a stretch for them, make sure that in the back end, and they’ve got the support they need, or someone that you’re going to pally them up with, you know, buddy up is and say, feedback how that’s going, you know, can we make iterations so that you’re doing that progression and depend on the client side. And if they’re only constraints in any in any way, just be honest and flag it. Because otherwise, you end up rolling with something that ends up becoming a pinch point. And the root cause of that tends to be, you know, we just didn’t have the right person in the right place, not because that person’s done anything wrong. But just because maybe there was an area they weren’t strong in, and we should have supported them more. And we should reflect that to make that happen.
Pei Mun Lim
Now, I see that happen a lot, actually, especially in consulting, where one of the key metrics that we all are bound to is utilization and Bill ability of consultants, and when you’re doing support work, you’re either diluting the day rate, because sometimes you cannot charge everything learning curve, for example, or the fact that you’ve got somebody senior, they’ve got to provide X number of hours, support someone Junior that can’t be billed to the client. So I think that’s one of the tensions that I see in many consulting partners, and the reluctance to provide that support, because they are just so focused on the key metric around utilization. And possibly, I think that requires a culture, a culture shift around this and not treating consultants like horses, sometimes horse trading, for example. And maybe that’s not the best. But they, you know, they’re humans as well, you need time to recharge you need time, to for training, you need time to sport, there’s a lot to this particular topic is quite close to my heart, because I see many consultants get totally burnt out because of customers, putting them on projects of the project after projects, with lip service to training, learning, development, to mental health, to all those things that allows us to do what we do best, and not an only rewarding the behaviors around utilization. So things like interviewing things like recruitment for new teammates, and not focus on that as much. So I’ve got my personal opinions about how that should be addressed. But I’d like to hear what your thoughts are around this particular topic.
Yeah, so I’ve been in that environment, where, you know, util is king, basically. And there are times where depending on a role you may have, there is some, you know, utl relief of, you know, either certain amount of hours or a percentage of your expected billable hours per month that you can dedicate to certain activities. And there are tricks to every system, if you needed to try and get around that. And I haven’t I’ve only ever been in in that environment. And I don’t see how in the environments that I have been in how you would change that without a significant shift. And I don’t, I’m not sure consultant I’m not, I don’t know, a consultancy model that works in any other way. So I’d love to hear like you just said, You’ve got your own thoughts. I’d love to hear what they are, because I’m a little bit dumbfounded by it. Because I’ve never I’ve not even I’ve not seen someone even tried to change it. It’s, it’s just been the way so you to relief playing the system is the only two ways I have seen that you have some light reproof.
Pei Mun Lim
So I have worked for quite a few partners a lot in the Microsoft sector and a few in Salesforce when I moved across in 2014. And one of the companies that I was working with, they were very caring about people and for me as pm. So you identify one of the things that frustrates me as well, where the sales team would set some expectations and sell a project with an estimation that when we as delivery get hold of you, as you say, Are you sure? Because the math doesn’t seem to work formula doesn’t look quite right. What I tend to do is that I would get a realistic estimate. Have the scope and what have been promised contractually. And then the company would have to give. So I would make my case internally. And luckily, in the company that I was at, it was made possible by the way that’s just been acquired, they would actually listen, because they didn’t want to lose people. And they will listen. And then I will get you what you call util. relief, I’ll get a bunch of right off days, all right of ours, because there was communication. That was it was miscommunication, or, you know, it was our mis handling of the project. So that’s, that’s one way. And I would take that to everywhere on the other partners that I would go to. Right now, what I’m doing is consulting with them say this is something you got to think about. Either you align sales and delivery, how delivery been sales, bid process, or have some review of the proposals to make sure that that doesn’t happen, or you learn from it, you make sure that your your guys don’t do overtime without putting in the hours putting in a timesheet, and it gets kind of lost. So that’s, that’s where where I see it, you either the company have to make a change in culture, or people just gonna leave.
Yeah, no, I totally agree with you. And I have to say, the last, the last si that I worked with, like, it was it was IBM. They, they did have a robust way, which we kind of developed as part of the practice, which was that delivery assurance almost before a contract. Gotcha. And obviously, depending on the value or the complexity of the contract, the more checks you would naturally have to have anyway. But I think when you are working with maybe the smaller the mid market, you know, sometimes you can go through that contract process without without a check. But the prices I was working with IBM were adopting the way that their delivery teams should be operating in. And it definitely made things better. my early days, I think I learned the hard way, and then was joyous when I saw it handled in different ways later on. So yeah, I totally agree.
