Top 10 traits I most admire in a Manager

 

I have worked for a variety of managers to date and have met many more along the way!  As a result, I have experienced many traits I admire and some traits I dislike.  These are the Top ten traits that I most like in a people manager.

  1. Give credit in public – acknowledge your staff’s contribution and don’t pretend you do all the work!
  2. Promote people with potential – you should look out for the high performers and help them become the leaders of the future.
  3. Be honest about people’s performance – give constructive feedback – both negative and positive and don’t make false promises about salary increases that will never happen.
  4. Create a co-operative and collaborative environment where peers help each other rather – avoid “warring tribes” syndrome.
  5. Don’t ask your people to do something that you’re unwilling to do yourself.
  6. Be respectful towards individuals.  People respond positively when treated with dignity and respect.
  7. Take the time to build team spirit.  Hold team meetings and build in time for team members to meet each other face-to-face.  This will dramatically improve their working relationship.
  8. Be supportive when your people make mistakes.  It’s easy to be nice when everything is going well, but great managers give support to their team members when things are going wrong.
  9. Trust your team to do their job – give clear direction and review progress, but don’t disempower your staff by micromanaging their hourly activities.
  10. Build relationships – work is about more than getting the task done, it’s also about building relationships with colleagues and stakeholders.  Great managers make an effort to connect on a personal level with their team members, helping to understand what makes them tick. And if they like Bruce Springsteen then that is a great start!

How many of these traits do you already exhibit?  At Aspira we do our best to demonstrate these traits, as I believe it is a key factor in any successful company.

I find this quote really good to guide my thinking and behaviours “People do not leave a company, they leave a manager”

Author: Mary Dwyer, Operations Manager, Aspira.

Aspira – Building Bridges in Dublin Docklands

 

 

Aspira’s new Dublin office is open a little over a year now & has seen significant changes in that short period. Here at the heart of Silicon Docks building developments mushroom overnight, new neighbours are arriving & exciting infrastructural plans are afoot. The return of the cranes to the Liffey skyline, and the general increased buzz around the Quays has really confirmed our decision to locate our Dublin HQ in what was a much quieter area only 2 years ago.

While the resulting noise and construction traffic can sometimes be a challenge, our staff are understanding – after all, engendering change and progress is often what Aspira provides to our consultancy clients.

On our doorstep is the flagship development, Capital Dock http://capitaldock.ie/ which will bring over 2,000 new jobs to the area but that is only part of a bigger story.

The IDA & Enterprise Ireland continue to drive inward investment & opportunities while Dublin Chamber is playing its part with the ‘Great Dublin Survey’ http://www.greatdublinsurvey.ie/  which is looking as far forward as 2050 and Dublin Docklands Forum also has ambitious plans for a vibrant community well into the future http://docklandsbusinessforum.ie/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Proposal-for-the-Grand-Canal-Basin-and-Plot-8.pdf

Now ranked in the top 10 European cities for their startup eco-system, Dublin Docklands provides the perfect springboard for reaching a European Market and with Brexit uncertainty continuing without resolution, candidates are now choosing to make the jump from the UK to a Dublin base. This has been of great benefit to our HR & Resourcing Team, as we continually strive to source and place new consultants on our own projects or on clients sites. Many of our clients are located within 2 miles of our Office, Matheson, EirGrid, RTB, Central Bank, AIB, Dublin City Council and the Department of Public Expenditure to name a few. It’s a great advantage to have our consultants close to the Office to ensure a great sense of belonging to the Consulting & Resourcing Divisions.

The new plans to build additional footbridges to connect the North & South Quays, and also Ringsend open up new possibilities for easier access to our clients, or the host of new social venues that are springing up all over Docklands. The advantage of our location, close to Hannover Quay will be further enhanced by a quick stroll over the new bridge to the Point Village in the future. We hope that the new bridges prove to be a symbolic reference to Aspira building up our local client base and continue the growth of all of our service lines into 2018.

