Tag Archives: Risk

The Importance of Eye Contact In Web Meetings

PM Commentary by Stacy Goff.

This year I have done even more webinars and webconferences than in years past. And that is significant, because I have been using these web technologies since 1996. And, as others begin to use these technologies, I observe that some intuitively use them correctly, and some do not. One big example of correct is the challenge of keeping at least occasional eye contact with others.

This question of eye contact is a challenge, because our natural tendency in a web meeting is to watch the other participants on our monitor. But the larger your monitor (or the more monitors you use), the less likely it is that you are maintaining eye contact. We have participated in quite a few meetings where we saw more of the tops of peoples’ heads than their eyes. Why? Because they are looking primarily at the other participants on their monitors, and seldom at the camera.

Why Do We Care?
This sure seems like an obscure topic, doesn’t it? Dear reader must think this is a slow Summer day, with no inspiring Change Agent topics to discuss. Au Contraire! This is an essential topic if you wish to establish trust, communication and credibility in webconferences or webinars. This is especially important with the significant increase in virtual projects, webconferences, and live and prerecorded webinars, that are taking market share from in-person meetings and classes. Continue reading

How I Learned to Balance the Project Vital Signs

PM Commentary by Stacy Goff

I named the key project factors of Time, Cost, Scope, Talent, Risk and Quality the Project Vital Signs nearly thirty years ago. I named them to evoke the signs one measures in the Emergency Room at a hospital, not measure if the patient was dead yet, but to determine whether he or she was improving. My rationale: Effective project managers use those factors to manage for success, not just to identify when the project failed. But I did not originally learn the importance of balancing those Vital Signs in the project world; instead, I learned it in a number of early formative experiences. This article is about one of those experiences.

Growing Up In the Cherry Capital of the World
I grew up in The Dalles, Oregon, the fresh dark red, ripe, sweet cherry-producing capital of the World. Other competitive regions included Italy, California, and Michigan, but our orchards produced the largest, richest-flavored cherries. They were so much in demand, that flights to Paris would next-day deliver our cherries to such noteworthy gourmet places as Fauchon. One part of our packing process was to box the cherries in elegantly foiled and lined wooden boxes, so they made a classy image in the shops. And one of the choicest jobs, once I turned 18 years of age, was to be one of the workers who made those boxes.

The box-making process involved standing at a large, noisy machine, and following these steps:

  1. Insert two ends (called heads) and one side into the machine, and push the nailing pedal. A large mechanical device containing the hammers would rapidly descend and nail the parts. Caaarrrunch!
  2. Flip the box over and place the lid on the assembly (the boxes were filled from the bottom, with the top several rows carefully arranged by packers, the goal being, when opened, the customer would see exquisitely-perfect rows of artfully placed cherries). Press the nailing pedal; caaarrunch, went the machine.
  3. Flip the mostly-assembled box to its final position, add the last side, push the pedal; caaarrrunnch!
  4. Place the finished box on the slanted track behind me, where four people added the foil, cardboard, and poly liner, while I began to repeat the cycle.

Those four steps required 6-10 seconds for each box. Continue reading