Free Software Package Selection Process

December 29th, 2013

We have made available on our site a comprehensive online process for selecting software. It includes:

  • 160 Activities fully described and shown as a process flow within phases
  • 120 Templates for every possible document
  • 30 User Guides to help you with everything from risk management to negotiation to creating an RFP (Request for Proposal).  Also includes draft vendor letters and a business case.
  • Links to other sources of information.

Most of the online methodology is applicable to any project.  All this is free on our website.

Software selection methodology

SP2 – Software Package Selection Process

Try it out now by clicking on the image above.

Top 5 Basecamp Alternatives That Enable Easy and Organized Management Over Projects

December 16th, 2013

Basecamp has been the front runner among the project management solutions for quite some time, but lately it has lost quite of its sheen in the project management world. The primary reason for the users’ lack of interest in using Basecamp for their projects is that it is resistant to change and not willing to innovate in view of the changing project needs. It is providing the same solutions as it did many years ago when it ventured into the project management realm. It lacks any breathtaking feature that would have boosted project management.

Fortunately, there are some enterprising online project management tools who have understood the changing needs of users and have come up with effective solutions for better management over projects. These tools are giving a stiff competition to Basecamp and even outshining it in key areas.

1. Wrike:

 

It is a popular online project management application that enables perfect collaboration among team members who are working together over projects. This tool works in a real time setting and enables easy and effective discussions, prioritization, scheduling and progress tracking over projects. It enables easy creation of tasks from emails. Activity streams, templates, tag tasks and folders, workload view, Gantt charts and many other user friendly features that enable easy working and effortless collaboration over projects.

 2. ProofHub

This online project management tool has one of the cleanest user interface and loads of enterprising features that enable seamless collaboration among team members based in different locations around the world. Discussions, timesheets, to-do’s, calendar, Gantt charts, dashboard besides some other key features give more control over projects. By using these, projects can be smoothly managed and tracked. Its mobile feature helps individuals to connect with their projects even on the go.

3. Huddle

This remarkable project management application enables effortless and easy collaboration on content which leads to better management over projects. The same version of file is made available to all team members through the cloud, so they do not face any confusion in their work. The files are organized and secured in a single place. It emphasizes a lot on efficient sharing of files, their syncing and management. Other user friendly features are workspace creation and access, project management and tracking, assigning tasks, sending reminders, dashboard, activity stream, document versioning besides others.

4. Asana

 

This popular and enterprising project management application facilitates team work by organizing and storing task-related conversations in one place and enabling team members to work without emails. It enables easy creation, assignment, following up and commenting on tasks, thus making it easy for everyone to know which tasks are being performed by which particular individuals. Its inbox and notifications keep everyone in the team updated on the tasks being performed. All files, tasks and ideas related to a team are organized in one place, so it becomes easy to reference them. It is a great tool for performing tasks collaboratively and for managing projects effectively.

 5. LiquidPlanner:

This prominent project management tool takes an altogether different approach for completion of projects. It puts due emphasis on plotting best case and worst case estimates of efforts which will determine when a particular task is likely to be completed. Its key features are scheduling, prioritizing, time tracking, collaboration, file sharing, calendar, analysis and reporting. Notifications help to know about activities being performed. Commenting and sharing also feature into scheme of things. Email integration is its another enterprising feature. It is a great tool for collaboration among team members over projects.

These online tools facilitate great management over projects and add to the efficiency and productivity of organizations involved in managing them.

Project Management Video

September 24th, 2013

This is an interesting video about a project over 200 years ago.  Someone actually kept records.  The video relates that project to the new International Project Management standard ISO 21500. Click Here

It shows project management is not new.  Sure there are more sophisticated tools but the principles still apply.

One such tool that we have seen recently is an online tool from ProjectPlan.com to prepare your project plan. Project scheduling and tracking is also made easy with this gantt chart project planner.  It allows you to create and share your project plans online. manage your work, keep projects on track and share plans with others.

Sign up today and your first 30 days will be free.

Benefit of using a Project Management System

August 30th, 2013

Those managing their own businesses know how challenging and difficult it can be at times to sustain a business as well as to augment it.

The small scale of your business limits the number of employees you can hire and the amount of investment you can pump in. But you do not want this to affect your growth.

The small scale of your unit does not mean the complexity of yours tasks gets diminished or downsized altogether. This can devour and overwhelm you at times.

As a business head, you have to take care of so many things and that too almost single handedly, whether it be marketing, advertising, arranging resources, delivering quality products to your customers, billing, welfare of your employees, etc.

These things can be so engrossing at times that you cannot do justice to your priorities and tasks. This can result in missed tasks, missed deadlines, loss of reputation and loss of business something which you do not want to happen in the first place.

The multiplicity of the tasks compounded with their burden, can drain your energies and eat up the valuable time of yours that you would have instead spent in doing something more valuable and  productive.

How can you streamline your tasks and carry them out with more organization and coordination.

A project management system is a great tool that has been specifically designed for businesses and organizations to manage their tasks more productively and timely. It has the potential to serve any kind of business whether it is small, medium or large sized.

The ease of use it offers and the functionality it provides, can help one to carry out his tasks with better planning and documentation.

