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checklist

As we get into the groove of 2015, here are the top five items every project manager should include in his or her checklist.

  1. Respect from team members

    In project management, it is very important that the manager earn esteem and approval from colleagues. In this kind of industry, respect can be acquired through a good reputation and good deeds. Respect for a leader is one of the main elements that keeps the team moving forward to go the extra mile. If they have respect for you as their leader, then they will be sure to exert the effort to make a project successful.

  2. Leadership Assistance

    Support from senior management is essential to be able to successfully carry out an initiative. Let your associates know that top leadership sponsors your project, so that they take the project seriously and will help you succeed.

  3. People That Fit

    A successful project is not just driven by leadership support and respect; it is really the team that plays the vital role in the process. Searching for the right people to join your team does not necessarily mean you are looking for the best. The right people are those who can meet deadlines and give quality deliverables within budget and in a timely manner. Look for someone with the skill set that fits well for your project.

  4. Effective Communication

    Equipped with respect, leadership assistance and people that fit, you are well on your way to success. However, be sure to give attention to good communication since this one binds all the three aforementioned things together. Without good communication, a project will fall apart. People will drift away to new projects that are fresh and cohesive. It is essential to keep everyone in the group talking with each other and updated. Regular meetings can be scheduled to give team members the chance to discuss risks and issues, stakeholder updates, status reports and work in progress.

  5. A Pinch of Luck

    You make your own luck. Beam out a sense of optimism and eagerness in and around the team. A person that works with positive energy and a sense of purpose generates opportunities and possibilities; the same goes when working or leading a team. Set aside all the reasons why the project won’t work and focus on that one good reason why it will. Bring your projects success by considering the five essential ingredients mentioned above. Think about these things before you kick-start your first project in 2015. Believe me, it’s going to be worth it.

2015

So, how were your New Year’s resolutions from last year? I bet most of you, like me, started out with good intentions and then ended up forgetting about the goals you set. It’s never too late to make resolutions to make your projects more effective and manageable. Stop setting unrealistic targets, and start jotting down project management resolutions that will make you productive and busy the whole year round.
  1. Do timesheets Start using timesheets this coming 2015. They will help you keep track where your time is usually spent and are a good source of data to improve your time management skills. Use timesheets regularly to see granular details of where and how your project management efforts are expended. You can then assess if tasks are done within a reasonable time or not.
  2. Understand what the Finance Team are up to It is important to know your Finance Team well, since they play a big part in managing your project budget. Trust them, since they are the ones with expertise when it comes to financial processes, budget management and forecasting. Familiarize yourself with the Finance Team members’ roles and responsibilities, including the Account Receivables, General Accountants, Treasury, and Account Payables.
  3. Improve estimating skills It’s time to assess your estimating skills. Set a goal to improve your estimating skills in 2015, so you can help out your team. Be someone that they can rely on when it comes to estimating process management. Dig deeper on certain topics like the estimating lifecycle, team roles in estimation, parametric, analogous, and bottom up estimating.
  4. Include financial updates on your reports The usual project status report does not include finances. This is due to some sponsors that are not that interested or because the report is going to be shared with people who have nothing to do with finances. Proactively ask your sponsors about the sections they want to see on your report. Ideally, give a budget update on a quarterly basis.
  5. Measure risk Make sure that your project risk logs include the financial impact of risks. Select appropriate risks on your logs that can be quantified financially. These might be the mitigation plan cost or cost of the risk occurring – whatever it is, you can summarize the impact and then add this to your budget so you can see the implications of the risk to your financial planning.
  Will you consider making one of the resolutions from the list above? If not, what New Year’s resolutions do you have in mind?
hny

2015 is here. We’re starting to think of New Year’s resolutions both at work and at home. Some plan to lose weight, get healthier and exercise more. But a good project manager might be thinking of other ways to brighten up her 2015. Below are some of the resolutions a project manager should consider to make her 2015 an exciting and awesome year.

  1. Better Communication
    It’s a must for any project manager to have effective and flawless communication skills. Projects will be fated to failure if communication plans are taken for granted. Communicate better not just with stakeholders and management, but also with project team members. To be able to maintain expectations and engagements a project manager should make sure that everyone was made aware of what communication to expect.

  2. Manage Everyone’s Expectations
    As a project manager, be the one to manage expectations related to project deliverables. Be sure to work on projects with a documented scope of work: if this is missing it will be fairly difficult to define which tasks have to be delivered and when. You will need to describe to the client why certain tasks, unlike others, necessitate specific time or investment. Hopefully, they will grasp your scheduling and be satisfied with your work.

  3. Collaboration is the Key
    Collaboration starts with the project team. But a project manager should also possess a special ability to impart information and experience to other groups of people who can help bring with a project. Consider consulting with people who are not working with you on a project. You never know what good insights they could share.

