Knowledge management: sharing project knowledge with Twproject

Sharing project knowledge allows you to manage the project effectively, tracking all the steps, choices made, reasons, changes, and what didn’t work.

This know-how should be synthesized into official project documentation that can be helpful in dealing with similar projects in the future, providing more accurate estimates, and generally improving the way work is accomplished within the organization.

However, in many companies, project knowledge sharing is not treated as seriously as it should be.

However, if you define a standard format and make use of a software like Twproject, you can build a knowledge sharing system that will be extremely useful for your organization in the long run.

Let’s see how in this article.

Twproject’s best features for sharing project knowledge

Organizations of all scales have been using Twproject to manage more efficiently:

Here are some features from Twproject to share knowledge and better manage a project:

1. Resource management

  • Easy collaboration with internal, external and remote team members.
  • The virtual workplace promotes collaborative planning and workflows.
  • Project timelines and effort estimation improve resource best allocation.
  • Personal task lists and deadline reminders help you deliver on commitments and meet deadlines.
  • Team members share centralized data, documents and contacts.
  • Information about the virtual workplace and project can be accessed from any device.

2. Activity management

  • Activity priorities are listed and assigned according to deadlines and dependencies.
  • Task lists can be organized, monitored, updated.
  • Task management for individual team members is flexible.
  • Easy identification of due, in progress, and planned activities.
  • View daily activities and progress across teams and projects.
  • Waterfall or Agile methodology
  • Workload recording while working, without extra effort.

3. Planning and scheduling

  • Goal planning and how to achieve them.
  • Option to create virtual project teams even with geographically scattered members.
  • Project requirements definition and management.
  • Activity duration planning, milestones and deadlines.
  • Visualize project schedules, tasks, and dependencies with complex Gantt charts – using the Gantt editor – or custom prioritized lists.
  • Roadmap building for long-term work strategies.

4. Work time management

  • Overview of current and future work commitments across teams and projects.
  • Team member assignment and resource allocation based on availability and capacity.
  • Easy pinpointing of who’s working on what, who’s overloaded and who’s unavailable allowing you to balance the workload.
  • Alerts on weekly email pages for proper worklog management.
  • Powerful worklog search system by person, project, client, date and more.

5. Documents management

  • Safely share files among all team members from multiple devices.
  • Manage and archive documentation in a single, secure, structured, accessible place.
  • Documentation history with version control, change detection, and document history.
  • Software that can be connected to various other document storage services.
  • Document indexing for faster and easier searching.

6. Issue management

  • Issue tracking.
  • Risk management and analysis.
  • User-friendly bug tracking system.
  • Ticket management system that allows you to stay closer to your clients.
  • Issue status customization as needed.
  • Powerful filters to find issues by status, project, customer, date.

7. Cost management

  • Budget allocation to both project and resource.
  • Budget, current cost, and expected outcome analysis by project.
  • Management of in-use and planned resources based on cost of use.
  • Administrative task effort minimization.

8. Enterprise solutions

  • Reliable project management service installed on the server or cloud as needed.
  • Quickly and easily customize fields and forms.
  • Custom reports that can be exported.
  • Feedback system directly from customers at no extra cost.
  • User-friendly database.
  • Advanced analytical data that also includes all changes that have occurred during a project’s lifecycle.
  • Advanced security model that protects data confidentiality, availability and integrity.
  • Customizable roles, permissions, read and write rights.
  • User-friendly interface.
  • Also available in English, French, Spanish, German, Polish, Chinese, Japanese, Russian.
  • Free trial period and honest pricing.

Ultimately, knowledge management must be one of your core strategic resources to maintain a competitive advantage, and without the support of tools that allow you to share knowledge, it can easily be lost.

Twproject is one  best project management software available for boosting project knowledge management, promoting collaboration within a team or teams, and generally improving the performance of an organization.

The comprehensive features of this tool provide efficient planning and scheduling that simplify workflows and project management processes.

Many companies and project managers have already chosen Twproject for the management of their projects and for sharing knowledge, the very core of their corporate culture.

Test Twproject’s functions for yourself for free by clicking on the button below.

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PMBOK seventh edition

PMBOK’s seventh edition in English is due October 15, 2021, and it is a completely unexpected and unorthodox version of previous editions.

The origin of the PMBOK® guide and the approach and structure of it over the years are absolutely different than what the 7th edition will bring.

Let’s learn more about it in this article.

PMBOK®: a short story

In 1969, Ned Engman, James Snyder, Susan Gallagher, Eric Jenett and J Gordon Davis founded the Project Management Institute, or PMI.

PMI’s goals were clear from the very beginning: “promote acknowledgement of the need for professionalism in project management; provide a forum for the free exchange of project management problems, solutions, and applications; coordinate industry and academic research initiatives; develop common terminology and techniques to improve communications; provide an interface between users and suppliers of hardware and software systems; and provide guidelines for project management education and career development.

And this is the origin of PMBOK – “A Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge” with its editions:

  • 1996: PMBOK® first edition
  • 2000: second edition
  • 2004: third edition
  • 2008: fourth edition
  • 2013: fifth edition
  • 2017: sixth edition
  • 2021: seventh edition

Every few years PMI carries out a definition study to understand how the role of the project manager is evolving, and the PMBOK® reflects project management methodologies, practices, and processes employed successfully in all industries around the world.

What are the key aspects that impacted PMBOK’s seventh edition?

seventh pmbok edition

PMBOK’s seventh version takes a step away from a process-oriented approach by moving to a principles-oriented, and results-oriented approach, thus supporting any type of project delivery.

Simply put, project management standards must focus on successful project and value delivery.

Yet another distinct change lies in the scope, where the focus is on project outcomes in addition to final project outputs.

Specifically, there are two key aspects that influence the changes in this new edition of the PMBOK:

  • Value Delivery System
  • Project Delivery System
  1. Value Delivery System

This is the holistic system through which projects deliver business value by achieving the organization’s business objectives.

Therefore, PMBOK’s seventh edition shows how a good strategy is able to deliver business value.

This is done through the definition of organizational strategies that help identify business objectives, which are then transformed into actionable initiatives such as programs and projects, which in turn produce end results that increase the organization’s capabilities.

The system that allows this to smoothly and predictively flow would be the value delivery system to be built into the organization.

The Value Delivery System consists of portfolios, programs, projects, and operations and uses a governance system to manage issues, enable workflow, and support decision-making capabilities.

  1. Project Delivery Principles

These are the “what” and “why” of project delivery that drive the thoughts and behavior of the people involved so that they can apply their efforts toward the end result.

Note the use of the concept of “project delivery” and not management.

There are 12 principles defined as standards for project management that describe a core norm or value:

  • Be diligent, respectful and considerate
  • Build a culture of responsibility and respect
  • Engage stakeholders to understand their interests and needs
  • Focus on value
  • Determine and respond to system interactions
  • Motivate, impact, teach and learn
  • Customize delivery approach based on context
  • Build quality into processes and outcomes
  • Tackle complexity using knowledge, experience, and learning
  • Face opportunities and threats
  • Be adaptive and resilient
  • Enable change to achieve the intended future status

And what will be the impact of these changes on the PMP and CAPM exams?

It is widely known that the PMBOK is the basis for PMP and CAPM certifications.

Therefore, one of the most frequently asked questions about PMBOK seventh edition concerns the impact of this new edition’s changes on the PMP and CAPM exams.

The PMP exam, for the time being, will continue to use PMBOK sixth edition as one of several references.

PMI is allowing several months before basing PMP certification on the new version of the PMBOK.

The same goes for the CAPM; the current exam will continue to be based on the sixth edition of the PMBOK as specified in the Exam Content Outline.

 

The fast technological advances and the need for organizations and professionals to adapt more rapidly to market changes have resulted in an even more rapid and radical evolution of project management.

Thus, this upcoming edition of the PMBOK will represent these major changes, which will already be visible by the fact that the guide will include only 250 pages compared to 700 pages in the 6th edition.

The seventh edition of the PMBOK will expand its potential audience to appeal to anyone involved in projects rather than being designed exclusively for project managers.

In addition, the guide will include a wide range of development approaches to address the needs of professionals, guide them to be more flexible, proactive, and effective in incorporating the requirements of their projects, and provide best practices for achieving value on the job.

Keep up with the times.

Lead and Lag time management: Benefits of using a software

Throughout the decades we’ve had significant technological advances that allow us to approach methods and issues more efficiently, including lead and lag time management.

In the perfect world, all project activities are aligned sequentially one after the other.

Therefore, it is the project manager’s responsibility to ensure that all of these activities begin and end according to the project schedule.

However, in some cases, the project manager needs to intentionally a speed up or delay dependent activities while still maintaining relationships.

This is where leads and lags come in as the most essential and fundamental building blocks of planning.

Let’s take a closer look at that in this article.

What are leads and lags in a project?

Let’s have a look at what we’re talking about and start by understanding what leads and lags are in a project.

What is lead time?

Lead time is defined in the PMBOK as “the length of time a following activity can be advanced over a previous activity.”

This means that when a task is still running and at the same time work begins on another task, lead time indicates the overlap between the first and second tasks.

Here’s a practical example: when introducing a new order management software, the organization may decide to start the training phase for project team employees at the same time that the development team is still performing testing activities on the software.

What is lead time in project management?

Lead time in project management refers to a finished, one-time project, or the completion of a significant portion of the project.

It is often used in Kanban workflows: if there are tabs labeled “To Do,” “Activities in Progress,” and “Activities Pending Next Steps,” the lead time – would span all three of these columns.

This is a great way to ensure that you are able to get the most out of your work, and that you are able to get the most out of it.

For example, if you have two activities, one that will take 5 days and the other 4, the result is 9 days of work.

If, for example, the second task has two days of lead time, i.e., you can start working on it two days earlier than the previous task ends, the total duration of this cycle can be reduced to 7 days instead of 9.

lead e lag time

What is lag?

Lag time is, according to PMBOK, “the length of time during which a following activity must be delayed relative to a previous activity.”

This delay is rarely intentional or positive and often prevents the project from moving to the next phase.

If the first activity has been successfully completed but there has been a delay with the start of the second, this amount of time is lag time.

What is a lag in project management?

In project management, lag (or delay) can occur when two or more dependent tasks are slowed down by an error along the way.

When one is stalled, the others must wait for the problem to be fixed to move forward.

Project management lag can lead to missed deadlines and budget issues if a backup plan hasn’t been set up in place ahead of time.

Lead and lag indicators in project management and the importance of using a software

Lead and lag indicators in project management therefore help evaluate performance.

