September 24, 2017

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Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Archives for August 2017

Discover the Basic Principles of Project Management Training

PM training principlesBy Knowledge Hut

In the complex world we live in today, project management training needs to teach the discipline of planning, organising, managing, securing and controlling of resources in order to lead them to achieve strategic organisational goals.

There are certain definitive processes taught in project management training covering how to:

  • Define the project
  • Plan the project
  • Monitor and control the execution of the project
  • Complete and close the project

What are the objectives of project management training?

Project management training focuses on the implementation of management methods and tools that have realistically been in action in several industries for ages. The objective of any project management course should be to teach how to achieve project goals within the constraints of time, budget, quality, benefit realization, customer satisfaction and more. Other objectives are:

  • To work with the team members, customers, management and project sponsors to deliver according to the agreed project plan
  • How to apply the normal project standards
  • How to use project management to increase productivity, cut development costs and improve communications.
  • To differentiate and understand the art and science of project management skills including technical skills (e.g. scope, quality and communications management) as well as soft skills like leadership.

Basic principles of project management training

For the proper completion of any project, there is a set of basic principles to follow which should be covered in any good project management training. This will include:

  • A clear definition of the undertaken project

The definition phase is the stage where proper engagement needs to take place with identified stakeholders. This will set the stage for the entire scope of the project.

  • Maintain the structure of the project

Project management foundation training disciplines students on three basic parameters: quality, time and resources. The structure of any project should abide by these three parameters to derive optimum results in minimum time.

The structure should consist of the necessary project goals, milestones and work packages with assigned resources. Project milestones are crucial as they help to monitor progress and costs. Milestones are defined as a certain point in time, for example the end of a phase of the project. Often payments are attached to milestones achieved.

  • Maintaining project status transparency

Project status will include feedback on milestones, progress against the timeline and deliverables, risks and the health of a project. it is recommended for project manages to make the project status transparent to management, by updating them on all the overall health, risks, issues and task progress as well as decisions required.

  • Identify and evaluate potential risks

When you plan a project, it’s important to identify and evaluate potential risks and threats that could impact the project if not mitigated and responded to appropriately. In project management training, students learn to recognise the risks developing from the constraints of costs, project resources, and timeline, and how to prioritise them.

All the principles and objectives above are taught in a project management training environment to setup students for project success. The project success criteria are generally defined prior to the initiation of the work. In addition to the listed principles, the training requires candidates to recognise and adopt the leadership roles and responsibilities which are mandatory for a successful project manager.

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KnowledgeHut offers over 120+ professional certification courses across industries to helps professionals get an competitive edge and boost productivity. KnowledgeHut is an industry-leading knowledge training company for individuals and corporate offices, operating across 70 countries and 6 continents.

Click here for what is on offer for project management training. 

Preparation Guide for PMP Certification Exam

Preparation guide for PMP examBy Knowledge Hut

Project Management Professional (PMP) is a valuable, sought after certification. It has become very useful for project managers across the world who want to develop and grow in their careers.

A PMP certification will help you stand out in the marketplace. Various institutes provide PMP certification courses to project managers from all backgrounds. The market is expanding and demand is rising and as a result, the number of project managers who are capable of dealing with their work strategically and execute them successfully are finding themselves overburdened with work.

There is huge scope for competent, certified individuals who can deal with the stress and workload of a project professional. But in order to achieve this, there are several hurdles which one needs to cross.

The PMP certification has made the PMP exam preparation courses one of the most popular courses available in the market today. PMP courses are designed for project practitioners to provide world-renowned education and how to relate that to their professional experience. The exam-based certification is highly rated in the business world and takes the individuals to the next level of proven competence.

This guide provides you with the following tips and tricks to help you prepare for the PMP Certification exam.

Have a plan

You should have a proper plan in place to prepare for the PMP certification exams. The applicants must be well aware of the syllabus and know the pattern of the exam before starting the preparation. They also plan out their preparation chart in order to have a clear and well-defined vision.

Be aware of change

Keep pace with the changes that are happening in the current world. Exam candidates should be aware of what is going on around the world by reading articles, newspapers and other sources to remain updated.

Prepare one topic at a time

It would be wise to prepare one topic at a time. It’s better to be thorough with one subject rather than being confused by too many topics at the same time.

Online examination

Guide for PMP prep examSince the PMP Examination consists of multiple choice questions that are taken online, it is recommended to have good computer skills. It will reduce stress and be less time consuming when prepared well.