Author:  Philip McGillycuddy, BDM, ASPIRA

 

Project Resourcing and Staff Utilisation: A view from the bench, and the benefits of our virtual bench to our clients.

Using my regular football analogies in this blog, it occurred to me how the dynamics of staff utilisation in medium to large consultancies can have many similarities with the challenges of managing junior soccer teams. We featured our sponsorships of Cork City and Castleknock Celtic previously and my experience of managing under age teams has often helped me in my professional capacity as HR & Resourcing Manager at Aspira. I am under no illusions that Cork face much wider considerations and challenges but bear with me.

”Don’t you dare leave me on the bench!…..”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Aspira most of our staff work on in-house and external clients projects. They are specialist PMs, Business Analysts, Software Developers & Testers, System Admin and tech support professionals. As a consulting organisation, it is important that these staff are kept busy for their own personal job satisfaction as well as for the obvious commercial reasons. We hire staff who enjoy working with clients, have a sense of pride in meeting their expectations and feel comfortable with our policy of knowledge and skill transfer throughout project delivery. But there will be down time, and time on the bench….

All Aspira staff have a training plan and we ensure that time is set aside to complete training courses, upgrade certifications, and also work on Aspira internal projects. This utilisation strategy needs to align with our clients’ needs. They value our resources, and generally retain them for at least 3-9 months or longer in some cases. Our software projects tend to have more control from our side so we can plan downtime better. One of our .NET teams will be coming off a major project over the Summer and our plans are already in place to update and appraise their training and certification needs before they are snapped up again on their next client assignment.

This coming and going of staff in our Dublin and Cork Offices is something we are very used to. I know that many of us are always wary of being thrust onto tender work when coming off a project, but our Subject Matter Experts are the very reason that we have won so many public sector tenders. They understand what clients are trying to achieve on their projects, and are able to articulate very clear and comprehensive approaches to tender responses and proposed deliverables. As they are our own staff, we can stand over their delivery and make our prices attractive to client organisations. We believe that this level of engagement with our consultants give them a greater sense of belonging to Aspira, and more aware of our overall objectives.

So this brings me back to my football team. All parents want their child to play, but there are 16 on the squad which means 5 on the bench. I don’t expect any of those 5 to be happy to be on the bench, and I need them to be motivated and ready to play when I need them. I also need to make sure that the 11 on the pitch are set up in the correct formation, give us the best chance to win the game, whilst all are playing in their favoured positions. As with any company project or in the ongoing running of a client’s business, not everything will go to plan in a football match. The opposition are stronger, break us down on the right or left wing, have a greater threat at corners or present any other risk to our hopes of winning the game. So I make changes to counter that. We may switch to a 4-4-2 formation, replace a more skilful player with a more physical player, or use a different more direct approach that requires your tallest player up front. In that brief 80 minute period, the team that adapt better to the pitch, use their resources the best, have the highest work rate, play to a plan, and take their chances…..will win. I want everyone to play, and everyone to feel part of the objectives of the Club and our team. There are only 11 players on the pitch at any one time, but all 16 will feel rewarded in their combined efforts. Our players roll on and roll off the pitch, in the same way that our consultants help our clients deliver their projects.

We pro-actively manage a bench of skilled Project Managers, Business Analysts, Test & Test Managers, Software Developers and IT Support staff who can react promptly to our client’s project demands. Whilst this may not be as urgent or immediate as replacing my injured right back with a suitable substitute, it can be a huge benefit to our client to have a highly skilled PM come onto a project at short notice, and have an immediate impact on a project rescue or simply in standing in for a sick member of staff. The same goes for our SW development team. Clients may not have the headcount clearance to have 10 developers full time, which is where Aspira can help.

Aspira also have a proven resourcing methodology that allows our clients to issue staffing requirements to us, for diverse technical skill sets that our skilled HR team can source from our associate database or through referral. Our excellent screening processes, and inhouse technical expertise and prior knowledge of our clients work culture allow us to shorten response and lead times to fit the need.

