Picture this. It’s Friday night. The office is empty. The only sound is frantic typing as you try to prepare a project status report for Monday’s meeting. You have to trawl through spreadsheets, spreadsheets, and more spreadsheets, cross-referencing data you can only hope is correct and up-to-date. The completed report is finally emailed to relevant stakeholders and team members. You can now leave for the weekend, knowing there will be confusion in the meeting as someone will make a change or update to their version of the report which no-one else can see...
The journey to successful collaborative project leadership has so far included key leadership strategies for project managers and suggestions for positive team dynamics. Another important leadership technique is adapting to the current situation. There are several factors to help you understand the situation and decide what type of leadership is needed. Let’s look at four possible spectrums and three approaches to managing these situations...
How important is communication to project success? In my opinion – it may be #1 on the list and it is certainly a major responsibility of every project manager who has ever led a project.
Whether or not your project or your customer requires a delivered Communications Plan, you should still have one … especially if you are dealing with an external customer rather than an internal organization...
I recently outlined 15 ways to cultivate your project leadership style. The next step in developing leadership is team management. The importance of leading and supporting your team becomess even clearer when we consider recent studies and surveys showing that large percentages of the workforce are not properly engaged with their company. If you are interested in these surveys, a good place to start your research is at www.gallup.com. This lack of employee engagement is a sad reality. I really believe that the vast majority of people would prefer to be fully engaged and enjoy work. We spend so much time at work – who wouldn’t want to be happier and more engaged at work?...
We all hope that customer expectations have been accurately set coming out of the sales process. Ideally, the customer will have a draft project schedule in hand, a budget (i.e., contract/price), Statement of Work (SOW), and hopefully their own list of business processes and high-level requirements that they’ve shared with sales to get to this point of the project – deal signed and complete and ready for Kickoff.
Often a customer will say “we need this project completed in ‘x’ number of weeks.” You want to accommodate the customer as much as possible. After all, they are the customer and they’re paying for it. But it’s a dangerous trap to fall into when you agree to any sort of customer proposed timeline before you have a detailed understanding of the customer’s affected business processes, the requirements of the project and the resources for the project...
If you are a new Project Manager, you really should think about leadership. It is very important to have a set of process steps to deliver successful project management. They will be your map for collaborative project management, without which you will get lost, your project may fail, and your project team will be disappointed in you. But even if you know how to navigate the project management terrain very well, you will need to do so with a leadership style that works for you and also works for collaborative project management.
If you get sick … where do you go? The doctor, right? I realize some people are afraid of doctors and avoid them at all costs … but the answer is you go to the doctor. And whether you go or not, probably depends on your symptoms (warning signs).
Don’t ignore those medical issues. A good friend and colleague recently had a medical scare – sort of a mini-stroke / warning stroke that usually doesn’t cause any injury as long as you recognize it and get treatment fast. He did – thanks to his very observant and fast acting wife – and now his likelihood of an actual follow-up stroke is greatly reduced because he got treatment quickly...
2017 is right around the corner so maybe it's time to try something new.
As everyone is aware, the landscape of available project management and PM-related tools has changed greatly over the years. It is truly mind-boggling how many options are out there now for project managers across all industries. Many have been developed by organizations to focus on some key capabilities that they felt were either missing or not well covered by their existing counterparts. It is nearly impossible to cover all available options or to have one go-to list when you're looking for a solution to a project management tool need. That's what drove me to start this series of articles that will hopefully shed some new light on the vast array of PM tools that can solve the many needs and challenges that project managers and their teams face.
My series starts with several tools and organizations that I have come into personal contact with – often the organization's CEO. I know these people are extremely passionate about their products and are confident in their ability to help you manage your projects better tomorrow than you do today. In this presentation, I'd like to share 12 such products that are definitely worth checking out for your 2017 project management needs.
Wrike is an agile work management platform with a broad range of tools for managing and collaborating on projects. As a single source of truth for project data, Wrike houses tasks, milestones, deadlines, files, conversations, and statuses for projects within an organization. This information is in turn accessible via browsers, mobile devices, and fed into dashboards and reports that can be customized for any number of use cases. At the core of Wrike is the software’s selective visibility, which allows users and administrators to segment sharing of information by teams and roles. This allows users to create organizations that are very open or private as deemed appropriate. Once this structure is in place, users can build projects and monitor progress at a high level with customizable status reports, or in a great degree of granular detail using tools like Gantt Charts and tables.
