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Project management Resources

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Creating successful project teams is a daunting task for any project leader, especially when they are pressed to deliver results within aggressive time scales and tight budgetary constraints. Overcoming challenges such as getting the right blend of youth and experience, skills and competencies, academic qualification and professional certifications does not necessarily lead to the establishment of successful project teams. Building successful project teams is about slotting the right individuals into designated team roles and fostering team spirit. This may sound easy at first, but in time it can become a cumbersome task, especially when project leaders have to choose from…
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 07:12

Learning from Instagrams Faux Pas

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Once again, a technology-based company has exposed to the world their classic misunderstanding of change. In Instagram’s case, the failure was two-fold: a failure in planning and an even bigger failure to communicate. In late 2012, Instagram tried to generate revenue by sharing its users' photos. (The new policy has since been retracted.) Unfortunately, the company’s new policy was not communicated properly and resulted in a predictable firestorm of bad publicity and the loss of a number of users. Instagram’s public change failure can provide important lessons for anyone or any organization pursuing change. Lesson 1 – Planning for Risk…
In many cases, managing stakeholder expectations while managing projects or programs within their constraints is as much an art as a science. It takes a balance of knowledge, tools, and “soft skills” on the part of the Program/Project manager, and an environment that is conducive to success. With so many factors to take into account, what does it take to successfully work with the stakeholders on your program or project? All of us who work on programs and projects face this question. A great deal of excellent guidance material, tips and techniques for working with stakeholders exists. In this brief…
Wednesday, 19 December 2012 07:59

Managing Project Risk – The Easy Way

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Question: How can you spot profitability leaks and cost overruns in technology projects before your peers – and then fix them? Answer: You can do it the hard way or the easy way. The path you choose depends to some degree on the consequences of failure and your budget. The Hard Way Standard risk assessment methodology requires you to first identify threats – human, operational, “reputational,” financial, technical, political, etc. Then, you have to come up with an estimate of likelihood for all those different threats and invent early warning systems that will notify you to launch your backup plans…
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 07:50

Turn Project Chaos Into Success, On Your Terms

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The Chaotic State of Project Management Today Despite the proliferation of project management technologies over the past 10 years, the low adoption of collaboration and project management solutions is truly astounding. Sure, many people have access to tools, such as SharePoint, Microsoft Project, or third-party software as a service (SaaS) tools (e.g., Basecamp, eRooms, etc.), but project management chaos still exists in many organizations. Where is the disconnect? Common Approaches and Why They Fail There are two common approaches that organizations usually take when it comes to implementing and managing collaboration and project management technologies: 1) self-service approach or 2)…
In today’s workplace, the use of virtual project teams and, for that matter, virtual workers in general, is increasingly common. There are many reasons for this: younger workers entering the workforce who bring new attitudes about virtual working patterns; a larger number of employees wanting to balance work and life; and companies seeking ways to save money, just to name a few. The emergence of the ‘virtual project team’ actually began more than 20 years ago; roughly 15 years ago, it started to gain ground as collaboration technology became more advanced. It could even be argued that industries such as…
Chances are you’re quite familiar with project accounting, and you understand how financial reports that track the financial progress of projects can be used by managers to aid project management. Project accounting gives businesses insight into the comparative value of current and past projects, as well as the projected value for future endeavors. However, if project accounting is approached primarily from the top down, these estimates may be flawed. Project knowledge must be granular, and individual team members should contribute and review that information on a per-person level to determine its accuracy. Unfortunately, it is often the case that businesses…
I’ve worked in two service desk IT departments for two different organizations now that are doing both operational work (i.e. work orders) and project work. The similarities between the two departments are striking, and it makes me wonder how many other organizations face the problems that these two organizations face. I’m starting to think it is a much more commonplace problem than I originally thought. Here’s the problem. You’ve got your staff, even the senior staff, working on operational work and project work on a daily basis. The percentage of time spent on operational work could probably be loosely estimated…
Wednesday, 28 November 2012 07:39

5 Steps to Being a Trustworthy Virtual Team Leader!

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As a virtual project manager, you have probably come across this question an innumerable amount of times: Do you trust your project group? This question presents a valid concern, but what is equally, if not more important is the other side of this question: Does your virtual project group trust you? By being a project manager in a faceless workplace, building trust is arguably the most significant part of a successful team. Think of trust as a pivotal block in a game of Tumbling Towers. As soon as this single piece becomes loose, the entire structure falls apart. Don’t let…
I hear stories like this all the time: “Our project teams are in chaos and our executives are insisting on some kind of ‘fire and forget’ solution that does not slow down the business." Every project manager needs to join me in a collective groan so that we can move on to talking about a practical solution to this seemingly intractable problem. Now and Zen First, put your PMP certification back in the box it came in. We won’t be using it today. Organizations with broken project management processes need to fix their root social issues first. Rarely is the…