Category Archives: Checklists

PM Hats – Six Thinking Hats in Project Management

Six Thinking Hats

Looking at a Decision From All Points of View

‘Six Thinking Hats’ is an important and powerful technique. It is used to look at decisions from a number of important perspectives. This forces you to move outside your habitual thinking style, and helps you to get a more rounded view of a situation.

This tool was created by Edward de Bono’s book ‘6 Thinking Hats‘.

Many successful people think from a very rational, positive viewpoint. This is part of the reason that they are successful. Often, though, they may fail to look at a problem from an emotional, intuitive, creative or negative viewpoint. This can mean that they underestimate resistance to plans, fail to make creative leaps and do not make essential contingency plans.

Similarly, pessimists may be excessively defensive, and more emotional people may fail to look at decisions calmly and rationally.

If you look at a problem with the ‘Six Thinking Hats’ technique, then you will solve it using all approaches. Your decisions and plans will mix ambition, skill in execution, public sensitivity, creativity and good contingency planning.

How to Use the Tool

You can use Six Thinking Hats in meetings or on your own. In meetings it has the benefit of blocking the confrontations that happen when people with different thinking styles discuss the same problem.

Each ‘Thinking Hat’ is a different style of thinking. These are explained below:

  • White Hat: neutral and objective, concerned with facts and figures
    With this thinking hat you focus on the data available. Look at the information you have, and see what you can learn from it. Look for gaps in your knowledge, and either try to fill them or take account of them.This is where you analyze past trends, and try to extrapolate from historical data.
  • Red Hat: the emotional view
    ‘Wearing’ the red hat, you look at problems using intuition, gut reaction, and emotion. Also try to think how other people will react emotionally. Try to understand the responses of people who do not fully know your reasoning.
  • Black Hat: careful and cautious, the “devil’s advocate” hat * 
    Using black hat thinking, look at all the bad points of the decision. Look at it cautiously and defensively. Try to see why it might not work. This is important because it highlights the weak points in a plan. It allows you to eliminate them, alter them, or prepare contingency plans to counter them.Black Hat thinking helps to make your plans ‘tougher’ and more resilient. It can also help you to spot fatal flaws and risks before you embark on a course of action. Black Hat thinking is one of the real benefits of this technique, as many successful people get so used to thinking positively that often they cannot see problems in advance. This leaves them under-prepared for difficulties.
  • Yellow Hat: sunny and positive 
    The yellow hat helps you to think positively. It is the optimistic viewpoint that helps you to see all the benefits of the decision and the value in it. Yellow Hat thinking helps you to keep going when everything looks gloomy and difficult.
  • Green Hat: associated with fertile growth, creativity, and new ideas
    The Green Hat stands for creativity. This is where you can develop creative solutions to a problem. It is a freewheeling way of thinking, in which there is little criticism of ideas. A whole range of creativity tools can help you here.
  • Blue Hat: cool, the color of the sky, above everything else-the organizing hat 
    The Blue Hat stands for process control. This is the hat worn by people chairing meetings. When running into difficulties because ideas are running dry, they may direct activity into Green Hat thinking. When contingency plans are needed, they will ask for Black Hat thinking, etc.

Exercise:

Here’s an exercise (inspired by Bono ideas) which will work very well with those who have been required to read Six Thinking Hats prior to getting together to brainstorm. Buy several of those delightful Dr. Seuss hats (at least one of each of the six different colors, more if needed) and keep the hats out of sight until everyone is seated. Review the agenda. Review what de Bono says about what each color represents. Then distribute the Dr. Seuss hats, making certain that someone is wearing a hat of each color. Proceed with the discussion, chaired by a person wearing a Blue or White hat. It is imperative that whoever wears a Black hat, for example, be consistently negative and argumentative whereas whoever wears a Yellow must be consistently positive and supportive. After about 15-20 minutes, have each person change to a different colored hat. Resume discussion.

Six Thinking Hats” is about improving communication and decision-making in groups.

Summary: Bono puts thinking into steps: 1. Information 2. Benefits 3.Critical thinking 4. Feelings 5. Creative thinking 6. Thinking about the thinking and creating and action plan for implementation.

How would you incorporate the ‘Six Thinking Hats’ in clinical data management?

Reference:

Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono, 1999

http://www.mindtools.com

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Disclaimer: The EDC Developer blog is “one man’s opinion”. Anything that is said on the report is either opinion, criticism, information or commentary. If making any type of investment or legal decision it would be wise to contact or consult a professional before making that decision.

Disclaimer:De inhoud van deze columns weerspiegelen niet per definitie de mening van {EDC Developer}.

Consular Legalization of Documents

Consular Legalization of Documents

Warning: The information on this page is provided in good faith and are general information about the process of legalization of documents for use abroad.

