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Project Management Reports You Need

Project Management Reports You Need
By Jennifer Whitt

Two of the biggest questions I get from people are: what exactly are project management reports, and which ones are the best ones to look at? Project management reports are views of data collected related to deliverables and timelines for projects that we manage. Most PMs manage a portfolio of projects, meaning there is a considerable amount of data to track. Since I feel that the devil is in the details, here are five reports that I have found can turn a failing project into a successful one.

  1. Timesheet Report

    The timesheet reflects all your projects and time reported by the resources for those projects. It allows you to track actual time against that which was allocated and approved time for in your budget. It’s helpful for not only the manager to look at this, but I also share timesheet reports with teammates or anyone reporting time on my projects, because they are accountable for what they are reporting.

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Talk Like a Project Manager

Talk Like a Project Manager
By Jennifer Whitt

A particularly helpful resource for project managers is The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) by PMI, the Project Management Institute. There are other resources out there, and you can certainly Google these terms, but it’s important for new and occasional project managers to be clear about some of the more widely used-and sometimes misused-terms.

Top Ten Used Terms

  1. WBS. When I came on board as a project manager I had no idea what a WBS was, or as some people called it phonetically, a wibbes. WBS stands for work breakdown structure, and is a hierarchal representation of work broken down into deliverables really defining the scope of the task.
  2. Milestones. Milestones are significant points in time or events on your schedule, sometimes represented with a black diamond icon. A best practice for project managers is to celebrate milestones for the significant achievements they are.

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5 Areas To Consider For IT Project Management

5 Areas To Consider For IT Project Management
By Jennifer Whitt

If you find yourself at the helm of a complex information technology (IT) project there are five key areas to consider. For background, though, remember that a project has a specific beginning and end date, meets a business objective such as producing a unique product or service, and has deliverables. There are business deliverables, product or services deliverables, and project management deliverables. Within that scope, and depending on the type of IT project, there are many components to be managed. Some of the areas include:

  • firmware / hardware
  • web or website component
  • content
  • databases
  • infrastructure
  • network or Internet
  • security
  • storage for information
  • disaster recovery

Each of these areas is pretty complex in and of itself. The project manager may manage the entire project and those responsible for managing each of the IT components, as well as be responsible for delivering the project management deliverables. Read the Complete Article

Defining Project Portfolio Management

Defining Project Portfolio Management
By Jennifer Whitt

We get so many questions asking, “What’s the difference between project management, program management, and portfolio management?” People are daunted by the idea that it is complex, but we think it’s simple once you look at the definition and concepts of portfolio management. In A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, 4th Edition (PMBOK ) by the Project Management Institute (PMI), a portfolio is a collection of projects or programs or other work that are grouped together to facilitate effective management of that work to meet strategic business objectives. A key that I want to point out here is that a collection of projects is for a strategic business objective. How many times has your team become so concerned about task, activities and deliverables that they forget or lose sight of why they are doing what they’re doing? The big picture is lost on all the details. Read the Complete Article

Why Manage Your Projects Online

Why Manage Your Projects Online
By Jennifer Whitt

People often question why we advocate for managing projects online. I like to reply with an example from my own experience, and say I wasn’t meant to be born any earlier than I was, for I’ve been able to enjoy the fun of the disco era and now the benefits of the technology age. We can laugh over those back-in-the-day disco queen stories, but talk about what that era meant for project managers and you quickly understand it was not a picnic. When I first started managing projects I would build my schedules, timelines and milestones on big wall calendars. We actually used to put task on them as well, but when changes occurred it was disaster. So we learned to not write in permanent ink on the calendar and to create our own little pieces of paper and stick them to the calendar. Read the Complete Article

11 Must-Haves to Mobilize Your Projects Quickly

11 Must-Haves to Mobilize Your Projects Quickly
By Jennifer Whitt

Executives today look for project managers who can set up and mobilize a project quickly before it starts. In the past, it could take weeks or months to set up files, directory structures, tools and templates; meanwhile, the project begins before the tools are set up. In order to stand out against others and win project opportunities, there are eleven critical elements to managing projects that executives look for.

  1. You must have a project dashboard. It’s critical for you as well as team members, executives, stakeholders and shareholders to be able to access a project dashboard and see the status of a project.
  2. You need a project planning tool or mechanism to plan the tasks, activities and resources in place before the project begins.

  3. You need a mechanism to track time. One thing over budget projects have in common is that resources do not track time appropriately, primarily because they do not have an easy mechanism in place to do so.

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5 Reasons Why Projects Fail

5 Reasons Why Projects Fail
By Jennifer Whitt

If you’ve ever been part of a project that failed, you’ve experienced some of the scenarios below. Years ago, I was hired into a company primarily to recover troubled projects. It was then that I began to study what made projects succeed, and what made others fail. I’ve looked at a cross-section of project environments, and over time have seen certain scenarios repeat themselves. There are all kinds of research as to why projects fail; Gardner Group and some other organizations track this all the time, but the following reasons are from my own experience.

  1. Unaligned Expectations. Even though expectations have been set and agreed upon, it is still possible for people to leave a meeting, return to their respective organizations and talk about how they don’t agree. Even if they’ve agreed on paper, organizations, groups or teams that don’t have the same expectations will unconsciously start doing what they really want to do, which inevitably causes conflict.
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How to Run a Project Performance Review

How to Run a Project Performance Review
By Jennifer Whitt

Many project managers dread giving performance reviews as much as they dread giving presentations. Why is that? Well, much of our time in project management is spent building and nurturing relationships to get things done, so when we have to give a performance review, it can be very uncomfortable to evaluate performance of trusted team members, whether we are delivering good or bad news. To that end, I want to share five steps you can implement in your next performance review to achieve greater results. When I think of performance reviews I think of sports, because sports team members work together for the same result, to win. Similarly, the performance review is all about learning how to support someone so they can do their best in a role. We provide the training, skills, practice and feedback to make that person better for greater results. Read the Complete Article

The Difference Between Managing Small Vs Large Projects

The Difference Between Managing Small Vs Large Projects
By Jennifer Whitt

Believe it or not, I’ve seen discussions of this topic, how to manage small versus large projects, cause near bar room brawls in organizations. The argument is never won by anyone, and deals in an area project managers and project management organizations get into trouble and sully their reputation because they inflict more pain than is required to manage a project. Sometimes, projects don’t require as much rigor as others, so we are going to look at six principles that I think guide managing the small versus large projects.

  1. A Project is a Project

    First, a project is a project whether it’s small or large. It’s has a start and an end date. It’s going to yield a unique deliverable, and your delivery is a solution to a problem. From that starting point, it’s critical that the organization define criteria for what constitutes a small versus large project, because who’s to say what projects will be compared to?

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The Top 10 Traits of Great Leaders

The Top 10 Traits of Great Leaders
By Jennifer Whitt

Have you ever walked into your project and looked around to see no one’s there? If by chance that’s ever happened it’s safe to say you are probably not leading your team. It’s happened to most of us at one point or another. One of the most popular and debated questions we are asked is, “What are the traits of a great leader?” A Google search for the term leader produces over a million results; members of our LinkedIn group and readers of our blog continually ask us to define leadership, and how to really lead teams. We’ve had some great discussions and heard varying opinions from everywhere. But today what I’m going to present is that which time and experience have taught me: ten traits that I look for in a great leader and try to replicate myself. Who do you follow? Read the Complete Article

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