lessons learned

Lesson learned. Use the “lessons learned” to reduce the chances of failure of a project

With lessons learned, we talk about learning from the mistakes, and not only, of the past.

We could apply infinite proverbs to this statement, but we want to recall only one: “Errare humanum est, perseverare autem diabolicum”

Lesson Learned: the study of Axelos PPM Benchmark

According to the recent study by AXELOS PPM Benchmark, almost half of project managers who rarely (or never) revise projects have faced a project failure in the last 12 months.

On the other hand, only 34% of those who always (or almost always) review the project, have experienced a failure during the last year.

These results give further importance to the argument that “lesson learned” from past projects should be an integral part of project management.

So why is this aspect so often overlooked?

Learning from past projects and activities should be a continuous effort throughout the project life cycle.

This mentality should be strongly encouraged by the project manager right from the beginning.

Whether the lessons learned are used to prepare ongoing projects, or used to identify any improvement within the project, learning from the failures or successes of past projects becomes a very important element.

Not considering what went wrong during a project is simply stupid. It means to be in a position where we will repeat the same mistakes.

On the contrary, even not to highlight the successes of a project and how these have been achieved is a mistake.

You lose the opportunity to implement good processes and best practices that can contribute to the successful completion of an existing or future job.

In short, the lessons learned are documented information that reflects both the positive as well as negative experiences of a project.

They represent the organization’s commitment to excellence in project management.

For the project manager, it is an opportunity to learn from the real experiences of others.

The process of learning occurs during and at the end of each project, whether short or complex.

The best way is to hold a session to identify the lessons learned.

It should be conducted at different times according to the critical issues and complexity of the project.

The more complex the project, the more the sessions should be.

If you wait until the end of the project, especially if it is long and complex, you could lose some key points.

Project managers, team members and stakeholders can all be interested in reviewing the lessons learned and making decisions about how to use the acquired knowledge.

How does the process of lessons learned work

The process of collecting and evaluating lessons learned includes the five following steps:

  • Identification;
  • Documentation;
  • Analysis;
  • Archiving;
  • Recovery.

1) Identification of lessons learned

This first phase consists in identifying comments and recommendations that could be useful for future projects.

The project manager, or the person responsible for data collection, should give all project’s collaborators, and possibly also stakeholders, a project survey.

The project survey will help identify input and lessons learned.

Thanks to the survey, all the points of view and the experiences will be collected.

Three key questions should be included in the survey:

  1. What went well;
  2. What went wrong;
  3. What should be improved.

2) Documentation of lessons learned

The second step in the lessons learned process is to document and share the results.

After the lessons learned have been acquired, they should be reported to all project stakeholders.

The final report must be kept and stored together with all the project documentation.

lessons learned

This report should give an overview of how the process of lessons learned works.

It must also contain a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the project as well as the recommendations for the future.

3) Lessons learned analysis

The third phase of the process consists of analyzing and organizing the lessons learned in order to apply the results.

Information is shared with other team members during organizational meetings.

As a result of the lessons learned, improvements in the project management process or training needs are often identified.

4) Archive the lessons learned

The documents on the lessons learned are archived together with other project documents.

They must always be easy to consult.

For this reason, organizations often set up a portfolio of lessons learned in the shared unit.

This allows to make the reports available to everyone that might be interested.

5) Recover the lessons learned

Although the lessons learned reports are stored on a shared unit, without the possibility to search for keywords, it is difficult to find them.

Therefore, it is important to store them in an orderly and easily retrievable manner, so that even those who have not directly participated in the project can find them.

Organizations have different approaches with which they manage – or do not manage – the lessons learned.

Let’s see this in detail.

Management of lessons learned: Type 1

The organizations belonging to this first type do not collect the lessons learned.

Almost always there is no defined process for analyzing and evaluating them.

Lessons learned, if taken into account, are managed without standardized tools or consistency between the projects.

This makes them unreadable and uncomparable.

What organizations of this type need is a defined process and basic tools and techniques.

In this type of business it is important that the project manager sees the lessons learned as constructive.

He must therefore transmit this conviction to the project team and to the stakeholders.

Management of lessons learned: Type 2

Here organizations have a defined process and basic tools to identify and document lessons learned.

The process is already part of the corporate culture.

It is applied consistently to projects and processes that have been revised to achieve greater efficiency.

Although the organizations of this type are constantly taking into account the lessons learned, they do not use them in a correct, complete and effective way.

What these organizations need are effective tools.

It is necessary to identify the actions that can be undertaken within the company in order to strengthen weak areas.

After that, these actions have to be implemented during each project.

This can be done through better training of the project manager and / or of the team members.

It could also mean procedures or processes added or improved.

The people responsible for analyzing the lessons learned should have a role within the company that allows them to implement the solutions.

It is also important that data collection takes place using consistent processes and forms.

The coherence of input information enables faster identification of recurring problems and proactive resolutions.

An example of an effective tool for collecting lessons learned is the construction of an input form.

This document consents a consistent collection of data as well as providing a means for easier recovery.

lessons learned

The model should include fields such as: category, lesson learned, actions taken, how the action was taken, keywords, etc.

Keywords will be essential for an easy and quick recovery.

Management of lessons learned: Type 3

This third type of organization is normally able to perform a complete analysis of the lessons learned.

It is also able to convert this information into concrete actions.

The reports are well structured, using charts and diagrams, everything is consistent and maintained in a centralized unit.

Let’s repeat an important concept:

collecting, analyzing and learning from lessons learned should be a continuous effort throughout the life of the project. 

Everyone from the project manager to the project team, from bord of directors to stakeholders, should contribute to the collection, documentation and archiving of lessons learned for the benefit of future projects.

Do you collect and correctly use lessons learned in your company?

Is there a lesson learned that you remember the most or has left you important ideas to improve your project?

Share your experience in a comment.

Start planning your project.

Project milestone

The project milestones: planning objectives and results

Milestone or project milestone is the management tool used to define a specific point in the project planning.

The points define, in fact, the beginning and the end of work and mark the end of an important phase of the work.

Milestones can be used to symbolize all started and finished stuff.

If a milestone focuses on the main points of project progress, it becomes useful as a planning tool.

Just as the tasks break down a larger project into manageable parts, the milestones split a project into milestones.

So, when starting a project, milestones can help immensely with programming.

Milestones are usually present in project management software, and of course also in TWproject.

They have their own specific icon in the Gantt chart function, and are diamond-shaped.

Project milestones: the planning

Project milestones are a way to estimate the time needed to complete the project more accurately.

Hence, they become essential for precise project planning.

With milestones, you can better calculate project planning by segmenting it into more manageable and easier-to-control time intervals.

They are also a flexible tool for planning.

With a little bit of flexibility, they can do much more than act as mere indicators of the project phases.

For example, milestones can be used as reminder of important meetings for the project or to report other interesting events, such as workshops or training courses.

project milestone

In an important editorial plan, for example, a digital project manager, can use them to define the release of individual articles within the blog.

In short, using this diamond icon is a great way to make sure everyone is aware of upcoming deadlines and upcoming important meetings.

Naturally, milestones can indicate the deadlines for anything related to the project.

For example, they can report a result from another linked project or an impending delivery from a supplier.

In addition, milestones are good to mark a point where there is a transition between two phases of a project.

Milestones, like activities, can be linked and connected to each other.

This happens for example when a milestone’s phase can’t begin until the end of the previous phase, linked to another milestone.

Project milestones: Keep track of progress

Part of a project’s planning is the ability to monitor and keep track the progress of that program in real time.

Milestones are a way to see both at what point is a specific single activity, and the general state of progress of the project itself.

This is useful when dealing mainly with stakeholders.

In fact, these are generally not interested in a detailed report of the project progress.

What they want to know is if the project moves forward or not as initially planned.

Milestones are ideal for this type of report because they show the main phases completed.

Project milestones: Simple task or milestone?

Discern between what to consider a task and what to consider a project milestone can be difficult.

More projects are complex, more difficult is to recognize the difference between task and milestone.

To resolve the doubt it is essential to ask itself the following questions:

  • Is this a task or a final result?
  • Will this affect the final deadline?
  • Is this an important moment in the project that will indicate future progress?
  • Are stakeholders to be informed about this particular point?
  • Is it an event that has an impact on the project?

Answering these questions will help you understand if we are talking about a task or a milestone.

Basically, the most important events of your project must be reported as milestones, so that they can be easily visualized and mapped by the project team.

The milestones have, in essence, a greater mean than “simple” activities.

Project milestones: Why use them?

Milestones can improve project planning and execution in different ways:

1) Monitor deadlines

No plan is complete without a list of deadlines. The best way is to use the project milestones to indicate them.

The milestones, as already mentioned, are usually marked as a diamond-shape icon in the project planning software.

Hence, this icon represents a delivery, a presentation of the deliverable or in any case a deadline that mustn’t be forgotten.

2) Make it easy to identify important dates

Are there important days that may have an impact on the project?

Perhaps a training course for the project team or a workshop?

Or a meeting with the stakeholders?

It is important to keep in mind all these events in project planning.

project milestone

These are events of such importance that they can have an impact on the whole project and it must be easy to identify them.

3) Identify potential blocks of the project

Many projects rely on work produced by external teams or partners in order to progress.

If these external factors are not monitored, the probability to forget or not following them increases.

So, if you are working on a project that depends – even – on someone or something of external with which you do not have frequent contact, it is important to list these results as milestones.

As we have seen, milestones are a very useful project management tool.

It is also an easy-to-use tool for project planning and reporting.

In Twproject a milestone always coincides with the beginning or end of a task, this because normally a milestone is linked to a delivery or a kick-off phase.

In order to support the team in achieving the goal, TWproject also sets up a milestone notification system.

The notifications make even easier the work of the team that will automatically receive the alerts of the activities expiring or delayed and they will complete the tasks.

By default the alarm (milestone of the neighboring task) is 3 days before the milestone, but it is also possible to change it from the configuration pages. (insert a screen)

Reaching and overcoming a project milestone is also good for the morale of the team and of the project manager himself.

This is why every tool (like the alert) that facilitates the task is always very well received.

Have you ever used the milestones in your projects? What is your opinion?

Leave us your comment.

Set the milestones of your project.

project handover

Project handover: how to manage it

Project handover can be very simple or extremely complicated. It all depends on the organization of the Project Manager.

Projects can be short and can last up a few days or can be complex projects with a lifecycle that can even reach several years.

It is precisely for the duration of some projects that some project managers may find themselves in the situation of having to “handover” a project to a new project manager.

A retirement, a new job challenge for the outgoing project manager and other situations can be the reason that leads to the handover.

The most important thing is that those who take over is in the best conditions to continue the work.

Obviously, project handover requires much more than the transfer of office keys and software access information.

Hence, there are six steps below that can help to successfully complete a project handover:

1. Setting handover objectives

Outgoing and incoming project managers should hold a meeting and set goals that must be met during the transition.

This allows both parties to review and evaluate the status of the project in relation to the project’s basic planning, timing and budget.

Project team members should also, for obvious reasons, be involved in this meeting.

2. Keeping the customer up to date

Project team members, the workers and the customer must understand how the existing project manager intends to make the handover to the successor.

In some cases, the project manager could explain why knowledge transfer is underway and what could change in the future.

Clarity is always a winning element.

3. Having short daily meetings

During the transition between the existing project manager and the new one, all team members should meet each other to evaluate and review the status of responsibilities and activities.

It is an extremely important phase because it allows the incoming PM to evaluate the state of things and the capabilities of the individual elements of the Team.

4. Showing project benefits and utility for the upcoming project manager

Some projects revolve around the development or use of resources or products.

When specific products are involved, the project manager in charge should help the new project manager to understand how this product or service works.

The outgoing project manager should also show and motivate the new PM the benefits of the project and its strategic importance for the company.

5. Meeting the stakeholders

The existing project manager and the new one should meet project stakeholders together.

This will allow interested parties to ask questions, expose any doubts and discuss. This is what usually happens in a Kick off Meeting.

6. Being available to ask support

Sometimes, incoming project manager may not be sure of some project’s aspects.

For example, the new project manager could not understand the organization management processes.

When this happens, the incoming project manager must be available to (follow the good practice to) ask support from the existing project manager, the project team, and top management.

This will allow both project managers to work together to achieve common handover targets.

project handover

Checklists are always very useful for summarizing actions and timeline of events that otherwise would be complicated to explain.

Here are two checklists that can further support project handover between project managers.

Outgoing project manager should:

  • Obtain and deliver the project status – if one exists – or collect the project start-up documentation (for this reason it is important to always keep it in order);
  • Collect the documents involved in the initial offer, make sure to clearly indicate what the signed copy is (important to understand the expectations);
  • Collect all change requests (amount, description and times for each instance);
  • Write down the roles client-side (who is the sponsor, who will check the quality of the final results, etc.);
  • List all important contacts for the project, writing the frequency of communication with each contact and which topics to discuss;
  • Present the new project manager to the client;
  • Present the new project manager to the team;
  • Suggest the next steps to the new project manager.

