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Avoid these Mistakes When Selecting Project Management Software

There is a plethora if project management software on the market and the advent of Mobile Apps hasn’t made the choice any easier, and can at times feel overwhelming. Selecting the wrong software program lends itself to a wide array of problems, such as reductions in the flow of communication, reporting, billing, and overall productivity. Basically, choosing the wrong project management software can increase the risk of making larger, unforeseen mistakes that cost money.

Needless to say that proper software selection is important, and it can start by avoiding some all too common mistakes. Failing To Examine Your Business Processes And Match Them To Software Offerings.Just as with any type of selection project, it pays to start with a clear idea of what the requirements are. It is imperative to consider how projects come into being within an organisation, including which teams are usually involved, and what they need for optimal collaboration. Many project managers should become more aware of what’s typically included in project management software solutions before making a purchase. They can accomplish this by spending more time analysing project management software programs beforehand.

It’s worth considering revising how projects are managed to take full advantage of all of the software’s efficiencies. This is because many professional software products are designed to incorporate industry best practices. If the company’s project management practices have remained unchanged for a very long time, it’s possible that some proven best practices are being missed. However, this is not always the case. If some software provides features that seem to match up well with the way a company works and other software products do not, you obviously need to look for the ones that offer a good degree of compatibility.

The key here is to begin by performing a thorough needs analysis before making a final purchasing decision. An analysis will allow project managers to address the needs of the company’s projects in their totality. This includes:

  • Assessing how the organization communicates with all those working on projects, including both internal and external team members
  • Considering how file sharing is performed between team members
  • Analysing how the company tracks resources such as costs, material, and human resources
  • Determining the types of reports that need to be prepared and their frequency

Basically, project managers should perform a detailed and thorough analysis of every step of the project management process. Beyond just accurately tracking projects, they should consider all aspects involved in the project management process to formulate a precise listing of their requirements.

Another mistake to avoid is the gravitation to project management software solutions that offer a wide array of features. The problem is that having too many features that will likely never be used can overwhelm and complicate the learning curve and sometimes even the software implementation process. This mistake leads to overspending and to staff members underusing the system. This is mainly because the more complicated the system is, the more difficult employees will find using it, and that increases the chance of errors.

A larger system, like Microsoft Project, might be perfect when working on long-term projects spanning many departments that require long-term planning. But if the projects are much smaller in scope and shorter in duration, consider a lighter application like BaseCamp or Trello. Regardless, careful thought and consideration should be put into software-related purchasing decisions long before making the purchase. And remember, the more features a software program has the more likely there will be additional costs to purchase and implement it. If many of those features are unnecessary, that extra expense will have been wasted.

There is an effective approach to minimizing the risk associated with selecting software solutions that have it all. Project managers can do something as simple as creating a checklist with criteria and weightings. Create a list of prioritized features in the following order:

  • The “must-haves,” meaning the features that are absolutely necessary
  • A list of features that are not necessarily required would be nice to have
  • A list of features that are not completely unnecessary for your company

Prioritizing with needs of this type will help make a better informed software purchasing decision.

Ensure that consideration is placed on future needs, and not just current issues. When evaluating software solutions, imagine it growing with the business. In other words, long-term considerations should also be taken into account during the initial evaluation stages. Project managers should look out for software that offers things such as flexibility as well as scalable solutions that meet both their current immediate needs as well as their projected future needs.

An alternative that could support a company‘s growth plan is adding features to the software as a company grows and requires more licenses for new staff members. Project managers that do not plan ahead in this regard often end up causing companies to spend more money in the long run.

Successful businesses are profitable, and this leads to expansion in most all cases. Failing to plan ahead often results in higher costs and a reduction in production. Avoid this mistake by ensuring the solution is open to updates, upgrades, and the addition of custom features. Ask if the software tools being considered have the flexibility to handle other types of projects that may emerge in the future.

If reducing risk associated with purchasing the wrong project management software, then careful attention, planning, and forethought must go into choosing the right software solution for a company. That includes giving careful consideration not only to the company’s current needs, but also to future needs that can be anticipated due to growth.

