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Defining Roles and Responsibility in Complex Projects

Defining roles and responsibilities is important in most projects, but in complex projects it should be mandatory. It reduces validation and time wasting, without clear and defined communication channels then it becomes confusing and disjointed. There is a difference between strategic communication, project management communication, and change management. When this confusion is brought into large, complex projects, it can create waste, ineffective resourcing and dissatisfied stakeholders.

In most organizations, the people who perform these three distinct functions have built their expertise on very different professional backgrounds. Regardless there are many occasions when a project manager has been tasked to produce a strategic communications plan, or a strategic communication manager been asked to handle the “team” communications on a large project.

As business increases in speed, scale and complexity, clearing up this confusion is more important than ever. Just as each function is critical to success, so is learning how to resource, structure and execute each of them effectively – without tripping over each other.

Being clear and definitive in each role is a must, when this is clear from the start the ability to drive the most important strategic work forward between the three distinct functions of strategic communication, change management and project communication occurs.

It’s useful to think of these functions in terms of what drives them:

  • Strategic communicators use storytelling to move employees’ hearts and minds and get everyone on board to advance broad organizational objectives. They support employee engagement, leadership and growth by sharing timely and meaningful news across the organization. They speak on behalf of the organization and often own the voice of the organization internally and externally.
  • Status Updates. Project managers use communications to deliver project-specific information to relevant parties and ensure that all objectives, plans, risks and time constraints are clear and aligned. They speak on behalf of the project, but not the organization.
  • Transformation. Change management experts help employees make successful transitions to new roles, responsibilities and ways of working. They connect people to the reason for change and move the organization to help assimilate to the needed level of change. When done well, change management increases the business value of what is being delivered. Change management strategies usually accomplish this through tactics using communication, engagement, readiness, training, and enabling strong project sponsorship.

For this to occur successfully, it is best to build a RACI to define roles and responsibilities. Before developing any project, communication or change management plan, take the time to jointly build a RACI (exercise of identifying stakeholders who will be responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed throughout a project) that clearly defines these overlapping roles and associated responsibilities. Keep the plan and actions aligned with each role; the RACI should only be adjusted to close project gaps or address new discoveries.

Once completed, a RACI can also provide insight on the effort it will take to achieve the project goals and to ensure it is properly staffed for successMeet with sponsors and key leadership before the project begins to review roles and responsibilities, request additional staffing, or reduce scope as indicated by the RACI. As part of this effort, decide when and how often to meet and with whom. Establish a structured meeting cadence to address critical intersections in work deliverables.

Once the RACI is defined, keeping resources within their respective lanes while meeting overall project needs can be a task on its own. Project managers, strategic communicators and change managers will each approach planning differently. In order to align them on a project, then they should be aligned to the deliverables.

Format may seem like a minor thing. Yet some programs have struggled for months over how to insert a change management plan into a project management plan. Decide up front which format should be used, who will manage the plan, and how. If change managers and strategic communicators will be managing their own plans, decide how they will provide project managers with usable updates and core milestones for tracking.

Coordinated reporting on progress is essential to staying on track. Project managers, change managers and strategic communicators often report to different people. Make sure all of them are on the same page. Once a decision is made on a format for managing the project plan, leverage the same status information into all reports and updates to key stakeholders. This will avoid duplicate and/or uncoordinated reporting, a common source of confusion and wasted effort. Don’t forget to let plan management get in the way of work. People need to respect each other’s roles and focus on status updates, not the format.

It is important that each person works to their strengths, this will ensue effective and be cost-efficient, while increasing employee satisfaction. Valuable skills, dedication and know-how of internal and/or external resources shouldn’t be wasted. When everyone’s working at the top of their game, then the full value of each resource is received. Project management communication, strategic communication, and change management are three very different functions. Organizations that clarify these three distinct roles, and align them before launching a major project, can finesse the integrated structure, message and activities that lead to success.