By using a project management software you can compare your lead indicator with your lag indicator more easily to see what went well and what failed.

In the case of a series of recurring tasks or projects, you can compare past lead and lag indicators to find patterns, implement changes, and continue to improve.

Using software allows this comparison to be done more quickly because of historical data that can be saved and found again.

The most used planning technique is the precedence diagramming method to implement the critical path method for planning.

This method calculates the minimum time required to complete a project along with possible start and end times for project tasks.

A project management software such as TWproject, thanks to its algorithms for planning critical paths, makes it possible to efficiently manage projects with thousands of activities.

The actual electronic representation of the project schedule generally comprises a list of activities with their durations, required resources, and previous activities.

Graphical representations of the network, rather than using a simple list, are handy for visualizing the plan and ensuring that the mathematical requirements are met.

It can, in fact, be challenging for the project manager alone to identify all leads and lags, so the help of software is essential.

A feature of many planning software is that they incorporate types of activity interactions beyond the simple predecessor end to successor start constraint.

This feature is particularly important to ensure realistic schedules and a view of real work.

However, it is critical to understand how the software handles calculations so that you can use it as efficiently as possible.

 

 

Ultimately, lead and lag time allows the project manager to have flexibility in developing a project schedule.

A project manager oversees that a project finishes on time and must keep activities on schedule.

A long delay is often considered a failure in project management and keeping a project on schedule is therefore important to the success of the project management team.

Using project management software, it is possible to effectively manage leads and lags in a project by helping to track the duration of all activities within the project lifecycle.

Leads and lags exploit the flexibility in dependencies between activities that go beyond end-to-start relationships.

Therefore, these techniques are vital for proper and efficient activity scheduling, optimization of a timeline, and as input to determine a critical path.

Plan your work and your project deadlines.

What is project crashing and how to get the most out of it

What is project crashing and how to get the best out of it? This is what we will cover in this article.

Actually, there is never enough time to manage a project and that’s why schedules are made. The goal is to try to manage tasks on time and budget.

Sometimes, however, things go wrong. Project changes are obviously a common thing, but it is the project manager’s responsibility to make sure that these changes do not have a negative impact on the project schedule.

Some steps or situations in project management may need to be reassessed and the plan revised as needs arise.

An example of such reassessment is known as project crashing, a technique used to accelerate the timeline of a project.

What is project crashing?

This technique shortens the duration of a project by reducing the time of one or more tasks through increasing resources or finding shortcuts by eliminating unnecessary tasks.

Needless to say, more resources means higher project cost in general and therefore a change in earned value.

According to the triple constraint of the project – scope, cost and time – in fact, if you shorten the project duration, the costs increase or the project scope is reduced.

In the case of project crashing, the scope must remain the same, i.e., the results expected at the beginning of the project are not expected to change, which necessarily means increased costs.

Thus, the main goal of a project crashing is to reduce the duration of activities while keeping costs to a minimum.

the project crashing

Reasons to choose a project crashing

Choosing this strategy is a fairly extreme action that can be taken for the following reasons:

  • If you may face significant penalties or fines due to delays in the project timeline, it may be worthwhile to add more resources to advance your completion date.
  • If your organization happens to have additional resources, using them can help speed up the project schedule.
  • If you can be eligible for a bonus based on your project completion date, paying the cost of additional resources to complete the project sooner may make financial sense in the long run.
  • When an organization trains new staff members, it can assign additional project activities to those employees while they complete their training.
  • If your team is working on one project and is tasked to take on a new one, the original project may get a crashing so that you can finish it faster and focus on the new project sooner.

Project crashing best practices

Project crashing is generally the last strategy to be resorted to, because it is not risk-free.

There are a few factors you need to consider before taking this route:

  • The activities you are trying to speed up are within the critical path
  • ? If tasks are not within the critical path, you can probably ignore them rather than think about project crashing.
  • What is the task duration? A short task will be difficult to speed up, especially if it is not repeated throughout the project. In the case of a longer task, crashing might make sense, but you need to make sure you have the appropriate additional resources.
  • How long does project crashing take? For example, if the project requires very specific skills and hiring new resources would take a long time, the experts’ suggestion is to avoid this strategy. Also, crashing is most effective early in the timeline, usually when a project is less than halfway through completion.

Project crashing management steps

Once you have decided to make use of project crashing, here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Critical path: The first thing to do is to determine and analyze the project’s critical path. This will help determine which activities can be shortened or accelerated to complete the project sooner.
  2. Determine activities: Get a list of all the tasks, then meet with those to whom they have been assigned to and ask if they believe any or all of the critical path tasks could be reduced. If the answer is positive, start looking for ways to accelerate these tasks.
  3. Calculate costs: After narrowing down the activities in the critical path that you believe can be shortened, you move on to calculate how much it will cost to add more resources.
  4. Make a choice: When it is known how much you will have to spend, in relation to the time saved, on each activity in the critical path, you then move on to make a decision by choosing the least expensive route. Project crashing, in fact, is not just about adding resources to get it done faster, but getting the most for that extra expense. The project manager, in most cases, will need stakeholder approval to receive approval for changes to the project.
  5. Execute changes: After receiving approval for the increased budget and revised project timeline, you can start adding resources and accelerating identified activities. This step may involve training new staff members, redirecting resources to the project, or allowing those involved in the project to learn new skills.
  6. Implement the appropriate changes: Just as in any project, once a decision has been made regarding a change, the next step is to update all project documentation, il schedule, plan, and the Gantt.

 

It is important to stress that project crashing is not a risk-free strategy.

Failing to do it correctly means sending the entire project into a tailspin, driving costs through the roof and missing the original deadline, thus setting yourself up for assured failure.

Therefore, evaluating the execution of a project crash is much easier if you have the right tools for the job.

A project management software allows you to create graphic timelines, and budget and schedule simulations, allowing you to experiment with different crashing strategies and its use then allows you to make the best choice.

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Accountability: what it is and why it’s important for a Project Manager

Accountability is important for a project manager, as following a project without accountability is like working without a safety net.

Yes, it is possible to get things done, but these can become disastrous if something or someone is at fault and no one knows or can prove who is responsible for what, and team cohesion falls apart.

Without accountability, a project manager can’t lead a project or be part of a team because failure is virtually assured.

But what does accountability mean?

This term addresses a critical problem in project management.

Accountability is often mistaken with “responsibility,” however its meaning is significantly different: Accountability is the ability to be accountable and responsible for an outcome, while responsibility is about the ability to perform and complete a given task.

An activity may have several managers performing it, but ideally, one accountable person is responsible for the outcome of the work performed.

The concept of accountability thus consists of:

  • Assigning responsibility.
  • Ensure there is a sharing regarding expectations: what needs to be delivered, how long it will take, and how much it will cost to provide a quality result.
  • Communicate on progress and completion status.
  • Be open about issues and risks.
  • Give and receive feedback.
  • Accept the blame or fame associated with the outcome.

Yet while the concept of accountability is clear and straightforward, this is not as easy to achieve as it might seem.

Often, members of a project team report to a different organizational leader, so direct authority may be nonexistent.

In addition, project activities are often considered a second priority to day-to-day responsibilities.

So, how can you ensure accountability in project management?

Some strategies for success include:

  1. Define expectations.
  2. Philosophy of Accountability.
  3. Highlight tasks interconnectedness.
  4. Follow-up on action items.

Let’s have a look at these points in more detail.

accountability for a pm

Setting expectations

It is a common mistake to assume that project expectations and goals are clear when they are vague.

There is often uncertainty in project expectations, which leads project managers to conflict with priorities.

Lack of well-written and clearly stated documents on tasks and responsibilities is the main problem that causes situations where the manager and the team fail to make the right decisions and lose focus on the project.

Here are some key questions to ask yourself in this case:

  • Will the project lose focus if a mini-crisis occurs, such as a potential late shipment or a problem with a piece of equipment?
  • If a team member’s direct manager needs a report or action completed, will the project lose focus?
  • If the project conflicts with the department’s priorities, will the project lose focus?

Most of the time, these problems delay or even fail projects.

A project manager should think through potential conflicts, determine priorities, and communicate clearly in advance.

In these cases, not only project successful, but other needs are usually met as well.

Accountability philosophy

A critical action that falls into the hands of management is to foster an environment of accountability among team members and project stakeholders in general.

The project manager must ensure what individual and team accountability mean, not only for themselves but also for all team members.

This means adopting a philosophy that success depends on more than just meeting deadlines and executing tasks.

Speaking of deadlines, a good Gantt in project management software becomes indispensable.

Project managers, team members, and stakeholders must feel a personal obligation to achieve goals and deliver the highest level of quality and commit to being personally responsible for the project’s success.

Highlight tasks interconnectedness

Projects almost always include interdependent activities, and some things must happen in sequence for the project to be successful.

As a project manager lays out the details of a project to the team, the project manager should intentionally highlight how activities intersect.

With the project manager showing team members how tasks relate to each other and how each person must do an excellent job for the benefit of other team members, the project manager incentivizes everyone to hold each other accountable.

Follow-up on action items

When team members make commitments, the entire team must be able to count on completing the task.

As tasks are assigned, the project manager should ensure that team members keep their word.

Once the first step, the accountability philosophy, has established an atmosphere of responsibility, there is no need for the project manager to reprimand someone for not following through. Group dynamics will take care of the situation.

The project manager may need to ask in-depth questions about why a commitment was not met from time to time. Still, usually, the accountable person will be willing to expose themselves to mistakes and recommit to completing the original action and possibly atoning for any shortcomings in performance.

 

Accountability and responsibility are therefore critical to the success of a project, and a strong accountability philosophy is the first step in ensuring the necessary accountability for projects.

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Project Management (Structure, Roles, Responsibilities, and Objectives)

Project management uses specific knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to deliver something of value to people and/or organizations.

Developing software to improve business processes, constructing a building, relief efforts after a natural disaster, expanding sales into a new market… all of these are examples of projects.

Thus, a project is a temporary effort, lasting more or less over time, to create value through a product, service, or outcome.

All projects have a structure, a team with roles and responsibilities, goals to be met, and a project manager coordinates them.

Furthermore, each project is unique and differs from an organization’s routine operations.

Today, let’s take a closer look at how project management works.

What is project management, and where does it come from?

Project management can be defined as the discipline of applying specific processes and principles to initiate, plan, execute, and manage how new initiatives or changes are implemented within an organization.

Project management is different from regular task management because it involves creating new work packages and activities to achieve agreed-upon goals and objectives.

