Recent Trends in Project Management

Integrations:

The integration with apps and services on the cloud will continue to be a major part of project management in 2017. The difference is that integrations are now ESSENTIAL to success. Every modern management software must be capable of integrating into the ever-growing pool of popular tools used today. When choosing ANY software for your company, you must ask – does it have a simple and clear connection with your commonly used apps? Currently JIRA has the largest collection of integrations and add-ons, but other more modern tools are soon to catch up! Keep in mind that if you find a tool you love that does not integrate with a tool you need, they can always add integrations, so never be afraid to ask!

Remote:

It’s an incredible trend. Remote work is becoming more popular than the traditional office cubicle. Remote work allows more freedom and faster scaling for companies

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needing to save money. Working remotely also requires initiative, proactiveness, and a willingness to do what’s necessary from everyone on the team – without being asked. Enable your team to stay on the same page and collaborate efficiently with a project management tool like ClickUp. They’re designed for remote work and were even built for this need. Even the world’s leading software companies are making changes to accommodate this trend, including Slack who added Video Chat this year. Project management is no different. Almost every business in the world has at least one team working together to complete a project remotely.

 Machine learning:

This is a BIG one. For the most part, you’ll interact with the benefits of machine learning on sites like Google, Spotify, Amazon, and Netflix, but tons of new web apps are taking to the trend and project management is no exception. Projects are notorious for being late – a trend that must be stopped. The perfect task for machine learning! With a well-built algorithm, the app will create a model to decipher patterns and improve its own efficiency, becoming more accurate over time. This means that you’ll be able to better predict when a task is going to be done based on who is assigned and how big the task is. This is just one of the MANY benefits that machine learning will bring to project management. According to CapterraClickUp is leading the way in project management for machine learning, but other project management tools such as Forecast are realizing the revolutionary potential of this trend.

 Crowdsourcing

Project managers are beginning to utilize project management software to get the most out of their employees. Dedicating a space entirely for ideas has become essential. Enterprise organizations that don’t take advantage of their employee’s ideas and talent get left behind. This is becoming a hot trend in 2017 that is yielding great results! Certain niche companies are blooming out of this void. For example, Wazoku Idea Spotlight is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform dedicated to giving companies a central hub for ideas, innovation and feedback. Users include Microsoft, Aviva, Oxford University, and many more. These same companies are even gamifying the system so that employees get points and a % of the profits if an idea is successful! Let’s see this implemented in project management software!

Learn new stuff!

Read more on project management:

How to be a Good Manager

How to Nail a Project

 

 

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How to Nail a Project

So many projects, so much mismanagement. That’s the refrain of many IT executives. Indeed, even with project management software, IT projects often wind up taking longer (much longer) than planned and costing more than budgeted.

While no two projects are exactly the same, the issues that can affect — and potentially jeopardize — them are often quite similar. And even good project managers can make mistakes when wrangling a big, complex project — or when being bombarded with change requests.

It’s important for the entire team to know roles and responsibilities and deliverables right from the start, says Shami Ahuja, director of agile practice at technology consulting

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firm Nsia. This is why it’s a good idea to hold a kickoff meeting with all stakeholders. Breaking large project into small, manageable pieces will make the team feel more comfortable and confident that they can successfully tackle what may seem like an impossible project and accomplish each task.  To avoid leaving your team feeling overwhelmed, take the time to understand each face of the project. Then break the project into small pieces, and break those small pieces into smaller pieces if you can.  And assign each task to the team members who are best suited to accomplish them.

Too many project managers get bogged down focusing on the scope, quality, cost and timeline associated with their projects and forget about the people who are actually doing the work, says Irfan Kapasi, managing director, strategic solutions and services, at IT staffing firm Computer Group. Failing to properly manage team members, or micromanaging them, can “lead to delays, impact quality and result in cost overruns.”

To avoid this problem, make sure everyone understands how and why their role is important to the success of the project and schedule time for periodic check-ins. This includes sponsors, team members, executives, suppliers and other stakeholders. This way you can make sure everyone shares the same vision for the project.

Manage your team!

