Author: PMCompanion

How to Support and Develop effective sponsor engagement

Hire PMP Certified Professionals To Standardise Project Management Abilities

Large projects are the life blood for any organizations. Big budget projects can breathe a new life into a dilapidated company and can kick start its revenue generation cycle. Such projects are absolutely necessary to transform a company image and reputation. It can easily create business value and help it to survive in the toughest competitive environment. Companies also seek such people/managers who are PMP certified professional and can easily and effectively undertake mega projects and can manage them in the best possible manner. Here best possible manner means, with the limited resources and in the restricted time. It will not only increase the value of the company, but also improve its bottom line. PMP certified professionals have the ability to perform in the smartest possible manner with greater precision and efficiency.

Business leaders want to standardise their operational abilities

Today, business leaders want to improve their working conditions, standardise their operational abilities and optimize their project working processes in order to improve the delivery time. In this way, they will not only generate huge profits, but also gain the confidence of their clients. In pursuit of the same, they hire then most talent professional who are skilled and experienced while having the required certifications to handle the projects.

In has been observed that the professionals who have PMP Certification tend to work smarter and in a much scalable manner. They have the extra insight into the project management and the overall working methodology, which helps them to carry out their work in the optimized fashion.

PMP certified professionals understand the business criticalities

Such PMP certified professionals understand the business criticalities and take challenges effectively. They oversee the project, IT architecture, business context, time frames, technology-involved, project road map, and take decisions. They also evaluate the size of the project and nature of the task. They take initiatives in developing smooth working processes and implementing those changes to complete the project flawlessly. They also help in cultivating skills in other employees who have passion to succeed. Such professionals share their knowledge of the business and projects as well as combine their acumen to complete the project on time. In addition to that, they take calculated risks to align and streamline a project while mitigating the risks.

Companies also hire PMP certified professionals

Companies also hire such PMP certified professionals because they want to keep the projects on track. Today, it is quite difficult to monitor the project as it requires discipline and tight management that extends across the project team. It can help the members to stay alert, competitive, as well as proactive. It also regulates the task as well as methodologies.

Influence a business and improve its image

It can influence a business and improve its image. Companies not only improve its market image, but also gain scalable competitive advantage. They exhibit their ability to delivery projects on or before time, while winning the trust of their clients. By showing the measurable results to the clients, companies solidify their portfolio and amplify their overall ROI and stimulate their growth cycle.

How to Manage Your Day Better

People often ask me how I stay organized. I guess I look like I’ve got it all together LOL. But that’s not always the case!

I do have a great system in place and it works well.

Working with multiple clients, we can often lose focus and the priorities can shift from hour to hour.

So I have one tip for you that will help you get and stay organized:

Find a task or project management system that works for you and use it.

My system is simple. I use GQueues and a spiral notebook that stays on my desk all the time to manage what I need to do.

After I have a production call with a client, I go in and update my GQueues with the tasks and the deadlines that we discussed on our call.

Every morning, I add the tasks for the day to my spiral notebook so I don’t have to leave GQueues open all day. When further instructions or more tasks come in, I add those to my spiral notebook and GQueues.

Here’s the key to this piece of advice:

Develop a routine so that you are not dropping any balls that should remain in the air.

When your client phones or emails you, go directly to that project management system and update it.

That way you won’t miss out on anything that needs doing, and you can appropriately schedule time in your calendar to complete it.

I have relied on my memory a lot over the years and honestly I’ve made mistakes that way by forgetting to do things.

I find that keeping on top of what you have to do every day is the one thing that helps you manage your workload.

This not only helps you to make sure you don’t miss any tasks, but it helps you stay more productive because you are never wondering if something is missing. You have a complete task list all the time, and you can pick and choose what you will do from it.

I love the system I use. It’s simple and I use it.

That’s the main thing you need to figure out – is what will work for you. Some people love online project management systems. I like the simplicity of my spiral notebook – with one page per day it’s versatile and complete.

I add phone calls and other meetings to it too, so I can see my whole day at a glance.

It also helps me to know when I can easily slip in a break or lunch!

Being productive is a result of being organized. And being organized is easy when you have a system in place that works for you that you use properly.

4 Ways to Successfully Manage Projects

There are countless resources, guidelines and tips on how to successfully manage projects. But one topic that’s not often covered involves project failures. Not many project managers are ready to admit failure. However, it’s still all too common to see projects fail and that’s why it’s essential to identify and analyse the potential risks and challenges before the project kicks off. By understanding the risks associated with the project’s goals they can more than likely be better managed.

In this article, I’ll identify 4 primary ways to help successfully manage them. Understanding them will hopefully better prepare you for your next one.

