Emotional intelligence and project management

When the concept of Emotional Intelligence entered the mainstream for the first time, the skeptics labeled it as a temporary fashion that would soon be forgotten.

However, since the publication in 1995 of Daniel Goleman’s book “Emotional Intelligence”, emotional intelligence has increased its credibility in the business world more and more, becoming an important skill for managers.

Today, indeed, the project manager’s work is not limited to defining the project scope, creating a plan or keeping track of costs and timing.

Other activities are entering the field and the agenda of the PM. We talk about activities such as relationship development, team building, influence, collaboration and negotiation.

Attention to the business climate has also increased. In order to optimize the results of the project, while maximizing the use of resources, it becomes essential that those who manage the project understand and apply the principles of emotional intelligence.

The project manager must be able to create a climate in which customers, team members, stakeholders and management can communicate clearly. A climate in which it will be easy to manage challenges more effectively and make choices in order to act strategically and quickly.


Emotional Intelligence: the capabilities of the Project Manager

In fact, project managers must be able to do the following:

  • Operating in complex environments: project managers must influence, negotiate and collaborate with other departments and teams and understand the interdependencies of projects. The ability to build relationships and understand how to get the best out of others is a critical skill that the project manager must inevitably possess.
  • Creating effective teams: people are the key to the success of any project and project managers rarely have direct control over the staff they work with. They must therefore be able to motivate the team, manage members from the most disparate sources and manage conflicts, all skills that require the ability to understand people and their particular needs.
  • Managing change: by their very nature, projects cause change. Building a technical solution is just a component of a project; understanding and managing the impact of this solution on a population of users and the effect of this change is a critical skill for a project manager.
  • Leadership: project managers must have the role of leader with respect to the people involved in the project, to the stakeholders and to the other groups with whom they interact. In addition to the ability to make decisions based on analysis of the situation, the ability to make decisions based on understanding the impact on people is also an important aspect of leadership.
  • Results: the complexity of the environment and the degree to which the collaboration must be successful are unprecedented and the simple ability to draw a project plan is not sufficient to make a project manager succeed. Understanding your emotions, the emotions of others and how these can be managed more effectively, can have an important effect on the ability of a project manager to deliver results.

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The ability of emotional intelligence is based on an individual’s ability to recognize, pay attention and understand the emotions in oneself and others.

This refers to the critical skills that demonstrate empathy, differentiate between emotions, and identify the impact that emotions have on a situation.

Research shows that about 55% of what we perceive from someone comes from body language, about 38% from the tone of the voice and only 7% from the actual words the person is using.

The perception of emotional signals for project managers is therefore a critical skill.

For example, misunderstanding the body language of a stakeholder when trying to negotiate a given factor within a project will not only be a critical factor in the outcome of that single situation, but also on the tone of the relationship throughout the whole project life cycle.

So let’s see in detail the role of emotional intelligence in the routine of a project manager.

Emotional Intelligence and Management: control and management of emotions

In this sense we mean the ability to manage, control and effectively express emotions.

Identifying our moods and the impact of our moods on our behavior is a critical aspect of self-awareness.

For example, if the project manager is stressed out and goes to the team directly after a negative meeting without understanding his personal stress level, there is a risk that this stress will be passed on to the team members. The consequence will be a dramatic reduction in staff motivation.

Emotional intelligence

In this case, the project manager must take time to calm down and rebalance himself and only then he can talk to his staff.

It is therefore essential to be able to perform a self-analysis in order to understand the emotions that are being experienced and how to manage them.

Emotional Intelligence and Decision-making: on whom do I impact?

With emotional intelligence in decision-making, we mean the ability to apply emotions appropriately in order to manage and solve problems, something that a project manager has to do on a daily basis.

Project managers must be able to make decisions by analyzing all aspects of a situation, without distorting reality in a positive or negative way, and understanding the aspects and impacts of people on any decision made.

Decisions often translate into changes and therefore part of the decision is the ability to identify and understand the emotional impact of change on other people.

Emotional Intelligence and Realization: inner motivation

Emotional intelligence with respect to realization is the ability to generate the emotions necessary to motivate oneself in the pursuit of realistic and meaningful goals.

A manager should be able to set goals and, if he fails, to step back, analyze what mus be corrected or changed and continue with corrective and proactive action.

Determination and vigor are feelings that help to advance towards action and realization and for project managers these are fundamental skills for success.

Emotional Intelligence and Influence: being the leader

Influencing, in the concept of emotional intelligence, is the ability to recognize, manage and evoke emotions in others in order to promote change.

It is the ability to assess a situation, interpret the emotional tone and understand the impact of this in the ability to build and maintain social relationships.

How a project manager manages his own emotions, as well as the emotions of others, can have a significant impact on the nature of a relationship.

Emotional intelligence2

Positive emotions tend to translate into a more collaborative relationship. while negative emotions tend to reduce the likelihood of collaboration.

Since a project manager almost always has a variety of heterogeneous groups to influence in order to succeed, the ability to positively influence relationships in order to obtain collaboration can have a perceptible effect on results.

Emotional Intelligence: Conclusions

In summary, project managers work in increasingly complex environments, and it is not enough for a successful project manager to just bring technical skills into the role.

Relationships must be developed, teams must be motivated, changes must be managed.

Improving the ability to perceive the emotions of others, allows you to empathize and adapt the style of management to get a better result.

When a person is able to manage his emotions, he can be sure that these are the right ones in every situation.

If it is possible to use emotions to improve decision making, then it is possible to improve the ability to solve problems.

If it is possible to self-motivate ourselves, it is possible to achieve more realistic goals.

Finally, if it is possible to improve the ability to interpret the emotional tone, it is possible to build more effective relationships and influence the goals and results of a project.

In this way, project managers can be more effective leaders and, consequently, experience greater success in project delivery.

[av_notification title=” color=’blue’ border=” custom_bg=’#444444′ custom_font=’#ffffff’ size=’large’ icon_select=’no’ icon=’ue800′ font=’entypo-fontello’ av_uid=’av-vrd2fi’]Project managers who truly understand the talents, values and potential of themselves and their teams, who know how to manage their emotions and the emotions of others, and who can connect with team members have the opportunity to create a project environment that will not be second to none.[/av_notification]

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Scope Management: managing the project scope

The Scope Management of a project is the set of processes necessary to ensure that the scope of a project is precisely defined and mapped.

Project scope management techniques enable project managers to assign the right amount of work required in order to successfully complete a project, particularly by controlling what is and what is not part of the project scope.

The management of the project scope is what ensures that the project includes all the relevant work in order to achieve the project goals.

Plan the Scope Management process

The process explains how to define, manage, validate and control the scope of the project.

You could even use the project management plan of another project as a starting point, because the Scope Management processes do not vary dramatically once the organization has opted for a successful method of working.

Scope management process planning includes:

  • preparing a detailed project declaration
  • creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
  • maintaining the WBS
  • obtaining formal acceptance of the project results
  • managing any changes in the project scope

Scope Management: Collecting the project requirements

At this stage, it is necessary to gather what are the needs of the stakeholders with the intent of achieving the project goals.

In this process, managers use different techniques and tools in order to gather the requirements.

If this process is executed in a complete and correct manner, it can greatly reduce the possibility of unpleasant surprises as the project progresses towards completion.

scope management

In this phase, it is therefore necessary to understand what the stakeholders want from the project.

Once found out, requirements must be documented and stakeholder expectations must be properly managed.

This is an important step, since it may happen that what is required is not realistic or achievable due to other project constraints, such as cost.

The output of the work of gathering requirements is a documented set of requirements.

Scope Management: Defining the project scope

Here the requirements and the needs are transformed into a detailed description of the product or service that the project will create.

The output will be a declaration of the scope of the project that can be referred throughout the entire project life cycle.

The document will also include a list of what is in scope and what is out of scope.

The scope clearly indicates what the project is supposed to achieve and what not.

Scope Management: Creating the Work Breakdown Structure

This process transforms the list of requirements into a structured view of what needs to be done.

The main work here is the subdivision of large tasks into smaller and more manageable blocks, called work packages.

The result of this process is the so-called Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).

The WBS is an important element of the scope management process and the PMI places great emphasis on this aspect.

Many project managers often skip this step leading to inaccurate plans.

The resulting WBS should provide a complete list of all the work packages required to complete the project successfully.

Scope Management: Validating the project scope

This process focuses primarily on the acceptance of the project by the client.

In simple terms, it is when the client of the project formally accepts all the results of the project.

scope management 1

This process occurs at the end of each phase.

It is therefore important to know who will approve a deliverable and what criteria will be used to evaluate the success of the result.

Scope Management: Checking the project scope

This process involves the evaluation of additional requirements by the client or the proactive observation of the project’s scope by the project manager.

Managers measure the work product with respect to the forecast in order to ensure that the project remains on track, helping to prevent any unnecessary modifications.

This phase therefore involves monitoring the status of the project and managing any changes to the scope.

Some pitfalls of Scope Management

The problems that may arise during the definition and documentation of the project scope are:

[av_font_icon icon=’ue813′ font=’entypo-fontello’ style=” caption=” link=” linktarget=” size=’40px’ position=’left’ color=’#ce1a4a’ av_uid=’av-29swlt8′][/av_font_icon]Ambiguity: ambiguity often leads to unnecessary work and confusion. To avoid this, the scope must be clearly defined, both by the stakeholders as well as by the team, without being misinterpreted;

[av_font_icon icon=’ue813′ font=’entypo-fontello’ style=” caption=” link=” linktarget=” size=’40px’ position=’left’ color=’#ce1a4a’ av_uid=’av-610qb0′][/av_font_icon]Incomplete definition: incomplete areas lead to planned deadlines which almost certainly lead to cost overruns. To avoid this, the scope must be complete, accurate and detailed;

[av_font_icon icon=’ue813′ font=’entypo-fontello’ style=” caption=” link=” linktarget=” size=’40px’ position=’left’ color=’#ce1a4a’ av_uid=’av-yqgy5o’][/av_font_icon]Transitoriness: this is the main cause of late deliveries and “endless” projects. To avoid this, the scope document must be finalized and remain as long as possible for the duration of the project;

[av_font_icon icon=’ue813′ font=’entypo-fontello’ style=” caption=” link=” linktarget=” size=’40px’ position=’left’ color=’#ce1a4a’ av_uid=’av-incm18′][/av_font_icon]Non-collaborative scope: an area not managed in a collaborative way causes incorrect interpretations in terms of requirements and planning. To avoid this, the document should be shared with all stakeholders at each stage of the scope definition process.

Without Scope Management, the cost or time that the project will take to achieve its goal can not be estimated.

Scope Management is not difficult to implement; however, it requires effort, time and patience.

But it is worth investing it: with a proper management of the project scope, it is possible to have clear guidelines and deliver the project with minimum overruns.

Have you ever dealt with the Scope Management of a project? How was your experience and what are your opinions about it? Tell them below!

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Process or project? What differences? What goals?

People often confuse projects with processes.

Some might argue that this is only a question of semantics and that saying “project” rather than “process” does not change much.

In fact, there are some areas where projects and processes can overlap (which is why confusion arises), but there is also an essential difference that impacts the way in which the activities are managed in one case or the other.

Project vs. process: the definition

A recognized definition is that:

Projects concern actions never done before, while processes are actions that are done repeatedly.

A project is about creating something new or implementing a change. On the other hand, a process is designed to create value by repeatedly executing an activity.

In a project, the goals and plans can be modified by the stakeholders. The processes, on the other hand, are established procedures for work and can be generally modified only with planning and investments.

In fact, a project is ideally needed to change an established process within an organization.

A project is temporary because it has a defined beginning and end date, and therefore defined scope and resources.

Moreover, a project is unique in that it is not a routine operation, but a specific set of operations designed to achieve a singular goal.

Projects are designed to create changes.
On the other hand, processes are designed to resist change because they establish a repeatable and executable workflow.

Project vs. process: the common points

Both processes and projects aim to achieve something through a sequence of planned activities.

In general, they both need teams and resources that can execute them.

Moreover, they can coexist, as in the case where people work on processes and have a project going on.


Project vs. process: the differences

It should be underlined that between projects and processes there is a significant difference: the frequency with which the activity is repeated.

The projects are in fact one-off, even if there are cases in which the projects become repeatable.

In this situation, if the project becomes repetitive, it becomes a process.

The processes are in fact repeatable and create value by producing a given output on demand.

The fact that the activities are repeated means that it is possible to efficiently cushion the planning effort thanks to the many repetitions.

Instead, in the case of an already planned project, the effort must be repaid by the outcome of the single time it is performed.

When dealing with a project, much of the effort goes into the initial planning. After this step, the effort is focused on checking that everything is following the plan.

The process works differently. In fact, you can review the result from a process and learn from it, you can make changes to the process and you can experiment and see what works and what does not.

The “management effort” is less focused on keeping things on track and is rather oriented to learn how to optimize the process.

So this is the big difference regarding the “management effort” in projects and processes.

Further differences between process and project

In addition to this, projects and processes are supervised differently, making most of the tools incompatible for managing both of them.

Projects are supervised by a primary authority, usually a project manager, who guides the project towards its goal.

The processes are instead managed by all the people involved in the workflow in progress. In other words, they are everyday actions that are formalized with the goal of improving overall efficiency and productivity.