The Benefits of a Pert Chart

A PERT can assist in taking control of deadlines and project tasks, PERT is an acronym that stands for Program Evaluation and Review Technique. It’s a statistical tool that can be very useful when working on a project, as it analyses and represents the project’s tasks.

A PERT chart is a tool that can help project managers schedule, organize and coordinate tasks in their projects. It’s a graphic representation of the timeline of a project, which gives project managers the tools they need to breakdown each of the project’s tasks for analysis.

There are milestones for the project indicated on the PERT chart by triangles. Circles represent the individual tasks and are connected by lines to show the duration of that task from start to finish, call nodes.

The PERT chart is used by project managers to estimate the minimum amount of time that will be needed to close a project. This is done by examining the breakdown of the project and the connections there are between tasks, which also helps determine the amount of risk inherent in the project.

One of the purposes of a PERT chart is to help project managers get a handle on complex projects. The nature of the PERT chart and its breakdown structure help to take the complexity of a project and its many parts and visualize the dependencies between each step in the process.

PERT in project management has been around for a while, but it in fact was developed in the U.S. Navy. In 1957, its Special Projects Office created the PERT chart to assist in its Polaris nuclear submarine project.

Since then, it’s found a home in all manner of industries, even the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble.

PERT diagrams and the critical path method came about at roughly the same time, growing from the scientific management founded by Frederick Taylor, also called Taylorism, which was later refined by Henry Ford. But the use of the term critical path comes from DuPont, which developed the method also in the late 1950s.

The problems that a PERT chart has evolved to solve are myriad. They help plan realistic timetables for projects and identify the critical path. They also help project managers see which tasks can be done at the same time. If the project schedule is shortened, the PERT chart points to tasks that can be compressed, and it helps to show tasks that are not critical.

When creating a PERT chart tasks, or activities, are represented as arrows on the diagram. The dates of project milestones are represented as nodes, or circles. A PERT event is a point that marks the start of completion of one or more activities. There are also predecessor events, which occur immediately before some events, and a successor event, which naturally occurs afterwards.

PERT has four definitions for the time required to accomplish an activity:

  1. Optimistic Time: The least amount of time to accomplish a task or activity.
  2. Pessimistic Time: The maximum amount of time to accomplish a task or activity.
  3. Most Likely Time: The best estimate of how long it will take to accomplish the task or activity, assuming there are no problems.
  4. Expected Time: The best estimate of how long it will take to accomplish the task or activity, assuming there will be problems.

There are terms associated when using a PERT Chart;

  • Nodes: These are the symbols used to visualize milestones and project tasks.
  • Arrows: Visual representation of the sequence of a task, diverging arrows indicate tasks that can be completed at the same time.
  • PERT Event: The start or end of a task.
  • Slack: The amount of time a task can be delayed without causing an overall delay to the project or other tasks.
  • Critical Path: Charts the longest path from beginning to the end of a task or event.
  • Critical Path Activity: An activity with no slack.
  • Lead Time: How much time you should complete a task or activity without impacting the following ones.
  • Lag Time: The earliest time in which to a task can follow another.
  • Fast Tracking: Working tasks or activities at the same time.
  • Crashing Critical Path: Shortening the time of a task.

The steps involved when implementing a PERT Chart;

  1. Begin by identifying the project milestones and then break those down into individual tasks.
  2. Then figure out the sequence of the tasks.
  3. Make the PERT diagram.
  4. Do an estimate for each task and the time it will take to complete it.
  5. Calculate the critical path and identify any possible slack.
  6. Finally, the PERT chart is a living document that must be returned to and revived as needed when the project is in progress.

There is a difference between a PERT Chart and a Gantt Chart, while both PERT charts and Gantt charts are visual tools used by project managers to control tasks scheduling, they are not exactly the same thing.

