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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!

Traits of a Successful Project Manager

Project Managers can come in all shapes, sizes and walks of life, but there are traits which they all have in common. These traits are what set them apart from their counterparts. There is a value to good habits which is often overlooked. They take helpful behaviour and move it towards being automatic. When good habits are automatic, they are just followed, almost without thinking. And that frees up attention to focus on the other important details on the task list. So, habits amplify effectiveness and, therefore, how successful project management practices are developed.

There are essential habits a successful project manager must have, without them, then failure is imminent, they are ability to follow the project process and acting with complete integrity. Following process speaks for itself, but integrity, the ability to speak honestly and dealing fairly with people seems obvious but is lost to some. It is also portrayed as a sign of weakness, when in actual fact it takes strength, because it can be easy to not pursue uneasy situations. The habit should be to only take actions that represent absolute integrity, and not to consider whether or not to pursue them, and this in itself is no easy matter to assess.

Focusing on several other constructive habits, and making them an extension of being a project manager can assist and possibly enhance the long term ambition of career success.

Being prepared for a shift, it will happen so trying not to be annoyed by it is a defiant trait. Set the mind to thinking it terms of risk. See the possibility of failure in every part of the plan. It’s too easy to study a plan and see the risks as variances to the plan.

Traits of a successful project manager

Successful project managers have two traits that complement one another:

  1. Looking for problems and planning how they will deal with them.
  2. Constantly working their risk register. They review outstanding risks on a regular cycle and push constantly for progress.

The ability to listen, people can make projects tricky. Stakeholders have the capacity to make or break projects. So, communicating with them must be right at the top of a priority list. It has been stated that project management is 80 percent communication.

That communication splits three ways, and not evenly. Some goes to the governance tiers, being the boss, client or sponsor, and some go to the team and colleagues. However, most of the communication will be with stakeholders via informing, consulting, cajoling, persuading and so much more. The one trait that makes all this easier, that wins their respect, and feeds insight is simple: always be listening.

Projects are big, complex endeavours with lots of moving parts. They can drain away energy. Time is precious so prioritizing and focus is order of the day. But there is one thing that a project manager craves above all else: control. That is the job of a project manager: to bring control to the messy, chaotic, uncertain, changing environment that is a project. Every project should be treated as though it is unique with its own priorities and points of impact.

For each project, find the one or two levers that provide maximum control over the project. Make them the focus of monitoring and control. When the right levers are understood, and learnt how to work them, everything else will fall into place.

No project manager will be truly successful until they learn to delegate effectively. It confers so many benefits that it should be the standard solution for getting things done. The ability to delegate not only frees up the PM time to focus on other aspects of the project, it also instils trust in the team. Delegation is a premium tool for developing people, not by just benefiting them. It builds resilience into projects and therefore mitigates some substantial risks.

Understand, unless it’s a small project, where the PM is also the team, then the project manager will not be delivering the project, the team does. In the context of project delivery, the job is quite simple. Make it as easy as possible for them to do their jobs.

So, forget about stale stereotypes of being the boss. The trait here is to get into making the coffee for the team because the role here is to serve the team, to provide them with the resources they need, to thrive and succeed. They should be shielded from the corporate meddling that constantly frustrates day-to-day efforts to get on with work.

Excellent projects often benefit from excellent governance, the ability to provide high quality detail in a succinct format. The project manager should not be afraid to constantly be questioning, challenging, and looking for new evidence. Avoid confirmation bias by preparing project reports from the bottom up. Project reporting tools can really come in handy here. Start with raw data every time, rather than gathering data to illustrate main points. Seek out wise counsel, and test ideas with experienced and senior colleagues.

Finally it is important to evolve and keep learning, successful professionals evolve faster than other people because they have an “always learning” mindset.

  1. Invest in knowledge, learning and skill set.
    Read books. Go to events. Take courses. Lifelong learning is the surest route to flexible career options, fulfilment and even good mental health.
  2. Review experiences.
    The people whom others most consistently rate as being wise, the people whose opinions are sort out and valued, they have one trait in common. They make time to reflect on their experience. Often, they keep a journal. They record their thought processes, their choices, their reasons, and their actions. And they also reflect on how things turned out, looking for patterns and lessons to learn.

To assist in developing good traits, the best project management tools should be used. has access to powerful online project management software that helps with everything from project planning to scheduling to stakeholder management. Take one of the available free 30-day trials and put those good habits to use!

Composing a Project Charter

A project charter is the statement of scope, objectives and people who are participating in a project. It begins the process of defining the roles and responsibilities of those participants and outlines the objectives and goals of the project. The charter also identifies the main stakeholders and defines the authority of the project manager.

By following the Project Charter guidelines, then composing one will seem like a daunting task. Also, be sure to get the free downloadable Word template to help make the process more efficient. It serves as a great project charter example.

Composing a project charter

The project management charter serves as a reference document. It should outline these three main points.

  1. What is the essence of the project? What are the goals and objectives of the project? The plan on how to reach and achieve these goals and objectives?
  2. Provide a shared understanding of the project. The charter should communicate its value and/or reason for existence to every person who has a part in it, from the team to the project manager, stakeholders, sponsors, etc.
  3. Act as a contract between the project sponsor, key stakeholders and the project team. By noting the responsibilities of each party involved in the project, everyone is clear what their duties are.

In essence the charter should document the projects broad strokes, and while a project statement doesn’t need to go into great detail, there is more to it than these general statements. The definition of the project should be short because it refers to more detailed documents, such as a request for proposal.

One of the key parts of any project statement is to establish the authority assigned to the project manager. Other purposes of the document are as follows.