Time management

Speed is a major contributor for success in these exams. One methods to improve your speed is by practicing more and more. This would increase both speed and efficiency.

Do Mock exams

There are various mock tests available on the internet, some paid, some are free. This will give candidates a good indication of how well prepared they are for the exam since you also receive scores and explanations with the mock tests. It will give a clear indication of topics needing more preparation and candidates can then focus on areas needing to be improved before taking the real exam.

Revision

Before the start of the exam it’s essential to do enough revision. This ensures that the candidates are able to recollect all that they have learned and apply those during the examinations.

Date and time

Your exam preparations should start immediately after deciding the date and venue of the examination for which the application is made.

Practice, practice

A primary method to achieve success is to practice, practice and practice more. There are various coaching centers in major cities to help aspirants to achieve success and good marks in the exams.

Keep calm

It’s very important for every candidate to remain calm and composed during the exam. This is the point where most exams are passed or failed.

Opportunities in the market

Keep an eye on the market and be on the lookout for organisations which are advertising vacancies.

 

When these guidelines are followed, candidates should perform like heroes and they can be certain of success when taking the PMP certification exams.

To find out more about the classroom,  virtual classroom or online PMP Certification Training Courses with additional resources to help you pass the exam, visit Knowledgehut today.

10 Leadership Lessons from Extreme Environments

10 Leadership LessonsBy Linky van der Merwe

Do you know some-one who climbed the Seven Summits (highest peak on each continent) and skied to both the North and South Poles?  Meet Alison Levine, a small person with a big heart for adventure. And not just any adventure, but extreme adventure that earned her the title of achieving the “Adventure Grand Slam”.

After listening to Alison Levine as keynote speaker at the PMXPO2017 I bought her book: “On the edge: Leadership lessons from Mount Everest and other extreme environments.  

Here are 10 leadership lessons from her book that can be applied to projects.

#1 Approach to leadership

Alison starts off by saying that the development of yourself as a leader should be a deliberate, conscious process. People are not born leaders. It’s a ‘muscle that needs to be built.

Leadership is an attitude. Alison believes that we all need to be better leaders. If we put effort into that, we can have much positive influence on the people around us. I think this is especially true on projects. Empower the team to think and act like a leader. This means that we need to help them hone their skills, their knowledge and encourage them to think for themselves and to make critical decisions without always requiring input. Team members need to be able to carry on with the work, even if the leader becomes ill or is on leave.

One way to help develop leadership skills in others is to give them greater responsibility to grow themselves as leaders. This will make the whole team more effective. Developing your own skills and the skill of others should be a never-ending process.

#2 Mentors

Engage with others who are more skilled than you are and learn from the best. Find mentors in your organization, people with experience and people you look up to.

#3 Go backward to go forward

Everest climbThe way Mount Everest is climbed is that climbers start at base camp and go up to Camp 1, then come back. Next they go up to Camp 1 and the following day to Camp 2. Then they go back to basecamp. Then they go up to Camp 3 only to come back down again. Then they go all the way up to Camp 4, sleep over and when the weather allows, they ascend to the top.

Her lesson from this is that there’s real value in going back to your starting point to regroup, to reposition yourself to be stronger before you can ascend to the next level. Even great athletes and sport stars focus on the fundamentals over and over again, by doing the same drills, not because they haven’t mastered it, but because repetition builds strength and enhances agility.

Therefore, reward and encourage progress in all forms, not just the obvious ones.

#4 Conflict management

On every project there will be conflict at some point making it a predictable component of group dynamics. It can be healthy to as it brings different perspectives. Conflict only becomes dangerous when it is unresolved.

It’s important to bring conflict out into the open. This is where communication is key. It’s essential to make team members feel valued and that his or her opinion matters.

#5 High Performance Teams

All women team to Everest

Source: Road & Travel Magazine

Alison shares an important insight on putting together a high-performing team. You want people who are good at what they do and who know that they’re good as that gives them confidence. This is called performance ego.

Another type of ego you want is team ego. A group is only a team when every member of the group cares as much about helping the other members as they care about helping themselves.

I have seen this on multiple projects before where a high-performing team contributes to hugely successful projects. When you put a team together, you need to look for:

  • Experience
  • Expertise
  • Ego

#6 Relationships and Networking

Developing strong relationships is critical to success. As a project leader you need to take the time and effort to connect with people at every stage of your career. Find people who will rally around you, encourage you and support. Attend those conferences and networking events; you never know which connections will lead to more success in future.

