Assess Team Effectiveness

Project Management, Leadership, HR Management, About, Best Practices

Article sources from Mind Tools

Tool used for the assessment of Team Effectiveness can be found here

How Good is Your Team?

Teamwork has a dramatic affect on organizational performance. An effective team can help an organization achieve incredible results. A team that is not working can cause unnecessary disruption, failed delivery and strategic failure.

Nowadays it is almost impossible to avoid being a member of team. If you're not on an official team at work, chances are you function within one in one way or another. So it's important for your personal and career development to know your teamworking strengths and weaknesses.

This assessment helps you uncover common teamworking problems that you might be experiencing. Once you've completed the assessment, we direct you towards team tools that will help you to improve and develop these important skills.
How good are you and your team at teamwork and team building?

Improve Group Dynamics

Project Management, Change Management, Leadership, Communications Management, Best Practices

Article sourced from Mind Tools
The Original Article can be found here.

Key Points:
Imagine that you've brought together the brightest people in your department to solve a problem. You had high hopes for the group, so you feel frustrated when people can't come to a decision.

Several factors are holding the group back.

To start with, one person is very critical of colleagues' ideas. You suspect that her fault-finding is discouraging others from speaking up.

Another has hardly contributed to the sessions at all. When asked for his opinion, he simply agrees with a more dominant colleague.

Finally, one group member makes humorous comments at unhelpful times, which upsets the momentum of the discussion.

These are classic examples of poor group dynamics, and they can undermine the success of a project, as well as people's morale and engagement.

In this article, we'll look at what group dynamics are, and why they matter. We'll then discuss some examples of poor group dynamics, and we'll outline some tools that you can use to deal with them.

What Are Group Dynamics?

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Comments on Great Blogs

Announcements, Communications Management, About, Best Practices

Author: Len Pretorius

I am often amazed at the wealth of information that is available on the www. I subscribe to a host of the Blogs and news-sources I am interested in and love to read, or at least browse through upon receiving the blog post or email.

A few that have highlighted my week thus far:

a) Mind Tools
b) Techrepublic
c) iAfrica's Personal-Finance
d) Cees Bruggens - The most knowledgeable & prolific economics blog writer I know! Therein you will also find interesting articles from Ettienne le Roux, Sizwe Nxedlana, and in "By Invitation" - Johan Snyman and Prof Peet Strydom's contribution. I often wish them to be more prolific in their contributions.
e) Renewable Energy and
f) Real life Finance at Morningstar - Pick your interest in the menu - it is ALL there!
g) Liberty News
h) Engineering News
i) TED Talks
j) "Resources" at Project Manager.com and the "Blog" under "Support" at Method123 Project Management Methodology

Information at your fingertips and no time to be bored!
My most sincere thanks to the wonderful and clever people that made the www available in my lifetime!:-):-):-) What a wonderful time to be alive!

Enough for this am!

Analyze and Improve Employee Well-Being

Leadership, About, Motivation, Personal Well-being

Article Sourced from Mind Tools
The original Article and further learning skills can be found here

Key Points

Researchers Arnold Bakker and Evangelia Demerouti developed the Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) Model in 2006. The model states that when job demands are high and job resources/positives are low, stress and burnout increase. Conversely, a high number of job positives can offset the effects of high job demands.

Take the following steps to apply the JD-R Model:

1. Identify job demands.
2. Address job demands.
3. Identify possible job resources/positives.
4. Address job positives.

When you lessen job demands and promote job positives, your team will experience less stress, and they will have a greater sense of engagement and motivation.

So, if your people are stressed, use our list of actions to create a happy, supportive working environment.

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Understand Workplace Values

Leadership, HR Management, Best Practices, Motivation

Source: Article from Mind Tools

Finding the Best Cultural Fit

Your newest recruit, Brandon, has been working with your team for several weeks now, and you're wondering if you made a mistake in hiring him. His workplace values are very different from those of your team, and from the values of your organization as a whole. Your core team members care passionately about doing work that helps others. They value teamwork, and they're always willing to pitch in or stay late if someone is behind on an important deadline. This has led to a culture of trust, friendliness, and mutual respect within the team.

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Fail your Projects

Project Management, Leadership

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

Take these 5 tips to deliver your project OVER time, OVER budget and make your customers miserable along the way...

Step 1 - Never Plan:
"What's the point of planning when no-one follows my plans anyway? My plans get printed, forgotten and put on the shelf. I'm just going to roll my sleeves up and get stuck in to the project?" A wise man once said: "if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail". So planning is all about making sure that the right people work on the right tasks at the right time. Only if you plan can you be sure that you'll deliver your project on time.

