Project chat: how to use it to motivate the team

Using a Team chat during a project to speed up communications and improve results? It can not only be useful, but I would say that today it has become almost indispensable.

From the pictograms carved in stone to the latest chat apps, humans find always better and faster ways to communicate.

Not surprisingly, MSN Messenger, for example, was one of the most used apps in the 90s, while messaging apps like WhatsApp and LINE are becoming a constant in our smartphones.

There is nothing to do, we like to talk and communicate, especially quickly.

For a project team, e-mails require a generally relatively long response time and an object. Video calls, on the other hand, can be frustrating to plan, just like a face-to-face meeting. Project chat, on the other hand, simplifies this.

 Writing a quick message and getting an answer just as quick – or even an emoji – is often used to reassure and continue with the job, perhaps with a smile on the face. Nothing complicated and no significant loss of time.

That’s how we talk to friends and relatives today! So why not apply this method even in the workplace?

INDICE DEI CONTENUTI

Today’s best chat apps, let you organize group conversations on multiple topics. And not only that… they also allow you to search in the organization’s archives to check if a question has already been answered and accelerate interactions with robots by exploiting the integrations present in the apps themselves and in the software.

Why use project chat within the team?

 There are so many ways to talk to the team, from e-mails to traditional phone calls, from video conferences to social networks. SMS may also work in some cases.

A Group chat is similar to the aforementioned tools, but it has something extra. Its main advantage is that it keeps all the organization’s communications in one place and makes it easy for everyone to talk. And if you need to say something to a single member of the team without disturbing others? No problem! Communication can take place through group chats but also through private chats.

Through the use of chats as a working tool, it is no longer necessary to search for a member’s e-mail address therefore wasting time. Everyone is just a touch away, even on the phone.

If a call may seem simpler, think that group chats often include the option of conference calls, video chats and screen sharing tools that make this way even more effective.

Usually, if you use the chat tool as a working tool, it is advisable to create both a general group for casual discussions, aas well as groups for each work team. Groups can also be created for specific topics that the organization needs to discuss. It often happens that you also have one or more groups of fun and light topics like jokes, music, birthdays, etc. These groups, apparently far from the working purposes, are instead often useful in creating harmony within the team.

Groups are generally public and everyone can participate. Thanks to private messages, on the other hand, it is possible to communicate directly with a colleague or chat with a smaller and more reserved group. Often, these small groups are created only temporarily in order to solve small contingent problems that involve few elements of the Team.

Chats therefore offer a place for everything, from casual conversations to private messages. This will save time and hopefully stimulate productive discussions. The chats, as already mentioned, sometimes also become playful tools. For example, it may happen that foolish wars with GIFs start, which will keep the organization a fun place to work, increasing motivation and harmony in the office.

Although a chat can be an extraordinarily effective element for a project group, it is essential to understand that it does not replace e-mail. Thinking of using the Team chat for everything can be a serious mistake and it is therefore useful and necessary to know well when to use one and when to use the other tool.

Let’s see what are the advantages that can be obtained by starting to communicate through a chat in a project group:

  • Drastically reduce the volume of e-mail, even up to half. By sending messages directly through the chat, you will save time and the team will be much more productive. Chat conversations are much more focused on the activity in question and the people involved will be reached directly.
  • Organize information with the corresponding activity (dedicated chats), so that communication is effective and direct as it covers a specific activity.
  • Keep active, open communication with all those involved in the project as it is easy to use, comfortable and accessible to all.
  • The meetings are targeted and more effective. Anything that can be clarified through the chat will mean hours of effective work instead of unnecessary meetings.
  • Promote monitoring and planning control. If the team enters and follows the conversations about the activities, it will have the project at hand. It will be easier and more convenient to see what you are talking about and, in this way, follow the process and planning. This will avoid unnecessary questions, doubts and wasted time.

project chat

Optimal communication with a chat tool

It sometimes happens that some members of the Team do not how to properly use a chat. It is therefore useful to establish which are the fundamental characteristics for an optimal communication with this instrument:

  • Private Chat: allows you to quickly connect with any team member and communicate privately.
  • Group Chat: useful for not writing an e-mail and putting all interested parties in CC. This places an update on the project in a space visible by the entire team and you can be sure that all the right people can access the communication and be informed immediately.
  • Project Chat: every project that you manage should have a dedicated chat so that conversations can be organized together with the content of the project. For larger projects, there must be a way to connect chat threads to specific resources, such as activities, files, diagrams or text.
  • Video / Audio Team Chat: when detailed discussions are required to happen quickly, embedded video conferencing is an essential requirement.
  • Visual indicators: Simple visual cues such as “full percentage” indicators of activity, out-of-office icons or emoji feedback to comments, help ensure that the team is aware of progress and updates are noticed.
  • Triage: first thing in the morning, or when you return from a vacation, you must first deal with the important things. A clear view of all unread notifications and the projects they come from will help the person decide what he or she has to focus on and what can wait.

In general, if the team or organization needs a dedicated chat app or a project tool  that also includes the chat option, there are a myriad of possibilities on the market.

The simplest tools allow you to organize chats in conversations and talk in real time, while the more advanced ones allow you to automate conversations with bots and make video calls when necessary.

Each organization will make its choice.

We have the tools, we have the culture.

functional organization

The functional organization

Every organization works on some basic principles and on a particular structure.

Working according to the principles of this particular organizational structure allows the achievement of a common goal, as well as the growth and development of the organization and the employees that are part of it.

There are different types of organizational structures and the functional organizational structure is one of these. And we will talk about this in this article.

What is a functional organization?

A functional organization is the most common type of organizational structure.

This is the organization divided into smaller groups based on functions such as IT, finance or marketing.

This departmentalization allows greater operational efficiency because the employees have their specific skills and knowledge to share within the group.

These people are supervised by a functional manager, who has experience in the same field.

This experience helps him use employees’ skills effectively, which ultimately helps organizations achieve their business goals.

In a functional organizational structure, the reporting relationships are grouped according to the specialty or functional area.

The purpose of the separation of the areas is has the purpose of letting the individuals deal with and worry about different and specific activities.

Here the authority, regarding for example the allocation of the budget, the allocation of resources, the decision-making process, etc. remains in the hands of the functional manager.

Project Manager vs Functional Manager

Usually, in this type of organization the role of the Project Manager is limited, since he will need the permission of the functional manager to satisfy his requests.

The functional organizational structure is generally suitable for companies producing standard products or goods, such as manufacturing industries.

Let’s consider a company that designs and sells clothing and fashion accessories, for example, and let’s imagine its creative department that carries out the projects.

The creative department will do its specific thing and will not focus on everything. Instead, it will be the task of the accounting and finance department to keep track of the amount spent on design creation and mass production. The sales and marketing department will be responsible for presenting specific plans for the sale of the products and for attracting the consumer, while the human resources department must ensure that the employees work to their maximum potential.

All these activities will be governed by the president and mid-level managers of the organization. More products will lead to the creation of more departments. Each department will have many other functions to perform, but these are the basic functions of each department.
the functional organization

The advantages of a Functional Organization

Every type of organization has its strengths and its shortcomings. Obviously, this also happens in the case of a functional organization. Let’s start from the merits:

  • The team is run by an experienced person with a high skill and ability, who can adequately understand and review the entire job.
  • Team members have the opportunity to work with other people in the same field. This allows the sharing of thoughts and knowledge and allows the learning of new special skills.
  • Team members have the opportunity to make a career and then be promoted within their functional areas. This can be a great reason to stay in the workplace for a long time.
  • Thanks to people’s skills, workers with specialized skills can perform tasks quickly, efficiently and with greater security, while reducing work-related errors.
  • Functional organizations generally represent an optimal type of structure for small businesses focused on the production or supply of individual products or services, because they have the possibility of maximizing performance. Peer cooperation within the different units is encouraged through supervision and coordination. Specialization, therefore, leads to operational efficiencies and improves productivity levels.
  • The hierarchy is obvious and employees must not report to multiple supervisors running the risk of generating confusion. Each employee reports to his functional manager and this reduces the number of communication channels.
  • There is no duplication of work because every department and every employee has a fixed job responsibility.
  • Cooperation and communication are generally excellent within the department.

The shortcomings of a Functional Organization

Let us now examine the shortcomings of this type of organization:

  • In a functional organization the grouping of units is carried out based on their special skills, abilities, tasks or roles. This will allow the entire team to operate correctly. However, business strategies and the level of bureaucracy make it difficult to respond to changes immediately. This is why this type of organization is quite rigid.
  • Another disadvantage of the functional organizational structure is that these functional groups may not be able to communicate more often than scheduled, thus reducing flexibility and innovation.
  • When a company uses this type of structure, people are grouped based on their knowledge and skills. This therefore requires a management system that allows the promotion, development and visibility of individual skills in each functional area.
  • The lack or inefficient horizontal coordination within the department could give rise to management problems. The motivation of the employees is strongly influenced by the lack of innovation and by the narrow visions of the organizational goals. This structure can be rigid and standardized methods and high formalization can hinder or prevent a faster decision-making process.
  • Another weakness of the functional organizational structure may be the lack of coordination of the unit. As a result, although functional units may have a better level of efficiency, they may have difficulty working well together, and cooperation may therefore be compromised. Moreover, some people may be particularly “territorial” and individualistic and may not be willing to cooperate. These unhealthy coordination can lead to delays, unfulfilled commitments, competing interests, waste of time and, in general, delays in completing the project.
  • Employees may feel bored due to the type of monotonous and repetitive work and may lose enthusiasm for the job.
  • Conflicts can arise if the performance appraisal system is not properly managed. For example, an employee can perceive the promotion of a colleague with lower skills as unjust and this could lead to demotivation.
  • A highly qualified employee costs more.
  • Departments have an egocentric mentality. The functional manager pays more attention to his own department and usually does not care about the other.
  • Employees may have little concern and knowledge of events outside of their department. This causes obstacles to communication and cooperation.
  • Generally, the functional manager makes autocratic decisions without consulting his team members. This may not always work for the organization.
  • When the organization gets bigger, functional areas can become difficult to manage due to their size. Each department can begin to behave as a small company with its facilities, its culture and its management style.
  • Functional departments can be distracted by departmental goals and focus on them rather than the organization’s overall goal.

 

To conclude, it can be said that among the various types of organizational structures a functional organizational structure is more suitable for organizations that do not change their working methods and function too often and where there is no intense competition in the market that could require quick action.

This structure requires a very powerful management, capable of resolving conflicts and internal problems. In essence, a management that allows employees to function as a team, despite the specialized departments working like a “watertight compartment”.

Moreover, it is ideal in a smaller environment where there is only one product or service to offer. For a larger organization, this structure may not be really effective.

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emergency plan

The emergency plan in project management

The emergency plan in a project is like the fire prevention plan for a supermarket. You can’t miss it!

Uncertainty is an intrinsic part of all projects. The way in which the Project Manager and his team manage the emergency and the change seriously affects the activities and the very success of the project.

All projects have a level of uncertainty. Otherwise no figure would be needed to manage risks and emergencies.

This is why the most astute Project Managers structure the projects in such a way as to predict uncertainty and change rather than looking for ways to avoid unexpected surprises.

This is why the estimates based on the best / worst scenarios are reliable and effective. It is precisely on these estimates that, in order to avoid surprises, an emergency plan is drawn up for managing a project.

 The proactivity of the PM in the realization of a project emergency plan

It is more productive to be proactive rather than reactive. Anticipating unforeseen circumstances is therefore a necessity for a Project Manager.

With IT projects for example, customer needs can evolve over time and, with the evolution of technology, even overnight, this fact could represent a real emergency for the PM.

In construction projects, instead, the project could also be approved, but important delays in the delivery of the material might occur during the execution of the work. These delays would inevitably affect the end date of the project, representing also an emergency.

Basically, the competent Project Managers establish processes in advance in order to deal with these emergencies and the resulting changes.

In this way, they can respond to emergencies with the voice of experience rather than with reaction. Adaptability offers a better guarantee to the customer.

An agile mentality makes it possible to evaluate, listen, and communicate changes better, thus also creating a relationship of trust with the team, stakeholders, and the end customer.

Changes can take place at virtually every point in the life cycle of project management.

Having strategies in order to effectively deal with changes and manage emergencies is the most efficient way to stay focused on the success of the project and on the final goals, even in the face of what can sometimes seem like a constant change of direction.

Risk and emergency management

Here are some tips that Project Managers use in order to manage risks and emergencies in projects.

1. Avoid the risk or emergency

If it is already clear from the beginning that the activity of a project can have serious consequences, it is better to avoid it. For example, the simultaneous use of a production process for two products can compromise project planning. Instead, a project manager can avoid this risk by choosing a sequential production process.

