Author: PMCompanion

Must have Project Reports

Must Have Project Management Reports

As project managers we just can’t get away from Governance. Regardless of how long you have been working as a project manager at some stage you would have had to generate a report. Possibly as part of a standard requirement from the Project Management Office or directly to the stakeholder. A report could either be automated, via available tools or by hand. The following is a set of must have reports and how they should be used with the intended audience. There are several different types of reports to use, but the following five are must haves in your arsenal.

The more common types of project reports needed for the successful running of a project are, Status Reports. This report can be produced either weekly or monthly, but more commonly depending on the size of the organization, status reports are generated on a fortnightly basis. The frequency depends on where you are in the project and how much there is to say. There’s not much point reporting daily if your tasks all take over a week, as you won’t have any progress to report from day to day.

As you will spend a fair amount of time producing status reports, it is worth considering ways to make it faster to write them. Better yet, automate as much reporting as possible. Create a standard status report template or use the one that comes with the project management software used.

Status Reporthttps://projectmanagementcompanion.com/templates

Check out the Project Status Report template here.

Another must have report is the risk register. Many PMs Report on risks at least monthly, and the report is normally the output that comes after a risk review meeting. A risk register can be updated at any-time, normally an organization will dictate when it must be done. Also team members should be encouraged to contribute risks to the log whenever they feel something needs recording.

The risk report should include a summary of the risk profile of the project, how it is presented is left to the Project Manager. A good approach would be to only include the details for the risks that have the potential to create the most problems for the project. Then, include a statement on the lower-level risks, perhaps summarizing how they are being managed.

Possibly produce a report about all the risks in a project, regardless of how significant they are. It’s probably easiest to do this as an automated download from your project management software, or if you keep your risk log in another format like a spreadsheet, by issuing a complete copy of that document.

Risk Registrar

A risk register template is available here.

Board/Executive Reports are definitely required, and tailored to the people who are going to read them. So the report produced for the project board will have a different level of detail in it compared to the weekly status update that goes to the internal project team and key business stakeholders.

For the project board reports, the information should be of a high level. They will want to read about things that are important to them, like issues they can help resolve, a summary of the budget position, and whether or not the project is on track, and the upcoming and delivered milestones.

Make sure that the board or SteerCo report is in a format that can easily be read. For example, if executives are always on the road and use their smartphones to check emails, don’t produce reports in the form of a complicated spreadsheet that won’t display correctly, or include loads of large graphics that will take ages to download. A pdf will render across devices when emailing a static report. Or possibly grant licenses for board members or senior leadership so they can see real-time dashboard reports on the go.

Board Report Dashboard

Resource allocation report is another, using the project management planning software to work it all out is a great tool to have. Most software tools, whether they are a standalone Gantt chart software or fully-featured project tools with integrated time sheets, will have the option to create a resource report.

The resource report will show the breakdown of which project team member is allocated to which task on which day. They can also be used to pinpoint over allocation problems – where a team member is allocated to more than one task. If a resource is working on more than one task at a time then this can be detrimental to the outcome of the project. Use the resource report to ensure that there aren’t any individuals over committed and reschedule those tasks as necessary.

Resource reports can also be useful for scheduling more than one person. By seeing when someone becomes available, and that is a good sign that they can be given more project tasks at that point. If you compare the resource availability to the project’s timeline you can also plan more efficiently. As one task done by one person ends, you can make sure that someone else is available to pick up the next thing that needs to be done, so that tasks don’t stop halfway through waiting for the next person to become available.

Overall, resource reports are one of the most useful types of project reports to be had as a project manager, although they can be a bit difficult to interpret at first. It really is worth spending the time getting to know how to read the reports so that you can make changes to your project schedule as appropriate.

Resource Report

Finally, a mention of variance reports, ensuring that the project is in fact progressing as planned. That’s the beauty of a variance report, as it compares the planned against the actual outcome, providing a metric to measure if you’re on track, ahead of schedule or running behind. The variance report will collect and organize the data on what is being compared, whether it be the budget, schedule or scope of the project variable being measured. The variance report gives you the tool to many a variance analysis or a measurable change from the baseline.

There are several variance reports, such as cost variance, variance at completion (budget surplus or deficit), scheduled variance and others. Mostly, variance reporting is used in budgetary analysis, trend reporting and spending analysis.