Here, instead, there is a checklist of practical things to be managed during the handover:

  • List the people who are working on the project, or who have worked on it, along with their skills, competences and roles;
  • Give information on the work environment (password, keys, key card, …)
  • Give information on technical or practical dependencies, for example: if the X system should fail, this could cause project A to fail; the Z project depends on the Y service, etc.
  • Explain how long handover will take;
  • Notifying customers and stakeholders with much frequency of contact, that they may be less reactive during the transfer;
  • Explain to company leaders what you are concretely “transfer” to the new project manager;
  • Keep track of project delivery time.

In all these steps it is easy to understand how document management plays an essential role.

To support this transition phase, we have provided in TWproject a simple and flexible document management system.

In opposition to the complex management of documents that could be found in other software, document management is deliberately essential in TWproject.

With some powerful and simple techniques you can meet most business needs, for example reliability and usability.

Testing Twproject you will discover an intelligent system to manage and archive project documents and always have them at your fingertips.

One last observation must be made: each project manager has his own style.

For this reason, the incoming project manager does not necessarily have to follow everything that his predecessor has done, even imitating his working style.

Some people, especially younger managers, will probably feel obliged to do so, but our advice is to follow their own style and personality, without forcing themselves.

“ He who loses his individuality loses all.”


Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a project handover process?

Have you ever had to make a handover?

Were you the outgoing or incoming PM?

Leave us your experience.

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The kick off meeting: how to set up a project start meeting and get the best results

The kick off meeting: how to set up a project start meeting and get the best results

A project lifecycle often involves many meetings with different purposes.

One of these meetings is the so-called kick off meeting or preliminary project meeting.

This meeting is an important communication tool between project manager, team and stakeholders.

If organized and properly executed, a preliminary meeting can help the project manager in order to handle the project more easily and with fewer obstacles.

What is a kick off-meeting?

More precisely, a preliminary meeting is one of the first meetings held among project stakeholders at the time of launching a new project.

This meeting can include all project stakeholders, up to the highest levels, such as project sponsors, management and project managers, as well as team members.

The target of this meeting is to offer the project manager the opportunity to define the common goal and create an agreement.

When does a kick off-meeting take place?

If the project is small, the kick-off meeting usually takes place after the start-up process with all team members. In fact, the same team is involved in planning and execution of the project.

Furthermore, if some team members don’t know each other, this could be their first meeting together.

In small projects usually only one preliminary project meeting takes place.

If the project is a big project, however, the kick-off meeting takes place when the project planning is completed and the project is about to start.

In a multi-phase project, preliminary meetings can be scheduled at the beginning of each phase.

If the project is complex and distributed over a large geographical area, the meeting will be a virtual kick-off meeting in which all participants can communicate each other in an online call or video call.

What is the purpose of a kick off meeting?

A project team can be made up of new team members, so it is important to have one session to allow team members to meet each other.

This meeting also helps to improve the feeling of trust and promotes discussion and mutual agreement between team members.

kick off meeting

Then, the meeting helps all team members to become aware of the objectives of the project, of the hypotheses, of the constraints, of the deliverables.

The challenges, methods, procedures, plans, work environment and roles of each stakeholder, etc. are also taken into consideration.

A successful kick off meeting can be a boost for the future of the project.

How to perform a successful kick off meeting?

If the project is large and complex, you can have internal and external meetings.

Internal kick off meetings are scheduled between team members and the project manager to better understand the project, aligning each other.

In an external kick off meeting, all the stakeholders comes into play and the customer is taken in consideration also.

Then, they will discuss about the project, the objectives, the context and the responsibility of each team member.

It is also important to discuss about the communication and reporting system within the team and with project stakeholders.

Generally, the meeting is closed with a question and answer session in ordert o help the team in the problem solving.

Once the internal kick off meeting is finished, the next step will be schedule an external kick off meeting with the customer.

This will be the opportunity to fully understand the customer and his expectations, clarifying any doubts and to explain how the project manager is going to handle planning and execution of the project, etc.

Following are some steps to follow to achieve an effective kick off meeting.

1) Schedule the meeting

The project manager decides the topics to be discussed during the meeting.

For example, it may include a session about the team presentation, the introduction of the project and the objectives, milestones, constraints, etc.

The PM must send the invitation to all the participants in advance to allow them to prepare for the meeting.

2) Lead the meeting

The project manager, as project coordinator, leads and directs the meeting as previously scheduled.

It is important for the PM to set and communicate the expectations and requirements to the participants.

The team will have to know exactly how many days it will have to work, the roles within it, the practical issues, for example how to request holidays, how to communicate with the project manager, etc.

Explaining the communication and reporting system is important as well.

Clarifying in which format the reports are needed and how often meetings or communications will be essential.

kick off meeting

It should be never forget, the explanation on business needs and why the project is important for the customer and for the company.

Each project presents risks and, even these, together with possible solutions, must be exposed during the meeting.

3) Close the meeting

As said before, at the end of the meeting it is appropriate to hold a question and answer session.

Here the participants can ask all the questions and receive – hopefully – all the answers.

The meeting generally closes with thanks to the project manager.

Furthermore, the PM will leave an open communication channel, emphasizing his availability to be contacted for any further questions or clarifications.

Once the meeting is over, it will be necessary to prepare a summary meeting summary and send it to all the participants and interested stakeholders who could not be present.

Kick off meeting benefits

Following a short list of the benefits you get from a preliminary meeting:

  • It helps team members to know each other;
  • Defines the roles and the authority of the project;
  • It helps team members to understand project goals;
  • It helps team stakeholders to understand milestones, risks, project requirements and constraints of the project;
  • It helps the project manager to get support, consensus and trust from all stakeholders;
  • It allows to all participants to ask questions clarifying their doubts.

A preliminary meeting is the key to completing the project.

An important tool to make all team members meet each other and to motivate them to reach the target.

This is also the moment when the project manager can show his leadership qualities for the first time and start building a relationship of trust with the team and the stakeholders.

For all these reasons a project manager must adequately prepare the kick off meeting and must consider it an important step towards the future success of the project.

Have you ever drove a kick off meeting or did you take part?

Tell us about your experience.

Start planning the kick off meeting of your project.

project workload

Project workload: how to plan it to the best

A project manager has to deal with customer expectations, project deadlines and evolving priorities, all of this while trying to coordinate and manage the team and respond to stakeholder demands.

Let’s face it, it is a demanding job that takes time and effort to manage all the parts and sometimes hours are never enough!

Project managers are involved both in managing the workload of their team as well as managing their workload.

The organization and time management skills are therefore essential to ensure that the work is done as efficiently as possible.

This is why it is so important to think about how to prioritize and organize the workload.

Keeping the workload under control saves time, simplifies processes, reduces costs and improves productivity.

Here are four suggestions for effective workload management.

1) Set clear expectations

We spend most of our working life managing the expectations and priorities of other people.

And when those expectations are not clearly communicated, the project team does not know the limits and rules in which it should operate.

Clearly establish goals from the beginning and organize regular meetings for each new project and during the lifetime of a project, clarify the situation with the entire team.

All those involved in the project should know the general vision, the role they play and how they should behave.

These meetings serve to set the basic rules, answer questions and doubts and make sure everyone is moving in the same direction.

Internal planning documents are valuable for these initial conversations.

These documents serve as a framework for project expectations and typically include:

  • Context on the problem that the project should solve and the motivations;
  • Goals and requirements of the project;
  • Summary of the solution;
  • FAQ, frequently asked questions about the project.

The planning documents also serve as official documents to consult during the entire duration of the project.

The project document can also be reviewed during meetings with customers and other stakeholders to remind them of the goals and direction of the project.

Establishing clear and realistic expectations at the beginning of a project and ensuring that these are accepted and respected by all stakeholders is the key to avoid potential disappointments and mistrust.

2) Communicate consistently

Even the smallest misunderstandings can cause stress, frustration and resentment among the employees.

A clear and coherent communication from the beginning can help to avoid these negative emotions and feelings.

A structured communication process is essential, especially when activities become more complex.

project workload

Not only it is necessary to make regular meetings with the team in order to remember the goals of the project and to align on the activities, but also to share the feelings the various members and if they have particular worries.

This dialogue also helps to understand how and when it is necessary to make transfers of resources to provide better support to the team and make it work better.

Even if everything is done for the best, deadlines and costs are in line, and the team is doing a good job, it is right to inform employees that their work is appreciated.

The key is to help them understand and stay focused on the big picture and goals, support them and continuously recognize how their contributions are driving the project.

3) Distribute the workload

What are the skills of the project team?

Who is actually available during the entire duration of the project?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of each collaborator?

Often there is the temptation to overload the best employees at the expense of others.

However, this behavior will not only lead the top performers to a possible crisis, but also the other collaborators to get bored and lose interest in the project in general.

A solution could be, for example, to leave to the more performing team members the most complex tasks and everything else is distributed evenly in the team.

Clearly, staffing needs will change during project execution.

For this reason, you need to be aware of how each member of the team spends their time, so that there is space for flexibility to adjust the course when necessary.

The resource program, like any project activity, must also be strategically planned.

Moreover, it is also necessary for everyone to understand expectations and how everyone is contributing to superior goals.

In case of doubts or problems, the team should not be afraid to communicate or and should not find blocks to communication in the work environment.

It is the responsibility of the project manager to ensure a fair amount of work for all team members, based on their individual knowledge, skills and experience.

4) Always analyze

You can not manage what is not measured.

Therefore, it is essential to have workload management software available to keep track of project successes and challenges.

However, in particular situations, such as meetings, it is possible to use also other effective tools for managing workload … such as a notebook and a pen.

Every day, when analyzing the situation of the project, it is possible to take note of any opportunities or possible risks.

During meetings with employees and stakeholders, you can take note of doubts, questions, feedback, impressions that are exposed.

Over time, by reviewing the notes, you will be able to keep track of project results and resource trends.

Perhaps a customer’s projects exceed the budget everytime?

One of the team members is constantly overloaded with work while another continues to ask for more responsibilities?

If you create a constant habit of taking notes and examining them every week or month, you can identify what works and what does not and start solving the recurring problems, so that they do not persist.

Some useful questions to ask are:

  • What worked well in this project?
  • Why did this project exceed the budget?
  • Has this project been profitable?
  • Who is overburdened with work?

Understanding and recording these data helps identify which process changes are needed, so you can iteratively improve your priority and organize the workload.

It is clear that the use of a special software is essential to simplify and optimize the outputs of this analysis.

In fact, the classification of data allows an analysis of them, as well as the strategic use with a view to improving the company.

Proactively making intelligent decisions about the flow and workload of the team becomes functional thanks to the use of integrated project software.

Do you have any suggestions on how to manage the workload to the fullest?

What were your biggest difficulties?

Leave us your comment.

Start planning the workload of your project.

stakeholder management

How to manage project stakeholders

Stakeholder management in a project can be vital for the very survival of the project.

Therefore, including everyone who is interested in the project, as well as all those that can influence the project, is a fundamental step for an optimal start.

Stakeholders identification

Before starting a new project, each project manager should take the necessary time to identify all the stakeholders.

As a first step, it is therefore necessary to analyze the stakeholders, is to conduct an analysis of the stakeholders, or an evaluation of the key participants in a project.

Subsequently, it is necessary to identify their individual characteristics and interests, define the roles and level of participation and determine if there are conflicts of interest between stakeholders.

Furthermore, it is necessary to evaluate how the project will influence them and their needs.

After that, we move on to assess the influence of a stakeholder, ie the degree to which the interested parties can influence the project.

The more a stakeholder is influential, the more the project manager will need his support and consent.

The project manager, knowing what each stakeholder expects from the project, will be able to adjust the level of support accordingly.

How should a project stakeholder be managed?

To make everything even more complicated, there may be many stakeholders, with different characteristics.

The answer in this case is simple. You have to treat them in the same way as you treat any other task in the to-do list: ie classifying by priority.

During a project, one stakeholder may be more influential than another, while some stakeholders may require more attention than others.

With stakeholder management, we mean to create a positive relationship with the stakeholders, meeting their expectations and the goals they agreed upon at the beginning of the project.

However, this relationship is not granted a priori, but must be earned.

The advantages of good stakeholder management

A positive relationship with the stakeholders can be built through proactive communication and listening to their needs.

One way to do this is to interview the project’s stakeholders, of course not all of them, but certainly the most important.

It could be the case that you need to speak with experts to get the basic information you need regarding particular groups.

This in order to get the most out of individual conversations with stakeholders, without unnecessary or superfluous words.

When talking to a stakeholder, it is necessary to understand his project expectations.

In case of doubts or when a concept has not been completely understood, it is necessary to ask for clarifications.

Moreover, each stakeholder can have a different idea of what “project success” means and, discovering it only at the end of the project, is a certain failure.

A project manager must collect this information in advance and include it in the objectives.

This would give him the guarantee that all the stakeholders support the final results.

Stakeholder management and the passive communication failure

Another key concept is to maintain the stakeholders involved and not use just a passive communication.

Ask for their contribution, learn to know them better, maybe during a coffee break, a lunch or a fast meeting, in short, make them participate; this can change everything.

Stakeholders must also be regularly updated on the project status.

Every day can be exaggerated, every month is not enough, unless this schedule is agreed.

Usually a weekly update is the best strategy.

Regular communication is always appreciated and can even soften the situation when there are bad news to share.

These are the bases in order to build strong relationships with stakeholders.

stakeholder management

But as in any relationship, there are subtleties that every successful project manager should understand.