Lastly, project managers and business professionals who invest time into seeking out the right project management software program should experience the best results. By seeing a more streamlined flow of information and processes that improves areas including the tracking of projects, billing, task assignment, and reporting.

Helpful Project Management Phone Apps

The advent of project management tools whether they are used to run the entire project or used as reference tools have made the running of projects easier. Hence the quality of the results can be correlated to the tool used.

As time management being an imperative component of any project, using it wisely is very important. For that reason, project managers need to have the right tools to accomplish projects fast and without stretching the budget allocated. Understanding and using anyone of the available project management mobile apps are a necessity for every project manager.

Given that project managers are always on the go, having a tool to work on the project anywhere at any time is convenient, with most apps available on android, iOS, and web-based.

There are many project management apps to choose from, and those listed within this article are only but a few. Just like most things in life, the choice is based on the ease of use and how comfortable the project manager using the tool. It has been determine via studies, that 77% of successful projects use project management tools.

The importance Of Project Management Apps, cannot be underestimated as they;

  • Are useful for assigning and scheduling resources.
  • The apps help managers to keep track of the progress of projects at any time.
  • They are useful for the execution of project plans.

Considering the three points mentioned the following list of project management apps are ones in particular to consider, not all are found on projectmanagementcompanion.com, but they are considered worthwhile for further investigation.

1. Trello

Trello is a powerful and flexible web-based project management app that can be used by individuals, small, and medium-sized organizations. The app is easy to use and is designed with drag-and-drop features such as collaboration, issue tracking, task management, budgeting, etc.

What’s more, it supports iPad, android, iPhone, desktop and can also be used on browsers such as Firefox, Google Chrome, IE, and Safari.

The good thing about Trello is that it integrates Pivotal Tracker, Dropbox, Zappier, Hubstaff, Bitium, Desk.com, and more.

Besides, the app offers different plans starting with a free plan, business-class plan, and an enterprise plan.

Overall, Trello is a powerful tool for collaboration and communication.

2. Asana

Asana is also another incredible project management app that is also useful for task management, agile management, Excel project management, team collaboration, and many other tasks.

Similar to Trello, this app is also accessible on Android, iOS, Windows, and mac OS. It is also a web-based application that is useful for agile management, creation of customizable to-do lists, resource management, bug tracking, time and expense tracking, testing/QA management, and budget management.

Asana is also a powerful tool for collaboration. This allows managers and teams to work collaboratively on projects.

With Asana, project managers can assign tasks and completion dates, plan their day, communicate priorities, etc.

The good thing about Asana is that it integrates with multiple platforms including Dropbox, WordPress, MailChimp, Google Drive, Zendesk, GitHub, Slack, just to mention a few.

The tool offers a free plan for a few members, a premium and an enterprise subscription.

3. Wrike

Wrike is another awesome project management app for task collaboration and online project management. It is a suitable app for companies of all sizes and helps to enhance communication, accountability, and transparency.

Wrike is a cloud-based project management platform that is also available on Android, iPhone, iPad.

Similar to Trello, this app comes with remarkable features including milestone tracking, project planning, status tracking, time and expense tracking, file sharing, bug tracking, budget management, just to mention a few.

It also integrates Dropbox, Zapier, LinkedIn, Slack, Evernote, Salesforce, Google Drive, GitHub, and Adobe.

The free plan supports up to 5 members but the tool has two other plans including the professional and business plans.

4. Teamweek

For project planning and task management, managers can find Teamweek a useful tool for the work.

The app offers four plans in addition to the free one that supports up to five members.

What’s more, Teamweek integrates with Slack, calendar, Asana, Trello, GitHub, Jira, etc.

The good thing about Teamweek is that it is built for novices and techies alike and is accessible on browsers and mobile devices.

With this app, project managers can create and assign tasks to team members using drag-and-drop features. Another good thing about this app is that it offers Gantt-chart visualization so project managers can keep an eye on crucial milestones.

Overall, Teamweek is a flexible, easy to use and useful project management app for project managers and team members alike.