Step 2 - Don't Communicate.
"Why do I have to tell everyone what's happening all the time? It's pointless. All they have to know is what their daily task list is. Communication takes too much time. It's not worth it!" The reason you have to communicate is that it keeps everyone on the same page so they all know how each other are getting on, when they have to work harder and when they don't. For instance, if no-one knows that the project is slipping, then what chance have you got of delivering it on time if you don't communicate?

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Ensure 2011 far Exceeds your Expectations in 10 Easy Steps

Time Management, Project Coaching and Mentoring, Change Management, Best Practices, Motivation

Source - Article by Trevor Ketler Presentations

Summary:
A successful year never happens on its own, it requires a plan that we must stick to:

1. Have clear objectives:
Create a list of all the things you wish to accomplish, whether at home, in business, with friends, in relationships, etc. Set realistic time frames that you and only you can achieve.

2. Revisit the list daily:

Place this list in a spot where you will see it every day and ensure that you read it daily for the next 30 days without missing out a day.

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Save Blog Articles

Announcements

How to Save Articles & General Information about this Blog - written by Len Pretorius [Admin]

1. Product Source:
It is powered by b2evolution an Open Source Software product. Anybody with the required skill set can download and install it from here.

2. Browsers:
It runs very well on most/all Browsers, but some issues have been reported on Chrome.
I have used IE/Firefox/Safari and have had no problem thus far. If you are having issues - switch to Firefox.

3. Saving Articles:
I often get asked - "How do I save these Articles"? There are numerous methods, here are some I recommend:

a. Use Firefox Browser; Get a Firefox Extension called Zotero and build your own Library with Sub-collections - This is what I do for all my web page captures. Alternatively: Use ~

b. File > "Print" > to: OneNote - a Microsoft Office product.

c. A Screen Capture Utility with scrolling ability such as SnagIt from Techsmith. If set up correctly, it can be very quick via hot-keys and a webpage capture profile.

d. File > "Save page As" > Webpage or html page in My Documents > Folders.

e. Just Bookmark the Article ~ Caution ~ not yet sure what will happen to the url link when the Article is archived

Introducing Project Management Techniques on a Project Team

Project Coaching and Mentoring, Project Management, Project Management Methodology, Leadership

Source: TenStep Article by Tom Mochal

Summary
There are some advantages and disadvantage associated with trying to implement formal project management processes on a project team. In general, the successful implementation is within your control. If your project is large enough, you should easily see the value and you will have a chance to integrate project management processes successfully before the project finishes.

Project management presents a bigger challenge than just telling everyone on the team to do things a certain way. People who are not used to working within a formal structure and framework can sometimes rebel when they are asked to do it for the first time. These people will first tend to get negative and view the new processes a bunch of overhead, before they start to grudgingly see the value.
If you were trying to implement a project management discipline throughout your entire organization, the job would be much more complex and time-consuming. In that kind of an initiative, you are trying to perform a culture change to project managers, team members, functional managers and clients. When you implement project management processes on one project team, the challenge is much more contained and within your control. On the other hand, the benefits are obviously more limited as well. First, the value that you are providing is limited to your immediate project team. You will also have to create some of the processes and templates your team will use, rather than having a consistent set that your entire organization uses. When your entire organization is moving in the same direction, you will really start to see the overall value that good project management processes can provide.
To help you be successful, I recommend you look at five areas.

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Get a Project Back on Schedule

Change Management, Project Schedule Management

Source: TenStep Article by Tom Mochal

Fast Tracking:
Fast track means that you look at activities that are normally done in sequence and assign them partially in parallel. For instance, when building a house, the frame cannot be constructed until the foundation is dry. However, if the house is large enough you may have options to fast track by starting to erect the frame on the side of the home where the foundation was poured first. The foundation will harden there first, and might allow you to erect the frame on that side, while the foundation on the far side of the home is still drying. Another way you could fast track would be to start building the walls on the ground while the foundation was drying so that the walls could be erected more quickly when the foundation dries.
Another example involves designing an IT application. Normally you would not start constructing a solution until the design was completed. However, if you were fast-tracking, you would start constructing the solution in areas where you felt the design was pretty solid without waiting for the entire design to be completed.
Fast-tracking always involves risk that could lead to increased cost and some rework later. For instance, in the example of designing and constructing an application, it’s possible that the design might change before it is finalized, and those final changes may result in having to redo some of the work already underway.
A good rule of thumb is that sequential activities can sometimes be fast-tracked by up to 33%. In other words, if you are fast-tracking, you can start the second of two sequential activities when the first activity is 67% complete. There is risk involved; however, this seems to be a level of fast-tracking risk that is normally acceptable.

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Create to create a Communications Plan for your Project.

Communications Management, Best Practices

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

This is listing of the 10 steps you need to take to create a Communications Plan for your project.