For example, a project manager should learn to recognize differences and “adjust” behavior to better relate to different types of stakeholders.

How to relate with different types of stakeholders

By conducting a stakeholder analysis, project managers can gather sufficient information on which to build solid relationships, regardless of the differences between them.

For example, the needs and requirements of a marketing director will be different from those of a chief information officer.

Therefore, the commitment of the project manager with each one must be different.

All project stakeholders will have different interests.

Some of them will be more interested in the ROI of the project, others will want to improve operations, others will want to increase market share or production, etc.

Keeping in mind the expectations and needs of each one of them is crucial during every conversation, relation or e-mail, regardless of how casual or formal the communication may be.

Regardless of the needs or desires of a stakeholder, all interested parties will respect a project manager who:

  • is always honest, even when he tells them something they do not want to hear;
  • becomes the „owner“ of the project;
  • is reliable;
  • is firm in his decisions;
  • takes his responsability for errors.

Achieving the goals of a project requires a focused and well-organized project manager able to engage with a proactive team and able to get the support of all the interested parties.

Building solid and trustful relationships with stakeholders from the start can make the difference between success and failure of the project.

Tools to help stakeholder management

There are many “decelerating” factors in a project, the lack of support from stakeholders is one of those.

How do you make sure you have their support?

As previously mentioned, the key lies in identifying who the stakeholders are and what influence they have on the project.

Just because they are important in the organization in general does not necessarily mean that they are important for the project.

Just because they think they are important does not mean they really are.

Just because they do not think they have to be involved does not mean they do not have to be.

Not all stakeholders are the same, so understanding how to deal with each of them is essential.

To help you identify them, you can use this simple matrix:

stakeholder management

  • People with a lot of power and a lot of interest in the project (manage closely): these people have a great interest in the project and they have the power to help to successfully complete it. It is therefore essential to fully involve these stakeholders, to pay attention to their inputs, to implement their ideas when possible and to ensure that they are always satisfied. You have to follow them closely.
  • People with a lot of power, but less interest in the project (keep satisfied): these people have little involvement or personal interest in the project, but they are very powerful. Surely it is better to keep them satisfied, but you must disturb them as little as possible. They can be involved in the most important decisions, but in general you must “only” make sure they understand how the project will have a positive impact on them.
  • People with little power, but a lot of interest in the project (keep informed): these people have a real passion for the project, but they have little influence on it. The best strategy is to keep them informed about any important developments. The project, in most cases, can have a direct impact on this type of stakeholder, so they are usually more than willing to help when they can.
  • People with little power and little interest in the project (monitor- minum effort): these represent the most apathetic stakeholders, the least interested in the project and which, in general, require little time and attention. If they are not disturbed or no damage to them is caused, a project manager will hardly have to deal with it.

Ensuring that stakeholders are listened and appreciated will certainly increase trust and support.

Building positive relationships and understanding motivations takes time and effort, but in the long run it will make the whole work easier.

Projects are more successful when everyone is on board and rowing in the same direction!

Have you ever dealt with a difficult project stakeholder?

What did you do to improve the situation?

Tell us about your experience.

Manage the stakeholders of your project.

triangle of talents

The triangle of talents: which skills for the project manager?

The triangle of talent, not just a simple shape, but the golden triangle of the Project Manager.

Would you like to know more? I will try to explain it to you.

Let’s briefly think about what are the most important qualities for a successful project manager.

Everybody, both those who have worked for years in this world, as well as those who have just started, will certainly report the qualities of the project manager that are in line with what we will see in shortly.

Considering the many skills, talents and competencies required for this role, it is clear that project management requires many qualities and skills.

And in order not to leave any doubt, the Project Management Institute (PMI) outlined the ideal set of skills of a project manager in a model called the “Triangle of Talent“.

This model synthetically analyzes the art of project management in the three categories we will now see.

Let’s find out what skills make a project manager, a successful figure.

The three sides of the Triangle of Talent

triangle of talents

The Triangle of Talents contains the ideal set of skills for project managers.

Its three sides include the following skills:

  • Technical skill;
  • Leadership;
  • Business strategic management.

The beauty and charm of the Triangle of Talents lie in the combination of skills, elements of business management with technical skills in project management, and human and social skills.

The most successful project managers use all three of these areas in order to grow in their work.

The first side of the Triangle of Talents: Technical skill

A project manager could not excel in his work without the technical know-how of the sector in which he operates.

This includes not only the specific skills of project management, but also the knowledge of the industry in general.

Proper technical skills and knowledge are in fact fundamental to successfully complete the project.

A project manager needs to know how to calculate the so-called earned value, how to manage costs, how to do a risk analysis, etc.

The PMI outlines some of the specific technical skills that the project manager should possess, including:

  • Agile practices;
  • Earned value management;
  • Project life cycle management;
  • Management of project requirements;
  • Schedule management;
  • Time, budget, cost estimate;
  • Data collection and analysis;
  • Governance;
  • Performance management;
  • Risk management;
  • Scope management.

As previously said, a successful project manager needs a solid understanding of the industry in which he operates.

In fact, the daily work of a PM can vary depending on the sector in which he works.

If he does not know the environment surrounding a project, he will have difficulties in understanding any problems and in finding solutions.

Moreover, due to lack of technical experience, the project manager may lose the respect of the members of the team.

In short, the lack of technical knowledge could lead to problems related to the understanding of project details and technical problems.

Both of these factors could jeopardize the future of the project.

Technical knowledge, commonly known as “hard skills“, can be learned, studied and refreshed through training courses, seminars, webinars, etc …

This side of the Triangle of Talents certainly represents the most concrete and easy to learn quality, but in order to have it, dedication is certainly necessary.

The second side of the Triangle of Talents: Leadership

The second core competency of the PMI‘s Triangle of Talents is leadership.

A successful project manager must guide his team – or more teams – through all phases and processes of the project.

Leadership can have different forms.

triangle of talents

Leadership expertise includes coaching and mentoring, influence on employees and stakeholders, team building and brainstorming, interpersonal skills and negotiation.

Even problem solving and conflict management are included into the leadership skills.

Project managers must guide teams towards project completion, inspiring and motivating people to continue throughout the process.

Because using leadership means

As an effective leader, a project manager must inspire team members about the future and offer them a vision that will help them achieve the goal.

As a leader of an effective team, a project manager must be proactive and a problem solver.

The successful project manager must have motivating qualities. At the beginning of a project the motivation is usually high, and then gradually decreases.

Here, in fact, the manager’s motivation capacity is essencial.

Motivating the team is certainly hard and complex, but essential for the good success of the project.

A project manager should also have management and delegation skills that enable him to do his job in the best way and with the right support.

He must be able to understand who to entrust with a particular responsibility or particular task, and who is not the right person.

Moreover, ensuring that the team members possess the skills required to successfully complete the work is also part of the skills of this project leader.

If skills are lacked, the project management will give the necessary training or, in general, will allow the collaborators to receive it.

The third side of the Triangle of Talents: Business Strategic Management

The third side of this magic triangle is as important as the other two.

Business strategic management makes it possible to carry out an analysis of company decisions before implementing them.

Project managers not only apply their knowledge and leadership qualities, but must also align projects with business goals.

This third side of the PMI’s Triangle of Talents includes the following skills and competences:

  • Competitive analysis;
  • Legal and regulatory compliance;
  • Operational functions, such as finance, marketing, ecc;
  • Business Acumen;
  • Customer service and satisfaction;
  • Awareness of the market, its conditions and its trend.

Understanding the purpose of the project and the way it supports the organization’s overall goals enable project managers to be able to drive their teams to success.

These professionals must understand what the organization is trying to achieve in general and how the specific project fits into this general vision.

This helps the organization achieve its long-term goals.

The first step towards success is found in the confirmation and acceptance of the strategic business plan by all the stakeholders.

In conclusion

As any successful project manager can state, the mixture and the right balance of skills and qualities make this figure a complete and successful professional.

That is why the Triangle of Talents works.

In today’s dynamic environment, a project manager must be versatile.

Having just one skill is not enough.

The balance of the three sides of the Triangle of Talents is not just about the possession of complementary skills.

These are all the critical areas that a project manager must master in order to succeed in his career.

The technical skills of project management help to perform specific functions or tasks, leadership skills help to achieve business goals within the organization and strategic business management helps to achieve better overall business results.

So, this is the ideal recipe for a successful project manager.

Do you agree with what the Triangle of Talents expresses?

Do you think there are other qualities that deserve to be mentioned?

Leave us your comment.

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project estimation techniques

Project estimation techniques

The techniques for estimating a project in project management can be different.

Unfortunately, project managers do not always use them.

In some cases, project managers choose to do a planning without having supporting data.

Of course, even the best project estimation techniques are not perfect, but at least allow to show the client, the project sponsor or the boss how to get to estimate the duration and costs.

In this article we will see different options for estimating a project:

  • Analogous estimation;
  • Parametric estimation;
  • Order of magnitude estimation;
  • Bottom-up estimation;
  • 3-point estimation.

Each technique requires specific data and specific mathematical and statistical procedures.

Once defined, it is possible to decide which one to use, keeping in mind that different estimation techniques can be used for different sections of the project.

Project estimation techniques: analogous estimation

This type of estimation uses certain parameters referred to past projects and considered similar to a new project that must start.

To apply this technique correctly, not only similar past experiences are required, but also the ability to understand the factors of similarity and diversity between experiences.

For this reason the skills of the project manager who analyzes the degree of analogy are essential for a good estimate.

A company, if well-organized, should always keep projects data so that they can be used in case of similar future projects.

In fact, in the case of a new project similar to a previous one, even a less prepared and experienced project manager can inquire, study and have the opportunity to plan a new project with a minimum of base history and without groping.

If all the project managers perform the management of the project work, its planning and its documenting in a professional way, it would be possible to create a database useful for a subsequent estimate by analogy.

Project estimation techniques: parametric estimation

The parametric estimation is based on the identification of variables that can provide an estimate on the variables of interest of a given project.

Usually, we talk about parameters referring to costs, time and quantity of resources needed.

Even here, it is required the existence of similar past projects that can be studied in order to understand the causal links between input and output parameters.

Perhaps it is better to make a concrete example.

In a construction activity, the hardness of the rock is a variable from which it is possible to know the speed of execution of the work and which tools suit best.

Project estimation techniques: order of magnitude estimation

The most difficult estimate that is required to the project manager is certainly at the beginning of the project, during the conception phase.

The president and the board of directors want to know how much this new project will cost and how long it will take.

However, the project manager may not have enough information about the project when these questions are first asked.

Usually, however, if the project manager makes an approximate assumption about costs and duration at this initial time, his superiors and stakeholders will consider it as an official response.

project estimation techniques

This is why a shrewd project manager should use the order of magnitude estimation.

For example, here is what a project management should say: “I believe, that 90% of the project can be completed within a period ranging from 50 to 95 days and I am also 90% sure that the project will cost between € 75,000 and € 100,000. ”

The directors do not like this type of estimation because they normally want defined numbers: cost and duration.

They do not want to hear probabilities or intervals.

However, at this stage, the project manager knows very little about what the project will imply, so given a specific response would literally be “suicide”.

The best thing a project manager can do is to explain that the level of certainty will improve as project planning progresses.

With this explanation is likely that the superiors and the stakeholders will be more condescending.

Project estimation techniques: bottom-up estimation

Bottom-up estimation is performed when the planning process has already produced a structure of the various activities and a project team is appointed.

Specifically, in this estimation technique the more detailed elements are taken into consideration and then aggregated in order to provide an overall estimate.

There is a relationship between the detail level of the breakdown and the accuracy of the estimate.

A level of breakdown that is too general and insufficient does not make it possible to fully understand the work that has to be done.

On the contrary, an excessively detailed breakdown will lead to the loss of the overall vision and the probable underestimation of the work of the entire project.

It is a good idea to involve and use the experience of team members in creating estimates.

Beware, however, that in some cases, employees tend to “enlarge” their estimates in order to “protect themselves” from any delays in the project or in the case of an unforeseen event that causes an exceeding of the budget.

Project estimation techniques: 3-point estimation

The concept of 3-point estimation is very simple.

Regarding times or costs, three possible values are assigned, ie the most optimistic case, with the lowest value, the most pessimistic case, with the highest value, and the most probable one.

A continuous probability distribution is then constructed on these three values.

This is an estimation technique developed by NASA especially for its space programs.

In situations like those that NASA was facing, for example the landing on the Moon, the other methods of estimation were not suitable because there were no data from previous similar projects.

This technique is in fact a good choice when a project manager is in charge of managing unique projects that do not have a defined history.

In such circumstances, the project manager asks the team members for more estimates for each activity.

This allows to consider potential positive events that could simplify and accelerate the work, as well as evaluate project risks and any increase in costs and delays in delivery.

The 3-point estimation also provides statistical data to the project manager regarding the probability of duration and different costs.

Concluding this overview, we can assert that, in general, there is no right or wrong method.

The estimation of a project is an art!

A mixture of knowledge of the project, of the industry, including a historical review, a customer survey and a large part of instinct.

In Twproject it is possible, for example, to manage future projects using skills as resources; create projects by assigning skills instead of resources.

