The Project Manager Blog

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5 Steps For Disbanding Your Project Team

“It’s the end of an era,” one of my colleagues said to me recently. She was talking about her children growing up and moving out – the youngest had just packed up his belongings and moved into a shared house with some friends. Her home felt empty, and her ‘team’ had all now started the next phase in their lives. This is a lot like how it can feel on projects, especially long ones where it can start to feel as if your project team are the people you have worked with forever. But projects have to come to an end and some day yours will too, regardless of how long it has been going ...
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5 Reasons Why Projects Fail

“I’ve never worked on a project that failed,” someone said to me – a long time ago, admittedly, but I remember the conversation vividly. I remember it because I think they were lying. Either that, or it was the first project they had worked on and they hadn’t got much experience! It might make me seem a bit uncharitable to assume that this person was lying, but with surveys showing that up to half of all projects fail it seems astounding to find someone who has never spent any time working on a project that didn’t meet its original goals, didn’t overspend, didn’t miss any qu...
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Coming to grips with project dashboards

Nothing will improve your project results like keeping on top of all your metrics in real time. Using a dashboard is the best way to spot problems early, and it should be the first place you look to see whether your project is on track. No matter what project management software you use, dashboards and graphical reports should be a part of it. These give you a number of options for viewing the charts that give you a visual summary of information about your project. When you know your way around your tool it’s easy to find out what you need to know to keep your projects on track. Choosing...
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Top 5 Ways To Keep Your Budget On Track

Project management is all about tasks and people, right? Well, yes it is. But it is also about being able to effectively manage money. Many project managers, especially new ones who haven’t been responsible for a budget before, find this a scary thought! It doesn’t have to be. We manage household budgets outside of work, and keeping your project budget on track is pretty much the same! You start by working out what you have to spend, then review it regularly and manage it closely so that you always know how much you have and how much is left to spend. Just like at home. Here are 5 steps...
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#IPM Day: What’s happening near you?

It’s the 10th anniversary of International Project Management Day and this year looks like it’s going to be the biggest yet. It’s celebrated on the first Thursday of November. From Austin to Zimbabwe there are events happening all round the world, so there is bound to be a celebration near you. What’s it all about? We’ve got Mothers’ Day, Teachers’ Day and Secretaries’ Day, so why not a day of recognition and thanks for project managers? International Project Management Day is an annual celebration of project managers and the opportunity to recognize everything that project m...
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4 Steps To Convincing Presentations

I’m lucky in my project management career in that I’ve had to do so many presentations over the years that I’m no longer worried by having to stand in front of a group of colleagues or strangers and talk. But I know (and research shows) that public speaking is not top of most people’s list of fun things to do with their time! Many project managers are fearful of public speaking and having to put together a presentation. It can be a scary thought, but it doesn’t have to be. You can put together a good presentation and practice it to the point where you feel confident about standing...
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4 Flexible Working Options

I saw an advert for a laptop the other day and it was illustrated by a person using the device on a beach. It looked great – plenty of sunshine, soft warm waves, the gentle shade of a palm tree and waiters on tap to bring cocktails. If only I had the flexibility to work from the beach, I thought. Then I realized that I did have, I just wasn’t using it. OK, my local beach doesn’t look anything like that ad and it’s not the kind of place that I would want to spend 8 hours a day. And cocktails and project work probably don’t mix that well. But there are other options for working flex...
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What Your Project Sponsor Needs To Know

Not all project sponsors have loads of experience, and some project managers find themselves working with project sponsors who have never sponsored a project before. This can be a tricky situation for the project manager: you want to educate your sponsor and tell them what their role should be and how they can help, but at the same time you need to respect their senior position in the organization and act accordingly! However much experience your project sponsor has, there are some things that they need to know about every project. When you first meet your project sponsor, which should be a...
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6 Ways To Train Project Stakeholders

“It’s a great product,” said a colleague recently, “but the users don’t know how to use it.” He looked despondent. “Whose fault is that?” I asked. “The managers,” he replied. “They haven’t bothered to show the staff.” Actually, I thought it was the project team’s fault and I suggested this to him. He looked surprised but I said that if his project plan had included training then it could have been delivered, monitored, and checked to see if the users had learned what they needed to all before the project was signed off as complete. He agreed that including traini...
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What Resources Does Your Project Need?

Projects need more than just you at the helm to get done. A good project manager is the starting point but you need to equip yourself with the tools of the job to be able to deliver on the objectives of the project. There are three types of resources that projects need to progress: people, assets and money. Let’s look at each of those in turn. People You can’t do a project without involving other people. Managing a team can often be the most stressful part of managing a project. After all, the actual deliverables are pretty easy to achieve – it’s the people and the office politics th...
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