Project management is a consolidated methodology for managing and executing changes within an organization.

It is interesting to see that the project management itself is a defined and repeatable process. Ultimately, all the work involves a process and the project management functions in the same manner.

The correct management of the project proceeds according to well defined principles and procedures that allow to manage organizational changes and new initiatives.

It is simply a very specific and carefully designed process that is repeated and performed every time the company makes a major change and is doing something new for the first time.

The process of implementing these changes is called project management and each change must be managed as a project.

Projects, projects and Twproject

All of what has been said so far shows that there are several reasons for extending project management with processes; often projects or processes are presented as alternatives for the organizational needs of the team.

With Twproject you can get benefits from both, in an integrated solution.

Surely it has happened over time to repeat some of the company’s projects and to standardize them and transform them into “business processes”.

Well, in our software you can find the solution to this situation …. And many others!

In TwProject, the integrated tool for managing business processes greatly expands the possibility of modeling in relation to the project tree. It improves usability even for complex cases, keeping the organization based on the project.

In our  meetings with customers we often present two ways according to which they can model their business processes:

  • with the projects, aimed at giving a minimal structure to work and collect a maximum amount of feedback, worklog, etc.,
  • using business process models, which are workflows. Workflows are more rigid but more accurate. They are more complex to plan but often easier for the end user, who has just to say “go ahead” on their tasks when this is the case.

In conclusion, we can say that there is no difference in importance between a project and a process. In fact, everyone plays an important role in achieving goals within an organization and it is necessary to make sure that they are both used appropriately.

Processes are continuous and repeated procedures that help to achieve business goals, while projects are ways to change processes, launch new products, or otherwise make changes within the organization in order to develop the goals in new ways.

Did you already know the difference between a project and a process? Are there any further differences that you consider relevant? Give us your opinion.

Projects and processes in an integrated solution.

Earned Schedule

The Earned Schedule (ES) is a rather recent methodology.

It was first introduced in 2003 and it is a method of analysis that extends and completes the benefits of the Earned Value Management.

Currently, the Earned Schedule method is used globally in projects of any type and size.

This method is taught in academics, is included in project management manuals and standards dictated by the PMI and is also a research topic at the university.

Not only theory but also practice. It is now widely demonstrated that the ES is useful for project managers for the analysis and control of project performance.

Why is the Earned Schedule born?

Everything is born and takes its cue from the EVM (Earned Value Management) method that offers the project manager and other stakeholders the possibility to visualize the actual costs of the project during its entire life cycle. This, as it is easy to deduce, allows a more effective management of the project itself.

In its original form, the EVM was used to evaluate project performance and predict the cost of the project upon completion.

Normally, project control is established at the level of the work package or the cost report.

In fact, however, this control, although helps in cost management, does not contribute to the control of implementation times. EVM data indeed are not generally used to estimate the time needed to complete a task, a work package or a project or to predict the completion date.

This can lead the project manager to make bad decisions about the Project in general.

It is precisely to fill this gap that the concept of Earned Schedule (ES) is born.

In fact, the ES can transform EVM metrics into time or duration metrics in order to improve the evaluation of the project planning performance and to predict the duration required for its completion.

When combined with an appropriate analysis, this approach can improve the understanding of the estimated time for the Project completion.  It can also provide further insights that allow to make better decisions about project planning and other related parameters.

So let’s see more in detail what it is.

Measure and indicators of the Earned Schedule

The idea of Earned Schedule is similar to the concept of Earned Value (EV). However, instead of using the costs to measure project performance, the reference unit is time.

If we consider the projects that are late, in fact, using the Earned Value, we will have unrealistic indicators. The obtained values will, in a misleading way, make the state of the project look better than it actually is.

The problem lies in the fact that the Earned Value is a value indicator and not a scheduling indicator.

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This then brings the planned value at the end of the project to coincide with the budget upon completion even if the project is late.[/av_notification]

Therefore, the fundamental concept of the ES is to determine the moment, in terms of time, in which the planned work should have corresponded to the value of the work carried out at that precise moment.

earned schedule

The formula of the Earned Schedule

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The Earned Schedule formula corresponds to
ES = C + I.

Where  C is the number of intervals in which EV is equal to or greater than PV and I is the share of the intervals after PV.

In the researches carried out, the question asked was whether the ES is a better method of predicting the duration of the final project than the EVM methods.

The answer is that the ES is way better than any other method related to Earned Value Management.

Of all the methods and data sets studied, the ES is referred to as the best duration prediction method of a project.

For sure, this method is useful for project managers when they have to make decisions in order to meet delivery dates.

While the Earned Value provides an estimate of when the project is likely to end, the Earned Schedule produces an understanding of the probability of completion in precise moments over time.

The ES can also provide useful information to the project manager and analysts and is not difficult to calculate.

Of course, additional work is needed, but it is not as time-consuming as a complete bottom-up review of the entire project program.

EVM and ES have been integrated with statistical confidence limits in order to obtain probable results for the final cost and duration of the project.

The results of this work have shown that the proposed approach is sufficiently reliable for the general application of the forecasting method, both in terms of cost and duration.

earned schedule 1

Moreover, it is shown that the ES approach can be applied effectively no matther what the type of work or the extent of the cost and duration of the project.

Big deviations between the project status and the forecasts usually attract the attention of management and translate into corrective actions. Small deviations are usually not taken into account.

By quantifying and highlighting these deviations, it is possible to bring the focus of management on projects or work packages that require more attention.

As a result, these tools support the effective management of projects and improve the management of the portfolio of business projects.

Consistent use of these techniques that predict project outcomes provides an optimal approach to project reviews, increases confidence in project delivarables as time progresses, and improves management’s ability to take corrective action and appropriate decisions.


In conclusion, we can say that the EVM is a powerful methodology that helps project managers and other stakeholders managing projects and programs more effectively.

By integrating it with the ES method, it is possible to produce valid indicators and reliable predictions on the duration of the project.

The research found out that, compared to other methods based on the EVM, the ES produces the best predictions on the duration of the project.

The Earned Schedule method has a lot to offer to the project manager in order to help him drive and control his project from the beginning to the end.

Have you ever had the opportunity to apply the Earned Schedule to one of your projects? What are your observations? Write them in the comments.

Analyze your projects with the right tools.

If the project manager motivates others … what motivates the project manager? (self-motivation ability)

Much has been written and said about the motivation of people and the team in general.

Certainly, in a project team, a project manager who personally cares about each individual, personal ideas and concerns can contribute enormously to the motivation of a team.

And it is found that well-motivated teams achieve greater success than their disinterested counterparts, as detailed in this article.

But this assumes that there is a well-motivated project manager that instills enthusiasm into the team.

So what motivates the project manager?

Motivational techniques

There are two main types of motivation that can be described in general as:

  • Intrinsic = love. In other words, “I do it because I want”
  • Extrinsic = money. In other words, “I do it because I have to”.

Both in work as well as in life, we can meet people motivated by both factors and, more often, by a combination of the two.

People’s motivations also change at different times and also in front of different tasks and challenges.

To be an effective leader, it is necessary to be aware of the balance between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. In particular, we need to know what are the things we love and which we would accept even without being paid – in a figurative sense of course.

Being self-motivated means doing your job well because you want it and not just because you receive your salary at the end of the month.

Individuals, and therefore self-motivated project managers, want to be the best they can, regardless of where they work or what they are working on. Often they take responsibility even when they are not directly concerned.

Self-motivated individuals tend to:

  • Work longer
  • Learn new skills and regularly follow training courses
  • Take ownership of problems
  • Go beyond the job description of their role.

There are five general methods that can help a project manager find the motivation in the workplace. Let’s see what they are:

1. Check what you can and let the rest go

As a project manager, there are always things that are not under your control, but that does not mean that one has to give up.

You need to have clear in mind what factors and dynamics you can control and, consequently, focus on doing those well.

In short, it is about managing current responsibilities to the best of one’s capabilities.

2. Continually test yourself

The job is not particularly difficult or demanding? Then find another way to test yourself.

Take a training course, help a colleague that may have difficulty, just improve your skills …

Do not let the time goes by by sitting on your laurels and then say you are bored and without motivation.

As adults, we tend to stay still with what we have and not look for new opportunities for growth.

If you can not get this challenge in the office, you can always search elsewhere, through hobbies, new experiences, etc.

Not only continually improving your skills is important for team members, but also for the project manager.

3. Mindfulness

Books could be written about the application of mindfulness for a manager.

In today’s stressful environment, it is necessary to take a step back and take time for yourself, even if it is just 10 minutes.

Life is simply too short to be stressed and to run all day.

Everyone, even the project manager, must find a way to maintain the balance and find a healthy stability between work and private life, between obligations and free time, whatever this means for a person.

On the other hand, if a project manager does not listen and does not first manage himself and his needs, how will he be able to manage the team members?

4. Having fun, even at work

Entertainment is not intended here as an expensive or time-consuming activity.

With fun in the office, we mean the planning of a team event where also the project manager can participate directly.

An internal prize game, a treasure hunt in the office, an activity for the whole team outside of the office, there are endless possibilities.

Project management is a serious topic, but that does not mean that you can not have fun at work.project manager

5. Write down the reasons why you chose a project manager career

What do you like about the job? What makes you excited every day? What would you absolutely not want to eliminate from your work routine?

When times become difficult, there is a tendency to forget the positive elements of a situation, even in work.

This is an excellent exercise not only for the project manager, but also for the team members.

In this way, all the positive factors of the profession will be learned and will be clear in mind and, consequently, it will be much easier to find the motivation and continue successfully.

So, we have seen the methods for a general self-motivation of the project manager, let’s now see four specific tips to stay motivated when it comes to a particularly challenging project.

1. Focus on small but significant results

It is not necessary to be satisfied only once the final goal of a project has been reached.

There are intermediate milestones, which could be equally important throughout the whole project life cycle.

These can be used to find satisfaction at the end of each working day.

2. Reassess the goals

If you are facing a dead point in the project, focusing again on personal goals can always be useful and stimulating, as well as a way out.

By working on these other aspects, you can find the answer to the problems that are stifling the project.

3. Indulge in secondary tasks

It is important to feel fulfilled every day. But when the project seems to be extended to infinity, it is difficult to obtain this satisfaction.

In this case, the key is to make yourself useful in other ways, for example by briefly contributing to another task, helping a member of another team, offering yourself as an extra resource for a temporary project.

4.Everything will pass

Probably the most important advice of all.

When you are in the middle of a long and complicated project, it seems like this never ends. But one thing is certain, everything will pass.

Even if the project does not end successfully, the malaise will pass.

If you consider work as a way to continue learning, growing and developing, there is a truth: having managed a difficult experience is the best curriculum you can have.

What can block motivation in a project manager?

  • Bad habits: In order to meet the desired results, project managers should be able to evaluate the factors that prevent them from achieving the desired goals and replacing them with positive or productive habits.
  • Lack of adequate resources: In the absence of adequate resources, leaders fail to achieve the desired goals. They may have problems related to lack of funds, lack of qualified personnel, technological limits or management disruptions.
  • Pressures or external circumstances: Pressures and external circumstances hinder the level of self-motivation of project managers. These may be, for example, lack of support and cooperation from stakeholders or team members.

project manager

Many factors hinder the self-motivation of project managers, these may vary from personal factors such as bad habits to environmental factors or circumstantial factors.

Efficient and highly motivated leaders, however, are able to overcome all challenges by exploring ways or alternatives in order to achieve the desired results.

We can therefore conclude that self-motivation for a project manager is a fundamental prerequisite and those with a high sense of self-motivation are in a better position to achieve strategic results and drive growth and productivity of themselves and their team.

Self-motivated leaders stimulate passion among team members that in this manner want to achieve ambitious goals.

These individuals play a crucial role in leading organizational excellence by creating examples and best practices that can inspire the team.

What are your motivations in the office? Have you ever had problems motivating yourself? How did you deal with the situation? Tell us about your experience.

Manage your projects easily.

Delegating project activities effectively: (7) key suggestions

Delegating project activities is a delicate task, but most often necessary in the management of complex projects.

By working alone you can only do a limited amount of work. Indeed, the hours in a day are limited.

Often, however, especially in the case of the project manager, it will be required to do much more.

This can lead to a real sense of pressure and overload, leading to situations of stress and unhappiness, if not to a real burn out.

One of the most common ways to overcome this limitation is to learn how to delegate the work to other.

If it is done correctly, you can quickly build a group of strong and successful people.

This is why delegation is such an important skill in project management.

In fact, delegation is the main key to maximizing the productivity of a single person.

The problem is that many managers do not know how to delegate effectively, or are not willing to do so unless it is absolutely necessary.

But do not worry, the delegation of the project activities is a skill that, like any other, can be learned and improved over time.

Here are then 7 key suggestions to effectively delegate the project activities.

Delegating project activities : Learn to let go

For the project manager, this is probably the most difficult thing to put into practice.

The biggest problem faced by most managers is, in fact, the inability to abandon part of their work in favor of third parties.

Sometimes you feel so involved in the project and in meeting the deadlines that one can refuse the help of other people.

