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Two Key Components of a Project Management System

Organizations realize many benefits when they have a project management system that is used by all the project managers in the organization. The system can be entirely manual or fully automated. The objective is to ensure consistency in how project managers initiate, plan, execute, monitor, control and close their projects. This is not to say […]

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Three Career Paths for Getting into Project Management

There are many career paths you can use for getting into project management and starting a professional career. Here are three situations we’ll explore: a recent college graduate a craftsperson who has worked their way up in the trades a professional, like a systems analyst, accountant or operations manager, wanting to move into project management.   Recent College Graduate […]

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Three Levels of Project Management Risk

The project management risk process has a bad reputation among executives. They have seen project managers waste a great deal of time with endless risk meetings and  generation of mountains of paperwork. Executives have also learned that risk management can be very expensive. Consequently, many executives won’t support risk management, even on large projects where it is vitally […]

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Project Team Member Assignments – Tell Them What You Expect

Too many project management team members work less effectively than they could because the project manager does a poor job of giving them clear performance expectations for their assignment. When people have to guess about what a “good job” is, their work effort is going to be less focused than it should be. If members […]

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Enterprise Project Management – Keys to Improving Project Results

Organizations that do not institute enterprise-wide processes for completing projects have lower project success rates. They also have trouble getting the most important projects completed on time and within budget. Even worse, the lack of  consistent project processes creates chaos in the trenches. Project managers battle each other for team members and no one manages […]

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Project Communications Methods – Video

One of the most challenging parts of project management is choosing the project communications methods for all of the different people who are involved with your project. Each of those team members, stakeholders and executives has a different personality and a different communication preference. You need to be able to “type” each of those personalities […]

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Keys to Successful Project Scheduling

Every project manager does project scheduling. Some do it on a yellow note pad, others use an Excel spreadsheet and still others use software specifically designed for project management. Some project managers have very little data to help them successfully managing their projects, deal with change orders or respond to variances. They may not even […]

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The High Stakes Game of Project Management Estimating

Project estimates are tough for every project manager and doing it well is often the difference between consistent success and frequent failure. Let’s look at some of the fantasies surrounding project estimates and then how to do it right. In the real world, estimating a project’s duration and cost is a high stakes game. The […]

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8 Critical Project Manager Skill Sets

There is no one project manager skill set or technique that makes a project manager successful. Rather, successful project managers have both “hard” and “soft” skills in their project tool belt. They are able to select the appropriate tools and techniques to use on every project they manage. The ability to select the right tools prevents overloading […]

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Project Plan Approval

  Every project manager is faced with securing approval for the project plan, schedule and budget for new project. Even if you have been working closely with the sponsor and stakeholders, there is still the need to persuasively present the information you have spent so much time developing. Too many project managers approach these meetings […]

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Team Building

When many  leaders or team members, see “team-building”  they immediately think of a facilitator  or consultant coming to work with their group and run games  and exercises as a way of improving team member performance. That kind of team building has its place and can be effective.    However, team building is also a part […]

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Leading Teams

How To Successfully Lead Teams Highly motivated, problem-solving project teams are a key component for consistent success. These teams are committed to the goal and to completing their assignments on time and within estimates. Teams like that are rare because the correct techniques for leading teams through the lifecycle of a project are challenging. The […]

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Project Team Building Video

Project team building is a critical success factor. Every project manager wants a project team that is composed of highly motivated, aggressive problem solvers who are totally committed to their deliverables, budget and due date and completely support all the other members of the team. Are there teams like this? Yes, but very very few. […]

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Effective Feedback

An important part of a leader’s job is setting norms of behavior and conduct. These help the team work together effectively and efficiently. You, as the leader, must set and enforce these norms of behavior. You have to reinforce positive behavior and change negative behavior.  Part of behavior change comes when you criticize a team […]

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Project Launch

The project launch meeting has several purposes. These include: – establishing expectations for performance and behavior – explaining how team members’ tasks are connected to the scope and objective of the project – explaining how the project result will affect the team members’ performance evaluation – explaining how good performance on their task(s) can benefit the […]

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Leadership & Team Assignments

There are two alternative techniques for assigning work to your team members. The easiest is to assign them activities; like items on a “To Do” list. That doesn’t take much thinking and it’s usually a bit vague. The harder way is to assign accountability for producing a deliverable with acceptance criteria. That takes a lot […]

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Team Motivation

There are three points in the development of a team motivation  that determine its performance. Handled properly, these Moments of Truth (MOT) produce team members who actually try to finish assignments early take responsibility for solving problems and try to find better, faster ways of producing their deliverables. When these MOTs are handled badly, they […]