 

 

 

In many ways, our children, players, parents and the wider community are the customers of Castleknock Celtic, and this is how I see my role as a mentor. In the same way, our clients staffing needs and projects demands are the priority of our Resourcing team. Please call or email me if you require our assistance in sourcing your staff solutions over the coming months.

 Author: Russell Moore, HR & Resourcing Manager, Aspira.

10 reasons employees should bring their dogs to work

10 reasons employees should bring their dogs to work

Dogs are everyone’s best friend. Our four-legged friends work alongside us every day, but it seems this is forgotten. Police dogs catch criminals while service dogs assist their owners to live independently. Dogs have many roles working alongside their humans. But, the most important job of all, dogs are companions, best friends and family members. They make people’s lives better with their unconditional love. You can celebrate that on Take Your Dog To Work Day on June 23.

In a modern world, with many hours spent at work, dogs get left at home while employees earn a living. Pet Sitters International started Take Your Dog To Work Day in 1996 to encourage employers to allow dogs at work.

 

Here are 10 ways dogs make the perfect resource partners.

Boosts employee morale

Dogs are dependable, reliable, optimistic and have an unquestioning willingness to do what you ask. They alert staff to problems and are always happy to see you. Dogs in the workplace improves staff productivity because their best friend by their side.

Increases teamwork

Dogs invite interaction and help form strong bonds among staff. They are great for breaking the ice. People are more likely to talk to each other when someone has a dog. Employees can find common ground over dogs. This can cut down office gossip because they are too busy discussing dog stories.

Promotes good health

The added bonus of dogs in the workplace is that it forces employees to take breaks. Staff have to walk them for a good 10-minutes a few times a day. This promotes a healthy work life balance during the day.

More employee flexibility

Many people cannot wait to leave work to get home to their pooch. Their pet has been locked up, alone all day and need their human’s time at the end of the day. Dogs are part of employees’ families, so allowing them in the workplace removes the need for staff to rush off. Employees will be more flexible with their time if their best friend is by their side rather than waiting for them to get home. What a great way to increase productivity.

Financial benefits

Bringing their dogs to work has huge financial benefits for employees and costs the company very little. No longer will employees have to pay for dog walking services or doggy day care if their dog is at work every day.

Attract the best people

People think of their dogs as part of the family.  Potential employees may prefer a company that allows dogs at work over a company with a no dog policy.

Improve the company image

Dogs in the workplace improve a company’s image. Clients will see the company as forward-thinking and progressive. Being able to interact with pets when they visit, will boost your clients’ sense of wellbeing. It helps them relax and enjoying visiting your workplace.

Relieves stress

Dogs are natural stress relievers. They are sensitive to your needs. When you need to blow off steam, they are ready to play. They will snuggle close when you feel down and need a quiet moment. A dog friendly workplace relieves employee stress and encourages harmony, which, in turn, increases productivity each day.

Reduce staff turnover

Staff turnover is a huge problem for employers. It costs time and money to get new hires up to speed. Workplaces with a ‘bring your dog to work’ policy encourages people to stay rather than risk not being able to bring their dog to work somewhere else. This is a great perk to keep staff loyal to organisations.

Pets reduce employee sick days

Dog owners do not want to leave their pets at home while they go to work. Employees can call in sick or leave work early to attend to their pet’s needs. Allowing pets in the workplace eliminates this problem.

At Aspira we understand the problems of resourcing your projects. We can help boost your business to achieve your vision. Contact Aspira to found out how – www.aspira.ie.

 

A Problem Shared Is A Problem Halved?

 

We’ve all heard the saying ‘A Problem Shared Is a Problem Halved’, but when it comes to Project Management is this really the case?