Read more on project management:

Project Risk

How to be a Good Manager

AI in Project Management

Project management AI is a system that can perform the day-to-day management and administration of projects without requiring human input. It will not only automate simple tasks, but will also develop an understanding of key project performance. Project management AI can then use this understanding to uncover insights, perform more complex tasks, make recommendations, and make decisions — sometimes in ways people just can’t do today.

Project management AI provides a level of service that rises above many of the bots available today. For example, a HipChat bot that lets you check on the status of a JIRA

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task quickly, while useful, is not considered project management AI. Similarly, an algorithm that applies machine learning to predict estimates for tasks, while interesting, isn’t AI either. It’s only when you start bringing bots and algorithms together that you start to realize the potential of project management AI.

Early project management AI will be a project assistant focused on a narrow area of managing a project or team. By focusing on supporting a team in one specific area rather than dealing with all the complexities involved in managing a project, project management AI will be useful to teams sooner rather than later.

Within these narrow areas, these early project management AI tools are giving us a glimpse of the future where AI automates tasks, provides insights, and even communicates with the team.

However, there are some challenges. These early, narrow project management AI tools rely on people to input data correctly, update tools in a timely manner, and make corrections. The limited capabilities also mean that humans are still a step ahead — for now. In order to provide even more value, project management AI needs to evolve.

AI is the future!

Read more on project Management:

Lessons Learned Document

Scope Management

How to Be a Good Manager

A manager should be a leader, while a leader doesn’t necessarily have to be a manager. A leader can simply be a charismatic figurehead, really. They lead, that is they inspire people to follow them, but they don’t necessarily have the logistical skills to organize.

Leadership is a subset of management. While you don’t have to be a leader to manage a project, if you’re not, the battle is going to be waged uphill. You’ll be at a disadvantage. So, a good manager first and foremost should have those leadership skills to rally the troops and get the project moving forward.

There are good and bad managers, just like there are good and bad leaders. The mark of

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a good manager, as Jennifer said, is to look at what they manage. If they manage an athlete or an actor, a business or whatever, if that person or enterprise is successful, then it had good management.

Think of managers as gatekeepers. They manage time and money, and handle the contractual obligations related to them. A manager takes a person or enterprise from where they are to where they want to be.

Qualities of a Good Manager

  1. Time Management –Time is money, they say, but it is so much more. You have a certain amount of time to do what you must do in a project. Simply put, you have a deadline. A good manager can then manage that timeline and break it down into large phases of the project, called milestones, and then into smaller parts that are called tasks. But it’s not merely creating a plan, it’s also monitoring that process and adjusting accordingly to stay on schedule.
  2. Communication – You can have skills up the wazoo, but without the ability to clearly and effectively communicate these ideas, you’re dead in the water. Communications isn’t giving orders, though that’s part of it. Communications is a two-way street, with as much emphasis on listening as there is on talking. If you can get your message across then you’re working efficiently, and won’t be wasting time on the backend fixing what should have been done right on the frontend.
  3. Conflict Resolution – Put two people together and they’re eventually going to disagree. That’s normal. Put a team together and there will be conflicts, which you’ll have to resolve those conflicts fairly and quickly to keep the project on track. This is a tricky skill because you don’t want to simply use your authority or risk resentments. You should allow people to be heard and create an environment where people come together for the greater good of the project.
  4. Team Building – It’s one thing to assemble a team, it’s another to create a unit that works together seamlessly. That takes time and effort. Some people might just adhere like glue and get down to work. If you every have a team like that, tell us, because they’re likely hanging out with Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. But seriously, individuals can work in groups, but not without some real bonding through team-building exercises. If you put this work in before the project, you’ll have less issues during its run.

Be that leader!

Read more on project management:

Project Risk

What Makes Communication Plans Effective

 

What Makes A Communication Plan Effective

Start with the Background

Before effective communications can start, you should have a clear picture of what exactly it is that you’re communicating. By describing the project landscape, so to speak, you know what your parameters are, and it’ll help you get buy-in from the stakeholders and your team.

Start with a project vision and its objectives. What are they? Jot them down. This is the loadstar you’ll follow throughout your project, so you want to have them clearly defined from the start and remind people throughout the project the importance of this mission.