This is very useful during the project planning phase.

Furthermore it is possible to:

  • manage actual open projects with real people;
  • model future projects with skill assignments.

Having both possibilities in the same system makes it possible to share, for example, the creation of the project tree and its maintenance between the planning project manager and the production project manager.

A single space to monitor ongoing activities and plan future ones, directly estimating their impact on projects.

An advantage not to be underestimated.

And what estimation method do you prefer?

What are the strengths and weaknesses you’ve noticed?

Leave us your comment.

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Effort and duration: key differences in the estimate of project

Time management is one of the most important aspects in managing a project.

In order to estimate the time accurately, it is necessary to have a correct understanding of the two concepts of effort and duration.

What is effort

Effort is the number of units of work needed to complete a task.

It is usually expressed in hours, days or weeks worked.

The effort is therefore the number of hours of work needed to complete a task, ie the actual time spent working on the project.

In order to estimate the duration of a project, first we have to determine the effort.

Let’s try to give an example to simplify the concept: if you estimate about 30 hours of active work to complete a fence, the effort will be 30 hours.

Be careful, however, that this does not mean that the fence is ready within 30 hours – unless you plan to build it for 30 hours non-stop.

The duration is the total number of work periods (excluding holidays or other non-working periods) necessary to complete an activity, so in other words it is the total time needed to complete an activity.


The duration is usually expressed as working days or working weeks and depends on the availability and capacity of the resources.

For example, if you spend 3 hours a day working on the fence, the total duration would be 10 days (30 hours of total effort divided by 3 hours / day).

But if, for example, a friend helps every day, then you would have two resources working for 3 hours a day on the fence = 6 hours a day.

The duration in this case would therefore be 5 days (30 hours of total effort divided by 6 hours / day).

However, if the friend could work only 2 hours a day, the duration would extend to 6 days because the resources would only work for a total of 5 hours a day.

The total effort is always 30 hours, no matter if there are one, two or more people working on the project.

It is not possible to reduce the effort to 15 hours if two people work on the project, but it is possible to reduce the overall completion time.

The concept of Schedule Padding

The estimates represent one of the most critical and complex areas for a project manager.

It is never certain that these are correct and there is always the doubt that they may be mistaken for excess or defect, despite all the good will in formulating them.

The estimation techniques , such as the analogy or bottom-up estimations, can provide more or less reliable estimates, but all have the same problem: they depend on the capabilities of those who formulate them.

The concept of Schedule Padding means adding more time / value to the estimate, a sort of “pad” (hence the term Padding) that can soften the “fall” in case of unexpected or errors of evaluation.

When there is not enough information or experience to make a realistic estimate, it is very easy to fall into the “Padding” technique.

In other words, there is the tendency to increase, even exceedingly, the estimate of duration due to excessive prudence.

Clearly, if everyone in the company, including the project manager, uses this technique, the final estimate would be totally exaggerated and misunderstood.

So, how to avoid Schedule Padding?

In project management, it is advisable to first estimate the effort and after that duration.

The effort is the total estimated time for the realization of a task, of an activity.

The duration is instead the time interval required for the realization of the task / activity based on the availability of resources and the project calendar.

With respect to the 8 hours that correspond to the normal working day, the TenStep methodology considers productive only 6.5 hours.

This is also a value that should be kept in mind and that is not always considered during the scheduling of a project.

Techniques to avoid Schedule Padding

There are several possible techniques to decrease the risk of Schedule Padding:

  • Ask for the opinion of a disinterested professional regarding the project;
  • Use the PERT method (Program Evaluation and Review Technique), also known as a 3-Point estimate, which provides a more optimistic, a more pessimistic, and a more probable estimate.
  • Grant the time it takes for those who have to make the estimate without putting pressure or haste.
  • Add extra time to the overall project, avoiding doing it on every single activity.
  • As mentioned previously, determine the effort first and only then the duration of the activities.

Not all collaborators have the same productivity and they do have different knowledge, skills and experience.

This is why the ability to make an estimate as well as the time needed to do it can vary.

Advice for a correct estimate of the effort

Everything starts from the estimation of the effort. So let’s see some tips to better identify it:

  • Estimating is an activity that is always open and should happen regularly during the project. The initial estimate will thus be increasingly deepened and gradually perfected.
  • During the initial phase of a project, make sure that everyone agrees on what should be delivered and therefore estimated. With everyone, we mean the project manager and project team in the first place, but also directors and all project stakeholders.
  • Involve experienced people in the analysis and estimation process and brainstorm with the people who will actually have to do the job. It is useful to have different groups of people giving an estimate to the same thing. If comparing the results shows a large disparity between the numbers, it means that the uncertainty on that specific activity, or on the project in general, is high.
  • All estimates bring an intrinsic degree of uncertainty, especially in the early stages of the project in which there are more unknowns. It is essential to quantify the percentage of unknowns in the estimate and to compensate with an equivalent level of contingency.
  • It is important to always consider the project risks and contingencies; never make estimates only considering the best case.
  • It is essential to take into account all the phases and activities of the project, including analysis, planning, planning, realization, eventual re-elaboration, delivery, project closedown.
  • Research and experimentation with different tools and estimation techniques. The estimation tools will help to consider all the different aspects of the project and will automatically add further contingency.
  • Estimate the effort in points or working hours with respect to the calendar time to cope with the fact that the team is never 100% effective. You can also apply a separate conversion factor to translate the estimated effort into calendar time. This will make it easier to track the accuracy of the estimates. If, for example, the team spends 30% of the time of an average day in meetings, answering the phone and email, an appropriate conversion factor must be added, in this case corresponding to 1.4 (1/70% ).
  • Formally record estimates and document how they were found, from which information and through which processes. It is important to make clear the purpose and the hypotheses estimated and highlight what is out of scope. This will not only put the project manager in a better position to defend numbers, but will also help to review and improve the estimation process in the future.

Understanding the difference between effort and duration of an activity is therefore fundamental for the correct planning of a project.

In Twproject, it is possible to estimate how much work is needed to complete a task or close an issue.

These estimates are taken into account in the assessment of the workload.

Twproject supports a third way to track the workload: planning, by task and by resource.

Each assignment can have a business plan, in terms of daily working hours. This is the highest level of detail to plan the activities of the resource.

So, we hope that the suggestions we have given you can be useful for your next project.

What do you think about it? Leave us your comment.

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How to manage the workload of a project: 6 key suggestions

Managing the workload of a project, is getting the right balance of tasks for each team member, is one of the most critical tasks that a project manager has to face.

In fact, the equitable distribution of the workload in a team is definitely a challenging task, and the temptation to entrust more projects to the best performing worker is always lurking.

But in the planning of a project, it is also necessary to be fair.

The excellent management of workload and team performance are therefore a essential goals.

In the continuos dialogue with the Project managers, we receive frequent and common questions:

  • What matters to customers and / or stakeholders?
  • How is it possible to obtain the best results?
  • How is it possible not to overload resources?
  • How can resources be used wisely?
  • How is it posible to obtain more from low-performing resources?

Here, then, a simple 6-step approach to ensure the correct management of activities and workload within the team.

1. Check the current workload

If you the project is starting from scratch, it is necessary to examine the current situation of the team.

Are the team members also following other projects? What are their other daily activities to keep in mind?

It is possible to manage in an optimal way only what is known.

Some people may be available to work on the project activities just for a limited time of their day / week, on the other hnad, others may be available full-time.

It is therefore essential to know this aspect in details in order to manage the workload equally.

2. Report of skills and absences

It is possible to better manage the workload of the team, if the project manager knows when the individual employees are absent: holidays, company outings, etc.

It is important to include these absences in the planning in order to not assign work during these periods.

Assigning an activity to a resourse that will be out of office or not available will certainly end up in a delay of the delivery.

In the same manner, it is important to speak with each employee in order to be sure to know all of his skills and competencies.

Each person can be a valid “player” if his strengths, skills and responsibilities are well known.

In this way it will be easier to assign an appropriate job and thus move towards excellence.

A collaborator may be able to work in different areas thanks to new knowledge acquired, or to deal with more technical tasks thanks to new skills developed.


Therefore, the suggestion is to cyclically verify the “new skills” learned from the individual collaborator.

Normally, during the planning of the project, a list of all the work and the various activities is drawn up.

The tasks will be assigned according to the function, position and specific strength of each worker.

3. Set expectations

Setting goals and skills is not enough.

The task of the Project Manager is also to constantly remember the pre-established goals and to underline the level of commitment expected from each team member.

This helps the team to focus.

There must be a clearly expressed and shared value to which everyone should equally contribute with his talents, skills and energy.

One of the difficulties in ensuring that a workload is fair is that employees never work at the same pace.

In other words, even when the workload seems “fair and even”, it may not really be that way.

It is important to ensure that employees understand that hours can not be compared with productivity.

In fact, for two hours worked, two employees can produce different results.

The best way to do this is to praise the truly satisfying and successful performance of the project, regardless of the working hours.

A project manager should pay attention to what people are realizing in practice and not just to the number of working hours.

Granted that the time required by a resource to finish a certain activity is not really exaggerated.

4. Identify the overworked staff

This means to identify those resources that have already received more work than they can actually do in the time available.

If a collaborator really has too much work, it is possible to divide the activities into smaller blocks to distribute to several other resources.

Or postpone the deadline of a certain activity in order to lighten the daily workload.

Also for the overall workload management, it is possible to follow the 80/20 rule.

  • People should be assigned to specific tasks only for 80% of their time.
  • The remaining 20% will be used to answer phone calls, attend team meetings, deal with the clients and so on. This 20% should be distributed evenly throughout the week. It is better to fill people’s time for – for example – 6 hours a day, rather than giving them a fixed day “free” from specific activities.

There may also be the case where a person seems overburdened with work, even if this is not the reality. This can occur when the resource is not able to manage its work efficiently.

There are possible interventions to offer in these cases, such as a coaching with a more efficient colleague or a training course.

But we must also consider the fact that some people do not belong to the jobs they are in and therefore may not be suitable for the task assigned.

In this case, it may be necessary to change the role and function within the organization.

5. Identify the “free” staff

Team members are motivated when their day is full of meaningful tasks.

This makes them feel important for the project.

A time management system will help to understand if the employees are working on priority activities, or in general on activities important for the project, or not.

In some situations, the collaborators themselves can ask for more work. On the other hand, they could also say that they can not take on further tasks.

This is where the workload management capability of a project manager comes into play.

Are the team members really too busy or are they just working on the wrong tasks? What if they were just incredibly unproductive?

Some people do not give the right importance to their work and they do only the bare minimum.

With this kind of people we need to be clear.

They will have to know that the level of commitment could have consequences in terms of the possibility of promotion, financial incentives and prestigious assignments.

The more the team’s strengths and working patterns are known, the easier it will be to correctly manage the workload.

6. Inform about changes in planning

Obviously, even with the best planning, the development of a project may require an immediate change of priorities.

If you intend to change an assignment in the resource planning or workload system, it is absolutely necessary to speak first with the relevant stakeholders and collaborators.

This is one of the main tricks to keep the team happy.

Communication in this situation is essential.

It is necessary to explain the reasons behind structural interventions, as well as to highlight the requisites of the resources needed to complete the project. It is strategic to emphasize the need for a project and not make it a personal issue.

The key points to remember

What to do:

  • Spend time on planning in order to reflect on the delegation strategy.
  • Create a list of all the activities that need to be done and then assign tasks based on the specific function, position, and strengths of team members.
  • Create a culture that enhances productivity beyond the hours worked by openly praising an important and successful performance.

What not to do:

  • Being excessively rigid regarding the workload delegation strategy; when priorities change, it is necessary to be flexible.
  • Burn the top performer. Before loading him further, identify if and how it is possible to break down a more complex task into secondary tasks.
  • Let a collaborator “rest on his laurels”. It is necessary to be clear and direct on the general project expectations, as well as on the personal ones.

There are real risks involved in not distributing the workload fairly.

Indeed, if the high performers are overloaded, they will start to resent the fact that they are doing more than their colleagues, in addition to risk the burn out.

If work is taken away from slower people, they will inevitably lose interest.

People also work to achieve success – albeit small – to grow and to be recognized. When this opportunity is not given to them, the risk is high.

This is why in the TWproject software we paid special attention to managing the workload of each team member.

From the planning phase to the monitoring and control phase, it is possible to have a clear picture of the progress of each collaborator’s work.


For each resource the Project Manager can have a graphical representation of the total load per day, (where each color represents a different task), as well as a detailed explanation of the load components.

The functions available are so many! The best way know them is by testing our software

In our software Work and load plan interact in order to provide – in real time – the strategic information for the successful outcome of the project.

What are the difficulties you have encountered in managing your team’s workload?

Leave us your comment.

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agile methodology

Agile methodology: advantages and disadvantages of an innovative method

The Agile methodology is a project management methodology that uses short development cycles, so called “sprint”, to focus on continuous improvement in the development of a product or service.

