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Here’s an alarming statistic: almost two thirds of employees steal proprietary corporate data when they quit or are fired.
If one of your soon-to-be-ex colleagues decides to do some damage before they leave the company, make sure that your work remains unaffected.
Have a checklist of all the accounts that they had access to. Don’t forget to remove their permissions when they leave.
Be careful of how you manage your passwords. Use strong and unique passwords, change them regularly, activate two-factor authentication and start using an app designed for password management.
Have multiple backups done automatically. This way, you won’t lose any of your important files or folders.
The world of project management requires leaders and doers and shakers to make it happen. To make project successful, keep teams cohesive and collaborating toward a great final solution or product or successful implementation. But, no doubt, the road to get there requires much to happen. Their is training, certification, and experience that needs to be gained or earned to start leading projects. Once that happens there are tools needed to prioritize projects, track financials, tasks, resources, change orders and just about everything in between.
In my work I run into a lot of these softwares and services and the people behind them. Some work, some don't some are free, some are expensive and some don't stay around very long. Gone are the days where it was only MS Project on the landscape and you either worked with it or jumped ship. No the offerings are endless and cover just about every imaginable base possible... some even say they cover all the bases... but that may be stretching them a bit thin.
What I've compiled here is what I hope – my time permitting – is the beginning of a series of articles to introduce different software tools and services that help get project leaders and planners and PM infrastructures themselves on the right track and headed in the right direction. That takes many ingredients as I've mentioned, so this is always going to be an eclectic list. Here's the beginning of my list of tools and services to consider or demo or download a trial of for consideration for 2020. More to come...
Every once in awhile we find that product or process or program that can help us out immensely in the project management and project portfolio management world. I think I've just found it in a latest connection with some great individuals standing behind a stellar product. The product is ONEPOINT Projects.
ONEPOINT Projects is a modern, flexible, standards-based PPM web application that is available both on cloud and on premise and is trusted by hundreds of customers across industries. By covering the whole project life cycle and integrating with leading enterprise applications such as Jira, Confluence, Slack and SAP, ONEPOINT enables a new way of integrated project work.
Some ONEPOINT Projects highlights to consider...
What does ONE POINT Projects offer?
Here are some key features and focuses that really set them apart from other PM and PPM tools offered today...
Acuity PPM is a free, but full featured project portfolio management solution designed for project teams to manage their project portfolio and report status to senior leaders. Our focus is on providing a PPM solution that people like using. Based on years of consulting experience with Fortune 500 companies and over a decade in portfolio management, we've seen many organizations struggle with traditional PPM solutions. Our solution helps newer Project Management Offices ramp up quickly with portfolio management and gives senior leaders portfolio insights without creating custom reports and dashboards – users can interact with the data to get different views of the portfolio. Our base solution is free for 10 users with additional modules such as work intake and resource management.
Forecast is an AI powered Resource & Project Management Platform for companies that care about delivering projects on time, on scope, and on budget.
With Forecast you get better planning across project management and resource scheduling for increased profitability. Execute every project efficiently with your client’s vision in mind.
Manage projects and resources efficiently
Supervise projects and teams with a visual platform, so you and your team are on the same page. Optimize your day to day work so you can plan more than a month ahead of the project schedule.
Achieve a successful teamwork collaboration
Enable collaboration throughout different departments and multiple projects. Even when project scope changes you and your team know what to work on and can deliver projects successfully.
Report on project status with real-time data
Create project progress reports with ease by tracking monthly, weekly, and daily progress. Make strategic decisions based on accurate insights that optimize your business performance.
Client satisfaction on every project
Visualize your next project pitch with an interactive timeline and deliver on the project scope with confidence. Have more time for expanding your project portfolio and developing your client’s business.
OnlinePMCourses is for project managers. I know the CEO/founder Mike Clayton and I know he stands behind his organization and will make sure you have the best experience possible. His courses are designed to help you best prepare to certify or just become the best possible project manager you can be.
