The Project Manager Blog

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One Trick to Make Your Project Management Job Easier

It’s easy to become overcome by events the longer we are with a company. Years may pass and we are not quite where we thought we would be, or it gets harder and harder to get things done. Do you know what can help? A change in attitude. Read on to find out one simple mental switch that can make all the difference in the world and reignite your level of productivity and effectiveness. I am surprised by how many times I have to have the you’re-not-the-victim-here conversation with peers, colleagues, and resources assigned to my project But then again, the longer someone is at the company,...
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Conflict Management Tips For Projects

Whether the project sponsor is complaining that they don’t understand the Gantt chart, or a team member refuses to work with another specialist on a shared task, projects are full of situations that give rise to conflict. It can be anything from a low-level issue that is bothering someone to a full-scale battle of wills over a critical project requirement. And – guess what? – it’s the project manager’s job to sort out conflicts on the team! Conflict management can be hard work, but there are some things that you can do to make it easier. The most important piece of advice is to ta...
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3 Types Of Estimating

I was looking at some project reports the other day and I wondered how the project managers had come up with the figures for their projects. In one case, the estimates for the project budget looked huge, so I rang up the project manager and asked him how he had calculated how much the project would cost. “We just made it up,” he said. In other words, the project team had no idea so they had guessed. Luckily this project was in the very early stages and it wasn’t too late to review the figures. Because guessing is not the best way to work out how much your project will cost! Hopeful...
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Project Communications On A Budget

Project communications is really important: there’s a section in the A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)—Fifth Edition that focuses on stakeholder management and communication is a big part of making sure that stakeholders know what is going on. I know from personal experience that it’s important to get project communications right: too little communication and people worry that they don’t know what is going on or they fail to understand the project objectives. It’s hard to do too much communication, but it can feel like communication is all you do ...
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How To Make Your Team Miss You

There was a time when people would stay their entire career at just one company. Those days are, for the most part, gone.  It’s not unusual for people to put in five to seven years at one place and then move on to scheduling projects somewhere else. The downside of this trend is that there is more pressure for a project manager to retain their value.  The following article discusses what you should be doing NOW to make sure you’ll be sorely missed when you move on to your next opportunity. A number of years ago, back when leasing vehicles was all the rage, I made one of the worst auto...
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5 Types Of Project Objectives

What is your project trying to achieve? There’s normally one main objective or reason for working on the category, but did you know that it could fit into any one of 5 categories? Project objectives can be wide-ranging and can address a number of business issues. The 5 types of objectives that you’ll most likely find on your project are financial, business, project performance, compliance and quality. That might sound complicated but it really isn’t! Let me explain. 1. Financial Objectives Tracking project expenses becomes even more important when you have financial targets to hit as p...
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4 Steps To Reducing Project Costs

My project sponsor turned up at my desk the other day. This was unusual – normally I have to make an appointment to see her, as she’s very busy in a senior role and isn’t as hands on as other project sponsors that I have worked with. I looked up from my screen. “I’ve just come from the budget meeting,” she said. “And we need to cut 20% from the project budget.” “OK.” I tried not to look shocked. Where was I going to make a 20% saving from? “That’s not a problem, is it?” she said. Well, it depends – it’s a problem for someone! Cutting money out of your ...
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5 Benefits Of Online Learning

“Can I do this training course?” one of my team asked me last week. I love it when people bring me ideas for their training. It means that they have identified a learning requirement, done the research about what is available and have thought through why they want to do the course. It also shows that they are ambitious and want to progress and continually learn new things. It is much harder to encourage project team members to do training when they haven’t worked out themselves what they would like or need to do! So of course once we had talked about it and she had explained why she f...
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3 Tools Every Project Manager Should Have

I’m often asked what the single biggest thing is that helps me manage projects effectively. Is it good communication? Or a slick issue management process? A budget spreadsheet? Or a particular credential? In fact, I can pinpoint 3 tools that I use daily on my projects. The details have changed as I have got more experienced over time, but the headlines have stayed the same. The 3 things that I think I need to be a great project manager are software, templates and a methodology. Let me explain what I mean. 1. Software There is a lot of project management software available now, far more tha...
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When Should You Leave Your Job?

I was reading the other day about how many people have started their own businesses or changed sector as a result of layoffs or ‘downsizing’ at their companies. While some of the stories were of people who were let go and had no choice but to change jobs, other people were talking about using this opportunity to actively look for a new role and to make a shift that they might not have been brave enough to do at any other time. It got me thinking: when is the best time to leave your role as a project manager and find a new position? Here are several scenarios that I came up with. I think...
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