The Project Manager Blog

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Why Asking Questions Helps Your Project

I take personal pride in creating emails, documents, plans, and other collateral that is thoughtful, comprehensive, and complete. That, to me, is part of the value of a project manager. When everybody else is heads down on requirements-gathering, building, testing, and deploying the project, we can help keep the team focused on both the big and small pictures. Thinking through as much detail as possible reduces the amount of questions that are asked. I go to great lengths to make sure I uncover as many what-ifs, why-nots, why-don’t-wes, and have-you-thought-of scenarios as possible. My go...
77

Why Choose Project Management?

Project management is one of the most challenging professions to choose. If your considering this career choice here's some advice from a PM expert who offers five reasons why you should get into project management. ...
123

How To Manage A Difficult Colleague

Three of us were hired by the company at the same time. The company was growing quickly and had an urgent need for project managers to come on board and bring some structure to the chaos. It was exciting to be a part of it, and each one of us rose to the challenge of wrestling our projects to the ground and getting things done. We would get there early and talk about process. We would go to lunch and compare notes. We would stay late and plan out the next day. Each brought his own unique strengths to the table. Steve was great at managing software projects. Terry knew the ins and outs of ha...
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What To Include In Your Project Training Plan

Project managers naturally gravitate toward what they know the most about when they put a project plan together. Sure, we get all the input necessary from department heads and resources that are actually doing the work, but we do reserve an affinity for those areas that we may have personally worked in previously. For example, if you are a software programmer with a development background, you naturally will spend more time building out that portion of the plan. You’ll start with what the resources give you and then fill in the gaps. If business analysis is your background, chances are that ...
34

How To Manage Your Project Sponsor

Every project has a project sponsor, so every project manager has to work with a sponsor. Sponsors can be a huge asset to a project or, if we’re honest, a bit of a waste of space. If you ask around, you are bound to find a project manager who has worked with a sponsor who doesn’t seem that interested in the project and who doesn’t turn up to meetings. It doesn’t have to be like that. The project manager and sponsor relationship can be very successful, but it all starts with ensuring that you sit down with them at the beginning of the project. Use this time to discuss how you want th...
47

How To Manage Task Dependencies

What are those thin lines between tasks on your project schedule? They are dependencies – links between tasks showing the relationships between the activities. Think of them as helping you work out which order you need to complete your tasks in, a bit like turning your task list into a flow diagram. Dependencies are normally marked on your project schedule by thin black lines that end with a small arrowhead so you can see the direction of the line. On complicated projects with many dependencies, these lines can criss-cross all over the place and make the Gantt chart very difficult to read...
65

Getting Project Stakeholders on Side

Our project management expert shares lessons from her experience working with multiple stakeholders. Watch this video to learn about getting project stakeholders on side, after all they are the owners of the project. ...
69

How To Manage Small Project Changes

“Can’t we just add this in?” one of my project team members said to me the other day. “It will take longer to go through the change process than it will to do the work.” He had a fair point. The change management process on our multi-million dollar project was designed for big changes. We used enterprise project management software to manage changes that take weeks to implement and that involve significant cost and schedule revisions. Not changes that are 10 minutes of work and that we could probably include in less time than it takes to go through a full change analysis. The t...
63

How To Give Feedback to Your Team

“So, how am I doing?” I overheard one of my team members say to their team leader. “Erm, fine,” was the response. The team member looked a bit disappointed. I think she had expected to receive more detail about how she was performing and any areas that she could improve on. While it’s awkward to be put on the spot, the team leader could have suggested that they meet later that day or at another convenient time to discuss her contribution to the project and the work that she was doing. Giving feedback, both positive in the form of praise and negative (which is better if you call it...
139

How To Escalate Project Issues

“I’ve found a little problem,” said one of my project team members the other day. “Can I take you through it?” As it turned out, it wasn’t a little problem at all. It was a big issue with the product design and even though we spent a long time working out how to solve it, we couldn’t come up with an action plan that didn’t involve more time, more money or a dip in project quality. So it wasn’t something I felt comfortable with taking the decision on – it’s my role on a project to implement the sponsor’s wishes, not to approve a budget overspend. The issue needed to be e...
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