Throughout human history, project management has always been practiced informally. Still, it began to emerge as a distinct profession in the mid-20th century, thanks to a group of professionals from the aerospace, engineering, pharmaceutical, and telecommunications industries.

Motivated by the need to address the planning and resource issues associated with increasingly complex projects, they met to define and standardize tools for a new profession…

… Thus, in 1969, the Project Management Institute, or PMI, the world authority on project management, was born.

Since then, project management has become a specialized area of business, and projects, in general, have increasingly become the driving force behind the way work gets done.

It is now widely recognized that a basic understanding of project management can provide value to people in various roles across a wide range of activities.

project management structure

Structure of project management

The key components of project management are:

  • Time: the expected duration of the job.
  • Cost: The budget allocated for the work.
  • Scope: what innovations or changes will be provided by the project.
  • Quality: the standard of the project outcome.

While there are a variety of methodologies and approaches to managing a project, most follow these steps:

  • Project Initiation: the project manager defines what the project will achieve and accomplish, working with sponsors and stakeholders to agree on the results.
  • Planning: the project manager records all activities, assigns deadlines for each, and establishes relationships and dependencies.
  • Execution: the project manager assembles the project team, collects and allocates available resources and budgets for specific tasks.
  • Monitoring: the project manager oversees the progress of project work and updates project plans to reflect actual performance.
  • Closure: The project manager ensures that the outputs provided by the project are accepted by the company and releases the project team.

Roles and responsibilities in project management

Project management is recognized as a distinct business function within an organization, and project managers have a specific role and responsibilities in accomplishing the goals of their projects.

The project manager will define and execute the project, lead the team, and decide how to approach the work based on several factors, including the type of project, the needs of the company, and the experience of colleagues working on the project.

As project managers are responsible for delivering the projects they work on, they need a wide range of skills, including good verbal and written communication, leadership, planning skills, problem and conflict resolution, time management, and negotiation.

But project managers are not the only players in project management: the project team and other stakeholders also play an essential part.

The project manager indeed coordinates the project team. Still, a project would be impossible to complete without people who can work professionally on their tasks and who believe in the goals to be achieved.

Project management also involves other individuals and, in some cases, even other organizations whose interests are related to the project and its outcomes.

These are called project stakeholders, and for the outcome to be a success, each individual must know their specific role and responsibilities throughout the life cycle of a project.

 

So, why is project management so important? Because nothing is ever done by accident and without first creating a plan by following the proper processes.

Therefore, project management is the action that helps and enables you to create those expected goals.

Manage your projects with Twproject.

The project status report

The project status report is that particular document that the project manager is required to draft. These are regular reports that include information about the project aimed to update stakeholders on the progress of the work.

To ensure that these updates contain the essential information that stakeholders need, we will detail how to create this type of documentation in this article.

 What is a project status report?

It is a document that describes the progress of a project within a specific time frame and compares it to the project plan.

Project managers use status reports to keep stakeholders informed of progress and track costs, risks, time, and labor. This reporting can be either transmitted directly or communicated during a status meeting.

The project status report will generally include the following:

  • The work that has been completed.
  • The plan for what will follow.
  • The summary of the project budget and schedule.
  • A list of action items.
  • Any problems and risks and what is being done about them.

The benefits of using the project status report are:

  • Create and enable stakeholder consensus.
  • Provide transparency on progress.
  • Help identify problems and risks.
  • Identify the status of the work being done.
  • Provide an indicator of the health of the project.
  • Preventing unpleasant surprises.
  • Provide a method for holding project members and various stakeholders accountable.

How to create a project status report

project status report

A project status report can be weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

Regardless of the scope, the steps for creating this document are essentially the same. Here are which ones:

1. Name the report

A great option is to use the project name for clarity and progressive numbers and dates.

2. Indicate project status

This means indicating whether the project is currently on track, at risk, or off track. The health of the project can be shown visually rather than in narrative form, using a predetermined color code to represent the status of each element:

  • Green = on track,
  • Yellow = at risk,
  • Red = off track.

3. Provide a summary of the status report

The summary of the project status report should be short, about 2-3 sentences. The goal here is to give readers who may not have time to read the most important information and essential facts.

4. Divide into key areas or milestones

Choose and divide the report into key areas; for example, you could break things down chronologically: what we’ve done, what we’re working on, and what will happen next, like a calendar. Or the report can be broken down into weekly, monthly, and quarterly segments. Another option is to group updates by role: marketing, design, IT, administration, etc.

5. Add a high-level overview for each key area

For each key area included in the project status report, it is crucial to add a few summary bullet points that provide a quick overview of progress, accomplishments, and upcoming work.

6. Adding links to other documents or resources

Even if you don’t want to include every little detail in such a report, some people will want to know more. For those interested parties looking for more in-depth information, provide links to documents or resources that allow a more detailed view.

7. Pay attention to any problem or challenge you encountered in the project

All projects face obstacles. Keeping stakeholders in the loop when issues arise will help everyone know what’s going on and adjust accordingly.

8. Include additional notes or highlights

These could be a list of next steps, compliments, and thanks to someone, or anything else worth highlighting in the report.

 

The foundation for effective project status monitoring and reporting is laid as early as project planning.

The project manager and stakeholders set clear goals and checkpoints to measure progress and on which project status reports will be based.

The actual value of a project status report goes beyond its use as a communication channel, as it also provides a documented history of the project.

This can provide historical data that, during a similar project in the future, can help avoid missteps or bottlenecks.

Because project status reports cover many critical topics in a summarized manner, they can take time to be created.

However, good project management software can speed up and significantly improve the reporting process by having instant access to all the most critical information and status of activities.

It is essential to keep in mind that stakeholders rely on the project status report to make decisions.

Therefore, project managers must provide complete and accurate information.

If you have not already done so, try TWproject for free.

Use Twproject to generate your status update reports.

Project manager communication

Effective project manager communication is an essential part of project management.

Their job is to align everyone on one goal and ensure that all the correct and complete information gets to the proper channels.

When thinking about how project managers can improve their communication skills, we often focus only on the output: when to say something, how to say it, and how often to say it.

While these are all fundamental components of communication, a successful project manager knows that they must also consider listening to and managing emotions, their own and those of the team.

Why project manager communication is important

According to the PMBOK, about 75% of a project manager’s work time is devoted to communication.

Communication is a core competency that, when properly executed, connects each member of a project team to a standard set of strategies, goals, and actions.

Unless these components are effectively shared by project managers and understood by stakeholders, project outcomes may be compromised.

When project managers have solid communication skills, they can lead more successful projects, increase ROI and help the organization outperform its competitors.

These strong communication skills enable project managers to establish healthy and trusting relationships with their team and stakeholders at a micro level.

Here are what are three key elements in turning project manager communication into successful communication.

Establish a communication structure

The first step toward effective communication is to establish a framework. This framework is a plan that allows for efficient communication with the team, stakeholders, executives, and customers.

In practice, this means agreeing on who communicates what, to whom, when, and how.

By setting clear expectations from the start, everyone is given the tools they need to succeed.

A comprehensive communication structure includes:

  • A purpose: the reason for the framework, as well as the reasons for each communication method it covers.
  • An outline of the project requirements: the requirements of the project.
  • A list of communication methods to be used and goals associated with each: these include meetings (starting with the Kick-off meeting), email, daily meetings, instant messaging, and any project management software or tools to be used.
  • Time, Dates, and Frequency: It is essential to set expectations and precedents for the timing of communications.
  • Roles and responsibilities: although the project manager will handle most communications, a straightforward process is also needed for how other team members and stakeholders communicate.

the project manager's communication

Practicing active listening

Knowing how to speak well is one thing, but a project manager stands out when they also know how to really listen to someone.

When a project manager practices active listening, they’re not just paying attention to the content of a message – they’re tuning in to nuances like body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice.

This skill allows the project manager to identify problems, risks, and opportunities better.

Conversely, poor listening is often linked to errors, reduced effectiveness, and missed opportunities.

Becoming an active, mindful listener takes time, practice, and dedication, but it’s worth it for the professional and personal benefits it brings.

Here are some tips for increasing your listening power:

  • Don’t Interrupt: It seems like common sense, but it’s all too easy to interrupt someone when you feel excited by the conversation or don’t want to hear what the other person is saying. Pausing for a couple of seconds when the other person has finished speaking ensures that they have finished their thought.
  • Make time for conversation: nobody can listen adequately when in a hurry or distracted by other activities. It is best not to have a conversation, in person or online, if you are not prepared to give it your full attention. This is where mistakes and misunderstandings can occur. Communicate only when you are ready to receive the message; if the time is not right, politely ask the other person to speak at another time.
  • Pay attention to non-verbal signs: this allows you to engage in a deeper and less superficial level of communication. Often, people tend to say something they don’t believe to avoid arguments or bad feelings; in these cases, non-verbal signs can help you understand where the truth lies.
  • Ask the right questions: when a person listens without asking questions, it can give the impression that they are not interested or involved in what you are saying.
  • Be objective: It is easy to get caught up in your feelings and priorities when communicating with someone. To practice mindful listening, you need to leave behind personal prejudices and ideas and process the message from an objective point of view.

Using the right tools

Using the right communication tools for the situations is critical to making the tone of the communication effective. Let’s examine the various cases.

For non-urgent communication

In this case, the formality of an email might be too much, but even arranging a meeting seems overkill.

When it comes to non-urgent communication needs, instant messaging is, in most cases, the best communication channel to choose.

These tools are excellent for random questions or concerns, don’t require real-time participation, and perhaps most importantly, don’t interrupt the workflow of others.

In addition, using these tools also provides a record of the conversation that you can refer to later.

Chat in a project management software might be the best solution.

For project updates

The communication framework should let everyone know which platforms are preferred for updates and general project status announcements.

Again, using project management software might be the ideal tool to collect content in one place so that the team and stakeholders don’t have to waste time searching for what they need.

Every document, file, discussion, task, a deadline can be viewed here.

For official and important communications

When it comes time to communicate important and official information about the project, the project manager must secure the attention of all team members and stakeholders.

In this case, a meeting where everyone is invited may be the best strategy.

On this occasion, interested persons also can ask questions or present concerns that can be answered immediately.

 

With effective communication practices and processes, misunderstandings and conflicts can be eliminated.

Communication planning means spending time early in the project planning process to understand the stakeholders and how they want to communicate and receive communications.

By respecting their needs, they will be more involved and motivated for the success of the project.

