The Project Manager Blog

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Why Project Managers Need Teams

“Who have I got on the project team?” I asked my project sponsor. She looked at me blankly. “I haven’t thought about it,” she said. “Can’t you manage by yourself?” This was one of my very first projects and I’ve had a great deal more experience at managing project sponsors since then! But even in the early days of my career I had never expected to manage a project by myself. Projects are all about teams, aren’t they? And I had expected to have one of my own, even on this small project. We discussed my expertise and what was required by the project. During the conversa...
75

What Does Project Success Mean To You?

“I’m keen for this project to be a success,” said a politician I heard during an interview on the radio. I thought that was a strange way to put it. Aren’t we all desperately seeking success? “Keen” simply doesn’t seem to cut it – I want my project managers and project teams to be actively seeking success, committed to it, wanting success so badly that they’ll put the required effort into their projects. While I don’t want them to burn out, I don’t want them to be just a bit keen either. When I talk to project managers about success I get lots of different responses. I...
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7 Tips For Managing Teams

It would be lovely to think that all project teams work together in harmony, striving for a common goal, but in reality that isn’t the case. People come to work with a variety of different motivations and because of their prior experiences they all see and interpret situations slightly differently. That’s fine, and it makes working with people so much more interesting! Wouldn’t it be boring if we all had exactly the same approach to life? But it can create problems for project teams, especially when there are disagreements. Here are 7 tips for managing team issues on your project. 1....
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7 Software Tips For Great Collaboration

The best teams are the ones that work together effectively and collaborate without it seeming like a chore. Collaboration apps can be a big help in making that possible, because it gives people the tools they need to get their work done, both as individuals and as a team. However, if you don’t use your software effectively you can miss out on some great features. It really pays to make sure you know how to use your project management software so that you can get the best out of it. Here are 7 tips for using your software to promote great collaboration in your project team. 1. Use Online ...
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Protect Your Project Against Scope Creep

Recently I was peer reviewing another project manager’s project and I noticed that the requirements document hadn’t been signed off. “When are you expecting to get the requirements approved?” I asked her. “Oh, we’re just updating them as we go along,” she replied. “The customer doesn’t really know what he wants so we’re being flexible.” This set off alarm bells with me. There’s a difference between being flexible and creating problems for yourself and the team. There has to be a point on the project where you baseline what’s required and start building it. Of...
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4 Ways To Prepare For Your End of Year Review

The end of the year comes round faster than you’d expect, and soon it will be time for your line manager to be booking a meeting with you for an end of year review. This looks at your achievements throughout the year as well as your contribution to the team overall and can also include some forward-looking elements like preparing for the coming year. Companies use end of year reviews for different things. In some places they are just a way to mark your progress and ensure continuous professional development. In other places they are linked to salary rises or bonuses, or eligibility for ce...
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How To Use A Project Management Dashboard

What’s on the horizon? That’s what every project manager wants to know. We can sometimes get so caught up in managing the project day-to-day that it’s hard to see the bigger picture. Sorting out Beth’s latest development problem or reviewing Bruce’s project requirements seems more urgent than planning for the next quarter. When people are waiting on us for a decision it’s important to be there for them, not stuck in an office pouring over figures and trying to predict the future. Dashboards take some of the worry out of this situation. They speed up the ‘pouring over the figur...
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How To Create A Great Change Control Board

“That was easy,” one of the members of my change control board said to me, once we had finished reviewing the changes on my latest project. “I was expecting it to be really difficult to assess and prioritize those new requirements.” Change doesn’t have to be difficult to manage, and having a great change control board is one of the major factors in making it more straightforward. I’m lucky in that I’ve set up these before and have learned from my mistakes! A change control board (or CCB, or change board) is a group of people who make decisions about changes on the project. ...
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How To Give Feedback About Your Team

It’s a positive and a negative, when you think about it. What am I talking about? The fact that your project team members probably don’t report directly to you. The positive is that you can focus on the project without being distracted by day-to-day line management but you don’t have so much control over their availability or workload. One of the other considerations when your team doesn’t work directly for you is that you aren’t responsible for their end of year or other performance reviews. But you will probably be asked for feedback or input to their reviews. After all, you spe...
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How To Engage Your Project Sponsor

One of the big milestones for any project manager is that first meeting with a new project sponsor. You want to give a good impression, be professional and reassuring about your ability to manage the project successfully. But there is also normally a bit of wariness on both sides. You don’t know each other yet, so you don’t know each other’s working style and how to get the best out of the relationship. You can help make a good start to your relationship and the project by covering these important points during your first meeting. They will ensure that you begin working together in an...
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