Project Leadership and Communications

The instructor, Lismary de Lemos, is a funny and passionate lady who has been coaching the leadership program for a while. I am kind of curious how the soft skills can be taught.

Session 1 - Understanding Communication Preferences

Most people prefers the communication style as being communicated to. Understanding people to gain insights that can help us work together even more effectively. MBTI categorizes the human being to 16 types:

Myers Briggs Types

I am ISTJ.

Session 2 - Project Communication

The communication model is defined as:

  • Bob encodes his idea and send the message in plain text to Alice
  • Alice decodes the message and grasps the idea
  • At the same time, Alice acknowledge the message with tone, body language etc

The message is filtered in both sender and receipt sides. Check out the Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk:


Use the active learning to encourage the conversations.

The communication is so important that the PMO may develop the communication plan for all the stakeholders.

Session 3 - Building the Project Team

Team is a group of people working together to achieve a common purpose for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.

The team building is divided in five phases:

  • forming
  • storming
  • norming
  • performing
  • adjourning

Session 4 - Managing the Distributed Team

This session is not about the geographically distributed collaboration, it is more about the effective meetings.

Bad habits in the meeting:

  • tangents
  • wrong people: too many or too few
  • poor facility
  • time is not respected
  • lack of agenda
  • dominant person
  • lack of participation
  • the outcome can not justify the expenses
  • just talk the talk, but no traction

Best practise:

  • agenda
  • action items
  • facilitator
  • ice breaker
  • good visual elements

In the cross-country/culture conversation, Geert Hofstede’s culture dimension theory may contribute to the common ground.

Session 5 - Motivation and Influence

This session is about giving feedback: feedback is specific to the things, not to the people.

The difficult conversation model:

  • Facts
  • Contribution
  • Intention & Impact
  • Feeling
  • Identity
  • Purpose
I think this session is less constructive, partially because that the team has not been formed yet, it is very unlikely we give each other harsh or profound feedback. Also the model is vague and hard to follow.

Session 6 - Problem Solving

Four stages:

  • Situation analysis

    • Valuing <> Prioritizing
  • Problem analysis

    • Information <> Definition
  • Solution analysis

    • Idea getting <> Decision
  • Implementation

    • Participation <> Planning

In each stage, we have divergent and convergent phases.

Session 7 - Decision Making

Balance the advocacy and inquiry

Heuristics and Biases in Project Management Main Source: Project Decisions: The Art and Science, Virine & Trumper

  • groupthink
  • causation vs correlation
  • escalating commitment
  • confirmation heuristic
  • planning fallacy

Session 8 - The People Side of Change Management

It is not about the reorg or layoff, it is about the corp culture change.

The transitions are three stages:

  • begining
  • neutral zones
  • ending
Change = Dissatisfaction * Vision * First Steps >  Cost of changing

Session 9 - Negotiation Skills

Absence due to #celebrate48

This is not about negotiate internet service with Comcast, it is about using interpersonal communication effectively to achieve desired outcomes.

  • explore common interests, needs and differences
  • reach mutual agreement

Session 10 - Leadership

The leadership is about do right things, the management is about do things right. The leadership in the four phases of team building:

  • structuring
  • resolving
  • collaborating
  • validating

Session 11 - Presentations

The game day.


The slides are hosted in Google Drive for personal reference.