At other times, it is feared that no one else has the skills or abilities necessary to perform the job effectively. In both cases, we end up overloading ourselves and, paradoxically, moving away from the positive outcome of the project itself.

This is why learning to “let go” becomes fundamental for the success of the project.

But as in all things, the beginning may seem so complicated that is postponed.

“This project is too important … for this time I complete it, next time maybe I will delegate …” (And next time never comes.)

Then a suggestion in order to begin with the process is to start with small steps, thus delegating only the smallest and most basic activities, and then progress.

Delegating project activities : Establish a priority system

Obviously, this system will vary based on experience, sector and types of activities that are normally managed.

Generally speaking, however, it can be helpful to create categories, based on the degree of effort required by a task and the degree of skill.

The category with the highest skills should contain activities that the project manager will have to perform in the first person, while those in the less specialized categories can be delegated.

The degree of commitment is a good reference point in order to understand which are the most important activities to delegate: for example, delegating responsibility for a task of high intensity and low skill will save a lot of time for the project manager.

In order to define the right approach the matrix that Eisenhower, or Covey Matrix, is very interesting and we will discuss about it in a future article.

What we wanted to create in TWproject (in line with this aspect) is the possibility to plan the right priority for each assignment.

Thanks to this the PM can see the assignments for the week, change the priority or remove the points of change: and can do it for every resource involved in the workgroup.

delgating project activities

And not only that: Twproject shows the priority assignments wherever possible, even for the individual participant. In this way each component of the project is able to display and monitor the priorities of his assignments.

delegating project activites - priority od assignment

Delegating project activities : Evaluate the strengths of the team and employees

A project manager should know each team member’s strengths and weaknesses, including his current and potential range of skills.

When delegating, you need to evaluate your team and assign tasks to anyone with the skills most relevant to that activity.

It would seem obvious, but the mistake in which many fall is to delegate to those with the lightest workload or where is most convenient.

Furthermore, it is also important to be consistent. For example, delegating the same type of task to the same team member will increase that individual’s attitude to perform those tasks.

Delegating project activities : Always include instructions

Although the process in the eyes of a project manager seems obvious, you need to make sure to include the instructions for each activity that will be delegated.

If you have specific preferences about how the task should be carried out, this information must be included. If there is a deadline or strict targets, this need to be clear.

Including simple details and instructions from the beginning will avoid much of the communication gap and will allow the colleague to perform the tasks effectively.

Here, then, inserting a specific document, visible only to the operator with the indications of the activity takes only a short time with Twproject, but its benefit is lasting.

This proactive strategic action will definitely be appreciated by the collaborators.

Delegating project activities : Teach new skills

The lack of someone in the team who can perform a certain activity does not mean that work can not be delegated.

Have you ever thought about it?

Most skills can be learned, so do not be afraid to teach these skills as part of the delegation process.

Even if the initial assignment of the first tasks will take more time than is actually saved, this must be seen as an investment.

By transferring these skills, it will be possible to assign all similar activities to that individual in the future, thus saving more time in the long run.

Delegating project activities : Trusting is good, communicating is better

Once a task has been delegated, it is right to trust the collaborator.

This will allow the person to do the job in a serene way.

However, do not be afraid to intervene from time to time and verify that the activity moves as planned.

For example, if the delegation has been done a week ago, it is fair to trust that the team member is working on the task, but activating direct communication is not a wrong step.

This encourages trust and respect within the team and helps to prevent interruptions in communication or understanding.

Delegating project activities : Use feedback

Feedback is the most important part of the delegation process and works in both directions.

If the collaborators have done well a task, it is good to thank them; if the work was not done in the best way, it is good to criticize them constructively in order to avoid the same mistakes in the future.

Likewise, team members must also share their feedbacks and opinions on how the delegation process is working.

This is a fundamental moment in order to determine if the project manager is providing enough information and if the right activities are assigned to the right people.

Delegation is not always easy, but the sooner you start, the sooner you will develop the skills to do it effectively.

At first glance, delegation may seem more problematic than it actually is, but by effectively delegating it is possible to vastly expand the amount of work that can be offered.

Do you regularly delegate in your work? How do you manage the delegation process? Tell us about your experience.

Delegate in effective way.

Lean and Agile: differences and similarities

Agile and Lean are two popular methods in the project management world that help teams deliver faster, more sustainable results.

However, the differences and similarities between these two methodologies are often not clear.

Even the terms themselves are often used in the wrong manner, as synonyms to describe a particular set of practices.

For a project manager, it is important to understand the differences and similarities between Lean and Agile methodology in order to guarantee the correct application and to obtain an effective and efficient organization.

What is the Lean methodology?

“Lean” generally refers to a set of knowledge called more specifically “Lean Manufacturing“, developed in Japan in the ’50s and’ 60s by an engineer named Taiichi Ohno.

Lean Manufacturing has transformed many traditional concepts including:

  • Production should be based on demand and not on supply. It is simply about doing something when someone wants it and orders it, rather than doing it first, hoping then that someone will need it;
  • The production is more efficient if performed in small lots in order to exploit economies of scale;
  • Taking the time to focus on quality also increases production and efficiency;
  • Employers, not managers, are responsible for defining their method of working;
  • Rather than executing predefined tasks over and over again, workers must continually improve their way of working (the so-called “Kaizen”).

These ideas, at that time, seemed to be heretical in the eyes of the American and Western industry, but the Japanese industrial organizations that adopted these philosophies quickly outperformed their “colleagues”.

In short, the Lean methodology says to implacably eliminate all that does not add value.

Eliminating waste means eliminating unnecessary meetings, tasks and documentation, but also means eliminating inefficient methods of working, such as multitasking.

The Lean methodology also places a very strong emphasis on what is called “the system”, i.e. the way the team works as a whole.

Work should always be seen from a higher level in order to ensure that the process are really optimized.

This methodology says to respect the fact that the people who do the job are those who know how to do it at the best. Once they receive what they need to be effective, they must be left “alone” and trusted.

What is the Agile methodology?

Agile refers to a set of values and principles set out in the Agile Manifesto.

The Agile Manifesto basically underlines the following aspects:

  • Interaction of individuals on tools and processes
  • Collaboration with potential customers in the negotiation of project results
  • Respond to change with a plan

The Agile methodology is very similar to the Lean methodology and for this reason you will see many similar points between these two.

The Agile methodology, in general, is more based on development rather than production, we use for example Twproject to manage all the features we insert in our software release.

Agile as you need it

In Twproject you find everything you need to manage your projects in an agile way keeping everything under control.

Try Twproject now

.Agile and Lean are very similar …

There are some clear similarities between the Agile and the Lean methodology.

The Lean methodology expects the construction of objects / products in the least possible number of lots. According to the concept that it is more efficient this way.

The Agile methodology provides many small frequent versions of a product, rather than a large production.

The Lean methodology also says that every process should be continuously inspected and adapted in order to improve it. This method is therefore very focused on continuous improvement, the so-called Kaizen.

The Agile methodology also provides for regular checks of the results and of the working method in order to evaluate possible improvements.

Another similarity between Lean and Agile is the focus on cooperation between employees.

In both methodologies, the people – the workers – who perform the tasks are more important than the tools they use.

agile and lean (3)

When it comes to Agile and Lean, nothing is more important than the final result. This result must create value for the customer and is the only goal of the development process.

The Agile methodology allows the client to constantly adapt his needs, while the Lean provides for the manufacture of the product in such a way that there is no waste. In any case, the customer must get exactly what he expects.

But Agile and Lean are also very different

The main difference is that the Agile methodology concerns the optimization of a development process, while the Lean method concerns the optimization of a production process.

In production we generally have a predefined product and we want to produce as many high quality products as possible, in the most economic way possible.

In production, variation and rework are negative and expensive, while in a development process they are good and optimal.

Indeed, in the development process the factors are continuously reviewed and are changed according to new information or feedback.

It is no coincidence that Lean Management was born in the industrial sector with the intention of making production systems more efficient, while the Agile methodology was born in the creative and software development environment.

In the first it is important that processes work in such a way that no waste occurs. This ultimately translates into a final product that is produced as efficiently as possible.

In the second situation, instead, the development of prototypes is foreseen, which are first tested and evaluated in order to then develop the final product.

But the differences between Lean and Agile are not over.

The Lean methodology is often applied to improve processes in all organizations. On the other hand, the Agile methodology is applied within a team, often composed of no more than a dozen people.

So Lean or Agile, can a software help?

It is difficult to say which methodology is better. This is something that people must understand for themselves and also depends on the organization and the type of project that must be developed.

Both methods are strictly interconnected, everything revolves around the focus on customers and giving them the product they want in the most efficient way possible.

This is way a project management software should not force in one methodology but should let you use both, managing even different projects in a different way.

Twproject let’s do this, following YOUR way of work but giving you all the tools for implementing these approaches.

Each method has its strengths and weaknesses and it is necessary to know the characteristics of both in order to be able to evaluate them.

In our experience, success and productivity are linked to how you manage two aspects of work management:

  1. Carefully model the complexities of your work environment – and here, of course, Twproject assists you perfectly
  2. Bring this complexity to something simple, light, quickly manageable and upgradeable by the individual user.

Twproject let’s you have the best from both methodology, try it now!

Improve your project management method.

The internal and external corporate environmental factors and the project environment

Managers must recognize and respond to all the factors that can influence their organizations.

Navigating through the modern chaotic work environments is like trying to drive a small boat to shore during a hurricane.

Just like this small boat, the modern organizations and their managers are faced with a significant amount of factors that require immediate response.

The forces that drive this change in the business are known as internal and external environmental factors.

The internal environment

The internal environment of an organization refers to events, factors, people, systems, structures and conditions inside an organization that are generally under the direct control of the company.

Corporate mission, corporate culture, and leadership style are factors that are typically associated with an organization’s internal environment.

As such, it is the internal environment that will influence the organizational activities, decisions, behaviors and attitudes of employees.

Changes in leadership style, in the corporate mission or in culture can have an important impact on the organization.

Let’s see in detail what are the internal corporate environmental factors.

Internal environmental factors: the staff

Employees are an important part of the internal environment of an organization.

Managers must be able to manage lower-level employees and, at the same time, supervise the other factors that affect dynamics among the team.

corporate environmental factors 1

Indeed, even when everyone is capable and talented, politics and internal conflicts can destroy a good organization from within.

Internal environmental factors: the budget

In business, even the lack of money can determine the survival – or not – of a company.

When cash resources are too limited, that can affect the number of people you can hire, the quality of equipment and the type and amount of advertising you can buy.

If you have enough money instead, you have much more flexibility to grow and expand the business, or to endure an economic downturn.

Internal environmental factors: Corporate culture

The internal corporate culture consists of the values, attitudes and priorities that employees live every day.

A ruthless culture in which every employee competes with his colleagues certainly creates a different, and more toxic, environment than that of a company that emphasizes collaboration and teamwork.

The external environment

The external environment is composed by factors that occur outside the organization but which can cause internal changes and are, for the most part, beyond the company’s control.

Customers, competition, economy, technology, political and social conditions, and resources are common external factors that influence the organization.

Even if the external environment occurs outside an organization, it can have a significant influence on its current operations, growth and long-term sustainability.

Ignoring external forces can be a damaging mistake for managers. As such, it is necessary that managers continue to monitor and adapt to the external environment.

The key is to work in order to make proactive changes rather than having to take a reactive approach and solve problems rather than preventing them.

So, let’s see in detail what are the external corporate environmental factors.

External corporate environmental factors: The economy

In a bad economy, even a well managed organization may not be able to survive.

If customers lose their jobs or take jobs that can barely support them, they will spend less on sport activities, recreation, gifts, luxury goods, and new cars.

It is not possible to control the economy, but understanding it can help identify threats and opportunities.

External corporate environmental factors: The competition

Unless the organization is a monopoly, you will always have to deal with the competition.

When you open a company, you normally find yourself fighting against established and more experienced organizations in the same sector.

On the other hand, when a company has established itself, it will find itself fighting against new organizations trying to steal a slice of the market.

In short, competition never dies.

External corporate environmental factors: Politics

Changes in government policy can have a huge impact on an activity.

A classic example is the tobacco industry.

Since the 1950s, cigarette manufacturers have been asked to put warning labels on their products and have lost the right to advertise on television. Smokers have less and less places where they are allowed to smoke. Therefore, the percentage of people who smoke is diminished, with a corresponding effect on the sector’s revenues.

External corporate environmental factors: Customers and suppliers

Next to employees, customers and suppliers are, in most cases, the most important people with which an organization has to deal.

Suppliers have a huge impact on costs. The weight of a given supplier depends on the scarcity of his service or product and, consequently, on the possibility of negotiation with him.

corporate environmental factors 3

The power of customers depends on the fact that they are free to choose between a specific organization and its competition.

A software can help!

Undoubtedly, It will be more difficult to influence the more general factors external to the organization. In any case, the project manager has to be conscious of external issues and ready to act accordingly.

Moreover, the project manager is also responsible for communicating and informing the team of factors influencing a project, both internal as well as external.

On the other hand, it is much easier to manage internal factors.

In project management, you can influence those factors that are closer and more directly related to management, such as resources or project management systems.

