The Project Manager Blog


Help! My Supplier Isn’t Doing Their Part

I’ve been having difficulties with the internet service at home recently, so I rang to see if their customer support team could help. You can guess what happened next – being kept on the line for ages while the agent worked through their script, then being handed off to another team, answering the same security questions again, only to be told they would look into it and someone would call me back. They didn’t. Talking to friends and colleagues, this happens all the time with communications providers, so I don’t know why I was surprised. It was annoying, and the problem still isn’t f...

How To Choose A Training Course

I’ve got the go ahead to sign up for a training course! Hurrah. Training is great as it keeps your skills up-to-date and is also a good way to recharge your batteries outside of the office. You’ll meet new people and hopefully come back to work fully energized and ready to put your new skills into practice. The caveat is that I have to research and find the right training course for me. While it might sound easier for my company’s Human Resources department to simply tell me what course to go on, having the flexibility to select my own training is far better as I can make sure that it...

How To Get Your Project Team To Share Feedback

“How’s your meal?” asked the waiter when my family and I were out for lunch last week. We replied that it was very good, and we ordered some more water for the table. Restaurants often ask their staff to check with diners during a meal – it’s the easiest way to get feedback and it probably increases sales as well as it gives people the opportunity to order extra side dishes or more drinks. While I didn’t think about work too deeply during our lunch it did jog my memory about a conversation I’d had with a colleague a few days before. I had been talking to another project manage...

Easy Ways To Build Your Self-Confidence As A Project Manager

Having a bit of a crisis of confidence? It happens to us all, especially when we start out in our careers. Project management is a very challenging job at times, and it often involves working with people who are a lot more experienced and expert than you are. So it isn’t surprising that sometimes project managers feel as if they don’t know what they are doing and that they don’t have confidence in their own abilities. While you might not be able to help feeling like that, you can do something about it! Here are some easy ways to build your self-confidence as a project manager. Know T...

6 Steps For Building A Work Breakdown Structure

A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a chart representing all the work that needs to be done in order to complete the project. It doesn’t include any details of time or the order of tasks – it’s effectively simply a list of activities in graphical format. If that sounds simple, it is! But it’s also really important for getting clarity about what the project will be delivering and what tasks the team has to manage. Work with your team to prepare the WBS as this should ensure that you don’t leave anything out. Brainstorming together is a good way to come up with everything that needs...

How To Turbo Charge Your Project

I often see projects reported in the press with a delay – the other day there was news about a government healthcare initiative that had been pushed back several months. In my experience, choosing to delay a project doesn’t happen all that often. Projects get delayed and have to launch later than expected due to problems, but I don’t often work with sponsors who voluntarily choose to push back the go live date for their projects! They tend to want things completed faster, not more slowly, and trying to meet these new dates is always a challenge. I can see why there are benefits to deliv...

3 Ways To Measure Progress

How do you know when you are done on your project? If you are painting a bridge it’s pretty easy: you’re done when you get to the other end and the whole bridge has been painted. It’s also easy to see how much progress you have made as you can see how far the painters have got! But on many projects, measuring progress is a lot harder. Do you do it by lines of code produced by the software developers? That’s not ideal as often the fewer lines they write the better and cleaner the final product. So how about by days spent? That’s not ideal either, as the team could be spending a lot of...

7 Ways To Earn PDUs

Your professional development doesn’t stop once you pass the PMP® credential from PMI. Being able to use the letters after your name on an ongoing basis is dependent on you carrying out some professional development activities – and that goes for most of the other PMI credentials as well including PgMP®, PMI-SP®, PMI-RMP®, and PMI-ACPSM. PMI measure professional development in Professional Development Units, which you’ll hear called PDUs. Once you’ve spent all those hours studying for the exam itself it might seem a bit cruel to make you carry on with your learning plans, but ac...

Warning! Avoid These Task List Problems

“Here’s my task list,” said one of my project team last week. She gave me a massive print out which ran to 3 pages. Everything was in the same font, the same size and there was no distinction between tasks. How would she know what was a priority and which order to work on them? When I asked her, she said she had all that detail in her head and it was fine. It may have been fine for her, but for many people that kind of task list would just create inertia: it’s impossible to know where to start when faced with so much to do. And what would have happened if she had got sick and someon...

5 More Habits Of Successful Project Managers

In the past we’ve looked at what successful project managers do to make them successful, and I’ve written about the habits that they have that lead them to make their projects a success. Today I wanted to look at 5 more habits that successful project managers have. I’ve seen these things come up time and time again in performance reviews and annual appraisals and also in post-project reviews when stakeholders are praising project managers for a job well done. That could be you! Regardless of your experience managing projects you can adopt the following habits and improve your chances ...
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