The Project Manager Blog

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4 Steps To Great Quality Plans

There’s no point working on a project and completing all the tasks to time and on budget if what you produce is actually rubbish! That’s where quality plans comes in. It is a way of ensuring that what you are building or delivering is fit for purpose and meets the needs of the project stakeholders. When you talk to your sponsor, you’ll probably find that he or she wants a ‘quality’ outcome, but that they have difficulty defining what ‘quality’ really means to them. They will have an idea in their head of what the perfect outcome looks like, but sometimes people need help ident...
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3 Problems For Development Projects

I’m not a mechanical person…at all. As a matter of fact, I have zero mechanical abilities, especially when it comes to vehicles and computers. I am the exact opposite of someone who is able to figure out what is wrong with their car and then fix it; rather, my history of making things worse by simply tinkering is long and storied. That’s why I pay a mechanic to fix my car when it breaks down. I used a neighborhood mechanic for quite a number of years, although I’m not quite sure why because nearly every time they fixed my car I would have to bring it back again within a day or two f...
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How to Stop Ambiguous Communication

I came across a confirmation message on a software program the other day that caused me to pause for a moment. Confirmation messages are those notifications that appear after you’ve completed a certain task or activity in the software. Basically, they let you know whether or not what you were trying to do was successful. Here’s the message that popped up after I hit Save: All tasks appear to be completed successfully. On the surface it sounds like a pretty innocuous confirmation. The problem I have with it is the wishy-washiness of the message. What do you mean that all tasks appear ...
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4 Tips for a Great Virtual Presentation

Most project managers have presented in front of groups ranging in size from just a few to up to a couple hundred people. It takes a lot of preparation on the part of a project manager to make sure a presentation is just right. It’s important that everything flows, transitions are smooth, the message is clear, and the audience remains engaged. However, there is a whole new level of complexity in a virtual presentation. It is more than just standing up in front of a group of people, plugging your laptop into the projector, firing up your online project management app and talking. Dozens or...
40

Getting Buy In From Your Team

Project team "Buy In" is fundamental to project success. Our project management expert offers advice to help project managers get teams engaged and working proactively on projects. ...
159

How to Deal with Criticism as a Project Manager

You know when you’re about to get a healthy dose of criticism when you hear, “Don’t take this personally, but….” The words that follow are meant for you and you alone, and are indeed meant to be taken personally. Criticism is not necessarily a bad thing. In the right amount and in the right manner (aka constructive feedback), it is something that helps us step up our game. It’s easy to become complacent and satisfied with the way we manage our projects, so a jolt of criticism every now and then shouldn’t hurt you. But there are times when criticism is unwarranted. Not only ...
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6 Things to Avoid in a New Job

Congratulations on your new project manager job! Your resume, project management portfolio, and engaging conversation during the interview did the trick. You said all the right things and asked all the right questions. In just a matter of days, you heard back from the company that your start date would be the end of the month. You can’t wait to get started and put your best foot forward. To make a solid first impression, DO NOT DO the following during your first month or so. These are lessons learned from my recollections of Steve’s behavior, a project manager that had been brought on boa...
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4 Questions You Should Ask At An Interview

The interview is going great. You are sitting across the desk from the hiring manager, and it feels like you are hitting it out of the ballpark. Conversation is flowing, you are quick on your feet, and know just the right things to say. Your resume is outstanding, a friend of a friend called in a good reference to the hiring manager before you came to the interview, and you have a great portfolio that shows off your project management skills. Then the interviewer asks you a question that stops you dead in your tracks. “Do you have any questions for me?” they ask. You pause and say...
40

3 Ways to Perform Better

I’ve been thinking a lot about form versus function this past week. Clearly, it’s been slow if this is what’s occupying my thoughts. I guess it has been on my mind because I recently had to use a PM software application that was designed by a developer. Anyone that has used an application that is straight-up, 100% designed and built by a developer knows exactly what I’m talking about. For those who have not had that pleasure, I’ll expound more upon that in a minute. First, a few definitions. If something has function, it means that it does what it’s supposed to do. If somethi...
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How To Optimize Your “Project Scorecard”

Implementing project "scorecards" requires you, as a project manager, to consider the sometimes ugly truth about your projects performance. What, if any, would the repercussions of your "score" be? ...
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