2. Mitigate the risk or emergency

Look for all possible ways to reduce the occurrence of a risk. For example, you can decide to use a simplified and known production process if a more innovative and expensive production process can take longer and brings with it a high level of uncertainty about the final result.

3. Transfer the risk or emergency

To control the risk, it is possible to transfer it to an external supplier. For example, if the number of activities of a team is too large to allow their completion on time by internal resources, part of the activities can be subcontracted to an external supplier.

4. Learn from risks and emergencies

Not all risks and emergencies represent something negative. These can also open the door to opportunities. For example, if after analyzing the risks of a project, one realizes that the subsystem of a program can be commercialized, one can decide to reassign it to a part of the teams in order to develop it even more. The removal of part of the team from a project can represent an additional risk, but in this case, it is possible to compensate it with the opportunity achieved.
the emergency plan

 Lead the team through the change process

The team is fundamental to the success of any project, so it is essential to actively involve it in the emergency plan and in the management of process changes.

Here are 5 ways the Project Manager can quickly help the team during this process:

  1. Be open about emergencies, risks, and changes that will inevitably occur.
  2. Be open about the process. Most team members clearly will not know what will happen and what is expected of them until they have been notified. It is possible to organize a briefing where everyone can learn about their role within the emergency and change plan.
  3. Simplify as much as possible. The change in the project is often, at best, a controlled chaos. The team can consider an emergency, and the consequent changes, as upsetting and for this reason, it is necessary that the process is as simplified as possible. We must not forget that the team considers the Project Manager as a trusted guide.
  4. Be ready to help. A new way of working takes time to accept it and integrate successfully. The Project Manager must let the team know clearly that he is there to help them, at any time, in order to overcome the emergency together, just like a team.
  5. Don’t be afraid to say no. Not all changes in response to an emergency can be sensible proposals. The Project Manager must therefore let the team know that if the latter feels firmly convinced that a change is not the right decision for the Project, he will stand close to them and discuss the choice with the change applicant.

Not being able to manage the emergency and the change that inevitably follows is one of the first reasons why a project can go completely in disarray.

Having the right information and processes even before starting a Project and drawing up an emergency plan with the related possible changes, can make it possible to face risks and emergencies in a controlled, intelligent, and advantageous way for all those involved. This is certainly the way to bring the project to success.

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agile coaching

Agile coaching: a fundamental approach for new Project Managers

An Agile coach helps organizations with the implementation of the Agile methodology. It helps developing agile teams and facilitates organizational change culture in order to ensure effective results.

The goal of an Agile coach is to provide the right knowledge to an agile team. The teams will have to receive the right training and will have to know adequately the indispensable tools. The goal is to ensure that members are able to use this method to its full potential.

Agile coaches can be employees of an organization or work as external contractors.

Organizational benefits of an Agile coach

The implementation of an Agile methodology can help simplify the processes but, as many will know, it is not easy to make changes in an organization.

Typical challenges faced during a change can be grouped into five categories:

  1. Primary problems: any elementary situation that has to be solved. For example, the organization wants to increase customer satisfaction. To achieve this, it may be necessary to reduce marketing time or maintain competitiveness in a dynamic market, etc.
  1. Awareness / inattention. People are not aware of what they do not know and, for this reason, they need help to have a clear understanding of problems, gaps and opportunities that allow improvement. In Agile, awareness is an indispensable condition for promoting continuous improvement.
  1. Low sense of belonging. Lack of involvement and participation is one of the most typical challenges for many organizations. For this reason, many companies need help to create elements that foster collaboration and increase the sense of belonging of their employees.
  1. Skills gap. Perhaps people will need a different set of skills in order to reach the desired state. Most of the time, change means adopting different behaviors and new ways of working. People have to learn different responsibilities and activities during an Agile transformation. For this reason, they will need assistance and support in order to develop these new skills.
  1. Organizational barriers. Business agility is a great desire for most organizations. As a result, companies must optimize their processes and organizational projects in order to achieve greater flexibility, adaptability, and responsiveness to unpredictable changes. This is why companies need help to identify and overcome barriers during their path of improvement.

Encouraging everyone to accept a new methodology requires significant effort from the management.

The agile coach in support of the Team

Having a coach able to guide and direct the change in the right way, can help a team to overcome the difficult phases, especially in the first period of change.

An Agile coach will allow the company to maintain its activities while at the same time committing itself to create an agile team. These factors will help save time, money and resources in the long term.

Moreover, another task of the Agile coach is to understand the reasons why, in certain cases, Agile does not provide the expected results. It will be his task to find possible solutions to remedy the situation.

Before the Agile coach finishes his job, the goal is to have a fully functioning agile team ready to embrace the new methodology.

The Agile methodology is indeed easy to understand, but difficult to master. The consequence is that many Project Managers encounter problems during the transition.

Most of these problems are due to unrealistic expectations. There is a tendency to overestimate the simplicity of implementing Agile within a team, a department or within the entire organization.

The role of the Agile coach

The role of an Agile coach can be temporary or permanent, depending on the needs of the organization.

Larger companies, with more teams, may want to keep this figure within the human resources department. His presence will be useful to help supervise the application of the agile methodology in the long term, but the position is generally temporary.

For most companies, especially medium and small organizations, it is more useful and economical to hire an Agile coach temporarily in order to help make the team work in an agile manner.

There is no valid strategy when it comes to agile adaptation, so every organization will have unique needs in the process.

Agile coaches take advantage of their background in project management, IT and other related fields in order to understand what will work for a particular organization and what will not.

The essential qualities for an agile coaching

In particular, there are five qualities necessary for effective Agile Coaching:

1. Knowledge of everything that surrounds the Agile methodology

Agile is not a standard recipe, but a complete philosophy. It is a mentality in which change is not the goal, but rather the starting point. The Agile methodology uses different methods and frameworks, such as Lean and Scrum for example. An Agile Coach must therefore be aware of all these different methods and know how and when to use them.

2. Possessing an open mind

The study following the Agile methodology is relatively new and is still under development. For this reason, an Agile coach must be constantly open to new techniques, tools and insights.

3. Understanding and empathy

An Agile coach does not say what should happen or what went wrong, but helps the team to get more information about their performance and take responsibility for it. This only works if this figure is able to gain the complete trust of the members of the team. This is why an Agile Coach needs a good understanding and empathy.
the agile coaching

4. Addressing conflicts

In an Agile environment, self-managed teams have the space to do their jobs as they want.

This also means that they must be able to resolve tensions and differences of opinion within the group itself. In this case, there is no manager to intervene and calm the situation.

Conflicts in the workplace are not a disaster in themselves, as long as they don’t get out of hand. The Agile coach therefore has an important role in identifying open or underlying tensions and giving the opportunity to speak about it correctly.

5. Patience and perseverance

Developing an agile mentality is usually a difficult process and some people need more time than others.

An agile coach must be able to focus on the things that are going well and, above all, keep looking forward. Changes always take longer than what one thinks.

 

Agile Coaching is therefore a vast activity that aims to allow improvements in organizations and helps people to evolve their mentality and behavior.

The task is not at all simple and can vary greatly depending on the context. There are more forms and techniques to do it and it will be the Agile Coach’s ability to find the best way in every situation.

 

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communication plan

The communication plan for project management

Successful projects are based on effective communication. This is why a communication plan is so important.

The level of quality with which one communicates during the life cycle of a project can make the difference between success and failure.

According to the Project Management Institute – PMI, high performance organizations, ie those organizations that have completed at least 80% of the projects on time and in the budget, had in act communication plans that are at least twice as effective as their counterparts who achieve lower performance.

Do you still have doubts about the importance of a good communication plan in managing a project?

What is a project’s communication plan?

The project communication plan is a simple tool that allows you to communicate effectively about a project with the client, the team and other stakeholders.

The plan establishes clear guidelines on how information will be shared. It also establishes who is responsible and how everyone is connected to project communication.

The communication plan of the project also determines who will receive the communication, how, when and how often the information should be transmitted.

If we wanted to indicate a reference model for a project communication plan, we would have to include:

  • The purpose or goals of the communication plan
  • Information on interested parties and their roles
  • The types of information that must be shared with interested parties
  • The methods used to communicate
  • The frequency with which each stakeholder would like to receive information

Why is a project communication plan important?

Poor communication contributes to the failure of the project. This shortcoming, therefore, could mean an important financial loss for the company.

A communication plan for project management will keep the project on track because:

  • Creates written documentation that the team can refer to
  • Establishes expectations about when stakeholders will receive updates
  • Increases the visibility of stakeholders in the project
  • Provides opportunities for interested parties to provide feedback, which can help the team identify problems and risks early
  • Increases productivity during meetings

Clearly, not all projects are the same and, therefore, each project’s communication plan can be considered unique. In fact, no plan will ever be identical to another.

This is one more reason why:

It is important to think well about the communication plan already during the creation of the project plan.

Large projects have different communication needs than small projects. The same applies to projects with different groups of stakeholders compared to projects with a single group. Those projects will still be different depending on whether the team works remotely or within the same building.

Projects with different goals, budgets, deadlines, resources require a tailored communication. This is an aspect to keep in mind when creating a project communication plan.

The creation of the project communication plan

In order to create an effective and complete communication plan, it is important to take the time to collect input, information and wishes from all stakeholder groups.

It is also essential to be aware that it may be necessary to make changes to the plan as the project progresses.

 Here are the 5 key steps to creating a good project communication plan

1) Plan the scope and the approach

It is important that the plan is broadly described, including the reasons for its existence and the general description of how it will be implemented within the project.

This part could be thought of as a summary section.

2) Communication goals

The Project Manager will also have to explain what he expects to achieve by following the communication plan. In fact, in every project, there are different goals.

In general, the goals should focus on the education and updating of anyone interested in the project.

3) Communication roles

It is highly unlikely that communication will come from one single person throughout the entire project. Therefore, all roles and related communication responsibilities must be clearly defined.

Here are some roles to consider:

  • Sponsor of the project
  • Project Management
  • Leadership / Management Team
  • Member of the project team

 4) Communication tools and methods

the communication plan

Which tools will be used and how a message will be delivered are aspects that will vary from project to project.

The preferred tools and methods should be those in which the receiving group will have the best chance of understanding.

Often, we make the mistake of taking into consideration only the peculiarities of those who must transmit the message. It is essential, however, to always keep the receiver in mind when developing the content of the communication and the method by which the message will be delivered.

Methods that provide opportunities for people to ask questions or provide feedback can give a real and added value to the project.

Here are some examples:

  • Meetings: Although project meetings are viewed with little enthusiasm, they are a great way to bring the team together and solve problems.
  • Project reports: Reports could include project progress, real-time control panels, risks and resources, etc.
  • E-mail: probably the most common form of project communication. Although e-mail is a useful way to keep track of conversations and decisions, it is important to encourage the team to talk, in fact it is often a more efficient method.
  • Discussion forums: discussion forums and online forums help teams collaborate and share knowledge and are especially useful for remote teams.
  • Document repositories: create a central position for project documents to ensure that everyone is working from the same sources.
  • Surveys: the surveys are a quick way to check with the team during the execution of the project and the lessons learned once the project is finished.

5) Measurement of the success of the communication plan

Given the importance of communication for a project, it is important to monitor and analyze the plan at regular intervals.

During the project life cycle it is important to see what works, what does not and if and which changes are needed.

Moreover, it is useful to ask stakeholders and the team for their contribution, and to document the findings to improve future plans.

Conclusions

It is important to remember that each project will have a different communicative impact and, therefore, a different communication management plan.

Working from a basic structure, like the one explained in this article, will help to ensure that all key components are included.

The proactive creation of the communication management plan and the action plan for communicating  at the beginning of the project will require some effort. However, this effort will be very useful for managing a project that works effectively and efficiently.

Having a project communication plan will save a lot of headaches and doubts and give the project more chances for success.

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choose a software

How to choose a project management software for the third sector

Choosing a project management software is never easy, especially if we are talking about specific sectors.

The offer of softwares for project management on the market has in fact exploded exponentially in recent years.

These programs are specially designed to improve collaboration between team members and the project manager. They offer a variety of functionalities necessary for the success of a project and it is not so easy to choose the ones that best suit the situation.

A reliable project management software will in fact give the opportunity to share everything about the process in real time. The interaction of the team and the results will consequently improve, but if there are no specific functions indispensable to the project, it may not produce any concrete advantage.

With such a wide offer on the market, the question arises: “Which software is suitable for my project / organization?” Let’s try to build a coherent path of choice.

To choose a project management software, you need to be clear about why you need it

A well-designed project management software will keep everyone up to date on the progress of the work and ensure that the project is progressing as planned.

Many project managers, even today, keep track of projects using Excel, Google spreadsheets or other spreadsheet programs.

These work well up to a certain point and are okay for relatively simple projects that require only few resources.

However, as elaborate as they may be, these tools have significantly lower performance compared to a dedicated project management software.