The details of project communication management may vary based on the project manager’s style, the size of the project, or the industry. Still, either way, communication will play an essential role from the beginning to the end of a project.

With a straightforward communication plan, dedication to mindful listening, and the right tools, the project manager and their team will be better prepared to tackle any project successfully.

 

Keep up with the times.

Design phases and methods

Managing a project is no easy feat; design phases and methods are required steps regardless of the size and scope of a project.

A lot can go wrong, from planning minor details to managing ever-changing customer demands to timely shipping results.

When you divide a project, whether complex or not, into more manageable phases, each with its own goals and results, it’s easier to control the quality of output and the success of a project.

The best-known method of project management is the Project Management Cycle – PMC, which consists of 4 phases:

  1. Start-up phase
  2. Definition and planning phase
  3. Execution phase
  4. Evaluation and closure phase

So let’s see in this article the design steps and methods in detail.

The 4 project phases

This is referred to as the project cycle because these phases are progressive, meaning that you cannot begin the next stage if the previous one has not been completed.

The PMC is not a static method but can be adapted to the needs of various contexts even if the cycle’s structure does not change.

design method

1. Startup Phase

The purpose of this first phase is to identify and understand the project’s goals and then to transform an abstract idea into something more meaningful.

At this stage, you need to develop a business case and define the project at a general level, its functions, deadlines, tasks, and characteristics.

Also, if the project requires a feasibility study, now is the time to do it. This study allows you to see if the project is feasible by considering the economic, legal, operational, and technical aspects.

Identifying any critical issues will help analyze whether they can be resolved with appropriate solutions.

At the end of this phase, a project plan is drafted to be accepted by the stakeholders, and here, a project manager is officially appointed who will take control of the project.

2. Definition and planning phase

The planning phase is where the project solution is further developed in as much detail as possible, and the steps necessary to achieve the project goal are planned.

This is where all the work to be done is identified with timelines and milestones.

In addition, a project budget is prepared, providing estimates of labor, equipment, and material costs.

Once the activities have been identified, the schedule has been prepared, and the costs have been estimated, the three basic components of the planning phase are completed.

This is an excellent time to identify and address anything that could threaten successful project completion, known as risk management.

In risk management, potential problems, according to varying degrees of threat, are identified along with the action that must be taken to reduce the likelihood of the issue occurring and reduce the negative impact on the project should it happen.

Finally, you will want to set quality goals, assurance, and control measures, along with an acceptable plan, listing the criteria that must be met to gain customer acceptance.

The planning phase of the project requires complete diligence as it defines the project schedule.

Unless you opt for a modern project management methodology such as Agile management, this second phase of the project cycle should take almost half of the entire project time frame.

3. Execution phase

During this third phase, the execution phase, the project plan is set in motion, and the work is done – in practice.

In any project, a project manager spends most of their time in this phase, and their job is to establish efficient workflows and closely monitor the team‘s progress.

Another responsibility of the project manager during this stage is to maintain effective collaboration among project stakeholders consistently.

This ensures that everyone stays on the same page and that the project works and moves forward smoothly.

At this stage, using good project management software can largely help manage the activities and the project team, improving efficiency and increasing productivity.

The success of the execution phase of a project is closely dependent on how effectively the planning phase has been executed.

Project status reports should always emphasize the expected endpoint cost, schedule, and quality of results.

Each project deliverable produced should be reviewed and measured against the acceptance criteria established in the planning phase.

Once all outputs have been produced, the project is ready for the last phase, the closing phase.

4. Evaluation and closure phase

With much time and effort invested in project planning, it is often forgotten that the final phase of the project life cycle is just as important.

Before the closing phase itself, an evaluation phase takes place, which can be more or less considered as part of the last step.

In this case, the quality of the output is assessed against the requirements initially established, and it is noted whether these have been met in full, in part, or the result has not been satisfactorily achieved.

During the actual closeout phase or completion phase, the emphasis is on releasing final results to the client, delivering project documentation to the company, terminating vendor contracts, releasing project resources, and communicating project closeout to all stakeholders.

The last remaining step is to analyze what went well and what didn’t and to identify best practices.

In this way, the wisdom of the experience is transferred to the organization and can help teams working on future projects.

It is important to note that the closure phase does not occur only when a project is completed successfully; it must also happen when a project has failed to understand why and avoid the same mistakes in the future.

Project characteristics

A project commonly has the following characteristics:

  • In the beginning, cost and staffing levels are low and peak when the work is in progress. When the project is reaching completion, these again begin to drop rapidly.
  • The typical cost and staffing curve does not apply to all projects. Substantial expenditures secure essential resources at the beginning of the project.
  • Risk and uncertainty are at their peak at the beginning of the project. These factors are reduced during the project life cycle and especially when the final results are accepted.
  • The ability to influence the project’s final product without drastically affecting costs is most significant at the beginning and decreases as the project progresses toward completion. Clearly, the cost of making new changes and correcting errors increases as the project approaches completion.

These features are present in almost every type of project, albeit in different ways or degrees.

 

Bottom line, regardless of the type of project, it is essential to understand the cycle, design phases, and design methods.

This will allow you to manage your project more efficiently by correctly identifying problems, tasks, resources, and alternative solutions.

Keep up with the times.

Design Reviews – how and when to do them

Setting a standard of project reviews and when to do them can improve efficiency and help keep a project running on time and within budget.

The most common reasons why design reviews are not performed, we find:

  • Fear of facing failure and its causes. If failure is regarded as something to be denied and hidden rather than an opportunity for growth, it is clear how revisions are avoided as much as possible.
  • Blame. If the culture relies on blame and punishment to motivate behavior, there will be resistance and defensiveness to reviews – especially negative ones. Blaming will promote fear.
  • Negative experience, such as when previous reviews were unhelpful or not followed up to implement changes based on lessons learned.
  • Lack of qualified facilitators. Qualified facilitators are needed to make reviews effective by addressing the tendency of project managers and implementers to be action-oriented rather than introspective and reflective. A facilitator will allow participants to confront negative situations without falling into a defensive attitude directly.
  • Lack of time. Stakeholders have already moved on to the next project or go back to their operational activities. The review is not considered a priority and valuable activity and is therefore left undone. If there is not a culture of continuous improvement, there is not enough motivation to sustain the effort of a review.
  • Lack of a documented project management process. The absence of guidelines and templates results in unnecessary effort and the absence of useful information gained during the project.

However, it is now widely accepted that reviews are the key to improving future performance by learning from past performance.

Here are practical tips for successful design reviews.

Types of Design Reviews

Four types of reviews can be conducted during a project.

First Project Review: The first project review will determine if the project meets the requirements defined as necessary.

Completion Review: The completion review will determine if the project has met all requirements, approvals, and deliverables defined by the project scope and if the management process has met all required standards.

Special Reviews: Special reviews will determine if the project meets all requirements, approvals, and deliverables defined by the project scope at the time the special review is conducted. It will also determine that all project management processes are in place and meet all required standards. Finally, the special review may focus on a subset of activities, conditions, or work products highlighted as “at risk.”

Stakeholder Requested Review: A project stakeholder may request an “ad hoc” or “special review.” Reasons for this type of review may include, for example: a change in management, a significant issue that may affect the project’s ability to deliver the requested solution, a project that has been classified as “non-compliant” and requires a specific finding. The format of this review is similar to the standard project review.

Description of the review process

As seen above, there are different types of reviews. It tends to be a similar process for all cases and may vary slightly.

Introduction of design review

The review team initiates the review process by scheduling it with the project manager.

It is essential to schedule the review to be conducted in a way that is not disruptive to the project itself.

This is not always possible; however, interruption caused by a review should be considered.

Design review initiation stage

The project review team compiles an input packet containing materials to help the project manager understand the review process and what they need to make available for project review.

Subsequent meetings will be scheduled with the project manager and designated project team members.

The input package will typically contain process documentation, a checklist, and sample questions.

Research phase of project review

The research phase is divided into two activities: documentation review and interview.

During the documentation review, documents are retrieved for analysis to ensure that the required project deliverables are in the designated location.

During the second activity, the review team will conduct informal exploratory interviews with the project manager and project team, or some members, and any other stakeholders.

The results and documentation will then be analyzed and compared to the approved project methodology.

This phase can take one to two business days, depending on the project’s size, scope, and complexity.
design review

Final project review report stage

A project review report will be provided to the project manager at the end.

This document is to ensure that there are no communication issues about the results between the project manager and the review team.

If there is a difference of opinion, the project manager and review team can arrange additional meetings.

Upon completion, the review team will formalize the information gathered throughout the review process with any recommendations and changes that the project manager will be required to implement.

Based on these results, the project will be classified as red, yellow, or green, and this project status will indicate whether the project meets the standards or not.

If the project is determined to be red, i.e., “at risk,” a follow-up review will be scheduled.

 

Learning to evaluate projects, current or past, is one of the best ways to find out what sectors need improvement and do a better job in the future.

As organizations and their processes mature, effective performance reviews as part of continuous project performance improvement will become a standard.

Work together with your team effectively.

Streamline project processes

Streamlining processes in projects prevents unnecessary complications. Obviously, excessive complexity is one of the biggest obstacles to completing a project on time and within budget.

Even well-planned, clearly defined projects can get out of control and become something they were never meant to be.

Fortunately, several strategies to follow allow you to streamline the processes in a project and stay focused on the end goals.

Let’s see what they are in this article.

Keeping an eye on the big picture

Project management is similar to a jigsaw puzzle: you need to take your cue from the image on the box cover to make the pieces fit together.

The project can stop if you get fixated on one or two pieces and don’t look at the final figure.

People often plan individual activities by focusing on the doing rather than on the end or intermediate results.

In this way, the focus shifts from planning the activity to planning project tasks based on desired outcomes. That’s a whole different story.

Take ideas from or follow already approved processes

When creating a project plan, and generally throughout its life cycle, don’t be afraid to follow methods that have worked for other similar situations.

If another team has successfully developed a process that completes similar tasks, you can either take a cue or copy it entirely.

Best practices are a storehouse of successful tools that can be applied to other projects and shared with other teams. You may find this article about “Lessons Learned” worth to check in this regard.

Assign names, dates, and consequences

Simplifying things doesn’t always require acting on activities. Sometimes you need to use clarity!

Example? When we assign a task, it’s often not enough to say that someone is responsible for this or that and let that person organize.

In most cases, the project manager must name an activity and provide information about the due date and identify any consequences that failure to meet those deadlines may bring.

This does not mean threatening the team with termination but merely letting them know what other tasks are subordinate to this particular activity and the potential cost or result of a delay.

