Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Articles

Our library of articles provides valuable insights into the discipline of project management.

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Getting the Most Out of Your Project Planning Sessions

~ By Sebastian Bos

The ability to hold an effective project planning session is one of the most powerful weapons in a business' armoury. Without it, plans can be rushed or even forgotten.

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7 Tips on How to be a Great Leader During a Crisis

~ By Eileen Burton

What do you do if you're going through the rough waters of a crisis and want to be a great leader? Implement these seven top tips from Eileen Burton.

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Move from Requirement to Execution in 4 Crucial Steps

~ By Kenneth Darter

As the team moves from requirements to executing tasks on the project, the scope and the requirements must be tracked using four crucial steps.

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5 Lesser-known Hacks to Make Your Meetings More Productive

~ By Brad Egeland

How do you keep people alert and contributing to your meetings? Try these five lesser-known hacks for making your next meeting more productive.

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Starting Something New? 4 Tips to Starting Any Project with the Right Mindset

~ By Kenneth Darter

It can be difficult to start something new, especially if it's a new project. So, when you do start something new, the right mindset is crucial.

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Hitting a Moving Baseline Target

~ By Kenneth Darter

The baseline of a schedule is an essential element of project execution, at least for any project you want to end well.

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Am I Doing What I Should Be Doing?

~ By Brad Egeland

Are you stuck in the fireman role as a PM on projects constantly fighting fires? Brad Egeland has some advice for you.

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4 Questions to Ask When You're Asked to Help Set Up a New PMO

~ By Brad Egeland

Setting up a project management office isn't easy, it shouldn't be fast, and it can never be taken lightly. So, where do you start?

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6 Easy Ways for Project Managers to Boost Their People Skills

~ By Skornia Alison

You may be great at your profession. You may have a spectacular list of achievements. But if you lack a few essential soft skills, you won't get too far.

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Agile Adoption: A Case Study

~ By Adam Alami

This case study was conducted to evaluate Agile adoption on a project that has to update an obsolete enterprise data warehouse. These are my findings.

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Carrying Out a Feasibility Study: How to Make a Smart Decision

~ By Duncan Haughey

A project starts with an idea, but how do we know whether it is possible or reasonable? Conducting a feasibility study will tell us whether the idea is viable.

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But Is It Feasible? - How to Confidently Assess Project Feasibility

~ By Kenneth Darter

How do you determine whether a project is feasible? As the project manager, you might carry out a feasibility assessment before the project starts.

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10 Early Signs Your Project's a Failure

~ By Adam Alami

Ten warning signs that say your project has underestimated what is needed for success-with consequences that damage the final outcome and benefits.

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The Phase Gates Cheat Sheet: 4 Steps to Better-Managed Projects

~ By Kenneth Darter

How to get your projects through phase gates and avoid doom using four proven steps to better-managed projects.

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How to Finish Strong on Your Projects

~ By Kenneth Darter

It is one thing to finish a project but quite another to finish strong. By employing these activities and strategies, you'll finish every project strong.

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Using Visual Planning for Easier Project Management

~ By Brad Egeland

There are hundreds of project management software tools available. Brad Egeland looks at how to determine what's best for your organisation's needs.

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Four Stages to Project Risk Removal

~ By Kenneth Darter

Even the most well-prepared project manager on the most well-planned project will end up dealing with risks. Dealing with any risk involves four key phases.

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How Much Will Cybercrime Affect Project Management in 2016?

~ By Brad Egeland

ANYTHING can be hacked. In terms of project management, what's in store for 2016? Are our projects and data at greater risk than they were in 2015?

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How to Make a Killer Project Decision on the Spot

~ By Brad Egeland

A three step process to step through making the best possible decision on the spot with little to no help or extra information from any stakeholders.

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Knowing When to Call it Quits (and the 3-Step Approach for Doing It Right)

~ By Brad Egeland

It's hard to throw in the towel. Leading something that means a lot to you is important. Quitting when you think you have more gas is like giving up, but is it really?

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Keeping Tabs on Projects

~ By Kenneth Darter

Projects have a lot of moving parts. When you throw multiple projects into the mix, as most organisations do, then knowing where projects stand is essential.

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Can Agile Reduce Complexity?

~ By Adam Alami

Agile recommends dealing with complexity by segmenting the requirements into manageable scope that can be achieved without triggering constraints.