With the help of a project management software like Twproject you can have control on your resource load, on your project progress with complete statistics so that you can take immediate action to those internal factors that are visible at one click and signaled with an alert.

supervisor page

The Supervisor page in Twproject allows you to view an exhaustive summary of open tasks that are almost completed or should be.

The system will mark in red the deadlines and delays, the possible presence of “blocking” ToDos, and you will therefore be able to understand at a glance which projects are in a critical state.

user score

Also here, you will be able to observe the performance of your team members, in the form of a linear graph, which will allow you to face personnel issues more easily.

Twproject helps organizations in knowing which of the internal factors represent limiting conditions and which are the drivers of the projects for their correct management.

You can do a free trial and if you have any questions on the subject, you can count on our support team!

Simplify your work.

Project Management & Gamification: using games for project management

For sure, you are asking yourself: “Gaming and Project Management? Did I read well? “Yes, you read very well!

“But how does it work?”. The idea is quite simple: use a game model to create rewards in terms of productivity and goals.

It is simply applying the techniques used in games in non-gaming contexts, in order to increase the involvement in the activities. Those who face work as a game do not feel they are working. They are having fun and therefore this method increases the participation to the full advantage of the results.

In the company there can be various levels in which gaming techniques can be implemented. Here, in particular, we are talking about a completely new level of gaming, in which we play to achieve the highest level of optimization in the workplace.

The whole conversion of projects and business tasks into a game vision is called gamification process.

The premise of Gamification

The world of work is changing: While some companies continue to maintain a physical office and to follow a traditional approach, others have eliminated it. We are moving towards a new method that has already proved to be a winner: The teleworking system or remote work.

One of the biggest problems that is detected within the organizations is the disengagement of employees.

“Gallup”, the American company based in Washington, reports that 87% of workers are “actively disengaged” in their jobs.

Forcing employees to follow the traditional scheme of the 40-hour work week with limited vacation time is an “old” model that in many situations is already disappearing because it is not very productive.

With this strong increase in employee disengagement, the corporate world is looking for other exciting, inviting models, systems and platforms for employees in order to reach the necessary level of motivation and active engagement.

In fact, in order to manage workers, especially remote workers, it is fundamental to concentrate on the results they generate and also the working time analysis system should be more flexible.

What is the gamification process in practice?

The process of gamification means the application of different elements involved in a game, such as points, levels and rules, to other areas of activity, particularly in the company’s activities.

This change to the business model leads, as already mentioned, to a greater involvement of employees in the work they do, making it more like a real game.

Thanks to the involvement of employees, the job is done in a more concentrated way and is of high quality because every aspect of the work is submitted to the gamification process.

People like recognition and feeling part of something: gamification techniques are connected exactly to this concept.

The games consist of points, levels and prizes. Having these elements – considered social activators – in the workplace should therefore make people feel more involved.

gamification project management

Combining the gamification process with Project Management

The idea of combining the gamification process with project management seems perfect.

In fact, the premise is to use a game model and carefully design systems and points for the employee around the daily productivity and contribution to the goals of the project.

Then, it is possible to have team members who are rewarded and assigned to a higher level each time they contribute to the business in an appropriate manner.

The principles of the process of gamification and project management can simply be unified.

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In the management of the project there is indeed a goal to be achieved – the end of the game – and the team members are the means to achieve this goal – the players.[/av_notification]

It is also necessary to keep employees satisfied with the environment in which they operate. This will serve to make them want even more work – and success – everytime.gamification project management 2

Therefore, the combination between the gamification process and project management represents a win-win situation for both the organization and the employees.

The idea can evolve in a series of positive situations: One could, for example, have a weekly meeting in which the ranking is drawn up with the number of points of each member; or reward those who reach the top of the ranking with appreciation signals or applause in front of colleagues, etc.

In short, every little gesture can be transformed into a great incentive for productivity, if inserted into the game concept.

The benefits of Gamification

Over the years, studies have shown that this model has really interesting results in the production and quality of the organization.

Proven benefits include:

  • Increased productivity: working becomes funny, and people are more focused and stay in the office more willingly for a longer period of time;
  • Increased employee satisfaction: the workplace becomes an exciting place and workers do not want to lose it;
  • Increased employee retention: if an organization is giving everything that is needed, there is no reason to leave;
  • Increased quality: the overall quality of the process increases and, therefore, the company produces products of the highest quality;
  • Increased employee morale: recognition can be very rewarding for the mind and can elevate the mood of the employees.

What to keep in mind about the gamification process

The gamification process is revolutionary on the corporate front and the management of the project benefits a lot.

This is certainly an advantage, but it all depends on how it is managed.

Below are listed 5 essential aspects to keep in mind when implementing the gamification process within an organization:

  • Challenges and play are part of the fun, but when the games are too difficult or complicated, there can be frustration and a drop in motivation. It is therefore important to ensure that the games are not too difficult;
  • Create games that give everyone the opportunity to have a chance of winning; there should not always be just one winner. This can demoralize employees and dissuade them from trying to do their best;
  • The project manager must be the motivator and part of the team. This is a key aspect to show the caliber of leaders and to connect and engage the team;
  • Avoid repetition of the challenges. There is always displeasure when there are high levels of repetition in the activities offered.
  • The gamification process will not work for each department or team in a unique way and must be properly studied before implementation. It is therefore the project manager and the management that have to make decisions about it. Moreover, if the gaming process does not satisfy the target audience, there should be no hesitation in deleting


In conclusion, the process of gamification within organizations gives the opportunity to allow “humans to be human”.

Gamification capabilities enable managers and leaders to gain complete trust from their employees and help them increase their productivity.

The gamification process makes it possible to reach a win-win situation:

  • for organizations, because the targets and goals set are achieved,
  • for workers, because their level of satisfaction increases.

Gamification processes are slowly catching on and many organizations have already adopted this new system in order to successfully increase the overall production.

We wonder if it will become a model recognized by most Italian companies!

Have you ever heard of the gamification process? Have you ever taken part? Tell us what you think.

Change the way managing projects.

A try is worth more than a million words.

Project manager skills: 9 (+1) key skills

What are the skills of the Project Manager today? That’s a good question!

Project management is not an easy job. In reality, this is composed by a series of difficult tasks, including the start-up, planning, execution, control, closure of a project and, last but not least, the management of the team.

And the project manager must do all this successfully. In order to do this, he must possess a variety of not only technical, but also transversal skills.

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The project manager does not deal only with systems and processes, but also with people.

Here is then a list of 10 skills (9 + 1) that every project manager should have. 


One of the first skills that come to mind when thinking of a manager is leadership.

This is a skill that some consider innate and that can not be learned.

However, we think everyone has the potential to learn how to apply leadership techniques.

Leadership can show up in different styles, depending on the personality of the project manager.


This aspect is closely connected with leadership.

It is not possible to be an effective leader if one is not able to articulate needs and necessities, but also praises and compliments.

Not only does a project manager communicate with his team, but also with stakeholders, suppliers and customers.

Communication concerns not only a personal level, but also specific tools such as reporting or collaboration tools via chat, file sharing and other means that allow to tag discussions.


This is a technical skill, absolutely essential in a project manager – otherwise it is very likely that the job chosen is wrong.

The only way to achieve the project goals within the established time frame is to divide the goal into individual activities along the timeline and to associate one or more team members to each activity.

In short, this is planning, and it is the heart of what a project manager does.

There are many tools that help this process. One of them is the Gantt diagram, which provides a visualization of the program with tasks, duration, dependencies and milestone.
skills project manager

4.Risk management

Doing anything is a risk. Planning a project, big or small, is also connected with some risks.

It is part of a project manager’s job to predict these events before they become real problems.

Therefore, before carrying out the project, it is necessary to insert the identification, the assessment and the control of the risk.

The more a project manager is able to manage risks, the more likely his project will be successful.

Of course, it is not possible to anticipate everything that could happen during the life cycle of a project.

Unforeseen problems can arise, so a valid and ready process to handle them when they arise is needed.

5.Cost management

The concept is clear, without money you cannot do anything.

Once the budget is created, the first task is to make sure that this is realistic and that it is possible to meet the financial needs of the project.

After that, the costs should be checked regularly during the execution of the project.

Failure to meet this requirement could harm organizations that manage limited budgets.

A good project manager has the ability to finish projects not only respecting the time, but also respecting the given budget.


Being good at negotiating is similar to communication, but it deserves a separate discussion.

Negotiation is not limited to negotiating the best price from a supplier, even if this is part of the job.

Managing a project means being in constant negotiation.

For example, stakeholders could make requests that may impact the scope of a project, and these must be managed and negotiated.

The same goes for the possible conflicts that will arise between team members or other people involved in the project.

Strong negotiating skills will resolve these conflicts before they explode and threaten the project.

7.Critical thinking

Project managers are not the only ones who can benefit from this ability.

Most of us do not think, but react and follow a series of answers that we have said or learned, like an automatic pilot.

Critical thinking is simply objective when analyzing and evaluating a problem or situation, so that an impartial judgment can be formulated.

Every day we are working on a project, we want decisions to be impartial.

The only aspect guiding the decision should be to pursue the best thing for the project.

8.Activity managementproject manager skills

This is another technical skill that should be impressed in the DNA of a project manager.

There can be countless activities that complete a project that must be created, assigned and managed.

This means that poor management in this process can have a serious impact on the success of the project in general.

In these situations a project management tool could be a valid help.

Features that promote collaboration with the team and which help to prioritize and provide instant updates when tasks have been completed or are running are needed.

9.Quality management

This skill is often overlooked by project managers and is the one that probably needs more attention.

It is possible to be negligent in favor of meeting deadlines.

Respecting deadlines is certainly important, but the project in general is useless if it produces a product or service that is poor.

10.Sense of humor

With this we do not mean to be a comedian in the workplace, but there will for sure be a time and a place for a bit of healthy humor.

The sense of humor allows to have a different perspective, allows to see a problem in a different way and, maybe, also to see a possible solution.

Humor relieves stress both in the case of the project manager and the team. Only when the tensions are resolved, in fact, actions and ideas can be more profitable and productive.

The sense of humor also helps morale.  Working hard does not mean that the environment must be suffocating.

Although this may seem absurd, this ability is definitely not to be underestimated as far as project management is concerned.


So, these were the most important skills that a project manager should have in order to improve his effectiveness and productivity in  project management.

Having these skills will not only benefit the organization, but also the managerial career in general.

For you, what are the most important skills that a project manager has to have? Have we forgotten something that is relevant to you? Write us your opinion.

Maximize your skills.

A try is worth more than a million words.

Visual project management

Visual Project Management is an interesting approach to project management. A project management strategy designed to increase success by visualizing project components like data and activities.

It is a proven fact that people receive more than 80% of information through the sense of sight.

From the most tender age, we write and draw in order to visualize our thoughts, emotions and things to remember.

Why not use this way to make work simpler and more efficient? In fact, visualization is something we can implement in project management.

Visual management of the project

By adopting a visual project management, teams and organizations can complete projects of any kind with more speed and efficiency.

Visual project management therefore becomes a technique for work management.

Instead of listing activities in “to do list” or wasting valuable time tracking information in the mailbox, shared files and spreadsheets, it is much easier to track the work using a visual activity management tool.

Visual functionalities can be a valuable resource for any design style, but are more commonly associated with agile methods like Scrum and Kanban.

In a certain way, Visual Project Management is inspired by the old school blackboard.

The board acts as a roadmap, progress tracker and collaboration tool for all types of development teams.

This is why in TW project, besides the use of visual tools we have already talked about (such as the gantt chart and issue management), we have created real blackboards.

Physical boards and digital boards for visual management

Physical whiteboards are a common way to share information, for example to gather topics for a meeting. In Twproject, we find the “digital twins” of physical boards.

A blackboard is an “open space” where everyone (almost everyone, security is always in the background) can insert a message.

Here’s what a used blackboard looks like.

At any time during a project, hundreds of single data are manipulated, transformed and communicated.

These data include labor estimates, capital and operating expenses, activity lists, performance metrics, calendars, cost-benefit analysis, risk profiles, trend data, etc.

As business speed increases and the need to focus on increasing numbers of data in order to keep project execution under control, new and innovative tools and techniques are needed to help project managers.

The visualization of complex data and processes has proved invaluable in meeting these needs.

Visual Project Management as a facilitator

Traditional visual tools such as Gantt charts, Kanban cards, process diagrams, project team calendars, stakeholder organization graphs and similar are advantageous in their own way, but they do not tell the collective story of the general state of the project.

Complicating the issue, sponsors and key project stakeholders may no longer have time for long project status reports or weekly briefings.

Decisions must be made at the moment, with any data available.

For this reason, the traditional discipline of project management, that exploits processes and documents approaches in a “heavy” way, is quickly abandoned in favor of more agile methods.

Some studies have also shown that the information presented in text formats is ineffective and inefficient.

The human eye can see visual schems 65,000 times faster on an image with respect to a tabular form.

visual project management 1

These facts have therefore led to the creation of a new niche within the project management community known as Visual Project Management.

The Scrum-ban style

Regarding the current methodology, many of the useful visual tools combine the best aspects of Kanban and Scrum to which project teams are accustomed.

Some users have started calling this style “Scrum-ban“.

