Tag Archives | 1. Project Manager Basics

People new to project management need to acquire basic skills for small projects. Generally, a simple five-step methodology is more than sufficient for smaller projects with small teams and a limited number of stakeholders. The basic skills are project planning, project estimating, project scheduling, assigning work and tracking progress. The articles in this section address these basic project management basics.

Project Launch – Sell the Project & Build Political Support

The project launch meeting is an opportunity for you, the project manager, and the sponsor to build enthusiasm for the project among the project team and the project stakeholders. The team members are the people who will be doing the project work. The stakeholders are the people affected by the project. Other attendees are managers affected by the […]

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Micromanage? Not Me!

Do You Micromanage Your Team? None of us like to think we micromanage. But it’s often a challenge not to micromanage your project team. Here are some common assumptions of PM’s who micromanage: You’re the project manager and that means you’re the expert on everything about the project…so you need to make all the decisions Your […]

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Project Team Ground Rules

Project team ground rules are a necessity. Almost all project teams have frequent meetings and even more frequent communication in various forms. If the project manager doesn’t set ground rules for these meetings and communications, a significant amount of time is lost. Together, the project manager and team identify and formulate the ground rules that members of […]

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Leading Teams: Six Techniques For Success

Highly motivated, problem-solving teams are a key reason for project success. These teams are committed to the goal and to completing their assignments on time and within estimates. Teams like that are rare, however. That’s because the correct steps for successfully leading teams are challenging and often missed. The proven techniques you’ll learn here include selecting the […]

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Project Scope

The Project Scope for larger, complex projects must include the “reach” of the project. “Reach” states how far the project reaches out in defining its overall deliverable. Let’s look at an example of what I mean by Project Scope “Reach.”  Let’s say your boss calls you into their office and talks about a project to fix the […]

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Project Management Methodology – 3 Tiers to Fit Project Size & Scope

A project management methodology is the glue that binds all the organization’s project management processes and techniques into a coherent tool where everyone understands their role and obligations. Without a methodology you can’t exercise control over the portfolio of projects to ensure all of them produce business value and doesn’t waste financial and human resources. The project management […]

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Failed Projects – How to Screw One Up – Video

It takes a lot of work to make a failed project as bad as this one. Our 4PM.com cast members show you how in a Failed Projects comedy video about how to screw up a project. The PMs and team members are preparing their failed project for a big project status meeting. You’ll see micro-managing […]

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Project Management Plan – Video

Knowing how to create a Project Management Plan is tricky. The size of the project is not important. People mistakenly think that longer project plans are better than shorter ones. They think the plan’s word count reflects the amount of thinking that’s gone into the document. The opposite is usually true. In our 25+ years […]

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Project Plan Template – Video

On every new project, you need to decide what Project Plan Template elements to include, which to exclude and how to develop them on each particular project. You can use this project plan template to define the project scope and identify major deliverables. You can also use it to manage the project risks, constraints and […]

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Project Questions Video

All project managers spend a great deal of time with executives handling Project Questions after status reports, project plan presentations and discussions of change requests. How the project manager handles these project questions will have a significant impact on the  level of executive support the project receives. Project Questions Video Synopsis You’ll see a project manager who has […]

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Scope Creep

First we’ll talk about what Scope Creep is and then we’ll talk about how to avoid it. Scope creep is the addition of new features and functions after the original project plan has been approved.  These additions to the project scope are approved without any compensating adjustment to the project budget or schedule. It is the number one cause […]

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Team Culture on Your Project Team

The Team Culture on your project affects the team’s productivity, work attitudes and overall commitment to the project. It is affected by you as the project manager as well as the larger organizational culture. The key question is how does a leader affect the culture in positive ways and extinguish any negative aspects?   Project Teams Main […]

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What is Scope Creep?

What is scope creep? It is a parasite which, if the project manager and sponsor let it flourish, busts budgets and overruns schedules. It doesn’t attack the project once, it attacks dozens or hundreds of times. In each of these attacks, a good idea is added to the project that increases the amount of work to […]

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How To Do Analogous Estimating – Video

Here is how to do analogous estimating to improve the time and cost estimates for your project. First, let’s talk about why estimates are often grossly inaccurate and useless to the project’s decision-makers. It’s because project managers frequently estimate cost and duration by “plucking numbers out of the sky.” Or they provide estimates that have no basis in […]

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Project Cash Flow

Making Sure the Project Cash Flow Will be There Just as project managers must secure the availability of the project team members and the materials or equipment required for the tasks, they must also secure the project cash flow availability. While some contractors will wait until the completion of the project to receive payment, others must be paid […]

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Overconfidence in Project Management

Most successful professionals have a great deal of confidence. This is particularly true of project managers.  They have climbed the technical ladder to reach the project manager position and a few successes may have elevated them in the eyes of management above the other project managers.  This can cause overconfidence which is a situation ripe for […]