5. Basecamp

With Basecamp, project managers can organize projects under one roof. Given that it’s a web-based project management platform, users can work on their projects anywhere at any time. Besides, Basecamp supports any team size at the same price.

What’s more, project managers can use Basecamp to create to-do lists, share files with team members, track time, collaborate with a team, etc.

Besides, the app can integrate with Usersnap, Zapier, TestLodge, Automate, Kilpfolio, etc.

It is also accessible via mobile devices including iPhone, Android, and iPad.

6. Monday.Com

When it comes to project management tasks such as Calendar, time tracking, reporting, planning and many more, managers can never go wrong with Monday.com

With this app, team members can collaborate effectively. It also has four plans in addition to the free trial.

7. Podio

Podio is a web-based project management app introduced by Citrix. The app was developed to simplify workflow management, project management, and team collaboration.

What’s more, the app is useful for file sharing, task management, team collaboration, etc.

Podio integrates with multiple platforms including Campaign Monitor, Dropbox, Email, Google Drive, Evernote, GoToMeeting, and many more.

8. Smartsheet

Smartsheet is also another incredible web-based project management platform for task collaboration and data integration.

The tool is useful for businesses whether large or small.

What’s more, the app comes with a user-friendly interface.

Similar to other tools discussed above, this app is useful for bug tracking, Gantt chart, project planning, collaboration, file sharing, resource management, task and time expense management, milestone tracking, etc.

9. Nifty

Nifty is a sought-after project management platform when it comes to team collaboration, automation of projects, reporting, and project planning.

With Nifty, managers can manage projects through Kanban-style Tasks.

What’s more, the tool features an easy-to-use and intuitive interface.

10. Projectmanagementcompanion.com

Unlike the tools mentioned above, projectmanagementcompanion.com, is a web-based project management reference tool which provides understanding for effective scheduling of projects, creation and assigning of tasks and much more. It essentially covers why each phase is important and what is required to successfully deliver the project.

There are many more on the market to choose from, take the opportunity to review them and make up your own list of preferred tools. Each is easy to use and come with plenty of incredible features to take your project management to the next level.

Increase efficiency and productivity with time management tips.

A lot has been said about prioritising project tasks and how necessary time management is to a projects success. The question remains, how to best use time to work on multiple priorities with similar delivery timeframes.  So how do you manage your time in a way that will be beneficial for you and the team? There are some time management tips to increase your efficiency and productivity.

It is best to set goals; every hardworking person has some kind of goal in mind that they are actively working towards. If a clear aim is not set, then it is not possible to have a vision, you cannot possibly know why you are doing what you are doing. An aim is also very important to keep motivated. It is very easy to get discouraged when putting a lot of effort and see no instantaneous results. Having an aim, however, will increase chances to stay dedicated to the job and find inspiration even in the hardest of times. Once decided what the goals and aims are, make sure to keep them in front of your eyes in some way. Maybe this will mean print outs of large posters and hang it by the desk at work or maybe place a sticky note on your refrigerator to look at every morning.

Construction of a schedule is very important. Having a schedule is directly relates to productivity. Creating a plan for a day, a week, or even a month will increase confidence in future tasks and will assist with prioritisation. There is also the flipside of having a plan which can create anxiety if somethings don’t go according to plan. This is why adapting to new circumstances is very important. Don’t be afraid to change plans at some point if the situation requires it.

Understanding where time is being lost is an important factor, one of the most important factors that determine the success of time management strategy is detecting where time is being lost. Absolutely knowing when you are losing your precious time and what can be done to change this is a major factor. When you will be creating your schedule, you will most likely notice in which periods you spend your time for nothing and, eventually, lose time. Make sure that you add some valuable tasks to these hours and change the situation.

Create shorter deadlines, longer deadlines lead to procrastination. When longer deadlines are set, it usually provides a false sense of security, because there is a belief that a good job is being done due to the amount of time remaining on the task. In reality, you are letting yourself procrastinate and then make yourself stressed when you have little to no time left until the deadline.