Common visual features include:

  • Real time dashboard
  • Timeline
  • Graphic reports (Gantt, burndown, ecc.)
  • Boards (Kanban)
  • Roadmap of the product

The key advantage of this new approach is speed, as critical project information can be produced, replicated and digested in more efficient and effective ways.

The adoption of this new approach also offers further distinct advantages to project managers, team members and, above all, to the most important stakeholders:

  • The state of project planning, execution, monitoring and control activities are available in a single view, at a glance and it is easy to understand
  • Improve clarity, visibility and understanding of the project’s overall scope and operational plan
  • Resource allocations, or over-allocations, through the project or multiple projects, are clearly visible.
  • As a consequence from the previous point: better planning and allocation of resources
  • The impacts of changes to the scope, plan, priority or resources are available in real time
  • The information is provided in such a manner that everyone can access it, at any time, place and convenient way
  • Ability to isolate problem areas faster

Accelerate processes with Visual Project Management

Visual Project Management can accelerate progress by sharing project information in real time in such a way that is easier to access, understand and transmit.

Today’s project manager has much more to manage than just the project scope, deliverables, communications and teams.

The visual management of the project is not really a radically new approach that messes up the discipline.

It is just a set of tools and techniques that reinforce what we already know: people work and manage projects more efficiently when they have a clear vision of how the project components move and connect with each other.

The best way to represent and share this information in real time is not with a spreadsheet or series of emails, but an image.

Have you adopted visual project management in your work too? Tell us about your experience.

Manage your project in a visual and intuitive way.

A try is worth more than a million words.

Project requirements: how to collect and analyze them

Project requirements are a key aspect in order to complete the project on time and without exceeding budget limits.

This is one of the essential skills of a project manager, often underestimated, which consists in the collection and analysis of these aspects of the plan.

Understanding clearly the requirements of any project you are about to undertake is very important.

Too many projects have failed because of no well-defined requirements.

As stated by the Project Management Institute

47% of projects failed due to poor requirement management.

There are no two identical projects: each project has its own set of requirements and it is a project manager’s responsibility to identify them correctly.

The more complex the project is, the greater the need to define the requirements in order to find certain processes for each part of the project.

What are the project requirements?

Stakeholders hear the term “requirements”, but everyone get its meaning in different ways, depending on the goals.

Therefore, before we can examine anything, it is essential to have a univocal operational definition.

Part of the confusion related to the requirements lies in the fact that there are several types. We will therefore try to stick to the classification made by the PMBOK (link all’articolo PMBOK)

The 6th edition of the PMBOK classifies the project requirements as follows:

  • Corporate: they describe the reason for the project;
  • Stakeholders: they describe the needs of a stakeholder or group of stakeholders;
  • Solution: they describe the characteristics, functions and characteristics of the product, service or result that will satisfy the company and the stakeholders;
  • Functional: they describe the behavior of the product or service;
  • Non-functional: they describe the environmental conditions or the qualities required for the product or service to be effective;
  • Transitional: they describe the temporary capacities necessary to pass from the current state to the desired state in the future;
  • Project: they describe the actions, the processes or the other conditions that the project must satisfy;
  • Quality: they describe any condition or criterion that validates the successful completion of a project result or the fulfillment of other project requirements.

But why are the requirements so important for a project?

When requirements are not clear, projects are at risk; they may not produce the desired and necessary result.

At least, the missing requirements involve reworking.

In short, the lack of project requirements or their poor definition produces negative impacts on the program and on the budget.

Obviously customers, as well as team members, will not be happy with these shortcomings.

We examine the essential steps to arrive at a correct identification and processing of the project requirements.

Collect the project requirements

A project manager can not expect the project requirements to be delivered on a silver platter.

Stakeholders may not know exactly what they want and should therefore be helped in formulating their requirements.

A good project manager knows how to gather the requirements. In case he does not know, he will have to ask for help from those who possess the skills.

The tools for gathering the requirements

Here are some tools and techniques that can be useful for gathering the requirements:

  • Brainstorming: also called as group thinking or group creativity. Usually people with different roles and functions are brought together for this This technique is very useful when you do not have fixed needs and you want try to explore new requirements and new horizons
  • Interviews / questionnaires: this technique is usually used in the case of large groups. Having a large number of interested parties does not allow to organize an individual interview. Be careful, however, to ask the right / pertinent questions for a correct and real collection of the needs of the interested parties.
  • Interviews: a tool that involves personally stakeholders in order to understand their needs. Interviews can be facilitated through personal meetings or phone calls.
  • Benchmarking: in this technique, a comparison is made between existing practices and market best practices. With the gap analysis with respect to these examples of excellence, possible project requirements can be.
  • Context diagram: these diagrams represent a pictorial visualization of various interactions between users and different systems. Therefore, they describe the necessary steps to obtain the results and they may be suitable for identifying the requirements.

In each of these cases it is important to have project management software that allows, in the drafting of the project, these requirements, as an integrated part of the project itself.

Define the requirements!

Twproject, with the list of requirements associated with the project (ToDo), allows you to keep track of customer requests at every stage of the project life cycle.

Try Twproject right now

Requirements analysis

The word “analyze” means to break down or examine in detail the constitution or structure of something.

If the situation allows it, one of the most powerful ways to analyze is to create prototypes or diagrams.

When users can see and / or touch things, it’s easier to see what they like and what do not like. A prototype or a diagram is more tangible than simple data.

Furthermore, in some cases, the priority of each requirement is examined during the analysis. In order to do this, you should ask yourself some questions. Here are some examples:

  1. Which features and functions offer the maximum benefit for the project?
  2. Which ones can cause the greatest risk?

Once analyzed, the requirements are documented and formalized in the project document.

What the project manager must do in general is to keep his team and client focused on clearly defining project goals and mapping valid, detailed and understandable requirements.

All this, in order to create a final solution that provides what the customer really wants.

The criteria for a project requirement

In general, a good requirement must meet four basic criteria:

  • A good requirement must satisfy a specific need
  • A good requirement is verifiable
  • A good requirement is reachable
  • A good requirement is understandable by all stakeholders

A good requirement must satisfy a specific need

A requirement is basically a declaration of something that someone needs.

That something is a product or a solution that performs a service or a function.

Even if it is verifiable, reachable and well declared, a requirement that is not necessary for the final solution is not really a good requirement.

Of course, the definition of the need will depend on the context and circumstances and must be deepened by the team and the client in each specific situation.

A good requirement is verifiable

A requirement must state something that can be verified through quantification, inspection, analysis or testing.

project requirements 3

It is also important to determine the specific criteria for acceptance, which will consequently guarantee verifiable requirements.

A good requirement is reachable

The requirement must be within the budget and must be technically feasible.

It is important not to write requirements for things that can not be built or that are not reasonably within the budget or project timeline.

This is not always easy to determine and a project manager may not have the experience to judge whether a requirement is technically feasible.

In this case, it is necessary to ensure to include the members of the development team in the review process in order to predict technical problems.

It may be necessary to do a research in order to determine the feasibility of a requirement before it is added to the project baseline.

A good requirement is understandable by all stakeholders

A good requirement is understandable by all the subjects involved in the project. It expresses a single thought, is concise and is written in short and simple sentences with coherent terminology.

In this way, as you progress in the design and development phases of the project, the requirement will not change in meaning and will always remain clear to everyone.

Another advice is to formulate the requirements with affirmative language whenever possible.

For instance, it is easier to develop and test a product that does something specific than one that does not do something specific.

In conclusion, we can say that a thorough understanding of how to design, modify and adapt the requirements processes is the key for a successful completion of the project.

Have you ever found yourself in difficulty in collecting and analyzing the requirements? How did you handle the situation? Tell us about your experience.

Measure your project requirements.

Business Coaching. How to prepare for the best by strengthening 4 key skills. (Article for Project Managers).

Business coaching for a project manager is becoming a key aspect of the business.

John Whitmore, recognized by everyone as the founding father of Coaching, defined it as the ability to

Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.


Business Coaching: Introduction

More and more frequently, the Project Manager deals with events where problems have to be solved, ideas presented and results presented.

The project manager spends most of his time communicating with team members and stakeholders, internal (at all levels of the organization) or external to the project.

Moreover, we should not forget that he must also motivate the team every day.

For instance, empowering and encouraging team members to improve their skills, attitudes and empathy in order to achieve better results has the same importance as solving problems or communicating in the right manner with stakeholders.

In addition, the project manager needs strategic skills in decisions and behaviors in order to achieve the objectives of the project.

In short, today more than ever, the Project Manager needs to create a work team and “lead” it to success.

This means knowing how to delegate, supervise, but also motivate.

In short, the role of the project manager for his Team is that of a real Coach that not only dictates the patterns but that also encourages, helps, supports, and gives rewards.

For these reasons, a good method that the project manager can use in his own routine is to instruct other people in the project. He can also use different tools that can help him improve goals and communications.

Business Coaching: the effects

According to a research done by the University of Amsterdam (Theeboom, Beersma and Vianen, 2013), business coaching has significant positive effects on

  • Performance an skills (60%),
  • Welfare(46%),
  • Coping (43%),
  • Work attitudes (54%)
  • Achievement of the objectives (74%).

In general, their research found out that coaching in organizations is an effective tool that improves the functioning of individuals within companies.

Moreover, according to another study by Bersin of Deloitte (Garr, 2011), organizations that effectively prepare managers for coaching have 130% more chance of achieving more satisfactory business results.

Business Coaching: the skills to be improved

Based on the above, project managers should improve at least four skills to become effective coaches.

Four are the skills that could help them when they interact with other people:

  1. Active listening;
  2. Powerful questions;
  3. Direct communication;
  4. Awareness creation.

Let’s see them one by one.

Business Coaching: Active Listening

With active listening we refer to a specific attitude.

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Strive to listen not only to the words that another person is saying, but also try to understand the complete message.[/av_notification]

In order to do this, the person must pay particular attention to the other.

It sounds easy, but it is not!

The situations we live have accustomed us to listen only on a superficial level.

We take the words of other people, but in most cases, we do not contextualize them, therefore we lose the nuances and key aspects of the message.

This is why, if the project manager has at heart the success of the project, he should listen to a deeper level.

This means to listen to the meaning enclosed behind the words that are said.

Becoming active listeners takes a lot of effort and training.

But there are small tricks to start with.

Active listening and really transmitting the perception to be actively listening are steps that can be improved.

Here are some “exercises” to improve active listening:

  • pay attention, looking directly the talker,
  • set aside distracting thoughts and avoid being distracted by the surrounding environment,
  • show that you are listening with the use of a smile or other facial expressions and encourage the speaker to continue by using small verbal comments such as “yes” and “mh”.
  • provide feedback by summarizing the concept of the talker and by asking questions to clarify some points.
  • postpone judgments and personal comments at the end of the speech (even if the temptation is strong!). Allow the talker to finish each point before asking questions and not interrupt him/her with contrary arguments.

In conclusion, the rule of common sense always applies.

You should respond appropriately, treating others the way you would like to be treated 🙂 .

business coaching - team

Business Coaching: Powerful Questions

What are powerful questions?

These are the questions asked to make the interlocutor reflect. Those questions have the ability to create different perspectives and broaden horizons that had not previously been taken into account.

A powerful question brings clarity, action, discovery, intuition or commitment.

It creates more possibilities, new learning or a clearer vision.

Powerful questions cause people to think for themselves. And when you think of yourself, you generally learn more.

The questions are powerful when they impact people and bring them to think.

They are usually open questions and they generally start with the word “what” or “how” and are very direct on the subject.

Moreover, a powerful question gives the person the awareness of the topic and the opportunity to explore it further.

It brings the person to think outside the box, helping to change perspective.

Sometimes powerful questions can cause a bit of discomfort, but a powerful question should be free of judgment. It must simply be a curious question.

If project managers learn to ask powerful questions, this will help them increase their personal and business communication skills.

The key is to always be genuinely curious about the person you are talking to.

Business Coaching: Direct Communication

Direct communication is the ability to communicate effectively during a conversation and to use a language that has the most positive impact on a person.

Direct communication is clear and articulated, it shares and provides feedback.

It is important to reformulate and articulate the concept in order to help people see from another perspective.

business coaching

Moreover, project managers should use appropriate language that is respectful to the person, for example, words that are not sexist, non-racist, non-technical, not jargon.

In addition, the use of metaphors, stories and analogies should be used to help illustrate a point or give a verbal picture and thus help communication.

Business Coaching: Creating awareness

Creating awareness is the ability to accurately integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information and to help people who are talking to the project manager to achieve the expected results.

A project manager plays an important role in creating the conditions for raising awareness. He must ensure that people can bridge the gap between where they are now and where they want to be.

The project manager is responsible for creating a support environment in which people can explore and discover their skills.

Once people know something, the project manager should help them take action in order to allow them to achieve better and more successful results for the project.

Project managers are persons that are organized, passionate and goal-oriented.

They play a strategic role and are the keys of change for their organizations.

They pursue learning, implement changes and achieve success.

In addition, they cultivate the interpersonal skills necessary to develop trust and communication among project stakeholders.

Have you ever applied these coaching techniques? Are there any others that are important to you? Write us your opinion in the comments.

Start planning professionally.

Work Breakdown Structure: some suggestions for using it to the best

A Work Breakdown Structure, abbreviated with WBS, is a visual tool for the definition and tracking of a project deliverable and all the small components necessary to create it.