Here are the telltale signs that indicate the need to use project management software:

  • The team is using too many tools to track different aspects of the project.
  • The team looses too much time writing emails and doing meetings and does not have enough time to generate results.
  • You want to move the project management system to the cloud so that everyone can access information from anywhere and at any time.
  • Business and organizational needs have exceeded the capacity of the current software.
  • Someone does not receive adequate updates or sufficient visibility through the current software.
  • Problems are not tracked properly and risks are not reported in time.
  • The software is too complex, to the point that it is creating inefficiencies, rather than increasing productivity.
  • Collaboration between team members is not efficient or effective.
  • Too much is spent analyzing data and generating reports.

It is precisely the Project Manager who must identify these deficiencies and decide if and when the time has come to make the qualitative leap.

10 essential features in a project management software

Many project management solutions have similar characteristics, but can be addressed in different ways. In our opinion, here are the 10 essential features for a respectable PM software.

1. Good project management software must be easy to use

Project management software will not be useful unless the team uses it.

Some project management tools are very complex and may require a few days of training.

It is important to choose a software that offers the right mix of features provided through an intuitive interface. The simpler it is to use it, the more team members will be convinced to use it.

2. It must allow a complete and correct management of the activities

This function should not only allow you to list all the activities, but also to assign them to the correct team member, so that everyone knows what needs to be done and by whom.

Some project management tools allow you to sort tasks using different filters, such as by resource, department, completion day, etc., so you can quickly locate and organize information.

Most software warns the responsible team member when a deadline is approaching in order to make sure that tasks are completed in a timely manner. If some of these functions were missing, the software in question should be discarded a priori.

3. Planning as a priority of a respectable project management software

You may be able to manage a small project thanks to a simple list of activities on a spreadsheet, however, things can become very complicated in the case of a large project.

If you do not have the opportunity to view the history and understand how the various activities are dependent and influence each other, it may be practically impossible to plan them correctly.

A Gantt chart is therefore a function that is not only important, but indispensable in order to allow the visualization of activities, the interdependencies between them and, consequently, the entire planning of the project.

Choose only software that has an extremely clear and easy to set Gantt function.

4. File sharing as an element of interaction and speeding up of the steps

Most software offers the possibility to share files internally. This allows team members to have quick access to the information they need to do the job.

It is however useful to check if the Project Management software offers the possibility to share files even with people outside the organization, such as suppliers, contractors or customers. Sometimes sharing this could be indispensable in order to not being forced to resort to additional tools.
how to choose a software

5. Instant communication within the team

Good communication is essential to facilitate collaboration and ensure that activities are carried out in an efficient and timely manner.

The need for simplified communication is becoming increasingly important. In most major projects, in fact, an increasing number of people work remotely or are distributed among offices in different places, also in the third sector.

An integrated messaging feature therefore, helps team members communicate quickly in real time without having to exchange hundreds of emails daily.

In addition, other team members can take a quick look at a discussion.

Nowadays, choosing a PM software with the integrated Instant Chat function has become essential.

6. Reporting tools in an efficient software that allows the creation of Reports in real time

Reporting tools collect the previously entered project data and create reports on project budgets, expenses, resource allocation, team member performance and more.

Most project management software has a predefined set of reports that can be generated and some also include custom reports. Before choosing the software for a determined project, it is essential to check the efficiency of these features in depth.

7. A good software must provide a simple and intuitive dashboard

This feature allows you to have a view of the project status through a dashboard with graphs, visual metrics and key indicators.

A simple and intuitive Dashboard not only for the Project Manager but for all team members is certainly a help in focusing on the activities to be carried out and identifying priorities.

The Dashboard should be able, when necessary, to be shared also with stakeholders. In fact, these graphical reports instantly communicate the status of the project and some interested parties might be interested in seeing the general data of the project but do not need to see all the details presented in a written report.

8. User friendly user interface

Even though visual design may not seem like a top priority, it has some importance anyway.

A poor and messy interface could make it difficult for users to find what they need, thus hindering productivity.

A clean, simple and professional interface makes the user experience more enjoyable and may even help team members be enthusiastic about using the software.

Moreover, a well-designed interface is even more important if the project management tool is also used by an end customer.

In fact, a modern and professional design will improve the image of the organization in general.

9. Choose software for the management of projects that allows the personalization of work environments and reports

Customization allows to create a “work environment” that reflects the preferences and needs of an organization: from the logo to the color scheme, from customized reports to the way data are organized.

Moreover, the customization of reports and columns of data allows you to selectively display information. This allows to quickly show relevant data and metrics to different stakeholders.

The possibilities to customize these aspects when choosing a software are often underestimated, but not taking them into consideration can definitely be a mistake.

10. Time, budget and resource management

These three aspects often overlap. The ideal is to have them all together in a single project management software. This surely would represent a valid help for the allocation of the team and resources in a more efficient way.

Optional advanced features

Depending on the nature of the organization’s activity and the complexity of the project, a project manager might also like to have features that are not usually found in default project management softwares. Let’s see together what they are:

1. Additional visualization tools to simplify communication

If you often handle complex data and relevant reports, the Gantt chart may not be sufficient to give a complete view. You may need to use additional visualization tools to simplify the communication of various data and metrics involved in the project.

2. Possibility of integrating risk analysis

If you work with complex projects with many moving parts, an integrated risk analysis feature can be very useful.

This feature allows to identify, analyze, and react quickly to risk factors for the entire duration of a project.

The advantages, as you can well understand, can be enormous not only from the financial point of view but also for the purpose of the project itself.

3. Expense and billing report

Some advanced project management software (but not all) offer customer relationship management features, so-called CRMs, and invoice automation. This allows customer interactions and information to be automatically synchronized.

The billing function synchronizes with time tracking and expense reporting so that all information can be consolidated before an invoice is created.

 

After understanding the various features offered by the project management tools on the market, it is therefore necessary to clarify one’s needs.

Several factors must be taken into account based on the specific circumstances of an organization in order to ensure that the selected project management software meets the needs. Not only that, it will also be necessary to choose the one that best suits the nature of the projects and the structure of the company, considering current and future growth needs.

When choosing a project management software, it is important to make sure to combine the various features with the requirements of the organization and the team in order to choose the tool that best fits the goals.

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the matrix organization and PM

Matrix organization and PM

Projects require many different activities, therefore the organizational structure should not be rigid, but efficient, flexible and possibly innovative.

Every organization is structured in some way and this structure is determined by the goals of the organization.

The way an organization is structured provides a standard for operating processes and routines. Furthermore, it determines who participates in what, and which project tools are the best to use for each task.

The matrix organizational structure is often used in project management because it speaks of both the final product and the function of the management that produces it. Previously, we had talked about the organizational structures of the project, today we will try to deepen the topic analyzing precisely the matrix organizational structure of a project.

So let’s take a closer look at this type of organizational structure by determining its pros and cons in project management.

What is the matrix organizational structure?

The matrix organizational structure was born as a business response to the increase of large-scale projects.

At the time, accelerated technological applications and the ability to process large amounts of data efficiently were required.

An organizational structure that would allow rapid response to interdisciplinary needs, without messing up the functional organizational structures already in place was needed.

Matrix organizational structures have been developed for the first time in the aerospace industry in the United States.

Until then, a single hierarchical organization had been used, which was good only in the case of very large projects.

However, with the increase of projects of various sizes and complexities, there was a need to find a new solution. A matrix of projects was therefore developed.

The matrix organizational structure is a combination of two or more types of organizational structures.


The matrix organization and the two command chains

Matrix organization is the structure that unites these other organizational structures to give them balance. Usually, there are two chains of command, in which the members of the project team have two leaders or managers.

Often, one manager manages functional activities and the other is a more traditional project manager.

These roles are fluid, since the balance of power between these two types of managers is not rigidly defined.

The best of the two structures and of the two management styles will be used to empower the strengths and limit the weaknesses.

A matrix structure within an organization uses inter-functional teams composed of people specialized in various disciplines who support a common project.

This differs from the traditional hierarchical organizational structure because:

  • Various skills are mixed into a single team
  • Teams work together only for the duration of a project
  • Members of the team come and go when needed to support the project

The matrix organizational structure usually exists in large, multi-project organizations. Employees are considered shared resources between projects.
matrix organization and PM

The pros of a matrix organizational structure

A matrix organizational structure is not a valid solution in every case.

There are advantages and disadvantages that must be understood and analyzed to know if it is the right model for a particular organization. Let’s start to see the pros:

  • Highly qualified and capable resources can be shared between functional units and projects. This allows more open lines of communication that help to share valuable knowledge within the organization.
  • The matrix structure is more dynamic than the functional structure. In fact, it allows employees to communicate more easily across borders, creating a pleasant and collaborative work environment.
  • Employees can expand their skills and knowledge areas by participating in different types of projects. The matrix structure provides a good environment for professionals that can learn and grow their experiences, skills and, consequently, careers.
  • Employees are very competent in functional departments and project teams can get these highly qualified employees whenever their services are needed. This creates a pool of valuable resources that can be used in a flexible way in order to solve problems without having to create new resources.
  • Employees tend to be loyal to the organization because there is a sense of job security. Therefore, the efficiency of a matrix organization is higher

The cons of a matrix organizational structure

Obviously, there are not only advantages in a matrix organizational structure. Let’s see below which are the cons:

  • Employees may refer to two managers, which can be confusing and could cause conflicts. This usually happens in a balanced matrix organization where both leaders have equal authority and power.
  • A conflict may arise between the project manager and the functional manager regarding the distribution of authority and power.
  • Employees can be confused about their role and responsibilities if the priorities are not clearly defined. This can happen especially when they are assigned a different or even contrary task to what they were doing.
  • There could be competition to use resources in case of a scarce resource. This can cause hostility within the workplace and may affect operations.
  • It is generally believed that matrix organizations have more managers than necessary, which increases overall costs.
  • The workload tends to be high in a matrix organization. Employees must do their “regular” job together with the additional work related to a project, which can exhaust them.
  • A matrix structure is expensive to maintain. Organizations must pay extra to maintain resources because not all resources will be occupied at all times. Some resources are needed only for a short duration.

Matrix organizational structure: conclusions

The matrix organizational structure is a response to the problem of managing large and complex projects.

When working on a large project, a highly hierarchical structure can be an obstacle.

Instead of trying to find an alternative solution to a situation that may not have a viable solution, a matrix organizational structure provides a new system that can address better the complexities of large projects.

The matrix organizational structure is more democratic as it acts as if there were not one better way to organize a project. He sees alternatives and different approaches rather than one way forward.

A matrix structure is suitable for large organizations operating in a dynamic environment and requiring a rapid response to market demand.

Although a matrix organization can present a challenge, a project manager can experience great feedback by having a strong team work.

Furthermore, when dealing with projects of very high size and complexity, a matrix organizational structure can be an advantage, but only if the project manager and the team are equipped with valid project management tools.

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project closure

How to best manage project closure

Closing a project is not like turning off a computer. After having apparently finished a project, there is still a lot to do and, even if it does not seem, many things can go wrong.

So much time and effort is made in the planning of a project, but often it is forgotten that the end of a project is just as demanding and important.

Once the final products have been delivered, it does not mean that the project is complete. Ignoring the project closure process results in incomplete project management.

These are the goals to be achieved by closing a project:

  • Delivery of the final product
  • Meet all the requirements of the contract
  • Transfer the project to the customer
  • Review the project in its success stories and shortcomings
  • Guarantee all contracted and received products and services
  • Notify suppliers of project completion
  • Complete the final report

The 4 steps (+1) for the closure of a project

Below we will describe 4 steps (+ 1) that a PM must take in order to properly close a project. Even skipping just one of them would give a sense of incompleteness such that the manager’s reputation could even be questioned.

1. Organize the post-project

The management of a project does not only concern the activities and resources, the budget and the deadlines, but it is an experience from which one can constantly learn.

Having a meeting with the project team to receive feedback on what worked and what didn’t and encouraging honesty, is a positive practice from which the project manager can have many advantages. In addition to the human relationship that can be established between the members of the Team, thanks to the documentation of the errors and the successes of the project, it is possible to create a catalog that offers historical data and information that can be consulted when planning new projects. Each project closure represents a new knowledge produced.

2. Write a complete documentation at the end of the project

Each project generates a lot of documents that must be signed and approved by the stakeholders. This includes the closure of all contracts that have been entered into with internal partners or suppliers or other possible resources. This also includes the closing of all outstanding payments such as invoices, commissions, bonuses, etc.

3. Release the resources once the project is closed

Putting together a team for the project is a formal and crucial process, but releasing it is just as important. Each team is brought together for the mix of skills and experiences that their members bring to a project. It will be the type of project that will then determine the choice of the team members. Each project will be reflected in the team hired to execute it. This applies to both internal as well as external resources.

