The Project Manager Blog

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Improve Your Project Time Tracking

“How much time did you spend on that last project?” I asked a team member the other day. She didn’t know. It was a shame because I wanted that information to help me estimate the duration of the project I was working on at the time. If I had known how long the tasks had taken my colleague on a previous occasion I could have estimated more accurately. As it was, I had to use a best-guess estimate that I put together with the help of my subject matter experts. But if my colleague had used good time tracking techniques she would have instantly been able to tell me how long she had spent ...
51

How to Prepare Your Project Business Case

You might not get involved with writing a project business case, but sometimes a project sponsor will ask for your input or opinion on what they have written. And in some cases, the project manager does research and write the whole thing, only for the sponsor to put their name on the front and submit it to the board for approval! Even if you don’t produce the business case for your project or have any input to it, you still need to know what goes into the document. This is because you’ll be responsible for delivering the product described in the business case, to the budget, quality sta...
51

Keep Your Project Meetings Focused

It is important to keep focus in team meetings and avoid wasting people's time. Check out this short video and insight from an experienced project manager. ...
84

How to Make Your Project a Success

I was preparing dinner the other day from a recipe book (yes, there are still such things, you don’t have to rely on the internet to find recipe suggestions!). It made me think that it would be great to have a recipe for project success – something that guaranteed project managers a great outcome on their projects. So I started thinking about what that recipe would look like, and here it is. Below are 6 things that will help make your project a success. How many of them does your project have? 1. A Comprehensive Project Schedule A comprehensive project schedule starts with a detailed ...
63

How to Improve Your Project Meetings

“Right, what do we need to talk about today?” asked a fellow project manager of her team. She was running a project status meeting and I was sitting in as a subject matter expert. Her team looked blank, but eventually the updates and problems starting pouring out. The meeting took half an hour longer than planned and at the end I wasn’t exactly sure what had been discussed or agreed. It all seemed a bit rambling to me, and without structure it wasn’t possible to be clear about the actions that had been taken, what was still to do and how the team was making progress towards its goal. ...
47

How To Deal With An Absent Sponsor

“We’ll just hold on a few minutes because I’m expecting the project sponsor to come to this meeting,” said one of my colleagues. I was at his meeting because I was contributing to the project and had been invited along to discuss how my department could help. We waited. And waited. Where was this sponsor? In the end, after 15 minutes of sitting around pretending it was normal to start a project meeting this late, my colleague decided that it was best to get started. I’m glad he did, as the project sponsor never showed up. “I don’t know what happened,” he confided to...
59

A Quick Way To Categorize Project Risks

Looking at my jumbled online risk log, I realized I needed a way to categorize my risks so that they were easier to find, understand and manage. I played around with a few ways to categorize them: by biggest impact, by department, by owner and so on. And then I figured out that I already knew how to organize them. I would use PESTLE. It’s a mnemonic: P for Political, E for Economic, S for Social, T for Technological, L for Legal and E for Environmental. These are great categories for risk, so I could arrange my risk log by putting the risks into those groups. Every risk falls into (or can...
71

Managing Stakeholder Expectations

Despite the sometimes divergent expectations of multiple stakeholders it is important when managing stakeholder expectations to ensure they align with your project. ...
200

7 Signs That Your Project Will Be Successful

You might be busy looking out for things that will cause problems on your project, but have you ever stopped to think what you should be focusing on to ensure that your project has the best possible chance of success? Of course, we can’t guarantee your project will be a success, but you can give it a head start by making sure that you have identified these 7 signs. And if your project isn’t showing these signs, then start working towards getting all these elements in place! 1. You Have A Project Plan A project plan starts with a project task list, and if you have one of those, you are on...
64

4 Giant Project Problems To Avoid

I watched a fascinating show that shared a new theory about why the Titanic sank. I’m not technical enough to get into all of the science, but suffice it to say it had something to do with the way light was refracted that evening. It answered the questions about why, when two very capable and professional watchmen were on duty, something as obvious as an iceberg could be missed until the last 30 seconds before the ship plowed into it; or, how a passing ship could totally ignore the flares that were being fired, and continue in the opposite direction. The super light refraction theory has ...
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