PERT charts, as detailed above, were developed to simplify planning and scheduling larger and complex projects. A Gantt chart is also a graphical depiction for planning and scheduling a project, which breaks work down into tasks that populate a timeline. A Gantt chart can set task dependencies and shows the duration of each task.

If that sounds similar, there are differences. For example in a Gantt the timeline is represented by a bar chart, while a PERT is more a flowchart or network diagram. Gantts tend to be used in smaller projects, while PERT charts are for larger and more complex projects. Dependent tasks are linked on a Gantt while a PERT has many interconnecting networks of independent tasks.

However, PERT charts are usually used before a project to figure out scheduling and Gantt charts tend to follow into the project, highlighting scheduling constraints. The Gantt chart can be used when executing the project as well as when planning because tasks start and end dates can be edited. Gantt charts reveal how long each task will take, show who on the team is responsible for those tasks and generally are a more transparent tool to track progress.

The PERT chart is a tool that helps plan and schedule, and Projectmanagementcompanion.com has a selection of online Gantt chart that plans, schedules and works through the execution of the project. Any one of these Project Management tools provide Gantt that provides control over every aspect of a schedule, from placing milestones, assigning team members and linking dependencies. Teams can collaborate at the task level, commenting and attaching documents. As issues arise and start and end dates change, simply drag and drop the duration bar.

As the software is cloud-based, a team’s status updates are instantly incorporated into the Gantt. The Gantt charts even calculate critical path. Try one on a free 30-day trial

What is needed for good capacity planning?

What is needed for good capacity planning?

Capacity planning is an issue of supply and demand, which has the ability to derail a project. It is a process that balances the available hours of teams against what the project needs. Capacity in this case is the most work that can be done over a certain timeframe. It’s a bit of a juggling act that has to keep several balls in the air, such as the availability of the team, the money in the budget for those hours and what is demanded by the client, stakeholder or customer. Capacity and planning obviously go hand-in-glove. Planning is how one schedules the hours of the team members so that the work gets done in time.

The first questions to address when planning for capacity within an organization is whether or not there is sufficient capacity, or the resources, to do the work. Regardless of the situation, there will be a lack of understanding unless there is a way to measure and track resources, such as a resource management tool. Only then can an educated decision on capacity planning be made.

It’s a matter of supply and demand, are the resources available or not? Those resources can be people, which can be acquired from other projects that are cancelled. If it’s skill, then there’s training to close the gap. Process that balances the available hours of teams against what the project needs. Capacity in this case is the most work that can be done over a certain timeframe.

While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same. The process is different. Below is a list to understand the differences,

Capacity Planning

  • It’s a planning process designed to help determine if the organization has enough people resources according to skill sets.
  • It looks at the availability of those resources at the skill set/team level.
  • Then it facilitates the decision-making process to hire resources or defer/approve/cancel projects.
  • Capacity planning is about supply and demand.

Resource Planning

  • It’s a planning process that coordinates and allocates actual resources to projects based on skills required.
  • It provides a plan to project managers, which resources they can plan to use for their projects and when.
  • Resource planning is people resource utilization.

Here is a short checklist for high-level capacity planning.

  1. Establish Cross-Functional Team: To collaborate and communicate about resources, while looking across different projects or programs, the preference is for a cross-functional team with different levels and different functions.
  2. Calculate Resource Capacity: Before planning can occur, there must be an idea of what is available, which is why it’s important to note the gap between what is wanted and what is needed, and then figure out how to narrow it.
  3. Determine Resources required by the Project: For each project, look at the scope and what resources are required to do the task for the project.
  4. Prioritize Projects: Which projects are most important, and which can be put aside for the time being? Not everything can be done at once.
  5. Allocate Resources Based on Project Priority: Now allocate those prioritized projects and make sure that they are aligned with the goals of the organization.

The following are three capacity planning tips.