The key principles of the Agile methodology in the project management

The key principles that guide the project management according to the Agile methodology are 12:

  1. Customer satisfaction is always the highest priority and is achieved thanks to fast and accurate delivery;
  2. The evolution is adopted at any phase of the process;
  3. A product or service is delivered at a higher frequency;
  4. Stakeholders and developers work closely every day;
  5. All stakeholders and team members must remain motivated in order to achieve optimal project results. The teams have all the necessary tools and support to achieve the project goals;
  6. Face-to-face meetings are considered the most efficient and effective form of communication for the success of the project;
  7. A final product that is working is the final measure of success;
  8. Sustainable development is achieved through agile processes where development teams and stakeholders can maintain a constant and continuous pace;
  9. Through a continuous attention to technical excellence and correct planning, agility will be improved;
  10.  Simplicity is a fundamental feature in every phase of the project;
  11. Self-organized teams are more likely to develop the best ideas and projects and to meet the requirements;
  12. Teams make changes in behavior in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of work.

The advantages of the Agile methodology

The Agile methodology was firstly developed for the software industry.

The task was to optimize and improve the development process and to try to identify and quickly correct problems and defects.

This methodology allows to provide a better output, more quickly, through short and interactive sessions / sprints.

In the era of digital transformation, where many organizations are migrating to a digital workplace, the Agile methodology suits perfectly in companies that are looking to transform the way in which projects are managed and the way they operate as a whole.

If we consider the benefits for the company, the digital workplace and the Agile methodology provide:

  • More flexibility;
  • More productivity;
  • More transparency;
  • Products of superior quality;
  • Decreased risk of missed goals;
  • Greater involvement and satisfaction of stakeholders.

agile methodology

In the field of project management, the Agile methodology gives teams, sponsors, project managers and customers many specific advantages, including:

  • Faster implementation of solutions;
  • Waste reduction thanks to the minimization of the resources;
  • Greater flexibility and adaptability to change;
  • More success thanks to more focused efforts;
  • Faster delivery times;
  • Faster detection of problems and defects;
  • Optimized development processes;
  • A lighter/less complicated structure;
  • Excellent project control;
  • Greater attention to specific customer needs;
  • Increased collaboration frequency and feedback.

The disadvantages of Agile

As with any other methodology, even the Agile approach is not suitable for any project.

It is therefore recommended to do an adequate analysis in order to identify the best methodology to apply in every situation.

Agile may not work as expected, for example, if a client is not clear about the goals, if the project manager or the team has no experience or if they do not “work well” under pressure.

Because the Agile methodology has less formal and more flexible processes, it may not always be easily included into larger and more traditional organizations.

Here, in fact, processes, policies or teams could be rigid.

The Agile methodology is also difficult to implement when clients follow rigid processes or methods.

Furthermore, given that this methodology focuses mainly on the short term, the risk that the long-term vision will be lost does exist.

The sixth edition of the PmBok and the Agile methodology

At this point it is appropriate to make some small considerations according to the fact that the PmBok, ie the bible of Project Manager, is mainly based on the so-called “Waterfall” approach – which explains a sequential development in phases, in the life cycle of the project.

In some of these phases, the PmBok contemplates possible application of an Agile approach, provided that this is in line with the goals of the project.

The advantages of the Waterfall approach are:

  • Defined, agreed and formalized requirements;
  • Possible defects or risks are already assessed in the initial phases of the project;
  • Detailed and punctual documentation;
  • Due to the detailed project documentation, even non-expert colleagues can manage the project.

On the other hand, the disadvantages of this approach are the following:

  • Analysis and planning activities can take a long time and thus delay the actual launch of the project;
  • The requirements, as soon as they are formalized, can only be modified through another process, which – again – takes time;
  • During project development, new needs or new tools may arise that can require more flexibility.

The Agile methodology focuses mostly on optimizing the process.

The PmBok, and therefore the Waterfall method, focuse more on managing goals and risks and on forecasting and controlling costs.

An Agile approach works at its best in situations that have a relatively high level of uncertainty, where creativity and innovation in order to find the appropriate solution are more important than predictability.

A very simple and clear example is the research for a cure for cancer. In this case, for instance, it would be ridiculous to develop a detailed plan on the strategy to follow.

A traditional approach, such as Waterfall, works well in situations that have a relatively low level of uncertainty and where predictability, planning and control are essential.

Here the best example can be the building of a bridge that must always follow the same system.

Many project managers have seen – and still see – these two approaches as competitive with each other.

A high level of skill is needed in order to see these two approaches in a new perspective, as complementary to each other.

agile methodology

In fact, both methodologies are valid, but require a great interpretative capacity – beyond experience – in order to apply the correct principles in every situation.

In the development of the Twproject software, we came to a very important consideration.

Particular approaches can help to solve certain classes of problems, but they will never cover all the work activities of a company.

Therefore, it would be extremely non-agile to have a specific software for “agile” projects, and one for others.

And even “agile” projects can present many variations, which will fit into the agile metaphor at different stages, and hardly in a single “software model”.

Therefore we have reached a basic assumption: agility is in the methodology, not in software.

A software should be flexible enough to let you map projects, tasks, issues, to people and customers, in endless ways, but so that all data from different projects and methodologies are collected in the same place.

For this reason, we made Twproject a real project management tool, regardless of the chosen approach.

Which methodology is applied in your business?

According to your experience, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Leave us your feedback in the comments.

Start managing your projects.

project stakeholders

Project Stakeholders

Who are the stakeholders? When we read the title, this is the first question that comes to mind.

If we take the definition of the PMBok, a stakeholder is an individual, a group or an organization that can influence or can be influenced (or perceive itself being influenced) by a decision, activity or result of a project.

Shortly, a stakeholder is a person, a group of people, or an organization that has an interest in the project or is influenced – directly or indirectly – by its result.

This can include, for example, project team members, project sponsors, members of the organization, and people outside the organization.

But let’s try to analyze all the aspects that can be of interest of the subjects directly or indirectly involved in a project and the evaluations and actions that inevitably are in the hands of the Project Manager.

Project stakeholders: interests and necessities

In a certain manner, a stakeholder has an interest in the outcome of the project.

It is therefore essential to identify all the stakeholders in a project, and it would be trivial to say the reasons.

The identification of the stakeholders must be done from the beginning of the planning phase in order to create a strategy to manage them.

This will help in managing the project with minimal obstruction from them. The sooner the stakeholers are identified, the sooner we can start to communicate and to involve them in project decisions.

In this way, they will feel a connection to the project. They will be able to understand the benefits and they will support the project manager everytime he needs it.

The project is successful, if all the stakeholders are happy and satisfied with the result.

It may happen that even if the project is complete and all the deliverables have been accepted by the client, the project is not successfully completed because some stakeholders are not completely satisfied.

Therefore, in order to successfully complete a project, it is very important that a project manager can keep all stakeholders satisfied.

Normally, if the project is simple, the list of project stakeholders is probably small.

However, if the project is more complex and perhaps spread across a large geographic area, it is possible that the number of stakeholders is huge.

In a big project, in fact, project stakeholders can also be communities or the general public.

The important thing is to keep in mind that the stakeholders are not all the same.

Every stakeholder has different needs and expectations.

So, each stakeholder must be treated according to its needs and expectations.

Not doing it can compromise the success of the project.

For this reason, knowing all the stakeholders, their needs, expectations and requirements will increase the chances of success of the project.

project stakeholders

If we forget or disregard an important stakeholder, this could lead to difficulties in the later phases of the project.

The Project could suffer: delays, cost overruns and, in the most serious cases, the closure of the project itself.

Type of Stakeholder

Project stakeholders can be divided into two categories:

  • Internal stakeholders;
  • External stakeholders.

Internal stakeholders are directly within the organization. For example:

  • A sponsor;
  • An internal client (if the project arose because of an internal need of the organization);
  • A project team;
  • A project manager;
  • A portfolio manager;
  • A manager of another department of the organization (for example, trade manager, administrative manager, ecc.).

On the other hand, external stakeholders are external to the organization. For example:

  • An external client (the “standard” type of clients);
  • An end user of the project result;
  • A supplier;
  • A subcontractor;
  • The government;
  • Local communities;
  • Media.

Moreover, stakeholders can be positive and negative.

A positive stakeholder sees the positive side of the project and benefits from its success.

These help the project management team to complete the project successfully.

On the other hand, a negative stakeholder sees the negative result of the project and can be negatively influenced by the project or its outcome.

This type of stakeholder is less inclined to help.

Perhaps we will appear boring, but it is fundamental to understand the importance of identifying the project stakeholders in the early pahses of the project.

It is also necessary to note down the details, requirements, expectations, power and influence on the project in the stakeholder register.

Some of these stakeholders will have a minimal interest or just a relative influence on the project.

However, the project manager must also take care of them.

Indeed, you can never know when secondary stakeholders can become the dominant stakeholders and if the dominant stakeholders become less influential.

The register of Stakeholders

After having identified all the stakeholders, their information will be recorded in a so-called stakeholder register.

This register is a project management document that will contain all the aforementioned information.

In this document all the people, groups and organizations that have any kind of interest or involvement in the project will be identified.

Here we can find the names, titles, roles, interests, requirements, expectations, type of influence, etc. of each one of them.

The stakeholder register will be created as soon as the project statute is signed.

project stakeholders

Doing this in the first stage of the project will help complete the project with minimal effort.

Once the register is created and all the stakeholders are listed, a strategy to manage them will be easily drafted.

The contents of the Stakeholder register

Usually, the stakeholder register contains three types of information about each stakeholder:

  • Identification;
  • Evaluation;
  • Classification.

In some cases, the register can also contain the stakeholder management strategy.

In the first section, we will have the following information:

  • Name;
  • Title;
  • Contact information;
  • Role in the project / organization.

In the second section about the evaluation of the stakeholders, we will have:

  • Stakeholders requirements;
  • Communication necessities;
  • Communication frequency;
  • Expectations;
  • Influence on the project;
  • Interests and power.

The last section will classify the stakeholders on the basis of various criteria.

They can be divided according to their power and interest in the project, whether high, medium or low.

It is also possible to assign other attributes to the stakeholders, for example, if a stakeholder is internal, external, positive, a supporter, a resistor or a neutral stakeholder.

After completing the evaluation, it is possible to edit the stakeholder management strategy.

This strategy will help to interact with each one of them based on individual needs, influence and interest in the project.

The stakeholder register must be kept up to date throughout the project life cycle.

While the project goes on, it will be possible to identify new stakeholders or it can happen that other stakeholders should no longer be considered. The register should be therefore contain these changes.

Moreover, during the project life cycle, the interest or power of one or more stakeholders could change. This must also be duly noted in the register.

As it appears clear, the identification of stakeholders is a continuous process. This is why the stakeholder register must be considered an “open” document during the entire life cycle of the project.

Because this registry contains names, e-mails, classifications, and management strategies, it may not be shown to everyone.

It is therefore necessary to keep this document in a safe place with limit access.

Every project manager must therefore remember to always take the project stakeholders into consideration.

In fact, a deficiency in this sense could have serious and negative repercussions on the whole project.

Have you ever had any difficulty in identifying one or more project stakeholders?

What are your experiences?

Leave us your comment.

Identify the stakeholders of your project.

leadership skills

Leadership skills of the Project Manager: the key elements of the role

The leadership of a project, in very few words, is the act of guiding a team towards the completion of a project.

It is obvious that it is a simplistic definition and that the true meaning of Leadership in a project is much more than that.

It is about obtaining something well done through other people who, in turn, are happy to have done it.

Leadership is a soft ability; part art, part science

Everyone is obsessed with this topic, from professionals to companies.

It represents an important – and necessary – quality for a project manager.

We have been asked the following.

Can everyone be a Leader?

Can leadership be learned and taught or is it an innate talent?

This is still an open point on which there are discussions.

But one thing is certain: successful leadership can be monitored and studied.

Different leadership styles

If we analyze the management style of everyone involved in a project, we can find different ways in which project managers try to reach goals and set their job.

Most of these differences are based on the personality of the professional and on the style of leadership.

We tried to reproduce these differences graphically and this is how the Project Leadership Matrix was born, which you can see below.

leadership skills

It’s a tool that says what kind of leader you are, and with this knowledge it is possible to correct or change the style to become a better leader.

This matrix divides the leadership into four main types:

  1. Reactive people leadership;
  2. Reactive task management;
  3. Proactive people leadership;
  4. Proactive task management.

It is unlikely that a project manager fits perfectly in a single quadrant.

It is much more likely that every Project Manager is a mixture of two or more leadership styles.

However, in general, the best project managers are those who emphasize a proactive leadership style.

It is important to remember, though it may seem obvious, that people are not like activities.

Managers are often more comfortable with processes and methodologies, rather than with human beings.

However, the work is not done by automata and treating the team, which is made up of human beings, in an abstract and cold way means risking the disaster.

Here is where excellent project leadership must come. As a leader, the goal is to inspire and empower the team.

Planning, monitoring and reporting are certainly fundamental for the construction of a project, but the morale of the collaborators may not be quantifiable like a milestone on a timeline.

How (as project manager) do I become a GOOD project manager?

Knowing what good project leadership means leads to the inevitable question: how is it possible to apply this concept to reality in order to become a good project manager?

The aspects that many – excellent – leaders share are the following:

  1. Keep the focus on the goal;
  2. They are aware;
  3. They create solutions;
  4. They are analysts;
  5. They can evaluate the risks;
  6. They can generate a sense of urgency when necessary;
  7. They are perspicacious;
  8. They promote cohesion among collaborators;
  9. They motivate the team;
  10. They reach results.

