2010 was a good year. The economy has been recovering, market optimism has been on the rise. At least, in Germany. The year started with a very personal project: writing my book “Leadership Principles for Project Success”. It was a wonderful and unique experience. These 4 ½ weeks of writing the manuscript were great. It paid off that I had a thorough outline of the book. The content of the book has been developing over the years. Preparing the outline was an exercise which kept me busy for a couple of weeks in 2009. Once I had the outline, writing was the easy and fun part. Interesting though that the editing process took longer than finishing the manuscript. 🙂
Finally, in August 2010 the waiting was over. It cannot be expressed in words how it felt holding my own book in my hands. It was a milestone. And it was the beginning of a new chapter.
Once I finished the book manuscript at the end of January I was ready for new projects. I travelled to the Netherlands for the kickoff of a new consulting engagement. Only to find out that the client followed a different agenda and didn’t really care about contractual agreements. In retrospect I was glad that this consulting engagement which was planned to last for 9 months was cut to 5 days. It is amazing that in times of economic crisis there are still managers out there who just don’t get the message that this is the time to show integrity and practice ethics. The dismal and unprofessional behavior of this manager reflected the philosophy of his company. Definitely not a company to work for.
Life went on. Throughout the year I conducted trainings and coaching sessions in my area of expertise: project management and project leadership. In addition, I gave presentations at three major conferences. In May I conducted a workshop on team leadership at the PMI Global Congress EMEA in Milan, Italy. In October I spoke at the PMI Global Congress North America in Washington, DC. This time the topic was on collaboration tools. Later this fall I was invited to speak on project leadership at a Project Management Conference in Athens, Greece.
Speaking at conferences is really valuable. It is probably one of the best learning experiences sharing your insights and receiving feedback from a critical audience. And, you meet a lot of good friends. Definitely nothing I want to miss next year (the next presentations are already scheduled in Los Angeles, Frankfurt, and Dublin in the spring of 2011; check my websites for details).
I have been an advocate of agile project management principles for years. Or, maybe I shouldn’t say “agile” but effective project management. For it is not a certain methodology or approach to project management which is the right one. Every project is different; consequently, every project requires a customized approach. Still, it is great to see that more and more companies are becoming open to agile approaches such as Scrum, an agile software development method for project management. This year I successfully introduced Scrum at two different companies. It is amazing how much it can boost productivity, improve results and team morale. Alas, “agile” principles – customer-centricity, power of self-organizing teams, iterative and valuable project deliveries, continuous self-improvement – are not limited to software development. They are applicable to virtually all – if not all – areas of management. You are in doubt? Then, have a look at Steve Denning’s new book The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management. I was among the lucky few who could review Steve’s manuscript before he finalized it earlier this year.
We never know what the next year will bring. At this point I am more than hopeful and optimistic. This year was a giant step forward in my professional and personal advancement. Business-wise the spring was slow; it was a time of reflection and planning. And, it paid off. I have found wonderful clients to work for. Companies which don’t just talk about innovation but practice it. Teams which are open to new ideas and approaches, where you can make a difference. Environments which you can help improve and where in return you receive helpful feedback. This explains my optimism for 2011.
I wish you all a wonderful, productive, successful and blessed year 2011.