Step 1: Situation Analysis
The first step to take when creating a Communications Plan is to perform a Situation Analysis. This is a fancy term for researching your existing communications environment.
Review the performance of all communications within your project and identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Then identify any lessons learned from past communications exercises, so that the same mistakes made in the past are not repeated here.

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Deal with Issues and Problems in a Project

Project Risk Management, Leadership, Project Stakeholder Management, Best Practices

Source: TenStep Article by Tom Mochal

Resolve Issues as Soon as Possible
The definition of an issue is that it is a problem that will impede the progress of the project and cannot be totally resolved by the project team. That definition leads you to understand that issues must be addressed quickly. If a problem is indeed being classified as an issue, the project manager must take responsibility for getting it resolved. The project manager should have an activity in the schedule every week to follow-up on open issues to ensure they are being diligently resolved.
By the same reasoning, if there is no urgency to resolve the issue or if the issue has been active for some time, you should look again to see if it really is an issue. It may be a potential problem (risk) or it may be an action item that needs to be resolved at some later point. Issues by their nature must be resolved with a sense of urgency.

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Deal with Contractors and Consultants

Project Management, Leadership, HR Management, Project Stakeholder Management

Source: Articles by Dick Billows of 4PM

Learn the techniques, contract types, and incentives to use in dealing with contractors and consultants. Then watch the video about how to handle and what to say to a greedy contractor who is trying to fleece you with change orders and extras.

Read the whole article here.

How to Deal with Uncertainty on Long Projects

Change Management, Best Practices

Source: TenStep Article by Tom Mochal

Summary
You are right to be concerned about the unknowns associated with long projects. However, there are a number of techniques that can be used to make you feel more comfortable. Being comfortable does not imply that you know everything. Being comfortable means that you have taken your best shot at laying the project out as best you can, and then relying on a good set of communication processes, risk management and schedule management to discover the detailed nature of the project as you progress.

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Manage Scope Change - Techniques

Change Management, Best Practices

Source: TenStep Article by Tom Mochal

Make Sure Only the Sponsor Approves Changes - Not Users and Client Managers
A typical problem on a project is that the team does not understand the roles of the sponsor, client and end users in the area of change management. In general, the project sponsor is the person who is funding the project. If the client were embodied in one person, it would be the project sponsor. The sponsor is usually high up in the organization and not easy to see on a day-to-day basis. In most cases, the sponsor designates someone in his organization to make most decisions on a daily basis.
The people that the project team tends to work with most often are normal clients and end users. End users are the people that use the solution that the project is building. The end users are the ones that will generally make requests for changes to deliverables. It doesn’t matter how important a change is to an end user, the end users cannot make scope change decisions and they cannot give your team the approval to make a scope change.
In proper scope change management, the sponsor (or his designee) must give the approval. The end users can request scope changes, but they cannot approve them. The end user cannot allocate additional funding to cover the changes and he cannot know if the project impact is acceptable. If the change is important enough to the sponsor, he will approve it, along with the appropriate budget and duration changes. If the change is not important enough, it will not be approved. However, it will be the sponsor making the decision, not the project manager, client manager, project team or end users.

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Achieve Project Success

Best Practices

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

10 Tips for Project Success:

1. Starting out:
Make sure that when you start out your customer defines their requirements in depth. You need to know exactly what it is that must be delivered, to who and when. Make it specific, write it up formally and get them to sign it off. This document will become the basis upon which to measure your success.

2. Customers:
Involve your customers throughout the entire project life cycle. Get them involved in the analysis and planning, as well as execution. You don't have to seek their approval, just keep them informed. The more you involve them, the greater their level of buy-in and the easier it is to manage their expectations.

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How To Finish Strong!

Motivation

1. How to Finish Strong - Amazing Stories Story by Dan Green

2. Are You Going to Finish Strong - a Video Story by Nick Vujicic

3. Are You Going to Finish Strong - Al Pacino's Inspirational Speech from Any Given Sunday

4. Are You Going to Finish Strong - a Video Story by David Mc Nally

Create Your Project Dashboard

Project Management, Project Management Methodology, Project Reporting, Best Practices, Project Planning

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

A "Project Dashboard" is a tool that provides you with a graphical view of the progress of your project, so that you can see at a glance whether you're on track. It's basically a set of Charts that gives you the current status of the project at any time. You can create the Charts manually in Excel, or use smart software that does it for you.
To create your own Project Dashboard in Excel, take these steps:

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Multitasking - Can It Help You Get More Done?