Pei Mun Lim
Let’s circle back to the raci matrix. I think more people, some people call it rakhee raci, Ra ci, it’s a method of mapping out tasks to the key users. And whether they’re responsible, accountable, consultative, or informed. He tell me what your thoughts are around this? And do you do it for every single project that you’re on?
So I admittedly, don’t do it in every single project I’m on. But it is a great tool. And it is one that I do I do use where I think there is ambiguity. So I think where things are quite clear cut, or, or you know, just the size of the project maybe doesn’t work. It’s just not that complex, I tend to use the raci in conjunction with stakeholder mapping actually is a follow on part of stakeholder mapping and management. And then the raci kind of comes afterwards. And I really, I really like it. Also, because I one of the things I mentioned earlier is I don’t like the Royal way. So I think with a racy, it kind of allows me to kind of put out there and say my preferred position is that we have somebody accountable, one person accountable, you may have a number of people that need to contribute or, you know, be consulted, and a number of people that need to be informed that you are accountable, or this piece of work. And so the RFA for me should be as slim as possible to see in the eye can be as big as possible. And that’s why I think it follows nicely on from a stakeholder kind of exercise. But I think especially when you’re talking with projects that you work in, that maybe have, maybe there’s parallel programs and a company that you’re working for CRM, but you know, quite commonly a finance project is happening at a very similar time. And there needs to be kind of a link or dependency between the two, or there’s something happening in data, or there’s something else happening in another in another tech project. They’re the moments where I think racing comes into its own. And I think if you can get people on the same page, it’s really powerful. And it’s also it just takes away any of the heat. It doesn’t have to be a draining exercise. It’s a case of we’ve got this really key task that we need to make sure we do. Are we all clear about who’s doing what. And I think some of the more complex programs where you have those parallel streams which are big in their own right. erasies is a great tool that can kind of Canvas across all of them.
Pei Mun Lim
So talk through how you talked about stakeholder mapping. So talk through how and when You would start putting this together on a project. Yeah,
yeah. So I think stakeholder map for me starts when I start primary kickoff. So before maybe even meet with the PM, I’m taking kind of what I know from the contract and what I know about the client, who’s been involved to date. And, and in that hand over there, I mentioned that you sometimes when you get sales, like, you get the hard facts, right, the black and white this in this in the contract, but then you need to ask, okay, so how are they to work with? You know, are they an advocate? Are they doing this because this is their baby. And this is something they really believe in, you know, was it a predecessor and they’ve not picked it up. And, you know, you need to kind of figure out those types of kind of maybe some recent history, about what brought it to life. And if it was, then that brought it to the table, or somebody else in there picking it up. And I think that’s really important, because when you’re kicking off with those people, mainly, you need to be on the same page, yes, and where they’re coming from, have they got a healthy amount of skepticism? Are they really, they really invested in it, or they’ve been told that this is something they have to run from with. So I think you start quite early on before you kind of meet people in the flesh. And then it’s something you just consistently do. And I think as a PM, when you are that conduit between the delivery team and the client, it’s one of the things that you have to be most conscious of, and most aware of. And ideally, what you see is you see people on a journey through through the project. So maybe somebody did come in with some healthy skepticism or was quite openly critical about what was being done and how it was being done. And you maybe see them going on a journey. Or if you’re talking about your communication plans, you already know that that is somebody that maybe needs a bit more attention, because you need to make sure that you communicate it in the right way. And then if you’re talking to a member of their team or a member of their leadership team, you need to make sure that they are completely briefed. Because what you don’t want to do is knock them back any further. You want them to be coming towards you, you want to be not towards you, but you wanna be meeting in the middle, you know, if we’re starting to well, we need to be kind of working so that at some point, we align, as long as best we can to get to the end of it together. And so I think you start right early off with some of those sorts of questions. And then it’s just all of that emotional intelligence, I think every pm has to have to be able to make it because yes, delivering hard tech, your cost of building or your configuring Salesforce. But at the end of the day, you’re doing that to enable people and people then have, you have to be able to nurture everyone around you. The people that are delivering it, the people who are going to be using it the people who are giving you inputs into actually how this how the business requirements and how it needs to work for them to make it you know what they’re looking for. And so all of that has to start quite early on. And I think a PM, just as their in their day to day kind of carries that through the project.