  4. Get to Know the Stakeholders
    Identifying a project’s stakeholders helps your team. Stakeholders are your clients, contractors, third party organizations and even the public. Becoming acquainted with these people will let you build an operative communication plan. Exposing your team to the stakeholders will add awareness as to how they can work to meet the stakeholders’ expectations.

  5. Be the Champ!
    Nothing beats the feeling of a team member who knows that he’s got his manager’s back no matter what. Giving a simple gesture of appreciation when team members do well, and sharing fair and constructive criticism when they slip up, are well worth the effort. Project managers should focus on teamwork and not play the blame game. Make your team feel that you’re on their side.


Start the year right and try to stick with your new year’s resolutions all year round. A productive and successful 2015 to everyone!
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The perspective of your manager can be a lot different from yours, making it hard for you to get on his or her good side. However, there are things that you can do to make life easier:

    • - When you present your boss with a problem, also present possible solutions to the problem. Problems in the corporate world are inevitable, but your boss will be much more willing to help you work out a problem if you show the initiative in thinking of solutions.
 
    • - Understand that making decisions as a manager is never easy, especially when they know that they are the ones responsible for the “whole pie.” Decisions that may seem easy for an ordinary employee may be the other way around for the boss. For example, understand that your manager might reject your request for a new tool or software because this might represent a great strain on her budget, requiring cuts in other places.
 
    • - Managing a team requires a lot of patience and hard work, especially when team members are feedback-resistant or, worse, unpleasant. A good manager will never tolerate an employee with good quality of work but with a poor attitude.
 
    • - Saying yes to one means saying yes to all. It’s a dilemma for a manager to say the word yes to staff members, since this may prompt claims of special treatment to one employee and not to others. For instance, it might be fine for you to work from home but would definitely not work well for other team members; your boss might have to say to no to your request.
 
    • - Accept criticism. It hurts to hear about your mistakes, but it hurts more if your manager does not bother to let you know about the situation. Most managers do not give out criticism to put you down; their aim is to help you do better – both for you and the company’s benefit.
 
    • - It’s a lot better to fully own your work rather than simply executing it. Owning your work means you’re the one pushing it forward, seeing errors before they arise and proactively taking steps to fix them. This kind of approach may elevate you in your boss’s eyes and improve your career path.
 
    • - Be mature. Be solution-oriented, and do not rely on spoon-feeding. Solve your personal issues at home, and deal effectively with interpersonal issues at work. Avoid being the cause of drama, and simply be a professional adult.
 
    • - It’s not bad to ask for help, because there are just some things that you cannot solve on your own. Hiding a problem won’t solve it. Always remember that a good manager welcomes a sensible question.
 

It can be tough to understand and get along with a manager, but following these pointers should help you improve your relationship.  

Thanksgiving dinner is a predictable annual tradition: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pies. Simple, right? While the concept is simple, the execution can be challenging and time-consuming. Those cooking the meal invest a significant amount of time preparing before an oven is even heated. They draw up a list of things to do: deciding which recipes to use, pondering which guests to invite, choosing between an organic free-range bird and a standard turkey, arranging entertainment for the kids, etc. Just thinking about it all is exhausting! Thanksgiving dinner is a great challenge for a person inclined toward project management. Thanksgiving gives us the chance to sit down with loved ones, sharing food and stories while sipping some red wine. In the spirit of this American celebration, please let me list below some things that information workers like project managers might be thankful for:
  • - Being lucky enough to have a decent job in this tough economy
  • - Being part of an organization that values time for family
  • - Clients who invest confidence in you and your work
  • - The opportunity to work on projects that help people
  • - Being able to work indoors when the weather is bad
  • - Working with cool gadgets and tools
  • - Being with a team that reciprocates respect and admiration
  • - Learning new things
  • - Continued understanding and support from your loved ones when you have to spend extra hours at work
To all project managers out there, be grateful and celebrate the small victories in life. Happy Thanksgiving!
Halloween is just around the corner! It’s that exciting time of year when kids and kids at heart alike dress up as creepy witches and monsters. Though you may not go out trick-or-treating as an adult, you can still enjoy all things creepy in other ways, and project management is no exception.

Read these Halloween tips for project management, and avoid turning your projects into ghost stories.

Fright. Expect the unexpected. Ghosts from the past can show up when you anticipate them the least. Always keep in mind that the same mistakes will happen repeatedly, so learning from every developed project is a must.

Danger. On Halloween, everyone ventures into the night with caution, watching out for freaks like zombies and witches. When planning a project, beware of threats from inaccurate goal definition to lousy planning. In project management, it pays to thoroughly check every step taken since each is important and determines the next one.

Team. We go out to Halloween parties with our friends; we also work in teams for certain projects. In both scenarios, each member plays a specific role to build the team. It is very important to build teams carefully, validating each member’s role and promoting team unity.

Environment. When trick-or-treating, you carefully plan a route to follow from house to house. In the same way, a project does not develop when it is quarantined. It can go the extra mile if you let your project out in the open. What you need is something that can help you constantly monitor it during the process.

