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MINIMUM WAGE

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The Cayman Islands national minimum wage has been rubber stamped and came into effect on 1 March 2016. The minimum wage advisory committee proposed a minimum wage of CI$6.00 for the Cayman Islands in 2015 and this has now, officially, been accepted by the Government.

What are the key things to know?
• There is no grace period.
• The minimum wage must be paid to all employees except those service employees of an employer who has a gratuities scheme
• Any employer who has a gratuities scheme in place that has been approved in writing by the Director of Labour and Pensions must pay service employees a minimum of CI$4.50 per hour gross directly from the employer
• The minimum wage payable is applicable to every hour worked within a standard work week or standard work day, depending on the defined pay period
• No employee, including service employees, live in household domestics, and commission based employees, must receive less than their respective National Minimum Basic Wage when the employer calculates their sick, vacation, maternity or any other applicable leave.

A copy of the minimum wage order can be found here and the advisory committee’s report, here

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ARE PEOPLE AND COMMUNICATION KEY TO PROJECT MANAGEMENT?

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Although most project management methodologies across professional fields and industries tend to focus on driving or achieving deadlines and project goals, project outcomes can still be misaligned with organizations’ business strategies.  This is caused by many factors, but most important to note are people’s tacit views and motives, and organizations’ lack of strategic project planning and oversight.

One area in project management that is identified but often overlooked is that people are the key to the process, as they are the ones who drive the processes and produce deliverables. I will go further to say that a mental alignment of project individuals with organizations’ strategies is most important to achieving project success. This leads to a whole new discussion of the importance of shared values, vision and strategy throughout an organization or within the project team (to be discussed in future series). Too often tacit views or motives of individuals, whether internal or external stakeholders, have led to behaviors and choices that have impacted cost, quality and scope negatively, and forced projects into slipping or abandonment.

Project audits should evaluate whether or not the project outcomes are misaligned. For example, if the company’s competitive advantage is to hire the best and most qualified workforce, or to put forth the best products and services then all HR, IT and other related departments must execute policies, procedures, processes, and people and technology that achieve these outcomes. This seems intuitive at the onset but how many projects actually accomplish strategic alignment and how many are actually audited for these results?

The challenge is ours as strategic project managers to ensure that projects are aligned to business strategy or objectives. We must ensure that strategic project management and its methodologies tie business strategy to company projects, ensuring alignment. My experience working on small entrepreneurial, as well as large projects within organizations evidenced that individual behaviors generally lead to similar outcomes. I found that one key factor that made a huge difference in managing behaviors was how the environment around the project was managed. Many times, technology and other deliverables become the focus of the project that stakeholders are forgotten and strategic outcomes forgotten. The fact that people are in the driver’s seat of every project is forgotten and management of the project environment is lost.

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PROJECT MANAGEMENT ANYONE?

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Everyone at some point in life manages a project, whether or not they realize it. While most use ad hoc methods, it is important to note that the various processes in formal Project Management can generally be identified at some level. This leads me to believe that learning Project Management basics would be beneficial to most people, as they plan event in their daily lives. Project Management planning would help to provide structure, and offer ways to improve time, quality, and price, while managing the risks and scope of the project. Now who wouldn’t want that?

The Project Management Institute has defined projects as any temporary endeavor that is undertaken to create a unique product or service; the key criteria being temporary as it must have a beginning and end time, and unique as it must be somewhat different from other products and services. With that said, I can safely say that everyone at some point in life has had to manage a project of some sort. Here are some everyday examples to consider:

  • Building your first home
  • Planning your wedding
  • Creating a new menu
  • Starting up your own business

All these examples fit in the definition of temporary and unique. Furthermore the five processes of Project Management (initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing) are typically utilized at some level. Let’s use creating a new menu as an example and walk through the steps for this project.

  1. Initiating:- This is when you, or someone else, decide that a new menu is needed and have access to resources to make it happen.
  2. Planning:- You gather information on the objectives and to determine the appropriate type of menu that will meet the objectives. Once that is established, a plan and goals are set.
  3. Executing:- This is where you begin to utilize resources. In this case it could be money, people, kitchen, etc.
  4. Controlling:- Here is where the project is monitored, comparing activities to the plan and making adjustments accordingly to ensure objectives are met. This is an iterative process throughout the project.
  5. Closing:- Finally, the menu is tested, delivered and accepted as meeting objectives.

Can you see how simple events fit the project definition? Formal process planning can provide efficiency to the process? Project managers around the world have recognized the benefits of utilizing formalized methods, instead of applying ad hoc means to attacking projects. Imagine having to work on complex projects like merging two companies together. Not so easy, huh! That is why formal Project Management knowledge, skills and abilities are important. Project Management training allows everyone to work from the same set of rules and it helps to formalize roles, and expectations. In fact, at the beginning of some projects, it is recommended that project team members go through short series of training to ensure understanding, as well as to set goals and expectations. This is critical to holding everyone accountable for delivery.