 

As a Project Manager, and a Mentor to other Project Managers, I often jokingly remark that my job can be that of a ‘PM Counsellor’. I meet with my clients for an hour at a time and, swapping a reclining couch for a Gantt Chart or Risk Log, discuss their most recent project woes, challenges and achievements. More often than not, whilst working together in this manner, we unearth potential solutions where there may initially have appeared to be none.

 

Over time, working with clients of varying levels of seniority and experience across many different industries, one observation has cropped up again and again. Sometimes simply the exercise of articulating a problem to an impartial third party can be just what is needed to gain perspective on a particular situation or challenge. In my own experience I’ve found that by providing a non-judgemental, supportive environment to the Project Managers I meet, they often answer their own questions in the process. Having neutral, unbiased support where there’s no judgement on the proverbial ‘stupid question’ can make it a lot easier to come to a satisfactory solution to the challenges that face every project.

 

When I reflect on my own career progression as a Project Manager I realise now that I may not always have leveraged the vast wealth of knowledge and experience of the people around me. There were occasions when I could have found a simple answer to a question, if only I had just asked someone on my team who I trust. So for those of you who are new to Project Management, or more experienced people who maybe too slow to ask for help, here are some tips to help you on your way:

 

  • Use your Team! Delivering a project is a collaborative effort and your project team are in it with you. Each member of the project team will have different areas of expertise and experience so don’t underestimate the knowledge which is readily available to you.
  • Talk to other Project Managers in your organisation – chances are they’ve faced similar challenges before and have the scars to prove it. I’ve yet to meet a PM who doesn’t love to be the Superman or Wonder Woman of project management solutions, and they will be happy to share their experiences.
  • Find someone independent to your project that you trust to give an unbiased opinion. When faced with a difficult decision, maybe treat them to a coffee and talk through the challenge with them. Often you’ll know what the best course of action might be, but saying it out loud, could be just what you need to gain a better perspective on the situation.
  • Get a Mentor – in addition to giving advice based on their own experience, a mentor will help you develop your strengths as a Project Manager and can introduce you to a network of people who may help your career progression in general.
  • Join a Project Management Community – forums like the PMI Chapter in your area or the various Online Groups that sites like LinkedIn provide, are excellent opportunities to meet your peers in both social and professional environments.

 

As the now iconic British Telecom ads of the early 1990s endorsed, “It’s good to talk”. Make this your motto as you navigate your career in Project Management.

For more information on Aspira’s Project Management Mentoring & Coaching Services please contact info@aspira.ie

 

Author:  Emma Daly, Project Services Director, Aspira.

Land Speed Record – How to Survive

The official land-speeds record (measured over a mile) is 1,227.985km/h or 763.35mi/h. The record was set by Andy Green in ThrustSSC (a turbofan jet powered car) on the 15th of October 1997, in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada USA.

When taking on a challenge like breaking the land speed record there are many key considerations; firstly and most importantly the drivers safety. Secondly developing a vehicle that has the ability to move fast enough to break the land speed record.

To make a successful attempt at breaking the record it is vital that there are clearly defined requirements gathered. The requirements include all the considerations for a successful attempt at the record. The requirements are broken down into functional and non-functional. Functional requirements should be gathered by subject matter experts to ensure the requirements gathered are accurate. High-level functional requirements when trying to achieve the land speed record in a motor propelled vehicle include; an engine powerful enough to beat the current land speed record, the vehicle must be aerodynamic to reduce drag (drag is friction caused by air), also required is a functional and practical cockpit to aid the driver in pursuit of the record and most importantly a vehicle that is safe for the driver.

Once the requirements are successfully gathered a plan can be initiated to roll out the development of the vehicle. The plan will include a testing phase and although each phase of the project serves a purpose, the testing phase is crucial to ensure the original requirements have been met. The test plan should be derived from the functional specifications (functional and non-functional requirements doc). When testing a vehicle designed to break the land-speed record, the tester is essentially responsible for ensuring the vehicle has hit all the requirements as specified in the functional doc, in other words; the engine has enough power to move the overall weight of the vehicle fast enough to break the record; that the vehicle’s shape will allow air to pass over and around it to reduce drag which will maximize efficiency on the engines power output; And most importantly that the driver is safe and that disaster recovery procedures are in place and more importantly they work.