  1. Keep the lines of communications open between executives, project management leaders and stakeholders.
  2. Document known risks (such as union strikes, weather, government regulations) that stop a project or create new ones unexpectedly.
  3. Plan for how to handle too much capacity (where is it and how to resolve it, such as reassigning) or not enough capacity (again, where/how.)

Related to capacity planning is capacity requirements planning, which is when an organization decides how much it needs to produce and whether it is capable of doing so. Therefore, capacity requirements planning allows companies to meet supply and demand.

This also applies to IT, as they must access the demand for their service and determine their ability to meet that demand with whatever supply they have, be that people or technology. In order to do this successfully, any enterprise must look at internal and external forces and how they impact the business.

Capacity requirements planning is the macro to capacity planning’s micro. That is, capacity requirements planning is the big picture that takes in the whole business landscape to see where the company’s production fits. While capacity planning is for the specific projects the company engages in.

Capacity planning is linked to resource management. Projectmanagementcompanion.com has a selection of resource management tool that provides control over planning, scheduling and sourcing. Enabling a balance of workload and the ability to reassign tasks to keep team members from being idle.

The resource management tools allow managers to see what their teams are doing, when they’re doing it and how much it costs to do it. Providing the ability to track resources and see progress, which allows managers to make better decisions.

To get a full picture of the costs involved, add hourly rates for teams and contractors across projects or portfolios. As team members log their hours, their actual costs are automatically calculated and can be compared to the costs that were planned, so they can be capacity adjusted as needed.

Holidays can be planned and working days for team members determined, whether they’re local or international. These off days are blocked on the calendar, to better manage resources. Once the capacity is known then resource availability can be more wisely determined to accomplish project goals.

Capacity planning requires the right tools to give managers insight into workforce and how it aligns with budgets. Projectmanagementcompanion.com is a project reference site that provides insight to assist in real-smart business decisions.

The resource management tools listed provides a window into team’s resources and helps for a better planning process by using plan online Gantt charts. To see how we can help you manage your next project better, try any one of the tools found on Projectmanagementcompanion.com.

The Importance of Project Tracking and Reporting

Once stakeholders have approved the project plan, the execution phase begins. At this point, project monitoring, tracking and reporting become the core responsibilities of project manager. But everyone on the team must also be aware of monitoring and tracking, so if issues arise, they are addressed. Project reporting documents show how things are progressing.

Effective project reporting requires clear, simple and concise communication. This communication flows in two directions. Not only top-down, from project sponsors and external stakeholders to team members, but also in the opposite direction.

Many types of project reports are created during the execution phase in order to track the progress of a project. Project status reports act not only as important communication tools during project execution but also as important historical documents that inform the development of future projects. This makes estimating the scope of future projects less of a shot-in-the-dark, and more of an educated guess.

Project status reports have a few key objectives, including:

  1. Making communication across the organization seamless
  2. Simplifying the communication process
  3. Keeping stakeholders informed as the project moves forward
  4. Delivering the right information, to the right stakeholders, at the right time
  5. Enhancing organizational support for everyone involved

Project monitoring, tracking and reporting are a highly-collaborative process. Without monitoring and tracking the progress of a project, the reporting is not accurate. Therefore, teams must collaborate when creating reports, so communications are clear. This collaboration and communication is facilitated by the right project management tools.

Using tools that help with collaboration when monitoring and tracking makes evaluating a project easier. Projectmanagementcompanion.com has a visual, timeline-driven Gantt charts, drag-and-drop Kanban boards and interactive task lists to help teams collaborate on tasks in the way that works best for them. These three views empower teams to collaborate and execute effectively.

There are six elements to a project report, as the execution phase progresses, it’s important to report on progress so the schedule doesn’t go astray.

Project Information

Start with the basics. What is the project’s name? Who will be managing the project? What are the available resources? Effective tracking requires detailed information. It’s an unsafe bet to assume stakeholders share a projects familiarity. Instead, provide information known, even if it seems like overkill. This helps things run smoothly, and also sets groundwork for the project to be referenced as a precedent when future projects are being planned.