Time Management, Project Management

Source: Article by James Manktelow of Mind Tools

You're on the phone with a supplier, while quietly typing up notes about your previous phone call. As soon as you hang up, a colleague sends you an instant message, which you read over while dialing your manager's extension number. Then, during your phone conversation with her, you start updating your week's to-do list. To boost our productivity, many of us multitask like this to some degree. And, in a world where the pace of life is often frantic, people who can multitask are typically seen as efficient and effective. After all, don't we get more done when we do more than one thing at a time?

Is multitasking costing you time?. Next time you're juggling phone messages and emails whilst preparing for a meeting, think about whether your multitasking really is the most effective approach?

Actually, multitasking often doesn't make us as productive as we think. What's more, it's likely that the quality of our work is worse when we multitask. In fact, it could actually be costing us time instead of creating it. In this article we'll examine the issues associated with multitasking, and look at why we shouldn't do it. We'll also look at some suggestions to help you get out of the multitasking habit.

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Convince Executives of the Value of Project Management - Part 2

Project Management, Leadership

Source: TenStep Article by Tom Mochal

The exact argument to use for convincing executives of the value of common project management practices is going to be different from company to company because every company has a unique culture and unique problems they face. But some common benefits should be achieved in all organizations.

Better Estimating, Planning and Project Definition
How many times have you heard about or been involved in a project that failed miserably? Or perhaps it just was not as successful as it needed to be. Did you ever spend time looking back to see what caused the project to go wrong? If you did, chances are that you said, "You know, we should have spent more time planning."
Project management focuses first on planning the work. This is a vital discipline, and allows the project team and the client to have common perceptions of what the project is going to deliver, when it will be complete, what it will cost, who will do the work and how the work will be done. This includes -

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Convince Executives of the Value of Project Management - Part 1

Project Management, Leadership

Source: TenStep Article by Tom Mochal

There is no question that a common set of project management processes provides value to an organization. Even if your organization utilizes “light” methodologies, there is still value in implementing a common set of “light” project management processes that everyone can use on similar projects. The exact argument to use for convincing executives of the value of common project management practices is going to be different from company to company because every company has a unique culture and unique problems they face. Each organization is also starting from a different reality and a different set of problems they are trying to resolve.

Is Your Company Feeling Pain Today?
If your organization delivers projects okay today, your arguments would have to focus on how project management would bring improvements in project cycle time, costs and overall quality. However, the argument is easier if you can identify areas where your organization is feeling some pain today. In that case, your executives will be much more open to changes, since they should be more easily able to see the value.

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Plan the Work of the Portfolio

Project Management, Leadership, Project Portfolio Management

Source: TenStep Article by Tom Mochal

The term "portfolio" refers to the collection of work that you choose to manage as a related whole. The collection of work is called a portfolio because you decide to select and manage the work using portfolio management techniques similar to how you manage your financial portfolio. There are ten major aspects to utilizing portfolio management to select the work of the portfolio. The following four components are used to determine the work that is important enough to add to the portfolio.

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Plan your Projects

Project Management, Project Risk Management, Project Planning

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

It doesn't matter which industry you're in or project you're involved with, these 5 steps should be taken every time to properly plan your project:

Step 1: Set the Direction
Before you start out, set the direction for the project. Do this by clearly identifying the project vision, goals and deliverables. State the overall timeframes for delivery and clarify the amount of resource available. Determine what is "in scope" and "out of scope". Identify the benefits and costs in delivering the project and any milestones and constraints. Only once this is agreed with your Project Sponsor will you know what it is that you have to achieve.

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Create your "Project Charter"

Project Management Methodology, Best Practices

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

The Project Charter describes the project vision, objectives, scope, organization and implementation plan. It helps you to set the direction for the project and gain buy in from your stakeholders as to how the project will be organized and implemented. It will also help you to control the scope of your project, by defining exactly what it is that you have to achieve. To define a Project Charter, take these steps:

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Manage Change

Change Management

Source: TenStep Article by Tom Mochal

It is said that the only constant in the world is change . You can make perfect plans, but they cannot account for every potential change that may occur. The longer your project, the more likely you will be dealing with changes. This is one reason why the TenStep process understands that the initial definition and planning processes do not have to be perfect. You and your team need to do the best job you can given what you know at the time. That is good enough. After that you need to manage the changes.
There are a number of aspects of change that can occur on a project.
• Scope changes
• Configuration changes
• General changes (non-scope, non-configuration)
On most projects, the most important aspect of change is scope change management.