The variance report is a great tool for the project manager, who needs a lens into the project’s progress so as to make intelligent decisions on allocating resources. But not only project managers benefit from the reporting. Stakeholders are interested in high-level reporting, and variance reports give them a thumb’s up or down as to the progress of the project and whether it meets its schedule and budget.

How often you should run a variance report depends on many factors. For example, what kind of project is it? What’s its duration? Where is it taking place? The accounting methods a project manager uses will likely be different from project to project, but a regular variance report is a powerful metric to determine the health of your project.

It would be great to hear from you on which reports you consider to be valuable, you can download some of the templates for your project from here.

RACI Matrix Template

Understanding and being able to organize a team, goes a very long way to successful project delivery.  When every person knows exactly what their role is in the project, then success rates skyrocket. The RACI matrix (sometimes called RACI diagram or RACI chart) was created to ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page, and working together in unison. Download this free RACI matrix template, to assist with organizing a team and work better together.

A RACI matrix is a chart that identifies and defines the roles and responsibilities of team members in relation to the tasks in a project. A RACI matrix uses the letters R, A, C, and I to categorize team responsibilities. RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed.

The following explains each;

Responsible (R)

This is someone who is responsible for getting the work done. When labelled “responsible” in a RACI matrix, it indicates that the person is expected to be hands-on when executing the task.

Accountable (A)

This is the person who is responsible for overseeing the task and making sure the work gets done properly. They are not hands-on with the work, but instead they are managing and ensuring the completion of the work.

Consulted (C)

This person assists by providing information and support about a particular task or deliverable. They are not directly responsible for a task, but instead they provide necessary information that will help the R get their work done.

Informed (I)

This person or group of people is to be kept up to date on the progress of a task or deliverable. This is commonly upper-management or a client who should understand the progress of the project, but does not have immediate input on the completion of the work.

When used properly, a RACI Matrix is the guiding document as it keeps a project on track by clearly defining who is responsible for what. It avoids miscommunication, wasted time and confusion. The RACI matrix clearly lays out who is performing this task (R), who should weigh in on it (C), and who has final say on it (A).

How to Use the RACI Matrix Template

Step 1: List the Project Tasks

In column 1, beneath the “Project Tasks” header, list all of the tasks that will be completed as part of the project. Categorize the tasks into different project phases in order to keep things more organized. This can also be achieved by removing the project phases and completing a large task list.

Step 2: List All of the Team Members

Next, locate the light blue bar. Going from left to right, add all of the team members to this section. Include every stakeholder involved in the project, even the ones not directly involved with the project.

It is best to use the job title / role in this section, but stakeholder names are just as acceptable. Job titles are also good to use, so this document is useful for someone looking at the matrix who may not be familiar with everybody’s name.

Step 3: Assign R, A, C, I to Each Task

Locate the first task of the project, once the first task is identified, move across the matrix to the right. Decide who will be (R) Responsible for executing the work on this particular task. Remember, R is for the person who will actually be performing the work on this task.

Continue moving to the right, and next choose who will be (A) Accountable for this task. The person labelled as (A) Accountable is the person who will be responsible for ensuring that the task is done properly and in a timely manner.

Next, decide who will be (C) Consulted on this task. Remember, (C) means that a person will be asked for help or advice on a task, and they will work with the responsible team member to complete the task. In some cases, a C will not be required for a task.

Finally, for each task decide who will be informed about the task progress. This stakeholder will be labelled as (I) Informed. If someone is labelled (I) for this task, they will be updated about the progress of the task, but they will not have direct feedback going back to the person responsible for the task.

An informed person is a one way communication, as compared to a consulted person who has two-way communication about the task. Most tasks will have an informed person, however there will be some cases where there is no (I) needed.

Step 4: Share the Document

Once the RACI chart is fully filled out, it is important to share the document with all of the team members on the project. This is an important step because a RACI matrix is most helpful when each team member understands exactly what their role is at each step of the project.

Download

Leadership in Project Management

For those who have been a project manager for some time understand that the qualities needed to effectively lead a project are very similar to those required to lead any team within a business. As project managers are responsible for overseeing and delivering assigned projects.  There are time Project Managers need to select the right tools and techniques for a particular job.  Manage, lead, and motivate project team members.  Providing stakeholders with and overall view of progress on all the different elements.  It is obvious to understand that effective project management requires various different sets of skills. 