We do our best to keep this page updated, but changes in legislation, rules and procedures of the countries occur without warning.

This information does not replace the most current information provided in the pages of consular officers and government officials accountable for every act.

If you believe any information on this page is outdated or wrong, please notify us by e-mail.

anayansi gamboa legalization of documents

Legalisation Usage Overseas

Many countries require a certified translation. In Brasil, for example, the legalization takes place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil (MRE) and in Panama, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then at the consulate of the destination country of the document. This process is also called consularization or authentication.

Some countries may first require the legalization of the original document and only then legalize certified translation. That’s because they want the data of stamps and seals legalization of the original document included with the translation.

In general, the rules are relatively simple, but the whole process is quite laborious. In some cases, the legalization of a single set of documents may require more than ten trips between the Foreign Ministry, notary, translator and consulate office.

We can always help you with this process.

Firstly, our management team can help you understand what needs to be done in your particular case. After performing legalization of hundreds of documents from consulates in major English and Spanish speaking, our team has extensive experience on the procedures usually adopted in each country.

It also aimed to facilitate the legalization process for customers, all our translators have autograph card registered in the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil or Panama and the consulates of major countries speaks English and Spanish (Canada, United States, Spain and others). As a result, shoppers rarely need to recognize the notarized signature of the translator. Moreover, the consulates in some countries directly receive our sworn translations.

Legalisation foreign documents

All official foreign documents relating to persons, such as birth certificates, unmarried status declarations, marriage certificates or judicial decisions regarding adoption, must either be legalised or provided with an Apostille by the competent authorities of the issuing country. Unmarried status declarations may not be older than 6 months.

As the legalisation of foreign documents can take a long time, please arrange this several months before submitting any application with the local government authority.

You are advised not to submit any application without legalised or apostillised foreign documents. We always check with the embassy or consulate as to which foreign documents need to be legalised and how.

We also offer service support for legalization. We work with specialized carriers to bring their documents the specific country and consulates and bring them back with security and privacy to our office. With the consent of the customer, always thinking of their convenience, we can also arrange interviews for service and represent it by proxy at consulates that require this kind of formalization.

In addition, we serve businesses and individuals in cities where there is a consulate office with complete solutions sworn translation, legalization of documents and shipping documents by post.

Comments? Join us at {EDC Developer}

Anayansi Gamboa, MPM, an EDC Developer Consultant and clinical programmer for the Pharmaceutical and Biotech industry with more than 13 years of experience.

Available for short-term contracts or ad-hoc requests. See my specialties section (Oracle, SQL Server, EDC Inform, EDC Rave, OpenClinica, SAS and other CDM tools)

As the 3 C’s of life states: Choices, Chances and Changes- you must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change. I continually seek to implement means of improving processes to reduce cycle time and decrease work effort.

Subscribe to my blog’s RSS feed and email newsletter to get immediate updates on latest news, articles, and tips. I am available on LinkedIn. Connect with me there for technical discussions.

Disclaimer: The EDC Developer blog is “one man’s opinion”. Anything that is said on the report is either opinion, criticism, information or commentary. If making any type of investment or legal decision it would be wise to contact or consult a professional before making that decision.

Disclaimer:De inhoud van deze columns weerspiegelen niet per definitie de mening van {EDC Developer}.

Simple Ways for Project Managers to Spend Less Time on Email

inbox

One of the ironies of digitized communication is that it’s far more permanent than paper. Dash off a hasty memo and you can shred the evidence. But once you’ve sent an email, it’s out there. Five minutes before you realize your mistake it’s already been forwarded to everyone and their brother, and probably blogged. And nine times out of ten, they never read past the first 4 sentences.

So just about everyone has an email address these days, whether it’s for work, personal use or both. As a result, each morning millions of us turn on our computers or check our smartphones, only to find our in-boxes packed with emails. Most of us live very busy lives and ain’t nobody got time to manually filter their inbox each and every morning, ain’t nobody!

Following some of the following advices, this will allow you to concentrate more on the things you really need to do during your busy day as project manager:

1. Read and respond

If you’re reading an email and you can reply back in 3 minutes or less, do it. It’s a total waste of time to go back to it later in the day when you can deal with it now. Answer it and move on.

2. Set a time to check emails

Most people constantly check their in-boxes several times a day – that time really adds up, distracting you from other more meaningful tasks. Find a schedule that works for you and keep to it.

In some cases, sending an email at 8 pm is just as effective as sending it first thing in the morning as most people won’t check their in-boxes till they are back at work the following day.

3. Make email work for you

With everything we have to do in our lives, the task of filtering your email account everyday, deleting spam and spending time unsubscribing is a real pain. Using message filters, with one click you can move senders into the spam / delete folder, and their emails will never been seen again in your inbox.