OnlinePMCourses is the creation of Dr Mike Clayton - one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is a prolific blogger, a contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project (the journal of the Association for Project Management - APM), and the author of 14 best-selling books, including five about project management.
Mike was a successful project leader, as a consulting Senior Manager with the London office of Deloitte.
He lives in an English market town in Hampshire, with his family.
In his own words...
OnlinePMCourses gives you clear, practical Project Management knowledge, that is easy to understand and apply.
But OnlinePMCourses is not just a set of training videos. It is a program that will help you transform yourself into the Project Manager you want to be. To help you do this, we are building the most comprehensive portfolio of Project Management self-development resources on the web.
We here to help you, if you:
OnlinePMCourses is not just a set of training videos. It is a program that will help you transform yourself into the Project Manager you want to be. To help you do this, we are building the most comprehensive portfolio of Project Management self-development resources on the web.
Check out OnlinePMCourses' offerings on their website and see who they can help you become the project leader you want to be.
Triskell PPM Factory
Do you need a PPM or EPM? That may depend on your organization's size, client base, types of projects you undertake and sizes of projects you are engaged on. But if you think you may need such a tool – and most organizations of any size will benefit greatly from this – or if you already have a PPM tool, then I'd like to refer you to Triskell-PPM Factory project portfolio management solution.
Why? Here are five reasons why... Triskell-PPM Factory is the only company-wide Saas solution on the Project Portfolio Management market today that offers you all the flexibility and capabilities to:
And keep in mind...these highlights are on top of what those familiar with PPM solutions would consider more standard PPM functionalities and highlights. Triskell-PPM Factory has all of those and more offering a clear strategic advantage.
Are you ready to try it out?
Convinced yet? Don't let me stop you from moving forward or seeking more info on your own. The people behind the product are top-notch and very quick responders for information, help and support. Request a live demo and check it out for your self with the experts at Triskell. Remember, unlike other tools Triskell is an enterprise solution that is configured to meet the specific needs of your company, which makes it very easy to use and fit each user in many critical areas including project portfolio management and planning / resource optimization. Go to Triskell to learn much more about what they have to offer.
CEOs like the latest technology. CEOs like continuous improvement initiatives. CEOs like to be at the cutting edge of technology whenever possible. They like to make decisions. But are those decisions always in the best interest of the organization or are the latest tech, the latest processed, the best buzzwords this week. Whatever is hot now - that’s what they want.
Agile. It's the latest corporate buzzword making the rounds. One survey last year found that over half the organizations who were implementing it were doing so because the CEO said so, not because of the value it adds. When done well it can transform individuals and organizations, but when done badly it can suck the life out of everyone involved...
Ask the PM #2 video - No Gantt chart, telling the customer off, project closeout checklist, are reqs done
Ask the PM #2 in my new video series is now live. This one is 13 minutes long... I promise future videos will be considerably shorter. In video # 2 I cover when project customers don't want a Gantt chart, have you ever wanted to tell a difficult customer to buzz off, what's needed for project closeout, and how do you know that requirements are done. Please watch, like, share and subscribe. And send more questions to me at email@example.com or through my contact form on this site. Thanks!
The first video in my new series "Ask the PM" is live now... thanks for your challenging questions. I've received 50+ so far and I'll plan to go over 5-6 that I pick out per video. I will focus more on best practices type questions and real world project management situations than "how to create a gantt chart" type questions. This first video went longer than planned... Hoping to keep them to 5-10 minutes each so you don't get bored. Please watch it and like, subscribe and share!
This is the first-person account of Dan Conway, an ex-middle manager in corporate America who made a fortune betting his life savings on cryptocurrency.
BY DAN CONWAY
On a gray morning in May 2016, I left my office in downtown San Francisco and walked down Montgomery Street, to Wells Fargo.