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Manage Virtual Teams

Time Management, Project Management, Leadership, Communications Management, IT Project Management

Source: TenStep Article by Tom Mochal

Ten Techniques for Managing Virtual Teams
Most everyone works in a team environment. It has always been understood that the most effective teams are those located together. In fact, many managers decide to co-locate their team after reorganization, even though the constant churn of people moving from place to place is seen by others as unproductive. Against this backdrop is a global phenomenon that is driving team staffing in the other direction. The Internet, faster and more reliable communication, and collaborative tools are allowing people to come together on teams that are no longer co-located. In fact, the whole concept of globalization is pushing work all over the globe, with independent people and teams working anywhere and everywhere. These groups are sometimes referred to as virtual teams. They are real teams and they fit a classic definition of teams in terms of working together to achieve a common set of objectives. However, they are referred to as virtual mostly because they do not communicate and interact in a traditional face-to-face manner.

There are some special techniques that can be used to manage these virtual teams.

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Get a Project Back on Schedule

Project Risk Management, Change Management, Leadership, Best Practices, Project Schedule Management

Source: TenStep Article by Tom Mochal

You don't need top panic if you find your project is trending behind schedule. A good project manager has a tool box full of techniques to get back on schedule. A few are listed below.

1. Work Overtime:
Everyone hates it, but one logical place to look at is overtime. If people work more hours, they can get more work done in the same amount of calendar time. Overtime may be the best option if you are close to the end of the project and just need a final push to get everything done on schedule. If you are toward the end of the project, you also may be able to issue comp-time (comparable time off) after the project is completed. If you are still early in the project, there are probably other options that are more effective.
There may be cost implications to this option if you need to have contract resources work overtime.

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Reduce Project Risk

Project Risk Management

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

1. Start out on the right foot
Too many projects get started without a solid definition of what must delivered. So always start out by writing a detailed Project Charter. This document states the project vision, objectives, scope and deliverables. Only then, do you know what has to be achieved and by when.

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Improve your Project Learning

Project Management, Best Practices

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology
Here are 5 great tips for learning more about Project Management...

1: Get serious
Whether you're a beginner or novice, you need to invest in formal training to boost your skills. So get serious and take the first step. Either enroll for a formal training course locally, or use learning tools so that you can learn from home when it suits you.
Then set aside 2 hours every week to sit down and read books, materials, articles and white papers about projects. By immersing yourself in the topic, you will spark ideas for your own projects that you can use to improve your success.

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4PM.com - Project Best Practice Techniques

Project Management, Project Management Methodology, IT Project Management, Best Practices

Source: PM Best Practice Techniques from 4PM

A number of best practice techniques provided by 4PM.com which are included in the Source Link above:

Project Plan Templates - ideas on project planning, plan templates and the steps to take in planning projects

Work Breakdown Structure - ideas on developing the WBS for your project and how to follow the methodology...

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Validate Work Estimates with Team

Estimating, Cost Management

Source: TenStep Tom Mochal

One of the primary responsibilities of a project manager is to build a project schedule and assign activities from the schedule to team members for execution. After you assign work to team members you should hold them accountable for having the work completed within expectations.

On the surface this sounds very cut and dry. However, is it really fair? Let's raise it up a level. Let's assume that you are the project manager and you are assigned to a project after the estimate for schedule and budget are already completed. You might not think that was fair since you did not have a part on creating the estimates. You would probably think that if you are held accountable for the schedule and budget, you need to be involved in creating the schedule and budget.

Now you see the problem with assigning work to team members. Is it fair to hold them accountable for work if they did not have any input into the estimating process? The answer is also “no”.

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Kick Start your Career

Project Management, HR Management

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

If you've started the New Year and you'd like to kick start your career, then here's how to do it...

1: Review where you're at
Start out by writing down what you wanted out of your career when you started. What did you want to achieve and by when? When look at your progress to date and what you have achieved, are you on track? If you're not, then where should you be right now?
Also, think about what you're doing now and the parts of the job that you enjoy and don't enjoy. Then work out what you'd like to change.

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Timebox Project or Product Development

Project Management, Project Management Methodology, IT Project Management

Source: Rothman Consulting Group

You’re a project manager. You have too much work to fit into a project (scope) and not enough time to do it. What do you do? Timebox.

Timeboxing is a technique to fit what you can accomplish (some of the scope) into the time you have allotted. Timeboxing works when you have fixed schedule and fix team size, but the feature set is variable. If your users/customers don’t help you prioritize the choices, the project team will choose which features to implement.

The Art of Timeboxing - a Blog entry written by Johanna Rothman

Agile Development - Using Agile Practices

Time Management

Source: DTSAgile - The Agile Process

Agile practices bring sanity back to software projects.

Very simply, agile practices iteratively and incrementally deliver high quality, valuable, working software to customers. Agile practices empower software development teams to effectively guide software development projects and embrace change in a project as normal and to be expected. Most importantly, agile development emphasizes collaboration and feedback, both internal and external to improve the quality and value of software as well as to provide continuous improvement of the development process itself.