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Getting to Project Approval

~ By Kenneth Darter

A look at the groundwork and steps needed to effectively pitch your project and get it approved.

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3 Ways to Ensure Your Project Meeting Is Worthwhile

~ By Brad Egeland

Worthwhile meetings - meaningful, accurate, timely, efficient, productive - all the ingredients that go into what most of us would consider a good meeting.

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Oreos Are Smaller Than I Remember: Don't Under Deliver on Your Projects

~ By Brad Egeland

Are you periodically under delivering on your projects. Are you going through the motions at times. How do you combat this? Try one or more of these steps.

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Are You a Collaborating Project Manager?

~ By Brad Egeland

Are you a collaborating project manager working alongside others to achieve shared goals. Almost certainly, yes. But what is collaborative project management?

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Project Management: Entering the Final Phase

~ By Kenneth Darter

The end's in sight. But before you put that bottle of champagne on ice, make sure you're entering the final phase with the right mindset and approach.

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Project Managers Are Having Fun in IT Offshoring Projects

~ By Adam Alami

Significant growth is taking place in the global IT offshoring market. The aim of this research is to give insight into challenges that IT offshoring projects face.

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Building a Project Management Office from Scratch

~ By Brad Egeland

What ingredients should go into a newly created project management office? Brad Egeland discusses a handful of key concepts and actions that go into the best PMOs.

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Has Your Project Jumped the Shark?

~ By Brad Egeland

It's no fun when we fail. But we can learn from it. Find out the top three signs that your project likely cannot be saved.

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Are You a 'Tell' Manager or a 'Sell' Manager?

~ By Duncan Haughey

Tell or sell, two different approaches—both get work done, but some team management methods are more effective than others.

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Executing Large Transformation Projects

~ By Swadhin Mishra & Preeti Jain

This article focusses on sharing some insights on what to expect in these large and complex projects, how to handle them and what makes or breaks the programme.

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Looking for a Good Project Manager: 5 Tips for Hiring the Right One

~ By Brad Egeland

Are you looking to hire a new project manager? Brad Egeland has five tips for hiring the best Project Managers for your organisation.

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Strategy vs. Luck: Managing Projects in the Face of Uncertainty

~ By Kenneth Darter

Whether you're playing a game involving luck or you're managing a project with unknown variables, always look ahead and plan for random elements.

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Creating or Recycling

~ By Kenneth Darter

Depending on the project, you can sometimes recycle, but sometimes need to create new deliverables. Getting it right affects the quality of project outputs.

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Balancing Out the Fun Projects

~ By Brad Egeland

Three techniques to liven projects up and help ensure that activities on your less exciting projects don't fall through the cracks.

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Generating Momentum in a Project

~ By Kenneth Darter

The hardest part of a project is often just getting started. Next time you're struggling to get the ball rolling, try one of these ideas.

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Top Tips on How to Succeed in Human Resources

~ By Helen Sabell

To be among those who evolve and create a successful career in Human Resources is simple—assuming you do the right things, of course. Here's how.

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How 20 Minutes Each Morning Can Transform Your Day as a Manager

~ By Sebastian Bos

Stressed? It's time to consider doing things a bit differently. See how setting your alarm just 20 minutes earlier could transform your day.

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Protecting Sensitive Project Information

~ By Brad Egeland

Three key suggestions to make yourself and your project and personal information safer when working from public WiFi hotspots.

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Seeing the Project Through to the End

~ By Brad Egeland

Running a project from beginning to end uninterrupted is awesome, but what steps should you take when you're forced to hand it off part way through.

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Seven Habits of Failing Managers

~ By Duncan Haughey

Do you recognise any of these traits in yourself or your colleagues? I have met people who do exactly as I describe and, in the process, have damaged their teams and themselves.

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How to Build a High-Performance Project Team

~ By Duncan Haughey

What makes a winning project team? Why do some teams achieve greatness while others struggle? Let's look at the factors present on winning project teams.

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Building Teamwork

~ By Kenneth Darter

Teamwork isn't something that just happens. The project leader needs to put in the time and effort to build the team and help everyone get along. Here's how.

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Perception Is Not Always Equal

~ By Brad Egeland

Just when we think everyone is on the same page, they may not be. How do we ensure that this doesn't cause our project to go off the rails at a critical point?