Status Information

Report dates are the most important status information, and should always be front-and-center. Also, data separating status reports from other reports crossing stakeholders’ desks should be visible to grab attention.

Milestone Review

Milestones are major touchpoints for your project. They serve as a guidepost for remaining work, and the timeline for it to get done. Conducting a milestone review lets stakeholders see actual progress versus what was estimated in the project proposal.

Project Summary

The project summary includes a projected completion date, as well as resources and costs expended. Inclusion of issues causing delays is an important summary component. There should be a clear explanation of how these issues could affect budget and timeline, and work being done to ensure things are corrected to get the project back on track.

Issues and Risks

This section is straightforward. List issues and risks encountered and note how these are being resolved. Finally, outline how resolutions are positively impacting project execution.

Project Metrics

Back up statements with hard numbers and data points. Project planning details should have outlined these metrics. Show how data illustrates the success of your project to date, or, highlight needs for immediate improvement.

With these elements in mind, there are some project reporting best practices to consider:

  • Communication is the cornerstone: Status reports are a key element of your communications plan. However, these reports don’t have to cover everything, and be all things to all people. Writing reports in a way that delivers the right information to the right people, at the right time, should be the overarching goal.
  • Be consistent: Consistency is key. Find a format and distribution method that works for stakeholders, and stick with it. They’ll appreciate the predictability of the information they receive.
  • Set targets and measure against them: Establishing metrics is an important part of project reporting and monitoring. Accordingly, these metrics should be how the project progress is measured against goals throughout its life-cycle.
  • Keep things simple: Keep reports simple to ensure effectiveness. Don’t pull in details unrelated to the issue on which is being reported.
  • Always verify what is being reported: It’s a bad idea to assume information is correct without doing due diligence to ensure it is.
  • Have some standards: Reporting simplification is made easier through creation of standards defining report structure, and how information is presented. Given this, building templates to make the work easier is a great first step.

Throughout any project, it’s important to evaluate reporting to avoid scope creep. As project teams start to work, and silos of activity develop, it’s vital to keep everyone aligned. This ensures project scope doesn’t creep.

There are five ways to avoid scope creep:

  1. Document all project requirements 
  2.  Establish change control processes: If scope creep happens, it’s important to have change control processes in place to bring things back on track.
  3. Create a clear project schedule: A thorough project schedule outlines project goals. It outlines tasks to be done to reach those goals. This schedule is referenced against the project plan’s requirements document to make sure everything is moving forward. If not, the schedule sets the course for tweaks or changes.
  4. Verify scope with stakeholders: It’s worthwhile during a project’s lifecycle to review scope with all stakeholders. Reviewing the schedule together, and making sure all tasks stakeholders are expecting to be done on a given timeline is also a good idea.
  5. Engage the project team: Make sure the project team is happy with how things are going throughout the project. As the change control process starts to take hold, let the team know how it will affect them. Weekly 1:1 meetings or team meetings to review tasks, and also overall project progress is a great way to keep the team engaged.

Project reporting can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Taking things step-by-step can help ease anxieties among everyone involved, and ensure a winning result.

Project reporting can be tough, but also efficient with the right tools. Projectmanagementcompanion.com offers tools that make collaboration and development of project reports less time-consuming and more intuitive. Check out the selection of reporting capability in action by taking a free 30-day trial.

Necessary Capacity Planning Tools

Necessary Capacity Planning Tools

Capacity planning is a process that balances the available hours of teams against what the project needs. Capacity in this case is the most work that can be done over a certain time frame. It can be a delicate balancing act as there could be several items needing attention at once, such as the availability of the team, the money in the budget for those hours and what is demanded by the client, stakeholder or customer. Planning is how one schedules the hours of the team members so that the work gets done in time.