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Project Sponsor Types: Political Operator – Video

There are many project sponsor types. Some are focused only on delivering business value to their organization and have excellent strategic vision. They know how to support the project manager and the team so they can be highly effective. Unfortunately, not all project sponsor types operate like this. There are a number of project sponsor types […]

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Accurate Project Estimating – Video

Making accurate estimates of project duration, cost and completion date are critical to your project manager credibility and career. No matter how good your technical skills and judgment are, if decision-makers can’t count on your estimates of cost and duration, your credibility will inevitably suffer. Accurate estimating is not primarily a matter of knowledge or […]

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Project Closeout

Project closeout is a best practice in project management because it pays so many dividends for a relatively small time investment.  It’s tough when you’ve just finished a project and no one feels like having another meeting to talk about what went right and what went wrong. We can ease the burden on our project […]

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Cut Project Duration – Video

Project managers often receive demands to cut the project duration. Sometimes these demands come weekly or even daily. There’s a right way and a wrong way to handle requests to cut the project duration. If you handle it incorrectly, the stakeholder will go over your head to the sponsor or a senior manager. Those superiors will arbitrarily […]

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Project Change Control – Video

When project managers handle project change control badly, it irritates stakeholders and cause overruns on budget and duration. Fighting all changes doesn’t work and neither does accepting all of them. We’ll discuss the mistakes project managers make on change orders. Then we’ll review a methodology for doing it the right way. On many projects, the […]

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Team Micromanagement – Video

Project teams have different cultures and attitudes toward the project and its manager. The project team members bring expectations based on their prior project experience as well as their attitudes about being on project teams. But the primary factor that determines the project team culture is the project manager’s behavior. This behavior includes: assigning work […]

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Project Management Skills

Project Management Skills For a Successful Project Manager  What project management skills do consistently successful project managers have in common?  There are personality traits, interpersonal skills, the ability to communicate, and knowledge of the right techniques to use in various project situations. Let’s start by examining the project management skills commonly used to define the consistently successful project manager. […]

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How To Be a Successful Project Manager

Here’s how to be a successful project manager. There are several project manager skill sets or techniques that make a project manager successful. 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 […]

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Project Team Conflict – Video

  Every project team has conflict and project managers need to use a number of conflict resolution techniques. The same technique does not work in all project team conflict situations. You need to carefully analyze the people who are involved in the conflict and the issues over which they are having their dispute. Then you can […]

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Project Management Risk – Three Levels

The project management risk process has a bad reputation among executives. Often that reputation is well deserved. Too many project managers get carried away with fancy mathematics, too many meetings and far too much paperwork. The cost and level of effort are out of proportion to the benefits the project receives from the risk management effort. […]

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Matrix Project Team

In the matrix project team, you borrow people from other departments, not from your own. Matrix project teams have always been popular with project managers. They are a way to get resources for your project without paying consulting fees or persuading people in your organization to give up some of their staff.  That sounds like a fabulous bargain but […]

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WBS – Healthcare Projects

A key part of a good healthcare project plan is the work breakdown structure (WBS). The WBS for Healthcare Projects specifies the work assignment for every person working on the project.  It also specifies the deliverables the customer or sponsor will get. And it provides checkpoints for the organization’s management to track the project’s performance. WBS – Healthcare Projects: Step One Creating […]

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Become a Project Manager

There are many career paths you can use to Become a Project Manager and start a professional career. Project management offers career potential to men and women. The average salary for certified project managers topped $110,000 in the past year. Project management is also a skill demanded worldwide. The demand for project managers has remained strong despite economic […]

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Work Breakdown Structure WBS – Video

Work Breakdown Structure WBS: Deliverables or a “To Do” List? The work breakdown structure (WBS) provides the foundation on which a project manager works. The project manager uses the Work Breakdown Structure to control the project and the work of team. The WBS also provides the checkpoints against which the project manager and the organization measure […]

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WBS – Construction Projects – Video

A key part of a good construction project plan is the work breakdown structure (WBS). The WBS – Construction Projects specifies the work assignment for every crew member, subcontractor, architect, and outside consulting engineer working on the project.  It also specifies the deliverables the customer will get. That definition is in the form of an […]

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WBS – Information Technology Projects – Video

The work breakdown structure is the heart of a successful WBS – Information Technology project plan. The work breakdown structure (WBS) defines the deliverables in objectively measurable terms, like retrieve 6 months of customer history in 4 seconds. It fits the systems developmental methodology you will use in the project, like Agile, Waterfall, Iterative, etc.  It defines the users’ expectations […]

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Project Tracking Reports

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

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Project Charter Template

Use this project charter template to create the charter at the end of the project initiation process. This is after you have the scope information, the statement of work (SOW) from the sponsor and before the detailed planning begins. It includes the following: scope major deliverables assumptions constraints risks required resources and change control.  Starting work is still […]

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