Take time to plan: Successful project managers know that they significantly increase a project’s success when they allocate sufficient time to planning. They know the outcomes the project needs to deliver and how its success will be measured. They pay attention to detail and break down big goals into smaller ones. They identify the financial and human resources they need and share their expectations with their project team. They research the costs involved and then set and manage budgets. They know that inaccurate cost estimates can quickly exhaust funds causing parts of the project to be abandoned.

Regular progress and milestone management: Managing milestones and tracking progress towards them helps to identify which parts are off course and allows corrections to be made before it’s too late. Successful project managers assign and prioritise tasks and know that it’s critical to be able to manage people. They know which warning signs to look for and when the project is failing.

Good governance and leadership: Often project managers become so busy that they “don’t see the wood for the trees”. Allocating a project sponsor or senior manager to oversee progress and to ensure that the project manager has support and the resources they require will greatly benefit. Equally, they should be given responsibility for ensuring that the project’s scope and goals are fully understood. Often financial and human resources are scarce and many projects run concurrently and compete with each other. The project sponsor should be someone who has the authority to make decisions on which projects to fund and which ones to delay. They often can cut through red tape and remove obstacles.

Assign experienced project managers: Often projects are allocated to people who are very competent in their jobs but have little or no project management experience. A project manager may be assigned to a business critical or strategic project and will take on significant responsibilities. Successful projects are assigned to individuals who have the experience and have demonstrated they have the capabilities to successfully manage assignments.

These tips are just four basic means to help improve your project’s likelihood of success. Beyond them, there are countless other ways for developing greater value from your projects. But by implementing some of them in planning and executing your projects, you’ll be on your way towards delivering better performance and outcomes.

Warning! Top 3 Problems With Project Schedule Templates

As a project manager, there are many times that you have to draw up a schedule from scratch. Sometimes, you may be stuck as to how to go about the schedule or not but often you will be handed a a schedule and told to just use this as a template. (Note: I use template in his article for schedules from previous projects and also standard departmental issued templates.)

This may seem like a great idea at first because a lot of the stuff is right there for you. All the tasks seem neatly laid out. You think to yourself: This is just what you needed. This will save a whole lot of time. But beware. Not everything is as easy as it seems.

Here are just a few reasons as to why you should not automatically take that schedule and run with it, tweaking here and there.

Problem #1: MS Project Does Some Funky Stuff

I don’t even think the people at Microsoft have figured out how delicate and intricate their software really is. I can’t even count the amount of times, I have slightly modified a task on my schedule and then something really odd happens. And I mean really odd. So odd that a few times, I was going in circles so much, I just deleted the task and added it back so that it all worked again.

Now take someone’s old schedule and start modifying it for your own use and you lose a lot of control as to the amount of funky stuff that can happen. This may be a risk you can live with on a small schedule but I’d rather not take that risk on a large project.

Problem #2: Try to Follow That Predecessor-Successor

Predecessors can be so tricky in a schedule unfamiliar to you that may think you just followed that rabbit down the rabbit hole. Change one duration and the whole schedule may go out of whack. You can attempt to follow those predecessors to find what just happened but then that was just for one change. If you have to add more tasks to the template, then you are quite at a loss without breaking some relationships. This is a task that can become frustrating especially if you are well into your project.

Problem #3: Try to Make Sense of the Template

Then there are a whole lot of other problems that can get you into trouble when trying to make heads or tails of a previous Project file. These can include such things as: Deadlines, Resources, Task Types, Date Constraints, etc. A whole slew of MS Project “features” can truly drive you crazy trying to figure out why the schedule doesn’t seem right. You can go individually and clean these all up depending on the size of the project file but you have to look for each item first and that will take a lot of work.

So, What to Do

Okay, now I am not saying that templates are not worthwhile but you have to be careful about how you use them. A template should be a guide. Look at it as: here are some items that I should consider in my project. A good template covers a full blown project. Your project may be smaller so you don’t need all those elements.

And there is also a converse. It is a good idea that if you have a project with more complexity or other items than the template shows, you should add those to the “template” for future reference.

A template also does not bypass the steps for creating a project schedule. You should always have a Work Breakdown Structure and a Resource Breakdown Structure; and you should still develop a schedule on your own. However, the template provides some backup help and also should provide assistance in developing a proper WBS. So, word of advice, be careful and try to avoid reusing old Project files. Even developing a “standard” template to be reused can get very difficult to manage. But, have a template, definitely!

Project Management Communication Techniques

Project Management Communication Techniques

Without good communication, very little of quality can get completed, as it is the foundation of a strong and healthy relationship, partnership or friendship. In particular, within the realm of Project Management it is the way projects work as well. For without good communication, things can become over complicated. Even with an airtight project plan, it will be difficult to achieve the first milestone without proper communication management.