With a Work Breakdown Structure, the project manager can concentrate on what he has to accomplish as he approaches the project deadline.

This is a fundamental tool for a PM as it helps to plan, manage and evaluate any type of project.

With a WBS, we start from the result or the desired final product, we analyze it and decompose it into smaller deliverables or the activities necessary to create it.

In a WBS, the deliverable can be an object, a service, or an activity.

Focusing on deliverables, rather than methods – the “what”, not the “how” – a Work Breakdown Structure helps to eliminate unnecessary and superfluous work.

A weighted WBS helps in planning, costs estimation and risk analysis.

It is usually a graph or a visual diagram that defines the temporal sequence and the process of a project. It breaks down into each activity that will be performed during the project life cycle.

A WBS is often represented as a structure, as a summary, but can also be organized using tabulations or other visual organizational systems.

What are the purposes of a Work Breakdown Structure?

Here are some of the benefits that arise whit the creation of a Work Breakdown Structure:

  • Provides a visual representation of all parts of a project
  • It offers a continuous vision on how the whole project proceeds, helping its management
  • Defines specific and measurable results
  • Decomposes the job into manageable blocks
  • Provides a system that allows successful experiences to be repeatable
  • Sets a basis for estimating costs and allocating resources, both human and other
  • Avoids overlaps or lack of work for the resources
  • Minimizes the possibility of forgetting a critical result or a risk.

 A well-done WBS can make the team work like a well-oiled machine, with the following advantages:

  • Increases productivity
  • Helps project managers predict results based on various scenarios
  • Helps with the project organization
  • Helps to describe the scope of the project to stakeholders
  • Helps to distribute responsibilities
  • Allows a correct estimate of costs, risks and time
  • Increases and improves communication
  • Allows more creativity and brainstorming
  • Focuses on the final results
  • Organizes the details
  • Prevents potential problems
  • Addresses programming issues
  • Helps to manage risks
  • Gives flexibility to the team
  • Eliminates confusion
  • Provides clear descriptions of the tasks of each team member
  • Provides a basis for a clear report on the status of the project, since each task is a measurable unit

Work Breakdown Structure templates

For a WBS, different types of formats and templates are possible:

  • Graphic format: emphasizes visual visualization of the project;
  • Linear structure: presents a time interval and dependencies between the components of a project;
  • Hierarchical structure: puts at the top the most important elements of a project for a greater emphasis;
  • Tabular view: allows team members to easily navigate to the most relevant sections for them.

Not all projects require the same type of format.

This can and must be adapted to the type of project and the type of members in the team.

Work Breakdown Structure: Best practices

1. Focus on the final results, not on the methods / actions.

The key lies in thinking about the “what”, not about “how”.

The main purpose of a WBS is to define the main deliverable taking into consideration the small components that compose it.

If the deliverable is not a physical product, a specific and measurable result must be provided in any case.

For example, if you are creating a WBS for a professional service, you need to define the results of that specific service.

2. 100 percent rule

The work represented by the Work Breakdown Structure must include 100% of the work required to complete the general result without including any extraneous or unrelated work.

Even sub-activities, at any level, should be taken into account, because are all necessary to complete the main activity.

In other words, the elements in the second level are equal to 100% and the elements in the third and lower levels are positioned within the percentage of the higher level with respect to them.

The finished project should never give a sum greater or less than 100 percent.

Work Breakdown Structure

3. 8/80 rule

One of the common mistakes is to break down the work too much or not decompose it enough. There are several ways to decide when a work package is small enough without being too small.

The 8/80 rule is one of the most common suggestions: a work package should not take less than eight hours of work, and no more than 80 hours.

Other rules suggest not to give activities that exceed ten working days – which is equal to 80 hours if you consider a full-time employee.

In other words, a work package should not take more than a month to complete.

Clearly, this rule should be applied if it makes sense within the project and the industry.

4. Attention to the level of detail

In general, work packages should provide activities that can be completed by a team member, or by the team in general, within a reference period.

If the team is less experienced and needs more supervision and coaching, one solution is to make the work packages smaller and shorter.

If you have a deliverable that may take longer to complete or cost more than your given budget, it may be useful to divide the project into smaller deliverables with shorter work times.

With a more frequent reporting and review time, you can solve problems and solve them earlier.

Another suggestion is to create tasks and delegate activities at the beginning of a project, but in case and if necessary create new tasks and new delegations during a project.

We gained a time optimization thanks to the structuring of projects with tools such as the template generator and cloning function of entire projects or portions

How to create a Work Breakdown Structure

The first step to create a WBS is to bring the team together.

Regardless of whether the team works in an office or remotely, it is essential that members participate in identifying derivables.

Collaborators must know exactly what is happening.

The project manager must also assemble the key documents of the project in order to start the development of the Work Breakdown Structure: the project charter, the problem that the project will solve, the scope definition, the documentation that refers to the existing processes for the project management, etc.

To start the creation, it is necessary to define the level one, ie the main result of the project.

Then gradually add as many details as possible. From the second level you will descend to the smaller pieces up to the third level, to the fourth level, and more, if necessary.

It is important to always define what is required in the previous level in the most detailed way possible before moving on to the next levels. It will be essential to further break down the work.

Here is a brief structure that can be useful for writing a WBS:

  • Determine and describe the project result;
  • Highlight all the necessary phases of the project;
  • Divide the final results into manageable tasks;
  • Assign each section and make sure that each owner, ie the corresponding team member, has all the information, skills and knowledge necessary to complete the job.
  • Ensure frequent feedback. The WBS is a dynamic document, whose content can be revisited, even frequently, to ensure the correct execution and delivery of the project.

In conclusion, the creation of a Work Breakdown Structure is a team effort and is the point of arrival of multiple inputs and perspectives for the given project.

Its goal is to make a large project more manageable.

The deconstruction into smaller blocks means that work can be done simultaneously by different team members. This will lead to better productivity and easier management of the project in general.

Have you ever created a WBS structure for your project? What tools and methods did you use?

Share them with us in the comments below.

Start creating your Work Breakdown Structure.

The Getting Things Done method: 5 important steps for managing time

The GTD (Getting Things Done) method is a system that allows to efficiently organize one´s activities in relation to time, thus remaining productive.

It may seem complicated from an external point of view, but the ultimate goal is to optimize the time to devote to the activities that need to be done, in order to have more time for the activities that a person wants to do.

The GTD method, if used correctly, allows to simplify both the working as well as the private life. In fact, this method can be used in both situations.

The GTD method: let’s deepen the subject

The GTD is a method used for organizing things to do, based on their priorities and on a – daily, weekly, monthly – schedule in order to make them all manageable.

This method allows you to see the activities at stake and to choose efficiently on what and how to work in the future.

The GTD method also allows you to eliminate from your mind any distractions that may impede efficient work.

All this sounds amazing, but this method is also known to be complicated.

Part of the reason for this reputation lies in the fact that there is no single and always valid and correct way to put it into practice.

For sure there are some guidelines, but there is no precise scheme to follow. The application of the GTD method varies in every situation.

Part of this flexibility makes it easy to customize it in order to suit your needs. On the other hand, it makes it difficult to approach and put into practice.

Let´s try to understand how it works in a very simple way.

gtd method doing

The 5 phases of the GTD method

The GTD method is basically an organizational system. In fact, it does not set precise rules on how to carry out the work concretely.

The method focuses on how to organize, structure and choose the work to be done and is based on 5 phases or steps:


Here are meant all things to do, ideas, recurring tasks, in short, really everything

Collect and write everything in a notebook, in a Word sheet, on post-it, on any tool you prefer to use for your organization.

The GTD method does not tell you to use a specific tool, but whatever you use must adapt to your daily flow. There must be no excuse to say “I will add it to my list later”.


Do not just write “Vacation Planning”, but divide it into practical and executable steps. For example: choose the destination, search for the flight, look for the hotel, etc.

If something can be done right away and you have time to do it, you have to take advantage of it, and do it right away.

If a thing can be delegated, then it should be delegated.

3.Organize everything by category and priority

Assign expiration dates and deadlines where possible, and set reminders to comply with them.

Pay particular attention to the priority of each activity.

Right now you are not concretely doing any of the items on the list, but you are just organizing the list and the points, according to category and priority.


At this point, the system is realized to make it easily understandable and it’s now time to get involved and get to work.

The activities are divided into manageable blocks, of limited size, easy to start. There are no more excuses.


Periodically perform a detailed review of the points to see where progress is being made. It is also good in order to see where changes in priorities and categories are necessary and, in general, to verify if the system works.

How to start with the GTD method

Including the basic premises of the GTD method, getting started is simple.

In fact, it is likely that many project managers already use some of the pillars of the GTD and that these are already part of their workflow.

It is probable but not so obvious. So, for those who want to try, here is how to get started.

First of all, we need a tool to acquire and organize all the ideas, activities and tasks to be done, responsibilities, everything that we need to remember.

gtd method

It is necessary to choose a method, an instrument or a tool that allows us to report the new information given to us as quickly as possible.

If the boss announces a new task, in fact, this has to be reported in the tool chosen in the most immediate way.

If the current method does not allow this freedom, it must be changed.

Here is the point that most people do not: dedicate some time each week, or at the beginning of each day, to really get in touch with things to do.

How many of us, entering the office, sit at the desk and start working blindly, thinking only about the individual activities without thinking or having a general picture of the day?

Tasks must be organized into specific tasks that can be managed according to schedule and priority.

Ideally, if the GTD method is executed correctly, all the tasks to be done should be easily displayed. You can quickly see what is most important, what takes more or less time, what can be postponed.

How a person organizes himself, specifically depends on the person, but a fundamental rule is: do not overdo it.

If the list begins to fill with categories, variable priorities and all kinds of labels, flags and possible functions, it’s time to get back to the starting point and simplify.

And above all, do not forget the periodic review, preferably weekly.

Conclusions on the GTD method

The GTD method has a lot to offer, but let’s not forget it: it’s just an organizational philosophy and it’s not suitable for everyone.

In fact, there are several other productivity tools and systems to choose from and the GTD method is only one of them.

The goal of the GTD method is to devote some time for organizing the activities in order to subsequently obtain a large amount of time that would otherwise have been spent on unnecessary and unproductive work.

You will generally be more relaxed, because you will not have to worry anymore with the thought of what to do next, how to do it or when you will have time to do it.

In our experience, success and productivity are connected to how you manage two aspects of work management:

  1. Carefully model the complexities of your work environment – and here, of course, Twproject assists you wonderfully
  2. Bring this complexity to something simple, light, quickly manageable by the individual user.

Many ideas surrounding “agile” and “getting things done” management move around this process.

The final result should be to be more in tune with work and to be more involved in the personal life.

And you, what method of organization of activities do you use?

What is your relationship with the GTD method? Write it in the comments.

Complete the activities with the right method.

Differences between Program manager and Project manager: the two roles compared

Program managers and project managers, two roles with similar titles will not be so different, right? Wrong!

It is easy to get confused for the assonance, but above all because in some companies the Project Manager carries out tasks and activities that are very similar to those of the Program Manager.

In reality, the Program Manager and the Project Manager, although sharing similar responsibilities, have positions that are quite distinct due to key differences.

Projects vs. Programs

Before discussing the similarities and differences between the two roles, it is fundamental to understand what is the difference between projects and programs.

Projects are temporary, are implemented one-off, and are generally limited by costs, resources, budgets and time constraints.

Projects have clear end dates and short-term goals that turn into tangible results or derivables.

program manager goals

The programs are instead composed of several underlying and interconnected projects.

These projects complete each other in order to achieve a broader and longer-term business goal.

A successful program brings strategic benefits and organizational growth, rather than a single tangible result.

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In short, a project manager has a more focused view on work within a single project; on the other hand, the program manager has a broad view of all workflows that lead to a “higher” goal.

Who is a Program Manager?

A Program Manager is a professional who articulates the strategy and goals of a program. His assessment will focus on how the program will impact the company in general.

The achievement of the general goals will pass from a list of interdependent projects that He (or She) must define, manage, and supervise.

The program manager creates a main schedule for managing dependencies between projects. A program risk management plan and a program communication plan are thus created.

The program manager therefore does not manage the projects, but rather provides the necessary supervision to ensure that the pieces of each project are completed in an effective and efficient way. The goal is to meet the needs of other projects in order to achieve the overall goal.

It may be useful to think of a program manager as an architect who designs a project.

An architect does not install the electrical system and does not build the walls of a house, but makes sure that all these pieces come together to create a solid and usable building.

program manager workers

The role of the Program Manager goes beyond the completion of individual projects and has as focus the long-term implementation of the whole company program.

The responsibilities of the Program Manager

The responsibilities of the Program Manager include: recruiting teams, implementing strategies, measuring ROI and other high-level activities and tasks.

A program manager is a highly qualified leader with a vision towards the future of the company.

The program manager should correctly and accurately inform the project managers of the corporate goal that needs to be achieved.

If the business strategy changes, the program manager must communicate it to the various project managers so that they are aware of the changes and can implement them into the individual projects.

The program manager focuses on the strategy and implementation plan and, as a result, delegates projects according to these factors.

