First off, let me state that I really, really believe that remote project management is a great solution for most projects. It has worked extremely well for me for the past 10 years or so. But I know it’s not for everyone. Remote project management, while often a sensible and cost-effective approach to managing many standard projects, is definitely not without its challenges. In fact, just in terms of communication, leadership, and relationships it can become very challenging. Add in the rogue developer who is looking to become a one-man team, the business analyst who significant expertise in other technologies but is ‘learning’ a new one while helping lead your implementation, or the documentation specialist who is spread too thin across eight different projects but resides 1,500 miles away from you and you can see how certain logistical issues can really impact your projects if you don’t learn to deal with each one of them methodically and carefully.
I hope you never have to deal with this...but I'm sure some of our readers have. You're managing a project, you have assigned tasks, set expectations, but still you have a very talented member of your project team who thinks they truly know what they really should be doing... (please follow the link and join the discussion... I want your input!)
Handing off a project that is your baby is not often a very desirable thing to do. You kicked it off, you developed a good relationship with the team and the customer and you are making the decisions and making things happen. But sometimes, there comes that time when you have to hand it off because you’re needed elsewhere – on a project that is a higher priority or that needs your specific experience or expertise. How you go about executing this hand off process can sometimes mean success or failure to the project you’re handing off, and that success or failure can be traced right back to you and how you orchestrated the transition.
Aside from the normal activities you will need to perform to get up to speed on your new project, you will definitely need to focus on these four key events in order to make sure the transition of your existing project goes as smooth as possible:
An easier road for the project manager – doesn’t that sound nice? Since projects generally fail to one degree or another at a greater than 50% rate, we’ll take all the help we can get, right? Project managers and their team members are constantly under pressure from all sides to perform and deliver. The customer wants satisfaction and functionality – and they deserve it. The executive team wants the project profit margin realized or exceeded – along with customer satisfaction (which means no angry calls from the client CEO). And the PMO director wants to see full utilization from his project managers and from the delivery team on each project. Lots of responsibilities for the PM to ‘please’ others are always going on with not a lot of recognition and a constant threat of failure - many times due to things way beyond the control of the project manager and team.
So, if we can make our lives easier as we try to maintain a handle on these projects we manage,let’s do so. What can we do to streamline our project management? What can we do to keep our teams fully engaged on OUR project as they are being pulled many different ways by other project responsibilities and assignments from their own department supervisors? And what about the customer – how can we keep them engaged and focused and get them to fulfill their responsibilities on the project as well?
I was going to call this, "what if your project customer makes a stupid decision" but that sounded a bit harsh and maybe too subjective...even though we all make stupid decisions from time to time. Ones where when we talk about them out loud or really take time to look back on what we did...we realize that it was definitely the wrong call for the situation.
I feel strongly about this topic and I've started a discussion thread on the Project Smart forum at:
I think we are seeing the tip of the iceberg here and I'm not sure what can be done, but I know we all need to be aware, and we all need to be educated and wary of the scams and misinformation that we will be subjected to (it has already started - at least on Facebook). Please read my Project Smart discussion post and join in with your own thoughts - especially from a project management perspective. Thanks.
Not everyone knows that the project and portfolio management software (PPM) market experienced a 35.4% growth in revenue in 2012 (IDC) for a total revenue of $192.4M that year. What this means is that while there are many project and portfolio management vendors and products in the market today, there will likely be even more in the future. How will you know which solution is right for you?
Project Insight’s cloud based project and portfolio management solution distinguishes itself by offering features that are powerful for more experienced project managers, yet easy for the team to adopt. Here are five reasons why Project Insight might be a good fit for your project team.
1 – You have a mixed team in terms of experience levels
Do you have one or a few project managers that know how to use Microsoft Project or are PMP certified, yet the rest of the team doesn’t know what a Gantt chart is? As project management offices (PMOs) are on the rise, most teams have mixed experience levels, making a high end PPM out of the question. At the same time, low end tools may not offer enough functionality and frustrate the project managers. Project Insight touts itself as a mid-range project solution that is a good fit for these types of organizations and cultures.
2 – Your project managers want intelligent scheduling
Project Insight calls intelligent scheduling the ability to shift project schedules with ease. For example, changing the start date will shift the entire project (unless constraints are present, of course). Modifying the duration of a task will also move the items around. Most low end tools have the concept of task management but not true project management with task dependencies. Project Insight’s scheduling is smart like MS Project, but not overly complicated for a new project manager to learn and use.
3 – Your team members just want a solution that’s easy for them to use
While there are many low end tools that are simple and inexpensive, they are found lacking by project managers. Many high end systems require that users be locked in a training room for two weeks. Project Insight marries the project managers’ need for powerful features with the ease of use for the basic team member. Team members may update tasks, issues or to-dos from the mobile app or dashboard with just a couple of clicks.
4 – Your executives want to be spoon fed their portfolio data
One of the major complaints executives and managers have is that they receive the project information too late in the game. Projects that should have been cancelled months ago, linger on because the information is not in their hands when they need it. At the same time, many project teams know that their C-level executives and other mid-level managers are very busy and need portfolio and project information as readily available as possible.
Project Insight provides the upper echelons with customizable dashboards that satisfy the executives’ needs for real-time data in one view. Project Insight’s team will even help you set these dashboards up as part of your implementation if you wish. Again, providing more ‘hand holding’ if required.
5 – You anticipate cultural adoption challenges with your implementation
You think, right, I’m going to invest in a project management solution and then my team will not use it! Project Insight offers full consultative services to help with your implementation. If you anticipate challenges from your team and you need more help than a simple off the shelf product gives you, then Project Insight’s services team will assist.
Ready to get started?
You can request a customized demo to speak directly with a product specialist. Their consultative approach focuses on your specific needs to show you exactly how Project Insight can benefit your team. PI also offers a self-guided product tour to explore their extensive feature list on your own.
I’d love to guarantee success to every customer I manage projects for or every client I’ve consulted with. I’d wish I could tell them everything is under control, not to worry, I’ve covered all the bases. Wouldn’t we all? But it’s not possible. Too many things can happen – most are out of our control. By definition, projects are temporary, unique, have goals to meet, multiple tasks to coordinate…sometimes across functional departments and across very diverse organizations, and hopefully have critical impact on a business, organization, industry or customer…depending on the project, of course.
Globally, companies invest billions of dollars annually on IT solutions. In addition, many organizations offer visionary solutions that all call for knowledgeable project managers to plan, execute, control, and end projects ahead of any competition. Sadly, many of these projects come in behind schedule and over budget, and fail. Much of our project management lives are spent dealing with this unsettling projects and working to get them back on schedule, both within budget and within specification. Many projects are canceled before they are ever completed and many exceed their original estimates. The financial costs of these failures and overruns are just the tip of the iceberg. The path of destruction left behind from these projects is devastated budgets, unhappy customers, and sometimes ruined project management careers.
Risk is that ugly four-letter word that we as project managers need to pay attention to but often look upon it like taking out the trash at home. Planning for the management of it should happen, it needs to happen…but let’s do it later. Right now let’s get started on the real work. Right?
The reality is that every project you manage is much more likely to succeed if you put a decent amount of effort into the risk planning and management process – and make sure it is mapped out in your project schedule. Then, once you’ve identified risks, prioritized the risks considering “likeliness to occur” and “impact to your project”, and decided which risks are worth addressing and which ones you deem not critical enough or likely enough to occur to even worry about, then it’s time to decide your strategy on dealing with the risk list you have left.
Author: Brad Egeland