There are three necessary types of skills, as presented by Robert Katz in the 1974 article titled “Skills of an Effective Administrator.”  The three categories of skills necessary for effective leadership:

  • Technical Skills
  • Human Skills
  • Conceptual Skills

Technical skills address the hands-on, direct skills necessary for accomplishing certain types of tasks.  This means having knowledge about and being proficient in a specific type of work or activity.  Technical skills include specialized competencies, analytic abilities, and the use of appropriate tools and techniques.  These kinds of skills involve hands-on ability with processes, products, and equipment. 

Human skills refer to the people skills necessary to lead and manage.  This means having knowledge about and being able to work together with others.  Good human skills mean being aware of one’s own perspective and the perspectives of others at the same time.  A skilled manager can assist group members in working cooperatively to achieve common goals. 

Conceptual skill is the ability see, and understand, the big picture.  It is knowing how all of the various parts of an operation or organization work together and affect each other.  A leader with conceptual skills works easily with hypothetical notions and abstraction.  This kind of capability is necessary in creating and articulating a vision and strategic plan for an organization. 

How are these skills applied in Project Management when delivering projects of different types? In project management, technical skills can be further divided into two categories; technical skills required to understand and manage the project and the actual technical skills of project management itself.  The Technical skills required to address the “How To” details the discipline area a project is involved with.  For example, if the project at hand is to develop software applications, then the project manager should have a certain level of understanding for software development.  If it involves implementing new medical processes and procedures, the PM should have some medical knowledge.  Even when working with subject matter experts as a part of a project team, a project manager needs to have a base level of knowledge in order to effectively manage the project, this to have a comprehension of project delivery time frames, so there is a level of understanding on what is required to deliver, and when a Project Manager has no fundamental understanding on the technicality, the team would quickly understand this and undermine time frames.

Technical skills of project management address the ability to utilize project management tools and techniques.  These are the hands-on skills of project management and involve everything from scheduling, to planning, to execution, monitoring and controlling, resource analysis, and all of the other skills need to successfully deliver projects. 

The human skills, is an important factor in any project, the way we communicate, both written, verbal and listening within the team, stakeholders, customers and the business as a whole. Human skills are the various abilities in dealing with the people involved in projects.  Sometimes this involves negotiating.  In other cases, it means acting as a motivator.  The vast majority of projects involve more than one person in some way, so human skills are a central part of managing most projects. 

Projects involve a lot of moving parts.  Different areas, both inside and outside of a project organization, need to be connected and coordinated in order for projects to run smoothly and achieve success.  Schedules need to be coordinated with available resources, budgets need to be maintained, and equipment and resources need to be procured.  The list of items that come together goes on and on.  In technical terms, this all refers to the knowledge area of Project Integration Management.  A skilled project manager needs to understand the different parts of the project.  They need to understand how to coordinate, communicate, and integrate all of the interconnected elements. 

There are as many variations of the three skills in practice as there are projects. Identifying the needs of each project requirements and skill area can be a good starting point when matching a project to the project manager.  For highly technically oriented projects such as construction, biomedical, engineering, and ICT projects, those with the necessary specialized skills in these areas should be considered for engagement.  For wide ranging projects that involve sweeping changes for large organizations, higher levels of administrative and conceptual skills are necessary and so project managers with these skills should, therefore, be selected. 

Each skill is as important as the other, so if there is an aspect of the skill which is not a project manager’s strong point, then it is a good idea to focus on it, build up on that skill’s shortfall so there is more selection on assignment opportunities. Also, as skill shortfalls are developed in all three skill areas, the better we will be at managing projects of all types. 

During this time of lock down, it may be a consideration to develop any skill shortfalls and any further professional development.

How does working from home stack up with working from the office?

It is obvious to most that there is a stark difference when working from home as opposed to working from an office. The most obvious being how to turn personal space into a productive workspace. The office environment is designed to eliminate distractions, which is not necessarily the case at home. It’s set up for a completely different end, so a part of it will have to be repurposed into a structure that permits uninterrupted work. This often requires some creativity.

Not everyone lives in spacious quarters that allow for a home office in a dedicated room. That home office might have to be set up on the dining room table. At work, there could be a talkative co-worker or loud music nearby which may be a distraction, however at home there are distractions at every turn. It’s not so easy to eliminate those distractions—kids, comfy beds, laundry— but it’s possible.