I swiveled open the two gigantic doors, walked up to the counter, and explained to the teller that I needed to send a money wire to Gemini Trust Company, LLC., a cryptocurrency exchange based in New York City.
“Certainly,” she said. “How much will you be sending today, Mr. Conway?”
“One hundred thousand dollars.”
My voice sped up as I said it: $100k. This represented my family’s entire life savings. It was money my wife and I planned to use to pay for our 3 kids’ college tuitions, our eventual retirement, and emergency expenses. I was a middle-aged guy with a family who had never been on the cutting edge of anything. But I was about to bet everything I had on an unproven virtual currency called Ethereum.
This could only end two ways: I’d lose everything I owned, or make a fortune.
Restless in corporate America
Up to that point, my professional life was one of quiet desperation.
I was a 45-year-old middle manager at a major multi-media company in San Francisco. Though I earned a respectable $150k per year, I hated the fake company culture, the bureaucracy, and the endless chains of command.
Like so many others, I was looking for some kind of escape. And soon, I found one.
One early morning in mid-2015, before anyone else was in the office, I was browsing online and stumbled upon an article about Bitcoin.
I’d heard about Bitcoin years earlier, when I was preoccupied with climbing the corporate ladder. Back then, it seemed ludicrous to spend money — real currency that I could hold in my hands — on some digital token that existed on a public ledger in the cloud. To be frank, I thought it was complete bullshit.
But that morning, I had a sudden change of heart.
Bitcoin, the article read, was going through an especially rough patch. Its price, which was in a constant state of volatility, had fallen from a high of $1.2k in 2013 to $300. My mind raced: What if it goes up again? What if I put everything I had into this? I could get rich and never work another day in corporate America...
A part of me recognized these thoughts as destructive mania. My addictive personality had landed me in trouble before — first with alcohol, then with harder drugs. My 12-step sponsor wasn’t going to pat me on the back and say, “Go buy that Bitcoin, Dan! Sounds like a fantastic plan!”
At the same time, my wife Eileen and I were raising 3 children and had a big mortgage on our home in the Bay Area. The Great Recession had snatched away most of Eileen’s PR consulting clients. We were privileged, of course, but money was tighter than usual.
Sitting in my empty office, I began to go down the crypto rabbit hole. And the more I learned, the more I was pulled in.
Ethereum or bust
Through early research, I gravitated from Bitcoin to Ethereum (ETH), a then-newly launched coin that debuted in July 2015.
Blockchain, the technology underlying Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies, promised to one day decentralize corporations. As TechCrunch wrote, it would offer the “stability of an organization but without the hierarchy.” It seemed almost too good to be true, but a lot of smart, future-forward people were getting behind it.
As a disenfranchised suit-and-tie, I was enraptured by the possibility of a decentralized future. As a greedy speculative investor, it gave me a rush.
In short order, I developed an Ethereum obsession.
I listened to Ethereum podcasts while walking the dog. I read about Ethereum during every spare minute I had at work. I rejiggered my Twitter feed to follow mostly Ethereum-related accounts. I absorbed hours of Ethereum commentary on YouTube.
My biggest source of conviction was Ethereum’s developers. In the ‘90s, I’d worked in PR at Macromedia. The company’s product, Flash, had dominated the web graphics market after catching the attention of the most forward-thinking web designers. In the same sense, the smartest developers were now flocking to Ethereum.
Occasionally, my Ethereum fever broke and I wondered if I’d gone off the deep end.
Was my growing desire to invest in Ethereum a desperate attempt by a desperate man to find some kind of midlife salvation? Was this whole thing some kind of elaborate ruse to scam people like me out of their nest eggs?
Most of my friends in tech — folks working at places like Google, Apple, and Uber — were dismissive of blockchain. Few of them had heard of Ethereum. When I told a buddy of mine that I was considering investing in cryptocurrency, he broke out in laughter, as if I’d admitted I was hedging my future on Smurfberries or Scooby Snacks.