In many cases, the people involved only receive one piece of the puzzle and do not have the opportunity to see the final image in its entirety.

Because of this, they may not be aware of the other moving pieces, and telling them what is involved, will help them better understand the importance of their actions, and ignorance will not be an excuse.

Use project management software

Project management software helps to bring together all the information of a project in one place, allowing you to know at all times its status.

By choosing project management software, we ensure that the project manager and the entire team are on the same page, even when working remotely.

In addition, this type of software is beneficial for daily, weekly, or monthly notifications that can help keep work on track, remind you of deadlines and due dates, and manage priorities.

By freeing team members from remembering their daily tasks, they will have more mental energy to focus on higher types of “non-automated” tasks.

Stay organized

streamline processes

The project manager is responsible for managing all the details that allow a project to progress successfully.

These details include tracking assigned and completed tasks.

To keep the project under control, you need to make the following actions standard to maintain order:

  • Update task status in project management software on a frequent and regular basis.
  • Tick activities as soon as they are finished.
  • Assign tasks to team members at regular intervals but without overloading them to avoid reduced performance.

Maintaining order and always keeping an eye on the workload level of team members helps keep employee efficiency and morale high.

Manage priorities and reduce task size

Especially with multiple projects running concurrently, it is essential to manage priorities and choose an order of work that satisfies the law of diminishing returns.

When this does not happen, plans fail, and projects are not completed as quickly or efficiently as possible.

To simplify the process, the project manager should give more attention to a few projects rather than engage all of them, especially when you have to manage limited resources.

The same applies if you have more than one activity at the same time.

One of the keys to streamlining processes is understanding what’s important – and what’s not – and continually re-evaluating the priority list as new things are added.

In addition, reducing the size of tasks is also a strategy that helps streamline processes in projects.

 

Project managers must therefore develop process simplification as a critical leadership skill.

With a well-structured and organized approach and following the different strategies presented in this article, you will be able to eliminate unnecessary complexities and complete projects faster and more efficiently.

Finally, it’s essential to keep in mind that complexity is like a weed in the garden… even when you eliminate it, it can reoccur at any time.

Whenever this happens, you can revisit these strategies to streamline processes in your projects.

Plan your work and your project deadlines.

Project management: how to best coordinate a project

Project management implies a diverse mix of skills, know-how, time management and communication abilities.

To efficiently approach all these activities, it is very important for any project manager  to follow certain aspects to coordinate a project in the best possible way and to finish it successfully.

So let’s see what are the main aspects of good project management in this article.

Project management: Project scope management

This is the first step in the coordination of any project; this is where the objectives are established and the elements that are not included in the scope of the project are outlined.

This step is always executed at the beginning, before starting the practical work for a project.

All of this should be compiled into official documentation that will serve as a guide throughout the project life cycle.

Project management: Priority management

It should be no surprise that good project coordination comes from good organization.

As a project manager, the main goal should be to make sure that processes run smoothly and are on the same page as the common goal for which you are working towards.

This skill of prioritizing tasks correctly, compartmentalizing the project in more manageable ways, and documenting everything in an orderly fashion is the essence of good project coordination.

Project management: Communication management

A large part of a project’s success depends on having effective communication.

When you improve it, you also maximize success while reducing risk.

A project manager must follow project requirements, so it is crucial that these are clearly communicated to the team.

Everyone needs to know exactly what needs to be done by when and any alternative solutions.

Good communication management is necessary in a variety of situations, including:

  • Inform stakeholders about the project plan and scope.
  • Keep team members informed about changes in the project planning.
  • Be able to highlight project issues and risks
  • To be able to provide clear and genuine visibility of the project status.
  • To get consensus or support from senior management if something goes wrong.

Project management: Managing stakeholder expectations

Project coordination means working with many stakeholders.

From engineers to the marketing team, from the IT department to the finance and legal teams… a project manager will be required to work with all of them.

Therefore, to coordinate a project in the best possible way, you need to ensure that not only team members, but also all stakeholders involved, are aware of what is expected of them.

This means having defined roles and responsibilities and clear time constraints. In addition, it is the project manager’s responsibility to keep everyone updated on a regular basis.

Building strong relationships and good communication with stakeholders promotes efficiency and reduces misunderstandings.

Professionally, but also personally, if you engage in creating positive interactions, you will create a more positive atmosphere and vision.

best coordinate a project

Project management: Having an open mind

The project manager, having many contacts with different stakeholders and departments as previously observed, has a unique opportunity to learn something new.

This cross-departmental communication allows for a better understanding of project dynamics.

By opening your mind, you can better understanding stakeholder interests, expectations, and knowledge gaps.

Being able to merge all of these parts and relate them to larger business goals is also an easy way to increase team engagement and dedication.

Project management: Risk management

Project risk management is an essential part of project management.

Even for the most trivial projects, risk may be around the corner, whereas in the case of more complex projects it will, in most instances, be unavoidable.

Proper project risk management prevents many nasty surprises.

You need to make team members and stakeholders aware of project risks and provide them with a means of communication through which they can communicate quickly in case a problem arises.

Project management: Change management

Even with a well-defined project scope and a solid plan in place, changes to the project may inevitably occur.

Developing a proactive change management process enables the team to get on with the work and not get stuck, moving forward confidently.

Obviously, not every change needs to be approved beforehand, but the issue or risk needs to be identified and the change and what it means for the project weighed.

If the change is approved, you will need to update your project plan and transparently present the change to the team and stakeholders.

Project management:  Improving efficiency through software

Embedding certain project manager software to boost project management efficiency can be a great help.

This allows you to get all the information in one place that can be accessed by stakeholders.

Some features could help automate tasks, freeing up the project team to focus on other tasks.

Also, using project management software helps you track results and make sure the project stays within the tracks.

If you’ve never used project management software, try TWproject for free by clicking here

 

Bottom line, project management can be quite challenging, especially for more complex projects, but overcoming it with a structured plan and clear processes will help the project manager coordinate a project to the best of their ability.

With the tips listed above, the project coordinator will possess the knowledge and tools necessary for establishing a satisfying work environment, increasing productivity and, of course, achieving project success.

Manage your projects with Twproject.

Eliminating waste in projects

Eliminating waste in projects can help you achieve success more easily and increase productivity.

In project management, when projects become complex, cycle times become longer, resulting in several possible wastes.

If left uncontrolled, this waste can undermine not only the project, but also the entire company.

This is why it is so important to eliminate waste. Let’s take a look at how to do this in this article.

Types of waste in projects

To understand how to eliminate waste in projects and thus ultimately generate an improvement, it is essential to understand the types of waste that can arise. The most common are:

  • Transport: startup processes and deliveries can often get too slow and tricky.
  • Inventory: if work is not evenly distributed, production can be halted.
  • Motion/Waiting – Simple actions such as moving from one department to another, as well as from one desk to another, can also play a role in wasting time. Waiting for colleagues, vendors, etc. can be just as time-consuming.
  • Overprocessing/Overproduction: How much time should be spent on each production stage? Are some stages really necessary? Overprocessing, in the sense of doing something better than necessary, can lead to delays. Also, if you deliver more than requested or even get to deliver something that wasn’t asked for, you will end up with waste.
  • Defects: Variations or defects in production can lead to loss of profit and waste build-up.
  • Talent: talent wasted on meaningless work is not the best way to achieve an optimal process. Employee skills must be put to good use.

These are the areas that any successful Project Manager must never lose sight of.

waste in projects

Introduction to lean management

Each project involves different tasks and activities that each require different tools and resources to be completed successfully.

Some tools and resources, however, do not add any value to the project, thus resulting in significant waste.

Lean management in projects uses lean techniques that help organizations maximize value and minimize waste, thereby improving product/solution quality, customer satisfaction, and project margin.

By leveraging lean principles, organizations are able to understand the value that each tool and resource provides to the project, allowing them to embrace continuous improvement to maximize productivity and efficiency.

Lean project management benefits

Focusing on efficiency, continuous improvement and quality, lean management, or lean project management is becoming increasingly popular in many industries.

Here are some benefits of this methodology:

  • Improved quality: Through continuous improvements, lean project management establishes the foundations for better quality. Through small, incremental changes, you can identify, resolve, and eliminate waste in your project, constantly working to improve efficiency and quality.
  • Shortened completion time: lean project management helps project teams reduce cycle times. Faster feedback means teams can work on high-priority tasks first and cut down on completion times, while increasing customer satisfaction.
  • Reduced costs: lean management focuses on productivity and efficiency, thus reducing project time, reducing inventory and eliminating errors. By improving quality, less defective products are produced, thereby reducing costs.
  • Increased value: Lean project management helps to understand the real value of different tasks and activities, especially from the customer’s perspective. This helps teams to quickly pinpoint waste and ensure that all non-value-added activities, hence waste, are destined for removal.
  • Waste elimination: by constantly monitoring each activity throughout the project lifecycle and focusing on reducing non-value-added activities, lean project management helps eliminate waste faster. This elimination not only streamlines the project flow, but also helps ensure that the product or service reaches the customer faster, without interruptions, detours or delays.

Eliminating waste in projects: Lean management key principles

Lean project management focuses on 5 core principles, which are:

  1. Identifying value for the customer. The starting point is to acknowledge that only a small portion of the total time and effort in any organization actually adds value for the end customer. As a result, all worthless activities – or waste – can qualify for removal.
  1. Pinpoint the value stream and address non-value generating activities. This stage involves identifying all steps in the value stream for each product family, eliminating those that do not create value when possible. The value stream is the entire series of activities in all parts of the organization involved in the joint delivery of the product or service. Having understood what the customer wants, the next step is to identify how to deliver what they need in the most efficient way possible.
  1. Create the value stream by eliminating waste. This means making sure that the value creation steps happen sequentially so that the product flows smoothly to the customer. Eliminating waste ensures that the product or service “flows” to the customer without interruption, deviation or waiting.
  1. The value stream must be indicated by the customer. When flow is brought into place, you should enable customers to gain value from the following upstream activity. This is all about understanding the customer’s demand for the service and then creating the process accordingly. This should be done in a way that produces only what the customer wants when the customer wants it.
  1. Pursuing perfection through constant improvement. After having recognized the value streams and removed waste, the process begins again and continues until it reaches a state of perfection where perfect value is created without any waste. As this happens, more and more layers of waste become clear and the process continues toward the theoretical endpoint of perfection where every good and every action adds value for the end customer.

 

Therefore, lean management is an endless process with the aim of achieving perfection.

