Writing better Emails

  1. Assigning tasks: WHO, WHAT & WHEN (mandatory)
  2. The Subject line
    • summarize the email
    • helps with retrieval
    • include the 3Ws
    • [Action] at the beginning
    • use prefix modifiers (URGENT, CONFIDENTIAL, IMP or FYI) at the beginning
    • Write the entire email & EOM by end of the message
    • Change the SUBJECT only when needed
  3. Write emails that are 5 sentences or less
    • Faster replies & are read
    • less “fluff”
    • http://five.sentenc.es/
    • Tip #1: know what you want
    • Tip #2: get to the point immediately, start with the most important information first
    • Tip #3: highlight a lack of required response or action
  4. Breaking long emails into 2 parts
    • Quick summary (as sub-heading) & state all actions needed with 5 sentences or less
    • Details/Background/Supporting information (as sub-heading) and repeating information in the summary if needed
  5. How to make your emails scannable – to make your readers focus on what matters the most
    • Tip #1: use bullet points for all actions & questions; use 3Ws
    • Tip #2: use sub-heading (Quick summary, next steps, meeting overview or additional information) & white space
    • Tip #3: use highlight (important dates, name, Action, Important info) or& bold text
  6. Show instead of tell by attaching the screenshots
  7. Use if…then statements
  8. Present options instead of asking open-ended questions
    • don’t end an email with “Thoughts?” or “What do you all think about this”
    • Stating something like “do you think we should do A, B or C?”
    • if longer conversation is needed, schedule a meeting
    • don’t ask “when do you think we should meet?”
  9. Re-read your emails before sending to avoid
    • replying to the wrong questions, stating the facts incorrectly, or adding the wrong dates
    • reread your entire email by putting yourself in reader’s shoes
    • Reread questions & your answers to ensure your answers make sense
  10. How to properly use “Reply All”
    • don’t use when only the original sender needs to read your message – unicast to sender
    • mention when you are removing members from the list (at the beginning of the message)
    • send a follow up email after any offline discussions
    • state what you want the recipients to do
  11. Reply to the questions inline
    • use different color fonts
    • use bold fonts
    • copy the original questions in your reply
    • if the questions were not separated out, then do that yourself
  12. Reply immediately to time-sensitive emails to
    • acknowledge that you got the message
    • calm down your team & manage expectations, reduce the stress
    • Tip 1: make sure the acknowledgement is meaningful
    • Tip 2: spell out your need for an acknowledgement
  13. Read the latest email on a thread before responding
    • sort out the messages by SUBJECT
    • Conversation threading
    • If you make a mistake, correct it by replying back to the team
  14. Write the OOO auto-reply
    • state the dates
    • explain how you check your emails
    • highlight who your backups are
    • set expectations
    • explain how you can be reached in emergencies (optional)
  15. Save draft of repetitive emails to save you time
    • use a word processor (WORD) with defined format (Quick summary, Details, Webex recordings)
    • use your draft folder
  16. Share the rules of email ahead of time
  17. Write it now, send it later using Delay Delivery
    • send emails when they are likely to be read
    • send emails as a reminder tool
    • CC yourself
  18. Spell out time zones, dates & acronyms
    • timeanddate.com
    • tip 1 – get the time zones spelled out
    • tip 2 – spell out Acronyms (PM Project Manager or Product Manager)

How to develop your competence as a Portfolio/Program/Project Manager

  1. Step 1: Review Requirements
    • Define the assessment criteria by reviewing organization-specific & individual requirements as well as the competence requirements described
    • Use these consolidated requirements to identify the existing gaps, define goals, scope & and the criteria of the assessment
  2. Step 2: Assess Competences
    • Use the defined assessment criteria to assess the Portfolio/Program/Project Manager competency to identify areas of strengths & weaknesses
    • Determine how further development could improve competence & results
  3. Step 3: Prepare Competency Development Plan
    • Define a competency development plan to address the results of the assessment – this plan recommends the activities to be undertaken
    • Depending on agreed activities, either the assessed individuals/others are responsible for putting the single development activities into action
  4. Step 4: Implement Competency Development Plan
    • execute the defined plan and monitor/track against the plan including evaluation of the completed activities & achievement of defined goals
  5. Step 5: Summary
    • Compare the achieved results with the defined requirements and repeat the entire process if necessary

Competence_Dev_Process

PM/PgM/PfM Performance & Personal Competences

Project Manager Performance & Personal Competences

PM is expected to have competences in all the Knowledge Areas & the processes within each KA plus other personal competences such as Communicating, Leading, Managing, Cognitive Ability, Effectiveness, Professionalism.

PM_Personal_Competences

Program Manager Performance & Personal Competences

PgM_Performance_Competences

PgM_Personal_Competences

Portfolio Manager Performance & Personal Competences

PfM_Performance_Competences

PfM_Personal_Competences

SCRUM basic concepts

Agile Project management allows a team to adapt to change in real-time.

Agile Manifesto

Scrum – Scrummage in Rugby

Scrum allows  team to deliver milestones as small pieces

A stand-up meeting is non-negotiable in Scrum & is an opportunity to ask for help. This meeting is set up by Scrum master, the processes owner.

In order for Scrum to work, it relies on:

  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Cadence

Stand-up meeting format

  • Entire team joins (co-located team & virtual team)
  • Same time
  • Everyday
  • 15 minutes

Questions:

? What did you do yesterday

? What are you going to do today

? Is anything blocking your progress

Active Listening

“The soft stuff is the hard stuff and the hard stuff is the easy stuff”

Active listening is hearing what someone is really trying to convey, rather than just the meaning of the words they are speaking – Do what I mean, not what I say

There are 3 levels of active listening:

Level 1: Internal listening

We hear the words being spoken, and although we may be very attentive, we interpret them through our own lens. When listening, we are thinking “How is this going to affect me” and miss the speaker’s real message.

Level 2: Focused listening

When listening we let go of our own thoughts and put ourselves in the mind of the speaker. We empathize with their thoughts, experience and emotions as they tell us about the situation.

Level 3: Global listening

We build on the approach in level 2, adding a higher level of awareness, like the antennae function, to pick up on the subtle physical & environmental indicators. These indicators can include the speaker’s movements or posture, their energy level, and the atmosphere or vibe in the room. We notice factors like whether the speaker is voicing the information openly in front of others or privately, the mannerism of others who are within earshot and many other clues to help us understand a fuller context of the information being shared.

Source: https://www.amazon.com/PMI-ACP-Exam-Prep-Premier-Practitioner/dp/1932735585