There are many ways to work better from home, although every working from home job is unique, they share many of the same challenges. The following are some tips set out to assist with doing a better job with the limitations of having to be isolated and remaining socially distant.

Try and remain motivated, initially this may not be an issue, but given time and the monotony of doing the same thing day in day out within a space that you cannot move away from can become demoralizing. Sometimes motivation, creative thinking and innovation fall behind in a work from home environment. This can be due to a lack of routine or discipline. It can be hard to get out of bed when the office is just a few steps away. Therefore, have a home office that is as separated from where the sleeping quarters are located. It’s imperative that sleeping in does not become normal, wake up as though you are going to the office, and follow the normal morning routine. This puts you in the work frame of mind. A routine is a way to develop the discipline you need to stay motivated.

But, don’t forget to add breaks to your routine. Get up and take a walk. Don’t neglect to have lunch either. If you must, set up a rewards system, such as a treat between meals once you get a certain amount of work done.

Try and remain productive, it’s difficult for most to maintain productivity when you don’t have a manager or co-workers around. To solve this, don’t start your work in spurts. Set up a work schedule and start at the same time each day. Many people find it helpful to use time blocking in order to segment each day into different types of work.

Remain on task, avoid procrastinating and avoid getting distracted by the television or the refrigerator. Yes, that’s easier said than done. Therefore, to avoid procrastination give yourself a break after that work period to do something you like. It’ll recharge your batteries for the next long haul. Another way to stay on task is by making yourself to-do lists, such as what must be done by lunchtime and by the end of the day. This gives you goals and deadlines, which are also great remedies for keeping procrastination at bay.

Health should not be neglected either, time can get away from you when concentrating on a particular task. However, health is a major consideration in any job. But when you’re working from home that responsibility falls on your shoulders. We’ve talked about taking breaks and rewarding yourself, which covers mental health, but don’t forget that you’re in a body and that body was never intended to sit at a desk all day tapping away at a keyboard. Ergonomics help. If you use a laptop, get a separate keyboard. Then get a stand to elevate your screen to eye level. But these fixes only go so far. You can get yourself a nice chair, one that keeps you sitting in good posture, but even that will not save your back.

Get up, stretch and talk a walk—maybe during your lunch break. Even just getting up from your desk every half-hour to get a drink of water is helpful. Speaking of water, stay hydrated and eat healthy. Keep those empty calories at a distance.

Don’t burn yourself out, this is a danger lurking in every modern office, even if your office is your home. The dark side of motivation and productivity is that people overestimate their capacity and push themselves to the breaking point. Once that happens, it can take time to recover, so it’s important to set up protocols that stop you before the crash.

One way is to maintain your boundaries. That means when working, work, but when you’re off the clock don’t jump to answer that email or text from work. Knowing how you work and keeping boundaries will stop burnout from exhausting you. Are you a morning person? Then get your heavy lifting done then. If you find the afternoon is more productive, then do less mentally challenging tasks early.

There are some benefits to working from home, probably the number-one thing people complain is having to go into the office itself. In most metropolitan areas, commuting adds hours to the work day. People often decide where they’re going to live based on the commute. Working from home turns distance into an afterthought. While an office might be set up to facilitate work, your home has some major benefits for productivity too.

To some degree there should be fewer distractions when working from home, children and pets aside, if they are of a certain age, most of their day will be spent in school. It’s like your home is a cone of silence. You’re comfortable there and are likely to work longer and take fewer breaks.

Working from home is often used as an example of how corporations can mine talent outside their geographic footprint, but the same is true for the worker. A person working from home is able to work for anyone, anywhere. Smaller companies and start-ups that might not have the capital to invest in office space can funnel that funding into paying for skilled labor.

There is money to be saved, as businesses may not have to set you up an office. They might pay for your internet or even supply you with the equipment you need, but much of that will be online, saving them from costly installation. The extra money is going to help their bottom line and be shared among the staff, should the organization have this as an incentive.

There is also flexibility, as not all people who work from home have the luxury of setting their own hours, but even fewer who work in an office are able to do that. Some jobs will ask people working from home to schedule their time to match that of those working in the office. However, one of the perks of working from home is that, as long as the work gets done, many employers don’t care when you do it.