These represent ten pillars on which it is possible to build a good leadership.

Leadership is difficult to teach through books, videos and courses.

Of course, you can learn the basics by reading, but the “practice” at work is another story.

What does the sixth edition of PmBok on leadership say?

It can be more difficult to manage a team, and a project in general, through leadership rather than authority.

However, leadership is usually more effective because it is built on trust and respect.

Leadership is particularly important at the beginning of a project to define the vision, communicate it to the team and start this necessary relationship of trust and respect.

This let all employees take part in the project objectives.

Good leadership skills will also keep the collaborators inspired and motivated to do their best.

In order to be a project manager with good leadership skills, it is important to recognize situations and select the appropriate action.

The PmBok summarizes the leadership as:

  • Lead team members and stakeholders towards a common project goal;
  • Doing things “through” the project team members;
  • Manage with respect and trust;
  • Communicate with, motivate and inspire the team;
  • Maintain the vision, strategy and communication of project performance;
  • Evaluate the performance of the project team.

Communication is the key

Clear communication is the most valuable tool that a project manager has.

Clear communication not only with the team, but also with the possible leaders and with all the stakeholders.

This quality is probably what firstly characterizes a good leader.

Communication is not only a means through which needs and desires can be explained but, if used correctly, it clearly transmits to the team what are the expected objectives, the requirements and the limits to respect.

This allows everyone to act correctly in an autonomous way.

The more team members know, the more they can act autonomously and make the right choices.

To ensure that communication skills are clear, a simple pattern, both for written as well as spoken communications, can be followed:

  • First of all, communication has to be compelling, as the message must arouse interest and involvement in the topic.
  • Secondly, commication must be persuasive. If you are not able to influence the person with whom you are communicating, you will not be able to change her/his way of thinking or her/his habits.
  • Finally, communication must be powerful. This means that we need to communicate effectively and efficiently. The correct result of communication should be the action.

Leadership for a project manager is a term probably easy to describe but represents a goal to pursue and to try to achieve throughout the whole working life.

What kind of leader are you?

Which are the most difficult aspects for you in the field of leadership?

Tell us about your experience.

Increase your leadership skills.

SMART goals to plan a project

Having Smart goals or, if preferred, a Smart approach to a project, is becoming more and more crucial, in the planning made by the project manager, for the success of the project itself.

Let’s try to analyze why.

The goals of a project: the premises that lead to SMART

A project goal describes the desired outcomes of a project, which are often tangible elements.

Goals can be used by companies, government agencies, non-profit organizations and even by private people for personal use for project planning.

A project can have a single goal, many parallel goals or different goals that must be achieved sequentially.

Goals must be settled at the beginning of the project life cycle, ie in the planning phase, in order to achieve maximum benefit.

A well-written goal is fundamental, because it can have an influence on every phase of the project life cycle.

When a specific goal is created and communicated, the team has a greater chance to achieve it, because the collaborators know exactly on what they are working.

Every kind of effort can benefit from the goals.

As an individual, it is possible to use a goal in order to choose exactly what and how to plan.

Regardless of the type of project, the models can simplify the work, from the development of the goals to the planning of the project.

SMART goals: what they are and why they are important

Identifying a clear goal can be very difficult.

The difficulty is due to the many variables that each project presents.

Fortunately, there are many ways to simplify this process.

First, we have to take into consideration that the goals will contain key performance indicators.

They will be specific to the company or area of interest.

The fundamental questions are:

  • how can we be sure that the project was successful?
  • What has to be achieved?
  • What change do we want to see as a result of the project?

An easy way to make sure that sufficient details are included in the goal – or in the different goals – is to follow the SMART approach.

smart goals

SMART goals are:

  1. specific;
  2. measurable;
  3. achievable;
  4. relevant;
  5. with a deadline.

SMART goals: are specific

The word “specific” means to clearly defines the goals, in detail, without leaving room for wrong interpretations.

Consider the so-called Five Ws, where the five W stand for the following questions:
Who? What? When? Where? Why?

Specific means, for instance, that you must be able to answer all these five questions.

Being specific requires commitment. It means preparing and activating an in-depth research on the problem you want to tackle.

General statements should be absolutely avoided, like for example: “this project will improve the employment of young people”.

There is the need to be specific, for example, what is the unemployment rate among young people and why is the situation like this, what strategies have already been implemented, why they have not worked and why the new project should be able to solve the problem.

Moreover, we recommend that you use a bullet list for the goals, which is easy to structure and visualize.

SMART goals: are measurable

The goals to be SMART must be measurable.

The word “measurable” refers to the measures and specifications of the performances that will determine if the goal has been achieved.

Everyone needs to know how to evaluate the success of the project.

For this reason the goals must allow to monitor the progress of the project and evaluate the final results.

A point of reference or a standard for success is something which measure progresses.

Measurable goals answer questions like “How much?” or “How many?”

In the previous example, this would mean to indicate “how many unemployed young people will be able to find a job within the end of the project”.

SMART goals: are achievable

The word “achievable” refers to the fact that the team has a reasonable expectation of completion with success.

Every project manager should give achievable goals to his collaborators.

If they work on extremely difficult jobs, their productivity can be reduced and this could have a negative effect on motivation.

The feeling of never being able to achieve the project goal within the deadline can bring the project to failure.

SMART goals: are relevant

A goal is “relevant” when it is in line with group or business goals.

If the goal of the project has no relevance to the general vision, it is practically useless and can not be defined as a SMART goal.

SMART goals: have a deadline

The last feature of a SMART goal is “having a deadline”.

It is necessary to include a project deadline or the specific period within which the goals has to be achieved.

A deadline helps to create the needed urgency.

It solicits the action and helps the responsibles to focuse on the commitments they have made.

This comes from the fact that they have a specific time frame within which to complete the task. It is not possible to go beyond this deadline or the performance will be lower.

This also is used to measure the efficiency of a team in achieving a particular goal.

Not having a deadline reduces the motivation and urgency of collaborators.

A big mistake for a project manager.

Suggestions for writing successful project goals

Analyzing results from similar projects and looking at what happens in the company or in the community in general can be a big help.

It can be a great advantage, for example, when we decide how long it will take to complete a task.

It is also necessary to consider all the individual steps to do, as well as consider potential events that could transform into an obstacle and not allow to achieve the goals in time.

smart goals

Here are some useful suggestions to write successful project goals:

  • Identify and write the goal, or goals, before starting the project;
  • A goal can not be written in isolation. If the team does not believe in the goal, it will not work according to it. If the stakeholders do not agree, they will not provide resources. If the stakeholders do not agree with the goal, it is necessary to work with them until a vision that everyone shares is reached;
  • Be short; so the goals can be read and understood;
  • Be clear; do not provide a list of options. Just ask for what you need and what you expect;
  • Use a simple language so that everyone can understand the goal and there is no misunderstanding;
  • Goals should be controlled, make sure that your goals allow to do this.

A goal without an appropriate planning is nothing but a desire.

Clearly, this attitude is unacceptable in the business, because only thanks to a necessay planning, it is possible to win.

SMART goals exist to ensure that project results are achieved in an organized and caring manner, which offers a great competitive advantage.

In conclusion, life is unpredictable, and so are the projects.

Therefore, it is important that goals are flexible and negotiable.

However, this does not mean that they must be vague or general.

The goals must be extremely precise and detailed, but must also transmit the idea that, during the development of the project, the project manager will continuously work to make changes and corrections if and when necessary.

Set your SMART goals.

Kanban method

How to apply the Kanban method to project management

The Kanban method was developed as a methodology to improve production efficiency.

The Japanese word “Kanban” means “billboard” in English and it was born in the company of Toyota, in Japan.

Today this method is widely used.

Nowadays, the Kanban method is not only used as a planning system for lean production, but also in Agile projects in order to manage the backlog of activities.

Actually, thanks to the popularity of Kanban, there are now countless project management tools that follow this method. The goal is to help people plan and prioritize.

The advantages of this method are different.

Kanban cards work like visual panels with virtual notes that can be added.

These notes can be moved to organize the order of activities or in order to prioritize the things to do.

Kanban method

Therefore, the Kanban method enables more flexible planning options, a quickier output, as well as more carefullness and transparency throughout the project life cycle.

The Toyota company, where this system was first implemented, has created six rules that permit to apply the Kanban method to the production process.

Today, people and project managers of the most different sectors use the Kanban method for planning and managing activities and their priorities.

In fact, Kanban is a structured process of prioritization.

What is a Kanban Board?

A Kanban Board is like a blackboard.

A space in which Kanban cards  stand for the individual activities that have to performed and are categorized based on priority and delivery.

Nowadays, Kanban cards are used mainly as online softwares, or in some cases are directly integrated in more complex project management softwares.

In general, they allow to track the work flow not only of a team, but also of the single collaborators.

It is particularly used by the software development teams that follow the Agile methodology.

It is used to define user history and the activity priorities in the backlog or as a collaboration tool for innovation.

If we consider the most basic (and more structured) form, the Kanban card can be divided into three levels:

  • Work/activity in standby;
  • Work/activity in progress;
  • Work/activity completed;

Obviously, the complexity of the card depends on the goal of the project.

As every task is completed, team members move Kanban cards through the different sections of the board.

Kanban cards allow to:

  • Visualize the workflow;
  • Limit the number of activities in progress;
  • Move an activity from one section to another;
  • Monitor, adapt, and improve the process.

What are Kanban cards?

The Kanban method can be considerated as a system of knowledge and the cards permit to represent each singular object of work or activity.

Each Kanban card includes the critical data for the specific activity to which it refers.

The cards have different colors that indicate the type of task performed.

Different colors can also refer to other distinctions that have been agreed upon at the beginning of the project.

Some of the ways a Kanban card helps teams and project managers: 

  • Quick understanding of the details of every activity/task;
  • Easy communication within the team;
  • Information on documents;
  • Support with the future workflow.

How to use the Kanban method in project management

In order to manage different projects in an efficient and productive way, different methodologies are required.

In general, the Kanban method is an excellent tool for planning the project and prioritizing the activities.

It can increase team efficiency, optimize time management, as well as allow a more fluid and simple overall project management.

It is also excellent for supporting with resource allocation, workflow management and waste reduction.

Here is why in more detail:

Use the Kanban method to: Assign resources

The first step is to create the activities and then assign them to a team member.

It’s fundamental to make sure that the right people are working on the right job in the proper manner.

This will help to correctly manage the work, without blocking any other member of the team or delaying production.

Everytime a new project activity is added into the workflow, the right resource can be assigned to it in a easy and quick way.

Use the Kanban method to: Workflow management

The Kanban method is a perfect tool that allows to visualize the workflow of any project.

The workflow is a sequential series of activities and the Kanban card with its visual representation makes everything more understandable.

Kanban method

Thanks to the observation on how activities are related, collaboration within the team will be promoted and at the same time greater efficiency and productivity can be achieved.

Use the Kanban method to: Reduce waste

The reduction of waste, whether of resources or costs in general, is not only the rule of a lean system.

Every project manager is interested in obtaining results in this sense.

Kanban cards help in the identification of a probable expensive process.

Something that does not work as planned, an overproduction or a situation where team members are blocking the workflow are easily detectable.

The big advantage lies in detecting these factors before they become problems.

There is no limit to the number of cards, integrations and workflow management that the Kanban method allows.

This method can work not only in a small company with a single office, but also in a multinational company with offices all around the world.

The Kanban method in the software

The common thread that permits to use all the advantages of this method is a project management software.

For this reason, we added in TWproject the Kanban functionality in order to organize the to-do-list of the project.

The Issues that in Twproject are used as to-do can be easily managed with the Kanban multi-dimensional of TWproject.

Indeed, it allows to organize the issues in a fully visual way.

It is possible to move them and organize them by task, assignee, status or severity degree.

Shortly, a very flexible multi-dimensional Kanban.

Kanban method

Do you also use the Kanban method for your projects?

Give us your suggestion and tell us about your experience.

Use the Kanban feature to organize the to-do-list of the project

A proof is worth a thousand words.
Project risk analysis

Project risk analysis

The project risk analysis or risk management,  is the process of identification, analysis and response to any risk that occurs during the life cycle of a project.

Analyzing the risks that may lie behind the execution of a project, predicting the possible obstacles and having a vision of the solutions in advance is certainly vital for any project.

It serves to help the latter stay on track and reach his goal.

But risk management can not and must not be just an action in response to something.

It should itself be part of the project planning process, in its evaluation phase.

In fact, during the planning of the project, the potential risks should be assessed and, obviously, also the possible solutions in order to manage these risks should be evaluated.

But what does “risk” mean?

A risk is anything that could potentially affect the timing, performance or budget of the project.

Risks are considered as potentialities and, in a project management context, if they become reality, they are classified as “problems“, which must be addressed accordingly.

Thus, risk management is the process of identification, categorization, prioritization and risk planning before they become problems.

Risk management can be managed differently depending on the project and its scope.

If it is a large-scale project, for example, risk management strategies could include detailed planning for each risk.

This is to ensure that mitigation strategies are activated in case of problems.

For smaller projects, risk management could mean a simple and prioritized list of high, medium and low priority risks.