In the case of external resources, the closure process may seem more obvious. The contract with them expires and it must be ensured that the resources are paid according to the agreements.
In the case of internal resources instead, which often remain within the same organization, it is necessary to remember that even their time for the project is limited. Once the project is finished, these internal resources could be directed to another project. Therefore, not releasing internal resources in time could lead to difficulties and problems in the case of other projects.

4. Archive project documents

Every old project brings with it the so called lessons learned. However, if you do not have an archive where to find old records, any knowledge acquired is lost due to bad organization and documentation management. If you work hard to get a successful project and its related documentation, then it is essential not to lose it.

Before closing a project, it is important to archive all the documents and all the data that could be useful. Even if you do not directly access it, you need to keep track of the work done for other people in the organization. You never know when someone might be interested in going back in time to find out how an old problem has been solved.

5. Celebrate success at the end of the project

the project closure

There is nothing stupid about rewarding and celebrating the project team to recognize a successful job. This underlines the closure of the project, but also plants a seed that can flourish in later projects when there will be an opportunity to work together again. When a job well done is underlined and acknowledged, the morale of the team and of the people are being built. This creates a bond of loyalty between project managers and teams. In the future, these resources will be ready to work even harder in other projects.

As you now know, project closure is an important step in any project, simple or complex.

The closure of the project is an educational experience in which many aspects of project management are learned with respect to what was done during the execution of the project.

It is therefore necessary to resist the temptation to immediately start a new project, but concentrate on completing the formal closure process.

Efficient project closure creates value for all project stakeholders, project managers included.

 

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how to manage project integration

Project integration management: how to manage integration in a project

Project management can be complicated, especially when different departments have to work together.

As more departments work on the same project, it is likely that each of them will use a different methodology to deliver the results. The methodology chosen is the one to which each department is more accustomed or the one with which a department is more at ease.

This can make collaboration between departments difficult due to differences in process and methodology.

Additional complications to manage in a project

Project complications also occur when working on a larger project. In larger projects, for instance, we will find many moving parts that need to be aligned.

Without the correct alignment of these parts, the project can slow down, become less efficient, and even stop.

If a project manager does not understand how a change in scope will affect planning, costs and resource requirements, how can this change be managed?

Or also, what if the project manager suddenly needs a software developer to work on the project for another month?

Without managing integration across the organization, it can be difficult to see how these scenarios affect the business.

Therefore, to create harmony between the various departments and parts of a project, it is essential to manage the integration of the project, the so called project integration management.

The organization must ensure that a high level of integration is implemented in the project management processes. This aims to achieve long-term strategic corporate goals.

What is project integration management?

Project integration management is a method of coordination that allows the various processes to work together.

Managing the integration of the project basically means making trade-offs. In fact, it is not always possible to obtain everything immediately, and if you want the project to be completed on time and within the given budget, sometimes you will have to make choices.

If there are competing goals, for example, it is necessary to find alternatives in order to meet stakeholder expectations.

To obtain them, it is necessary to identify, define, combine, unify and coordinate the numerous phases and activities within the project management groups and processes.

Therefore, project integration management involves the choice of resource allocations and trade-offs. All while managing, at the same time, the interdependencies present in the project management knowledge areas.

Managing project integration is one of the ten areas of knowledge in project management and is the element that coordinates all aspects of a project.

Here all five phases of a project are touched:

  • Start
  • Planning
  • Execution
  • Monitoring and control
  • Closing

If done correctly, project integration management ensures regular and integrated processes in projects.

The 6 processes of project integration management

To correctly manage the integration of a project, it is necessary to follow 6 processes. Let’s see together what they are:

1. Develop the project charter

The project charter is what gives the authority to start the project. A project charter contains the preliminary roles and responsibilities of the project, including the goals and the assignment of a project manager. It is used as a reference document throughout the project life cycle.

2. Define and manage the scope

This document defines what is part of the project and what is not, and lists all the activities that will be carried out during the project life cycle. In other words, it outlines the results of the project and establishes a measurable criterion for success.
plan

3. Develop the project management plan

Creating a management plan defines how the various processes in the project can work together for greater efficiency and productivity. Here the goals, the budget, the program, and the resources are defined. It is also established which approach will be undertaken in order to complete the project, risk assessment, etc. In short, a formal document to help guide, monitor and execute the project. The project charter is included in the project plan.

4. Direct and manage project work

The project has now begun. Here, the technical and organizational parts of the project should be managed and this process serves to facilitate a regular execution of the project work. The project execution is divided into three parts: implementation, management, and reporting.

5. Monitor and control project work

Project work needs more than just pure management. It requires that the work is also monitored and controlled. This includes managing changes, along with the process, tools, and techniques used to manage change and project development.

Changes can be requested during the project life cycle, but these requests must be monitored and controlled to ensure that the quality of the project is not negatively affected. Emerging change requests are evaluated, managed, and documented. It is a project manager’s task to see where the project could not respect the initially established plan and, if so, take corrective action.

6. Close the project

This last phase includes the review of the various processes used and the evaluation of their success or failure. Everything must be well documented to create an archive on which future projects can refer. Therefore, at the end of each phase of the project, it is important to create a document that outlines the lessons learned during this period.

the project integration management

Project integration management as an element of design coherence

Optimally managing integration in a project, creates consistency throughout the project, from planning to documentation. It can even combine with long-term strategic planning and be able to reveal opportunities.

The process groups mentioned in the previous paragraph are the formal procedures that must be followed by each project manager at all times and for each project in order to ensure that the project ends successfully.

We have also seen how integration management requires the ability to evaluate the resources available and the ability to trade-off and manage competing activities.

Project managers must therefore possess a combination of transversal and complex skills.

These include the capabilities of:

  • Planning
  • Organization
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Relationship management
  • Development of critical thinking
  • Data analysis
  • Budgeting
  • Risk analysis and management

It is also important to create open communication channels with the project team and stakeholders. Only in this way, it is possible to ensure that the information is shared and adequate impact assessments are carried out to identify integration points or dependencies.

The possibility of using a software or Integration management tools is another factor that can increase the chances of project success.

In fact, any valuable software is able to identify with precision the points of integration and the conflicts that can be obstacles in the realization of a project.

 

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project management software in mother tongue

Why choose a project management software in your language

Managing a project effectively is a complex task. It requires a lot of time and high capacity. This is why the implementation of a project management software possibly in the mother tongue simplifies the process.

This implementation becomes more and more essential, if we consider that companies have goals to achieve that can also be taken as a reference point to measure the overall level of success and growth.

he value in purely economic terms of the organization also depends on success, growth, and efficiency. It is clear that if a project management software can be simply used by all members of the team, it can facilitate the achievement of goals, becoming an indispensable resource for the company itself.

An effective general management of the project cannot depend only on the skill of the Project Manager in managing tasks and resources, but also depends on the possibility that the Team has to feel supported, to interact, and to check individual and group progress. All this and much more can be achieved only with the use of a good software in the mother tongue of the Team that helps the PM managing the entire project and the Team to carry it out.

Project management software and its advantage

Since managing a project is a complex and time-consuming process, streamlining it using a project management system is a valuable solution that can be applied to an increasing number of projects and organizations.

The main purpose of the project management software is to assist the team in planning and monitoring the project, taking into account the resources, components, and overall stakeholders.
This investment is economically advantageous in the long term, if we consider the amount that the company could lose with poor project management and if, as already mentioned, we consider the added value that the company has for every goal achieved.

Companies that are not yet using project management softwares are likely to do more work with less profits. This is due to the time wasted on adjustment activities.

If these activities have already been taken into consideration in advance and are already planned, the project manager, with his team, will have more time to concentrate on the fundamental operations for completing of the project.

Here are some reasons why a project management software is useful for organizations of any size:

Scheduling and planning of activities

project management software in the mother tongue
Without a computerized system, it can be difficult for the team to meet deadlines due to the lack of a fixed guideline on what should be done, by whom and by when.
Even the overall visualization of the tasks to be performed helps. Time is lost when employees show up for work without knowing the tasks they should do.
The use of a software outlines the activities and makes them visible and clear to everyone.
Setting deadlines and priorities, together with planning, avoids misunderstandings and overlaps of activities and schedules.
In fact, some of the indispensable functionalities in a project management software are a synchronized and shared team calendar that provides an overview of everything. A calendar that shows the timing and milestones and that allows everyone to see the overall progress.

Management of the resources needed for the project

Resource management is another reason why a project management software is useful.

Managing resources efficiently is important to ensure the proper functioning of the project activities and phases. Good management does not waste anyone’s time.

This feature describes the resources that will be used and when they will be used.

Knowing the materials that will be used in a project allows you to work smoothly without blockings caused by a missing tool or equipment.

The calculation of the use of a resource must also be present. This allows, in a cost saving perspective, not to forget certain resources and to avoid their excessive use.

It is clear that this leads to a reduction in expenses and ensures the payment of resources only when they are really needed and used.

Budget management

Each project comes with a budget that also counts contingencies and profit.

The goal of a project manager is to keep the actual cost below, or at least equal to the estimated cost, in order to maximize the profit earned by the company for the project.

To manage expenses efficiently, the simple creation of an Excel spreadsheet will not be enough.

In this case, some essential functions that a good PM software should have can be the monitoring of the time spent on the various activities. The monthly and weekly reports on expenses, a financial reporting dashboard and, in some cases, the automated billing option will become valuable references for the Project Manager.

Management of the project documentation

Many organizations use excel spreadsheets, others, probably the smallest, can even use pen and paper to track project progress.

However, these methods expose to potential errors. A research shows that 88% of the data in a spreadsheet contains errors that are alarming for organizations that use it as a reference tool for managing business operations.
The use of a project management software guarantees an accurate documentation  based on the data collected in a detailed and methodical way.
A project management software can therefore definitely help you get the projects under control and go in the right direction.

Collaboration within the work team

When managing a large project, each member of the team is designated with individual activities.

To ensure that everyone has the same focus, it is necessary to use a project management software to simplify team collaboration.

When a member has questions or concerns, he must immediately get the right answer by communicating internally to the team. He must communicate with the right people within the right project, without wasting time looking for other sources. Therefore, it is almost essential to have an internal chat within the software.

This reduces the time spent searching for answers

A chat also optimizes the sharing of documents, timelines and status updates to notify everyone of important information such as the amount of work done and how much time is left to complete it.

Some features not to be underestimated can be the possibility of file sharing, sharing of customer data, a chat for each project integrated in the system, and a dashboard for each team that provides an overview of the progress of each single piece within the project.

The choice of a project management software in the mother tongue

In short, thanks to a project management software, it is possible to maintain the management of the group and the project.

But this can only be done if all the members of the Team will be able to use it to its full potential. And how will all this be possible if not all the members of the team fully understand the language of the software?

When choosing a project management software, the language is often underestimated, while playing a key role instead.

Having a software available is certainly important, but it’s not just about having it … You also need to know how to use it and make it work.

There are some aspects related to team management that are strongly related to the language. They are aspects that are a great part of the success or the inexpensiveness of a project.

The software, in the realization of a project, is an almost indispensable resource, and for this reason is important to use a project management software with a multilingual version or a project management software that contemplates the mother tongue.

Certainly, many project managers will understand English, given the amount of foreign terms in the sector.

However, when we talk about other collaborators and team members who have to deal with the system, the situation changes. It is essential to make sure that the chosen software is available in the mother tongue.

It would not be nice if, due to a bad interpretation of a term, the workflow of a given project was somehow interrupted. Interpretation is the enemy of efficiency.

Choosing a project management software in native or multilingual language is essential to ensure the use of the software itself. If the team finds a pleasant environment, where the barriers to use are not present, it will definitely be more inclined to use the tool. Clearly, this will guarantee a constantly updated and performed project.

But there are other aspects related to the language that have to be taken into consideration. Let’s see them together.

Support

Assistance must also be an aspect consider when choosing a software.
In fact, if you choose a project management software in your mother tongue, you can also have mother tongue language support. Any need, any doubt will not leave room for interpretation, the understanding will be immediate and the intervention of the PM will not be necessary.

Integration

The software becomes a tool of great value if integrated with the production processes. For this reason, the language becomes strategic in allowing the team to switch from one application to another without having any kind of shock.

Cloud or Enterprise

When choosing a software with a multilingual version, it is essential to think about the evolving company.
Today, choosing whether to install the software or keep it in the cloud is a strategic choice, but it must not become a constraint.
Usually companies start with cloud projects and then evolve towards enterprise solutions. This is why it is necessary to start immediately with a project management software in Italian.
Only thanks to this choice, whatever the evolution of the company, the software can be enjoyed serenely and without barriers by the whole team.

Do you use a project management software? Are there certain fundamental benefits for you that we have not shown in this article? Write us your opinion!