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Moving From Project to Programme

~ By Kenneth Darter

How to move from project to programme when projects grow, and you need to combine several projects into an effective programme.

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Soft Power for Success

~ By Mike Griffin

Soft power is the ability to get people to work with you by attracting them to be part of what you stand for; rather than to coerce, force or pay them.

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Starting the Project With Both Feet on the Ground

~ By Brad Egeland

When you have a new project, what should you do to make sure you start with both feet firmly on the ground?

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Looking for Blue Skies

~ By Kenneth Darter

There will always be problems with any project you work on. Looking for blue skies is learning to see the silver lining on the clouds that darken your day.

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Looking Forward to Spring

~ By Kenneth Darter

Life on projects sometimes feels like winter. The never-ending meetings. The schedule overruns. The unexpected problems. But, spring is just around the corner.

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Estimating Project Work Gone Wrong

~ By Brad Egeland

Estimating project work is fraught with opportunities for things to go badly. Read Brad's five common issues and solutions for better estimates.

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It's Easy to Give the Good News

~ By Brad Egeland

How do you deliver bad news on a project? Let's consider what we can do to best prepare for, and then effectively deliver, the bad news.

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Getting In Over Your Head

~ By Kenneth Darter

Everybody gets in over their head at some point in their project management career. The question is, what can you do about it other than fake a panic attack?

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3 Reasons We Say Yes to Impossible Projects

~ By Brad Egeland

Superman. OK, he has his Kryptonite weakness, but that's it. Let's get one thing straight - as a group, project managers are not comparable to Superman.

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How to Make Changes on a Project

~ By Kenneth Darter

It is never fun to make changes, especially amidst a big project, but at times change is necessary. These tips will help ensure all bases are covered.

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A Brief History of Project Management

~ By Duncan Haughey

In this history of project management, I chart all the major developments and events in the discipline as far back as there are records.

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The Project Manager's New Year Wish List

~ By Duncan Haughey

As we close the door on another year, I thought it would be a good time to look at five items project managers should have on their wish list for 2015.

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My Wish List for Project Management in 2015

~ By Brad Egeland

What's on your wish list for project management in 2015? As you read, please consider the changes, additions or deletions you'd like to see happen.

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A Brief History of SMART Goals

~ By Duncan Haughey

In this history of SMART goals, I look at where the acronym came from, who developed it, what the critics say and why it has become popular.

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Get Your Projects on Track: Remember the Baseline!

~ By Kenneth Darter

The baseline is the project's measurement stick. It helps you meet the objectives of the customer. In short, the baseline helps you get the project completed.

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Portland, Maine…I Don't Know Where That Is

~ By Brad Egeland

You know those times when a project customer wants something on a project that no one on your team has ever heard of? What do you do?

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The Four Stages of Recovering a Project

~ By Kenneth Darter

If a project is in trouble, the project manager needs to work to recover it and get back on track. Four steps will help the PM facilitate the recovery.

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How to Avoid 12 Common Mistakes in Project Management

~ By Duncan Haughey

A back-to-basics look at why so many organisations run projects poorly, with twelve common mistakes in project management and how you can avoid them.

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What Do Best Practices Mean to You?

~ By Brad Egeland

There are likely almost as many best practices as there are project managers in the world. These are a few of the 'core' project management practices.

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4 Reasons for Missed Project Deadlines and How to Get Back on Track — Part 2

~ By Brad Egeland

There are nearly limitless reasons project deadlines are missed. It's how we handle these bumps that define us as good leaders and successful project managers.

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4 Reasons for Missed Project Deadlines and How to Get Back on Track — Part 1

~ By Brad Egeland

Four scenarios that often cause missed project deadlines and possible ways to work around those issues and keep or get the project back on track.

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Project Commitment = Project Success – Part 2

~ By Brad Egeland

If team participation is so effective, why don't more people do it? Learn two factors that breed commitment and contribute to project success.

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Project Commitment = Project Success – Part 1

~ By Brad Egeland

Team members who understand the project are more committed to making the project successful. To understand is to make sense of what is required of you.

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Dealing with Problems on the Project

~ By Kenneth Darter

Problems come in all shapes and sizes on projects. So, what as a project manager must you do to deal with problems on your projects? Let's discuss.