Pei Mun Lim
So the stakeholder mapping, is that something so I do that, but I don’t actually write it down most of the time. So the raci is the output that can that then gets shared. But the stakeholder mapping is not something I document Do you document?
No, I don’t either. I think these are things that I managed through conversations, or my own thoughts. And I guess the You’re right, I guess my stakeholder mapping comes through the outputs, it could be the racing, it could be the communication plan, because even if I’m sending the same message to a number of teams, maybe the channel I use the frequency or who prepares it and sends it because even that can be quite sensitive. If it’s coming from the right person. They’re the things I guess are the outputs of my stakeholder mapping.
Pei Mun Lim
Here, they just brought something up to mind because I was speaking to another project manager where she had to take on someone else’s project. And she was handed a mapping that just didn’t look quite right. So I was I was reflecting and I was just thinking, I don’t formally create that document of the advocate and you know who to move where, but as just as you say I, I did mentally, and it comes out in how I actually execute my project. So just following on from that. If you were to if you found out you had to come off project for whatever reason, and that you had to hand it over to somebody else. What are the artifacts? Do you already have that so for example, the status report would give a highlight of the journey. What else? What other artifacts would you already have on hand that would give an idea of the project and what else would you think you would have to supplement that to be able to hand over?
Yeah, okay. So I think You’re right, like status reports. I really like JIRA. So you know, in terms of actual delivery, right? Yeah, exactly. So in terms of where things are at, I think JIRA status reports are great. I think what I am, maybe I should take this from your friend, by the way, if she shared you, but I probably is, the more the softer things is the softer side of things of how I communicate and how I work with people, that is probably the thing that I need to share more of. And that could be not just with the client, but also people within our team. You know, that could be a case of, you know, so again, outside of like, move, like holiday clients are movement, lots of things like that give you a case of, we’re coming up to this piece of work, this is a stretch, you know, going back to what you said about skill sets, actually, I know this is a stretch for this particular person. So just make sure the essay is kind of on hand a bit more to kind of support this little bit of work, or this particular sprint is super crucial. You wouldn’t know that from the things I’ve told you. But it is super crucial because of this. And so I think outside of my, my regular job. And all of those hard things is the soft is the soft bits that I don’t document and it’s the things that I just know about people that I don’t write down their conversations that I have. So I know about the people I work with. But they’re the things that would be most helpful, and it’s the things that I would appreciate. So the questions I would ask as a PM, you can see how often I speak to people from my calendar. And I can add you to the how frequent that is. But you know, you don’t necessarily know if they’re quite passive about project or you know, to work with them, you really push them to do X, Y, and Zed or, you know, they’re the things you need to know as a pm because that’s what you need to publish. And that is admittedly what I do not write down.
Pei Mun Lim
Okay, so let’s flip it now that you’re being asked to take on a project, the pm left, suddenly zero documentation, apart from the status reports, and whatever they’ve got, possibly, I took a project with zero raid zero entries in the raid lock in that was Yes, it was one of those recovering projects. No fun. And what are kind of, what would you What would you do? And how would you go about? Okay, so let’s say the first person you’re speaking to, is the count Exactly. The guy who sold a project? What other kind of questions you might have for her or him.