Therefore, lean methodology can be a go-to strategy to eliminate waste in projects and achieve success through improved efficiency and quality.

Avoid waste in your projects.

Successfully completing a project

Successfully completing a project is no piece of cake, even for the most experienced project managers.

Planning, execution and completion, as well as aggregating and separating activities by teams and employees into a cohesive entity are just a part of what this involves.

In this article, we would like to share 7 tips for successfully completing a project.

Successfully complete a project: Clearly define the project scope

We know that a problem – or, in this case, the project scope – well put forward is half solved.

No matter what, you have to be clear about the project goals, budget and methodology from the very start.

Too often it still is the case that when joining an organization and asking a project manager why they are working on a particular project, the answer is “Because that guy told me to do this.”

The power to understand why a project is critical to the organization and how it fits into the overall strategic plan is a core component of its success.

Being able to relate the success of the project to all organizational goals and strategies is an easy way to increase the dedication, morale, and sense of importance of team members, but also of the project manager themselves.

Successfully complete a project: Choose team members wisely

After defining the scope of the project clearly, it becomes easier to determine the talent required to achieve the intended goal.

The project manager must carefully select the people who will make up the team, so that they can be confident in delegating tasks and activities to the people best suited for each. he experience of the Project Team is critical.

Appropriate task delegation can be a sign of confidence in your team members’ capabilities, which in turn boosts morale and becomes instrumental in achieving the best possible project outcomes; a sort of domino effect.

Successfully complete a project: Outline goals and keep them SMART

To successfully complete a project, you must first have a clear picture of what to expect for a final output. This allows you to create intermediate and short-term goals and corresponding milestones.

After delegating the right activities to team members, the project manager can ask each of them to list the secondary activities that will act as milestones toward their final goal, then let them set their own deadlines for each milestone.

Naturally, the project manager can – and should – support team members in planning their work and identifying goals and milestones.

These deadlines, of course, must coincide with the overall time objectives of the project.

How many levels of detail are needed in the work structure will depend on the size and project complexity.

Successfully complete a project: Manage data

Storing data is becoming increasingly convenient and accessible, especially when using a good project management software.

However, with increased accessibility, security issues may arise.

Although most data management solutions do have data security at heart, sometimes things can slip through the cracks.

To be twice as safe, it’s imperative to manage file permissions, document properties, and monitor data versions on a consistent basis.

Successfully complete a project: Track progress every day

Being informed of deadlines, project, and team is a absolute must for successfully carrying out a project.

Sending regular status updates via face-to-face or virtual meetings, or through a centralized communication tool, ensures everyone has an overview of the project’s progress and how each individual’s contribution fits into the whole.

It is also wise to set up alerts for items that are approaching their planned completion date, as well as those that are behind schedule.

This is where a gantt like the one from Twproject comes in very handy.

Successfully complete a project: Keep everyone informed

successfully complete a project

Keep all stakeholders updated on progress throughout the project lifecycle.

Also, it is important to make sure that all team members understand what others are doing.

Particularly when changes are made, it is important to inform the team as soon as possible.

Many effective project teams hold short daily meetings; it is not enough to send occasional emails or wait to communicate when an issue arises.

Communication with the Project Team is key to the success of the project itself and keeping the flow of a project moving in the right direction.

Communication is even more important with employees working from remote.

Successfully complete a project: Motivate your team

When it comes to team motivation, rewarding team members for good performance definitely goes a long way rather than “punishing” those who underperform.

When a team member reaches a milestone, it’s important for the project manager to reward their accomplishments or give them recognition in front of the entire team.

This way, knowing that contributions are appreciated by the company makes people more motivated, focused and willing to put themselves out there.

 

With multiple moving parts and several people involved in the success of the project, it’s critical that project managers keep one step ahead of the game.

The ability to keep the scope, people and schedules on track can make or break a project.

Managing successful projects requires not only learning the tips included in this article, but also implementing them on the job.

Successfully complete your projects.

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Working on several different projects at once: 7 strategies to keep everything under control

Working on several different projects at once is what most project managers do.

However, keeping track of all the bits and pieces can get tricky, especially without a good process for managing multiple projects, and even more without a good Project management software. In fact, it’s hard to know what work to prioritize, how to help the team and how to guarantee that everything gets done on time.

Luckily, there are tricks that you can use. So here are 7 strategies that will help you keep more projects under control.

Working on several different projects at once: Have a place in which to “host” all projects

After spending weeks planning and approving projects (you may like to read this article about Project Manajement), the team or teams are finally ready to get started. However, if all the plans are spread throughout different documents and spreadsheets, emails and reports, the work doesn’t really begin in the best way.

In fact, this way, you’re very likely to miss key information or the team ends up duplicating work because they didn’t know someone else was already working on it.

Planning and managing all projects in one place, like good project management software, allows the project manager to quickly see everything that is in progress and the status of the entire roadmap.

Working on several different projects at once: Establish goals, plans, responsibilities, and expectations at the very beginning

Without having a standard workflow or project planning process that drives the entire project lifecycle, chances are each project will be handled differently

Therefore, the end results are prone to be inconsistent, time is wasted setting up a new process each time, and the work is more likely to fail.

To overcome this problem, the project manager needs to make sure the team’s plan, process, and responsibilities are clear from the start.

At the project level, this translates into making sure to clearly outline goals, each phase of work that needs to be completed, when each is planned, and who will be responsible for it.

You also need to include time for feedback, an element that can easily be overlooked when you’re in a hurry to complete a project, but is still important.

Working on several different projects at once: Prioritize the work that will have the greatest impact

While it might be tempting to do away with the easier projects first, this is not always the best solution.

Instead, you need to prioritize them based on what will have the greatest impact on the organization’s goals.

For example, the team might be committed to five product launches at the same time.

While they are all the same size in terms of effort and work required to complete, one of them would have the potential to have a much greater impact on new customer revenue than the other four.

A second, however, would have the greatest impact on customer retention.

Because the company places a higher priority on retention, in this case it is the second project that is prioritized.

working on different projects

Working on several different projects at once: Be flexible when priorities change

Determining team priorities and getting aligned with the work is critical, but so is being flexible enough to allow for changes when needed.

And this is where a central document, or project management software like Twproject, that holds all project information and updates comes in handy. When priorities change, you can quickly identify what needs to be rescheduled.

Speaking of which, let me remind you that you can try Twproject for free by clicking here!

Working on several different projects at once: Manage and clearly communicate expectations

Teams that suffer from communication problems do so because they lack visibility into their own work and the work of other project stakeholders.

accomplishing is missing, there is a lack of context to understand why deadlines are changing, whether priorities remain the same, and how the project is progressing.

When a project manager manages communication, they need to offer the team and other stakeholders the whole context behind the work.

The best way to do this consistently is to find a work management tool that allows you to share status and progress updates directly where the work is happening.

Working on several different projects at once: Adjust project schedules to maximize team productivity

Even the most thoroughly planned project can find itself derailed if it’s not carefully planned with the full scope of the team’s work in mind in the short, medium and long term.

For example, you want to launch three different web updates at the same time, they could end up conflicting with each other or dragging on longer than expected because the team is trying to do too much at once.

Here are some helpful tips in this case:

 

  • Spread start dates for similar projects: especially if you have the same group working on multiple projects, it can be beneficial to spread out the start and completion dates for each project so that people can focus on one first and then move on to the next.
  • Pay attention to dependencies: schedule the dependent project after the scheduled completion date of the first one.
  • Tick off duplicate tasks: if you need to do the same work in two different projects, make sure this is done in time to keep both projects on track.

Working on several different projects at once: Delegate work, but maintain visibility

No manager wants to be a micromanager, though losing track of tasks and feeling unaware of the work your team is doing can make it nearly impossible to be an effective leader.

Still, by sharing a single source with your team, you will have a way to keep track of all the work everyone is doing.

When all of the team’s work lies in one centrally shared place, you can get information at a glance regarding every single aspect of your projects.

 

As a project manager, managing multiple projects simultaneously is a common scenario often.

Today, when managing multiple projects, technology is an essential aid in getting a holistic overview.

Still in doubt? Well, you can try yourself with a free demo.

Obtaining project budget approval: 5 key tips

Obtaining project budget approval is not an easy task. Every project comes with costs, and generally, the larger and more complex the project, the more difficult it will be to get approval.

Because no company possesses unlimited resources, every project involves a set budget that, ideally, will need to be observed. You might be interested in this article on how to make a project budget.

However, here’s the challenge: It’s not always easy to establish how big a budget a project will need. There is always the risk, in fact, of underestimating some factors and not being able to complete the project on time. On the other hand, if the estimates are too high, there is a risk that the whole project will be scrapped because it is not cost-effective.

So, how can you determine the right budget for a project and get it approved? Let’s find out in this article.

Obtaining budget approval: What to consider when making a project budget

Here are the most notable factors:

1. Cost estimates

A project budget comprises many types of expenses, including:

  • direct and indirect costs,
  • capital expenditure
  • operational expenses,
  • costs related to project results
  • and much more.

Trying to determine exact figures can be tricky, especially for brand-new projects.

In this case, you need to remain cool and keep in mind that budget numbers rarely match up totally with actual costs and are very likely to change as a project progresses.

Therefore, it is important to focus on estimating resources accurately at the time and providing cost estimates that are as realistic as possible.

2. Budget contingency

The greatest challenge in project management budget planning is the unexpected.

Even with a thorough estimate of costs and resources, unexpected contingencies or changes to the project may require budget revisions.

As a result, just as a project plan will incorporate a buffer with regard to timelines, so the same should be done in the case of the budget. A kind of contingency fund for the unexpected – a contingency in fact – should be prepared.

Since this is an amount for the unknown, its estimation is very difficult to pin down.

An amount that is too large will make those who have to approve the budget think that it has been inflated without logic.

A good rule of thumb is to set aside 10% of the total budget for contingencies.

3. Budget monitoring

Just as you track project activities, likewise you want to track and monitor expenses throughout the project lifecycle.

By regularly monitoring your budget, you can quickly find when costs begin to exceed estimates and make changes before the budget is exceeded.

This monitoring also identifies additional budget needs with enough time to get funding in place before work is forced to stop.

Tips for obtaining project budget approval

budget approval

1. Knowing what you need as opposed to what you want

The key is including in your budget at least some of what you would like to have but don’t think is necessary.

It is unlikely that you will get everything you ask for, so it is important to draw a definite line between what you think is absolutely necessary and what you think might be useful.

To be more convincing, you can list the risks and negative consequences of not getting what you need to get the job done.

