Finding Closure: The Best Way to End a Project

The following is adapted from The Irreverent Guide to Project Management.

It may seem that when a project is at an end, the work of a project manager is done.

Well, not quite… 

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How to Build a Charter that Creates Velocity

The following is adapted from The Irreverent Guide to Project Management.

Some organizations believe that developing a charter is a waste of time and would rather begin by developing a work plan. This is a terrible idea! Skipping the charter and jumping straight to a work plan will put the project definition in the hands of the team members, and they will only be basing their work off what they assume the project owner and executive stakeholders want. 

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5 Steps to Becoming a Project Management Professional

Despite common misconceptions, becoming a project management professional requires more than taking a popular exam. In fact, that mindset is leading to a widening skills gap that puts $22.5 billion in GDP at risk. Instead, project management hopefuls need to be smarter about how to prepare. Here’s how to get there:

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4 Crucial Skills Every Project Manager Should Possess

There’s a skills shortage among project managers. This project management talent gap is expected to result in a loss of $207 billion in GDP by 2027. A big reason is that business leaders, and project managers themselves, don’t know what it takes to be a successful project manager. In fact, only 58 percent of organizations understand the value of project management. Here are the crucial skills that every project manager has to possess if they want to succeed.

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The Power of SWAG (a.k.a., a Scientific Wild-Ass Guess)

The following is adapted from The Irreverent Guide to Project Management.

When you’re starting a new project or tackling a new task, a Work Plan is indispensable. This plan can help you gauge what needs to be done, how much work each step is going to take, and which tasks are assigned to which team members. 

Of course, there are a lot of variables, contingencies, and problems that can disrupt that Work Plan, and at the outset of a project, it can be difficult to tell how long work is going to take. Team members often feel uncomfortable about providing estimates of how long they will need to complete their designated tasks. That’s a totally understandable feeling, but that reluctance can get in the way of progress. 

That’s where the SWAG—or, Scientific Wild-Ass Guess—comes in. Of course, some guesses are better than others, so I will provide some tips on how you can make your SWAG lean more towards the science side than to wild-assery. That said, no matter how accurate the guess ends up being, a SWAG will move your project forward every time. 

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Efficiency Isn’t Everything: 3 Practical Tips for Using Email Effectively

The following is adapted from The Irreverent Guide to Project Management.

It takes mere seconds to jot en email and blast it across the aether. Meetings, on the other hand, are better measured in minutes—or even hours! That’s why it’s tempting to ditch face-to-face contact altogether and opt for the more efficient means of communication. 

Yet efficiency isn’t everything. Professor Albert Mehrabian has shown that the written word can only convey 7 percent of the intended meaning, while 93 percent of our message (the part that conveys our tone, emotion, gestures, and nuanced feelings) gets lost. That’s why you should never use email to diffuse complex information, communicate, or solve a problem.

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Need a Solution to a Problem? Follow the Rule of 10!

The following is adapted from The Irreverent Guide to Project Management.

Problems are inevitable in every project. Something is going to make you slow down, miss deadlines, shift gears, change the scope of the project, or spend more money than you expected. The trick is to solve these problems in a way that enables you to keep on time and on budget.

When these impediments arise, it’s best to inspect the problem, adapt, and respond to the changes, but the best way to do that is not always clear. At my firm, we’ve learned that when challenges arise, the best way to handle them is to tackle them with what I call the “Rule of 10.” Read on to learn how the rule works and how it can get you out of tricky spots in your projects. 

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Stop Holding Your Project Managers Accountable, It Doesn't Work

Everybody, say it together: “Great leaders hold their employees ... .” If you said “accountable,” you’re dead wrong. And I don’t blame you. It’s a common, and destructive, misconception that hits at the core of human nature.

But if you want your project management teams to succeed, you have to stop holding team members accountable.

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How to Create the Right Project Management Team with Less Churn

Turnover is wrecking businesses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people are quitting at the fastest rate since 2001.

Churn within a project management team is especially brutal. When your project manager gives two weeks’ notice, it can stop the project—cost a ton of time and money, seriously impact customer satisfaction, and disrupt your entire business.

The good news? You can prevent churn within your project management team before it starts. Read on to learn how to create the right project management team and eliminate the churn.

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Get Excellent! A Customers Point of view

No one plans to be a Project Manager when they grow up. Many people gravitate to Project Management as an entry into software development, or more vaguely, “Tech” or “IT.” Project Management is what you do if you’re not an Engineer. Or a Designer. Or QA. Or any of the many positions that are viewed as a “value-add.” A needle mover.

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