What you must do is make smaller goals and set shorter deadlines for them. This way, you will be able to complete everything in time and motivate yourself to keep moving on. Success always prompts people to try and do more. Use this technique to boost your confidence and increase your energy levels.

You don’t need to agree to everything someone asks you to do! You do not exist solely to please them or to help others all the time. You must accept the fact that helping others and letting yourself down at the same time is not a good thing, especially for your mental and physical health. It is time to learn to say “no”, politely decline their plea and be honest: you have plans. Don’t worry about what they may think.

Remember to rest, getting some rest leads to being more productive. What you must understand is that your health must always come first. As pointed out in the previous tip, it is important to take care of yourself, because nobody else will. Having a good night’s sleep is the first step to being more productive in the day to come.

In conclusion, managing time is not as complicated as it seems. Anyone can become more productive as long as they genuinely want to. There have been some tips provided in this article; remember to follow aspects which are convenient for you, as it is not productive when struggling to adopt other people’s way of prioritizing.

5 Tips to being hired, beyond the normal Project Manager resume.

5 tips to being hired

The right project manager can be the real difference between success and failure of a project despite the governance structures. Unfortunately, even the most experienced managers often make blunders when hiring. The wrong PM will drain time, money, and resources. Even with the best intentions in the world, hiring managers still miss out way too many things during the hiring process. Look beyond the resume and use some of the five tips to being hired.

#1 – Work on Critical Behavioural Traits

The existing education system and an indifferent interviewing process make it a little challenging to find the right kind of person for the job. There’s a chance a candidate might check all the boxes from their resume, but is unable to gel with team members. Other than the essential skills and the requisite experience, there are other important factors like the “right behavioral traits” that need to be considered when looking for a new project manager. Most job listings only talk about certain objectives that have almost become redundant. Words like adaptable, positive, passionate, proactive have become useless with no real meaning left.

It’s vital to ensure that potential employers can see the behavioral traits that distinguish potential candidates the specific position. For instance, some posts might require someone passionate and a go-getter, whereas other positions might require a person with a high degree of patience. Do some homework and figure out what is essential for the job. Speak to a former colleague or employer of theirs. Don’t be a generic “misfit” PM who is not suited and unable to earn respect from clients and other team members. It would be a disaster.

#2 – Have the Relevant Experience Over Degrees And Certifications

If you happen to be a candidate that seems suitable for a job, try and think beyond the need for redundant industry certifications. There are many great PMs who’ve got the most suited experience without any proper industry certification. Even the most certified PMs cannot guarantee 100% efficiency on a project. There is a possibility that some of these most “certified” project managers have never delivered a quality project. Look beyond just the badges and numbers. When being interviewed focus on credentials, especially experience and the working style.

#3 – Enthusiasm And Passion In The Interview

The role of a project manager can be overwhelming. To perform, a project manager must be focused and deeply vested in the daily drills. They must love what they do. While being interviewed, make sure that you’re able to gauge the requisite passion needed for the profession in general. Don’t be a candidate that showcases laziness, tiredness, and even excessive nervousness. Be careful. Be aware. Bring out the passion for the job in an interview; Project Managers need a high degree of energy and enthusiasm to stay driven to serve their clients best. Show the intrinsic fire in the belly that allows you to stay inspired and focused.

#4 – Articulate Specific Methodology Required

With competition and even recession in some industries, hiring managers often try and choose a generalist who can be expanded into multiple roles. This is usually done to save costs. However, the half-hearted approach of hiring a person who is the jack of all trades and master of none can backfire if you need a specific methodology in your organization. Rather than covering every project management methodology you know, ask the interviewer about the specific methods they want you to use. It’s good practice to mention the same methodology in the job listing as well. This can help reduce the number of applicants and make the hiring process more efficient. Don’t try and be a person that is expected to “adjust” when the time arises. Mention what is needed at the time of the interview, to avoid problems down the line.

#5 – Go for the Right Job Listing

Understanding the right job listing is something that most project managers struggle with. This effectively means that the listing needs to be informational, to the point, and highly specific to your needs.  Stay away from template job descriptions that sound like a copy-paste act that doesn’t inspire trust among the most qualified candidates. In a nutshell, get specific!

