The Project Manager Blog

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A Hospitality Checklist For Client Site Visits

Having a client come and visit your location is a big deal, especially if they’ve set a couple of days aside to discuss your project plan and are bringing a team with them! This article focuses on the niceties that should surround a meeting so your clients feel welcome and comfortable. You are invited over to someone’s house for dinner. You get to their house around 6:00 PM and ring the bell. No answer. You knock on the door. No answer. You finally see a little note on the door that says to let yourself in. Your host had to step out for a couple of minutes. You walk down the hallway ...
120

7 Checklists You Can’t Live Without

Checklists are, as you probably know, lists of things that you use to cross-reference your tasks and ensure nothing has been forgotten. You may be aware that they are used in aircraft cockpits before take off to double-check that the crew have done all the safety checks and are ready for the flight. They are also used in hospitals before surgery to review the patient’s notes and procedure and again make sure that everything is prepared and ready prior to the first incision. In both these areas checklists have helped standardize processes and avoid problems. So it makes perfect sense to th...
112

4 Myths About Project Metrics

What information do you capture about your project? If you are anything like me, a data junkie, you’ll be gathering statistics on everything in order to be able to analyze, monitor and control the project effectively. However, data handling doesn’t come easily to everyone and some project managers struggle with setting up and using project metrics. Metrics are the measurements and statistics you use to display information about your project – essentially progress information boiled down into numerical format. But project metrics aren’t always understood, and project managers can mak...
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What Makes A Project Complex?

Is your project complex? Well, to answer that question, we need to know what makes a project complex in the first place. There are a number of elements that combine to make projects challenging, and even a small project which will only last a couple of months can be really complex if it involves many of these. Here’s a rundown of the 6 things that make projects complex. 1. Project Size The most obvious complexity factor is project size. The bigger the project, the more project tasks you have, the more complex the project is likely to be. Of course, some massive projects can be relativel...
60

How To Keep Project Expenses Down

“The budget is fine,” my project sponsor said. “But could you lose $50k? We’re under some pressure for this year’s figures.” Right. So my budget wasn’t really fine then, was it? Expense tracking is an important part of project management but you have to have a budget to track against and it was essential for this project that I knew exactly what I was authorized to spend. With a request to cut costs, I went back to the drawing board. And this is what I did to take some money out of the project. Stop Meeting In Person You don’t still meet in person, do you? If you want to k...
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4 Reasons Why Decision-Making is Slow

Sometimes on a project all you want is a quick decision so you can get things moving again. When an issue needs your project sponsor to make a decision, or a stakeholder has to make the call about a particular piece of functionality, decisions keep the project flowing. Without decisions, your project team ends up sitting around waiting for instructions about what to do next. There are lots of decisions required on a project – everything from which meeting room to book to who needs to see the Gantt chart to approving major scope changes based on the project team’s recommendations. But so...
63

4 Steps To Control Your Budget

“Hypothetically,” one of my project team said recently, “what if this piece of work was costing more than we originally thought?” I don’t like sentences that start with ‘hypothetically’. They nearly always aren’t hypothetical! And it wasn’t hypothetical in this case either. Once we had got to the truth of the matter, the project task she was working on had been poorly estimated and was likely to cost nearly double what we had originally anticipated. That’s a lot of money. In these situations it isn’t worth looking for someone to blame. What value would it add to go ...
54

When Should You Release Your Software?

There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to a software release. The application needs to work, documentation needs to be in place, and training needs to be arranged. The following article looks at what can happen when software is released before it’s ready for prime time. Much of the talk on the national stage lately has been about healthcare.gov, the troubled website that is to serve as the digital interface for Obamacare. Regardless of your political leanings, the situation is a huge mess. The technical difficulties people are experiencing are endless; users have been unable to sig...
57

How To Create a Simple Change Request Form

What is one of the first questions you should ask when you start a new position as a project manager in a new company? You should ask  whether or not they have a change control process in place. Why? Because it’s an area that can be a real time and resource sponge in a company and where you can make a big difference early on. The following article will discuss why it’s so important to focus on change control first, and walk you through a very simple change control form that can be implemented within a very short period of time. The web development shop was crazy busy during the time of...
23

The Quick Guide To Risk Management

Projects face challenging circumstances all the time, and knowing how to deal with potential threats is a key part of the job of a project manager. This is done through the risk management process. Do you need a primer on risk management in a hurry? Then you need our quick guide. Read on… Do It Often Use your Gantt chart software to block out regular slots for risk management. Ideally, you should build in a risk management review at every team meeting, but I know that this can be a bit overwhelming and time consuming at times. If that’s the case for you, make sure that you have a full ri...
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