Before an official land speed record attempt can take place, the test manager must ensure all the planned test cases have passed. Any failed tests must be addressed, resolved and retested before the testing phase can be signed off. The purpose of testing is to minimise the risk of overall project failure. Risk on projects vary in terms of impact, but when attempting to break the land-speed record the risk can potentially include fatalities. So there is a lot of pressure on the test manager to conduct the appropriate tests to ensure everything is working as it should. At the end of the day when it all boils down to it, it is the driver’s life at stake.

This is only a small taster of the spec of requirements and testing required for such a complex project but it highlights the inseparable relationship between, requirements gathering and testing. For example; if you build a go cart, any rational person would try it on the flat before taking it to St. Patrick’s hill in Cork City to compete in Redbull soapbox race. Although, there is always an exception (Evel Knievel, springs to mind), the risk taker in this case is the driver who has the burning desire or in this case a “Need for Speed”. Don’t get me wrong, we need risk takers. In business risk takers are generally the entrepreneurs and are crucial for economic development, for innovation and social/ cultural development, unfortunately that’s a topic for another day. So, I will close by saying; test test test before you go live, because that’s how to ensure the driver arrives alive.

 

At Aspira we have a dedicated testing team with many years’ experience across multiple sectors. If you require any further information on Aspira’s services contact us on: info@aspira.ie

Author:                Arron Keenan

Role at Aspira: “PMO Lead

The 1% Better VoxPop @ The Project Management Institute – Ireland National Conference

http://robofthegreen.ie/episodes/episode-15-pmi-ireland-voxpop/

Oh yes, it’s back by popular demand!!! The 1% Better VoxPop!!

After making its debut a couple of weeks ago, and (for the most part) being well received, it’s coming back for another airing (literally). This time round, we’re going full Project Management style with the show….and combining it with the 1% Better theme!!

I recorded this show during the PMI Ireland National Conference at the Aviva Stadium on May 4th 2017. This was an action packed conference with a great selection of speakers and over 350 attendees.

Project Management is something I think we all do in one way or another. We all plan a bit, take and manage risks, create To-Do lists and ultimately want to get value or benefits from what we do with our time & resources (sorry for all the PM lingo). So, to prove this, I asked a random selection of the guests a 1% Better question relating to Project Management!!

After much consideration and debate (with myself), the question I landed on asks to what one (or two things) do you (the guest) do from the world of Project Management that you bring into your day to day personal life that adds a little bit of value, organises the chaos and makes things 1% better! This was a bit of fun but it was interesting to hear the responses…some very similar and some quite different.

Overall it was a great day, lots of learnings from it and I was more than happy to do some 1% Better podcasting during the event for the PMI Ireland. As a member of the PMI-Ireland committee, I was playing a dual role but happy do so.

To learn a bit more about the PMI Ireland Chapter, go to the site here – https://pmi-ireland.org/

I hope you enjoy the PMI Ireland Vox Pop. If you do, please leave a rating or comment on iTunes or on the site (http://robofthegreen.ie/contact/)

Have a great day/weekend,

Rob

BYOD Rocks! How the Joshua Tree influenced Mobile Device Management

The legendary U2 album “The Joshua Tree” celebrated its 30th Year in March this Year, twenty years before the formation of Aspira!   The Windmill Lane recording studio was used in the production of the album, which is around the corner from the new Aspira Docklands building in Dublin.   It is interesting to see the influence that this seminal work has had, both consciously and subconsciously…

 

Mobile devices in the workplace have rocked the World of many IT leaders.  It’s as if U2 played from the office rooftop ordering all the end users you support to buy as many devices as possible from the Streets With No Name and connect them to corporate services.