4. The Email Jumble up

The Email Jumble occurs when you receive an email in your inbox that you don’t need to read or reply immediately, but needs to be addressed sometime in the near future. These are the emails that you remind yourself mentally you will get around to, but they either end up getting lost in the abyss that is your inbox, you end up forgetting about them, or you spend too much mental time thinking about them each time you see them sitting in your inbox.

emailfilter

5. Reshuffle your attachments

Having attachments in various emails that are swimming in a pool of thousands of other emails is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Your IT department might have a limit per email message and attachment. The use of automated archive feature will help you reduce size of your inbox too.

For example, AttachmentExtractor add-on for Thunderbird, let you save all attachment from several emails at once. You can select all the e-mails from which you wish to download the attachments, right-click, and then click “Extract From Selected Messages To” > “(0) Browse“, and then pick the directory you want to save the attachments to.

saveas
1 email save as / detach
extract
How to save attachments from several eMails

6. Get rid of the distractions

Whether email notifications or social media notifications it doesn’t take too much to distract us. Electronic communication can be difficult on the best of days.

The average information worker–basically anyone at a desk–loses 2.1 hours of productivity every day to interruptions and distractions, according to Basex, an IT research and consulting firm. Turn off the notifications on your inbox and your mobile device, and combine this with tip #2 to waste even less time on emails.

mobiledistractions

As the old saying goes, time is money, and the more time you spend managing your emails, the less time you have to be productive. Your typical office workers spends 2.6 hours per day messing about in their inbox. Multiply that by the number of employees your business has or the amount of days you work and you realize there’s a big gaping hole that really needs to be patched up.

Follow all 6 tips today and watch the hours you, as a Project Manager, used to spend on emails disappear.

Conclusion

The need for communication does not automatically translate to the need for formality. For some projects, deliverables might be easily satisfied by email rather than formal released documents.

Project leaders and the team are empowered to tailor the guidelines to each project, using appropriate formality or informality of deliverables for the project’s activities, simply keeping in mind other company communication and documentation needs.

As we described above, one of the communication channels -email- used by a project manager, we also need to find a balance between real projects and the need to answer each email that comes through out mailbox.

Inexperienced project managers tend to focus too much on urgent day-to-day tasks while more pressing responsibilities languish. Even experienced project leaders can descend into survival mode now and then. It’s something akin to driving 100 kilometers per hour while staring at the windshield wipers. In the worst situations, I’ve discovered so-called leaders spending the bulk of their time sending and reviewing email while their bewildered team gropes their way toward a fuzzy finish line or sinks into the icy couch of despair.

Amateur project manager? Want a safer password?

Comments? Join us at {EDC Developer}

Anayansi Gamboa, MPM, an EDC Developer Consultant and clinical programmer for the Pharmaceutical and Biotech industry with more than 13 years of experience.

Available for short-term contracts or ad-hoc requests. See my specialties section (Oracle, SQL Server, EDC Inform, EDC Rave, OpenClinica, SAS and other CDM tools)

As the 3 C’s of life states: Choices, Chances and Changes- you must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change. I continually seek to implement means of improving processes to reduce cycle time and decrease work effort.

Subscribe to my blog’s RSS feed and email newsletter to get immediate updates on latest news, articles, and tips. I am available on LinkedIn. Connect with me there for technical discussions.

Disclaimer: The EDC Developer blog is “one man’s opinion”. Anything that is said on the report is either opinion, criticism, information or commentary. If making any type of investment or legal decision it would be wise to contact or consult a professional before making that decision.

Disclaimer:De inhoud van deze columns weerspiegelen niet per definitie de mening van {EDC Developer}.

Professional Timeline – Clinical Programmer

Professional Timeline

Curriculum Vitae
CV

 

anayansi gamboa

End-of-Project Lessons Learned

Below is an example agenda for a half-day lessons learned meeting at the end of a project (sometimes called a Project Closeout Meeting). It includes:

  • who should attend.
  • meeting objectives.
  • meeting deliverables.
  • agenda items showing a suggested sequence of team discussion, brainstorming, and analysis by which the team can agree upon what went well on the project, what didn’t, and what should be done differently next time.

Meeting Objectives:

  1. Understand how this project performed against its original goals (time, resources, scope)
  2. Identify “lessons learned” and recommendations for future projects.
  3. Set actions to ensure lessons learned are considered during planning of next project.

