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Author: Brad Egeland

Brad Egeland is a Business Solution Designer and IT/PM consultant and author with over 25 years of software development, management, and project management experience leading initiatives in Manufacturing, Government Contracting, Creative Design, Gaming and Hospitality, Retail Operations, Aviation and Airline, Pharmaceutical, Start-ups, Healthcare, Higher Education, Non-profit, High-Tech, Engineering and general IT. He has been named the “#1 Provider of Project Management Content in the World” with over 7,000 published articles, eBooks, white papers and videos. Brad is married, a father of 11, and living in sunny Las Vegas, NV. Visit Brad's site at

Best of PMTimes: The Greatest Challenges When Managing a Project

What do you find to be the hardest part of managing a project? I bet if you asked ten different project managers that question you would get at least six or seven different answers.


I believe that many on the outside of project management looking in probably think it is easy. Be organized and you’ve got it made, right? I wish it was that easy but then again if that was all there was to it I guess the pay would be considerably less than it is and we’d all miss the challenge.

No, project management about much more than just being organized but you already know that. What do you find to be the most difficult aspects of the daily project management grind? For me, and from what I’ve perceived from many of my colleagues, it comes down to a fairly common list of about five things, depending on the types and sizes of projects and the clients we are dealing with, of course. There are always those variances. Let’s consider these five items.


The project budget.

The project budget has to be on here, likely always #1 or #2 on every project. 95% of the population has problems managing their own money! That doesn’t make them that much better at managing someone else’s!

The project budget is always a challenge. Unlike your own budget where it’s only you or a few people spending, for a project budget, you may have 87 different people, places or things charging to it. The project budget status can go from healthy to dire straits overnight as charges come through accounting and hit your project and now you must go figure out why.

Staying on top of the budget every week by updating the budget forecast with actual charges from the week before and re-forecasting it for the remainder of the project is one way to combat those budget surprises. Perhaps the only way. And, by doing this you can just about guarantee that it doesn’t go more than 10% out of control vs. the 50% overage that an unchecked budget can quickly realize. The 10% overage is a fairly reasonable/easy fix. You may never recover from the 50% overage.


Scope management / change control.

Scope management and change control are two of those two-word phrases that are basically like four-letter words in the world of project management. Scope management is always a challenge for the project manager and project team because some things are close calls on whether they are in or out of scope. Plus, we aren’t always thinking in terms of “scope” when we are plugging through the work or fixing issues. And change control results in those ugly change orders for which customers have to pay extra, and that’s always a fun thing for the PM to bring to the project sponsor’s attention to obtain approval.


Resolving team conflicts.

Some people actually thrive on conflict. Not me. I’d prefer that we all just get along and do our jobs. That’s why I like project management better than, say, managing a team of application developers who report directly to me. I’ve done that; I’ve had staff at several different organizations where I’ve worked. Resolving conflicts, personnel issues, giving performance reviews – these are a few of my least favorite things.


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Pleasing everyone with the status report.

You can please some of the people all of the time. You can please all of the people some of the time. But you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Is this true? With status reporting it seems to be the case. But if you want to maintain your sanity and have time to manage your other projects and job requirements, it is in your best interest to find a status report format that works for everyone. By everyone I mean all stakeholders who care to hold your status report in their hands and a few who don’t care but you want them to care.

Create a usable and informative dashboard for everyone – especially for the project sponsor’s and senior management’s viewing pleasure. For your senior management, a few of the key stakeholders, and possibly some high-level players on the customer side, this may be all they ever want to see. It can be some high-level percentages or possibly a green-yellow-red stoplight approach to reporting the timeline, tasks, and budget health. Beyond that you want the weekly detail that goes into any good status report. This status report should drive the weekly team and client meetings. You will want to report on completed tasks, what’s happening now, what’s coming up soon and all outstanding issues and change orders.

The status report can be painful and a huge weekly chore on your to-do list, but if you can figure out how to create a one-size-fits-all approach to status reporting on your project, you’ll save time and effort overall by not creating several different reports trying to please everyone on your project routing list.


Getting all detailed requirements documented.

This one can be a real headache. Why? Because it seems that no matter how hard you try, no matter how many eyes are on it, no matter how many experts are involved and no matter how much your project client participates and insists “that’s it”, you’ll eventually find that something was overlooked.

It’s ok because the fault usually lies with the project customer and they end up paying for the extra work and time in the form of a change order. Still, customers don’t like change orders, and it usually means some painful re-work. It would be nice always to get it right the first time. But that’s almost never the case.


Call for input

Project management is challenging. Period. Some parts are harder than others. Some we master. Some we never really get used to or we seem to at least always make them hard. I wish I had a magic formula or all the time in the world on every project so that we could do everything well and everything right, but that is never the case. We always need to cut corners somewhere, and that doesn’t make most of these challenges easier…only harder.