 

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) was born and employees Followed in the masse like there was No Line On The Horizon. However, it’s not all Bad.  There’s no point in Running To Stand Still or pretending it isn’t happening or saying “we don’t allow our employees do that.”

 

The truth is, it’s Out Of Control, they’re doing it already and will continue to inject noncompliant devices into your network With or Without Your permission. ONE recent Gartner survey suggested that currently, most employees are eligible to use their own equipment with employee data on board.

 

This is the Elevation of An Electrical Storm: how will you support workforce Desire to use personal apps and devices while allowing them to be productive in a secure environment that protects corporate data?   Here are eight tracks to try out:

 

  • Craft Policies, It’s Even Better Than The Real Thing.
  • Evaluate devices connecting to your network – don’t leave yourself wondering if I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.
  • Authenticate devices and apply user acceptance signoff.
  • Security, corporate data protection, and compliance are shared responsibilities. There is no chance of reducing risk without cooperation. A self-service portal can help users understand why they may be out of compliance – Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own
  • Communicate the privacy policy to users and make it clear what data you can and cannot collect from their mobile devices
  • Isolate personal data from corporate data – North and South of the River.
  • Manage data usage on subsidized plans
  • Monitor devices continuously for compliance to policies

 

Surrender:

BYOD is an emerging best practice for giving employees the freedom to work on their own devices while relieving IT’s significant financial and management burdens. However, BYOD will never deliver on these promises of streamlined management and cost savings without a well-written policy and a robust management platform.

 

Stranger In A Strange Land:

Your business isn’t limited to your own systems. Thanks to access to cloud services we can communicate with customers, share files, collaborate, video conference and more. While these cloud services increase capabilities with good value for money, its important not to forget that every connection that reaches out from your network may open the door for someone to reach in.

 

It’s a Beautiful Day!

Aspira is celebrating its 10th anniversary in May this Year and will be announcing the opening of Aspira Docklands building beside Windmill Lane.  It’s The Sweetest Thing!

 

Author:  Luca Santos, Aspira IT Operations

Aspira formalises partnership with Castleknock Celtic.

Like many parents, once my children reached the age of 4, my role at weekends and evening started to change from in-house entertainment and supervision of the kids to team bus driver and kit man. I have no intention of portraying an image of sainthood, or to come across as a unique phenomenon in Irish society, but hopefully some of my observations will strike a chord with people. Whether you are starting out as a habitual parental supporter of the next Robbie Brady, Brid Stack or Johnnie Sexton, prowling touchlines menacingly, ready to run onto the pitch to protect your vulnerable offspring from physical attack, or an old hand…you might recognise some of following experiences.

Our CEO Pat Lucey is a legend in his own right in the field of project management. Having joined Aspira as HR & Resourcing Manager, I wasn’t ever able to live up to his expectations as a certified Prince 2 or PMP Professional. But Pat always highlighted aspects of my business and personal life that represented a high degree of PM & organisational skills. People who know me long enough will know of my interest in sports management, be that skiing trips, bowling competitions, tobogganing, cricket matches, or the once famous Silicon Cup in Munich. All projects of various shapes and sizes, none quite as complex as the Silicon Cup Competition in Germany. (8 companies playing each other at 11-a-side soccer in a one day tournament).

It started small, procuring kit and encouraging my son & daughter out of the beds on a Saturday morning to prepare for the local CCHC Camogie nursery or feted Fundamental Football Academy at Castleknock Celtic. This first incursion into Human Resource Management was mostly notable for finding the shin pads, track suits, gum shields, hurl, boots and other paraphernalia that was so casually discarded the previous week in various corners of the house. The initial approach was to do it all myself. The kids got used to this of course, and expected me to do it all for them. Luckily as a man with strong fingernails, I was able to get the football socks on my son eventually. The socks get smaller every week, the material contracts, and you need to build in contingency to pre-stretch them for 3 hours before the “leaving the house” phase. As we all know, 4 and 5 year olds do not understand time whatsoever. It is a fatal assumption to make that your daughter will understand what “we will be leaving at 9.30 latest” actually means. Time management is critical, because Daddy will always make out he knows where Ballymashindig’s home ground is, (just off the Navan Rd., just after the Church, behind the Spar.) Daddy will drive in the general direction of the Ground, ignoring the helpful map provided by the Mentor, and at the last minute revert to the low spec sat nav or phone app to try and bail himself out of the embarrassment of being late again. It is at this point that your key stakeholders will suddenly be able to tell the time, and realise that they might not get to play because of Daddy’s over confidence in his navigational skills of Dublin suburbs.

