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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…
Tuesday, 20 November 2012 12:44

Tap into the Power of Thanks

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Six Effective (and Affordable) Ways to Improve Your Organization’s Morale, Motivation, and the Bottom Line In so many organizations, employees go through their days assuming that their coworkers, and especially their bosses, don’t notice or appreciate all of the hard work that they do. And if that’s the way they feel, employees won’t have any true motivation or dedication, and productivity will be mediocre at best.  In the midst of an already-tough economy, this is the absolute last thing you want for your organization. In a very real way, tapping into the spirit of Thanksgiving can tip the balance between…
Tuesday, 20 November 2012 12:38

7 Tips to Meet Challenge with Confidence

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The business world is a demanding one. In times of uncertainty, it is essential to be clear, stay focused and commit. As a business leader and professional, you (we) must be able to understand and develop our best resource — people; extract the right information; comprehend numbers; facilitate, negotiate and manage change; make key business decisions; and seek and leverage opportunities all the while maintaining sanity. In order to achieve success, today’s business leader and professional must meet challenge with confidence. There are no quick fixes for acquiring confidence, but there are manageable steps that can help build confidence. Here…
For a long time now teamwork has been the mantra of many companies — the push for solidarity, working together and each doing our part for the better of the entire ‘us.’ But working in teams is a lot harder than I think most would like to recognize. And as a result, I think teamwork can actually be detrimental to a company and a project’s outcome. As a project manager, I always think of teamwork as risk — and the more people there are on a team, the higher the risk I consider it. Here are some reasons why. Unrewarding…
Do you know how to provide collaborative leadership in a disciplined fashion? And how does one define disciplined collaboration? The current business and leadership literature touts the importance of collaborating in our turbulent world. Large and small businesses and teams struggle to wrap their heads around just what collaboration is. Many see collaboration or collaborative leadership as a challenge that can be met through technology, whether it is through social media or virtual conferencing, while others recognize the benefits of restructuring an office space so that it appears more open. However, technology and physical space are only superficial means to…
Wednesday, 31 October 2012 09:33

5 Strategies for Better PM/BA Relationships

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The relationship between the Project Manager and the Business Analyst is so important to the strength of a project and its overall outcome that it should not be left up to chance. In an ideal world, a project’s PM and BA: Have worked together with mutual respect and trust Share a common understanding of project methodology , the requirements process and critical success factors Consider each other as peers Have a deep understanding and appreciation of the other’s role and tasks Are comfortable communicating and negotiating with each other Some of these conditions cannot be created. They are determined by…