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The Six Project Management Trends You Need to Know

~ By Duncan Haughey

Six important trends shaping the project management profession today and likely to continue shaping it in the foreseeable future.

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6 Steps to Turning Around a Financially Failing Project – Part 2

~ By Brad Egeland

Projects fail for many reasons, but I believe that the hardest one to handle and to dig out from is the one that is heading for financial ruin.

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6 Steps to Turning Around a Financially Failing Project – Part 1

~ By Brad Egeland

Six actions you can take to gain control over a project budget that isn't too far gone or to make strides on gaining some degree of control.

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Spreading the PM Knowledge

~ By Brad Egeland

Mentoring new project managers as they learn is rewarding. No amount of classroom training can take the place of working alongside an experienced project manager.

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Forget the Cookie Cutter Approach to Project Management

~ By Duncan Haughey

Why the cookie cutter approach doesn't work as a guarantee of project management success and how you can avoid becoming a slave to a methodology.

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Being Prepared for the Unexpected

~ By Kenneth Darter

Project managers cannot create policies and procedures for every eventuality that might occur during a project, but they can prepare for unexpected problems.

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Avoiding Project Failure: It's Not Rocket Science

~ By Duncan Haughey

Don't become the casualty of a failed project. Always put measures in place that address these five common problem areas to help secure your project success.

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Giving Proper PM Oversight on the Project - Part 2

~ By Brad Egeland

Brad Egeland continues his look at being all we can be as project managers to help ensure customer satisfaction and enhance our career prospects.

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Giving Proper PM Oversight on the Project - Part 1

~ By Brad Egeland

Customer satisfaction is critical. It is the basis of your livelihood. It is the difference between a referenceable customer and a dissatisfied customer.

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5 Best Practices for Effective Project Management - Part 2

~ By Brad Egeland

Are you just going through the motions on your projects? To keep your customers coming back for more, you will need to be creative and dedicated.

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5 Best Practices for Effective Project Management - Part 1

~ By Brad Egeland

This article considers a few best practice litmus tests to perform (if only in your head) to make sure you are delivering well on every project.

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Three Steps to Better Customer Relations

~ By Brad Egeland

It is impossible to make everyone happy all the time, but you can certainly do everything within your power to give customers your best performance.

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10 Qualities of Successful Business Partners

~ By Duncan Haughey

Business partnering is not about jumping when the business shouts, but working together collaboratively to achieve the best possible results.

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Documenting Lessons Learned: What Have You Learned?

~ By Kenneth Darter

Lessons learned can make all the difference on future projects and help them to succeed, but first, they must be documented correctly.

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The Paralysis of Getting the Project Started

~ By Brad Egeland

This article is about the paralysis one feels when trying to get the project schedule in order and everything properly in place to get started.

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Keeping Top Management Informed - Part 2

~ By Brad Egeland

What should your status report contain, and how long should it be, to avoid overloading everyone with information and doing more harm than good.

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Keeping Top Management Informed - Part 1

~ By Brad Egeland

If your company does not need a project status report from you, it might be wise to suggest such a policy and produce one anyway.

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Creating a Project Budget: What You Need to Know

~ By Duncan Haughey

The ability to create an accurate budget is an essential skill for a project manager. Here's what you need to create an accurate budget for your next project.

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Ten Key Project Issues to Avoid - Part 3

~ By Brad Egeland

What do you find to be your key project issues or common problems that can get in the way of overall success? Check these 10 project issues to avoid.

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Ten Key Project Issues to Avoid - Part 2

~ By Brad Egeland

Avoiding the icebergs of project management is not easy, but avoid them we must, before they sink our projects. Keep these areas in mind during your next project.

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Ten Key Project Issues to Avoid - Part 1

~ By Brad Egeland

No matter how well prepared we are, there are icebergs out there waiting to sink our projects. Review these 10 recognisable issues and be ready to manage them.

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Teaching Your Team to Deal With Deadlines

~ By Kenneth Darter

Deadlines are ever present in project management, which does not mean that the team working on the project can deal with those deadlines very easily.

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Managing the Risk Factor - Part 2

~ By Brad Egeland

Outside factors may introduce risk to our project engagements. How we handle those factors could be the key to the success or failure of our projects.