 

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The PM role and disruptive technologies

The role of the Project Manager changes with disruptive technologies

How are disruptive technologies redefining the Project Manager figure?
The third PMI Report addresses exactly this topic.

As already highlighted in the previous articles, 1st article and 2nd article, disruptive technologies are revolutionizing entire sectors and entire organizations. In short, they are forcing all organizations to change both what they do and how they do it.

This third Report evaluates the results of a survey of 537 executives – including PM – from all over the world on the effects of disruptive technologies on people, projects, work, culture and strategy.

Project Managers and disruptive technology management

In order for organizations to remain within the market, managers and project managers must learn to manage the influence of disruptive technologies.

Currently, the most used disruptive technologies are those shown in the following table.

PM role and disruptive technologies

Already today, disruptive technologies allow many organizations to do their jobs better and respond more quickly to fluctuations in market trends and customer demands.

When talking about change, the Report highlights that the most active organizations are worrying about:

  • Embracing a culture that promotes constant transformation
  • Understanding that change management is critical
  • Identifing managers and PMs as “leaders” of change, when they make disruptive, digital, and transformation changes.

However, one aspect is fundamental: organizations should not limit themselves to just one or two disruptive technologies.

True digital transformation is based not only on the intelligent adoption of different technologies.

Each organization must create its own “digital recipe”.

Managers often take the initiative in creating a digital transformation strategy and become the driving force of change throughout the organization.

It is therefore no surprising that more than half of high-performing organizations consider the leaders responsible for managing the change.

In fact, the most effective way to drive change is to create senior leaders who believe in digital transformation and can manage the culture of transformation within the organization.

 

The change takes place from the top down and will not work unless the employees are managed and led by leading people.

Disruptive technologies: best practices

Considering disruptive technologies, there is no single approach for every organization.

The Report lists some best practices related to promoting change in organizations, which Project Managers should pay attention to:

  • Participate in the change process actively.
  • Organize meetings and campaigns for change.

A successful action is to meet regularly with employees in order to discuss the benefits of digital transformation, the way in which disruptive technologies can improve workflows and increase productivity.

  • Communicate effectively and ask for regular feedback.

But digital transformation doesn’t just happen thanks to this.

Organizations also need a well-designed strategy, smart technology choices, and project management skills. All these factors that should be found in the project manager.

Organizations also need team members with an innovative mindset. This sometimes means choosing people who do not have a high level of experience, but have the ability and willingness to try new things, experiment, fail, move forward.

As a result, many organizations are starting to train their talents in order to strengthen the entire company.

Executives believe it is important for talents to have project management skills among the top three skills.

People with project management skills often support and even adopt frequent changes to compete and succeed in a fast-paced business environment.

Therefore, a robust organizational change management program is a top priority in order to help organizations embrace new technologies.

The 5 fundamental steps for change

To instill a culture of constant change and innovation, organizations must:

1. Invest in continuous education and training

New tools and techniques allow employees, including project managers, to work more efficiently and quickly than ever before. Investment in talent and continuing education must therefore be a priority for organizations. Ultimately, the use of disruptive technologies also affects people and not just technology.

2. Fully involve employees

As promising as new technologies may be, such as artificial intelligence and robotics, workers will easily consider them a threat.

To allay their fears, organizations should provide timely and accurate information on new opportunities.

The management, the PMO, and project managers can help make insecurities disappear by guiding change management from the inside.

3. Make leadership and project managers the leaders of change

Project leaders will play an important role in integrating the culture of innovation and change, evangelizing new technologies and methods throughout the organization. In this way they become educators, helping people understand how to apply new technologies and new systems.

4. Create a data-based organization

Data is the lifeblood of a digital organization.

Rapid advances in data science enable organizations to analyze vast amounts of data for insights and processes. Moreover, predictive analysis can help managers identify problems and risks before they occur therefore taking preventive actions.

To truly make the most of all this information, organizations must promote a data-centric culture in which leadership is based on these to make decisions. For the next generation PMO and future project managers, data science will be an essential part of the skills. Considering all this, also a project management software can play a decisive role.

5. Eliminate the fear of making mistakes

Building a culture of innovation requires the freedom to experiment with new ideas and new ways of working, without the fear of being “punished” if something goes wrong.

By adopting disruptive technologies, organizations must accept an environment in which employees, by experimenting, can fail, learn from their experience, and move on to the next “experiment”.

Traditional leadership is not accustomed to accepting failure, but must allow this experimentation mentality so that innovation can flourish.

 

A huge part of a successful digital transformation depends on an organization’s ability to embrace change.

This evolution is pushing organizations to rethink how to evaluate the success of project management.

Project management was once measured in terms of ability to deliver on time, within the budget and with quality, but what differentiates and creates success in project management is now the ability to innovate within the project.

This is where project leaders become strategic.

Here the link to download the Reports

https://www.pmi.org/learning/thought-leadership/series/disruptive-technologies/the-c-suite-outlook

 

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disruptive technologies

What future for Project management? New reports and disruptive technologies

3 Reports to analyze in detail the future of Project Management. 3 reports that the Project Management Institute has just published on the evolution of Project Management taking into consideration the “disruptive” technologies.

These reports were presented during the seventh PMO Symposium in Washington CS, where more than 650 project management executives came together to understand the future of the role and the industry.

The focus was on disruptive technologies  and on how cloud solutions, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have changed the way of doing business in organizations and transformed whole industries.

We have therefore decided to investigate these topics, dedicating this and future articles to the individual reports of the PMI in order to show what awaits us in the near future.

Report 1: Forge the future: evolve with disruptive technology

The Report, born from the collaboration between Accenture and PMI, is very interesting as it looks at the creation of a culture of innovation through the adoption of interruptions.

 Through the adoption of these emerging technologies and new ways of working, the PMO will continue to evolve as a strategic collaborator that guides the delivery and execution of the strategy.

Disruptive technologies are the new reality for every organization in every sector.

Artificial intelligence, cloud, digitalization, blockchain, all offer endless possibilities for organizations to transform themselves and their related industries.

The report says, that in order to build their future, organizations must be willing to actively stop the status quo.

Unfortunately, though, it is true that for organizations it may be easy to imagine how these new technologies and strategies will work.

In fact, there is often a significant difference between the development of the strategy and its implementation in the everyday life.

Therefore, the project management office (PMO) and project managers can fill this gap, but only if they are ready to evolve first.

Here are some actions that can help:

  1. Enforce e a collaborative leadership culture that embraces change and drives innovation
  2. Reorganize and retrain project managers to incorporate new skills
  3. Evolve traditional delivery methods to include key performance indicators that evaluate organizational progress in achieving strategic goals

Disruptive technologies: threat or opportunity?

the disruptive technologies

The new technologies that emerge every day radically change the way we work and live.

Exploiting their potential requires much more than a technological focus. Organizations have to face their broader business strategy, their ways of working and change management accordingly.

Moreover, they must be willing to evolve and invest in acquiring new skills.

Organizations that already recognize the power of these technologies to increase revenue growth, profitability, and innovation are starting to create interesting evolution systems.

The Report highlights how innovative organizations, i.e. those that exploit disruptive technologies in order to obtain a competitive advantage, in general:

  • have a mature digital transformation strategy
  • are committed to making changes at the organization level
  • experiment with new ways of working
  • see the adoption of disruptive technologies as a high priority

Most organizations have undergone significant transformation in recent years using disruptive technologies, but only about a quarter of these have produced tangible benefits.

So, what prevents organizations from gaining the benefits of disruptive technologies and digital transformation?

The main obstacles include:

Selection of the right areas for the investment

 Leaders must first determine which part of their business would benefit the most from new technologies, it can be profitability increase, better customer service or cost reduction. The wrong choice, in fact, not only costs money, but hinders the business.

Choose the right technology and integrate it harmoniously

Once the technological investment priorities have been set, the next challenge is to select the right tools. Because of limited resources, companies need to choose wisely the new technology and therefore need to understand how to integrate it into existing systems without interrupting the business.

Lack of funds

The cost of moving to new technologies can still be prohibitive. In addition, organizations often find themselves spending significantly to train their workers on new ways of working.

Resistance of employees to change

This is a key factor for any transformation program and it determines the real chance of success – or not. Many employees consider the new technology a threat and therefore resist change. At the same time, the organization is not able to give them a clear vision or an understanding of the importance of change.

Gaps between strategy and execution

While senior managers are at the forefront of defining a strategy to exploit disruptive technologies, their strategic goals are not always translated into actions at the project level.

These general goals – from top to bottom – must be converted into tangible and measurable results. Gaps in communicating the vision and the lack of support from middle management can hinder the plans.

Project managers therefore have the responsibility to become agents of change and of organizational transformation. It is a necessary change.

The project manager of the next generation should be a version of himself ready for change and far-sighted. Project managers should not be afraid to experiment and embrace new ways of working and should be ready to help team members make these changes.

An organization could take years to complete its digital transformation. During this process, the project manager must therefore have the opportunity to contribute to creating a culture of innovation, agility and critical thinking, reinforced with the right tools and educational opportunities.

The fundamental steps for change

Organizations will have to face change by implementing the following practices:

Enhance the project manager and / or the PMO

The project manager and the PMO must be able to concentrate on the strategic goals of the organization. Strategy and results must be always aligned. To do this, a project manager must have authority and be able to change course if the project is not achieving the goal.

Evolve in traditional delivery metrics

This means, including KPIs that evaluate the organization’s progress in achieving strategic goals.

The project managers and the PMO should therefore not rely solely on the use of traditional delivery metrics.

These new KPIs evaluate the organization’s progress in achieving its strategic goals. The project managers will take care to ensure that the KPIs at the organization level are reflected in the business results and KPIs at the project level.

Reorganize and retrain project managers

In light of new technologies, project managers must embrace all those skills that enable them to deliver projects and programs successfully. For this reason they must be trained on all the new tools and knowledge.

In conclusion, we can say that these changes and disruptive technologies represent important factors for organizations and, in turn, for the workforce.

Therefore, a robust organizational change management program is a top priority to help organizations stay in the market with greater success and predictability.

Project managers, together with the PMO, play a crucial role as agents of change.

Here the link to download the full version in PDF

 

 

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the MAP

MAP – Methodology Assessment Process

The choice of the right project management methodology is the first step towards success.

Project managers can really become a concrete support for organizations by improving the way they implement projects, by choosing the most effective and efficient method and therefore reducing risks.

But in order to do so, it is not enough to simply recognize the organizational priorities, it takes much more. A deeper understanding of how each methodology impacts on the project is needed.

Methodologies are repeatable, effective and efficient processes that help organizations optimize project activities.

Once these processes have been developed, they can be documented and repeated.

Thanks to the “standardization” of activities, organizations can concentrate on how to run the project and spend more time focusing on the project goals and results.

The process needed to evaluate and document the right methodologies for each project is very detailed. It is also long and complex at first, but it is absolutely worth it.

Key considerations to determine the best project management methodology

A methodology is not suitable for all projects uniquely, even within the same organization.

In fact, it is unlikely that the same methodology works well in the same organization on all projects. A good practice is to develop and implement a methodological assessment process – MAP – in order to determine the best approach for each project.

It should be taken into consideration that this same process may require re-evaluations and changes as business factors change.

How to perform a MAP (methodological assessment process)

In organizational development, as well as in projects, this list of evaluation criteria is considered.

As mentioned above, this process will have to be reviewed and modified from time to time in order to keep pace with the general needs of the organization and stakeholders.

Here are the general steps:

1. Evaluate the project as a whole

When choosing a project management methodology, a suggestion is to start from the end.

It is necessary to know exactly how the final result should look like and what resources you will need to achieve it.

It is therefore necessary to concentrate on gathering initial requirements.

If the requirements suggest that you need a large and diverse team, for example, you will choose a methodology that supports flexibility.

If the final result is vague, you can instead opt for an iterative methodology like Agile.

Project budgets, timing, size and complexity, stakeholder expectations, type of project and industry are some of the other things to take into consideration when evaluating a project.

2. Evaluate the team that will work on the project

The selection and assessment of the project management methodology is essentially a project within the project.

If the team is not familiar with the chosen project management methodology, the expected results will be more difficult to achieve.

Therefore, it is advisable to take into consideration the composition of the team in order to identify its strengths and weaknesses.

If the team relies on collaboration, it is better to choose a less structured approach like Agile.

If the team is highly motivated and disciplined, a Scrum approach might be a good choice.

Team experience, training, self-organization skills, team location (remote, on-site, etc.) are also some aspects to consider when selecting a project team.

3. Evaluate the organization of to the company

The way the company is organized, its culture and its previous records, will have a great impact on the choice of the project management methodology.

Some methodologies work only within large organizations with structured and established hierarchies. Others are more suitable for smaller and faster organizations.

