The Project Manager Blog

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5 Reasons Why Processes Go Wrong

“Why didn’t the risk management process work?” one of my team members said to me the other day. “We should have picked this up ages ago.” He had a point – the risk management process should have identified the risk that was facing his project tasks, but it hadn’t. And unfortunately, that’s a relatively common situation when it comes to project management processes. They don’t always work as you would expect! Simply having processes doesn’t guarantee that your project will be a success. The processes have to work smoothly and deliver the outcomes that you are expecting...
63

4 Problems With Project Requirements

Projects are made up of lots of things, and one of those is requirements. Without requirements, what are you actually delivering? At the beginning of the project team members work together to define the requirements and this should be done in enough detail to make sure that everyone knows what is needed. You can use diagrams, photographs, documents, video and more to capture the specification of each requirement exactly. This doesn’t sound that hard. After all, you’re working on the same project and it’s pretty clear what the objectives are. Have you ever sat in a requirements worksho...
41

Are You a Non-Essential Project Manager?

There’s been a lot of talk recently about what is considered essential and non-essential during a government shutdown in the US. It begs the question: would you be considered a non-essential project manager in a company shutdown? The following will discuss some of the ways you could fall into that category and some things you can do about it. The recent shutdown of the US Government has been an interesting spectacle to observe. Certain government workers were deemed non-essential and sent home on furlough; in total, reports indicated that around 17% of the government was closed. Now, I d...
68

How to Keep Your Project On Track

Getting my coffee the other day I was struck by what a slick operation the baristas had. It took just a few minutes from taking my order to it being placed in front of me. And that involved three people – the cashier, the barista and another assistant who got my croissant as well. There was also a manager on the floor, overseeing everything and making sure that the coffee and food didn’t run out. They showed excellent teamwork and a commitment to delivering what was asked for in a reasonable time. At no point did I feel that this particular task was going off track, even when I changed ...
38

4 Tips For Leading Projects

How do you manage your projects? Do you need to be around your team 24/7 to make sure things are getting done? If so, there could be a problem with your management style. The following article highlights the danger of being so tightly coupled with your projects and some things you can do to become more effective. Some very strong personalities in recent history have led their followers to do anything on their behalf.  The term ‘cult of personality’ often surfaces regarding such personalities when many people under their leadership have found it hard to resist even the poorest decision...
21

What Changes When Your Friend Becomes Your Boss?

Friendships come and go in our professional environments. People move on from one company to the next, transfer to a different state or location, or we may just lose touch with them. There is a time, however, when a friendship may be strained to the moment one of two friends receives a promotion. What does that dynamic look like, and how can you make the most that change? Ah, those were the good old days, when you had an empathetic friend at work. You enjoyed heading into the office in the morning and chatting about the television shows you watched the night before. You talked about your pl...
122

How To Deal With Difficult People

Do you ever feel like banging your head against the wall when it comes to working with a particular person on your team? They seem to block every step you take and you don’t even enjoy being in the same room with them. There may be a reason why and it’s up to you to uncover that reason…and fix things. I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. But, I do know this…some germs are more resistant to drugs and antibiotics than others. Think about the new strains of flu that seem to come out of nowhere each year. As each fall approaches, we begin to see and hear ads for flu shots about ...
37

How To Implement Time Tracking

Timesheets have come a long way since the days a pterodactyl would chomp Fred Flintstone’s slate time card. It’s up to you as a project manager to make sure the value of your team’s time tracking is not left in the Stone Age. The following provides challenges you may experience when implementing a timesheet solution, and ways to overcome them. Early on in my career I worked at a job where I was paid by the hour. Every morning I would go into the office and head toward the timeclock first, which hung on a wall in the back hallway. Next to it was a rack of timecards, each carefully nes...
137

How To Avoid Project Failure

No one wants to work on a project that fails, but thousands of projects fail to hit their targets and deliver anything of value every year. Working on a failing project is practically a rite of passage for many project managers and executives. I was talking to some senior executives from global firms the other day and the general consensus in the room was that some projects will fail – as long as we learn from them and move on quickly then that’s life. I don’t buy that. Well, I know that projects fail and that sometimes there’s not much that the project manager can do to stop that f...
44

3 Ways to Keep Your Numbers Accurate

Numbers tell project managers a lot. They let us know if we are behind on our project, under budget, or have too many people working on the same thing. But numbers can be tricky. The following article provides some insight into the slippery slope numbers can go down and what you can do to make sure yours are accurate. It’s been said that 50% of all statistics are wrong. I’ll let the irony of that statement settle in for a second… Think about it. How many times have you asked someone about their numbers, whether it's for expense tracking purposes or resource assignments or someth...
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