How about our readers? What are your biggest challenges or least favorite activities associated with managing projects? What have you found to be your most troubling parts of managing a project?


Published on: 2016/04/05

5 Reasons Why TeamHeadquarters Will Organize and Simplify Your Project Delivery Service

In this next instalment of my exclusive “5 Reasons Why…: series I am doing an overview of 5 reasons why you should be looking over Entry’s TeamHeadquarters platform to organize your project delivery process. Let’s examine what you can do for your project teams and organization…

Plan, execute, and monitor projects from anywhere

Simply create and manage full scale IT projects with the TeamHeadquarters project management system. Monitor task delivery results in real time and effectively communicate important updates with the project team, sponsors, and senior management. Visual dashboards provide the insight required to identify what tasks impede the project timeline.  Always have up-to-date information at your fingertips to help with timely decision making.


Manage project requests using the customer portal

IT departments often don’t have a formal process to receive, analyze, and approve project requests. Using the TeamHeadquarters project request forms provides a simple and effective way to manage the project request lifecycle from inception to delivery utilizing the service ticketing feature. Effectively communicate your customer’s project needs with your required decision makers.

Project forms also help the guide your customers to assist them when determining what project information they are required to submit in order to process a project request and ensure the project analysists have the ability to deliver quicker turn-around times.


Understand what IT support requests are causing project delays

Project resources are often called upon to support the IT team. It’s inevitable that support will be required during and after the project rollout phase. These interruptions often create delays to project task timelines. The TeamHeadquarters integrated help desk ticketing system enables the resources to provide support and report activity to better understand and communicate project delays.


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Historical reports identify what support items and project tasks were worked on, how many hours were consumed including specific dates, and comments made by the support personnel and customers. This provides the evidence for the project managers to defend project timeline delays. Project managers will have the confidence to properly communicate project delays and reference specific documents events within a single system.


Deliver repeatable service projects with the ticketing system and project task import

Repeatable service projects often consume considerable IT resource capacity. These service projects typically have a handful of predictable tasks and can be templated to streamline the projects. TeamHeadquarters ticket templates provides a simple way to initiate and deliver small service projects.

TeamHeadquarters also provides the ability to import a Microsoft Project plan and include the resources assigned to the tasks. This provides our customers the flexibility to create an unlimited list of task templates for multiple project types. As simple file import sets up your project in seconds. Once imported you can begin adjusting or adding tasks at will and monitor the progress in real-time.


Manage project and task calendar availability

Tasks are traditionally assigned with hour estimates, start and due dates, and assigned resources. Project systems often lack the ability to add these assignments to a calendar. TeamHeadquarters provides simple task calendaring and seamless synchronization with your Outlook calendar.

Team Members will now have a complete view of all calendar events including tasks and support ticket when viewing the TeamHeadquarters calendar or their Outlook calendar. To make things easier, project tasks, service tickets, and projects can be edited directly from the TeamHeadquarters calendar. No more double booking.


Get a complete overview of TeamHeadquarters here.


Best of PMTimes: 5 Secrets To 5% Increased Profit On Your Next Project

All resources matter on the project.


Without all resources working cohesively and effectively together, it can become nearly impossible to effectively and successfully deliver on the project. But beyond that – looking to the revenue level and the profitability on the project… everything affects it, but close management and oversight of it comes down to the project manager. No one entity on the project has the insight, access to info, and overall project knowledge from that standpoint to effectively manage how healthy the project financials are.

Also, not only can the project manager help keep the project stay on track financially, they can also help increase project revenue and profitability through effective financial management, scope management, and customer and team management. Many things do affect all of this – well beyond my list below, I know – but for me it starts with regularly performing these five tasks… my secrets to keeping project revenues high and project profits hopefully higher than expected. Let’s discuss…

Discuss Financials Weekly With The Project Team.

One of the best ways to get the team aligned on managing their own time charging well and accurately on the project is to just let them know it’s very important to you and to the bottom line of the project. Many don’t realize that and they’re just trying to account – usually at the end of the week – for all their time. They know they put in 65 hours on various projects and they are tired and throwing hours down on a time sheet that means very little to them other than a task that is due Friday afternoon or Monday morning. It’s not daily tracking as it should be – in reality it’s Friday afternoon guess work when they would rather be doing anything else.

So, discuss the project financials at each weekly team meeting. Make sure they know how much time charging is expected of them for that week and the following week from your resource forecast and ensure that the two match up. I realize this one action may not add to the profitability of the project very much – but it can keep it from being the rollercoaster ride it often is and can definitely keep the project from unexpectedly going 50% over budget leaving the project manager wondering what went so horribly wrong.