Next, you must assign an owner to the communication process. If you have too many

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people responsible for communications, then your message is scattered and less effective. Pick that person and provide them with the right tool or tools, such as chat, email, text, etc.

You’re also going to need a review method in place to monitor the effectiveness of your communications. This way, if your metrics show that you’re not getting a message across to those who need to hear it, you can tweak the process before it negatively impacts the whole project.

And you’re going to want to record the measurement process after you close out the project. Now you have a record of how well your communication plan worked and where it fell short, so you can address those issues when developing a communication plan for your next project.

Analyze the Situation

What are strengths and weakness in your plan? You might have a team that is very tightknit and communicates easily. But maybe stakeholders are not happy with the method you’ve chosen to communicate the project’s progress with them?

These strengths and weaknesses are not etched in stone. They can be springboards of opportunity, and you should use them as such. Now you have a chance to improve your communications. Be aware of all strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and even threats to your communication process, and record them all.

Make the right plan.

Read more on project management:

Mind Mapping

Scope Management

 

 

Project Risk

Project risk is defined as an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on one or more project objectives such as scope, schedule, cost, and quality.

The aim of project risk management is to identify and minimize the impact that risks have on a project. The challenge with risk management of any kind is that risks are uncertain events. In the management of projects, and the subsequent operations of the

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project’s product, organizations attempt to reduce their exposure to these uncertain events through risk management. This is usually done through a formal management process which consists of the following steps: plan risk management, identify risks, perform qualitative risk analysis, perform quantitative risk analysis, plan risk responses, and control risks (Project Management Institute, 2009).

There is some debate as to the origins of the word risk, but it is commonly accepted that the ancient Greek word “ριζα” (pronounced “riza”) meaning “root, stone, cut of the firm land,” made its way to the Latin word riscus, which means “cliff.” The original Greek word was a metaphor for “difficulty to avoid in the sea,” and ancient mariners, picking their way through the numerous islands in the Mediterranean, Aegean, and Tyrrhenian seas, were quite familiar with the meaning and impact of the word. The word was later borrowed by the Italians as the word rischo and rischio, then by the French as risque, and on to Spanish as riesgo. In the 16th century, the word was adopted by middle-high-German as Rysigomeaning “to dare; to undertake; to hope for economic success.” It is believed that the Anglicized form comes from either the French or Italian words (Handzy, 2012).

Project risk management is a well-defined field of study, and numerous books and papers have been written about it. Risk analysis is broadly split into two areas (i.e., qualitative risk analysis, and quantitative risk analysis). Of these two, qualitative risk analysis is most common, and on many projects, it is the only risk analysis that is done. Quantitative risk assessments (QRAs) on projects are less common, often because insufficient data about the project are available to perform the assessment. In some cases, the effort required to perform the QRA may be too expensive relative to the total project value, and the project team may decide against it.

Manage risk.

Read more on project management:

Work Breakdown Structure

Beyond The Triple Constraints

 

Scope Management

Revised An Introduction to Project Management, fourth edition explains that Project Scope Management involves defining and controlling what work is or is not included in a project. The main planning processes for project scope management include planning scope management, collecting requirements, defining scope and creating the work breakdown structure (WBS).

Planning Scope Management is one of the most important steps in project scope management. At this stage, the project team determine how the project scope will be

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defines, validated and controlled. The PMBOK Guide, fifth edition defines requirements as “conditions or capabilities that must be met by the project or present in the product, services or result to satisfy an agreement or other formally imposed specifications.” Documenting requirements are important so that we can measure them during project execution. The outputs of collecting requirements include the requirements traceability matrix (RTM).

It is very crucial to define your scope in a project because what is not measured cannot be managed. Scope of a project refers to a set of deliverables or features of a project. These deliverables are derived from the projects requirements. The PMPBOK defines project scope as “the work that needs to be accomplished to deliver a product, services or result with the specific features and functions.” Defining your scope also helps you to improve accuracy of time, cost and resource management. One important thing we should try to manage is scope creep. It is the tendency of the scope of the project increasing. Some techniques use in defining scope include expert judgement, product analysis and alternating identification.