Project communication is the process of identifying key information that will be shared with team members and stakeholders throughout a specific project. This includes listing out stakeholders and identifying team members that will be on project communications. It’s key to outline out how communication recipients will receive project updates, the frequency they’ll receive it, as well as the points during the project they’ll receive it.

As the project plan is developed, the communication plan should also be developed along with it so everyone has the necessary context and can do their job effectively at each step.  The points of communication, along with the contact list, will be in between each of those steps as they would need to get edits, comments and ultimately, approvals.

Communication management is everything, a project plan cannot be created and then hope everyone sticks to it. Once the plan is created and everyone is on board, a resource should be allocated as the key contact to manage the plan throughout the entirety of the project. This could either be the Project Manager or another resource, normally someone who has a good sense of communication. For example, a project manager can manage the deliverables on the agency side, and an account manager can manage all communications on the client-side, working as a tag-team to make the project successful.

To ensure solid communication management throughout a project, a communication management plan should be created. The benefits of a communication management plan are five-fold:

  • A written framework that both client/stakeholders/team members can reference. This can help in case there is any need for mediation. There is a written paper trail which can be referred to, should it be needed. It can also be beneficial for accounts payable to reference in case there are gaps in time tracked for the project.
  • The plan itself will manage expectations from stakeholders to not anticipate a finished project before the deliverables have been tested for quality assurance.
  • The points at which communication is shared allow both stakeholders to provide valuable feedback to the project process as well as the final product, and give team members a chance to brainstorm ideas together, bridging the divide between the two groups.
  • It allows all involved to better discover risks and issues early on.
  • It helps to eliminate the need to hold unnecessary meetings on the books, saving both time and money.

Understanding why communication management matters might sound like a normal requirement for any organization, it’s not always accomplished well.

Communication can be bolstered by having an online project collaboration tool, like the ones found at Projectmanagementcompanion.com. Online Project Management tools allow managers to roll out project plans, and then disseminate information to team members at the right time for the right task. Tasks allow for comments, attachments, embedded links, descriptions, to-do lists and more, so everyone gets the directions right the first time.

How is communication achieved in such a way that it effectively cuts down on lost productivity time?

The following are some tips and techniques to ensure communication management plan is performing at optimal levels.

  • Include a description of the project landscape in the original plan: Give the project a background including the organization’s short-term and long-term goals, who the stakeholders are, who the team members are, how much budget will be involved, what resources will be needed and how much time the project is expected to take. Include objectives as well as the project vision to ensure that the background isn’t just an outline, but a robust, fully-developed and communicated plan so that it can better generate project buy-in.
  • Assign an owner of the communication process: Depending on the size of the organisation, this could be divided between the Project Manager who is focused on delivery and the Account Manager whose job it is to communicate.
  • Include a review process: Setting up a formalized review process will ensure that no one will miss a beat when it comes time to assess the project.
  • Set up a system for messages to be delivered: Determine if a project management software or Microsoft Excel is to be used. Is communication occurring via Slack, Skype, or just email? Include all of this in the plan so that everyone knows the best way to make contact.
  • Meeting Management: This pairs along with creating a stakeholder management plan. Meetings can be a waste of time (and a lot of the time, they can be better said in an email). Make sure meetings only include the stakeholders who will be involved in the decision-making process and then create an agenda for each meeting for everyone to follow. This will help the group to stay on task and on topic.

There are many ways in which good communication management can save a project from disaster and keep everything working at optimal levels. But what happens when leadership (or the project communication owner) displays ineffective methods of communication? The project can quickly fall into peril.

Here are some communication management mistakes to avoid:

  • Don’t be passive-aggressive: Refusing to speak directly to a co-worker, team member or stakeholder can limit the project’s progress entirely. Passive aggression can also look like one is avoiding a task or a project because of the people involved. Passive aggression in the workplace can be the cause of missed deadlines, wasted time, lost revenue and more.
  • Don’t micromanage the project process: Micromanagement is damaging for any work environment in a myriad of ways; it increases health risks, affects employee turnover, decreases productivity and slows down project progress. Trust team members and stakeholders to deliver results on time and on budget, this should make for a happier, more effective product outcome.
  • Don’t rely on electronic communications: A lot can be lost over text or email. As facial expressions, tone of voice can be missed, and can thus misunderstand what is being requested. Additionally, while meetings slow down workplace productivity, a deluge of emails can have the same effect. Remember that the best ways to communicate, especially during project milestones, are face-to-face.
  • Don’t forget to document everything: The only way to properly review the success of a project is by looking back at the data via documentation. With documentation, it can be determined who did what, which tasks were delivered when, and how much the project cost overall.

Managing communications for the duration of a project is never an easy task. The assistance of a reputable project management software tool can assist in helping teams collaborate effectively across multiple platforms. Sign up for a free 30 day trial and see for yourself.