Project risk analysis: How to identify risk

To begin with, a clear and precise definition of what the project will have to produce, the objectives and the final results is essential.

In this way the risks can be identified at every stage of the project, even with the help of the team.

Some companies and industries develop risk control lists based on past project experience.

The team’s past experience, the project experience within the company and industry experts can be valuable resources to identify potential risks on a project.

Project risk analysis

Identifying the sources of risk by category is a possible method to explore the potential risk of a project.

Some examples of categories for potential risks include the following:

  • Technology;
  • Costs;
  • Timing;
  • Clients;
  • Contracts;
  • Financial situation;
  • Political situation;
  • Environmental situation;
  • Persons.

Each defined risk must then be included in the risk monitoring model and marked by its priority

Consequently, a risk plan that shows the impacts on the project, both negative and positive, must be created, as well as the actions to use and implement in order to manage the problem.

In the context of risk management, it is also important to maintain regular communication with the team throughout the project.

Transparency is fundamental, so that everyone knows what elements to take into account to recognize and react to a problem.

Project risk analysis: Risk assessment

After identifying potential risks, the project manager, with the help of the team, assesses the risk based on the probability of occurrence and the potential loss associated with the event.

Not all risks are the same.

Some risk events are more likely to happen than others, and even the cost of a risk can vary greatly.

Therefore, evaluating the probability that the risk presents itself and the concrete repercussions on the project are the next step in the risk analysis.

Having criteria for determining high-impact risks can help narrow attention to certain specific and more critical risks to the project.

For example, suppose it is established that high-impact risks are those that could increase project costs by 5%.

Only a few potential risk events will satisfy this criterion.

These are therefore potential risk events on which the project team should focus on creating a mitigation plan.

The probability and impact of risk are both classified as high, medium or low.

A risk mitigation plan normally concerns events that have high results on both factors.

There is a positive correlation between the risk of the project and the complexity of the project.

In the case of highly complex projects, an external expert can be included in the risk assessment process and the risk assessment plan can take on a more prominent role in the project implementation plan.

Project risk analysis

Project risk analysis: Risk mitigation plan

After the risk has been identified and assessed, the project manager with the team develops a risk mitigation plan, a plan to reduce the impact of an unforeseen event.

The risk can be mitigated in the following ways:

  • Risk avoidance: it usually involves the development of an alternative strategy with a greater probability of success, but usually linked to a higher cost;
  • Sharing risk: involves collaboration with other stakeholders, in order to share responsibility for activities at risk;
  • Risk reduction: it is an investment to reduce the risk on a project. For example, hire and rely on consultants to take care of high-risk activities;
  • Risk transfer: it is a risk reduction method that shifts the risk from the project to another part. For example, the purchase of insurance on certain items is a method of transferring risk. In fact, the risk is transferred from the project to the insurance company.

Each of these mitigation techniques can be an effective tool to reduce individual risks and the overall risk profile of the project.

As far as the project manager is concerned, not everyone conducts a formal risk assessment on the project.

The lack of formal risk management tools has also been seen as an obstacle to the implementation of a risk management plan.

In addition, the project manager’s personality and management style differentiate the approach to risk.

Some project managers are more proactive and will develop risk management programs for their projects.

Other managers are reactive and are more confident in their ability to handle unexpected events when they occur.

Others, on the other hand, are risk averse and prefer to be optimistic and not consider risks or avoid taking risks when possible.

Whatever the case, the ability to accurately analyze the risks of a project must fall within the skills and tasks of a project manager.

In any project, a proper risk assessment becomes fundamental to a successful plan.

What about you? What kind of project manager are you? How do you manage potential risks?

Tell us about your experience.

Analyze the possible risks of your project.

digital project manager

The digital project manager: when the project meets the web

What is the Digital Project Manager? It is quickly explained!

Nowadays, our routine goes in parallel with the digital world, we are connected 24 hours a day and – almost – anything is possible thanks to the Internet.

The work itself is largely digital.

For these reasons, the figure of the digital project manager is born, a specialist who knows the online business and knows the modern tools for managing online projects.

A digital project manager is not so different from a traditional project manager.

Even a digital project manager, in fact, manages tasks related to projects, such as the planning of the project, the communication with stakeholders, the management of the team and, of course, the delivery of projects within the deadline and without exceeding the given budget.

The difference is that they work in the digital space.

digital project manager

A digital space that is growing day by day and that offers ever more performing instruments.

One might think of the digital project manager as an exclusive figure for high-tech and software companies, but this is not the case.

Digital impregnates our lives, we are increasingly connected and this hyper-connectivity and hypertechnology becomes more “normal” every day.

Almost all commercial companies now have an online presence, that they try to improve and take care of.

Many people are beginning to understand that the presence on the web is no less important than a physical presence, like a branch of the company or the company itself.

This is the work space in which the digital project manager moves: a space of innovation, but no longer futuristic.

His figure is every day more requested by the market and its importance in a company that faces the web or intends to improve its online presence is increasingly essential.

Any company that pushes sales through its website, through search engine optimization, newsletters, social media marketing and copywriting may want to seek the help of a digital project manager.

The digital project manager: What does he exactly do?

The projects of a digital project manager work similarly to any other project, but we can find subtle differences.

Digital project management usually follows these five steps:

  1. Discovery: the idea generation stage, in which new concepts or new technologies are explored, solutions are identified and risks assessed;
  2. Project planning;
  3. Production: work in concrete;
  4. Distribution: that is, the work of evaluating and analyzing the product of the project, for example, a social media marketing campaign;
  5. Maintenance: the digital project rarely has a definitive ending, but remains open for corrections and re-elaborations throughout its life. For example, a social media marketing campaign, while active, can be directed to another target audience, can be modified in the image, etc. depending on the results of the data analysis.

The digital project manager will assess the risks, plan the work and coordinate the tasks, direct the team and maintain the project “on time”.

He is also involved in the business development process that will go hand in hand with the brand and business development on the web.

In addition to managing the team and the project, these new digital managers have to deal directly or indirectly with customers and their needs.

Indeed, their relationship with the customer could have more influence than that of the sales team.

In fact, they will collect the “humor” of the customers, perceive their desires and direct the company management towards choices that could prove decisive for the business development.

What are the tools and skills required to be a good Digital Project Manager?

The set of skills and competences required for a digital project manager will be slightly different than those of the traditional project manager.

We can list the following:

  • CMS – Content Management System: software that allows the management of web content, without the need to use the webmaster. These changes can be made directly by the digital project manager, thus freeing developers who can concentrate on more complicated tasks;
  • Information Architecture: structure and categorization of information, content and digital processes;
  • Analytics: digital project managers need to know how to analyze and use data collected from tools such as Google Analytics. The data obtained are in fact fundamental for understanding and correcting the performance of the website;
  • HTML: this competence allows the digital project manager to perform some programming jobs personally, allowing developers to concentrate on more complex tasks;
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): being able to position your website in the first results of Google and search engines in general is crucial for online success. The digital project manager must know all the SEO tools that allow to promote the site in the best possible way;
  • Social media: these are used by a company mainly to drive traffic to their site and to improve brand awareness and online reputation. Knowing platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook is therefore essential for a digital project manager.

Job Description

Digital project managers are responsible for managing digital projects, which may include, for example, the launching of websites, online tools, applications for mobile devices, social media advertising campaigns and more.

They are experts in technology and innovation, with a deep knowledge of how technology works in order to achieve business objectives.

Digital project managers are methodical, have excellent time management and communication skills, both personal and online, and effectively manage projects respecting the requirements of quality, time and budget.

This involves drafting supporting documentation, such as risk analysis and plan and requirements specifications, to ensure that actual progress is in line with planned progress.

Digital project managers highlight risks and develop plans to tackle, stem and proactively solve these problems when and if they occur during the project life cycle.

In addition to risk management, they will also always be looking for business opportunities to explore in new potential projects.

Another task includes the creation of effective communication channels with the team and with stakeholders.

Gaining consensus on the project and ensuring that all the activities delegated to them are clear is one of their main objectives.

A digital project manager must also have great adaptability.

The digital space can present big changes every day and without warning and flexibility and a high spirit of adaptation are therefore fundamental.

Last but not least, the digital project manager must possess a technical and marketing language, but at the same time must understand and speak the language of the people of the web.

Speaking the right “language” will help the digital project manager better understand what online customers say, in order to contribute to the conversation and effectively communicate messages to others.

Are you a digital project manager? What are your digital projects?

Tell us about your experience.

Start managing your digital project.

How to make a project budget

How can I create a budget for a project if I have no historical basis on which to orient myself?

When starting a project, it is difficult to know how much it will cost.

If we are dealing with a repetitive project, we will probably have a history on which to base ourselves.

In this case it may be easier to draw up a project budget, but different is the case when it comes to a new project.

Project managers are required to account for their budget estimates.

Given the great uncertainty that usually prevails in the initial phase of a project, this can be one of the major challenges of a project manager.

The ability to create an accurate budget is an essential skill for a project manager.

It can be a daunting task, especially for new project managers; however, once the first budget is created, you will have a first reference system.

From then on, it will be easier to manage this aspect for future projects.

The approaches to drafting a budget

There are two main approaches that can be adopted when drawing up a budget:

  • Top-down approach: decide how much the project will cost in total and divide the amount between the various phases of work;
  • Bottom-up approach: estimate the total cost of the project, calculating the individual work steps, starting from the lowest level, and then adding the whole.

Both approaches, like all things, have their advantages and disadvantages.

Let’s try to evaluate them together.

How to make a project budget: The top-down approach

The top-down approach, literally from top to bottom, is more than simply a guess of the total amount on which to base the whole project.

In fact, it is necessary to explain how the work will be carried out and structured within the amount of budget allocated for each phase of the project.

One should ask oneself if the balance sheet seems realistic on the basis of the experience of past projects, if there are any.

The advantage of the top-down budgeting approach is that it focuses on achieving the project within the allocated budget and leads to efficiency and reduction of costly practices.

A disadvantage is that it presupposes that the person who creates the budget has sufficient knowledge and skills to make a reasonable cost estimate.

If this is not the case, a conflict may occur when a team member is assigned an unrealistic and insufficient budget to complete his work phase.
In fact, there is the risk that deliberately low budgets are created with the – false – belief that this will encourage cost savings and waste elimination.

How to make a project budget: the bottom-up approach

In the second approach, bottom-up, literally from bottom to top, the project budget is built starting from the individual work stages, from the lowest level, and adding them up until reaching the total cost of the project.

The team is often involved in identifying the tasks and activities needed to complete the project and to estimate the various costs.

The advantage of the bottom-up budgeting approach is its accuracy, assuming that we have not forgotten any activity, and consequently its cost.

It is good for team morale because the project manager involves the team in budgeting.

For this reason, this approach is sometimes called participatory budget.

A disadvantage of the bottom-up approach is the difficulty of obtaining a complete list of activities and tasks necessary to complete the project, especially if it is something new, or if we are dealing with a young and / or inexperienced team.

In fact, the risk in starting new projects or in the involvement of junior resources, may be that of not contemplating entire phases of activity and process.

This inevitably leads to totally unleashing not only the costs, but also the time required to complete the project.

The different types of cost in creating the budget

In creating the budget the Project Manager must take into account different factors and above all the different types of costs.

There are basically two types of costs that affect project managers when they create a budget:

  • Direct costs
  • And indirect costs.

The former are uniquely attributed to the project and can be easily definied, such as: the cost of personnel, equipment, travel, consultants, ecc.

Indirect costs, on the other hand, are related to expense items loaded simultaneously on more than one project. Only part of their total cost is charged to a single project.

For example: telephone bills, office rent, company insurance, office equipment, etc.

How to calculate these costs?

For example, if the project will take 6 weeks and the internet bill is € 50 per month, the total cost of the project will be € 75.

To get an idea of the other costs, you can take a look at the previous year.

It will be necessary to see what has been spent on the whole and then divide it by 52 (the number of weeks in the year) to obtain an average weekly cost.

This can be valid for an indirect cost such as that of the equipment.

How to make a project budget: the management reserve

A management reserve or contingency reserve is usually added to projects and usually corresponds to a percentage of the total cost and time of the project.

This fund is used when events related to unexpected costs occur during the project.

The management reserve should be adjusted according to the level of risk identified for the project.

Clearly, the more risky the project is, the greater the management reserve will have to be, and viceversa.

A routine project, already carried out several times, will have a lower management reserve than a totally new project.

The budget will therefore be made up of direct costs, indirect costs and the amount that serves as a management reserve.

 How to make a project budget

How to make a project budget: ineligible costs

There are also costs that are generally not eligible in a project and therefore can not be included in the budget.

In general we can identify them in the following:

  • Non-accountable costs, such as voluntary work;
  • Capital investment costs;
  • Financial charges;
  • Passive interests;
  • Losses caused by the currency exchange, among other things not quantifiable given the volatility;
  • VAT in the case it is a recoverable cost;
  • Costs covered by EU funding or by another type of state funding;
  • Sanctions.

Manage budget changes

Projects rarely go according to plan in every detail.

It is therefore necessary that the project manager is able to identify when costs vary from budget and manage these changes.

A project manager must regularly compare the amount of money spent with the amount provided and report this information to the managers, the company president and the stakeholders.