Limit PM Travel.

Believe it or not, not all project customers see PM’s as a vital expense on the project. I had one project client in Texas who just didn’t see the need or value from Day One. Even my lead tech – who was mostly working onsite with the client – said “how can you not like Brad, you don’t even know him?” I got to the bottom of this PM disdain on their part and they were mostly concerned about budget and questioned the need for my $150 per hour project hit. So I immediately looked for ways to manage from afar. I eliminated my travel and reduced meetings to conference and video calls and they loved it. Best of all it added to the profitability of the project without affecting my management of the project or our performance level on the project.

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Limit Team Travel.

Beyond the PM travel, look for ways to limit team travel as well. If the plan calls for onsite quarterly meetings with the customer re-think that. Does the customer care if you do it with a video call, thus saving thousands and adding to the profitability of the project? I realize that some travel can’t be avoided and the customer will need it to maintain a level of confidence and overall happiness in most cases. But it can be kept in check – I’ve worked too many projects where it seemed we were traveling way too often and making the rest of our “productive time” and effort on the project suffer when we could be effectively delivering on the next phase instead of wasting important dollars on what has already been accomplished by traveling just to review it.


Manage The Project Scope.

Scope management may be the best overall way to help ensure project profitability. Too many projects go by with extra work added without the necessary change orders in place to cover the work, add the necessary revenue for that work and keep the profitability of the project in place. Those change orders can add nicely to the project profits – I once added $100k in revenue with a high profit margin by selling the need for an onsite business analyst to the project client. The customer loved it, project revenue skyrocketed and profitability took a nice jump as well. Look for ways to do things like this when managing scope.

Tighten Resource Management And Forecasting.

Making your team aware, watching scope, limiting travel, etc. are all great ideas. But the real profitability boost comes from you – the project manager – effectively, efficiently and relentlessly forecasting resources accurately throughout the project engagement. Don’t just come up with a resource forecast and let it sit. Revisit it weekly. Maybe you no longer need an expensive business analyst during weeks 32 and 33 on the the project. Discuss removing the resource from the project for those 80 hours – thus possibly saving the project as much as $12,000 during that downtime for the resource. If you are working on a time and materials basis with the client it may not help revenue and profitability much. But if you are charging more on a fixed price or deliverable basis, your profits could increase dramatically

Summary/Call For Input

You’re the project manager. No one else can keep costs on track and profitability high like you can. Never just phone it in when managing anything that affects the project $$ bottom line. Even one hour a week spent analyzing project financials and re-forecasting the project financials and resource usage can reap huge dividends in the long run in terms of profitability on the project.

Readers – what are your thoughts? Do you agree with this list? What are your secrets and tricks for keeping project revenue and profitability in check and adding to it throughout the project? What frustrates you the most with revenue planning and profitability on the projects you manage?

5 Reasons Why You Should Choose Proggio as Your Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solution

With plenty of misleading “Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solutions” out in the market today, it is important to know how to choose the right one for your organization. Despite understanding how the software functions, you will also need to ask yourself which approach to your project portfolio management (PPM) do you want to take? Do you want to aim to complete your projects and mark them done, or do you want to build your portfolio based on your company goals, and focus on strategy-to-execution technique?

In this article, we will give 5 major reasons why Project Management Office (PMO) leaders choose Proggio as their enterprise PPM solution to help them plan, execute, and deliver their project portfolio successfully, and why you should too.

Reason #1: Ultimate project portfolio visibility

Finally view and understand the progress status of your entire project portfolio in a snapshot. Each row is a project, and next to each one is the auto-generated Project Health Indicator displaying the progress of the project, helping you take immediate actions in order to keep everything on track.

Proggio’s revolutionary patent-based solution was built to provide a high-level perspective of the project portfolio in a quick snapshot, no matter if it’s tens or hundreds of projects in their portfolio:

When you have clear visibility of your project portfolio, you can track, monitor, and manage it better by staying focused on what matters, and thereby bring value to the company, running your project portfolio from strategy to execution.

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Reason 2: “Unlimited Users” on all plans

Proggio recently shifted its pricing model to grant unlimited user access for all new plans:

  • Single source of truth (SSOT) — Gaining unlimited users is a unique element that is not offered in any other PPM solution and is meant to support getting everyone in your organization onboard Proggio as your single source of truth, seamlessly.
  • Company-wide user adoption can oftentimes cause friction, but Proggio makes adoption feel second-nature with their customized and personalized tools and views that support the goals of every role.
  • Buy-in with other stakeholders is easy. Within a matter of weeks, you can have the entire organization onboarded and contributing to the project portfolio data set. In other words, all of the data regarding your project portfolio will be accessible and shared within one platform, saving you valuable time and grants you a good night’s sleep.
  • External teams and vendors are included so that their data does not get siloed, as well.

