The Project Manager Blog

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How to Win Back a Client’s Trust

Managing projects when you are physically at a client’s site is very different than managing a project from your home office. The following provides three ways to make the most of the dynamics in this environment and achieve results time after time. I received a call the other day from a former colleague who had recently moved on to bigger and better things in a nice vertical move that took him from director to VP. We had worked together on multiple projects, as he ran the product management group at our company and I was the project manager who worked closely with client accounts—so cl...
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How To Troubleshoot Your Project

Identify problems before they start for best project success. But how do you do that effectively? This article explores the five most problem-prone areas. How do you spot a problem on your project? I get asked this a lot, and the only way that I have found to respond is that you have to continually monitor your project status and look out for problems. Sometimes, of course, the problem will jump out at you and you’ll easily be able to see it. Other times, you’ll have to uncover the issue yourself – and it is best to do this if you can because it lets you do something about it before t...
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5 Steps to Document a Process

There are many times where we need to document a process, either for our own management purposes or as part of the project strategy for clients or end users. This is easier said than done, particularly when you need to rely on subject matter experts to help understand the process itself! The following article provides 5 steps to help make sure you are documenting effectively. Default settings are all around us - in our phones, computer monitors, and computer applications - and are the automatically assigned values that don’t require any user intervention. In essence, a default setting id...
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6 Tips to Develop Your Team’s Skills

Being a successful manager means getting the best possible work from your team. This often means enabling your team members to be successful in their given fields. In this article, we explore different ways you can support your team and offer skill-building opportunities for your team members. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to choose the best people for the project? According to project management standards and methods, this is how project managers should be working. But often I hear my colleagues say things like, “If only I could have picked the resources for my team. I wouldn’t have...
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5 Ways to Check Your Project’s Health

Even if your project feels like things are going well it is still worth taking time for periodic assessments to ensure that everything is proceeding as planned. In this article we explore 5 simple health checks that you can carry out on your project today. How do you know if your project is in full health or about to fail? I’ve worked on projects that trot along and feel full of beans and also those where the team members drag themselves into work each day. A project health check is a review that helps you establish where your project is getting sick and where you should be focusin...
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How to Prevent Project Silos

A large part of the value you bring to the table as a project manager is how connected you are to others both inside and outside your company. The following article discusses how you can leverage your role to maintain communication across your team and organization and prevent your project from being another silo in your organization. Do you remember playing Monkey in the Middle as a kid? It is a pretty simple game with very few rules. One person stands in the middle while two others throw an object back and forth, just out of his reach. If the monkey in the middle catches it, they trade p...
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The Pros and Cons of Bundling Deliverables

Projects can get off track despite the best of intentions. Bundling deliverables for a client can be a terrific way to streamline work and costs, but if one deliverable gets off track, the others suffer. The following experience exemplifies just how easily this can happen and some tactics you can use to keep all deliverables, and client expectations, on track. Bundling is all the rage. Cable companies offer bundled packages that combine not only your cable, but telephone and internet service as well. You’re probably going to end up with a bundled package of burger, fries, and drink the ne...
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The Definitive Guide to Project Work Breakdown Structures

The work breakdown structure (WBS) is a diagram that is used to break the project activity down into manageable chunks. It starts at the project level and is broken down into more and more detail so that you end up with all your deliverables defined and accounted for. The WBS helps you plan. Once you know what the deliverables are at every level you can plan the work to achieve them. A WBS is the ultimate project task list: structured, organized and detailing everything you need to achieve to get the project done. It can also be a major headache to put together if you don’t know where ...
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How to Turn a Problem into a Plan

Even when you've planned every part of your project perfectly, the occasional problem arises. In this article, learn how to get ahead of the problem, get creative and find solutions, and develop a plan of action. Last week I had a project manager in my office. I am his project sponsor and I was expecting to hear great things about the project he was working on for me. After all, it’s an exciting initiative and he seemed really keen to take the work on. However, I had never seen him look so pale. “I’m afraid it’s bad news,” he said. Then he stopped. Way to leave me hanging! I h...
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How to Turn a Complaint into a Solution

Nobody likes to hear that something they worked so hard on doesn’t work. Being that person who delivers the bad news is not fun, but, many times that’s what we have to do when managing software projects. Since working with a development team on problematic software releases requires skill and diplomacy, the following article provides some guidelines for making that interaction positive and productive. Software projects are my most favorite type of project to manage. It’s fun to orchestrate multiple moving parts and people, and there’s always a feeling of accomplishment when the pl...
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