CEOs of companies of all sizes face huge challenges today. The rate at which technology alone is changing is amazing and the CEO is expected to keep up if they are going to continue to stay cutting edge, keep their project on track. Today’s CEO is challenged in a way that no CEOs were challenged before. Technology is changing and too fast for even the CIO of an organization to keep up with, let alone the CEO. Yet those critical decisions of company direction, how and where to grow the business, and what new technology to incorporate ultimately falls in the lap of the CEO.
In Part 1 of this two part series I began to discuss the concept of getting a second chance on a failed project from a client gracious enough to come back to your organisation to give their project another try after already experiencing a failure or complete work stoppage. It doesn't happen often, so you have to make sure you make the most of that second chance. I have done this twice and generally used a set of four major steps to get restarted. In Part 1 I did cover the first of those steps…the customer introduction and knowledge transfer. Here are my remaining three steps…
I know you don't get a lot of second chances in life and even less often in the world of project management. And if it's your own project that failed…forget it - your organisation isn't likely to give you a second chance at bringing it back to life. They'll likely call on another project manager to ensure that the customer doesn't have a doom and gloom perspective by staring into the same face that was unsuccessful previously. And what about the customer? Will a customer whose project was halted due to failure give an organisation a second chance to make this right? Will they turn the reins back over to the same organisation just because of a new promise and a new team assembled to hopefully breath new life into a project that had already let them down once?
Having good reliable processes is the cornerstone of a successful business. Processes are there to make sure there is consistency and robustness for repeatable activities. However, not all processes are good processes and in the worst cases may actually hold your business back. This was clear on one particular project I worked on recently…
The project struggled because the process for implementing the IT infrastructure had not been adequately communicated and the key decision makers had not been identified. The IT department provided very little help in the early phases of the project. It soon became clear something was wrong, especially as the team members, who wanted the project to succeed, were being heavily constrained by the process. A clear case of a poorly thought out and unwieldy process delaying an important business project. So what lessons can we learn from this?
You are charged with figuring out a new (or first time) project management software solution for your organization. Five or ten years ago your research and selection process would have been much easier because the PM landscape was rather sparse. A few good desktop options, a few good web-based options and that was about it. Now take a look around. There are literally hundreds of potential PM and task management solutions out there for you to choose from. Most of these are web-based, most are pretty full-featured, some come with separate modules to cover other aspects of management, some border on full-fledged ERP solutions and some are going to be real clunkers…at least in terms of what you need from them.
I’m going to go out on a limb right now by saying I think your best bet is going to be a web-based project management solution – especially if you’re looking for something new or something to use for the first time. However, you need to understand why and what concerns are out there before absolutely deciding on one…so let’s consider…
How many times have we heard that phrase? Or uttered it ourselves? Price, functionality, collaboration, web vs. desktop, customer management, and other functionality. What’s most important to you? With so many project management and task management related software solutions available it’s very difficult to make a choice – even if you have narrowed your list down with key functionality that you think your organization is seeking. It’s no longer a one-horse town – and few of us have the time (or interest) to check out every offering available…which now totals in the hundreds.
However, if you’re looking for a full-featured solution for just about every project management need you can think of you for your organization – and at a price you can live with – look no further than ProjectManager.com. With ProjectManager.com, you get everything you need to manage – and report on – the full extent of your project portfolio and project resources without the financial burden that a product like Microsoft Project will place on your organization and the clients that you work with on your many engagements.
Key features of this all-in-one PM solution include:
Project dashboard. Every Project Manager wants to know if their projects are on track. Using this intelligent Project Dashboard, you can view the health of your projects online. With detailed charts and tables, this Project Dashboard will help you keep projects on track at all times.
Risks, issues and changes. To succeed in managing projects, you need to manage risks, issues and changes carefully. This software allows you to track them day-by-day, so that you can quickly resolve them before they impact on your deadlines.
Time tracking. Use this Time Tracking Software to complete your Timesheets online. Simply login and fill-in your timesheet. Your project dashboards, plans and reports will automatically be updated with your Timesheet information, so you're always kept up-to-date.
Expense tracking. Monitor your project expenses with this Expense Tracking Software. You can track any type of expense such as people, materials, equipment and office expenses. As you enter each expense, the Project Dashboard tells you whether you're still under budget.
Project planner. Creating Project Plans is extremely easy. This stylish Project Planner offers you all of the Microsoft Project features for managing tasks, and much more. You can build a new task list, schedule your tasks, allocate resources and monitor progress. It’s that easy!
Project reporting. It is very easy to create your weekly Project Status Report. Just select the report you want to run, choose your Project Reporting period and click "View" to run the report across your projects. You can also print and export these professionally designed reports, to send to your project team.
Online storage. Upload all of your files, documents, forms, templates and reports into ProjectManager.com so that it becomes your central document store. You can save as many documents as you wish and access them from anywhere, anytime.
Web-based project management. If you're looking for Online Project Management software then ProjectManager.com is perfect for you. Simply import your existing projects from Excel, Microsoft Project or any other task software and the dashboard immediately tells you whether your projects are on track. And, because it's Web Based Software, your entire team can track their projects online. Everyone can login to enter their Timesheets, Expense forms and update their Project Plans, from anywhere in the world.
Microsoft Project familiarity. It provides all of the commonly used features that Microsoft Project has to offer. So import your MS Project plans and use it to collaborate on your projects. That way, everyone in your team can access the same project plan at the same time.
Project collaboration. Collaborate with your colleagues online. Create discussions and add comments in a blog-like fashion. Use instant messaging, just like Twitter. Upload and share your files online. Then see on your personal home page, a summary of all of the collaboration activity for the day. ProjectManager.com makes it extremely easy to collaborate online with your entire project team.
Security. It's important that your online project management software is safe and secure. Using ProjectManager.com you can choose who has access to which projects, define security roles and turn features on and off in the system as you wish.
ProjectManager.com started out in 2008 with the goal of helping project managers around the world find out whether their projects are on track. Within just 12 months of going live, NASA and the United Nations were using their service and now more than 12,000 managers and teams in 101 countries are actively using it to manage their projects daily and to stay on track of their entire project portfolios.
Interested in learning more? Go to ProjectManager.com’s site directly for more info. You can contact them through their contact form with questions or for more information, signup for a 30-day free trial and get detailed information about their pricing, or go here for even more detailed information on the many features and capabilities of this comprehensive project management enterprise solution.
Our project customers are our clients, sometimes our friends, they pay the bills, and sort of call the shots. And then again, some of them want nothing to do with what you're doing…they just want you to "do it." But in general, there are three things that most - maybe not all but most - project customers wish their project manager and his team realised from the outset. These are just from my experience and opinions so please feel free to add to the list and share your thoughts. But here are my three…
1. They Have a Full Time Job
Most of the time your project customer is a sponsor for the project because it is something that falls in the scope of his normal responsibilities at his organisation. Yes, sometimes it's all about everything he does and overseeing your project and your team is 100% of what he is doing. But usually that is not the case. Usually he's acquired the project because it was assigned to him or because it is important to him but he still has 90% of his time taken up by his normal tasks that he performs on a daily basis.
Author: Brad Egeland