2. Define the why before the what

Before introducing a budget piece, it is important to define concretely why it is important to the project.

Getting support and evidence can make the argument even more compelling.

3. Seek out and propose concrete options

Take multiple options into consideration, research and evaluate them.

If the project requires working with a service provider, then it’s worth looking for several vendors who have experience executing similar projects, discuss the idea with them, check their references and get different quotes.

Based on this research, you can create different project budgets, from a “top” version with the most expensive options to “regular” and “budget” versions.

Motivate why you would prefer one option over another.

4. Emphasize how your proposal will bring value to the organization

As well as a budget outlining how much the project will cost, it is important to calculate the value that the organization will gain over time thanks to the project.

These could be, for example, annual cost savings, increased efficiency or productivity improvements.

5. Anticipate the questions that will be asked

Whoever is in charge of approving the budget will most certainly have questions about the submitted proposal.

Anticipating the questions and considering which details will need to be explained in more detail is key to winning stakeholders over.

 

When you are proactive, well-organized and set concrete goals, it will be significantly easier to get the budget approved, even in the case of very expensive projects.

Furthermore, by demonstrating skill and respect for time, you will have the confidence that your budget suggestions will be considered seriously by the stakeholders or business leaders who must approve it.

Also, don’t forget that once the budget is approved, it is the project manager’s duty to oversee it.

To do this, it is a good idea to use project management software such as TWproject to track and have visibility of costs and real-time comparison with the budget.

TWproject, in fact, boasts a very straightforward and clear section for tracking your budget. If you haven’t already done so, try Twproject for free by clicking on the banner below and discover how simple it is to manage your budget.

Control your projects’ budget with Twproject.

Implementing lean processes in projects: The lean methodology

Implementing lean processes in projects is becoming progressively more popular in multiple industries. The goal of such implementation is to fix issues and lessen inefficiencies.

Lean principles were first conceived and used exclusively in the manufacturing world, as they support streamlined processes and promote high quality production.

This approach is of particular value to manufacturing goods, but it has been proven so successful that it has been introduced in other industries. Last but not least, research project managers have also benefited from it.

Still, lean project management is not the best solution for every organization.

In this article, we will take a closer look at what lean production is, what the basics of this methodology are, how to implement it, and some pros and cons of using it.

What is lean project management?

The expression “lean” does not apply exclusively to project management, but is a general mindset that focuses on lean operational management based on efficiency.

Although this concept is a mix of Western and Japanese cultures and practices, its origins can be traced back to the Toyota Motor Corporation during the post-World War II era.

Struggling with poor productivity, Toyota implemented the Toyota Production System (TPS) to effectively eliminate problematic elements from its processes, including inefficient processing, long wait times, and inventory issues.

One of the core principles of TPS was what was known as just-in-time, or JIT.

For Toyota, JIT meant

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Obtain the right amount of raw materials and manufacture the right amount of products to meet customer demand.
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In other words, production was strongly correlated with demand.

The adoption of TPS and JIT thus represented a “lean” approach to production, and this tactic has made Toyota one of the most successful companies in the world.

When Western manufacturers realized in the 1980s that Japan was outpacing them, these principles began to migrate westward.

The name “lean production” was created around this time, first applied to manufacturing and later to project management.

Lean project management principles. The Lean Method

Now, lean project delivery means maximizing value while minimizing waste, which involves using a minimal amount of materials, equipment, labor and space.

Specifically, lean methodology optimizes resource utilization by eliminating waste in seven areas:

  • Overproduction: Excess production is unnecessary and causes high inventory levels;
  • Inventory: excess materials increase storage costs and are rarely used;
  • Time: Backlogs in any area that lead to a general waste of time;
  • Transportation: unnecessarily moving materials from one location to another causes inefficiency;
  • Defects: quality issues can only be fixed by spending additional time, money, and resources;
  • Transportation: too many unnecessary steps in a process lengthen production time;
  • Excess processing: work that does not add value to a product or process is wasteful and increases costs unnecessarily.

Lean Project Management

The methodology that the lean approach employs to identify and remove waste in these areas can be broken down into the following steps:

  • Identify value: The concept of value needs to be rethought from the final customer’s perspective.
  • Value Stream Mapping: Analyze the process of creating the product or project to identify areas of waste, such as unnecessary steps or actions.
  • Process optimization: Develop an improvement plan to eliminate waste identified in the value stream.
  • Establish pull: This means to carry on the project or create the product based solely on the customer’s request. In other words, it is the customer who “pulls” the production.
  • Continual improvement: Regularly re-evaluate project process aiming to eliminate waste and maximize productivity and efficiency.

Lean project management implementation

Even though implementing lean processes in projects is a methodology used in organizations of all types and sizes, it works best – at least at first – with small projects and small teams because it requires strong communication.

As an organization grows, it can continue to nurture the lean mindset among new members.

Here’s an overview of the major steps involved in the implementation of lean project management:

1. Creating a corporate culture

The classic top-down approach doesn’t fit the lean project management philosophy.

Although management bears full responsibility for products, processes and business requirements, it is also important that everyone feels an ownership, and therefore a sense of equality, when it comes to improving the way an organization works.

Establishing a standard of openness and transparency helps create an environment where everyone is actively supported in identifying problems and testing solutions.

lean processes in projects

2. Having a well-trained team

There is no lean management model that works for every single project; the implementation of the principles may not look exactly the same in every case.

That’s why it’s important to create a well-trained team that possesses a strong understanding of the values of lean project management and is capable of keeping everyone focused.

One way to increase the team’s knowledge of this methodology is to provide in-house training sessions that shed light on the procedures and methods related to lean principles.

 3. Make lean improvements part of the corporate culture

There should be a culture of improvement which permeates throughout the organization, encouraging and enabling teams to strive for continuous improvement everywhere.

Team members should be able to evaluate a process and take the necessary actions to make improvements.

Sticking with lean requires continuous focus.

Lean project management benefits

The implementation of lean project management is a long-term proposition that should ultimately change an organization’s culture for the better.

Lean project management benefits include:

  • Streamlined processes: Continuously fine-tuning your workflow means getting rid of unnecessary tasks, and the end result is a simpler, easier-to-manage process.
  • High-quality output: By getting rid of worthless activities, the team can focus more on activities that bring better quality and fewer errors to the output.
  • Dedicated employees: Employees who spend time on significant work have higher motivation. Also, employees who feel they are working together on an equal footing naturally take more initiative and are more dedicated to quality production.
  • Smarter processes: Lean enables employees to work on the right tasks at the right time.
  • More value for the customer: Focusing more on value-added work naturally produces a better product.

Lean project management challenges

When properly done, lean can offer all of the benefits mentioned above, but many organizations struggle to implement lean project management over the long term.

The main problems that can be found are:

  • Lack of time. Lean involves forward planning and time. Mapping key product flows, creating improvement plans, running daily meetings to discuss completed and pending work, and identifying problems are just a few of the tasks that need to be undertaken regularly to maintain flow. Perceived as interfering with normal work activities, these tasks often get overlooked as time goes on, making it impossible to apply a lean methodology.
  • Lack of strategy. Some companies focus so much on lean production that they lose touch with their overall strategic plan. To get the most out of this methodology, you need to intentionally implement its principles to existing business goals and not neglect them.
  • Insufficient buy-in. Lean methodology is considered a radical way of thinking that requires complete consensus from teams. It takes a lot of effort to change people’s behaviors and incentivize them to work more independently. If you don’t have enough time to train people on the new way of working and how everyone will benefit, it is unlikely that they will agree. To help gain consensus, it is important to invest in training programs that teach people about lean and improve their communication skills.

 

No project management methodology is perfect, which is why many organizations employ some mix of methodologies.

Lean methodology, given its radical nature, may not be suitable for everyone, but its core principle – minimizing waste while maximizing value – can still be applied to some extent even if you are using a different project framework.

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Procrastinating issues in projects

Procrastinating issues in projects is by far the deadliest of sins a project manager can commit.

Procrastination is nothing like being lazy and not wanting to work. Procrastination means undermining the entire project if not even the entire Organization that focuses on that project.

Let’s dig deeper into this in this article as well as giving you valuable tips to address this habit.

What does procrastinate mean?

Procrastination is the act of waiting until the last minute to do those tasks that have a relatively high priority and typically require more effort than others.

You procrastinate when you work first on those tasks that are easy to do or are of a lower priority.

Procrastination can be related not only to how you perform tasks or solve problems, but also to how you make decisions.

Although it is considered normal for people to procrastinate to some extent, it becomes a problem when procrastination impairs the normal operation of projects because they are not completed on time.

Impact of procrastination on issues in projects

Within project management, the effects of procrastination can be extremely detrimental, not only to the project manager and their team, but to the project as a whole and, in the most serious cases, to the organization itself.

Here are the impacts that procrastination can have on project management:

Low morale

Morale is how employees feel about their work, their coworkers, and their supervisors.

When it is high, work ethic is enhanced and employees will work harder, longer, and happier. Conversely, when it is low, employees will not be motivated to work, which can lead them to procrastinate even more.

Procrastination also creates a stressful situation where you have to “rush” to meet task deadlines.

This means, for example, that the team is forced to work overtime and work much longer hours.

This is made worse if the project manager himself procrastinates.

Stress

Putting things off for a later time or at the last minute can actually raise your stress levels.

If you procrastinate for a long time, work assignments begin to stack up until eventually you will have several hours or weeks of work to catch up on in a short period of time.

For some people, the adrenaline rush of waiting until the last minute can be exciting, but for most, this will only mean an increase in stress levels which, in some cases, can be detrimental to your health.

Increased procrastination

The underlying cause of procrastination is being forced to do something that you find boring or unpleasant, which is why you shy away from it in order to do something fun and exciting.

The problem with this is that when you avoid the activity the first time, you tend to keep doing it, making it more and more unpleasant.

Procrastination can then lead to negative consequences such as stress, guilt, and decreased personal productivity, as well as social disapproval for not meeting responsibilities or commitments.

These feelings, combined, can lead to further procrastination.

Solving procrastination issues in projects

procrastinating issues in projects

Determine why you procrastinate

To get things to improve, you need to understand why you are procrastinating.

It could be, for example, poor organization, or maybe fear; they could be overburdened with work or aiming for over-perfection.

It is therefore vital to pinpoint the cause and then find the appropriate solution.

Devise a plan

If procrastination is already a habit, you can still improve the situation.

However, as with most things, you cannot expect improvement overnight.