The first question to address when planning for capacity within an organization is whether or not there is any capacity, or the resources, to do the work. Regardless of the situation, the information will not be worth much unless there is a way to measure and track these resources, such as a resource management tool. Only then can an educated decision on capacity planning be made.

It’s a matter of supply and demand, are the resources available? Those resources can be people, who can be reallocated from other projects that have been cancelled. If it’s skill, then there’s training to close the gap.

While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same. The process is different. The differences have been listed below.

Capacity Planning

  • It’s a planning process designed to help determine if the organization has enough people resources according to skill sets.
  • It looks at the availability of those resources at the skill set/team level.
  • Then it facilitates the decision-making process to hire resources or defer/approve/cancel projects.
  • Capacity planning is about supply and demand.

Resource Planning

  • It’s a planning process that coordinates and allocates actual resources to projects based on skills required.
  • It provides a plan to project managers, which resources they can plan to use for their projects and when.
  • Resource planning is people resource utilization.

Capacity Planning Checklist

The following is a short checklist for high-level capacity planning.

  1. Establish Cross-Functional Team: To collaborate and communicate about resources, as you’re looking across different projects or programs, it can assist a cross-functional team as required with different levels and different functions.
  2. Calculate Resource Capacity: Before planning can occur, there must be an idea of what tool is required, which is why it’s important to note the gap between what is wanted and what is need, and then figure out how to narrow it.
  3. Determine Resources required by the Project: For each project, look at the scope and what resources are required to do the task for the project.
  4. Prioritize Projects: Which projects are most important, and which can be put aside for the time being? Remember everything cannot be done at once.
  5. Allocate Resources Based on Project Priority: Allocate those prioritized projects and make sure that they are aligned with the goals of the organization.

The following are three tips for capacity planning.

  1. Keep the lines of communications open between executives, project management leaders and stakeholders.
  2. Document known risks (such as union strikes, weather, government regulations) that stop a project or create new ones unexpectedly.
  3. Plan for how to handle too much capacity (where is it and how to resolve it, such as reassigning) or not enough capacity (again, where/how.)

Related to capacity planning is capacity requirements planning, which is when an organization decides how much it needs to produce and whether it is capable of doing so. Therefore, capacity requirements planning allows companies to meet supply and demand.

This applies to IT, as they must access the demand for their service and determine their ability to meet that demand with whatever supply they have, be that people or technology. In order to do this successfully, any enterprise must look at internal and external forces and how they impact the business.

Capacity requirements planning is the macro to capacity plannings micro. That is, capacity requirements planning is the big picture that takes in the whole business landscape to see where the company’s production fits. While capacity planning is for the specific projects the company engages in.

Capacity planning is linked to resource management. Projectmanagementcompanion.com has a selection of resource management tools that provide control over planning, scheduling and sourcing. Workload can be balanced and reassign tasks to keep team members from being idle. The resource management tools allows managers to see what their teams are doing, when they’re doing it and how much it costs to do it. Resources can be tracked and see progress, which allows managers to make better decisions. To get a full picture of the costs involved, hourly rates can be added for teams and contractors across project or portfolio. As team members log their hours, their actual costs are automatically calculated and can be compared to the costs that were planned, so adjustments to capacity can be made as needed.

Holidays and working days can also be accounted, whether they’re local or international. These off days are blocked in the calendar, so resources can be better managed. Once capacity planning is completed then the use of the resources can be planned, as to use them more wisely to accomplish project goals.

A data driven resume to nail that next role

The current project is coming to an end, and with it your contract, or possibly it’s time for another challenge elsewhere. Regardless of the reason it’s time to refine the resume to nail that next role. So what is required to standout from all those competitors, it is hard to come by important decisions that are made in the absence of data to support them. Managers are, understandably, loath to not have evidence stacked up to support a claim or decision that exposes their organization to opportunity, but also risk. 