People generally don’t work the same job for 30 years the way they use to. Meaning that is no longer expected that a Project Manager will stay around for a long time, as this expectation is no longer realistic. You might have to go through this roller coaster of looking for, being interviewed and working on a project. If you keep these five pointers in mind and become the project manager who is suited to an organization, you’ll see less attrition and more productivity.

Stay clear about what you need from the beginning. Highlight the precise goals that you as a candidate are planning to achieve by the end of a defined period. Give them a plan of action and the right opportunity to rise to the challenge in the role. The process might seem like an overkill in the beginning, but you’ll fall in love with it in due time. The best you can do is to put a process in place to be the most suited person for the job.

Strategies and Practices for Project Risk Management

Strategies and Practices for Project Risk Management

Regardless on the size of the project, there is always an element of risk involved, so it should be a top priority to identify and plan ahead in order to avoid potential points of failure. A risk can be a threat with a negative impact on the project principles or it can either be an opportunity which leads to a positive effect. Project risk management is revolving around identifying the threat level of existing business processes. The ultimate challenge for the project manager is to get the expert teams in functional areas who consist of proper knowledge of business processes and systems aligned for achieving new goals. Along with this, it is mandatory to get the required transparency into the activities which are agreed upon for project execution and how to prioritize the issues that surface every phase of the project.

There are some key strategies and practices that can be incorporated to reduce the risks and achieve the desired project goal. It is essential for every project manager to differentiate between both these terms as it helps to analyse the project risk before planning out strategies. A risk event is defined as a set of circumstances that has a negative impact on the project meeting or one of the project goals whereas Project risk is the exposure of the stakeholders towards the consequences of alterations in the output.

Risk Events are a sort of singular incident that can wreck the whole project. In opposition to this, project risk is progressively formless and considered as an aggregate of all the individual risk events and vulnerabilities. It might be possible that risk event does not result in project failure but the project risk can certainly end up creating disaster. It is difficult to manage the project risk as there are circumstances that happen outside of the projects control which has not been planned.

When dealing with the risk events and the entire project risks, it requires the project managers to develop different plans at various levels. One is an explicit risk management plan which deals with an individual risk event and revolves around identifying, analysing and responding or controlling the individual risks. Another one is implicit risk that deals with overall project risk and revolves around analysing the project structure, content, context, and scope.

Explicit risk management plans by enabling the project manager to make a rundown of the considerable number of segments in the undertaking and the odds of bombing them. This needs to get a more profound knowledge into the past records, industry benchmarks and standard practices of distinguishing an inappropriate thing. On the other hand, the implicit risk management plans are created in the pre-project phase itself where analysis of everything besides the individual risks can lead to the project failure.

There are a number of ways risks can be identified, as the agency grows so does its experience of risks. After a specific number of tasks, the dangers don’t seem to rehash themselves. It enables the saving on a large amount of time on the off chance that procedures to inventory dangers are built when comparable undertakings are held later on. Here, are some variant ways to figure out the risks. It is not mandatory to use all the given tactics but can be used according to needs.

Checklist analysis: This approach involves creating a checklist of present processes and resources. By doing so, it ensures whether the targets are getting hit or require any further push for the same.

Expert Analysis: In this approach, ask an experienced project member, stakeholders and domain experts regarding the potential risks. Also, interview them about the risks which they have encountered in the past projects and get an idea based on their opinions.

Risk Repository: The risk repository ought to turn into the main stop for the risk distinguishing proof procedure. It is a list of all the essential risks that are encountered in finished projects along with their solutions. The ultimate idea is that there can be an overlap in the objectives of the project and also in the risks.

Status report extrapolation: Consider all the available reports whether it be a status report, progress report or quality report to determine the extrapolate risk from them.

Despite the fact that risk management has developed into a perceived control, it has still not arrived at its pinnacle and can get additionally created. The main areas of concentration are to focus more on ensuring control over the project failures and risks.

