Richard Newton wears many hats. Included amongst these are his work as a consultant, author, blogger, change leader, company director, and program manager. His most well known project management book is The Project Manager: Mastering the Art of Delivery. He is also the author of the best-selling Dream It, Do It, Live It which applies project management principles to achieving personal dreams.
In this article, I want to share some of my experiences of developing new products. I have been involved in several projects to launch new products, and a few to start new businesses. But I’m writing this as much for a general lesson I have learnt from those projects, as to discuss detailed lessons about product development.
At all times, but especially in tough times like present, successful project managers are those who skills are relevant to their customer’s needs. This is especially true when it comes to changing your role.
We are going through as tough an economic period as many people can remember. The fun of the Olympics aside, I keep hoping for light at the end of the tunnel – but I can’t see it yet! For lots of organisations the difficult times are far from over, and in some sectors the situation is actually worsening. In this article I want to stray away from pure project management – to a related topic: managing change. I do this because I think there are lessons for project managers.
There are many ways to structure organisations. This variety may be one of the causes of that on-going pain for many employees: reorganisations.
I set this site up to be a single repository and access point for all of my writing. I like the process of writing, and this site reflects that, in that it goes against many current trends: there are images, but overall it is rather wordy and not very visual. I make no apologies for this, as this is a site for those who want to read what I have written. I have a wider online presence than this site, for those who are more visually orientated or want to find out about my speaking or consulting services.
Since I published my first book in 2008 I have continued to write. I have published 10 books now. They have been translated into languages as diverse as Japanese, Russian, Italian, Korean, Romanian and Spanish, (and lots more). They vary from mass market to niche books, which might be loosely categorised under the themes of getting things done or making things happen in different contexts. On top of this, I regularly write articles, which are published all over the place. I wanted to provide a single place were all of them can be found. Some articles are published elsewhere first, especially if I have been commissioned to write a piece, but sooner or later they will end up here. Finally, there is my spasmodic blog where I comment on all sundry of things that go through my mind and which inspire me to write a few words down. I try to keep to the general themes of my writing, but the blog ranges more broadly.
Why changing hats? Like a lot of people I jump around between different roles, metaphorically changing my hat. I have family roles, friendship roles, client roles, writing roles and so on. Whilst my writing has tended to focus on the professional side of my life, there is a gradual migration to other topics. I take inspiration from all of my roles and more: work of course, but also travel, literature, my friends, academic studies, and what I observe and hear as I wander around. I can be inspired by pretty much anything, from the regular mundane details of life through to those very occasional profound experiences I have been lucky enough to have.
Another reason for the name changing hats is that a lot of my work deals with helping organisations and people to change - taking off the hat they are currently wearing and putting on another one. Sometimes this is easy to do. On other times it can be incredibly hard. One word I use a lot is ‘balance’. Often the hardest challenge in life is finding the right balance between the different hats we each choose to wear. It is also one of the most important challenges to resolve. I do not believe the good life comes from trying to excel with every hat we wear, but comes about by optimising the balance between hats. Well balanced people are happy people.
The final reason for changing hats is just that I like hats. When I go somewhere new, and I have travelled in dozens of countries, I always try to buy a hat.
Like most people, I have lots to do and limited time to do it in, but when I’ve got time I’m always happy to discuss books and writing more generally. (If you have come here in a mistaken search for my professional services, they are explained at a different site, Enixus.)
Farewell to the ‘m’ and the ‘e’. I have succumbed to the pressures of globalisation and adopted the American spelling of program as in program manager, program director and so on.
Welcome to the blog page of Changing Hats. I will write my various musings in this blog. I can’t promise there will be any consistent theme other than ideas that have gone through my head at some point.
I recently wrote a piece for on helping your sponsor to be a better project sponsor. I wanted to follow this up by giving my views on the role of the project sponsor. I will argue in this article that the role of the sponsor depends on the situation and the people involved.
As project managers we all have an image of the perfect project sponsor. We want a sponsor who gives us enough space to get on with our job without constant interference, but we also want a sponsor who is there immediately when we need them to be. We like sponsors who are decisive, who ensure all those important authorisations are given without delay. It’s also appreciated when the sponsor is explicit in his or her praise for our work.
Revolutions and counter revolutions are a central and often repeated part of history. They stretch into the current times, and will no doubt continue to happen in future. Revolutions pitch one group with existing powers, against another group who want to seize power. The stakes are usually high for both sides.