The Agile Process

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Agile Development - Using SCRUM

Project Management Methodology, IT Project Management

An explaination of the SCRUM technique under 10 min.

or
A longer more detailed Video focusing on Roles

Respond When Project Estimates Are Ignored

Cost Management, Change Management

Source: TenStep Tom Mochal

Many people work in competitive bidding environments, where your company generates revenue by winning contracts to complete projects and deliver products to other companies. If you had your preference, you would estimate the work as best you could and with an acceptable level of risk, i.e. not too lean or not too fat.
However, you may find that your best estimates are being ignored by your management or not being followed by the Sales organization. The problem is that if you win the business, you are probably on the hook to deliver the same level of functionality and quality, but with a significantly impaired budget.

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Start a New Project

Project Management, Project Management Methodology

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

Step 1: Get the Vision
The first thing you need to do is to sit down with your Project Sponsor and agree on what needs to be delivered and by when. You need a hard and fast project end date. You need to understand why this end date is important to the business and the impact if you go past it. Only then, will you have a solid stake in the ground, against which you can measure progress.

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How to implement a "Change Management Process"

Project Management, Change Management

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology
Projects are typically undertaken within changing business environments, so it's inevitable that during the life of your project, there will be some element of change required. Whether a customer requests a change to their requirements, management request a change in priority or team members request a change in roles, you will need an effective Change Management Process to minimize the resulting impact on your project.

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Understand the Document Life Cycle

Quality Management, Communications Management, Document Management

Source: TenStep Tom Mochal

It is important for the project manager to recognize the stages that a document must go through from creation to completion. This knowledge allows the project manager to understand the overall status of a document at any given time and helps ensure adequate time is allocated for the completion of the document. For instance, when a team member says he can complete a document in two weeks, is he saying that the document will be ready to circulate in two weeks or that the document will be completed and totally approved in two weeks? Not all documents need to go through all the stages of document creation and approval. However, depending on the document, one or more of the steps will be required.

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Avert the Common Estimating Errors

Estimating, Cost Management

Source: TenStep Tom Mochal

The estimation process is an art and a science. However, once you learn good estimating processes and techniques, you will hopefully be able to move more toward the “science” side of estimating and rely less on the “art” side. You can get better and better at estimating, but by nature you can never be perfect. Here is a list of common estimating problems that should be avoided.

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Become "Creme de la Project Manager"

Project Management, Leadership

Source: 4PM Best Project Practices Articles

Project Manager: Creme de la Project Manager

What makes a consistently successful Project Manager? Certainly there are specific personality traits, interpersonal skills, the ability to communicate effectively, and knowledge of the right techniques to use in various project situations. "Let's start by examining the ingredients many people use...."

Read this article written by Dick Billows

Apply The 5 Golden Rules of Project Management

Project Management, Leadership

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

If you're involved in projects, then there are 5 Golden Rules you need to apply that will help you deliver your project successfully...

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Manage Stakeholder Expectations

Project Management, Leadership, Project Stakeholder Management

Source: TenStep Tom Mochal

You performed an initial stakeholder analysis when you defined the work. The stakeholder analysis should also be updated periodically to ensure that the stakeholders are being engaged successfully. This includes validating the relative importance of the stakeholder groups as well as your interest for each group. If the stakeholders are not being engaged as you wished, you should update or change your activities. It is possible that you will also discover new stakeholders as the project progresses, and they should be accounted for in this process as well.

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Start New Projects

Project Management, Project Management Methodology

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

As you kick off new projects in the coming year, make sure you start out on the right foot. These tips will help you set up projects properly from the outset, and avoid problems down the track.

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Manage a Project Portfolio

Project Management, Project Management Methodology, Project Portfolio Management

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

Want to "move up" in the field of Project Management? If so, then consider a career as a Project Portfolio Manager. You will be responsible for managing an entire portfolio of work, to help your company to achieve the overall business strategy.

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Know When to Implement a Requirements Freeze

Project Management, Change Management

Source: TenStep Tom Mochal

There are different opinions about when to implement a requirements freeze. Here are some things to keep in mind when considering a freeze.

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"Not" Write Project Status Reports

Project Coaching and Mentoring, Project Management, Project Management Methodology, Project Reporting

Source: 4PM Best Project Practices Articles

Project Reporting: Status Reports that Stupefy

All too often project managers give status reports that undermine their credibility and give executives little information on which to base decisions. What's even worse, bad status reports don't give early warning on big problems. Let's look at some common but useless ways to report status and then talk about the best practices techniques to use on your status reports.
Read this article written by Dick Billows

Manage Cross Functional Projects

Leadership, HR Management

Source: 4PM - Best Practices in Project Management

Cross Functional Projects: Do they produce conflict and not much else?