A business or a company might not be very receptive to the idea of using a project management system due to its limited budget and due to the cost of a project management system. But the benefits of a project management system can simply outweigh the costs incurred. The business stands to gain in the long run.

A project management system offers many useful features which enable a business head to carry out his activities with more vigour and objectivity:

  • A project management system allows the people involved in a business or organization to communicate easily and productively over an issue. The centralized structure of a project management system allows an organization to involve its employees, customers and other individuals in a meaningful and productive discussions instantly and accurately.
  • The web-based nature of a project management system allows the individuals working over a project to access it from anywhere in the world at any time from any laptop, desktop or mobile.
  • Use of a project management system keeps your project data secure in case of any crashes, accidents.
  • It helps to arrange and prioritize tasks in a project through task lists with proper definition and documentation of their deadlines, making it easy to assign these tasks to capable persons and making them accountable for the same. They can receive timely email notifications about the approaching deadlines of these tasks.
  • A project management system is equipped with a dashboard feature which allows a project manager to glance and review the various tasks and activities performed by various individuals during the course of a project, making it easy to monitor and review a project.
  • The centralized structure of a project management system enables easy sharing of the files and resources amongst the individuals working over a project. These resources can be easily searched and retrieved when required.
  • The archiving feature of a project management system allows securing every discussion, resource, tasks and activities for referencing and using these when required for execution of similar type of projects in the future.
  • It enables proper documentation and definition of various tasks, activities, priorities, etc for easy understanding and review.
  • It also helps to review the progress of a project with adequate projection and representation through charts, graphs, review tools like Gantt chart.
  • It improves efficiency and reduces time in a project’s execution.

A business or an enterprise stands to gain a lot from the use of a project management system. Use of a project management system enables a business to achieve its objectives faster and a project can be reviewed and controlled more effectively. Problems and issues related with a project can also be dealt with firmly and convincingly.

My Project Is Not Failing

March 27th, 2013

Maybe we are all reluctant to accept that our project might be failing but with high project failure rates in many industry sectors we should make sure we are able to spot the main warning signs. And then act on them rather bury our heads in the sand and hope it will “be alright on the night”. That approach will never lead to a successful project or a successful career in project management.

Just because things might not be going to plan doesn’t mean a project is doomed – managing problems and risks is all part and parcel of a project manager’s role and a risk management plan should be in place that will help to mitigate the very risks that might be causing problems. If a risk plan has not been prepared, don’t worry it is rarely too late to review the real and potential risks that might be threatening your project and to deal with them effectively. Problems that materialise in a project, whether expected or not, are inevitable in many industries and with a controlled approach they can usually be mitigated.

The very fact that problems so often arise in IT projects, for instance, is what led, at the beginning of this century, to the creation of the Agile Manifesto, with its values and principles designed to help project managers work constructively to solve problems rather than either being defeated by them or trying to ignore them. An agile approach recognises that many projects are simply unsuited to the traditional “waterfall” approach and offers an alternative where deliveries are made in small stages allowing for user feedback to be incorporated into the next stage. Increasingly both waterfall and agile methods are recognised as appropriate for different types of projects and in some cases they are being combined on a single project.  All projects have their ups and downs so it is important to remain optimistic in the low periods and remember that things will change.

It is reassuring that the formalisation of project management methodologies over the past 20 years has led to a significant improvement in project success rates. Increased used of the internet has also helped by making status reports quickly and easily available so that problems don’t drag on undetected for too long.

 So what are the warning signs of a project that could be destined for failure? If your know how to spot these and act on them you already have the means to turn a potential disaster into a success. Warning signs of pending trouble are usually relatively easy to spot – here are some typical ones:

 1.      Lack of Buy-In

When those working on a project have been pressured into becoming involved they will never be fully committed to its success and will not give 100% of their time or energy to the project.

2.      Poor Communication

Communication takes many forms; there are the informal team discussions, regular meetings, emails, phone calls and various written reports and other documentation. If any of these areas are lacking then there is likely to be a problem looming.

3.      No Visible Progress

If it is not possible to see what has been achieved to date then it is difficult to convince stakeholders and the team that success is possible. A lack of visible progress (or “velocity” in Agile project management) is de-moralising for everyone involved.

4.      Long Hours

If the project team are having to put in long hours just to stay on top of the scheduled activities then this is a classic indicator that all is not well. Either the original estimates were badly wrong or the scale and scope of the work was not clear.

5.      Milestones Missed

Milestones should deliver manageable chunks of work to the customer on a frequent basis. If this is not being done, or the deliverables cannot be tested by the customer, there is no opportunity to get feedback for the next phase to know the project is on the right track.

6.      Changing Scope

Every project’s nightmare is scope creep – adding to the requirements during the project – it is usually an indication that requirements were not fully documented or the customer did not understand the aim of the project. But often a more serious warning sign is when features are being removed from scope and the end-product is being scaled back.

Remember that warning signs such as these give you the opportunity to rescue a project from failure so should not be ignored but treated as part of the project management process. By looking out for warning signs and using your experience and personal skills (supplemented with the right project management courses) a project manager can avoid project failure.

Author: Michelle Symonds