While business casual has become the norm in many industries, people are still not encouraged to go to work in their sleep attire. But, outside of a conference call, you can work in your robe if that’s comfortable. Not having to wear a suit and tie or high-heel shoes is very attractive to many people.

There are some challenges to working from home, while there are clearly many benefits to working remotely, there are also several challenges that can arise and cause problems with productivity and collaboration.

The social aspect of working from an office, the lack of social interaction is akin to a prison sentence. This, naturally, will depend on whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. There are ways around this; though most of them involve digital solutions. The next issue is technical. You are tethered to your office and co-workers through technology. If that technology is not delivering, then you’re going to get frustrated or worse.

Whether it’s a slow internet connection that makes a simple task take all day or it’s having poor tools that make it difficult to get your work done, you need to make sure that whoever is handling IT at your organization provides you with the right software solution.

With the invention of email and texting, the eight-hour day has mutated into a 24-hour work cycle. This modern problem is even worse for those who work from home. It can feel as if your day never ends. Always being on call can add to pressure and stress, be that a phone, text, chat or any of the other communication devices set up to keep you in touch with your manager and the team. It can be hard to ignore that notice that comes in after hours, which can make you feel as if you’re not home but always in the office.

The lack of structure can be depressing. As much as you might hate the alarm clock, showering and getting dressed for work, the commute, etc., these activities create a structure to your day. Structures are important. They are what hold us up and keep people productive. Without a structure being forced on us by office hours, it’s easy to slip into a twilight zone where work and home life merge to the point that both falter.

There are challenges for your employer, too. Working from home means that your manager must trust you, of course. But even with that in place, there must be a way to monitor and track progress. This can be difficult when you’re not in an office. You can’t as easily check in with your manager or get immediate feedback to keep your work moving forward.

Working from home has its challenges, but it fits a growing niche. Depending on the corporate culture where you work and your own temperament, working from home may not be ideal. But, it’s not going away.

If you find yourself either willingly or unwillingly working from home, there are still a few more considerations to be made;

  • Spend five minutes each morning planning the day ahead and prioritizing your tasks.
  • Respond to emails only at a specific time each day and allot only a certain amount of time to the work. These email management tools can help.
  • Creative work, like drawing, music, etc., can be restorative, and you should allow yourself a period each day to just have fun.
  • Daily stand-up meetings are a great way to start your day, meeting with your team and discussing what’s ahead and what everyone is working on. It’s good for work and helps teams bond.
  • Exercise is important to your mental and physical well-being. Remember, exercising for only an hour is but four percent of your day. You can do it!
  • Don’t let interruptions frustrate you. While you want to minimize them, they’re going to happen. Just accept the fact that you’ll be pulled away from your desk from time to time and enjoy it as a work break.
  • Have lots of natural light in your work area and leave a window open, if you can, for the fresh air.
  • Breathing exercises help reduce stress, such as square breathing (four seconds in, hold for four seconds, four seconds out and hold for four seconds, repeat).
  • If you don’t use a white noise app, there’s always your record collection or streaming to create a productive soundtrack for your office.
  • If you can regulate the temperature in your room to maximize your attention, do so. Some people work better in a cold room.
  • Adopt a pet for companionship, and if you get a dog, walking them is an added bonus of exercise and fresh air. If you can’t get a pet, there are lots of cute animals to follow on Instagram.
  • If your family or kids are home when you’re working, set guidelines for them, so they know when you can’t be disturbed.

There are more considerations, and although the current situation, as to why we have to work from home in the first place is less than ideal in the first place, it is up to us how we handle the situation, and make the most of what we have. Stay safe, remain productive and how that we have more of a choice, that is either working from home or the office very soon.

An Overview of ITIL V3

The acronym ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, which is the most recognized system for IT service management. For almost 20 years, since its creation, ITIL has been refined and changed scope in business and technology practices over the years. It provides a body of knowledge that can be helpful to achieve a particular standard. The description is to represent a better understanding of terms that come with ITIL. The overview here is to first understand the definition and fundamentals.