  • What are the reasons for undertaking the project? Note them here so everyone is clear about why they are doing what they are doing.
  • What are the objectives and constraints of the project? This is the what part of why the project is being undertaken. If this target is not clear then the project is going to miss the mark.
  • What are the directions concerning the solution to any constraints listed above? There should be at least an outline of how project constraints will be dealt with. If it’s not covered at this stage then it will be catch-up later.
  • Who are the main stakeholders? It’s always crucial to note the stakeholders in any project for they’re the ones who you’ll be reporting to and, in a sense, managing their expectations. The sooner you know who they are, the sooner you can build a productive relationship with them.
  • What are the in-scope and out-of-scope items? Scope is the boundaries of the project, such as its start date and when it concludes. So, what are the in-scope items, such those parts of the project process as opposed to tasks or actions that lay outside the step-by-step process of the project?
  •  What are the potential risks in the project? Identify all risks that could arise in the project so you’re not taken by surprise. This should be followed up by a risk register and risk management plan in the project plan, where you detail how you’ll resolve those risks and who on the team is responsible for catching and fixing them.
  • What are the project benefits? A good way to sell the project is to have a sense of what good the project will bring to sponsors and stakeholders. Figure out what those benefits are and list them here.
  • What are the project costs? While you’ll go into greater detail when you create the project budget, here is where you want to get a ballpark figure on what you expect the budget for the project to be and who will have spending authority.

There are a lot of documents necessary to run a project. Before you even get started there are many you have to create, from a project plan to a project budget and more. All these documents delve into detail on the items you’ve broadly stroked out in your project statement. So, why do you need another document, isn’t it redundant?

While it’s true you’re going to cover this ground on a granular level, this is your first pass, and there’s a reason it’s more general and comes before everything else. The following are three main uses of the document:

  1. You need it to authorize your project. This is the document that sells the project to your stakeholders and defines broadly what their return in investment will be. It’s like elevator pitch, so it has to sell the project.
  2. It serves as a primary sales document. When you present this to the stakeholders they now have a summary to distribute or present when approached about other projects, so they can focus their resources where they’re needed.
  3. This is a document that stays with you throughout the life cycle of the project. You will be referring to it throughout, whether at meetings or to assist with scope management. The charter acts like a roadmap without the entire minutia to distract you in other project materials.

There’s a process for writing a project charter, which starts with knowing what the vision of the project is. That vision statement can’t be vague, but must capture the purpose of your project, defining the end goal for the project team.

Step 1: Vision

Once you have the vision clear, then you can break it down into more practical bits.

  • Objective. List three to five objectives of the project, be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound.
  • Scope. Now outline the formal boundaries of the project by describing how the business may change or alter by delivery of your project, also note what’s relevant to the project and what is not. This is how you maintain better control of the project.
  • Deliverables. Describe each of the deliverables the project is tasked to produce. Once you’ve gotten all of them down, you’ve got a foothold on your charter and are ready to move on.

 Step 2: Organize

When you’re building a structure for your charter there are four subsets you’re going to need to identify. This is done by listing the following:

  1. Customers/End Users. To complete this list, ask yourself: What is a customer and/or end user in the context of this project? Who are the project customers? Is there a specific individual or entity responsible for accepting the deliverables of the project?
  2. Stakeholders. As noted earlier, identifying the stakeholders of the project is crucial. They are the person or entity within or outside of the project with a specific key interest in that project. It might be a financial controller overseeing costs or the CEO, but whoever it is they’ll have a slightly different focus depending on their role.
  3. Roles. You need to assign the key roles and responsibilities to those involved in delivering the project, from the project sponsor, project board and project manager. After each entry write a short summary defining their role and what their responsibilities are in the project.
  4. Structure. Now you need to define the lines of reporting between these various roles in the project. Use a project organization chart to do this. It diagrams the structure of an organization and the relationships and roles of those involved in the project.

Step 3: Implementation

You have a vision and have organized the various parts of your project. Now you have to develop a plan to implement them. There are four parts to this:

  1. Plan. If you’re going to implement, then you need an implementation plan. This is a way to develop an atmosphere of confidence for your customers and stakeholders by listing the phases, activities and timeframes of the project’s life cycle. Gantt charts are the traditional planning tool for projects. They turn your tasks and deadlines into visual timelines. 
  2. Milestones. Milestones mark major phases in the project and collect smaller tasks into bigger chunks of work. The project should only have a few of them, that are milestones, but they are an important way to acknowledge the completion of a key deliverable.
  3. Dependencies. List all key dependencies and what their importance is to the project. These are tasks or activities that are linked to one another, as they will impact the project during its life cycle.
  4. Resource Plan. What resources are involved in the project? Break down this list into labour, equipment and materials. This is how you’ll know what you need before you need it, and you’ll be able to estimate your budget more accurately. As the project progresses and changes are introduced, you’ll need to adapt your resource plan.

Step 4: Risks, Issues & Budget

We’re almost done, but no charter is complete without collecting the potential risks and issues that can derail a project. This includes assumptions and constraints related to the project.

A risk is a potential issue that may or may not happen in a project. Risk is not always negative, as there is such a thing as positive risk, and you should prepare for that as well.

An issue is something that has already occurred in the project. Basically, a risk is future tense and an issue is present tense, but you have to be prepared for any and all eventualities when creating a project management charter.

Finally, with all the above information, you can sketch out a rough figure on how much it will cost to deliver the project within the timeframe you’re allowed. Then you present your charter, and once it’s approved and signed, the real work begins.

Once you’ve written your project charter and have approval from your stakeholders, then you’re going to need the right tools to manage the scope, tasks and resources of your project to ensure you bring it in under budget and on schedule. has access to cloud-based project management software that reports instantly when statuses are updated, so you know where your project is and how to keep it moving towards a successful completion. Try one of the award-winning software now with a free 30-day trial. 

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.