Aim High. Getting the “Best Costume Award” or getting the most candy can be a fun prize for an awesome Halloween night. In project management, being able to satisfy a customer’s needs is the highest achievement a project manager can get. Setting up clear definitions of goals can aim the whole team towards success.

Were you able to think of any other similarities between project management and Halloween? Most of us have experienced anxiety when working on a project and will probably experience it again. But if you learn from the ghosts of the past, you are more likely to avoid problems in the future. Plan projects with caution, work well in your team, create a great project environment and aim high, and your projects will be successful. Have a happy Halloween!

As a professional, you should possess a high degree of belief in your ability to deliver – especially when caught in a high-pressure situation. The business world is not suitable for people who are feeble or faint of heart. Your competition will likely devour you in one piece if you face your business proposals, projects, and strategies with less than 100%  confidence.

When you hear constructive advice from a colleague, sometimes you may be thrown off guard and start defending yourself by shooting back meaningless and hurtful remarks. You may eliminate them from your friend list just to slash them away from your professional life. It’s nonsense and childish, but for sure, it happens.

It may be hard to cope with criticism at work. It definitely affects your productivity, but it is very important to know how to deal with criticism in a positive way.

Below are some tips on how to handle professional criticism:

  • Change Your Attitude

    You should learn not to respond immediately to criticism. These observations are unbiased and can be a way for you to improve your ways of doing things. After all, coworkers will not exert so much effort just to get their message across to you if it’s not valid and if you will not benefit from it. You should take some time to listen then decide when it is the right time to respond.

  • Embrace It with Enthusiasm

    Learn how to embrace criticism as your fuel for change. If someone highlights a problem in your work, view it as an opportunity to innovate and improve. Do not assume that you are right and everyone else is wrong. It never hurts to accept constructive, helpful advice; you just have to take it as it is.

  • Never Take It Personally

    It is always important to keep your cool when others criticize you. Keep in mind that they are not there to attack you personally – they are there to help you make your ideas better. Keep your mind focused on the project and not on your emotions.

  • Know Where It Is Coming From

    It might help to remember that some of the people who comment on your work have probably been where you are at the moment. Superiors would not be where they are right now if they always reacted negatively to criticisms. Look at the brighter side: take constructive suggestions with grace by learning from others’ examples.

  • You can be the most influential person in a project if you are an effective and confident employee. You are more likely to become a better person and leader than you were if you just know how to take feedback and corrective suggestions.

The Power.ME Web App is new and improved—check out the new updates we’ve implemented today!

We’ve optimized the experience: Features like Search load faster than ever. When opening drawers and folders, your content will display more quickly, giving you those precious extra seconds to increase your productivity.

Edit Nav Menu

Power.ME Web will save the last section you visited on the Home Menu; the next time you open the app, you’ll be automatically returned to this section.

You can customize your experience with Power.ME Web so the sections you access most on the Home Menu are the most accessible.

To hide less-needed items from the Home Menu:

  1. Click the gray bar at the bottom of the Home Menu.
  2. Click the check boxes to specify which sections you would like displayed when you open the web app.
  3. Click the Done button when you’re finished.

Give the updates a try, and let us know what you think.

So you work hard every day, but do you work smart? Do you know if you are meeting the goals set by both you and your company? Do you know if your hard work is appreciated? It shouldn’t be hard to find out. Getting feedback on your work isn’t just for the low guy on the totem pole; everyone needs some positive and negative feedback to help them improve at what they do.

Why You Should Want It

You don’t need to be afraid of receiving feedback; it’s how you continue to develop your skill set. Asking for it shows others that you want to improve, and when you show you want to improve, others’ respect for you grows. You can benefit from both positive and negative feedback. Not only will you have the chance to make changes in your work, but you’ll be viewed as a conscientious worker, an asset to any company.

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You know those days where everything seems to be going wrong? Or those days when you can’t seem to get on top of things? Or those days when you just want a break? Those days need some kind of reboot, or a way to let go of everything else and get back to the basics: the tasks that need to get done and the things that make you happy.

I recently came across a new principle on another blog. This principle is a way to deal with your day when it has become too much, gotten off track, or lost its sense of purpose. Ellen of Handmade Recess has embraced a philosophy (learned from her friend Jessie) that says when your day gets beyond you and you feel like you’re losing your grip, start your Second Day.

Your Second Day is more than a do-over. It’s a chance to let go and reboot. You back up, do some of the tasks that you need to do to get on top of things, and then do something to make you enjoy your day again. It allows you to finish the hard day right now and start the next “day” without waiting until morning.

Step 1: Decide to Start Your Second Day

Ellen says, “At the very moment when you are just about to give out but your day calls for you to give more, make a shift. Start your Second Day.” Take a deep breath. End the hard day and start a new, fresh day.

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