The first publication of ITIL occurred in the 1980’s and made it one of the most used systems by organizations to provide IT service management (ITSM) processes. ITIL consists of the best processes and practices that can be adopted to provide excellent service management. The system provides effective service delivery at a cost-effective rate. There are different versions of ITIL released to meet the changing requirements of businesses. As it is termed, ITIL V3 is the third version of ITIL released in 2007. However, there was an updated to ITIL V3 in 2011. This made ITIL V3, also known as ITIL 2011 V3, to fit the latest business environment as it includes strategic elements. Because of this, IT service management becomes more aligned with the requirements of a business.

There are ITIL V3 fundamentals factors which need to be considered, one of those fundamentals are change management, and the very nature of project delivery is that change in some form is occurring. The technologies continuously upgrade and will always have to be replaced. That’s why ITIL V3 has a set of practices called Change Management. These practices are served to prioritize, implement, and handle changes effectively. It is done by using Change Management properly so that downtime can be avoided and organizations are well versed with the changes occurring around them.

Another ITIL component is incident management, it is essential to make sure that the operations are manageable. In some situations, if the service is interrupted in the organization, the production is affected. ITIL V3 incident management provides best practice to handle effectively and ensure the business operations are working optimally with minimal to no downtime.

Problem Management team are responsible for Root Cause Analysis (RCA) function. As they are liable to find a permanent solution for recurring incidents. Problem Management makes sure to maintain a known error database.

The ITIL Service cycle is where the ITIL V3 framework revolves. This cycle comes with the set of best practices and supporting processes in each stage. The following are the steps involved with the ITIL stages;

  • ITIL Service Strategy
  • ITIL Service Design
  • ITIL Continual Service Improvement
  • ITIL Service Transition
  • ITIL Service Operation

There is a structured closed-loop process that goes together with the life-cycle stages designed in ITIL. When creating services from scratch, most of the service management activities were not performed. This is why ITIL stages are important. While integrating into the overall ITIL framework, each stage is represented by one of the ITIL volumes and is self-contained.

The ITIL service design is an integral part of the process, it is about the design of services and supporting factors for the initiation to the actual environment of the business. There are scopes included in the Service Design life-cycle. This life-cycle consists of changes and improvements to the existing services and the design of the new ones as well. The factors to consider in ITIL service design are outlined below;

  • Design Coordination – This makes sure that the design of the IT services, architectures, service management information systems, processes, metrics, technology, and information is consistent and effective.
  • Service Level Management – Designing services according to the agreed service level targets and checking all Operational Level Agreements and underpinning contracts where appropriate.
  • Service Catalogue Management – Taking responsibility for the maintained Service Catalogue. Also, it must be produced and contain accurate information to all the operational services.
  • Risk Management – must assess, control, and identify risks. This includes the analysis of the value of assets of the business. Must also have early detection of threats to the assets and evaluate how vulnerable the assets could be to the risks.
  • Availability Management – this is liable for checking the IT infrastructure, tools, roles, processes, etc. to ensure that it is appropriate for the availability targets, which are agreed upon.
  • Capacity Management – Responsible for the capacity of the IT services and infrastructure to deliver the agreed service level targets on-time and in a cost-effective manner.
  • IT Service Continuity Management – The minimum agreed Service Levels should be provided to IT service. This process can happen if the risk of disaster event is reduced to an acceptable level, including planning for the recovery of the services.
  • Information Security Management – The organization’s information, IT services, and data should remain confidential, available, and integral. This responsibility goes to Information Security Management.
  • Compliance Management – Should comply with the enterprise’s legal requirements and policies. It will happen through IT services, systems, and processes.
  • Compliance Management – Ensure IT services, processes, and systems comply with enterprise policies and legal requirements.
  • Supplier Management – Should make sure that all suppliers will meet their contractual commitments and that the contracts will support the needs of the business.
  • Architecture Management – Provides a blueprint of the future development of the technological landscape and should consider the new technologies and service strategy.

The purpose of the ITIL service design is to ensure the development and fulfillment of services with organizational intent. It should also be considered the support-ability, business continuity, and risk management. The transition of the service becomes more comfortable if there is an early integration and control of the issues addressed during the service design.

Next in the list is ITIL service strategy which provides a strategy for the life-cycle of service, and the service perfectly suits the purpose and availability for its use. The strategy should be synchronized with the business objectives and also to the needs of the customer. The stage of the Service Strategy life-cycle identifies which services to offer by the IT organization. Also, it determines the functions that need improvement.

