The Project Manager Blog

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5 Tips for Improving Your Project Schedule

You have a project schedule, right? It’s probably the most important document for a project manager, whether you have plotted it with sticky notes on flip chart paper or used sophisticated project management software to produce it. It is the document that the whole team uses to work out what they are supposed to do by when. It’s the document your project sponsor will use to understand the project work, and you will use it too for project reporting and monitoring status. In fact, without a project schedule, you could say that you don’t have a project! However, a project schedule is mor...
115

5 Steps for Dealing With Project Disaster

When I went into the office on Tuesday there was a hush amongst the project team. The atmosphere seemed slightly unreal. Then one of my team members cleared his throat and said, “We need to have a quick chat about something.” Overnight, the team had uncovered a major problem on our project and they thought that the project was over. They couldn’t see a way round it – but there’s nearly always a way out of a problem if you use a methodical approach to handle project disasters. Here’s a simple 5 step method that you can use (and we do too) to deal with major issues. Step #1: What...
34

How To Manage Resource Shortage

Watch this short video to see  learn about the challenges of resource shortage and what you can do to overcome a lack of resources on  a project. ...
124

5 Key Project Management Processes

“Do you know the process for booking train tickets?” a new colleague asked me recently. She needed to travel to another office and was planning to use public transport. We have a travel agent that she could use to make the booking, but she wasn’t sure how to go about it. The process is relatively simple. Call up for a quote, get your manager to approve the travel request, forward the approval to the travel agent and then receive either ‘real’ tickets or e-tickets, depending on what you have ordered and where you are going. You probably have something similar in your own company. ...
58

How to Give an Executive Update

You never know what it is that might set a person off. It might be what they ate for breakfast or the fact they didn’t have a good night’s sleep. One place where you don’t want people to lose it is during an executive update. Russian roulette is a potentially lethal game of chance. A single bullet is loaded into a revolver; the player spins the chamber, holds the gun up to his head and pulls the trigger. The chances of winning (I use that word loosely here) this game are 1 in n, where n is the number of chambers in the gun. So, if there are 6 chambers, you have about a 17% chance of w...
43

What to Learn From A Bad Conference Call

“Cat got your tongue?” is an expression you’ll hear from time to time, when you’ve been rendered speechless. Being speechless may be alright if you’re surprised or scared, but it’s really not something you want to happen on a conference call you are facilitating! I had one of my low points as a project manager while on a conference call. Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you will know this is just one of my low points, and it’s certainly not my lowest. My lowest was when I found out I had been requested to be removed from the client’s project while I sat t...
41

Manage Your Project Celebrations

We’re always encouraged as project managers to celebrate the successful completion of projects, as it gives us a chance to reflect on the great work that was done and relax just a bit. What happens if the party starts too soon? The training went great! It had been a long haul, but we had finally finished a release of long-anticipated, brand new software, and had successfully trained the first set of users. A full day had been set aside, and a top-notch training room with stadium seating, wireless connectivity, and audio that boomed from the ceiling had been procured. Each participant had ...
53

Capturing Lessons Learned

Watch this video to hear from a project management expert about capturing lessons learned. Learn how you can repeat good results and avoid making the same mistakes on the next project. ...
66

5 Ways to Know Your Client Likes You

Remember your first day on a new job? It’s rough. No matter how experienced, seasoned or polished you are, there’s a measure of uncomfortableness when you step into a new building for the first time. You look for your desk or office in a gangly, awkward kind of way and try to act like you’ve been there a million times before. Your actions give you away. You stare at the painting on the wall, or take time to read the posters in the lobby that espouse the company’s cultures and beliefs. You take a left instead of a right on your way to the restroom. You didn’t realize you were in th...
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Why Face-to-Face Project Meetings Are Great

Nobody hated traveling more than me! I tricked myself into thinking I could get just as much done at my desk as I could if I met the client face-to-face about a project. I used all kinds of creative justifications and reasoning to convince myself and my boss that I was better when I stayed put. With all the collaboration apps at my fingertips why would I need to travel? I no longer think that way and here’s why. Early in my career I believed that I could accomplish the same amount of work and be just as effective without having to go anywhere. I figured I could sit at my desk all day and...
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