"Succeeding on cross-functional projects is a survival requirement these days. But these projects require that we handle authority, workloads and rewards differently. When we don't, the cross-functional effort normally follows a downward spiral of conflict and blame avoidance."
Read this article written by Dick Billows

Initiate the Project

Project Management, Leadership, Project Portfolio Management

Source: TenStep Tom Mochal

No organization has the resources to meet all of its business needs. This is true in the best of times. It certainly is even truer when times are tough. Even if your organization is a rare one that has all the money it needs, you definitely do not have the people capacity to complete everything you would like. The typical response to managing scarce resources against an unlimited demand is to come up with some type of prioritization process to ensure that you approve and fund the work that will provide the most value.
A good Project Management Process describes how to proactively plan and manage projects. However, this assumes that there is a project to begin with. Every organization has processes in place to identify and authorize a project. In the project methodology process this identification and authorization process is called Project Initiation.

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Deliver Challenging Projects

Project Management, Project Management Methodology, Project Risk Management

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

Every project is a challenge, but if you have tight deadlines, limited funding and are short of resource - then you may have a tougher challenge than you think! To help you succeed, read these tips. There are 5 classic signs of a "challenging" project. We've described them below and offer you advice for managing them:

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Create a Project Quality Plan

Project Risk Management, Quality Management

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

Most Project Managers are aware that delivering projects within "time, cost and quality" is critical to success. However the term quality can be elusive and is often not clearly defined. In this issue, we describe what it really means to deliver quality within a project and we will help you to understand the 4 critical steps to creating a Quality Plan. So what does the term "quality" mean? Method123 defines quality as producing deliverables which meet the requirements of the customer.

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Create your own Project Life Cycle...

Project Management, Project Management Methodology

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

If you don't want to have to start every project from scratch, then it's worthwhile creating your own Project Life Cycle.
How should you do this? What should it look like? And how do you use it? Keep reading to find out how to...

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Save Time with Planning & Delegating

Time Management, Project Management

Source: TenStep Tom Mochal

Efficiency and effectiveness are key to the smooth functioning of an organization and can be achieved if work is properly planned and delegated.

Before you start your work, take some time to plan. These plans should be flexible so that you can adapt them to different situations. However, you should ensure that details do not slow down your work. Here are some tips:

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Reduce Project Stress...

Leadership, HR Management, Communications Management

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

Most project teams become stressed at some point. How you manage this stress will directly effect your ability to deliver the project on time.

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Achieve Project Kickoff

Project Management, Leadership, Communications Management

Source: TenStep Tom Mochal

Projects don’t always go through an organized sequence of planning, approval and execution. Sometimes a project is in various stages at once. Before you know it, you can be executing the project and find that team members and stakeholders have varying levels of understanding about the purpose and status of the project. Just as a project should have a formal end-of-project meeting to signify that it is complete, it also makes sense to hold a formal kickoff meeting to start a project.

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Analyse Failure on Projects

Project Management, Project Risk Management, Leadership

Source: TenStep Tom Mochal

Success and failure are integral to individual and corporate growth. Success is relatively easy to handle. Few individuals or companies fail to appreciate and gain confidence from successes. On the other hand, we are not usually equipped to deal with failures.

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Build Project Management Skills through Training and Coaching

Project Coaching and Mentoring, HR Management

Source: TenStep Tom Mochal

Once the methodology has been selected, the PMO has to work to get the organization to adopt the common processes. Two of the primary ways this is done are through training and coaching services. Training is one of the premiere services offered by PMOs. In fact, in many organizations, the primary role of the PMO is to offer project management training to the staff. Coaching refers to working with individual project managers or project teams to transfer knowledge and teach new skills. This is usually done in-person, but can also occur over the phone or through emails.

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Deliver your Projects Faster

Time Management, Project Management, Project Management Methodology, Project Software Solutions, Leadership

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

As a Project Manager, you will always be under pressure to deliver your project faster than people expect. It's a tough challenge, but by using the tips and tricks listed below you can deliver your project before the deadline and reduce your stress along the way...
Here are 5 tips for delivering projects faster...

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Create a Communications Plan

Project Management, Project Management Methodology, Leadership, HR Management, Communications Management

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

Send the right message - to the right people - at the right time.

If you manage projects, then you will know that to succeed, you need to communicate clearly with all of your project stakeholders. Otherwise your staff will lack clear direction, team morale will be low and your project may deliver over schedule and exceed its budget. Here's a snapshot of the 10 steps you need to take, as outlined in the template.

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Apply Holistic management: The Seven S model

Project Management, Leadership

Source: Techrepublic Rick Freedman

The Seven S framework guides managers to improve their strategic approach to the business.
A common adage in the management consulting business is that efficiency and effectiveness are completely different measurements. An organization can be extremely efficient, getting high productivity from their workforce and producing their product or service with very little waste or churn, yet be totally ineffective in meeting their objectives if, for instance, their product or service is not accepted in the marketplace. This difference is often distilled to the statement “efficiency is about doing things right, while effectiveness is about doing the right things.”