 Reason #3: Automatic alerts and notifications in real-time

With Proggio’s auto-generated Project Health Indicator, Alerts, and Notifications everyone will always be able to make the right choices at the right time.

Proggio auto-generates alerts and notifications when changes and updates take place in your project portfolio that enables you to remain focused on the important matters at the right time. Here are some examples:

  • Auto-generated Project Health Indicator displaying within your project portfolio view gives you the ability to instantly know where your attention is needed. With one click on a project that seems to indicate “poor health,” a split-screen will appear below displaying the detailed activities on the collaborative timeline.
  • Delayed activities indicators will identify issues to be dealt with in order to stay on time.
  • Push notifications to all relevant stakeholders whenever there is an update or urgent matter, keeping you always well informed for decisive decisions.
  • In-app messaging –If there is a bottleneck, finding the issues and dependencies are a click away, and you are able to send an in-app message, which will also send an email, to the relevant stakeholder to learn more. No need to waste time writing an email trying to describe the problem once you figure out who is responsible.

Reason #4: Proggio enables you to align your PPM strategic goals with your operational goals

When you have clarity and transparency of your project portfolio, it is inevitable that you will have better control, focus, and a higher chance of alignment of your PPM strategic goals with your operational goals. In addition, you heighten your ability to align your project portfolio towards your desired ROI. In Proggio, it is easy to duplicate your successful project portfolio and you can scale your successful actions every time:

Reason #5: Enable Project Lifecycle Management in one platform

Build your project’s lifecycle from inception to completion in one platform.

Proggio understands that to get a product complete, it takes more than just execution–the steps that come before and after.

  • Lifecycle built mechanism– define your own lifecycle steps where each step can involve different roles and approval steps in order to get the project from inception to completion in one platform.


In conclusion, Proggio is the ultimate enterprise project portfolio management solution that provides project portfolio clarity in an instant. Proggio serves as a cloud single source of truth and makes it easy to stay in control and align your entire organization towards your strategic goals.

Start your free trial with unlimited users at or schedule a quick demo with their solutions manager.

5 Reasons why you should use Portfoleon to manage your project portfolio

In my next installment of this “5 Reasons Why…” series on project management related software and services, I want to consider 5 reasons why you should consider Portfoleon to manage your projects and portfolio of projects. I personally had not heard of Portfoleon before, but was delightfully overwhelmed with the power and visibility this tool gives to the project leaders when presenting projects for planning and alignment with organizational goals. The key to getting buy-in from senior management is to demonstrate feasibility, efficiency, and relevance of your plans with these projects and how they align to the strategic company goals. Portfoleon does just that. Let’s consider…

Get a bird’s eye view of the project portfolio

In managing your project portfolio Portfoleon puts emphasis on visualization. Make every conversation you have with your stakeholders productive by instantly pulling the right data from a single source of truth and visualizing it in a way that enables your team to make decisions.

With Portfoleon’s powerful visualization capabilities you can make kanban boards, strategic timelines, spreadsheets, pivot tables, and charts to highlight different aspects and interact with your portfolio. Planning resource demand and supply in broad strokes will enable you to quickly find and address resource gaps.

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Collaborate and involve

You will get better results and improve buy-in when your stakeholders are actively involved in the portfolio management process. Gone are the days when a manager would work on the project plans on their own.

With Portfoleon you can involve others into the process, test assumptions, prepare plan changes, and finally roll the updated plans out to the whole organization.

With a draft-publish-rollback system, your team members will be able to confidently perform experiments and make changes knowing that they will not interfere with the work of others.

Customize to your specific needs

Define your own corporate terminology and data structure with custom item types, fields, forms, and automation rules.

All the custom items and fields are available everywhere – in the spreadsheets, kanban and timeline cards, pivot tables, integration API, and more.

Integrate into your IT landscape

Portfoleon is made to integrate into your IT landscape – securely and efficiently. Use the single sign-on integration to authenticate your users, use the native integration with Jira, or integrate with anything using the integration API or a no-code Zapier connector.

Get quick wins even with the most difficult portfolio

There are many great software systems out there that provide complex portfolio management capabilities, but ask you to go through a long preparation process before you can get started. Often the maintenance effort or barriers to entry become too high and the teams choose to proceed with the old ways.

Portfoleon is designed to help you to start small. With as little as a just list of projects names and two key dates Portfoleon can already provide you with a lot of value. Add more data points gradually to improve your portfolio management system. With every small step involve more stakeholders, have more productive conversations, and get a better outcome.

Start now

Make your project portfolio planning simple, visual, and lightweight in Portfoleon. Get started now with their free plan.