The Project Manager Blog

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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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5 Things To Look For In A New Role

We’ve been looking for a new car recently and (in true project management style) have drawn up a checklist of features that we need. It has helped streamline the process because it’s easy to rule out cars that don’t fit what we are looking for. Checklists are great in loads of situations and I started to think about other times that I have applied a set of criteria to help me narrow down lots of options to just a few. The last time I probably did that with any proper sense of organization, outside of managing requirements on projects, was when I took a new job. Moving to a new proj...
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What Information Do You Need To Run Your Project?

Whether you are running a small project by yourself or a multi-million dollar initiative with a team of 100, there are some basic bits of information that you need in order to be able to properly monitor and control your project. If you spend most of your time surrounded by detailed task lists, requirements documents and stakeholder engagement matrices it might surprise you to know that you can get away without those. Of course, they are important to the successful running of your project, but if I had to prioritize 5 things that are critical to being able to monitor my project’s progress, t...
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5 Risk Management Mistakes To Avoid

I’ve been mentoring a junior project manager and we were reviewing the risks on his project last week. We went through all the risks on the log and we talked about good practice and what he should be actively doing to manage the risks. Then he asked me a question. “What mistakes should I be looking out for?” he said. I thought this was a great question. Too often we focus on what we should be doing and forget about what we should avoid doing! That’s when mistakes creep in as we haven’t been focused on stopping them from happening. So here is my list of 5 mistakes to avoid when you ar...
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5 Essential Project Management Reports

“I’ve done the project report,” said one of my project team members the other day. “Do you want to take a look?” The first question I had was what sort of project report was it? I didn’t need to read a detailed quality report, for example, although I know she had been working on a project quality audit with her team. As a project manager, I produce some reports for various audiences and for various reasons, but mainly I ask my project team members to produce reports themselves. It’s good to delegate! Some of these are critical and I want to know what’s in them, but given tha...
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Avoid These 5 Meeting Mistakes

Yesterday I had meetings all day. And I mean all day. It wasn’t supposed to be like that, but because some took longer than planned one ran into the other and I found myself rushing between meeting rooms trying to catch up some time, which of course I couldn’t. The disadvantage of having meetings all day, I’ve found, is that you don’t actually have any time to do any real work! You take away a list of actions from each meeting but you can’t fit in managing to do any of them because you are so busy attending the next meeting and picking up yet more actions to do at some point in th...
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