A work breakdown structure (WBS) involves grouping the work or task in the project that defines the entire scope of the project. It breaks down the work into discrete tasks with timeline associated to it and puts them in a sequential hierarchy. The lowest level of the WBS is the work package. There are various software for creating the WBS. The most popular of them all is the Microsoft Project.

Stop Scope Creep.

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Lessons Learned Document

Mind Mapping

 

 

Lessons Learned Document

Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) defines lessons learned as the learning gained from the process of performing the project. Formally conducted lessons learned sessions are traditionally held during project close-out, near the completion of the project. I want to examine some of the best practices in preparing lessons learned document along with how they can help an organization in improving its project performance.

Store your lessons learned document in a central repository in your organization. This

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makes it easier for other project teams to access them whenever it is required. Many organizations have an online portal for document sharing—think SharePoint, Google Docs, OneDrive, or another centralized network location.

Solicit feedback from all stakeholders. Consider conducting a post-project survey to solicit feedback on the project from the project team, customers, and stakeholders who were well acquainted with the management of the project. This helps in capturing the lessons learned in the project while they are fresh in people’s minds. You could summarize the results and pass the recommendations to future teams.

Archive your lessons learned documents. Lessons learned documents should be archived as historical project data and incorporated into organizational lessons learned. Reuse lessons in your project. You’ll learn in PMP certification training that you should reuse lessons learned from past projects to better manage your current projects.

Create lessons learned throughout the project. You can save quite a bit of time by collecting them as you go along. Then, when the project is finished, you can finalize them during project closing or the project phase closing. This is one of the best ways to ensure that they are accurately recorded.

Identify Items in lessons learned Sessions. Consider holding regular brainstorming sessions with the team to unearth lessons that are valuable to the project. As we’ve discussed, this can help promote the success of future projects. It’s best not to leave it until the end of the project when memories have faded.

Include all your experiences. Be sure to should include positive as well as negative experiences in the lessons learned document to add the highest value to all the future projects in the organization.

Always put down your lessons learned.

Read more on project management:

Project Quality Management

Why do Projects Failed

Mind Mapping

Plan

Plan your schedules, meetings, briefs and proposals in a new and more efficient way with Mind Maps. You can divide up topics and tasks into different branches, adding sub-topics and smaller, related tasks as child branches. Then you can draw connections between related tasks, see how different projects impact each other and priorities you time accordingly. Make ‘To Do’ lists, plan your weekly schedules, construct a three-month marketing plan or set goals for the year. A Mind Map is the perfect space to organize and group information in a clear and coherent way – cover all aspects in one place, from agendas and objectives, to resources and locations, so you can stay organized and on the ball.

Consolidate

With a Mind Map you can consolidate a vast range of information, and with the iMindMap software you can take this to a multimedia level with anything from

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spreadsheets to websites to audio files. With all the relevant information at your fingertips, all in one Mind Map, you are in control and can save hours of time. You can throw in all the documents and links relating to a specific project you’re working on, attaching files to the relevant branch of your project map. You have complete control in iMindMap and the potential to create your own library of information that is easily navigated and all on one screen. Integrating new data or amending existing data is simple as you aren’t tied to a rigid structure – a Mind Map is a living document.

Problem Solve:

Find innovative solutions with a tool that provides a space for exploring relationships between the various facets of a problem and inspires creative and critical thinking. By creating a Mind Map you can view all the elements of a problem at once – stimulating creative association and integration. The process acts as a trigger device for your creativity and encourages your brain to track out ideas which normally lie in obscurity at the edge of your thinking. The iMindMap software gives you complete freedom to manipulate and draw connections between your ideas, without interrupting your train of thought. If you’ve ever felt like your hitting your head against a brick wall trying to figure out a solution or come up with a new idea, you need to try Mind Mapping!

Collaborate

Collaborate with others to develop plans or implement key projects. A Mind Map allows you to harness the input of all members of a group in a dynamic and creative way and is proven to enhance critical thinking. Contributions can be added to the relevant branches and either explored further, or put on hold for later discussion. With iMindMap Ultimate, you can also capture audio notes and attach them to your map to ensure no comment is missed without losing the momentum of the discussion.

Always put it on paper

Read more on project management:

Triple Constraints

Beyond the Triple Constraint