The control of a program manager goes well beyond the life span of the single projects and focuses on long-term benefits for the company.

Who is a Project Manager?

The project manager manages the operations of the individual projects within the programs.

He (or She) coordinates the time, budget and resources needed to complete the work within the program guidelines. Moreover, he reports to the Program Manager on progress and any changes made to the initial project plan.

The role of the project manager is more tactical than that of the program manager. If program managers are architects, project managers are like team leaders.

A project manager focuses mainly on the execution and management of the functional elements of the project, this includes meeting deadlines, respecting the budget, delegating activities and achieving results.

Once the project has been completed and its goal has been achieved, the role of the project manager, with respect to that single project, ceases.

Program Manager and Project Manager

Let’s recap the three main differences between a program manager and a project manager:

  • Program managers supervise groups of projects; project managers supervise individual projects;
  • Program managers focus on long-term business goals; project managers work to achieve concrete results in the short term;
  • Program managers are strategic; project managers are tactical.

One can think and believe that a program manager possesses a wider range of skills and power with respect to a project manager.

In reality, a program manager must wear different glasses in order to look at the program from different perspectives and thus have an overview.

Through these different perspectives, the correct identification and segregation of individual projects arises in order to achieve the company goal.

Once these perspectives are established and segregation is carried out, the role of project managers becomes prevalent.

Project managers do not need glasses to get a general vision, but rather they focus on the goals of the project and manage the process and the workflow that can lead to the success of the single project.

After listing the main differences between these two professional roles, it remains only to mention a great resemblance between the two.

Both are “structured” roles that require heterogeneous skills and individuals who want to strive to make a difference in the business and industrial world to which they belong.

Did you know the difference between project manager and program manager? Do you believe there are further noteworthy differences between these two? Leave us your opinion.

Manage programs and projects professionally.

Corporate change: the 8 reasons that cause difficulties and resistance

Today, the resistance to change in the company is a very important, and the same time delicate, subject.

In fact, in business, it is assumed that – big or small – organizations must change to remain competitive and survive in an ever-changing market.

However, facing this (big) change leads to face resistance barriers.

There are many different types of organizational changes.

Organizations can change:

  • their strategy,
  • their use of technology,
  • their structure,
  • their culture,
  • any combination of these aspects.

That’s why having a perspective view becomes fundamental.

Only by looking forward and defining the new organization and the new way of working of the people involved it is possible to identify the key aspects of the change process.

In short, it will be appropriate to plan “how the hypothetical change must take place” and to define the necessary actions that can counter the potential obstacles that may arise.

It is necessary to understand to what extent the people, in this case the employees, are ready to accept the changes and if the process threatens them in some way.

For a manager who must effectively manage the process of change implementation, it is important to know the reasons why people might resist change. The comprehension of motivations is essential to find and apply ways that encourage cooperation.

Resistance can delay or slow down the process of change, hinder its implementation and increase its cost. A manager can not afford it.

Why do people resist change?

In practice, there are 8 reasons why people resist change at work place.

A good manager must recognize these signs easily and understand the emotions that employees feel in this phase. Let’s try to examine one by one the causes of resistance to change.

1.Loss of work

In a company, any technological progress, process or product change will include more optimized work. This means a reduction in costs, an improvement in efficiency and a focus on faster completion times.

All this means that there will be changes that can affect certain roles and jobs. The team will tend to resist to protect their role.

2.Fear of the unknown

Employee responses to corporate change may vary. It can be fear or total support.

During times of change, some employees may feel the need to stick to the past because it is safer, more known and more predictable.

If what they did in the past worked well for them, they could resist change because they fear this comfortable situation will change in the future.

How can you blame them?

What is known is definitely an anchor, a safe haven, whatever the area.

This is why listening and dialogue become fundamental in this situation. Periodic meetings, comparisons and communication on change can be therefore very useful.

corporate change (2)

3.Loss of control

Asking to change the way the work is made can make employees feel helpless and confused.

People are more likely to understand and apply changes when they feel they have some control over them.

The key is therefore to keep the communication doors open and to encourage input, support and help from employees.

4.Lack of competence

This is a fear that employees will hardly admit openly.

Some people will feel that they will not be able to make the transition. This is because of their (few or insufficient) skills.

Therefore, the only way for them to survive or not to show their “ignorance” is to counter change.

Some employees express reluctance in learning something new in general. In this way, however, besides hindering change, they also hinder their personal growth.

5.Wrong time

It is important to consider that change is, itself, an event!

For this reason, change must be introduced when there are no other important initiatives in progress.

In this case, it is essential to prepare a strategy for change management since the beginning. The general situation of the organization must be assessed and the analysis should be complete.

In some cases it may be useful to hire a business change management consultant. This serves to design an effective and objective change management strategy.

6.Lack of rewards

Employees can resist changes when they see no reward. It is the simple question “Who makes me do it?”.

Without reward, in fact, there is no motivation to sustain change in the long run.

Therefore, to support change management, it is important that the organization’s reward systems are modified accordingly. The change must be seen as a rewarding system, an improvement for the company itself.

7.Social environment

Each company has its own internal policy. Thus, some employees resist change a priori, like a “political strategy“. It is simply a way like another to go against the management.

Employees can also join forces against change. They can do it, for example, to show that the person leading the change is not good for the task.

In the same manner, employees can resist change in order to protect their work colleagues. They do this when, for example, there is a risk of layoffs.

Sometimes even managers themselves could resist change in order to protect their working teams.

8.Lack of trust and support

A corporate change can not succeed if it takes place in a climate of distrust. Trust implies faith in the intentions and behavior of others.

In this case, any change in the workplace can be a cause of fear for the employees. The fear that their roles within the company may change.

In companies where a high degree of trust exists and employees are treated with respect and dignity, there is less resistance to change.

corporate change

Recognize resistance to change

How do you know if there is resistance to change in the company?

Sometimes people say or demonstrate quite directly that they are not happy or that they will not follow the plans.

Often, however, resistance is less obvious. It tends to act in a hidden way.

Those who remain silent can resist just as firmly as those who openly communicate their dissent.

Silence does not always mean consent. It is more difficult to manage a silent dissent than an open resistance.

Others may question the methodology. They could do it by undermining the process by which the changes were decided. In short, they will tend to weaken the initiative of change.

Then, there are those who are too busy to think about implementing changes.

Running everywhere the whole day, sending messages and continuously answering calls, they simply do not have time to make changes to their operating modes.


So, how do you handle the obvious and less obvious resistance to change?

Strategies to overcome resistance

If new initiatives seem to fade before moving on and the best plans go nowhere, these can be signs that employees are resisting to change.

Even if not all resistances are negative, the inability to adapt to change can have disastrous consequences.

Several studies have shown that around 70% of corporate changes fail due to the resistance of the workforce.

So what do you do to face resistance to change? Here are some suggestions.

[av_font_icon icon=’ue812′ font=’entypo-fontello’ style=” caption=” link=” linktarget=” size=’40px’ position=’left’ color=’#145b79′ av_uid=’av-33k5u7v’][/av_font_icon]Link the change to other issues that affect people. To improve the perception of change, one can think of connecting it to other issues that people care about (eg work safety). By showing how change is linked to these factors, it is possible to make resistance less likely.

[av_font_icon icon=’ue812′ font=’entypo-fontello’ style=” caption=” link=” linktarget=” size=’40px’ position=’left’ color=’#145b79′ av_uid=’av-x87i3′][/av_font_icon]Show attention and understanding of concerns. Communicate with employees about new initiatives and their progress. Ask them which are their worries that they see behind the change. Listening to others’ opinions is the first step to influence them.

[av_font_icon icon=’ue812′ font=’entypo-fontello’ style=” caption=” link=” linktarget=” size=’40px’ position=’left’ color=’#145b79′ av_uid=’av-1z6bg4b’][/av_font_icon]Identify team members who support change. These people are the supporters of the new way of working. They can be the link between change and the rest of the team. Ensure that they participate in the forums and to the change initiatives so that their voices can be heard.

[av_font_icon icon=’ue812′ font=’entypo-fontello’ style=” caption=” link=” linktarget=” size=’40px’ position=’left’ color=’#145b79′ av_uid=’av-1s8wyt7′][/av_font_icon]Communicate openly. It is essential to give precise information on what will happen and when, which aspects will change and what will remain unchanged. People are more likely to get stressed when they do not know the details of the situation.

[av_font_icon icon=’ue812′ font=’entypo-fontello’ style=” caption=” link=” linktarget=” size=’40px’ position=’left’ color=’#145b79′ av_uid=’av-12pf457′][/av_font_icon]Offer resources and tools. In a change, one of the biggest obstacles can be employees who are unprepared to manage changes. It will be necessary to provide training courses, equipment and everything that will not only help them to adapt, but also to excel in the changed environment. In this way, not only they can stop resisting, but they can even feel encouraged and confident about the new situation.

[av_font_icon icon=’ue812′ font=’entypo-fontello’ style=” caption=” link=” linktarget=” size=’40px’ position=’left’ color=’#145b79′ av_uid=’av-rp4zwb’][/av_font_icon]Timing is everything. Good timing is crucial when it comes to change. If you try to make important changes all at once or too quickly, employees may be more likely to resist. It is good practice to introduce change in measured doses in order to give employees the chance to acclimatize. This not only guarantees less interruptions to the activity, but also makes employees more inclined and therefore more productive.

It is a cliché, but it is true that change is difficult, in every sector, both in the working as well as in the private sphere.

By following a few simple strategies and a well designed plan of change, it is possible, however, to reassure the employees that the company’s commitment is to ensure, as never before, their well-being and success.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation of corporate change? Which side did you stand for? Tell us about your experience.

Manage your change process.

From time management to schedule management: the new time management in a project

Schedule management or project scheduling is the process of project time management through milestones, activities and final results, usually indicating the expected start and end dates.

A schedule or scheduling is the project or program calendar.

This shows how the work will progress over a period of time and takes into account factors such as limited resources and the uncertainty estimation.

This process begins with the work necessary to meet the requirements of the stakeholders.

This includes the technical / practical work that creates the results and the management activity that deals with aspects such as risk management and stakeholder management.

Definition of types of work

Some types of work can be defined much more easily than other types.

Engineering work, for example, tends to have detailed and complete specifications from the start, while some IT activities follow a more iterative approach to define what needs to be done.

The approaches to time calculation must be equally flexible.

In some cases, you can use rigorous techniques to model the work and calculate the detailed times.

In other cases, general estimates have to be made from the start, then, as the project continues, they are constantly refined thanks to the information available.

A detailed model can be used to perform “what-if” calculations and analysis to test the result of potential events.

For example: “what happens if the X resource is not available in February?” Or “what happens if there are unfavorable weather conditions in March?”.

Rolling Wave Planning

The detailed high-level planning approaches usually follow the so-called  “rolling wave” planning.

Short-term work is generally better defined and can be subject to more rigorous and comprehensive planning.

Long-term work is more vague and subject to changes and will be detailed working progress.

The detail window then moves along the program like a “rolling wave”, literally a rolling wave.

The most commonly used graphic planning form is the Gantt chart.

In its simplest form it uses bars on a horizontal chronological scale to show the beginning, duration and end of the various activities.

Variants of the Gantt chart can transmit all types of information adapting to the circumstances.

At the end of the work scheduling shows what has been planned and what really happened and can be an important tool in identifying and determining the lessons learned.

How to perform project scheduling

Before deepening  project planning, let’s examine the basics.

You have to ask yourself three questions to start project planning:

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

time-management-to do list

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can start planning dates, linking activities, setting duration, milestones, and resources.

Following are the necessary steps  to plan a project:

  • Define activities: Using a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) structure and a deliverable diagram, you can begin to perform these tasks and organize them by mapping the activities needed to complete them in an order compared to what is necessary;
  • Making estimates: Once the activities have been defined and divided, it is necessary to determine the time and effort required to complete them;
  • Determine dependencies: Tasks are not isolated and often it isn’t possible to start a new one until the previous is not completed. This is the so-called dependence of activities;
  • Assign resources: The last step to finalizing the planned program is to decide which resources will be needed to perform these tasks on time.

You will have to choose the project team and the time of the collaborators will have to be planned exactly following the planned activities in the planning.

As the complexity of work increases, it becomes impractical to maintain a single detailed program.

Large-scale projects will often use wave planning in which only short-term work is shown in detail with the long-term work that is shown in summary.

As the amount of management activity increases, it may be useful to create separate delivery plans for different areas such as a communication plan, a technical plan, a marketing plan, etc.

The need for multiple plans is inevitable as the complexity of project increases.

To be effective, the project manager must ensure that similar programming policies are adopted throughout the program.

These policies can be defined in a planning management plan.

The scheduling management plan has essentially three parts:

  • Development planning
  • Control
  • Planning of changes

Development planning

In this section the procedures for the development and revision of the program are established.

The personnel responsible for the development is identified and the potential contribution of the project team members is discussed.

Written procedures for estimating asset duration and budgets, contingency levels, and resources are specified for the project.

Moreover, if the project is complex, a project planning software is very often a useful tool to have.

Scheduling check

In this section the procedures for measuring and monitoring the project program are implemented.

Throughout the project, planning deviations and costs should be known or calculated regularly, which requires an estimate of the percentage of completion of each activity according to scheduling.

