The Project Manager Blog


How To Create a Simple Change Request Form

What is one of the first questions you should ask when you start a new position as a project manager in a new company? You should ask  whether or not they have a change control process in place. Why? Because it’s an area that can be a real time and resource sponge in a company and where you can make a big difference early on. The following article will discuss why it’s so important to focus on change control first, and walk you through a very simple change control form that can be implemented within a very short period of time. The web development shop was crazy busy during the time of...

The Quick Guide To Risk Management

Projects face challenging circumstances all the time, and knowing how to deal with potential threats is a key part of the job of a project manager. This is done through the risk management process. Do you need a primer on risk management in a hurry? Then you need our quick guide. Read on… Do It Often Use your Gantt chart software to block out regular slots for risk management. Ideally, you should build in a risk management review at every team meeting, but I know that this can be a bit overwhelming and time consuming at times. If that’s the case for you, make sure that you have a full ri...

5 Ways To Save Time On Your Project

There are some words that project managers have come to dread: “Can you deliver it faster?” Spend enough time as a project manager or with project sponsors and you’ll realize that this question gets asked a lot, and they don’t always want you to answer honestly! Normally, the expected answer is, “Yes,” or at least, “I’ll see what I can do.” At this point, the project manager is expected to go away and analyze what can be done differently to get through the project more quickly. So where do you start? Here are 5 ways to save time on your project, so start here and see wheth...

10 Communication Mistakes To Avoid!

There’s a Sender and a Receiver when it comes to communication. Someone conveys a thought or an idea by crafting a sentence or two, or uses a familiar expression that best communicates a thought. The Receiver will then take what they heard and, based upon their experience or bias may interpret it very differently from what was meant. The following is a tongue-in-cheek (sort of) article that shows how twisted our communication can become. I’m a huge fan of The Far Side and Gary Larson. Who isn’t, right?  I came across one of his classic cartoons the other day that caused me to pause a...

5 Criteria For Assigning Tasks

One of the main things that a project manager is responsible for is allocating work to the correct resources. But how do you define who is the ‘correct’ resource for the job? If you give a task to someone who can’t do it you run the risk of it not being completed on time (or at all). If you give the task to someone who thinks it is not their job then they might not even make an effort to do any of the work. And worse, in both those situations, the individuals concerned might not make you aware that they aren’t working on the task until it is far too late in the project. This can cause ...

How To Use Apps To Be More Productive

“There’s an app for that,” as the saying goes, and project management is no exception. There are apps for managing tasks, producing project schedules, managing meetings, keeping reminders, allocating work to your team members, taking notes and dozens more. That doesn’t even include the app versions of software you probably use in the office like the Microsoft Office products or products like Apple’s Keynote and Pages. Many project management software tools also have app versions to allow you to manage your projects on your smartphone or tablet device. And with so many tablets and ...

4 Ways That Your Team Increases Project Risk

Project risk management normally involves getting the team together to review the project and establishing what could go wrong. You’ll have a brainstorming session, and record all the output in your risk log, along with what you are going to do about it – your mitigation plans. Someone will take ownership of managing the risk actions and you’ll come back to the log regularly to update it with progress, close any risks that have passed and add any new ones. But most of this activity looks at project tasks, the budget and other external factors. You might have a risk about a particular ...

How To Manage Your Project Task Lists

I was astounded by someone I met the other day. He told me that he had no need for task lists. None whatsoever. Not online, not on an app, not even in a notebook. “Do you use voice notes recorded on your phone?” I asked him. Nope. He literally didn’t write down anything he needed to do, ever. I couldn’t possibly work that way, and I told him so. How would he know what was important and who he needed to get back to? His answer was that he held the information in his head. What he forgot obviously wasn’t that important and if he didn’t remember to go back to someone they would cha...

How To Benefit From Project Management Training

“I’m going on a training course next week,” one of my colleagues told me recently. “I’m looking forward to it.” “Great,” I replied. “What preparation have you done?” He looked a bit sheepish and admitted to having not done any preparation at all. Preparing for a project management training course isn’t always essential but there are normally some things you can do before, during and after your course to get the most out of it. After all, it’s a big investment for your company (or you, if you are paying yourself), so it really is worth spending some time thinking a...

What to Do When your Meeting is Hijacked

You are going to lose control of your project meetings every now and then. No matter how hard you try, there are forces at work intent on knocking you off your agenda and taking you down an entirely different path. The following article will explore some things you can do to not totally lose control when this happens. My colleague leaned over to me in the meeting and whispered, “You’ve just been Miked.”  I looked at him quizzically, having no idea what he was talking about. He pointed to Mike, the VP of Sales, who was standing in front of the PowerPoint projection on the wall, going...
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