This same perspective can be applied to hiring decisions as well. Are not employees a huge opportunity, albeit potential risk, for any business? A star employee can transform an organization for the better, resulting in a strong bottom line and happier customers. In a competitive job market, candidates need to sell their attributes and accomplishments to hiring managers, who increasingly need to base their hiring decisions on strong evidence, not unlike other operational or project decisions.

The resume needs to be quantitative, most resumes list work experience and education in a neat table, sorted by date and organization. This is a good start. However, when drilled down into the details underlying each previous job, the descriptions often leave something to be desired. For example;

  • “Compiled project analysis for company executives”
  • “Managed an organization-wide ERP solution implementation”
  • “Trained support teams on use of new software tool”

What these examples demonstrate is a lack of volume, scale, or size. How is a hiring manager to know if you managed the roll out of an ERP system for a staff of 10, or 2000? What does improved service delivery really mean? That each agent more consistently said thank you at the end of each call? Or were turnaround times reduced by 30%? Look for the ‘wins’ and highlight them with data.

Which can look like;

  • “Comprehensively analyzed and compiled dozens of address, routing, and fuel data points on a weekly cadence, to draft executive reports that could be quickly understood and acted upon”
  • “Managed a 1 year ERP implementation affecting 900 staff, resulting in time savings of 5 FTEs”
  • “Facilitated dozens of training sessions of 5‐25 participants each, achieving an average instructor rating of 4.5/5 from feedback forms”

The descriptions above provide a potential employer with the following takeaway.

  • $’s spent, saved or earned
  • Time taken or time saved
  • Cadence or turnaround time of process or task
  • # of people impacted, trained or involved
  • # of computers/machines updated or provisioned
  • Volume or quantity of materials 

What if the numbers aren’t impressive, when providing feedback on resumes, mentees often state they don’t think their accomplishments sound big or important enough if too much detail is given, as if keeping it vague somehow augments their work. If you don’t think an accomplishment is worth quantifying, remember that hiring managers can also revert to the lowest common denominator, if quantities aren’t provided. You may have concurrently managed 10 accounts worth an average of $10,000. In the absence of concrete numbers, a hiring manager may theoretically guess that maybe it was 4 accounts worth $5000 each. 

Sometimes, exploring different ways of telling your data story can make your work history sound more effective too. Maybe you successfully negotiated a $100 savings on a monthly vendor contract. That’s great, but maybe you can re-word it as, “Negotiated a 10% savings on a recurring monthly expense, saving $1000s per year”. Explore absolute versus percent versus ratio metrics for each claim, as sometimes one will sound better than the other. 

You may notice 2 distinct metrics types, often, when we are stuck in the weeds of our projects, we only think of our internal metrics. These could include things like # of stakeholders managed, dollars spent, or groups involved. What are often more impactful, in terms of convincing employers of the significance of your work, are metrics that speak to what your project ultimately accomplished; the downstream outcomes. Sometimes, these data points may not be known for months or years. These could include things like # of new clients, # of people trained, or incremental dollars earned or saved, directly due to actions you took while deep in the weeds of your project. Have a think about your last few projects. What were their downstream outcomes?

People differ on the utility of a personal interests or extracurricular section of your resume. Hiring managers, like all humans, are subject to nervousness around meeting new people in a formal interview setting. The personal interests section provide great small chat talking points to fill otherwise awkward pauses that can occur before and after the formal questioning part of an interview.

Just like with the other sections of your resume, be specific, and quantified, with your personal life! Instead of; 

  • “Organizer of musical festivals”, or 
  • “Love traveling and photography”

May look something like;

  • “Have organized 3 musical festivals with 1000s of participants each”, or
  • “Have traveled in 23 countries, and photographed the Taj Mahal to the fish & corals of the Great Barrier Reef”

Lastly, quantifying your resume is an exercise to perform not only once you are looking for your next contract or job, but on an ongoing basis, so that you can leverage the metrics you have formulated for yourself in conversations and informal networking chats.

Good luck on your next application!

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.