The Project Manager Blog


How To Keep Project Expenses Down

“The budget is fine,” my project sponsor said. “But could you lose $50k? We’re under some pressure for this year’s figures.” Right. So my budget wasn’t really fine then, was it? Expense tracking is an important part of project management but you have to have a budget to track against and it was essential for this project that I knew exactly what I was authorized to spend. With a request to cut costs, I went back to the drawing board. And this is what I did to take some money out of the project. Stop Meeting In Person You don’t still meet in person, do you? If you want to k...

4 Reasons Why Decision-Making is Slow

Sometimes on a project all you want is a quick decision so you can get things moving again. When an issue needs your project sponsor to make a decision, or a stakeholder has to make the call about a particular piece of functionality, decisions keep the project flowing. Without decisions, your project team ends up sitting around waiting for instructions about what to do next. There are lots of decisions required on a project – everything from which meeting room to book to who needs to see the Gantt chart to approving major scope changes based on the project team’s recommendations. But so...

4 Steps To Control Your Budget

“Hypothetically,” one of my project team said recently, “what if this piece of work was costing more than we originally thought?” I don’t like sentences that start with ‘hypothetically’. They nearly always aren’t hypothetical! And it wasn’t hypothetical in this case either. Once we had got to the truth of the matter, the project task she was working on had been poorly estimated and was likely to cost nearly double what we had originally anticipated. That’s a lot of money. In these situations it isn’t worth looking for someone to blame. What value would it add to go ...

When Should You Release Your Software?

There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to a software release. The application needs to work, documentation needs to be in place, and training needs to be arranged. The following article looks at what can happen when software is released before it’s ready for prime time. Much of the talk on the national stage lately has been about, the troubled website that is to serve as the digital interface for Obamacare. Regardless of your political leanings, the situation is a huge mess. The technical difficulties people are experiencing are endless; users have been unable to sig...

How To Create a Simple Change Request Form

What is one of the first questions you should ask when you start a new position as a project manager in a new company? You should ask  whether or not they have a change control process in place. Why? Because it’s an area that can be a real time and resource sponge in a company and where you can make a big difference early on. The following article will discuss why it’s so important to focus on change control first, and walk you through a very simple change control form that can be implemented within a very short period of time. The web development shop was crazy busy during the time of...

The Quick Guide To Risk Management

Projects face challenging circumstances all the time, and knowing how to deal with potential threats is a key part of the job of a project manager. This is done through the risk management process. Do you need a primer on risk management in a hurry? Then you need our quick guide. Read on… Do It Often Use your Gantt chart software to block out regular slots for risk management. Ideally, you should build in a risk management review at every team meeting, but I know that this can be a bit overwhelming and time consuming at times. If that’s the case for you, make sure that you have a full ri...

5 Ways To Save Time On Your Project

There are some words that project managers have come to dread: “Can you deliver it faster?” Spend enough time as a project manager or with project sponsors and you’ll realize that this question gets asked a lot, and they don’t always want you to answer honestly! Normally, the expected answer is, “Yes,” or at least, “I’ll see what I can do.” At this point, the project manager is expected to go away and analyze what can be done differently to get through the project more quickly. So where do you start? Here are 5 ways to save time on your project, so start here and see wheth...

10 Communication Mistakes To Avoid!

There’s a Sender and a Receiver when it comes to communication. Someone conveys a thought or an idea by crafting a sentence or two, or uses a familiar expression that best communicates a thought. The Receiver will then take what they heard and, based upon their experience or bias may interpret it very differently from what was meant. The following is a tongue-in-cheek (sort of) article that shows how twisted our communication can become. I’m a huge fan of The Far Side and Gary Larson. Who isn’t, right?  I came across one of his classic cartoons the other day that caused me to pause a...

5 Criteria For Assigning Tasks

One of the main things that a project manager is responsible for is allocating work to the correct resources. But how do you define who is the ‘correct’ resource for the job? If you give a task to someone who can’t do it you run the risk of it not being completed on time (or at all). If you give the task to someone who thinks it is not their job then they might not even make an effort to do any of the work. And worse, in both those situations, the individuals concerned might not make you aware that they aren’t working on the task until it is far too late in the project. This can cause ...

How To Use Apps To Be More Productive

“There’s an app for that,” as the saying goes, and project management is no exception. There are apps for managing tasks, producing project schedules, managing meetings, keeping reminders, allocating work to your team members, taking notes and dozens more. That doesn’t even include the app versions of software you probably use in the office like the Microsoft Office products or products like Apple’s Keynote and Pages. Many project management software tools also have app versions to allow you to manage your projects on your smartphone or tablet device. And with so many tablets and ...
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