  • Business Relationship Management – identifies the everyday needs of their prospective customer or client. Also, knowing their needs is making sure that the appropriate services will develop to meet their needs.
  • Strategy Management – Developing a strategy is done through the assessment of the service provider’s competitors, offerings, and capabilities.
  • Financial Management – The accounting, budgeting, charging requirements of the service provider is kept managed.
  • Service Portfolio Management – To meet the required outcome of the business at the appropriate level of investment, Service Portfolio Management ensures the proper combination of services of the service provider.
  • Demand Management – For the services, it should understand, influence, and anticipate the demand of the customer. This action will make sure that the service provider has enough capacity to meet the needs of the customers.

There is certification associated with ITIL, and deals with the first level V3 Foundation. This level is provided when the business starts the construction to Master ITIL V3. The ITIL V3 Foundation level provides the terminology, concepts, and fundamental definition. The level can be taken by those who want to:

  • Understand the implementation of ITSM based on the ITIL V3 framework.
  • Gather knowledge as a beginner on ITIL V3 framework.

The ITIL V3 Foundation Level: Examination Format is for anyone who wants to learn and be certified in the ITIL processes. ITIL foundation serves as another way to take other level exams. IT professions can be achieved by individuals who want to pursue this career through this examination. There are formats to take the ITIL V3 foundation level exam. Below are the formats:

  • The exam has 40 multiple-choice questions. Candidates who clear this level will be granted with two credits.
  • The ITIL V3 Foundation level certification can be achieved with a minimum score, which is 26/40 or 65% of the examination.
  • ITIL V3 foundation level exam is a strictly closed book exam.

There are four levels of accreditation available to the IT professional when dealing with ITIL V3; they are Foundation, Intermediate, Expert, and Master. The foundation level is about the basic concepts and the terminology of ITIL as a whole. Each of ITIL’s five major topics goes to the higher levels. ITIL V3 explains the concept of the IT service to support business goals. While the ITIL V2 focuses on IT operations. Once there is a profound understanding of the ITIL V3 IT methodology, then it can assist an organization plan the day to day solving of problems that may be encountered.

How to be an indispensable PM during a pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has made the work environment challenging to say the least, as offices around the world mobilize their workforce to either work from home, or redirect their attention to other areas of the business. In many instances projects are placed on hold and resources, including the PM are either told to take leave, and as is the case with most contractors, let go entirely. This in turn causes its own set of challenges. All of a sudden we are no longer office based, and have to deal with the plethora of negative news and still focus on the well being of our loved ones. If you look at your training as a project manager, would you say that you are prepared to negotiate the oncoming twists and turns? For the seasoned campaigner more than likely for those just starting out its sink or swim.

One thing about being involved in a global pandemic, we are all in this together, and a lot of the outcomes are based on ideas from many different areas whether they are locally or globally, if a good idea to maintain project delivery is shared via a social media mechanism then it should be seriously considered. As the stakeholder is still concerned with the positive outcome of a project, because once the pandemic has subsided then it is all hands to the pump. So during this time it would be a good idea to ask the stakeholder how they would prefer to receive information. The more an individual stakeholders requests can be catered for the more value is being provided to them, remember they are feeling as anxious as you are.

Maintain relationships with the client and the overall team as best as possible, working in isolation, or remotely, doesn’t mean that information also has to be remote. Establish more one to one interaction, be empathetic, and listen to needs of the team. Make special effort to make contact with them on a daily basis, this could be via a daily “Stand Up” or an email which is not work related but care factor related. Try and use the avenue which would be best appreciated by the team members, and the client for that matter, you will only work this out if you ask.

Being concise, that is clear, sharp, frequent communication needs to be delivered, and try not to over communicate where possible.  Being face to face with team members and stakeholders in a room is priceless, but not mandatory. Use “check-in” and “check-out” during important project meetings to ensure that participants deliver and receive exactly what information they came to the meeting to give and receive. This also provides a crystal-clear readout for meeting recaps. Also, be cognizant during calls that many resources now have more than one distraction when working from home that is with spouses, children and pets.

There is no one clear approach which is best in a situation of this nature, quite frankly this is a very uncertain time, and none of us are in a position to understand the full consequences of what the work environment and project delivery will be like once life both at home and in the office returns to some normality. Also what will be normal given that during a pandemic projects were still being delivered via mechanisms available at the time.