Firstly, you have to accept the current situation. Science suggests that procrastinators usually feel guilt and anxiety about not doing their job.

Here, then, is where you should focus on finding solutions, motivating yourself by finding ways to improve your time management skills.

Focus on doing instead of avoiding. A simple written list of tasks to be done, perhaps with a specified time, can do wonders for morale.

Set up a reward system

When you succeed in completing a difficult task on time, a small reward for a job well done might be a good idea that helps beat procrastination.

Peer pressure

While this may put some pressure on people, it is a well proven method of preventing procrastination.

Whenever possible, asking a peer to keep an eye on tasks that need to be done and to remind them of work when it hasn’t been done yet can be a good solution for some people.

Keep distractions to a minimum

If possible, you should create a distraction-free area in your workplace.

This will help you focus on your tasks and get things done quickly, thus preventing the need for procrastination.

Prioritize

Sometimes, making just a list isn’t enough to improve time management and to actually be productive; you need to prioritize.

This means establishing which tasks are time-sensitive and which can be postponed; this way, you’ll have a clear picture of your workload, but more importantly, you won’t be able to do the easier tasks first if they’re not a priority.

Find the most productive time

Everyone works differently. Some of us are more productive in the morning, others in the evening, but what is common to all is that you have a peak time during the day when you are most productive.

Pinpointing this time of productivity is great for time management and this is where you can focus on the more difficult tasks.

On the other hand, when you need to take a break, you can switch to working on something easier.

Don’t push for perfection

You don’t need to constantly demand perfection every time; some tasks can be satisfactory even without being perfect. Demanding excellence over and over again puts a lot of pressure on everyone.

 

Of course, this doesn’t mean agreeing with a half-hearted result or a job done poorly, but if it’s within the standard, it’s acceptable.

Procrastinating issues in projects: conclusions

Beating procrastination can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be stopped and even prevented.

The first step is to acknowledge that you are a procrastinator, find the main cause, and try to solve the problem.

Different people will have different reasons, so it’s important to follow a strategy that works.

Whatever the reason, the steps listed in this article can be implemented to improve the situation.

One thing you need to remember is not to put too much pressure on yourself: procrastination will not vanish overnight.

Being a project manager is not an easy job and what makes a good project supervisor is efficiency in managing projects, people, time and money.

In all of this, procrastination should have no place and it is desirable to prevent it as much as possible.

Plan your work and your project deadlines.

Evaluating projects to prevent disaster. 7 key tips

Evaluating projects to prevent disasters is extremely important. That’s why Project Manager is critical, and we often find serious challenges that if addressed poorly can derail programs.

This means knowing a project’s weaknesses through strategic project analysis, effective planning and a proper work management system.

Generally speaking, there is not just one way to ensure project management success, but there are some effective tips that, when included in a management style, can help avoid disasters.

Here, then, are the 7 key tips for evaluating projects:

Evaluating a project: Knowing the project inside out

Before you begin, consider your project as a whole. The first and most important thing you need to do to make a project successful is to ensure that it is based on a solid foundation.

To do so, you need to find your clients and stakeholders stakeholders and understand their interests and expectations for the project.

The following step is to devise a solid project plan in which roles and responsibilities are clearly defined.

In addition, to make planning more effective, you need to establish measurable and traceable success criteria to assess, as you go along, whether the project is on track or not.

Evaluating a project: Determine the right project team

Having developed your project plan, the next step is to build a team that can effectively implement the plan and bring it into place.

This begins with defining roles and assigning the right set of tasks while taking into account each individual’s personality, strengths and skills.

After all, project management resources are the key factors in delivering a successful project.

Evaluating a project: Finding a skilled project manager

To ensure that the project is heading in the right direction, knowing that it is being led by a qualified project manager is essential.

In fact, a good project manager will leave no stone unturned to make the project a success.

They must know how to manage a team of different personalities by assigning the work to the right person and making sure that the process is productive and motivating.

Moreover, they must know how to win clients’ trust and communicate their expectations to their team to work as one to achieve a shared goal.

evaluating projects

Evaluating a project: Defining critical milestones

When evaluating a project, don’t forget that its success depends on pinpointing the defining moments during the project lifecycle.

This can be achieved by including the main phases such as initiating, planning, executing and closing a project, but it doesn’t end there.

Every single phase must be segmented into those events, milestones, which constitute an important milestone and are considered a kind of “check point” for the activities carried out so far and in the future.

If you find errors, you can immediately take action to get the project back on track.

Evaluating a project: Communication is key

To run a project smoothly, you need to have effective and consistent communication with stakeholders and consistent communication with stakeholders and clients, but more importantly, in the event of changes, perfect communication with team members to avoid misunderstandings and “sudden attacks.”

For the project manager, it is important to ensure that communication lines are always open so that anyone can reach others without hassle and second thoughts.

Also, regular project status reports are a good way to keep everyone on the same page by keeping them updated on new developments.

Remember that ineffective communication is one of the main reasons why projects fail.

Evaluating a project: Capitalizing on team members’ strengths

A project’s success depends heavily on team members’ skills.

A good project manager will always make an effort to know the strengths and weaknesses of their team members so that work can be allocated accordingly.

Since someone’s strength is somebody else’s weakness, a capable manager will ensure that the work is given to the individual who is inherently competent and quickest to get it done.

Drawing on the strengths of team members will definitely ensure faster task completion and better time management.

With the team performing at its best and whose strengths are utilized to the fullest, the project can only be a success.

Evaluating a project: Using a project management tool

Technology brought many benefits in so many domains, also in project management, thanks to  project management software.

A good software serves as a centralized platform for all relevant project information that not only won’t be lost, but will also be accessible to all project stakeholders.

These project management tools allow teams to effectively collaborate and deliver impressive results with powerful features including Gantt charts, custom reports and workflows, and kanban charts.

If you haven’t done so already, you can try TWproject for free by clicking here.

 

Bottom line, a good project manager will always examine the project as a whole, as well as analyze the different project components listed in this article so as to prevent disasters.

At the end of each project, it is also vital to evaluate every aspect and weakness of a project, write down successes, what went wrong, and what could be improved for future projects.

Through experience and skill, a good project manager will be able to predict when risk is imminent and when corrective measures need to be taken.

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Precedence diagram method for establishing dependency relationships between activities

The Precedence diagram, especially when created through a project management software, can be the greatest asset for a Project Manager.

Having many challenging responsibilities involved in project management, possessing the right tools to assist in the successful execution of tasks becomes critical.

The precedence diagram for establishing dependency relationships between tasks is one of them. Let’s look at it in detail in this article.

What is the precedence diagram method?

The precedence diagram method is a charting technique that is used to develop a network diagram of the project schedule and uses so-called “nodes” to represent activities.

These nodes are connected through arrows to represent a sequential progression of dependencies between activities in the plan.

The precedence diagram method quickly provides the project team and stakeholders insight into all planned activities, its affiliates, and node dependencies.

How to create the precedence diagram

To create a precedence diagram and thus to establish the dependency relationships between tasks, the first stage of planning is to focus on the work breakdown structure.

The whole project becomes more convenient and manageable when the various tasks are broken down into smaller parts.

At this stage you will have a table with three columns, the first column listing the tasks and the second with their sequence, while the third will show the duration of each task.

This way you have all the information you need to design a simple precedence diagram.

To start creating the precedence diagram, each activity is represented as a node.

Each box should have an arrow connecting it to the next step: the first activity will start on the left followed by the second, which will be connected by an arrow.

If the next two activities have the same predecessor, they will be stacked on top of each other with two arrows coming from the same starting point.

Conversely, when an activity has two predecessors, the arrows from those predecessors will both connect to the given activity.

In this way a basic precedence diagram is created.

the precedencies diagram

What are the four dependencies in precedence diagrams?

To create a precedence diagram, you must master dependencies.

A dependency is an activity that depends on another task to be completed.

More specifically, there are four types of dependencies:

1. Mandatory dependency

A mandatory dependency is an obligatory dependency, such as adding water to the pool after it is built. You cannot add the water first and build the pool around it.

2. Discretionary dependency

A discretionary dependency helps in optimizing resources. Using the previous example: there is no strict logic for building the sides of the pool. Starting with one side is just as likely and important as another. However, there may be a reason to start with one rather than the other.

3. External dependency

An external dependency is beyond the project team’s control. Again, using the pool example, there could be bad weather that prevents digging from starting or a approval process that takes longer than expected.

4. Internal dependency

An internal dependency is a controllable dependency. If there is only one shovel, two people cannot dig the hole for making the pool. In this case, the program must include a way to split the work between the two people or purchase another shovel.

Each dependency, in turn, can be defined in four ways:

Finish to start : The activity cannot start until another one is finished. The most common dependency type used among activities.

Finish to finish: the activity cannot end until another one is finished.

Start to start: the activity cannot begin until another activity has begun.

Start to finish: The activity cannot end until another one has begun. This is the least used type of dependency.

Pros and cons of the precedence diagram method

This method offers a number of advantages to project management:

  • Helps in finding relationships and dependencies between activities. This thus supports planning and risk prevention. If an activity is missing, it is easier to identify it.
  • Helps pinpoint the critical path and critical activities and focus on them. Any delay in critical activities will delay the overall program.
  • A precedence diagram is a great communication tool. Stakeholders can review activities at any time and get an understanding of the overall program.
  • Helps to identify a potential bottleneck and implement appropriate changes.
  • Provides a graphical representation of milestones, overall project duration, and the end of the project.

As for the cons:

  • For large, complex projects, there will be thousands of tasks and dependency relationships. Without a project management software that features the appropriate functionality, it can be very difficult to manage them. To make matters worse, if the plan changes during the project lifecycle, the precedence diagram will need to be reviewed and redesigned, and again, without the appropriate software, this could become very cumbersome.
  • One of the pros of having a project precedence diagram is that it allows the team to stay focused on the project activities and the stakeholders to keep an overview of the entire process. However, in case of large projects involving thousands of activities, it may be difficult to visualize the precedence diagram of the entire project without having to break it down into smaller parts.

 

The fine art of using precedence diagrams, therefore, is to find the appropriate level of detail.

The more tasks are presented, the greater the project overview will be, yet the more dependencies will be resulting and the more difficult it will be to manage the precedence diagram over time.

This is why the use of proper project management software becomes crucial.

This provides the foundation for determining the critical path of the project, predicting shortcomings, and understanding the possible reallocation of resources to solve problems.

Proper use of the precedence chart will provide the project manager with information about the status of the project and make it easier to control activities and schedules.

Start using precedence diagram method.