From a communications side, there are some very basic rules for your daughter that do not apply with your son. When watching camogie matches, don’t say anything whilst on the side-line. You are English, and know nothing about GAA, so please don’t embarrass yourself or me by trying to say something intelligent. Don’t make smart comments about needing a calculator to work out what 2 goals and 11 points v 3 goals and 6 points means. Don’t comment on the other players or talk to them. If engaging with the mentors and other parents, don’t disclose any information about your daughter’s personal life. I will be moody after the game, so accept it. If however at any time I need you, there will be an SLA in place that requires you to give me your undivided attention within 5 seconds. (Provision of drink, spare hurl, tie shoelaces etc etc). So, why is your son different? Women’s sport has been a massive part of my daughter’s life, and I am eternally grateful for all the hours spent together in various parts of the country and on a variety of surfaces. And my son has presented me with a number of key moments in my life on sporting fields that will stay with me forever. My current role as Mentor to a team at Castleknock Celtic is thanks to my children.

I was asked to help at the Academy at Castleknock, and have continued my association with the Club by managing teams at the 2003 age Group since 2007. Seeing all of the kids grow and develop onto the first and second teams over that time is a tremendous feeling. The D15 area is a real Sports community and I feel proud to have played a small part in that. Aspira have a CSR policy that really supports this type of activity. As parents ourselves, we all try and provide a working environment for Aspira staff and partners that allows people to watch, support and contribute to local sport. Cork City recognise this at a higher level, but it is the teams like Castleknock Celtic at grass roots that really appreciate companies like Aspira sponsoring them, or providing mentors or coaches. A simple aspect of this is flexible working hours to get to training on time.

When the opportunity to get our names on the shirts of CCFC 14A1 came along we didn’t need asking twice! As the season unfolds, we will be featuring the development of this new team on our website as part of our CSR updates. The team was formed to facilitate the next wave of development players at 2003 level. With two wins under our belt already, we are ahead of schedule. Let the project begin…..

Russell Moore, HR & Resourcing Manager, Aspira.

1% Better Podcast with Pat Lucey

Check out Rob-of-the-Green’s 1% Better podcast, where his latest interview is with our CEO, Pat Lucey.

Rob’s podcasts come out every week where he helps people to reach their full potential by sharing a few personal, professional, and general life hacks (tools, techniques, tips and advice) that his guests apply directly into some part of your day/life.

On this week’s episode, Pat Lucey shares some of his own personal journey and explains what drives, motivates, inspires, and challenges him to be the best that he can be.

The goal is that these conversations will provide you with some inspiration coupled with simple tips that you can integrate into your busy life to make you 1% Better.

So – if you enjoy listening to podcasts while you commute, or while walking the dog, check out the latest one at:

Episode 9 – Pat Lucey (CEO of ASPIRA) on Business, Project Management and the Berlin Wall!

 

 

 

 

Where’s Me Jumper: Putting smarts into Project Management !

Everything seems to be upgrading to a smarter version these days. Even jackets ! with Google and Levis recently announcing a collaborative effort in the upcoming release of their smart jacket.  Surely the days of losing one’s jumper at 0300 am in various establishments may be finally coming to end, solving one of the first world’s most pressing problems. The notion of such everyday items becoming smarter lead me to ask what new smarts are out there that could be applied to project management.