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Leadership & Improving Team Performance

Improving Team Performance Improving a team’s performance starts with a review of the project manager’s leadership.  Project managers are often unaware of how their own performance and behavior affects the team’s performance and their attitudes. We’ll look at six ways project managers try to improve team performance that do NOT work. And we’ll analyze why they […]

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Project Team Motivation

Project team motivation is every bit as important as developing a creative project plan, creating a tight schedule and spotting problems early. Too many project managers assume that their team members will be unaffected by their behavior in assigning work, solving problems and making estimates. That is very far from the truth because those three […]

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Healthcare Project Risk Management

Convincing healthcare administrators and physicians to participate in Healthcare Project Risk Management is difficult at best. They typically perceive risk management as a lot of meetings, wasted paperwork, money and time. To persuade healthcare leaders that a minimal investment in healthcare project risk management is worthwhile, revisit some previous project failures. Identify the causes of […]

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Project Risk Management

There’s a lot of talk in project management about all-star project managers being great at “putting out fires.” But actually, the all-star project managers are the ones who do risk management and avoid the fire entirely. These PMs don’t need “all-hands” emergency meetings when something unexpected happens. They don’t need to bring all project work […]

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Risk tradeoffs

Executives do not like project managers to mention risk (or planning for it) because they prefer executing the project without any uncertainty. They also do not want to pay any price for risk planning. However, this is a real impossible mission without considering risk tradeoffs. The Project Manager’s mission is to use their risk management […]

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PMP® Certification Training

What do I Need To Qualify to Take the PMP test After you have 3 to 4 years of experience managing projects, you should consider adding the PMP® (Project Management Professional) to your previous certifications.  you will need PMP® Certification Training  to earn the PMP certification, which is the most widely recognized credential in project […]

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PMP® Training

PMP Training Is a necessary step in every project managers career. With that training you will learn a wide array of project management techniques that you can apply to the projects you manage. With three or four years of experience managing projects,  PMP training will also equip you to pass the project management professional certification […]

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Earned Value Management

Earned Value Management  is an integrated set of tools for managing project progress and spotting variances from the plan.  These tools help you identify variances between actual performance in the project’s schedule and variances between actual costs in the project’s budget. Earned value can also provide forecasts of the likely completion date and final cost […]

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Video – Project Planning Turf Wars

Watch this project team from hell make every project planning mistake you have ever seen a team make. These people have a feudal turf war going and the project manager and sponsor can’t seem to tame it. Just in case you miss a few, I’ll detail the mistakes they made and talk with you about […]

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Duration Reduction – Video

Project managers frequently receive demands to cut the project’s duration. For some project managers these demands occur once a week or even daily. There’s a right way and a wrong way to handle cuts in duration. If handled improperly, the stakeholder will go over your head to the sponsor or a senior manager who will […]

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Status Report Template

Project sponsors expect project managers to know what’s going on in the projects they are managing. While some sponsors expect you to know the project status on a daily basis, most are satisfied with a weekly assessment of what’s happening. In the status report template, we’ll talk about the sponsor’s expectations, the raw materials you’ll […]

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How to Write a Weekly Status Report

Your weekly status report is your best opportunity to address any concerns of your project sponsor and to get support and decisions that you need to finish the project successfully. Let’s think about the sponsor’s perspective of a new project manager with whom she is not familiar. Here’s what the sponsor is concerned about: Does […]

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Project Tracking Reports

How you deliver project tracking reports does much to determine your success as a project manager. Project management is often a stepping-stone to higher-level positions. The delivery of the tracking report also determines your credibility with the sponsor and stakeholder group. It impacts their level of comfort with the project itself and your ability to manage it. […]

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Team Status Reports – Video

The biggest problem in project tracking is getting good team status reports. It sounds easier than it is in practice. Project team members and vendors often report inaccurate data due to undo often about their ability to resolve problems like technical issues or lack of stakeholder cooperation. Another obstacle to getting good data comes from […]

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Project Requirements Management

Project Requirements: The Key to Stakeholder Management, Scope Control & Change Requests Project requirements management builds the foundation for: Effective scope and change control Strong support from stakeholders and users Finishing your project without last-minute requirements surprises. Stakeholders are the principal focus of our project requirements management effort. You must continuously try to identify new […]

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Requirements Gathering Blunders and Best Practices

Unfortunately, poor requirements gathering techniques are the cause of many project failures. These blunders cause three separate problems for the project. Each one can increase the cost and duration and lower the users’ or clients’ satisfaction. Each week stakeholders submit requests for new or modified requirements because: Stakeholders complain about the project deliverables not meeting […]

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