So much is said about project management best practices and performing project management by the book. Agile vs. waterfall, Project Management Institute (PMI) standards and their official PMBOK publication (Project Management Body of Knowledge) which pretty much lays out how PMI says project engagements should be run.
Following processes is a very good thing. If we managed all of our projects like we were shooting from the hip, then each one of our successes we experienced would be based far more on luck than any best practices. We would never be able to replicate what we did because there was no real plan behind it. Yes, a methodology is a good thing, a necessary thing if you want to have any hope of replicating your project successes and increasing your future chances of project success.
While the paperless office may finally be here
, you wouldn’t know it by looking at the trees. Paper demand hasn’t slackened, a 2012 study by The Economist
found that usage had actually increased by 50% over the last 30 years. The report determined that “the average American uses the paper equivalent of almost six 40-foot (12-metre) trees a year.”
But for many organizations, paper’s time has come. The advantages of paperless systems are clear. The University of California, Berkeley, utilized several different time reporting and payroll systems across the units in its sprawling campus, then they replaced it all
with a single, simple Web timesheet system
. The appeal of Web based applications is calling to HR departments as well - a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management
found "Expanded use of the web for delivery and utilization of HR applications on a service basis”. Considering how much easier it is to manage and search an online employee database
as opposed to cabinets of employee folders, particularly for larger organizations, the move isn't at all surprising.
What are a few other things that could benefit from going paperless?
- Gantt Charts: Gantt charts are excellent reports for tracking the progress of work on a project, but with an interactive Gantt chart , you can not only review progress but also make schedule adjustments and resource updates on the fly.
- Status Reports: How much easier would projects be if all the status reports were in a central, online location where project team members, managers, sponsors and stakeholders could review them whenever they needed? Better yet, instead of going into a project meeting with copies of the latest status report for discussion, a TrackerSuite.Net user can convert a status report into a multi-slide PowerPoint presentation with the click of a button.
- Purchase Requests: Procurement is a vital cycle in any organization, but how often does it get delayed due to misfiled or lost purchase requests, not to mention purchase requests dropped in the inbox of absent approvers. Using TrackerSuite.Net, users can submit purchase requests that are automatically delivered to designated approvers (or proxy approvers) on submission.
- Expense Reports: On a business trip? What if you didn’t have to wait to get in the office to file your expense report? Using TrackerSuite.Net, you can even attach scans or photos of your receipts and attach them to a Web based expense report form, which is automatically routed through the approval process on submission.
How many of you remember The Brady Bunch? Do you remember the episode where Greg, the oldest son, tried to avoid getting in trouble from his parents by stating, “those were your exact words”? He knew what his parents originally meant but he was trying to avoid getting into trouble by pointing out that he actually had ‘literally’ followed their directive. His parents weren’t happy…but they had to agree that he had, indeed, literally followed their directions. Of course, it all backfired on him later when they turned the tables and made him follow his exact words…and everyone learned a fun lesson about manipulation.
How many times have you had to be a good listener, understand and interpret directives on a project? Of course, we want to make assignments and give direction with the clearest commands possible. When making assignments to project team members project managers should try to leave as little to the imagination as possible because the last thing you want is a project team member to head off with a task to perform who doesn’t have a clear or correct understanding of the task at hand. We all know this can lead to disaster – or at the very least some lost time and dollars on the project.
The project status report is the project manager’s billboard to the world as far as how things are going on his project. It starts clean at the beginning of the project, full of optimism predicting the future of the engagement and indicating what’s coming up in the coming days and weeks. Everything is reset to zero, everything is on time, everything is on budget, and there are likely very few if any issues to be attacked. All is quiet…all is good.
So, you’re ready to move forward with your brand new project. What do you include on the status report? Is it your call? Is it up to the customer? Is it up to policies and procedures in your project management office? Does your executive management mandate what you can and cannot include? I’m guessing it’s likely a combo of one or more of these.
I can’t believe that I’m really saying this, but it’s true that risks breeds excitement. Some would say risk also causes heart attacks and high blood pressure. But monotonous project engagements can be risky as well even if no real risks come up… simply because everyone has been lulled to sleep and things can start to fall through the cracks.
