The Project Manager Blog

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5 Ways To Use Milestones

I was peer reviewing another project manager’s plan the other day. There were dozens of milestones. Nearly every task had a milestone associated with it. The project schedule looked like someone had spilt an inkpot over the plan as there were so many splodges marking milestone dates. Don’t get me wrong – milestones are good! Project plans need milestones as they help mark certain events in the project. They are also great for project managers as they can be used to streamline reporting and to easily track how the project is progressing. But too many milestones will make your schedule ...
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4 Social Networks You Should Know About

I got an email inviting me to a networking event the other day. It’s a busy time of year for me and I wasn’t sure that I could take time out of the office or even finish early to attend an after-work drinks event or a presentation with snacks afterwards. But as I read through the invitation I realized I wouldn’t have to leave my desk – it was online! Social networks aren’t just for sharing funny pictures of cats with your friends or updating your family with what you are doing on vacation. You can use them for professional networking as well, and more and more project managers are...
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Why Use A Project Management Methodology?

A project management methodology is a set of processes, guidelines, templates and checklists which help you manage the project management lifecycle successfully, from start to finish. It’s what most companies use to assist their project managers in getting the job done. You probably have used one, even if it didn’t have an official name, as many companies build their own over time. It’s the established way of doing things in your business when it comes to managing projects. However, not all companies run like that. Many organizations expect project managers to work it out as they go a...
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10 Things To Make Your Project Team Happier

A happy project team is a hard-working project team. And you have to agree that it’s far nicer to work in an office or on a project with people who are happy to be there and who enjoy their tasks. The project manager has a big part to play in whether the project team are happy coming into work every day. You lead the team and with that in mind are really responsible for the atmosphere, team culture and working environment. So you could say that it’s your responsibility to keep the team happy! What can you do to create a happy workplace? Here are 10 suggestions to keep your project team ...
18

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...
113

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...
61

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...
126

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...
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