Differentiating Wrike from traditional project management systems is its human-centered approach to collaboration. Simply, Wrike is a workspace for teams. In it, workers may create and assign tasks to themselves or others, and within those tasks, have organized conversations that are contextual to the work they are about. By placing an emphasis on user experience, Wrike aims to reduce time to value for its customers. In building a tool that is simple to use for complex projects, Wrike creates additional visibility for executives and business owners, while simultaneously giving workers a valuable tool for managing their work, collaborating with teams, and sharing their progress.
Viewpath is an online application which manages project activities and resource allocation in one complete picture. Its scheduling engine delivers fast performance, enterprise-class scalability, and built-in integration with popular apps such as Salesforce or Google Drive. With secure access for free Guests and free Observers, Viewpath allows project teams to collaborate with anyone, in any organization.
The unique flexibility of Viewpath lets teams easily plan and track project activities in either Waterfall or Agile views, while still providing unified status reporting and dashboards. The app also has layered functionality to simplify collaboration and workflow at all levels of the organization -- whether it's an individual contributor completing one assigned task, or a seasoned team leader doing interactive scheduling across a portfolio of projects.
dapulse, is one of the most versatile tools you’ll find, It’s like a swiss army knife for managers around the world. Many people think that dapulse is a project management tool, others think it’s a CRM. There are probably several hundred different usages for it. Some companies use it for just about everything (planning, bug tracking, ad campaign management, production tracking, customer projects, etc’).
dapulse focuses on process. Things are never that simple, so conveying more information on a project or a task in a structured way - that can repeat with the next task - improves all aspects of management and communication. Most project management tools force you to fit your needs into their structure which may not always work. The dapulse platform is intuitive, visual and flexible, allowing you to shape the system to your needs.
Priority Matrix is one of the rare project management tools that actually helps you become more effective. Its streamlined interface makes it an ideal replacement of heavyweight tools like Microsoft Project, reduces emails and meetings with the built in chat and collaboration, while still helping managers get better real-time visibility to work more effectively.
What sets Priority Matrix apart is that the product serves as a true project management solution that is simple to use. Together with productivity training as well as integrations into Outlook and Gmail, Priority Matrix is a great project management solution that lets you collaborate natively from Mac, Windows, web and mobile. Priority Matrix provides Productivity Insights reports that measure the heartbeat across your organization, team, and projects. Being able to switch views between Gantts, calendar, and priority levels enhances flexibility and allows each member of your team to work the way they want.
ProWorkflow is a fast and straightforward project management, workflow and time tracking software for small to medium sized businesses. The app has been designed from the ground up with the user's most important asset in mind: Their staff!
ProWorkflow enables you to keep accurate time-keeping records, as well as organize, plan, and delegate jobs and tasks. Scheduling is simple with the Timeline and Availability Tool giving detailed information. Historical data in ProWorkflow allows you to measure and analyze your company performance so that you can streamline to improve profit margins.
Project Insight is a cloud-based project and portfolio management software that is powerful for project managers, easy for everyone.
Customers like Western Digital, Cisco and Lexmark use Project Insight to collaborate and manage their projects with their global team members. The software allows project teams to gain visibility into project timelines, resources, issues, budgets and more.
Project teams benefit by centralizing all of their projects and:
Are you losing sleep trying to maximize the ROI on your many projects? Upland Software provides cloud solutions covering Project & Portfolio Management and Professional Services Automation that help organizations gain the highest returns from their projects. Through their platform you are able to successfully manage your organization’s projects and resources, project workforce, and IT costs all within one product family.
Upland provides award winning products that align project selection with strategic business objectives, simplifies the management of project portfolios with constrained resources, improves service delivery, resource & project management, and demonstrates the value IT provides through complete visibility and service benchmarking.
To learn how Upland Software can help you get the most out of your projects, click here.
Projectplace is an all in one tool takes you beyond a traditional project management software. It is a smart project collaboration solution that brings teams together to improve collaboration and get things done. Whether your team is down the hall or on the other side of the globe, Projectplace provides everything teams need to set direction, communicate, execute tasks, track progress, and ultimately achieve goals, no matter where they work.
Projectplace empowers teams to create plans, organize work, and track personal tasks, all in one place. You can start using it immediately, without any complicated installations or costs of implementation.