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Improve your Decision-Making

Project Management, Leadership

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

This may surprise you, but most great leaders use the same 5 steps for making decisions.

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Get Better Results from Poor Performers

Leadership, HR Management

Source: TenStep Tom Mochal

Individual Performance Should Be Linked to Project Results

Have you ever been on a project that missed all of its commitments for cost, schedule, and quality? Although it may seem counter intuitive, there are a number of projects that have major problems, even some that are canceled, on which the team members all receive great reviews and the project manager is promoted.

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Find Project Errors as Early as Possible

Project Management, Project Risk Management, Change Management, Quality Management

Source: TenStep Tom Mochal

A Hewlett-Packard executive once noted, “If you catch a two cent resistor before you use it and throw it away, you lose two cents. If you don’t find it until it has been soldered into a computer component, it may cost $10 to repair the part. If you don’t catch the component until it is in the computer . . . the expense may exceed the manufacturing cost.”
One of the purposes of quality management is to find errors and defects as early in the project as possible.

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Build Personal Confidence as a Project Manager

Project Coaching and Mentoring, Project Management, Leadership

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

To be a great Project Manager, you need great personal confidence. If you're not 100% confident, then it will impact on your ability to achieve success. For some people, confidence comes naturally and to others, they need to work at it. So follow these Golden Rules, if you want to improve your level of personal confidence:

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Build a Work Breakdown Structure

Estimating, Cost Management

Source: TenStep Tom Mochal

Break Summary Activities into Two or More Detailed Activities
Since you chose to break a summary activity into smaller activities, it does not make sense to only have one detailed activity under a summary one. If you do, the detailed activity represents the exact same work as the summary activity. This does not buy you anything. If this occurs in your WBS, you either need to:
• Break the summary activity into multiple smaller tasks
• Get rid of the detailed activity and associate the work with the summary - which now becomes a detailed activity

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Identify Incompetent (Project) Managers

Project Management, Leadership

Source: Techrepublic Toni Bowers

I came across a great piece about traits that incompetent managers share. Written by Margaret Heffernan for FastCompany.com, this no-nonsense piece cuts to the chase and is about as true a list as I’ve ever seen. Here are the traits of incompetent managers, according to Ms. Heffernan:

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Have Project Management Accountability but not Responsibility

Project Management, Leadership

Source: TenStep Tom Mochal
In some organizations, the project manager is accountable for the success of the project, but does not have the right level of responsibility. You are typically asked to manage a project utilizing people when you do not have direct management responsibility over them.

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Get back on Budget

Estimating, Cost Management, Change Management

Source: TenStep Tom Mochal

Do you need a technique to get your project budget back on track?

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Ensure Project Failure

Project Management, Project Management Methodology, Change Management, Leadership

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

There are a variety of reasons why projects fail. The good news is that they are often within your control. So to learn the top 10 reasons for project failure and what you can do about them.

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Manage Small Change Requests Using Alternative Processes

Project Management, Change Management

Source: TenStep Tom Mochal

Everyone can recognize and appreciate that a scope change request process must be invoked for large changes to the project. However, you may encounter resistance to formal scope change management for small requests. Thus.....

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Resolve Project Conflict

Project Management, Project Management Methodology

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

Have you ever experienced conflict within a project? Most people do at some point in their careers. Given the pressure that project teams are under, it's no wonder that it occurs. So.....

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Lead Your Projects

Project Coaching and Mentoring, Project Management

Source: Method123 - MPMM Project Methodology

The main difference between a leader and a manager is that a "leader" is responsible for setting the goals and motivating the team to achieve them. A "manager" is responsible for co-coordinating the work to achieve the goals set.

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Set up Cost Accounts

Project Management, Estimating, Cost Management

Source: TenStep Tom Mochal

Many projects have one overall budget that includes all of the project labour costs, hardware/software costs, materials costs, etc. This is fine for smaller and medium-sized projects. However, as a project gets larger it helps to have the overall budget broken down into smaller subsets.

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Estimate Productive Hours per Day

Time Management, Project Management, Estimating

Source: TenStep - Tom Mochal

When estimating effort hours, duration and cost, you must start off with an estimate of effort hours. Without an idea of the effort hours, you cannot accurately estimate duration or cost.

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Manage To do Lists

Time Management, Project Management

Source: Method 123

Most Project Managers have too much to do. So they end up with “To Do” lists all over the place and it can be overwhelming. So how do you manage your "To Do" lists to make sure they get done? Here's how...

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