Okay, covering project, I don’t have much documentation Ha. Okay, so I probably ask a history of the sale of who we spoke to, and what he knows. And if he’s still involved, because some of you say involved in projects, and some people don’t. So I probably see if he or she knew much about the current current status of it, if they’re still in contact, because they may be stuck trying to upsell into the account, if they kind of know that type of information. Or if there are any red flags, they already know, before I start talking to the client, I’d probably start that with EA, depending on what they say and what they know, maybe go into details, but that’s probably what I would say, I’d like a bit of history. I’d like to know what he knows about what they’re trying to achieve. If they’re still involved. If there’s any red flags, I need to know. That’s probably what I’d ask and I. And then if I let’s imagining I’m meeting with the pm for the first time on the client side, then I do admittedly, I go in saying I’ve read I’ve read some documentation about what it is you’re trying to achieve, what you’re trying to achieve, etc. But I can you please treat me like you’re onboarding me onto the project? What is it that I need to know? And then I try to take it from there about how open they are with me how, you know how much kind of marries up to what I’ve already read? And then just take the questions from there and kind of say, Oh, actually, with that, would you say that was a bit of a risk? Actually? Or if you don’t do it? Do you love those somewhere? You know, do you guys do it is this joint read log that we’ve got? And then I’ll just start populating it as part of the conversation that we’re having, introducing the words, maybe the risks or the issues aren’t, aren’t kind of there. And then just asked to say, right, so I’m, I’m new today, right? This is my first week. So I understand x, y, and Zed needs to be done. Is there anything else I’m missing? And then I asked them to basically fill in the blanks. And then from then on, you can run it as your own. I think the first couple of days when you take on a project with nothing I can imagine is quite fraught, and people are maybe assuming you to know more than you do actually know. And I’m not admittedly good in those conversations. I will try out I’ll get past as best as kind of the next person. I’d rather be honest about what I know. And I don’t know because I want to build my own credibility. And I don’t think I can build that by pretending something I don’t know how to do it.
Pei Mun Lim
I would add by talking to all the team members, in getting Yes, of course, a really good soft feel of where things are because generally on project like that this level of friction Which then we need to try and tread really, really carefully. Because there there will be some history that no one else knows, for example, when pm left, and so those are the fun ones. But that’s really good segue into into that. So let’s let me ask you then what do I think being in a consulting partner is interesting, because you’re not the only project manager, there’ll be others. And your team will have worked with other cams, who will have different styles to you? What is your opinion on the role of a project manager? In a consulting partner?
Okay, so you’re absolutely right, I have been in that situation. And of course, where you’re working with people who have worked with other people, I think a project manager, like the role, the role is the same, right? The role is you are responsible for delivering a project against a contract. And you’ve got the, you know, the constraints with the budget, scope and time, and you need to kind of manage within that, styles wise, what I like about working consultancies, and this doesn’t go for just PMS, it goes for overall does that everybody should have their own style, because we’re all individual people. And I think that’s what brings character and flair and individuality to the people that we work with. And I think the main things are, that you have a common methodology that you follow, and that your quality and outputs are consistent. I think how you get there, there has to be that level of flexibility to provide everybody including a pm. And, you know, everyone I mentioned earlier around, you know, are you a person that has domain knowledge, are you not practice that I’ve worked with, and we’ve all had to be knowledge. So we’ve all come with sounds like varying Salesforce backgrounds, but very Salesforce kind of knowledge, which I think has always helped. And it kind of, again, kind of gives you credibility within your own team, which I think is like the trust that you need to bring the trash you need to build. One because, you know, I’m assuming they know their stuff I want, they should have the same kind of assumptions from me. And also, if someone tells you, it’s gonna take them three days to configure two objects, I might think pressure is a really, really going to take you three days to do that. So we need to kind of get on the same page of kind of expectations of pace, etc. And I think you bring that when you have Salesforce, like domain knowledge. And I think with the different styles, I think with a kickoff I mentioned the kickoff earlier with the client, the most one of the most important things is that kickoff internally, it should be an open transparent space, where it’s okay to this is me, this is how I like to do things, etc. and you find as a project team, your groove, you’re like, this is how I like to work. This is how I like to work, has anyone got any kind of like, lines that you don’t cross, you know, like working hours, and this, that and just an appreciation of outside of this project, someone has a life and therefore that means that they don’t start until half past nine, or they have to go by four o’clock, you know, and there’s an understanding, and I think, as long as a pm can do that, then outside of the hard skills of delivering a project, that is what project manager should do. You should be nurturing an environment within a project team that is performing. And you have to go through some steps to get there. But how a pm does that I think their style, and the reason they are successful in delivering their projects.
Pei Mun Lim
Thank you, Julie, I think we’ve covered a huge amount today. And there’s a lot more we can talk about. And we have discussed that these would be probably a series of podcast recordings that we can deep dive into more of the other topics. So we’re not one on one of which which is quite close to my heart is team, storming, norming performing band, which we will do the next time. So before I wrap this up, let me just ask you one question. And I’ll do that every session as well. about yourself in terms of what do you think are your quirks or your eccentricities?