But my mind was made: I was going to put everything I had into this.
Less than a year later, I found myself standing at a Wells Fargo desk, transferring our life savings to Gemini in exchange for 6,993 ETH, at an average price of $14.
Eileen had been rightfully resistant to the idea. Eventually, though, she agreed to a deal: I could make the transfer, but I had to promise my children that I’d take them on a number of expensive trips.
After watching me go through years of addiction issues, depression, and corporate misery, Eileen was happy to see me excited about something — even if it was some virtual coin. Never for a moment did she think we’d get rich off of it. But she didn’t want to break the spell I was under.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before I experienced the Earth-shaking volatility of the crypto market.
In June 2016, a high-visibility project was hacked and Ethereum tanked: By December, our original $100k investment was worth less than $40k.
Though I was $60k in the hole, my confidence in Ethereum was stronger than ever... and it was now at a bargain-basement-level price. So, I decided to double down.
We didn’t have the cash. The only pool of funds available was the line of credit on our home. Racking up a big debt on our home equity line would very likely set us up for an unhappy ending.
But I felt in my bones that this was my shot and I might not get another one.
In December of 2016, I visited Wells Fargo 3 times, transferring an increasing amount of money from our home equity line to Gemini. After each transfer, I went home and bought ETH slowly so I didn’t cause a run-up. (The order books were thin with limited liquidity in those days; a rush of sales could cause the other traders and their bots to snatch up all the available coins.)
That winter, I borrowed $200k on my home and used it to buy more ETH. I now owned 26,750 ETH total, at an average buy-in of $11.21/coin.
And I was $300k in the hole.
On the rise
In February 2017, during our first negotiated ‘trip of a lifetime’ in Mexico, Ethereum came back to life.
It was the middle of the night, and I was in the back of a cab battling a nasty bout of food poisoning. I was puking my guts out, foaming at the mouth, and delirious — but I didn’t care because our ETH was up $50K. We were in the black for the first time.
Then, something miraculous happened: It kept going up… and up… and up. Between February and March of 2017, ETH shot from $15 to $50 per coin. By April, it was at $70; by May, $230.
In a span of 4 months, my $300k investment ballooned to $6m.
I’d seen a story at some point about someone who had spontaneous orgasms at random times throughout the day. That’s the best way I can describe the feeling. When I checked my phone, I’d be up another 6 figures since the last time I looked. I couldn’t resist stopping whatever I was doing to pump my fist and shout, “YEESSSS!”
But other times, ETH would dip, and the value of my stack would plummet by more than $1m in less than an hour. The “orgasms” were replaced by brutal withdrawals. The volatility was a narcotic, shooting up my brain with boosts of dopamine and serotonin.
The coins consumed me and changed my entire persona.
When ETH stopped going up or had a mild dip, I’d get snappy with the kids. I donned a hoodie and stared into the void for hours, my mind enslaved to the promise of Ethereum and its price variations. I was fired from my job of 6 years.
In the midst of a particularly volatile week, I found myself in the emergency room, struggling to breathe. The doctor diagnosed me with a panic event. “Is anything making you anxious?” he asked.
There was also the constant, looming fear that my crypto account could be hacked at any moment. In 2017 alone, hundreds of millions of dollars in crypto were stolen from accounts — and there wasn’t any regulatory body to protect victims.
From June to October of 2017, ETH floated between $200 to $400 per coin — an increase of 2,000% since the beginning of the year. That summer, many of the early HODLers (the folks who were holding for the long-term) began to cash out.
My coins were now worth millions, but I continued to hold the majority of them. This decision would soon pay off in a bigger way than I ever could’ve imagined.
In the course of 2 weeks in December 2017, ETH nearly doubled in price from $430 to $830. On January 3, 2018, it hit $900; 3 days later, it passed $1k.
It was an unprecedented burst — so monumental in scope that it temporarily froze the exchanges. It was like a 9.0 earthquake with an infinite number of aftershocks.