Edginess is good – at least from time to time. Risk is challenging. Risk is energizing. Fighting risk keeps a team cohesive. It definitely can work to keep everyone on the project team engaged. And it can keep you from losing a key project resource that you might otherwise have to give up if you’re project is moving along smoothly. By now I realize you probably think I’m crazy, but keep reading on…
Do you remember that panic-ridden moment possibly early in your project management career when you came to the realization that a project you were managing was in serious trouble? Heck, maybe it was even yesterday on whatever project you’re managing right now. It can certainly happen to us at any time and it will happen to you again before you leave this project management life.
Maybe a project you were managing before had experienced problems – maybe even this one – but not the type where you felt you couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel… where you felt nearly all hope was lost.
You want powerful? Done. You want project scheduling? Done. How about detailed time tracking? Done. What about giving your project team a full-featured collaboration tool to help increase productivity and success? Done. And what about price…free? Done.
I realize this sounds too good to be true, but pinch yourself because you are awake and it is true. AceProject
brings you their powerful, online project team collaboration tool complete with project management scheduling tools, the ability to share critical information with your project team members, and project time tracking capabilities all in one FREE product offering.
When in Rome... When most of us hear that, we mentally complete the phrase. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." It means that you basically try to follow the local customs when traveling or even act like your hosts would in their home when you are visiting across town. Fit in. Act 'normal' for where you are.
In The Dark
That's one of those clichés that seems pretty self-explanatory. So much so that we've even taken to excluding the second half of the phrase. Many just say, "When in Rome..." and they fully expect everyone to understand. For the most part that works, but it's interesting how many times I've used phrases like that around my younger teenager and her friends and they had no idea what I was talking about. There's another one about a deceased feline and the act of swinging it around that I won't go into detail on, but they were clueless. Very amused, but completely clueless. No life experience with those phrases...at least not yet.
Are you looking for project management software for your small business, large business, consulting practice or project management office? There are now literally hundreds of options available for web-based and desktop project management software solutions that are very affordable and full-featured for organizations of all sizes. The problem is, there has been no one place to go to find these offerings – no one location where buyers could shop the best and newest offerings in one location without arduous searches and comparison shopping made more difficult as they were forced to jump all over the internet.
Now, we have one location. PM Tools Review (www.pmtoolsreview.com
) is the all new, go-to, one stop shopping place for finding the best project management software options available. You will find product overview, customer testimonials, demos, video tutorials, and webinars all in one easy to navigate location. It won’t be up to you to find all the vendors…they will come to you – from this one site.
Site founder, Brad Egeland (www.bradegeland.com
) of Brad Egeland Consulting is a 27 year veteran of the IT industry, an successful project manager and consultant with more than 20 years experience leading projects and teams on engagements of all sizes, and a sought after professional project management and author of more than 1,500 articles on PM, IT, and business strategy. According to Mr. Egeland, the idea for the site was born in his own frustration of finding various PM software items to review, try out, recommend and purchase.
“It was literally taking me hours to locate project management software options and then I was forced to drill down through each site to look at demos, request contacts, check out archived webinars and view any YouTube videos or other types of tutorials each vendor might be offering,” said Mr. Egeland. “And trying to compare one option with another was a nightmare because I was backing out of one site to look at another and it was difficult to track who I had investigated and who I hadn’t. I wanted it all in one location. That’s when the concept for PM Tools Review came to mind. If I needed it, I figured many others could benefit from it as well.”
If you are a PMO Director, IT leader, CEO or other type of decision-maker in your organization and are looking for project management software to evaluate for your expanding PM needs, then check out www.pmtoolsreview.com
. Likewise, if you are a PM software vendor and want to make sure that your offering is included in this highly visible site, then use the contact form at PM Tools Review to make sure your site is included…or email Brad Egeland at email@example.com
What constitutes an emergency on a project?
This thought came to mind yesterday as I was sitting at the vet with my daughter and her 140-pound St. Bernard 'puppy'. I put puppy in quotes because while he is just a puppy at 11 months old, it's so hard to think of any dog that will soon weigh more than I do as a puppy.
Drake - the aforementioned St. Bernard - was having an allergic reaction to something. A plant he ate, a bug that bit him...something...we just weren't sure what he got into or what got him, but that's why we're headed straight to the vet. His eyes, face, lips and gums were swollen, but other than that he seemed fine - resting on the floor and happily stealing the babies toys before we left home. He didn't see anything as an emergency, but my wife certainly noticed the problem and sent us promptly to the vet.