The Project Manager Blog

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Using online tools to connect project teams

This is a guest post by Elizabeth Harrin. Connecting the world through project management was the theme of this year’s International Project Management Day last week and that was evident in Budapest. The PMI Hungary Chapter hosted international speakers and delegates at their second annual conference in the country’s capital city. Project management is growing in the Central European region, and Hungary is no exception. The people I met at the conference were excited about what opportunities project management can offer them, especially on the global stage. Many of them worked in sha...
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5 Tips For Managing Project Dependencies

Once upon a time, when I first started managing projects, I didn’t realize the impact that task dependencies had on the project and my team. I didn’t monitor them appropriately, and as a result when one task finished, the next group of people wasn’t ready to pick it up and do their actions. In my mind, this was the logical consequence of completing the first task, but I hadn’t made this clear to the next team and I certainly hadn’t let them know when the work was going to be coming their way. You can guess what happened – the whole project delivered late, and it wasn’t a great...
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5 Ways To Connect With Your Virtual Team

It used to be that virtual teams were defined by where the team members were based. If your team was split over several locations, then that was, by definition, a virtual team. However, today the boundaries of what makes a team virtual are a bit more blurred. Being virtual is also defined by how we choose to work. If your team does most of its communication via an online project management tool, using discussion forums or even via email, then you work in a virtual way – despite the fact that your colleagues may sit at the desks next to you. There are plenty of benefits to virtual worki...
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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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