For example, if the previous reports show that all the projects that have applied an Agile methodology have been delayed or have not been successfully completed, it is not a good idea to use this method again.

Some factors to consider when evaluating an organization are:

  • Past records and experience with different methodologies
  • Corporate culture
  • Organization hierarchy
  • Level of flexibility
  • Maturity level
  • Dimension
  • Available resources, including external resources such as freelancers and contractors
  • Sector

4. Evaluate the project stakeholders

When choosing a methodology, stakeholder involvement is an important factor that has to be considered.

Some methodologies require that stakeholders are regularly involved during the project.

If the interested parties are occupied with other things, it is advisable to choose a methodology that requires them to be less involved.

If stakeholders are known to frequently change the scope of the project, the solution may be to choose a more flexible methodology.

Given the importance of stakeholders for the success of the project, their needs must be considered appropriately; in this way the stakeholders will be happier and more satisfied and the projects will have a greater degree of success.

5. Evaluate the available project management tools

Project management tools are normally designed to work well with a specific methodology.

Therefore, also the choice of project management tools will have an impact on the choice of the methodology – or vice versa.

In order to do this, it is therefore advisable to:

  • Create a list of all the tools currently in use
  • List their limits and functionality
  • Compare their skills against the requirements for a specific methodology

Making this in-depth assessment will help you choose a methodology that aligns perfectly with the goals, team capabilities, stakeholder needs and project management tools.

 

In conclusion, project managers have different project management methodologies to choose from.

Each of these methods has its strengths and weaknesses and choosing the right one will make the project faster, smoother and more efficient.

We have the tools, we have the culture.

the construction project management

Construction Project Management

Nowadays, applying Project Management to the construction sector is also a must.

Construction projects evolve and become more and more structured, here we find many moving parts and heterogeneous resources that have to be managed.

Moreover, in every construction project, there are many phases that have to be managed as well, from planning to construction itself. This means that managing such a project requires high technology, knowledge and tools to successfully complete it.

The types of Construction Projects

Even in construction, it is essential to use specific project management techniques that oversee planning, design and, of course, managing a project from beginning to end.

Let’s try to understand the specificities of this sector beginning by understanding how, in the construction sector, we can distinguish six different types of construction. These are:

  • Agricultural
  • Residential
  • Istitutional
  • Commercial
  • Industrial
  • Environmental

However, these types are not watertight compartments and this further complicates things. The same subjects involved in various projects, in fact, can belong to different types.

We are talking about engineering and architecture companies or design studios, but it is also common to find construction companies, industry professionals and facility management companies.

Construction Project Management: the choice of the construction company

It is no secret that the management of construction projects is a fairly complicated task.

It all starts with the project owner (client) who gets in touch with contractors asking for quotes. It is also possible that the owner establishes a competition between contractors in order to receive offers.

There are two types of scenarios concerning bids in the construction field:

  1. Open bid: open offers are inextricably linked to projects and public works. These are auctions in which any entrepreneur is invited to make an offer. A public offer is normally promoted and advertised openly.
  2. Closed bid: private projects are generally based on closed offers. The project owner himself sends an invitation to a specific number of contractors.

After collecting all the estimates, the owner moves to the selection of the contractor through one of the following three methods:

  1. Selection of the lowest bid: in this case, the main interest is the price. The project owner selects the lowest bid from an economic point of view and proceeds with it.
  2. Value-based selection: this process evaluates both the qualifications and the contractor’s price. The owner chooses the most attractive offer in terms of both quality and money.
  3. Selection based on qualifications: this method is adopted when the qualifications are used as the sole criterion for the selection of the construction company.

Once the construction company has been officially chosen, the bidding process is finished and it is now time to start concretely with the project.

Construction Project Management: the start of the project

In general, each project has a standard life cycle, regardless of its special characteristics. This structure could be outlined in four basic phases:

  1. Initiation of the project
  2. Planning phase
  3. Execution phase
  4. Final phase

In the initiation phase, the goal and feasibility of the project are determined.

This is a crucial phase, as it can tell if this project is a good opportunity or not.

If necessary, a feasibility study is conducted and a recommended solution or plan is issued on the basis of the results.

Once everything is decided, a project charter is created. This document provides the foundation for the construction plan and is one of the most important documents in project management.

Construction Project Management: planning

The project planning phase is where the team identifies the work that has to be done.

The main priority during this phase is the planning of times, costs and resources for the project.

Based on these requirements, the team develops the strategy to follow. This is also known as scope management.

Another important document that has to be prepared is a work breakdown structure – or WBS -, a checklist that divides all the necessary work into smaller, more functional steps.

As soon as the budget, program and work are defined, the project is almost ready to start.

The next step in this phase is the risk analysis. At this point, the team should examine all potential threats to the project and find solid solutions.

Finally, a communication plan is also needed. This will establish an efficient flow of information between project stakeholders, the team and the project manager.

Construction Project Management: execution

In the execution phase, the construction project management plan is finally put into practice, ie. in execution.

As a rule, this phase is divided into two main processes: actual execution, and monitoring and control.

The project team ensures that the required activities are performed. At the same time, progress is monitored and the necessary changes are made accordingly.

In fact, a project manager spends most of the time in the monitoring phase and, depending on the information he receives, redirects activities and thus maintains control on the project.

construction project management

Construction Project Management: end

The final phase of the project represents its official completion.

The project manager will evaluate what went well and what did not. The team writes a project report, calculates the final budget and provides information on any activities left unfinished.

The project report, combined with the analysis of potential bankruptcies, will provide a valuable feedback for future construction projects.

The role of a construction project manager

A construction project manager is responsible for planning, coordinating, budgeting, and supervising a construction project from beginning to end.

In short, a construction project manager must take care of the following:

  • Draw up a budget and negotiate cost estimates.
  • Organize the working hours of employees and workers.
  • Choose the most efficient construction methods and strategies.
  • Stay in touch with customers for issues related to work or budget.
  • Discuss technical and contractual details with workers and other interested parties.
  • Keep an eye on the personnel on site.
  • Collaborate with construction specialists.

In conclusion, managing a construction project is a very demanding effort, but that in many respects – at least on paper – is similar to any other project.

There are many parameters and elements that should be analyzed exhaustively.

This is why not only the project manager has to be specialized in construction, but he should have the possibility to use the most modern project management tools for the construction industry.

Twproject is structured to support the construction project manager.

Thanks to its nature and structure, Architects and Builders, as well as dedicated Project Managers can:

  • Trace the progress of projects
  • Manage the time of the whole team
  • Record all supplier data
  • Share project files on the web securely and without any complications
  • Store and share building permits
  • Choose whether to leave data in the internet or in a dedicated remote hosting.

In short, Twproject is much more than a project management software, it is the unique management place through which is possible to carry out projects.
Thanks to its specific features and to the possibility of developing an enterprise version, the PM can really dedicate itself to its real main activity and successfully complete the construction projects.

 

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Project constraints

The so-called classic constraints of the project, ie Fast, Economic and Inherent to the scope, are one of the major challenges of every project manager who must respect these three criteria during each work.

Specifically:

  • Time: what is the deadline for delivering the output?
  • Cost: what is the budget available to achieve this result?
  • Scope: which is exactly the expected result?

The triple constraint of the projects

This triad is also called the triple costraint; if more is required for a given constraint, this will directly affect the other two.

Here is a simple example to understand why: if you decide to extend the scope and create 20 web pages instead of 10, you will logically need more time and money to reach the goal successfully.

The triple costraint is well known in project management environments and most of the literature states that once this is respected, the results will be guaranteed.
Often though, even if this triple costraint is balanced, the problems occur the same. Why?

Often PMs do not take into consideration the existence of further constraints, that should be optimized as well.

A project constraint is a defined or inflexible restriction on a project. All constraints are compromises.
project costraints

An extended approach to constraints in project management

A project is often defined as successful if the goals of the project are achieved by the deadline and within the given budget.

But in addition to time, scope (or purpose of the project) and cost, there are six additional constraints that limit the process of achieving project goals. Let’s see which they are.

Quality costraint

Although this constraint is quite similar to scope costraint, there are actually differences.

The scope defines the exact result desired; in our example, the scope of the project is the creation of 10 web pages.

The quality focuses instead on the attributes of each of these pages.
It can be defined by answering the question: “How much does the result correspond to the initial expectations?”

In this example, therefore, quality does not define the number of web pages, but can be measured with other parameters.

It could be used as a criterion for evaluating the quality of the project, for example, the number of words on each page.
The request could be 1,000 words and the quality tolerance could be +/- 100 words.
So, if a web page contains 900 words it will be approved, if instead another web page contains only 850, this will be rejected.

In this case, it is evident how quality relates to the other constraints. For example, if the time is almost expired, the deadline can only be respected if the quality tolerance level is increased by accepting a number of words corresponding to 800 – because, in fact, writing further would mean not respecting the deadline.

Risk costraint

Risk management is an important task for project managers and any risk, needless to say, can have an impact – more or less serious – on the project.

For example, when preparing the website, you decide to skip the customer review step because you are late. In this way, there is a risk that the customer will reject the final pages precisely because he had no way, during the work, to give his feedback.

Of course, risk can be controlled to some degree through risk analysis, but contingencies are always around the corner during the entire life cycle of a project.

Resource costraint

Resources are closely connected to the cost of the project.

The amount of budget available to achieve the desired result will limit the use and acquisition of resources, which therefore creates a separate constraint.

Sometimes, even an infinite amount of money can not allow you to acquire the specific resources you need.

For example, it may take longer than expected to receive a physical resource that is essential for the design of web pages, such as an hardware, for example, which will consequently mean not respecting a deadline.

In this case, no amount of money could reduce delivery times and, for this, resources can be considered as a constraint on its own.

Sustainability costraint

The sustainability of a project can play an important role in an organization’s long-term strategy and can often influence the success of a project.

There are three types of sustainability: social, environmental and economic.

Although the first two do not generally apply directly to a project, the economic component should not be overlooked by the project managers.

Basically, managing the economic sustainability of a project refers to how the project manager manages its possible impact on the future of the organization in general.

For example, if you are working in an automobile production line, you can use low-cost materials to build some parts of the car in order to save costs.

However, in this way the economic sustainability of the organization could be sacrificed, as end consumers could complain and, consequently, choose competition’s products in the future.

Processes and organizational structures costraint

The organizational structure of a company can have a major impact on the success of the project, as it defines the project environment.

In fact, stakeholders could have a significant influence on the decisions that need to be taken.

Or again, the flow of communication that is too slow could lead to unexpected project decelerations.

Having therefore an efficient organizational structure behind a project means to have a constraint less.

Methodology costraint

Scrum, Agile, Kanban … Different project management methodologies can be used to work on a project.

Each of these methodologies has different limits.

If you use the Scrum methodology, you will have to organize daily meetings and receive numerous feedbacks and, consequently, invest in adequate resources to cover these efforts.

On the other hand, if you use the Agile methodology, it will generally be more difficult to estimate the time necessary to conclude a task in advance, which increases the risk of losing the deadline.

Therefore, to choose the right methodology, it is important to evaluate the specific situation of each project.

Customer satisfaction costraint

Customer satisfaction measures how much the customer’s expectations correspond to the final result of a project.

If the team has delivered excellent results on time and within the budget, the customer will most likely be happy and satisfied.

But if the cost turns out to be higher than expected, this would mean compromising in order to reach a level of satisfaction, at least sufficient, on the part of the customer.

Customer satisfaction will greatly influence the success of the project and it is therefore possible to consider it as a separate constraint.

To conclude, it is essential to know the different constraints of a project. The only way to control them is to understand them.

Therefore, when working on a project and, above all, when making important decisions about it, the project manager will not have to consider only the time, scope and budget, but also the quality, risk, resource, sustainability, organizational structure, methodology, and customer satisfaction factors.

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the scheduling management

Project scheduling: management and process

Project scheduling is one of the main activities of project planning.

It is summarized in a document that describes all the work necessary to deliver the project on time and with success.

A project, in fact, is composed by many activities and each activity includes a beginning and an end. In the same manner, people have different times and different availabilities and all this must be rationally included in a project schedule.

The project management program is a document that outlines the work to be done, the order in which it must be done, what resources are required, how they will be distributed, and how long they will take to work on the various activities.

Project scheduling also helps project managers communicate and deal with team members as well as stakeholders and also helps keeping the project on track.

Specifically, a project schedule includes:

  • Milestones Derivables
  • Tasks required to complete the results
  • Dependencies between tasks
  • Requirements and allocation of resources
  • Deadlines, time intervals and duration of activities

As it is he case in many aspects during project management, also scheduling is performed in various steps.

When creating a program, project managers estimate work, timing, and resources. However, all this information is subject to change once the project is in progress.

Scheduling is usually created during the initial phases of the project, but is detailed throughout the project life cycle.