To make it easier and more efficient for project managers to manage projects and not get lost in a sea of complexity and change, I believe there are many new smart ways to improve project management performance. For this short blog, I have picked some of the PMI knowledge areas to see where “smarts” could be applied.

Project Time Management.

A lot of people still use Excel to manager project schedules. MS Project has been around for a long time and could not be considered new, however the new versions of Project Online certainly does bring a lot to the party regarding smarter scheduling. Ms Project online now allows Enterprise resource management (essential in today’s project matrix organisations), Portfolio Optimization, Anytime and Anywhere access via Browsers, Dashboard reporting as well as integration into Skype for Business and enhanced SharePoint integration. One thing having such new tools, I always advise for anybody working on MS Project to also take the MS Project Certification exam to make the best of such tools and to improve your scheduling skills

Project Quality Management

We all know quality is critical to any project. Many folk again still use Excel to record and managed defects. I would strongly advise using either enterprise quality / defect tracking tools such as IBM Rational Rose, MS TFS or perhaps use one of the many cloud based defect tracking tools to ensure you have a systematic process for dealing with defects and issue resolution. One should also consider the use if automated testing tools such as Selenium / Cucumber / Jenkins to save testing cycle time and to ensure consistent tests where appropriated.

Project Communications Management.

In a previous blog on Project Management and the Self-Destructing Project Update, I noted how the impact of the various social media platforms outside of work are beginning to have an influence on communication within the work environment. Many organisations already have begun to use enterprise-grade social media, although these business-focused tools tend to be a little different to the tools that flourish in the wild. For example, Yammer is deployed as a business-focused alternative to Facebook; various Instant Messaging tools such as Skype for Business take the place of WhatsApp and enterprise tools such as SocialCast are found in organisations as a replacement for micro blogging tools such as Twitter. It is certainly worthwhile to consider the communication channels that one can use these days in a project and perhaps cater better for the new generation of project team members.

Project Risk Management

Sometimes it is not a case of using a shiny new tool. We can become smarter too by learning more about how to deal with certain aspects of project management. Most project managers keep risk registers, but they are often static documents or repositories.  Dealing with risk is one of the most important jobs in any project and to this end I would recommend people taking the PMI-RMP certification in order to best equip one’s self to deal with topics such as risk process facilitation, risk monitoring and control as well as specific risk analysis skills. Learning more about how to deal with risk will make you a much more valuable project manager.

There of course many other new tools and techniques out there to help make our projects smarter and thus delivering increased value and the key is to ensure that you are aware of latest industry trends and products and methodologies that might make sure that you don’t feel “lost” at the end of your project and keep an eye out for smart jumpers coming to a Christmas near you.

Don’t be afraid to tell me my baby is ugly!

 

CEO Pat Lucey speaks on newstalk FM about how he set-up Aspira ten years ago following the closure of Motorola. This was his burning platform that inspired him to take the entrepreneurial leap to set-up Aspira with his colleague Colum Horgan.

Pat talks about the culture change from a multinational environment,  where you are somewhat protected from the trials and tribulations of the economy, to having to deal with the challenges and demands of running your own business. However, both Pat and Colum came from family businesses, so were aware of both the risks and commitment required, to make Aspira the success it is today.

Both the combination of their multinational experience, where there was a huge investment in people and their backgrounds of growing up in family businesses gave them the confidence and ability to lead their own company. Aspira employs nearly 100 people and has offices in both Dublin and Cork.

Pat advises that creating a new business takes more than just a good idea. You need to investigate thoroughly and look at all the available supports out there, including Enterprise Ireland, which is very helpful to Aspira. Importantly you need people to tell you ‘your baby is ugly’, if the idea is not good enough.

Don’t be reluctant about giving negative feedback. People often just casually say ‘oh, that’s a great idea!”, as they are afraid of upsetting budding entrepreneurs! So don’t be afraid to tell people their baby is ugly!