#7 Weak links

South Pole skiThe way you deal with the weak link on your team often means the difference between success and failure. When you have to work with people who are as good as you are, those who can’t perform as well, or who don’t match your skills.

To compensate for a weakness is about leveraging hidden attributes in innovative ways that can move you and your team forward. As a leader you need to help every team member to become productive so that everyone on the team benefits.

#8 Build Trust and Loyalty

Never underestimate the importance of treating other with respect and kindness. Also take the time to get to know the people on your team as individuals. Get to know them on a deeper level. That will form strong bonds and people will know they matter.

Each person needs a different approach when it comes to helping them perform at their best. The more information you uncover, the more influence you can have as a leader. You need to adjust your coaching style based on the needs of your team.

The more dedicated you are to your team, the harder they will work for you and for one another.

#9 Complacency

Following the status quo, could be a mistake that businesses, teams fall prey to. Different situations call for different actions. As a leader you need to evaluate all the circumstances in order to know what you best move is.

Complacency can be characterized by not preparing, not making a move, not moving fast enough or not being agile enough.

If you’re busy with your 10th or 50th project, you still need to be alert, prepared and agile.

#10 Embrace your Failures

As leaders we need to own our failures. It’s important to learn from them as that is what really makes us grow as leaders. When we achieve something that we have worked hard for, we need to take a moment to reflect on it.

For many people it’s easier to avoid the risks of failure, unless we have failed before. Something about surviving past setbacks that increases our willingness to risk again.

If you’d like to read a book filled with adventure stories and lessons, don’t miss out on this exciting book:
On the Edge: Leadership Lessons from Mount Everest and Other Extreme Environments

The Benefit of Resource Driven Updates on Projects

By Biraj Borah

Project planning and monitoring may be quite simple on average projects, but for larger projects it is a complex set of tasks and activities. During Planning, once the scope is defined, firstly the high-level activities are listed as Level 1 (L1). A rough time estimate is given and only the major milestones are defined. With respect to the Level 1 milestones, further levels are then defined. And the number of levels depends on the size and complexity of the project.

In Planning, this process of defining all task levels to be done on a project, helps to create the work breakdown structure, also called WBS. And the final level of the WBS is the activity. Completion of all the defined activities under the WBS, will lead to completion of all the in scope deliverables.

Traditional Method to Update Progress

According to the traditional method, we update by dragging the Gantt chart or edit in % completion field. Using this approach, there is no relation to the resource assigned to the task and is mostly manually driven by the user. This seems simple enough. But on a complex project, there is no validation of how that percentage is arrived? Large projects require project task against certain validation. Without any tools, the project manager has to rely on other details and supporting documents which makes the project much more complex to monitor.

traditional progress update

Modern Approach – Driven by Resources (Human, Capital & Material)

TIEMCHART project management software provides the modern approach to monitoring task progress based on resource update assigned to that task. Each task or WBS may be driven by various resources – human, machinery and material resources.

An individual WBS may involve completion of multiple sets of resources. If you are talking about a consulting business, a task may involve assigning the consultant a set number of hours or it may involve delivering a set number of design documents or other reports. Now such tasks can be monitored based on either the number of hours completed or number of design documents submitted against the plan.

Similarly for a procurement task, it may involve delivering a set quantity of cement bags, steel pipes etc. Likewise such deliverables can be assigned against the task or WBS. Progress of the task can be automated based on actual number of cement bags or steel pipes delivered.

Set Resource Planning & Requirement

Once the resources are identified against the task, you can plan the quantity / hours deliverables against the task. Based on such assignments, project progress can be monitored.

  • Single resource – if a task involves using single resource. Deliverables such as number of hours or quantity can be specified against the task
  • Multiple resource – Tasks that involves multiple resources can have a bearing based on number of items delivered against such multiple resources

Resource planning

Monitor Task Progress Based On Resource Assignment

Depending on task planning and resource assignment, task progress can be monitored based on actual delivery of such resources. Be it human or machinery engagement in number of hours, material resources in quantity, task progress can be measured and monitored in real time based on such deliveries.

Tiemchart resource driven updates

Benefits of Resource Driven Updates

TIEMCHART is the first Project Management Software to bring the solution of automated project progress based on resources. This helps businesses to cut down project delays and finishing more projects on time. Being a cloud-based solution, it also simplifies implementation and reduce expensive installation costs.

Visit Tiemchart and request a free demo.

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