Okay, I’m now trying to think about things that people have said to me or fed back to me about working with me. And so, I have been told in the past that I can behave a little bit like my hair color. So I’m a redhead. And I, you know, I ICPMS who are consistently consistently calm and really, really what I’m looking for maybe consistent is the right word, just consistent in their approach the whole like the way they deliver their tone of voice, etc, etc. I am more emotive than that. And I show it if I am I show when I’m first And by auto show when I am, you know, enjoying and kind of excited about what it is we’re doing, which is 95% of the time that I don’t shy away. If that something isn’t going the way that someone told me or they’ve committed something he hadn’t flagged me. So one of my things I don’t like to practice. And it’s in the kickoff in my internal team, I’ll say, a couple of things. And one of them will be, I don’t like surprises. If you tell me that we say on Friday, we’ve got a delivery or a due date. Don’t come to me on Thursday evening and tell me we’re not going to meet it, you won’t get a good reception. If you tell me two weeks ahead of time, you need some more time or something unexpected has come up, I will back you to the hills, I will absolutely back you to the hills. But don’t tell me 12 hours beforehand, you’re not going to make it we’ve got no leg to stand on. And I don’t expect you to do that for me, you’re you’re responsible person, I’m a responsible person, if I can’t do something, I would like it as well. So I think that’s probably one of the things that people have said to me, is is different to the way that I that they work with me. And and I will also be I’m also extremely honest, if I’m having a bad day, if I’m not maybe having like a I keep picking negatives, but only because I want to show you that people can bring themselves to work, I might come to stand up and say I’ve had a really bad morning, if I snap at you today is nothing to do with you. I won’t hide the fact that I’ve had a bad day because people have that maybe a different persona at work than they do at home. I personally find that quite exhausting. And so it will be me being me. So if I’ve had a bad day, and I’m a bit snappy, I can’t pretend that I’ve had a bad, I can’t pretend that I’ve not had a bad day and pretend that everything’s okay. I’m just not very good at it. And so I like to put it out there, guys, it’s not a great day for me, do what you need to do. But if I’m not super chatty today, you know, you haven’t picked me up. And I guess that’s probably the other thing that maybe is a bit different. Other people I work with are a bit more. They can like it’s under the hood, and they’re fine. Whereas I’m maybe a little bit more expressive about it.
Pei Mun Lim
I think we’re very much alike on on that particular point, because I think it makes it so much easier to manage. When everyone knows where we’re coming from on we may be slightly and whether norquest zakes, chatty or whatever. Also I like I like your your expectations. No drama is my mantra. No drama, no surprises. So tell me ahead of time. Or if there’s something you think that you need to communicate to the client, that’s not going to be a given a happy reception, then I need to know so I can help them manage that. Well. I don’t know after the fact. So. Yes. So thank you so much for spending the time with me, Julie and recording this. You’ve had provided a lot of information around project management, especially around the consulting sector, which we both live in. So thank you very much. And we’ll see you again in a future podcast.
Yeah. Thanks for having me.
Pei Mun Lim
Do you switch off your work persona when you get home?
It’s a bit hard sometimes.
Those of us with more ‘assertive-type’ roles will find it difficult, as we probably think about work during our “off” hours too.
Regardless, #LinkedIn network, its a Sunday, and I hope that the 🌞 is out where you are.
Take off the work hat
Slap on the sun screen
Drug up on anti-histamines
Enjoy some family or some ‘me’ time.
That’s what I’m going to try to do.
If the pollen doesn’t get me first! 🤧
Happy Sunday everyone!
Another night on shift.
Apart from my rubbish way of splitting “Listening Ear” over two lines on my scrap paper, I hope my message comes across OK.
We can be so kind to others, but so very very harsh to ourselves.
If someone invented a loudspeaker that tapped into the way we talked to ourselves, I think we’d be mortified.
Sometimes that voice can be hugely judgemental, full of contempt, and incredibly cruel.
We just need to stop doing it to ourselves.
We deserve better.
When we are kinder to ourselves, we flourish.
When we flourish, so will our relationship with others.
Listen to the way you talk to yourself.
Listen to the words you say to yourself.
And then kindly say
Don’t Diss me.
I’m pretty awesome you know!”
Or something like that.
You get the picture 😁
Where does my offering sit in the Elements of Value?