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Managing the Risk Factor - Part 1

~ By Brad Egeland

No project in the history of projects has entered into existence without the presence of a few risks. Here's how to manage risks and protect your project.

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Better Coaching Using the GROW Model

~ By Duncan Haughey

How to improve your coaching skills using the GROW model, including 40 example questions for aspiring coaches.

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What it Takes to Lead - Part 2

~ By Brad Egeland

In Part 2 of this series, Brad Egeland looks at three more ways that project leadership is set apart from normal project management participation.

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What it Takes to Lead - Part 1

~ By Brad Egeland

What does it mean to lead? If you've led a large project, you know that project leaders do a lot more than plan, organise, control, coordinate and budget.

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Facilitating a Summit

~ By Kenneth Darter

If you want to have a successful summit meeting, then it is time to practise your people skills and learn to play well with others.

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Cutting Through the Chaos

~ By Duncan Haughey

Where should we focus our effort to improve the performance of IT projects? The Standish Group has identified ten areas in their Chaos Manifesto 2013.

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Why Project Managers Should Coach

~ By Duncan Haughey

Can you be a good project manager without being a coach? How to unlock your team's potential and maximise their performance with coaching.

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When Project Management is a Four Letter Word

~ By Brad Egeland

As project managers, we can add considerable value to any project engagement, but what do you do if your customer is not project manager friendly?

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How to Run the Most Productive Project Meetings Possible - Part 2

~ By Brad Egeland

Brad Egeland's final four key concepts for highly productive project meetings. How we manage our meetings says a lot about us professionally.

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How to Run the Most Productive Project Meetings Possible - Part 1

~ By Brad Egeland

Seven rules for planning and conducting meaningful project meetings, the ones that will help you manage your projects and provide attendees with value.

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Praise Loud, Blame Soft

~ By Brad Egeland

We all need more praise than correction. A happy, positive team with a basic plan will outperform a miserable team with a brilliant plan every time.

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Coming to Terms With the Finish Date

~ By Kenneth Darter

Every project has a finish date. This article looks at how the finish date for a project is derived and how a project team comes to terms with that date.

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PMP vs. PRINCE2 Certificates

~ By Nader Khorrami Rad

What's the difference between the PMP and PRINCE2 certifications? Which one should I choose? Which one's better for my career?

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How is the Project Going? - Part 2

~ By Brad Egeland

For projects lasting six months or more, it's a good idea to pause at least twice as a team to discuss the project's health from the team's perspective.

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How is the Project Going? - Part 1

~ By Brad Egeland

It's critical to stop periodically and take the pulse of your project. If you neglect your customer, you may find yourself out of a job or without a project.

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Shaking Things Up on the Project

~ By Brad Egeland

How do you stop your projects from getting mundane? This article considers how we can change things around and add some excitement to our projects.

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Three Paths to Approaching Stakeholders

~ By Kenneth Darter

When it comes to approaching stakeholders, there are many different paths you can take to get your message to the right person. Here are some ideas on formulating your path.

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Work Breakdown Structure 101

~ By Duncan Haughey

Work Breakdown Structure is a tool project managers use to break projects down into manageable pieces. Here's why you need one and how to create your own.

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Change Orders are a Four Letter Word

~ By Brad Egeland

Change orders are hard to bring before a customer. Here's how to leave no question in your customer's mind that you and your team know what you're doing.

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Delivering the Tough News - Part 2

~ By Brad Egeland

Brad's final two steps in his personal four-step process of preparing for and delivering bad news to a project client.

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Delivering the Tough News - Part 1

~ By Brad Egeland

Have you ever had to deliver tough news to a customer on a project? Here's four steps to help you prepare and deliver the bad news.

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Tracking a Risk

~ By Kenneth Darter

Risk management is a vital part of project management. Learn four key steps to help you evaluate and mitigate any risks on your project.

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The Proactive Project Manager

~ By Brad Egeland

How to remain in control of projects, rather than always being in reactive mode to the issues that arise and threaten to knock us off course.

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Building a Business Case for Your Project

~ By Kenneth Darter

To get stakeholders or management to approve your project, you will need to build a solid business case. Here are the basic steps for creating a business case.

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Ensuring Accountability on Your Projects - Part 2

~ By Brad Egeland

You can't guarantee accountability from everyone on your projects, but the key to keeping them involved is to let them know exactly what is expected of them.

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PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

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