How to plan a project

There are three basic questions for project scheduling:

  1. What must be done?
  2. When will it be done?
  3. Who will do it?

Once obtained the answers to these questions, it is possible to start the project schedule in details.
Here are the steps necessary for managing a project’s planning.

1. Plan the scheduling management

in this beginner phase, the directives and procedures for the development, management and control of the project schedule are established.

In this phase, you can organize a brainstorming meeting, where you can create a draft of the program or obtain a list of ideas.

Moreover, during the meeting, it is useful to ask for feedback from the people who will actually work on the project.

In fact, team members have a unique vision of how much time they will need in order to perform the tasks and what their skills and knowledge are.

During this meeting it is also good to acquire inputs from the client and other stakeholders.

2. Define the activities

This is the phase in which the specific activities and tasks to achieve the project goals are identified, ie the tasks to produce the derivable and complete the project with success.

3. Sort the activities

In this phase, we identify the relationships and interdependencies between all the project activities. To do this, it is necessary to consider how the activities relate to each other, in addition to any time or resource limits.

4. Estimate the duration of the activities

In this phase, we proceed with the estimation of the activities identified matching them with the estimated resources.

It is probably one of the most difficult parts of the project schedule, but it is also one of the most important as it has a huge impact on the total cost.

The term “duration” refers to the number of working hours, days, weeks, or months that team members need to complete a given activity.

Properly estimating the duration is important for both parties: this keeps customers happy, as work proceeds according to plan, and keeps team members happy, as they can easily meet deadlines.

5. Develop the schedule

In this phase, we proceed to analyze all the previous points in order to create the definitive project scheduling model.

6. Control the schedule

In this last phase, the project status is monitored throughout its life cycle in order to update and modify the schedule as the details become clearer.

For simpler projects with a narrower scope, the points from number 2 to number 5 are so connected that they can be performed by one single person.

scheduling management

Best practices for project scheduling

Once you have seen the basic steps for creating a project schedule, let’s see what are some best practices.

These are based on the opinion and experience of renowned project management organizations such as the Project Management Institute (PMI), as well as other project management experts.

  • Be clear and detailed. If this were not the case, team members would not know exactly what to do and when to do it. The more detailed the project schedule is, the more effective the work will be. But be careful not to fall into the opposite error, which is overloading the team and the stakeholders with too much information.
  • Make sure that the workload foreseen in the project schedule is balanced.
    It is important to assign the right people to the right tasks and that the workload is distributed evenly. Moreover, it is advisable to ask the team members to review the program in order to make sure the workload is reasonable. This is particularly crucial in organizations where budgets are limited and / or staff has limited availability (link a https://twproject.com/it/blog/organizzare-il-tempo-di-lavoro-del-team-livellamento-delle-risorse-o-smoothing/) . It is also recommended to regularly review all the tasks the team is working on in order to ensure that distribution is maintained appropriately.
  • Building the schedule based on results and milestones, not around activities.
    It may be instinctive to build the program around the tasks, because they represent the actual work of the team, but there is nothing more wrong. If the planning is built around the activities in fact, it is difficult to say whether the requests for changes fall within the project or not. Activities can be carried out in a number of different ways and can have a variety of outcomes.
    Milestones, on the other hand, are quantifiable and follow certain standards and criteria. In addition, creating a program on these elements helps you stay in line and to achieve the project goals (link a https://twproject.com/it/raggiungi-i-tuoi-obbiettivi/).
  • Prepare for change. It is not a question of whether the program will change, but when and how it will change. Needs, events, risks and activities of the parties constantly change in the management of the projects. For this reason, the project schedule is a work in progress throughout the life cycle of a project. When drawing up the schedule, it is appropriate to make assumptions about what changes might occur, when, and what kind of effect they might have on the project. Including extra time for important tasks allows you to make changes without sending the project off course. However, it is also necessary to create limitations in order to prevent changes that do not address the scope of the project.
  • Organize regular team meetings. Meetings with the team, the clients and the key stakeholders will help to manage the program more effectively. During these sessions, all the parties can ask questions, get updates on the progress of the activities and make decisions about the estimates and work.

New trends in the management of the project schedule

Considering the current global market, highly competitive and highly flexible, managing the project schedule properly becomes even more important.

In particular, there are two emerging practices for project scheduling:

Iterative scheduling with backlog

In this model, the requirements are reported in customer records and prioritized prior to product development. Ideally, some of these deliverables can be completed and delivered to the client during the work, instead of doing everything at the end of the project.

The great advantage of this method is that it accepts and applies the changes during the life cycle of the project, therefore during the development of the deliverables. It is therefore an iterative program.

Scheduling on request

Unlike the previous one, this approach is not based on a schedule developed previously for the requirements and product development. Here, the requested job is reported into a backlog in order to be executed when the resources become available. To give an example, it is a situation like: “Here is a list of things to do. Good! Maria is available to do the work and can finish it in a week “.

Project Management Software

Another trend in project scheduling is the use of project management softwares and tools (link a https://twproject.com/it/project-management/ ) .
While project scheduling in the past was carried out via printed calendars or shared worksheets via e-mail, today most organizations and teams use project planning tools and software.
Typically, project scheduling is just one of several features that project management software can have.
The use of a project management software helps project managers and team members to communicate, track, and review the schedule more efficiently and effectively, thus leading the project towards success.

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

the project chart

How to write an excellent Project Charter

Every time a project begins, there is a need for a project charter.

Projects can arise from the most diverse motivations including, for example, changes to company goals, the need to undertake initiatives to achieve existing goals, internal and external environmental factors, customer needs, technological, political or legal changes, regulatory requirements … etc

In short, there are many motivations …. but only one Project Charter!

But what is a project charter?

It is a document that describes the vision of the project, a document that collects the goals and the plan of implementation of the project.

Here are the three main uses of a Project Charter:

  1. It is a necessary document to authorize the project. In fact, this is the document that “sells” the project to the stakeholders and defines what their return on investment will be.
  2. Serves as a primary sales document. Stakeholders have a summary to share or present when they are contacted for other projects, so that they can distribute their resources according to the needs.
  3. It is a document that remains throughout the project life cycle. It is therefore a reference document for the entire period of time in which the project is active. The Project Charter is like a roadmap for the project.

Key steps to write an excellent Project Charter

To meet these needs and write an excellent project charter, follow the following steps.

Step 1: establish the vision of the project

What is the vision of the project? Without identifying this general goal, in fact, it will be impossible to continue – in the right way – to achieve it.

In short: what is the final goal for the project team?

It is then possible to further break down the vision into goals, scope and results.

Goals: what the project aims to achieve. It is important to make sure that each of the goals is SMART that means specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and binding.
Scope: the formal boundaries of the project. It describes how the company can change or evolve after the delivery of the project and what is relevant to the project. Clearly definining the scope at the beginning of the project is essential to help maintain the control of the project.

Results or deliverables: here, we describe each final result that the project should produce.

Step 2: catalog the project organization

This step consists of four subsets.

Customers / End users: the customers of the project are identified.

In this phase, it is necessary to identify the customer or end user and the context where the project is located. Furthermore, it is important to define the person or entity responsible for accepting the results of the project.

Stakeholders: after the customers, stakeholders are the interested parties that must be identified. The persons or entities, inside or outside the project, having a specific key interest or a sort of “participation” in the project.

Roles: the key roles necessary to start the project are defined. This means project sponsor, project board and project manager, with a brief summary of each role and specific responsibilities.

Structure: it describes the lines of reporting and communication between these roles in a structured organization chart.

project chart

Step 3: Plan the implementation

At this point the Project Chart is almost finished and now you should have a fairly clear idea of what the project needs and how to organize it in order to complete the job.

This third passage is also divided into four parts:

Implementation plan: one of the responsibilities of a project manager is to manage creating an atmosphere of trust in the team, with customers and with stakeholders.

One way to achieve this is through the implementation plan that must be well studied. It is therefore necessary to list the phases, activities and timing of the project life cycle.

Milestones: one of the most important things of the project to consider. Milestones are more important and critical than activities and should be chosen with parsimony. These are indeed key events in the project life cycle.

Dependencies: A dependency is an activity that will probably have an impact on the project during its life cycle.

Resource plan: summarize the resources that will work on the project by subdividing them into labor, equipment, and materials. In this way, a project manager can know what he needs before budgeting and starting the project.

Step 4: list the risks and problems

The project chart is almost ready, but there is one last step needed in order to complete the process: identify any risks, problems and constraints related to the project.

Without a real risk analysis, in fact, a project chart is not complete and the probability that the project will fail is much higher.

Have you already started your project with a Project charter? What difficulties did you encounter?

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the Generational Competence

Project manager and the Generational Competence

The working class is changing, and with it the working team.

For the first time, in Italy there are up to 5 different generations in one company.

This means, for organizations, to manage five (generalized) series of expectations, motivations, attitudes, behaviors and communication styles.

Managing multigenerational work teams, therefore, begins to be a priority in current project management environments.

To direct multigenerational working groups, it is necessary to outline the individual resources, not only in terms of soft skills or hard skills, but also according to the generational context to which they belong.

Let’s see in this article what is this new context where the Project Manager has to operate.

Generational cultures

To talk about generational culture, it is first essential to clarify its meaning.

What is a generation?

A generation is a group of individuals born in the same period of time, who generally share similar behaviors and attitudes.

Here is the graphic that compares the different generations: on average, one generation has a time span of 15 years.

Generational Competence

Since 2010, 7 generations live together on our planet! This is something unique and extraordinary.

And all these generations – thanks to the extension of the average life in the West – coexist and share experiences, work, family and society. Obviously, each generation has its own ambitions, its own expectations, as well as different ways of communicating and relating.

Of these 7 generations, 5 can be found in the company or in specific work teams.

Let’s see which they are and and what personal / social background they bring into the company and into the work group.

When approaching a generational analysis, it is important to have a clear idea: the generations are not particularly defined by age, but mostly by the common experiences and the key events that occur during their formative years.

This means that today a Project Manager, who actually wants to be a project leader must take action in this direction, particularly working on the generations to which the group belongs.

Generational competence as an integral part of the Project Manager

As highlighted, this scenario will inevitably condition the Project Manager.

Whether it is a senior project manager or a professional who wants to become a Project Manager, the scenario is the same. Anyone who chooses this profession can not avoid developing a real “generational competence” in order to manage the new project teams.

By generational competence, we mean “the adaptations that organizations and individuals have to fulfill in order to meet the different needs of the four generations in the workforce and in today’s market”.

Developing and mastering generational skills will help Project Managers better understand behaviors (“what” team members do), as well as important beliefs and basic attitudes (“why” team members are doing it).

As a result, project managers will be able to improve team management, time management and internal communication, all to the benefit of maximum productivity among team members.

Below, we wanted to bring an overview of the most interesting generations for the project teams.

The Generation of Baby Boomers and the approach in the work team

The oldest of the active generations in project management is the Baby Boomer generation.

Born between 1946-1963, it takes its name from the increasing post-war birth periods.

It has witnessed and actively participated in the political and social turmoil by deeply forming and marking its life and critical thinking.

The Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, the Kennedy and King Assassination, Watergate and Woodstock, just to name a few.

This generation grew up in a more traditional family environment, where it learned to respect the authority inside and outside the home.

The Boomer era was characterized by continued prosperity, opportunity, and the notion of “American Dream”. The Boomerists were looking for visible success and believed they were capable of changing the world.

Unfortunately, this generation is also known for its high divorce rate and new marriages.

Despite a life of hard work and retirement planning, the Baby Boomers are facing another challenge, as the recent economic recessions mean that many pension plans shift and they continue to work longer than expected.

Generation X and the approach in the team work

Those born between 1964 and 1980 are part of the Generation X.

Children of the oldest baby boomers, they grew up in an environment in contrast with that of their parents.

Instead of endless opportunities and booming prosperity, the Generation X has experienced financial, family, and social insecurity during their formative years, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the AIDS epidemic and the Desert Storm Operation.

This generation witnessed the decline of military, political, and economic strength and, later, the massive redundancies of their parents following the downsizing of the 1980s.

The Generation X has become a generation of “individuals” and has focused its attention on the ability to be self-sufficient, entrepreneurial and adaptable to survive.

On the technological front, this generation has seen the rise of MTV, computers, and video games. It was the first generation to start relying on technology on a daily basis as computers, fax machines and mobile phones entered the home and the workplace.

The Millenials Generation and the approach in the work team

All the people born between 1981 and 2000 belong to the Millennials.

This generation, also named Generation Y, has reached the age of majority in a period of global and economic expansion. Many are the children of ambitious Baby Boomer parents who have raised them with “schedules” to follow in order to face the competition and achieve the wanted results.

Events like 9/11 in New York, the attack on the 11-M train in Madrid, and the terrorist attack in London marked this generation in a global way, as technology allowed to transmit and test information faster and more pervasively like never before.