The 5 Project Management Trends Of 2019

Project Management Trends

Although the year is almost at an end, there are 5 distinct project management trends which have become very important within any organization.Project managers are involved in substantial decision-making practices within a business, providing helpful guidelines and goal-based solutions for any occurring problem. Some of the most common roles of a project manager are resource planning, team organization and motivation, time-management control, budget development and cost estimation, customer-satisfaction development, risk management, and progress tracking.

There are several ways in which a project manager can assist a business to grow relatively fast via drastic changes, intensive hard-work and commitment. To understand how much of an impact a project management team could have on a company, the following is a brief list of essential points in which PM can affect the business development.

  • Improving project estimation techniques
  • Understanding a company’s true resource competencies
  • Learning how to prioritize just the right projects
  • Mapping out a clear and well-defined business plan
  • Planning business projects mindfully
  • Optimizing resources fairly
  • Gaining real time visibility
  • Developing budget-improvement plans
  • Improving service/product delivery
  • Facilitating team collaboration
  • Minimizing risk and maximizing efficiency
  • Measure productivity and progress
  • Improving cash flow
  • Producing clearer management reports

Since project managers are essential parts of any organization, the emerging trends mentioned below of 2019 are good skills to have for 2019 and beyond.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming the leading technology as the fourth industrial revolution emerges. There are many useful AI algorithms that provide improved customer care and better real-time services, as well as superior marketplace conditions. Automation may or may not replace people, but it is best to embrace it, if success is expected. “AI boots could plan better portfolios, relocate resources more efficiently and systematically, and even carry out objective reporting, so it’s important that future technological changes are embraced.

More complex projects will probably be handed to AI-machines, which will solve problems quickly and improve the overall decision-making process with one’s company. As automation expanses, improving softer skills becomes crucial for project managers. Building meaningful relationships with clients should be primal focus but learning how to make proper use of AI boots is very important as well.

If there is a thought of pursuing an online job in the upcoming year, here are some tips that might help stay on top of work. First, make sure clients are checked constantly and keep track of their work. Don’t hesitate to keep them accountable for personal updates – checking their status is perfectly normal. This can be achieved by using online collaboration tools to facilitate communication processes.

Regardless of which methodology is used Agile, Waterfall, Scrum, Prince2, PMI’s, or Kanban separately to get assignment help and make  company deliver whatever is necessary, whenever it’s necessary, or possibly use a hybrid methodology, a combination of favourite project management methodologies and facilitate work. The impact of using this technique might seem less relevant than it is, by using the hybrid model, the opportunity to bring everything in one place assists in developing efficiency.

Analyzing data is one of the most important key activities in almost any PM project. With such big chunks of information available, companies will rely more on numbers and less on other available data. For example, assessing risk using this method is not something unusual, while determining customer needs based on numbers is quite typical as well.

Project management tools have long been an important part of a PM’s job, but with quickly-evolving technologies and fast-expanding global market, learn how to use the latest ones available on the market to see adequate results.

The following are some ways in which these tools will help.

  • The ability to plan out projects easier and faster
  • Track and schedule meetings, events, deadlines
  • The tools to enhance collaboration (especially if working remotely) and help share information and collaborators/employers.
  • To meet deadlines but also plan budgets
  • To track team’s goals and develop resource planning

These new trends are not everything that matters in 2019. They will definitely have a huge impact on how companies do business and how project managers are perceived, but make sure to remain confident in developed abilities. In a nutshell, learn automation processes and check where the difference can be made, learn the new hybrid model, use available online tools for planning, and accept the changes that come with an open mentality!

The Art of Project Management, a discipline for initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve a specific goal. A project is a temporary endeavour designed to produce a unique product, service or outcome. The end to end delivery of the project, known as the project lifecycle is affected by resource, time management and a fixed budget. The purpose of project management is to enhance a particular situation through the avenue of delivery and change. The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all the project goals within the given constraints, normally defined in a user or project manual, created at the beginning of the development process. The primary constraints are scope, time, quality and budget. The secondary and more ambitious challenge is to optimize the allocation of necessary inputs and integrate them to meet a pre-defined objective.