Aligned to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, I mapped my Delivery Masterclass for Salesforce Partners (DMSP) and identified the elements that is the most important to my target customers – the #SalesforcePartners in the ecosystem.
1. Connects the new hires with others who are on the same journey.
2. Quality – DMSP teaches that quality needs to be rooted in the standards of delivery, both on a personal and professional level.
3. Having high quality consultants who can elicit clear requirements, will reduce the risk of project taking a legal turn if things go wrong.
4. Well trained consultants will do things right the first time, reducing cost of re-work and write-offs due to mistakes
5. Well trained consultants can be billable much quicker, impacting directly to the revenue
6. Well trained consultants will save time as their experienced mentors and guides will not have to begin from scratch
7. Resourcing new talent into new projects will become effortless as they will quickly be able to hit the ground running.
8. (This is important!) The new consultants will feel confident when taking on projects, as they will be equipped with knowledge to handle complex situations
9. When everyone in the company gets into the groove – consulting life can be incredibly fun
10. Motivation will not become a problem when all the elements are aligned
11. Finally, loyalty, the feeling of belonging to the company will ensure that the team can only grow from strength to strength.
Once the functional needs are met (green circles), the emotional and life changing elements will come.
That is my goal for the DMSP.
Lesson 12: Marketing Seminar.
This is my learning journey, and I am accountable for the results.
If you’re a #SalesforcePartner in my network, I would love some feedback, and would like to know if having an external company level up your consulting team would hit the points below.
I am offering a tray of 🍩 for genuine feedback and comments 😁
Hayfever is killing me but nothing is going to dampen my glorious weekend!
I’ve just finished the last day of my delivery Masterclass course yesterday, and everyone who had attended on the #payitforward ticket due to being unemployed… is now employed!!
What an AMAZING feeling!
I’ve been blown away by how much support the group has given each other, in terms of doing the assignments, the practical skills and role plays, and just general help.
That’s the way things should be.
How do you turn a group of people into a team?
You create an environment that is
– kind, and
All my training cohort have been great, and I know some who have continued to stay in touch long after the course has finished.
The sun is out, and so are the flowers and bees (and pollen!) But my heart is singing and I cannot stop smiling.
My eyes and nose are streaming, and I sneeze non-stop, but I’m having a fantastic weekend and now you know why!
Here’s wishing that you have a fantastic weekend too!
In Consulting, there is an expectation of competency.
The job is fast paced, and everyone’s expected to pull their sleeves up and get their job done.
Sometimes though, we get someone green – but that’s ok.
As long as we know that, and we can provide them support so that they can learn and progress – it’s ok.
What’s *not* ok, is when #Salesforce Partners, through lack of long term planning, hire inexperienced people and expect them to be at a certain level.
I had this young man come on my Delivery Masterclass, who had just got her admin cert with zero experience land a job with a Partner.
Only to be billed out as a Senior Consultant.
And expected not to let on that fact to the client.
He was so stressed.
That’s so wrong on so many levels.
If you want your team to grow and bond, and become a high performing consulting powerhouse – you need to get the basics right.
Support, develop and mentor.
Provide safe environment and create a culture of trust.
I talk to Julie Palmer on my podcast, dropping on Monday 14/6 – and I hope you’ll listen in. As a fellow Project Manager, we face the same issues, and it was such an enjoyable conversation.
It’s late at night when I think of our callers, even when I’m not on duty.
The #Samaritans hours of need are between 10pm to 6am GMT.
That is when the phone lines are busiest, as our callers try to reach a listening volunteer.
There are many reasons why this is the case, and I end up doing a lot of my reflecting on the whys and wherefores of human nature at this time of the night.
By sitting with my callers, I’ve experienced a whole range of human emotions through the stories they tell of their lives, the hardships they’ve endured, and sometimes, the shining spirit that comes through.
There is something achingly exquisite about the human condition which is also, at the same time heart wrenchingly, breath takingly fragile.
I think about those who have been brave enough to pick up the phone.
To talk to us.
To unburden their soul.
I am glad for my Samaritans family.
If you or anyone you know is struggling, please reach out.
Call us free phone from the UK on 116 123, or email email@example.com
Don’t get discouraged if you are out on hold.
Just be patient and you will be connected to someone who wants to talk to you.
We are here for you.
You don’t have to be alone. 🌹