In the midst of this madness, I received an email from my financial advisor, who I’d hired months earlier to oversee my growing funds.
The alarm bells were sounding.
Sitting on my couch in sweaty workout clothes, I turned to my favorite subreddit, r/EthTrader. The message board was full-on mayhem, with 1.4k comments that morning alone. Grandparents, and taxi drivers, and anyone else who’d gotten a hot tip were buying in without even knowing what crypto was. Even for hardcore HODLers like me, it was too much, too fast.
I frantically logged into my Gemini account and weighed my options.
If I didn’t sell and ETH tanked, I’d lose it all. I’d have to tell Eileen and the kids that dad had dropped the golden goose egg, that I’d squandered my lottery ticket.
Watching the greedy masses pile into ETH reminded me of the famous battle scene from Braveheart: While the hordes rush forward in full sprint, lances atilt, the defenders sit still, unflinching and calm, waiting for the signal to attack.
I watched the price climb to $915. Then, over the course of two hours, I sold 11k ETH, the majority of my remaining stack, for $10m.
I sent Eileen a text: We are done.
Life after crypto
Shortly after we cashed out, the cryptocurrency market took a nosedive.
Ethereum dropped from a high of $1,396 in January to $385 in April. By December of 2018, it was back below $100.
Eileen and I paid off our $950k mortgage. We booked a trip to Africa we’d always dreamed of. Hell, we even bought a second home in Ireland.
Nearly 2 years later, it’s still surreal looking at our bank account and seeing high 7-figures, post-tax. It all happened so quickly that it feels like a dream.
I still believe crypto will open up new possibilities for organizing the world in the decades ahead, and I’m confident it will pop again as a result. But I don’t recommend that anyone try to replicate what I did.
Luck played a significant role in my success.
I banked everything I had on a relatively unproven technology and got out at the right time. For every story like mine, there are hundreds of others about people who lost it all. I know that could’ve easily been me.
At the same time, I’m no blackjack player. My investment wasn’t purely a blind gamble that came up aces. I was, and am, a true believer in crypto — and I had the right mix of courageousness and craziness to take a big risk.
I’ve since turned my efforts toward making the concept of crypto-based decentralization more accessible to the general public. My recent book, which chronicles my wild journey, encourages people to think about their own risk parameters.
Today, I’ve settled back into a normal life. I make dinner, do odd-jobs around the house, and live a very pleasant life by almost any measure. I still drive a minivan every day. Crypto no longer consumes me.
But every now and then, after the kids are asleep, I lie awake thinking back on the rush of the market. And I miss it like hell.
Interested in learning more about Dan’s story? He recently chronicled his entire journey in a full-length book, Confessions of a Crypto Millionaire.
The classic 1975 British comedy film concerning the Arthurian legend, written and performed by the Monty Python comedy group is a cult classic, one of my favourite movies to quote from and funny if you get the sense of humour. Not a high budget movie, but somehow it works. And as I was showing clips of its funniest scenes to my kids the other day, I realised that the movie also could teach us some important concepts about project management. It may be a stretch, but let's consider...
Overconfidence may cut you off at the knees. Well that or leave you legless and armless in the case of the Black Knight. The Black Knight responds with “tis but a scratch” as his first extremity is removed by King Arthur's sword. Eventually his stubbornness, and failure to admit defeat or work with his issue at hand, causes him to lose all four extremities. If we are too stubborn on our projects, stick to bad decisions in the face of better judgement and information, or refuse to work with our adversaries (sometimes the client?) in a productive manner to accomplish goals, we may fail miserably and lose our limbs in the process. Best practices and logical choices = success. Communication and collaboration = success. Stubbornly holding our ground in the worst scenario and stating “none shall pass” may result in much blood loss...