Comindware Process is an innovative solution that combines management of projects, processes and cases that might reshape project management in 2016. Comindware Process allows for effective process management as it is supported with project data such as task duration, resource workload and project cost. The ability to initiate projects within processes and vice versa provides for a new level of flexibility and significantly saves time while maximizing productivity. Everything from Approvals, and Reviews to Acceptance capabilities are also enabled within projects. Comindware Process puts a sharper focus on people and processes needed to successfully execute projects.
Comindware Process is a good fit for medium and large businesses. For small businesses, it might be useful to check one-purpose solutions for project management and workflow management by the same vendor - Comindware, Inc.
Project Portfolio Office
Project Portfolio Office (PPO) helps organizations achieve greater project success by implementing and adopting a simple to use, cost effective, configurable yet enterprise scalable project portfolio management application. This application allows users to plan, manage, collaborate, execute and report on their projects, programs and portfolios.
With numerous offices and a global network of certified partners, PPO is available anywhere and anytime. PPO users range from small consultancies to global Fortune 500 organizations, and the organization will help ensure that PPO aligns with the way they work regardless of their chosen methodology. Users can make use of one of their pre-configured solutions and with their free online trial, learning videos and great 24/7 support, users can self-implement within 30 days or request our the PPO team to assist every step of the way. PPO is a cloud based application that is secure and immediately available with a robust API for configuring and integrating with other tools. It is available with tiered base pricing and no long term contract required.
Clients and execs love project reviews but most project management applications produce visuals that are far too complicated. Office Timeline is a PowerPoint add-in that quickly transforms project data into easy-to-understand timelines for your important meetings.
The tool adds a timeline tab to the PowerPoint ribbon and creates native PowerPoint slides which can be easily customized or shared. It has a powerful layout engine and simple controls that make beautiful timelines in a fraction of the time you would spend without it. It also integrates with existing applications like Microsoft Project or Excel so building impressive timelines from your existing data and updating them only takes a few seconds.
Celoxis: An All-in-one Platform for Project Management and Work Collaboration. Enterprise projects today demand diverse work assignments distributed across geographical boundaries. A Creative agency, for example, would manage everything from bid approvals to project requests, all prior to managing the projects themselves. An IT solutions and business process outsourcing services provider, on the other hand, would require to manage and track bugs, issues, risks, change requests, tickets, incidents and other business processes to supplement their project engagements. Over time, one can often end up with several “dedicated” tools, each trying to address that one particular business challenge. Celoxis, on the other hand, is an integrated web-based platform that empowers companies to plan and manage projects, processes and resources more efficiently.
Celoxis brings a comprehensive solution to people, projects, processes and analytics. It has a full set of features and capabilities suitable for most medium and large business. Portfolio executives can perform regular assessment of portfolio metrics in terms of budgets, risks, resource capacities and revenues. Project managers can use the Interactive Gantt to build project schedules involving distributed teams and dependencies. Teams can collaborate on diverse activities such as tasks, bugs, or change requests all within the same tool. Organizational clients also get free portal access so that they can stay updated on their projects in real-time. Enterprises have the option to choose SaaS or on-premise deployment to suit their modus operandi. Global brands like Rolex, Bombardier, HBO, LG, Deloitte, Del Monte, University of Washington, Toronto General Hospital, Juniper Research and Singapore Post are successfully using Celoxis to weed out their project management problems.
Summary / call for input
As I stated, this is just the tip of the iceberg. All projects are different. There are some basic, common, underlying project needs for most engagements. But there are also some organizations and project teams and customers that have different needs and areas to focus on, and that is why a presentation of tools like this can be helpful and insightful for the PM masses.
In the coming months I hope to bring you many more options to check out for yourselves. If you have a project software that you think is great, please let me know and I'll do my best to include it in a future presentation.
Recently, we featured tips for motivating your team and developing a healthier attitude to achieve personal and professional goals. A recurring theme within these posts was the importance of just getting started, something we all struggle with from time to time. We are all procrastinators!
Procrastination means putting off a task for a short or extended period of time, often in favor of doing something more enjoyable. A simple example is spending time online watching funny videos instead of starting a new project report. An inevitable occurrence in any project, procrastination can lead to delayed tasks, low team morale, constant changes to project deadlines, poor quality deliverables and so on. As a project manager, you may assume that procrastination is easily overcome with a well-defined schedule, regular meetings and the odd pep talk to boost morale. If only! Procrastination is often driven by emotional factors, such as a fear of failure, and can have multiple, negative consequences for individual team members. If you want to get the best from your team, you need to develop effective strategies for dealing with procrastination...