It is therefore necessary to establish a method on how these progress will be measured and reported.

A widely used method for medium and high complexity projects is the earned value method.

This is a method of periodic comparison of the estimated costs – budget value – with the actual costs during the project – actual value.

The earned value method can provide information not only with regard to cost variances, but also with regard to time deviations, ie if the project is on time or not.

A simple way to evaluate the progress of the project is to take two values:

  • Direct cost percentages pertaining to an activity;
  • Sum of already worked hours on the activity and the forecast of the hours until the end of the project.

The progress of the activity will therefore result from the product between these two indicators. If it less than 1, it means that we are facing a project delay.

At the end of a project, it will be necessary to evaluate if a budget deviation has taken place and what were the reasons that caused it.

Regardless of the approach a project manager chooses to make the budget, it is essential to take the time to monitor it throughout the whole project.

In fact, for project management, cost monitoring is a strategic aspect.

For this reason in Twproject, we have developed the functionalities able to insert and manage both the costs generated by the work (direct costs) and the additional costs (indirect costs), reserving, of course, such access only to the Project Managers.

how to make a project budget

The importance of monitoring and managing a budget is crucial! Here is a small example of the support that TWproject can give you.

how to make a project budget

In this example (an integral part of the previous screen) your forecast margin (calculated from budget and planned costs) is 850.

This is the first estimate you’ve made, and it’s probably very close to what you told your client.

Then, in a second phase, you have refined your estimate: the second line represents how it is going in relation to what is planned.

The last line is the “real” situation, you have a budget of 2500, and you have spent 1285.

Great! There is a margin of 1215, better than expected!

In short, build, customize, monitor the Budget: fundamental aspects for a winning project!

What are the biggest difficulties you have experienced while creating a budget?

What strategy did you use?

Leave us a comment and share your experience with us.

Start now to create an accurate project budget

how to manage winning projects

7 tips on how to manage winning projects

The success of any project depends on the ability of a project manager to have a specific methodical approach to each project.

The approach must be in line with the needs of the client and with the strengths of his team.

In order to manage a winning project, it is essential to create an effective working structure that is not a task that anyone is able to do.

Of course, most project managers know that workflow management, like any other tool that contributes to project management success, is important, but how to do it properly is often not so obvious.

Any project manager knows that the best project management tips and tricks come with time, with experience, but also with the advice of more experienced project managers.

Therefore, today we want to give you 7 valuable tips for managing winning projects.

How to manage winning projects: Plan the day using time management techniques

For a project manager, time management skills are essential because we are dealing with a series of activities that often require rapid response times.

Planning the day will therefore be essential to maintain the overall organization and increase productivity.

For the planning of the activities there are appropriate project management software that can be a valuable help and that allows to keep track of the work done.

If you are not very tech savvy, even a simple to-do list, ordered by priority, can be a good organizational tool.

how to manage winning projects

The most important and priority tasks will therefore be placed at the top of the list, while the less important ones at the bottom. Another idea is also to use different colors depending on the urgency of the activity.

Having a visual plan of daily activities helps to have a general picture. It helps to be aware of how to manage time for each specific task and for each individual resource.

As a visual tool we can only recommend the use of Gantt charts.

How to manage winning projects: Include stakeholders in important decisions

Despite having many responsibilities regarding the project, the project manager must never forget customers and stakeholders.

Good communication is essential to keep the parties informed about the progression of the project and the need for program changes.

Some customers may have different expectations when it comes to communication, so already in the planning phase of a project, it is important to establish the frequency and the communication system to be used, which can be e-mails, phone calls, meetings, etc.

Establishing communication expectations in advance helps alleviate the uncertainty of stakeholders on the frequency and on the arrival of communications.

In addition, it can also help the project manager set the limits for when he is free to talk about the project and when he can consider himself too busy to have a conversation – unless it is an emergency.

How to manage winning projects: Communicate regularly with the team

Daily communication with the team helps to control misunderstandings and unclear needs.

Keeping your team informed at every stage of the project is essential for successful project management.

Good communication skills are a cornerstone of project management.

In other words, clear and frequent communication positively influences the way in which team members see their project manager as a leader, helps to control product quality and project duration, as well as foster risk management.

how to manage winning projects

Furthermore, a study published by Procedia Technology found that some methods of communication are more effective than others.

The researchers found that communication works best in the following order, from the most to the least effective:

  1. Electronic communication (with the right tools);
  2. Written communication;
  3. Verbal communication;
  4. Visual communication;
  5. Non-verbal communication.

How to manage winning projects: Anticipate the possible deadlock situations of the project

Even the best plans can go wrong. Even with a high level of planning and attention to detail, the project could still encounter some difficulties.

Paying attention to complaints from stakeholders or colleagues and other warning signs, such as a deadline or a cost overrun, is crucial.

Preventing a crisis will allow the project to continue without too many hitches, saving a lot of time and maintaining a cohesion among team, stakeholders and the project manager.

Unfortunately, not all complications can be avoided. Crisis management capabilities are essential to tackle the unexpected.

Project managers must be flexible and pragmatic, improvise and make precise decisions when needed.

How to manage winning projects: Know your limits as a project manager

Many projects are destined to fail from the beginning due to unrealistic expectations.

Establishing impossible deadlines or assigning too much work to team members will undoubtedly lead to untidy jobs and often to failure to meet deadlines.

Errors and delays in the work can direct the project towards failure, necessitating adjustment and “patching” work, extension of the calendar and going to undermine the trust of the stakeholders and of the team itself.

Taking the time to get to know the team you work with, will help you understand each person’s strengths and weaknesses and then assign the right tasks.

Delegating tasks to the right person is very important, because success depends on how team members can and are able to perform their tasks.

How to manage winning projects: Stay focused on the details

A common problem encountered by project managers is that project goals are not in line with business objectives.

A good project manager will define a strategic plan for the project that will bring the company back to success.

It’s too easy to get lost in minor details and forget what the goal is, so a well planned project goal is essential to success.

Having a fixed deadline and budget will help maintain a project structure, marked by milestones and a written list of requirements.

How to manage winning projects: Be updated on the latest project management trends

Upskilling is very useful, if not essential, for project management.

Unfortunately, with the high workload and stress of full-time work, it can be difficult to find the time to attend training or refresher courses.

On the other hand, there are many project management courses that are conducted online and most companies will be happy to reimburse their cost.

Professional development should never stop. The workforce is constantly changing, adding new tools and project management roles that did not exist until a few years ago.

To conclude, a project manager must be an expert in leadership, communication and organizational skills.

With the high workload and stress, it is essential to have the necessary skills to reach every goal.

Remaining responsible and aware of all aspects of the project will lead to success.

What are your suggestions for managing winning projects?

Learn how to manage your projects with Twproject

One try is worth a million words.
Gantt charts

Gantt charts for a project: productive advantage or disadvantage?

Gantt charts for projects are the essential weapon of the Project Manager, but they can be extremely useful and effective even for anyone who wants to organize their activities in a structured way.

This planning tool appeared in the early twentieth century and has since been widely used for project planning.

The main reason for the success of the Gantt charts is their simplicity and the focus on the quick visualization of the activities.

Gantt charts are also an excellent way to plan the project in a temporal way, allowing to define roles, responsibilities and effective use of resources.

In fact, they provide an immediate vision of how the project is developed and structured and act as a guideline to the end.

What is a Gantt chart?

The Gantt chart, also called scheduled bar chart, is a tool used to plan a set of activities that, generally, are part of a single, more complex project.

On the horizontal axis there is the time span, whose unit of measurement depends on the project calendar – days, weeks, months, etc. – while on the vertical axis we find the list of the various activities.

Each task is represented by a colored bar that goes from the start date to the end of the activity.

Once all the activities have been inserted, there is a visual scheme of how the project is structured, which tasks come first, which ones overlap and which ones happen later.

The resources that carry out every single activity are easily identifiable.

With such a graphic structure, it is easy to understand, at first glance, if the processes are taking place on schedule and if the progress of the project is in line with the deadline.

Gantt charts

Many software have, in the Gantt, their sore point because the Gantt is not very effective or even non-existent.

Only some software, including TWProject, allow not only to obtain a Gantt chart of the project that is easy to read, but also to get even more details, indicating for example:

  • who is the resource assigned to a given activity;
  • if the resource works full-time or part-time;
  • how much work has been done and remains to be done;
  • the cost associated with each activity.

What are the advantages of the Gantt chart?

As a company we are convinced that the Gantt chart, if well structured and managed, can bring various benefits to the management of a project.

Here is a list of advantages that this system inevitably presents.

The Advantages of Gantt: Visualization

The Gantt chart allows to clearly visualize the workflow and the project structure.

When we insert the various tasks, or analyze the schema after inserting them, we can immediately realize any inconsistencies.

The linear scheme allows you to understand in advance if you will be faced with potential organizational or technical problems and allows you to prepare in advance.

The distribution of the activities allows to identify the intermediate goals and to understand if the project is in line with the schedule or not.

The Advantages of Gantt: Flexibility

As already mentioned, an advantage of the Gantt chart is to clearly show the start and end date of a given activity.

The timing of each task will be set after a direct comparison with the managers of each sector, in order to have a realistic value.

For this reason, the Gantt chart is also useful for the feasibility analysis of a project.

Once the entire project structure is set up, it makes no sense to run to complete certain steps before the set date – unless there is really a valid reason – as this may be reflected in the lack of completeness and / or accuracy.

If you have agreed on a certain date speaking to the direct responsible, it means that this is the time necessary to carry out the work correctly and completely.

Forcing time would affect the quality of work.

The Advantages of Gantt: Efficiency

These charts allow an intelligent and effective use of resources.

It becomes really difficult for the resources to be reliable when they are grappling with too many processes and find themselves submerged.

All conflicts and problems that follow an overload of tasks can lead to a definitive blockage of the whole project and, inevitably, to its failure.

Using Gantt charts as a project planning tool gives you an overview of the project timeline so you can easily see where and when a particular resource is used.

So, it is possible to allocate resources in such a way that the activies are not slowed down or blocked.

Once a process is finished, you can transfer the resource to another activity.

The Advantages of Gantt: Motivation

Gantt charts are great for morale!

Probably we all had those days where we felt completely lost and submerged from work and projects and we could no longer see the direction in which we were going.

In this case, the Gantt chart can be a valid psychological aid.

Looking at the diagram, in fact, you can immediately see how activities are taking place and how each process leads to the completion of the entire project.

It is a very effective method to raise morale and motivate the team.

Moreover, seeing the achievement of a goal – however small it may be – is still a gratification. It allows to concentrate, step by step, on the different blocks of activity without feeling disoriented by a project that can be long and complex.

The Advantages of Gantt: Communication

Gantt charts are not just a useful tool for planning the project.

Team members can use these diagrams to see where they are in the project, what they need to complete certain tasks and the inputs they need.

The project diagram shows them exactly who they should contact and who they should collaborate with during each phase.

This makes them able to communicate better not only with each other, but also with the Project Manager.

Thanks to the Gantt charts, it is also possible to help improve cohesion, communication and understanding of and in the team.

The aspects (disadvantages) of the Gantt chart to keep under control!

As with any high performance tool, even for the Gantt Chart, there are some aspects to monitor.

Aspects that if not properly managed could result in real disadvantages.

Let’s list briefly the aspects to pay attention to, so that everyone can make his evaluations:

  • It can become extraordinarily complex. Except for the simplest projects, a Gantt chart will present a large number of activities and resources used to complete the project. There are special software that can handle all this complexity. However, when the project reaches this level, it must be managed by a small number of people, or often by one, able to handle all the details. Large companies often employ one or more prepared Project Managers. In companies not used to this type of management, this may not work as it should.
  • The size of the bar does not indicate the amount of work. Each bar on the graph indicates the period of time in which a given activity will be completed. However, by observing the bar, it is not possible to determine what level of resources is needed to complete these tasks. For example, a short bar could take 500 hours, while a longer bar could take only 20 hours.
  • The length of a bar in fact indicates the timing of a given activity and not its complexity in terms of working hours.
  • It must be constantly updated. After starting the project, things can change. If you use a Gantt chart, you need to be able to change the chart easily and frequently.
  • Difficult to see on a single sheet of paper. The software that allows you to manage these graphics are mostly suited to a computer screen and are not meant to be printed. It therefore becomes difficult to show the details of the plan to a broad audience. It is certainly possible to print the chart, but this normally involves a job of “cutting and pasting” of the individual pieces, rather expensive in terms of time.

All in all, the biggest advantage of the Gantt chart is the pure simplicity and the clear overview of the activities and their duration.

This makes it ideal for projects where facilitated access to all relevant information is required and where these should be easily understood by all those involved in the project.

This is why we thought of an evolution of the TWProject Gantt.

In fact, we have built an instrument capable of modeling situations in real time and that can easily be modified over time.

This is in contrast to the traditional project management methodology where the projects are immediately defined in detail (unrealistic method for most of the working situations).

Twproject’s focus is to capture the work done in real time, to guide the Project Manager during the entire project development.

Our customers’ experience in this direction encourages us by providing us with guidance in future development.

What is the greatest benefit you find in the company, thanks to the use of Gantt?

Tell us about it!

Do you want to create your first Gantt?