A few years ago, the good people at Jabra sent me their newest model Bluetooth earpiece - the Eclipse - to test out and review. As an independent tech consultant, writer, and busy father of 11 (yes, 11), hands and cord free calling and music appreciation while I work is important and extremely helpful. I found it to be perfect for my needs, providing unmatched clarity and the best battery life I had found to date.
Fast forward to now. Recently I've been testing Jabra's Talk 55 which is almost identical in appearance... I have yet to find a difference. And while the Eclipse had excellent performance, the Talk 55 is even better. Highlights include:
Is it worth the upgrade. I think so. As clear and rich the sound quality was on the Jabra Eclipse, I would estimate the Jabra Talk 55 to be even 50% better - and better both ways. Plus, the ability to recharge the headset off the base without plugging back into the wall is my favorite new feature, and I've found the 1 tap Siri recall to be extremely helpful.
Good, better, best. If we are dedicated to our profession, we usually always want to be improving. Granted, there are those days and weeks when we are just trying to keep our heads above water and we can't think about improving...just maintaining. I get that. I've been there. In fact, I feel like I'm there right now...at least this week. But I do want to improve, become more organized, serve my clients better and increase my chances at being more successful on each project I manage and on each consulting engagement I take on. I'm guessing you feel the same.
That said, let's consider some ways - beyond just great PM and PPM tools - we can improve as project manager right away. There are things we can do in the long term – like take a class or attend a conference. But those usually cost hundreds or thousands of dollars and have to be scheduled well in advance. What I want to discuss are things we can do now...today...tomorrow...this week, in order to improve ourselves as managers of projects for customers and teams we are working with right now.
Scout out online content. There is a multitude of online content designed to help you get through any situation that you could probably think of or have ever experienced as a project manager – including how to be a better project manager today! Seriously, though...project managers out there – including myself – have gone to some great lengths to share their opinions, successes and failures and there is lots of online content to sift through...most of it is helpful and good...and fairly short, so give it a try. There are videos, too. Need help capturing requirements? It's out there. Need help resolving team conflict? It's out there. And so on.
Network with your immediate colleagues. You likely work in an organization surrounded by other project managers. It's not a competition, it's a team. Go to them for help and advice. Give help and advice. Network with your own colleagues. It will bring you all closer together, make everyone better project managers together, and open up lines of communication that may help you solve a project issue quickly tomorrow instead of running into a huge mess down the road on the project. You are surrounded by PM talent...use it.
Go to your project clients today. Don't be afraid to talk to each of your project clients about what they think is going well and what isn't going so well. Learn now what you can change for the good with their helpful insight before they get upset about something and take it up the ladder a notch. Believe me, it will also help strengthen your project team-customer relations at the same time and that is a good thing. And be sure to have quick access not only to your project clients but also to all your projects in the PPM / project portfolio management solution.
Start a daily project newsletter to the team and client. This may be too time consuming to add to your daily tasks, but if you have the time and if it will serve to improve project communications and information dissemination, consider starting off each day with a project newsletter email containing some project info and important task information for the projects. It can serve as a reminder to all what is going on and help keep everyone on track. And it will work well to keep the communication flowing daily. Win-win.
Stop multi-tasking and start prioritizing tasks daily. In my opinion, multi-tasking is definitely overrated. The better path is to prioritize the project tasks that lie ahead and go after them one at a time. Yes, you will always have to multi-task from time to time, but I don't believe it should be your life-plan as a project manager. If you do, too often you find yourself at the end of the day with twelve unfinished tasks and at least three of them are probably at the emergency level by now. Not a good plan. A great PPM tool can help you prioritize the projects. And a hybrid PPM tool can cover both waterfall and agile environments. Win-win.
Summary / call for input
I think most of us want to always get better at our chosen profession. I know I do. I suppose there are those out there that think they've already peaked...but that is never a good attitude. So, this list is a personal list of a few things you can add today to make yourself a better PM or communicator or leader, etc.
What would you add to this list? What are your suggestions for bettering yourself as a project manager when you show up for work tomorrow?