At this stage it is necessary to have clear answers to the following questions:

  • How will the program be measured?
  • Which units will be used to measure completeness of activities?
  • Who will measure it?
  • How often will it be measured?

Scheduling changes

Normally, any change to the initial project planning must be communicated and approved.

In fact, in most cases, someone has initially approved the project budget and deadline and expects to receive results accordingly.

That person is usually called the “project sponsor“.

And it is the project sponsor together, often, to the stakeholders who must be informed and approve all the changes to the initial planning.


                                                                                                                                         Thanks for the image to  Watch List

Here are the basic questions to consider in this case:

  • What are the appropriate reasons for a change of program?
  • How much notice do you need?
  • Who must approve the changes?

Project planning is probably one of the most difficult jobs of a project manager, but the coordination of delivery dates on estimates can be simplified and made more efficient when you have gained experience and when using appropriate software management.

What are your experiences with project scheduling? Write us your comment here.

Start planning your projects.

Project documents: best practices to manage them better

A clear and detailed project documentation is essential for the success of the project itself.

Every good project manager knows it well!

In fact, it is necessary to be constantly updated to stay on track with the project.

However, project documentation drafting can be a difficult and unloved task.

For some organizations and projects there are even legal requirements to be met for the drafting and storage of documents. These are mandatory requirements that, if not respected, can make in trouble not only the single project, but the company itself.

All clear then, project documentation is important and its correct drafting and conservation is essential.

So what’s the problem? The problem is actually very simple: most people hate to compile documentation.

It’s a time-consuming process!

It is considered boring and often underestimated or ignored not only by the collaborators who have to deal with it, but also by the people who requested it.

Each project is unique and therefore requires unique documentation to help to guide the project to a successful conclusion.

Hence, it’s very important to identify which documents are critical for each project.

Below we provide a simple project classification that could help to identify relevant documentation:

  • Small projects: these projects last one to four months. The emphasis is on speed and completion of the project as quickly as possible. Examples of such projects are the creation of a website or simply an upgrade of existing systems.
  • Medium-sized projects: these projects take up to 12 months to complete and are the standard for most companies. They are not that fast and usually involve external suppliers. The risk level and control of changes increases with respect to small projects.
  • Super dimensional projects: these are the largest and most complex projects. It may even take years to complete them. An example of this project is the construction of a building.

Determination of project documentation needs

An important question to ask itself for each project is: what is the minimum project documentation needed?

In fact, written documentation requires time and money. Therefore, project size has an impact on the number of documents needed.

Furthermore, the development of project documentation becomes even more crucial when working with public administration and public institutions.

project documents

It is, for example, the case of the medical, pharmaceutical or defense sectors.

An Australian study of CSIRO (The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) link to the target = blank site, which took into consideration about 350 companies, found that incomplete documentation caused a reduction in the efficiency of the project.

In cases where there was very little documentation, the projects had an average completion of 11% which, to say it is superfluous, is a very low percentage.

For small projects, the emphasis is therefore on minimum requirements and minimum documentation.

Medium-sized projects gradually require more documentation, while large projects require maximum documentary effort because they require a high level of communication and coordination.

Create the right documentation

Sometimes project managers do not want to create new documents for each of their projects.

As an alternative, they can use a wide range of proven project models.

This allows the project manager to have more time to focus on the actual project, rather than wasting time on developing new documents from scratch.

Whether the project manager manages the entire project lifecycle or simply a phase, he will still have to deal with details and information from various sources.

Thinking to the input coming from customers, users and sellers, at some point he will have to write something.

Specifically, the project documentation focuses on:

  • Define the purpose and scope of the project;
  • Identify results and key points;
  • Document the technical parameters and the technologies to be used;
  • Address the way deliverable will be built or distributed;
  • Evaluate elements such as quality, scope, resources, risks, training and costs;
  • Document any backouts or unexpected events that may occur;
  • Communicate progress and update project stakeholders.

Once again we can understand how much correct documentation is fundamental for the success of a project.

Whether it is simple paper documents or documentation sent in electronic format, it is necessary to plan and develop the project documentation before starting the project itself.

Hence, project managers must anticipate the time required to develop these documents within project planning and update the plan every time a change occurs.

What you need to document

Regardless of the organization’s structure, the ability to record and document all aspects of a project is vital to be a successful project manager.

Reports, graphs, documents, change requests and status updates must also be kept throughout the life of a project and, very often, even beyond.

project documents

It is important to consider the following to determine what to include into documention:

  • Customer documentation: a simple example is sufficient for this topic. Imagine that a customer ask to the project manager information about a decision made a couple of months ago. The customer claims to have clearly chosen a direction, but the company has decided to follow another one. Clear documentation on customer meetings, with specific dates, times and participants, will help everyone to remember the decision made and to clarify any misunderstanding.
  • Legal documents: For some projects there are legal requirements that require making specific documents. For public projects, for example, supervisory and review processes may be necessary to analyze a project after its completion. The legal requirements of a project must be clear already at the beginning of the project itself.
  • Process documentation: important processes within a project must be documented. This documentation may also be useful as a resource for any similar future projects. In case of doubt, the best approach is always to document.
  • Project Change Documentation: Project updates are essential to document when objectives, or project execution, change due to internal factors or external causes. Stakeholders must also be informed of these changes and receive the relevant documentation.

Documentation best practices

What are the best strategies to use to maintain effective, efficient and timely documentation? Here are the best practices:

  • Taking the time: many people think that the calendar is only used to setup meetings. It’s not just like that! The calendar can be used to program blocks of time to to reflect and for drafting of an essential document for the project. We need to take some time to write an official document. This can‘t happen when you keep answering the phone, writing emails and talking with your co-workers. Likewise, you can plan 10-15 minute blocks every week to review and update the documentation.
  • Enter the right details: depending on the documentation target, this must contain more or less details and, depending on the role of the target audience, the details must be of a certain type or another. For example, an engineer will need the project technical details, while a marketing manager will be focused on other factors. The project manager must to consider the right level of detail in the documentation.
  • Smart Storage: documentation must be easy to identify and easily accessible. This also includes the use of clear and easily identifiable keywords.
  • Share: the documentation must be shared and must not be saved individually on the project manager’s PC. Sharing the documentation, with the right collaborators, also allows you to receive constructive feedback if changes are necessary.
  • Updating the documentation: as the project progresses, it is necessary to ensure that the project documentation is correctly updated. Needless to waste time in writing initial documents and then lock them in oblivion.

In conclusion, documentation is certainly a difficult topic for many project managers, but it is a fundamental tool that in some cases can even simplify the execution of the project.

Hence it’s important to give the right value to the project documentation.

That’s why in TWproject we have made the life easier!

Document management is a large topic, so there are dozens of specific applications (called DMS).

In Twproject we don’t want to compete with these specific tools. We are, in fact, aware that every company has its own system of document storage, tested and structured.

That’s why we have chosen to keep the management of documents to the essential. At the same time we have decided to integrate this aspect with some powerful and simple technique.

Therefore, we have created an intelligent system for managing and archiving project documents in Twproject.

Your documents will always be one click away from your projects (and resources, and even from issues).

You will be able to connect and access to your documents in two ways:

  • Uploading a document directly to TWproject
  • Creating a link to a file archive
  • Adding a link, if you already have a document repository,

In this way you will have access to your documents directly from Twproject: a single place from where to manage everything and put everything available to the team.

Not bad, right?

All while working, also remotely or accessing from mobile.

In short, we have tried to meet all the needs of the PM to concretely support the need to manage project documents.

And what is your relationship with the project documentation?

Is it a difficult task for you or are you part of the project managers who not struggling dealing with it?

Give us your opinion, but above all, tell us what are the needs about that.

We would like to know what else we may implement in the software to improve your work.

Manage your project documents.

Organize team work time: leveling or smoothing resources?

Being able to organize the work time of your team is essential for the success of each project.

This is also because a project manager does not always have all the necessary resources to complete the project.

And even in the case when the resources are sufficient, during the execution of the project there are situations and potential risks that can, even suddenly, cut out this “luxury”.

Even when all the necessary resources are available, it is the responsibility of the project manager to use resources efficiently and save on company costs.

To achieve these goals, resource optimization techniques are required. Today, in particular, we see two of them:

  • Resource leveling;
  • Resource smoothing.

These techniques allow to complete the project with minimal obstruction.

Resource leveling

Resource leveling is used when resources are limited.

In these cases, project planning can be extended and one or more deadlines can be postponed.

If the resources are not available, in fact, the duration of the project could change.

Resource leveling is mainly used when:

  • An important resource may not be available for a certain period of time;
  • An important resource may not be available at a given time;
  • One or more resources must be shared with another project;
  • The demand for a resource is greater than the supply. If the demand for resources exceeds their availability, at any time, some activities may be delayed until the availability of resources becomes acceptable again.

This technique is also used when the use of resources has to be constant.

In the resource leveling, in fact, the limited resources should be optimized.

Resource leveling answers the question of when it will be possible to complete the project with the resources provided.

Resource leveling is sometimes also called resource constrained scheduling (RCS).

In this case, a project must be completed with the available resources, therefore the concept of “limited resources”.

Let’s make a concrete example of resource leveling that causes an extension of the planning and, therefore, a delay of the project.

We are developing a program for a two-story building project.

The construction of the first floor takes place without problems, but for the second floor an additional scaffolding is needed.

We find out that we have an extra scaffolding available in our company and that we can take it from another project, BUT we have to wait a week longer than the date we had set.

As a result, construction activities will be delayed by a week.

Resource smoothing

Resource smoothing is used when resources need to be optimized and planning can not be extended.

Since it is not possible to postpone one or more deadlines, the completion date of the project should remain the same.

In the resource smoothing, it is necessary to do everything possible to avoid any delay as it could affect the life cycle and planning of the project.

Time here is the main constraint.

organize team work time

There is a fixed and immutable program and therefore the resources should be optimized accordingly.

Resource smoothing is also known as time costrained scheduling (TCS).

TCS emphasizes the completion of a project within a certain period of time. Here, the start and end dates of the project are fundamental and have to be respected.

TCS also considers supply (availability) and demand (requirement) of resources. Here, however, there is a default limit for the resource request, which can not be exceeded.

Also in this case we make a concrete example.

Let’s sppose that a student has to take an exam and has allocated 60 hours in three months for studying. This means 20 hours a month.

However, while planning the exam date, he discovers that the only available appointment is in two months.

In this case the student must distribute these 60 hours in those two months, ie 30 hours per month.

This is a concrete example of resource smoothing.

Since the exam date can not be postponed, the student will have to work harder to reach his goal.

Otherwise, he will not pass the exam, which corresponds to the failure of the project.

The differences between resource leveling and resource smoothing

Let’s see some differences between resource leveling and resource smoothing:

  • In the resource leveling the end date of the project can change, while in the case of resource smoothing it does not change;
  • In resource leveling, the critical path of the project changes (generally increases), whereas in the case of resource smoothing it does not. The activities can also be delayed only within their float, planned at the start;
  • Generally, resource smoothing is performed only after the resource leveling;
  • In resource leveling, the resources themselves are the main constraint, while in resource smoothing the end date of the project is the constraint to be taken into consideration;
  • Resource leveling is used when resources are under or over-allocated. Resource smoothing is used instead when resources are allocated unevenly;
  • Resource leveling can be applied to activities during the critical path, while in resource smoothing, activities and the path generally do not touch.

The similarities between resource leveling and resource smoothing

The following are some similarities between the two:

  • Both help optimize the use of resources;
  • Both help to plan the analysis of the network.

Resource leveling and resource smoothing are different techniques that are used in different situations.

It is not always necessary to use both techniques; depending on the case, you can choose only one of them.

However, if both are used, as mentioned above, it is usually the resource leveling that preceds the resource smoothing, since it is necessary to consider the constraints of resources first, before being able to optimize them.

Resource leveling and resource smoothing are two optimization techniques for the resources.

If used, in any project the chances of completing the project successfully within the deadline and respecting the initially approved cost limits increase.

The essential difference is that resource leveling is used to balance the demand and supply of resources, while resource smoothing helps to ensure a uniform use of resources.

In Twproject, it is always possible to check the workload of your resources, both in the planning, as well as in the daily management of the project.

The more complete theinformation in Twproject, the more your graphs will approach reality.

For example, when you start a project, the first thing you have to say to Twproject is how much you intend to work on a project: you have to make an estimate.

organize team work time

The estimate is set by mutual agreement. This is also a way to engage the team.

Evaluating the necessary time, even with some variation and inaccuracy of estimation, is always an excellent exercise for the team members that are confronted with tasks and responsibilities.

But let’s get back to the potential of TWproject.

After setting the estimated time, accessing the “operator load”, you will obtain something like this:

organize team work time

On this page, for each resource of the selected team, you will have a graphical representation of the total load per day.

The representation is detailed: each color represents a different task.

By clicking on a column you will have a detailed explanation of the components of the load.

You can verify the collaborator’s load and use TWproject to improve work distribution.

In TW project plan and workload interact, collecting data from each source and in real time.

Have you ever implemented a resource smoothing or resource leveling during one of your projects?

Have you encountered any difficulties? Which?

Tell us about your experience.

Plan the work time of your team.