The only way to avoid problems happening yet again in the future is carefully consider what went wrong and why, and make sure there is a way to transfer related recommendations forward

Deliverables from Meeting:

  • Report including:
    • Review and analysis of plan vs. actual milestone achievement and state of what we delivered vs. the original requirements
    • Team’s brainstorm list of wins and challenges
    • Team’s list of derived recommendations for achieving the wins and avoiding the challenges on future projects
    • Open issues list and action items
  • Key items will be turned into templates and checklists for use during projects.
Agenda Item Facilitator(s) Time
Introduction, agenda review, ground rules Stakeholder 5 min
Wins and challenges

Project retrospective: Review planned vs. actual on major milestones and how what we released mapped to original major requirements

Round-robin brainstorm: Go around the table and record a win or challenge from each person. Keep going until no one else has items to add.

Map back to major project issues—which challenges contributed most to milestone and Vision shortfalls? Which wins contributed most to what the project accomplished?

ALL

 

xx min
Create lessons learned recommendations

Wins: what do we think other projects should do to achieve these wins?

Challenges: how should future projects avoid each issue we identified?

Stakeholder xx min
Next steps

Review action items and finalize assignments.

Stakeholder xx min.

 

Reference:
Global Brain Inc.’s Quality Rapid Product Development QRPD methodology

Project Management Forms and Deliverables

Project Management Forms & Deliverables Checklist

Deliverable Description Purpose
Project Checklist Checklist of tasks that a Project Leader should be doing at a particular phase in the project. Used to remind a Project Leader of all the tasks and areas to be concerned with when managing a project.
Project Proposal A form used to capture the initial ‘good idea’ or ‘we need something’ information for a project. Used to communicate initial project goals and objectives, anticipated benefits, risks, CSF’s and project organization. Used to get approval to proceed to the Planning phase where you develop a project charter
Project Contracting Form A form used to outline key results, stakeholders, milestones, and scope dimensions. Used to identify key project initiation elements. Used to make sure all project dimensions are considered.
Project Charter Serves as an agreement between the Project Leader and the Project Sponsor for what the project will deliver. Used to establish a common understanding of the project, what will be produced or delivered, when and by whom. It also details the strategies that will be used to manage the project.
Project Charter Presentation Presentation format for a PM to complete that summarizes the key features of a project Used when presenting a charter for approval or to a project sponsor or owner. Because it is a summarization, it is useful for presenting information to people who have not read a project charter.
Roles & Responsibility Matrix A matrix that lists team members and all the major deliverables or activities that are being produced for the project. An individual’s relationship to a task (Responsible, Contributes, Reviews or Approves) is indicated in the intersection of resource and task Used to explicitly document who is responsible for producing deliverables.
Communications Plan Details the structure, form, type and frequency of communication. Also details the communication paths and key communications milestones that should occur on the project Used to establish lines of communication to ensure that project information is communicated and received by its intended audience. Also ensures that key groups are not left out of the communication loop. Also provides a way of evaluating how the communication is working throughout the project.
Communication Log Log that records when, to whom and in what format communication occurred. Used to track actual communication events back to planned communications to ensure that all groups are receiving and sending communication on a timely basis.
Change Request Form Form for requesting changes to a project Used to capture details related to a change request and implications of accepting a change. Supports a formalized change process
Change Log Contains a history of issues and their resolution. Used to capture, track and manage change requests that are received by the project. Supports a formalized procedure for requesting changes
Design Review Form Sign-off form that design specifications and requirements are approved. Used to confirm designs in walkthroughs.
Issue Form Form for recording an issue. Used to capture issues in detail. Can be used by anyone involved in the project.
Issue Log Contains a history of issues and their resolution. Used to capture, track and manage project issues and their resolution.
Meeting Summary Form to document decisions made at meetings. Used to summarize decisions made and communicate action items and issues found during meetings
Status Report Status form. Used to communicate status.
Status Summary Checklist of questions related to project status. Used to remind Project Leaders to think about status on a larger scale.
Reviewer Comment form Form to capture specific comments for walkthroughs. Usually distributed with a document that is being reviewed and used to capture comments from reviewers.
Risk Assessment Questionnaire A questionnaire that all project leaders should fill out that will indicate the level of risk for their project. It will produce a risk radar graph when completed. Used to focus a project leader on potential risks for the project. A risk management plan can be developed that addresses the higher risks on the project
Risk Management Form A template for documenting project risk, risk management strategies and contingency plans. Used to produce a comprehensive risk management plan.
Project Close-out Form to record details of the project once it is completed Used to capture lessons learned and summarize how the project went. Can be used in a facilitated session or be completed by the Project Leader at the end of a project.

Source:Project Management Institute


Anayansi Gamboa has an extensive background in clinical data management as well as experience with different EDC systems including Oracle InForm, InForm Architect, Central Designer, CIS, Clintrial, Medidata Rave, Central Coding, OpenClinica Open Source and Oracle Clinical.