Although this generation is often considered as the generation of “digital natives”, it is important to remember that the oldest Millennials did not actually grow with ubiquitous technology. But as they grew up, technology became more and more important.

For this reason, many Millennials have established relationships that extend beyond social and cultural lines through virtual communities and chat rooms with people outside their communities, regardless of ethnicity or cultural background.

Millennials are often considered more open and tolerant with respect to any other generation towards differences in race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, or economic status.

The Generation Z and the approach in the work team

The last generation is made up of those born between 1995 and 2010.

Although this Generation Z currently accounts for only 1% of the workforce – and is a generation whose identity is still a work in progress – some aspects show their disruptive entry into the world of work.

It is therefore worthwhile to monitor them, as those born in the mid-90s start to enter the world of work already today; in fact, the choice for a part of them not to attend the University reduces the time of entry for this generation.

Gen Z has been defined by some as those born in the mid-1990s, and by others like those born in the mid-2000s, and there is still no consensus on a generational name.

As a result of technology, this generation will feel more “connected” to events on a global scale than any precedent generation.

For this generation, technology is the existence, like in a “mobile mode“.

Grown up in a healthier economic situation than the Millennials, Gen Z is often referred to as “realistic” rather than “optimistic”, and demonstrates a much higher entrepreneurial spirit than that of the parents.

Generational competence becomes part of the knowledge of the Project Manager.

As a project leader, it is essential to know the generational structure of the team members in order to better manage the whole project.

Do you manage multigenerational work teams? Tell us about it!

Check the list of improvements and fixed bugs.
Organizational structures typology

Project organizational structures in Project Management

The project organizational structure is an essential configuration for determining the hierarchy of people, their function, workflow and reporting system.

It is a factor in business that plays a fundamental role in guiding and defining the way in which the organization carries out its operations.

There are different project organizational structures defined according to the area in which the organization operates and activities related to the core business.

If an organization is dealing with temporary jobs for example, the structure will probably better manage the recruitment and dismissal of employees as needed.

On the other hand, if the organization is involved in a production chain that requires continuous operation, it will have a different structure. In this case, the task assigned, will be in order to support employees for a longer time to achieve the goals of the organization.

As organizations grow or their needs change, the organizational structure must adapt to support the new goals.

Why is a project organizational structure necessary?

Every organization must have a well-defined organizational structure in order to work efficiently and achieve its goals with fewer risks and obstacles.
In the modern market, organizations must be very competitive, efficient, and dynamic in order to survive and grow. Stakeholders become, in fact, more and more aware and demanding and want quick answers.
Therefore, in order to meet the needs of the client and survive in the market, each organization must build an organizational structure capable of best supporting its goals.

Types of project organizational structure

The organizational structure depends on many factors, such as the style of government, the style of leadership, the type of organization, the workflow, the hierarchy, etc.

The PMBOK orders organizational structures into eight types:

  • Organic or Simple Organization
  • Functional or Centralized Organization
  • Multi-divisional Organization
  • Matrix Organization – strong, weak or balanced
  • Project Oriented (composite or hybrid) Organization
  • Virtual OrganizationHybrid
  • PMO

There are actually many other classifications, but we prefer to report the official one, mentioned in the sixth edition of the PMBOK.

The table below shows better the functions and characteristics of each single type of organizational structure.

Organizational structure typology

Let’s see them now in more detail.

Organic or Simple Organization

This type of organizational structure is the simplest. Businesses composed of only one person are also included in this category.

In this type of organization also freelancers are included. Of course, the role of the project manager is partly covered by the owner or the professional, who personally manage the workflows.

Functional or Centralized Organization

This type of organizational structure is the most commonly used.

In a functional organizational structure, the organization is divided into various departments where people with similar skills gather together.

It is the classic configuration in which the staff is structured in areas and departments such as the sales department, marketing department, finance department, etc.

This structure is functional as it improves the efficiency of each working group.

Multi-divisional Organization

In an organization of this kind, you can have many functional divisions with a small centralization.
Most of the time these divisions are independent of each other.

Here, an organization is structured in various divisions in which people, with different skills, are held together according to a similar product, service or geographic location.

ach division has the resources necessary in order to work and can carry out the task autonomously.

Matrix Organization

A matrix organizational structure is a hybrid between the functional organization and the project oriented organization.

In a matrix organization, there can be two main structures: vertical and horizontal.

Here, an employee can be part of a functional group, but can also work on a project.

In turn, a matrix organization can be of three types:

  • A strong matrix
  • A weak matrix
  • A balanced matrix

Stronger organizations are closer to a project oriented organization and here the project manager has most of the authority and has a full-time team.

On the other hand, weak matrix organizations are closer to a functional structure. in this case, the project manager has low authority, no budget control, and often runs a part-time project team.

Instead, balanced matrix organizations unifies the properties of both previous types. Here, the project manager has a medium-low authority and a part-time team, while the budget is managed both directly by him and by the functional manager.

Project oriented (composite or hybrid) Organization

An organization of this type considers every job as a project. Here, the project manager has full authority to complete the project successfully, has a full-time role, budget control, and a full time team available.

A team-based organization is another name for a project oriented organization.

Virtual Organization

This structure is also known as virtual society. Here, the central organization is connected to external companies (such as vendors, customers, associates) with a network connection that allows to achieve business growth and profitability. This structure allows the organization to work as a unit.

In a virtual structure, the organization maintains its core business, while the rest of the processes are outsourced. Sometimes, this type of organization is also known as an empty organization.

Here, the project manager has a low-moderate authority and mixed power over the budget. The project team can be full or part-time depending on the situation.

Hybrid

In a hybrid organization, a combination of the above-mentioned structure types can be used.

Responsibility, authority, and other factors are also mixed depending on the structure.

PMO

The PMO is also a mixed type of organizational structure, but here the project manager has the highest authority, controls the budget, and has a team completely at his disposal.

The advantages of having an effective organizational structure

An organizational structure is a framework that helps an organization effectively manage its operations and achieve its goals with minimal effort.

This structure defines the relationship between the various departments and teams of the organization. Moreover, it helps organizations to delegate authority, power, and responsibility.

But the project organizational structure also defines how the employees relate to their superiors or to the Project Manager; therefore, it becomes somethings strategic for coordination and cooperation within the group members.

The main advantage of having an effective organizational structure is the reduction of friction and discussions among the employees since the roles, responsibilities, and reporting structure are very clear.

Having an appropriate organizational model can bring huge benefits to any organization. Some of these advantages are:

  • Allowing an organization to grow.
  • Keeping attention on strategic goals, instead of having each department focused and limited on its agenda.
  • Joining a group of people and directing them towards a common goal.
  • Allowing employees to improve their skills.
  • Making the decision-making process more efficient, smoother, and faster.
  • Facilitating employee specialization.
  • Allowing better control and use of resources.
  • Enabling easier and better communication, which helps reducing conflicts.
  • Allowing employees to behave better.
  • Helping employees to grow professionally, to make a career, and to simplify the inclusion of new colleagues.
  • Helping identifying roles and responsibilities in a clear and precise way.

Therefore, each organization needs an organizational structure, otherwise chaos would take the upper hand.

In short, an organizational structure is essential for the good functioning of a company. Each company should choose its organizational structure according to its specific needs and requirements, since this also depends on the achievement of the prefixed results.

Which project organizational structure have you adopted in your company? Are you satisfied with it?

We have the tools, we have the culture.

management office

The Project Management Office

When it comes to implementing a Project Management Office, a question arises: “Is another department really necessary?”.

In fact, if you are conducting multiple projects, a Project Management Office, or PMO, is practically necessary.

The advantages of a PMO are often ignored or underestimated, but having an office like this increases the chances of success of the project portfolio of an organization.

In general, there are many good reasons for introducing a Project Office, especially in larger organizations with a growing volume of projects and complexity.

But what is a Project Management Office?

The Project Management Office is born over 100 years ago and its function has evolved over time.

The PMO is a group or department within the organization, whose job is to define and maintain the standards for project management.

You can think of the PMO as the “regulatory commission” that seeks to standardize and introduce repeating models and structures in the execution of a project in order to maintain productivity.

It also offers a guide for the project and develops methods on the practice and execution of project management.

What exactly does a PMO do?

In general, a PMO keeps an overview of the projects, knows the company strategy and ensures that both go hand in hand.

However, the fields of application of a PMO vary widely from one company to another.

A unique area of activity does not exist, but there are different possibilities, for example:

  • Compile the project portfolio by classifying, selecting and prioritizing projects according to the company strategy and available resources, and preparing the decision-making process (portfolio management).
  • Plan resources at the portfolio level, optimize their use and resolve resource conflicts.
  • Keep employee data up-to-dated, especially in terms of capacity, project allocations and skills.
  • Standardize methods and processes in project management.
  • Select, implement, and instruct employees on tools and software.
  • Increase the transparency of current and planned projects through reliable and up-to-date project data.
  • Promote the flow of information and communication.
  • Create knowledge based on lessons learned and best practices from previous projects in order to avoid repetition errors.
  • Monitor the progress of the project and the dependencies that affect resources, budgets, and schedules.
  • Train and coach project managers and stakeholders.
  • Support the project managers and the project team from an administrative and operational point of view.

How does a PMO bring benefits to an organization?

Firstly, a PMO allows you to work within the boundaries of a long-term plan and thus be more efficient in decision making thanks to ist guidance.

Moreover, thanks to metrics-based evaluation, a PMO can help keep projects on track and alert when planning, budgets, and other problems are threatening the project. In this way, it is possible to act promptly when problems arise.

When working on different projects, the PMO has a deep understanding of the links and interdependencies between all the projects. This provides an overview of the whole work, which often is not part of the competence or capacity of a single project manager.

A PMO can also be a valid support for the management of communication with stakeholders as well as communication in general. In fact, this office has relationships and contacts with other parties with which a project manager may not be so “intimate”.

And these are just a few examples. The advantages are in fact much more numerous.

With a PMO, you can align multiple projects with your business goals.
Always with the help of a PMO, these projects can be implemented within the budget, using the available resources capacity.

This means that project costs decrease and fewer projects fail. As a consequence, everything is to improve customer satisfaction.

Of course, just setting up a PMO is not enough; in fact, you need valid resources, proven processes, and support technology to get the most out of it.

The success of a PMO is not always immediately visible or measurable. However, the medium to long-term benefit of high-functioning PMOs has been confirmed by many studies.

the project management office

When does an organization really need a Project Management office?

Before starting the implementation of a dedicated office, it is good to consider its real value.
In fact, it is good to define if and how this office can bring benefits to the organization.
The first thing to consider is the state of the art of the company: do the departments communicate with each other and work in harmony? Or do the they work in watertight compartments?

Obviously, in the second case, a PM office can be the ideal solution.

How to activate a Project Management Office in the organization?

After the definition of PMO and seeing the benefits it can bring to an organization, let’s now look at the steps in order to implement it.

The process is structured in three steps.

Step 1: Analysis of the situation

Everything starts with an analysis of the current situation of the organization.
The project management methods, processes, and tools are checked and signs of weakness are identified.

Therefore, a list of projects is created. This has to be informative, complete and updated in order to determine who is working on what.

Having this project documentation is of vital importance in order to then apply improvements to the system.

Step 2: Designing responsibilities and dynamics of the Area

Once the list of projects has been identified, it is necessary to establish the areas of responsibility, the hierarchical position and the powers of the PMO.

For example, is it a service unit that provides the necessary tools or is it set up for the training and support of project managers in order to ensure the quality of the project?

There are several areas that the PMO can cover, including:

  1. Training and coaching and participation in staff development.
  2. Operational support, organization of workshops or project controller.
  3. Analysis and management of methods and processes.
  4. Strategic project management office, responsible for the configuration and implementation of the project, the selection of projects, and their priority through cost-benefit analysis and other variables.

Whatever the area chosen, it is necessary not to overload the PMO right at the beginning.
We recommend limiting it to one or two areas of responsibility.

Step 3: Activate the PMO

Just like any other project, one proceeds step by step.

Once in operation, after activating the responsibilities of the internal staff, the department is ready to prove its validity.
The new PMO must convince all stakeholders of the benefits it brings and provides.

If the PMO is made up of the right people, there will be no doubt that this new department will be warmly welcomed by the organization.

And if the PMO is immediately equipped with a technological infrastructure, and a multiproject management software, the performance increases decisively.

What future for the PMO?

Today’s PMO may not be that of the next years.
In fact, some industry surveys indicate a decline in these areas of the company in the coming years, in favor of new digital teams (link a https://twproject.com/it/blog/gestire-un-team-di-lavoro/) . This will require adjustments to new practices, also depending on the evolution of the workforce and teams.

Do you also have this vision? Tell us about it, we would like to imagine the PMO of the future together!

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