The Project Manager Blog

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When Should You Commit to Dates?

Saturday Night Live (SNL) has been a mainstay of American sketch comedy for decades. One gag that never seems to get old is when someone falls flat on their face, literally. Physical comedy has gotten laughs for the likes of Chevy Chase back in the 70s, Chris Farley back in the 90s (who can forget “in a van down by the river”?!), and more recently, Melissa McCarthy, a guest host who trips on her heels and falls down stairs. Where else can people land flat on their face and everyone else busts out in outrageous laughter? Good times on late night television! Do you know when somebody f...
118

Dealing With Difficult People

Watch and learn from the experience of a Project Management Professional (PMP) about dealing with difficult people. ...
206

7 Words that People Love To Hear

I was reading an email the other day from a resource on my project team. At the end of the message, I read the following seven words… Do you need anything else from me? What? Did I read that right…they were asking if I needed anything else from them? For one moment, I was in a state of shock. They weren’t trying to disengage, disconnect, and sever the ties to the project management mother ship? I read it again at least five more times, and realized I had read it right the first time. They were willingly offering to do more work on behalf of the project. What a refreshing change. ...
103

Tips For Virtual Presentations

Presentations are a mainstay of our job as project managers. There’s no better way to share project information with a large group that immediately gets everyone on the same page. Presentations can take place in a conference room on a big screen, or be projected from the comfort of your own remote screen. In either environment, you have to be careful when it comes to opening your computer up for the world to see, as the next couple of stories will demonstrate. A number of years ago, a technology company did a virtual demo for us. We logged into the web meeting hosted remotely from thei...
79

What Is Benefits Tracking?

Projects deliver outcomes, yes? And we produce business cases for projects (with the help of others) that spell out what the benefits of those outcomes are. For example, your project may be to design some new software. The software will be sold to your company’s clients. So the benefits of this new software are more repeat sales, or more new sales, or better customer satisfaction, or a combination of all of those. In other words, delivering your project has some benefit for the company overall. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be working on it, would you? Benefits tracking is one of those awkwar...
64

What a PM Does at Project Start Up

There’s a new project starting. You’ve heard about it, and now you’ve been asked to step up and take the project manager role. Congratulations! That’s great – it’s good to be involved right at the beginning when you can start shaping the project. Being involved early also means you get the chance to fully understand the rationale for the work and the decision to go ahead. But the Project Initiation stage can be a confusing time. When you have just had money approved for a new project, everyone wants to weigh in and get started. It can feel as if dozens of people are trying to te...
70

Auditing a Project

Learn the two things you as project manager need to look for to ensure your project is on track. Watch these tips from a project management expert about how to audit a project. ...
37

How To Prepare For Promotion

Every so often I sit down with my annual objectives and work out whether I’m on track to achieve them. It isn’t any good leaving it until the end of the year – my brain will have forgotten all the things I achieved during the first 9 months of the year, so unless I make a concerted effort to write them down and check my progress, I will miss out lots of things. This is also the time when I start thinking about my next job. I’m some way off making a bid for promotion, but reviewing my objectives gives me the time to think about where I want to go next and what skills I will need to g...
135

How To Create The Perfect Task List

At the end of each day, I write the three most important tasks for the following day on a sticky note. Then I stick the note to my laptop and lock my laptop in a drawer for the night. The next morning, I see the sticky note and I don’t have to spend any time at all wondering what my priorities are for the day. While I was in a working frame of mind, I sorted it out. In short, I wrote myself a short task list the evening before, telling myself what was important and what I needed to work on that day. Three tasks is a short list, but I think this shows the power of task lists. I can start e...
243

Managing Conflict On Your Projects

It would be great to think that everyone on the project team will work happily together all the time, but that rarely, if ever, happens. People fall out, little factions spring up amongst the team members, resentments and blame bubble under the surface. All of which make your project a very miserable place to be. Conflict is inevitable, and the earlier you realize that, the easier it will be to deal with it when it comes to your project. Because it will come! It’s a natural part of human interaction and it can actually be pretty healthy. I’m sure that you can think of some scenarios whe...
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