June 27, 2017

Subscribe:  

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

Training Service Provider: GreyCampus – Training Project Professionals, Enhancing Careers

Certification training to develop new skills is an important aspect of career advancement. It not only recognizes your skills, but helps you get hired in a dream job. A 2012 Microsoft study highlights certification as an important hiring criteria. For hiring managers, a certification represents high skillsets for a candidate.

In a recent IT professionals survey, more than half of respondents stated that they landed new jobs due to a certification. It is part of important criteria for selection in project management jobs. If you plan to become certified in 2017 and you are looking for training, consider GreyCampus as the one-stop destination for all your training needs.

Introduction to GreyCampus

GreyCampus is a private education management company. Founded in 2014, it has its head office at Dallas, Texas in the United States. It is a leading training provider and has helped train more than 10,000 professionals worldwide. It provides training to professionals in the areas of project management and quality management. It is a registered education provider (REP) for many professional training courses. GreyCampus has also partnered with institutes like PMI, Axelos, PeopleCert, PRINCE2 and more.

Training methods

GreyCampus conducts training through the following methods:

  • Instructor-led online classes
  • Instructor-led traditional classroom courses
  • Self-learning online courses.

Project Management Training

PMP exam preparation courseThe project management courses at GreyCampus are available in the following modes:

  • Instructor-led
  • Online self-learning

The course provides learners with the essential tools needed to pass the exam. It is aligned as per the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK) Guide, Fifth edition. It is also competitively priced to make learning affordable.

The instructor-led classes, both online and classroom are priced at $999. The online self-learning course is priced at $400.

GreyCampus also offers courses on CAPM and PMI-ACP certifications in different learning modes.

PRINCE2 Training

PRINCE2 FOUNDATIONGreyCampus offers the following courses around PRINCE2:

  • PRINCE2 Foundation Training and Certification course. It is available in both instructor-led and self-learning modes.
  • PRINCE2 Practitioner Training and Certification course. It is available in both instructor-led and self-learning modes.
  • There is also a 3-day instructor-led only PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner Combo course.

Project Professionals

GreyCampus training offers short courses to help project professionals earn Category A Professional Development Units (PDU). These PDUs help them keep their PMI certification, to develop themselves and to be up to date in the job market.

For example, the Microsoft Project Fundamentals priced at $5 will earn the student 5 PDUs. The Project Schedule Management Basics priced at $10 will gain the student 10 PDUs.

The other project applicable courses available are Project Collaboration and Management, MiniTab Online Training, Slack Introduction and many more.

Special offer

Project managers who are looking for training in 2017 can check the details of the project management courses on the GreyCampus website. You can check the course schedule, eligibility and location and make your choice as per your needs.

In partnership with Virtual Project Consulting, GreyCampus offers a special discount of 50% if you sign up from here. Just use coupon code PROJCOL.

***Some links are affiliate links.

Project Success Story – Tension between Business and IT

Project Success StoryThis is the story about a project manager, Gren Gale, who was working for a large insurance company in the UK who wanted to update their CRM system to provide a much smoother experience for call centre operators and allow better integration of customer information between call centre and back office.

Politics

While the business area was very anxious to get on with the change, there was friction between business change and IT over the choice of system and the degree of involvement of IT in the implementation.  This particular area of business change had suffered from previous poor experience with the IT department and wanted to bypass them.  With IT having strict rules for the compliance of any new system to its technology standards, there were political issues to handle as well as a complex implementation to manage.

Outsource

Tension between IT and BusinessA tender was issued by IT to six vendors, using requirements put together by business change.  As seemed almost inevitable in the situation, business change preferred the system that was the least compliant with IT standards, while IT preferred another system.

Negotiations between the IT project manager and IT’s preferred vendor resulted in a big reduction in up-front costs by the vendor who were keen to get a foothold in the Insurance sector.  Despite luke-warm support from business change, the recommendation to go with this vendor was presented to the director of the business area and approved.

This left IT satisfied, but business change feeling not entirely happy about the choice.

Analysis and Design

Meetings were arranged to agree a final design between the business area and the vendor.

These went well, but hit a couple of issues:

Poem to start 2017

To start off the New Year, here is a beautiful poem by Nicholas Gordon.

Poem for 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Project ConsultingPlease subscribe to Virtual Project Consulting not to miss future articles, tips and success stories!

Agile? 3 Benefits of Managing your Projects with Eylean Board

By Dovile Miseviciute

Within the fast paced world we live in today, staying on top of things is one of the most important and most difficult goals we give ourselves. Whether it is in our personal or our professional lives, we often find it challenging to keep up with the latest information, understand the whole picture and to make the right decisions fast. The good news is – we have tools like Eylean Board, to help us stay on track and see our projects to completion with ease.

Like many other great products, the story of Eylean Board starts with a small group of people struggling to find a tool that would fit their needs and like many others before them, deciding to create one of their own. Five years later, the small group of people is known as the team of Eylean, the tool is called Eylean Board and it is used by teams all over the globe.

You may wonder what is it that makes Eylean Board so great? Amongst multiple layers of projects, tasks and subtasks, time tracking, reports and integrations, there are three key benefits that put this software on top.

#1 Visual boards to represent every important detail

Eylean Visual boardOne of the most important things in project management is being able to see both the big picture and the important small details. However, analyzing the details takes time and thus we are left to rely on our team to give us the information. Needless to say, many things get lost in translation this way and we end up struggling to make the right decisions.

With Eylean Board however, the important small details are right there in the big picture. You can see who is working on which tasks, how much time they have taken, what problems they are facing and monitor the due dates represented in color-coded notifications on the board. And if you want to know more – simply expand the task details to see descriptions, commentary, attachments and more.

#2 A tool that is easy to use

Eylean Task detailsBeing able to understand and use the software immediately is another big problem companies are facing today. Introducing a new tool to your team usually means hours of training, followed by weeks of confusion and the wait for actual results that may never come.

The beauty of Eylean Board is that the whole user interface is based on intuition. Tasks can be moved, assigned and tracked all with a simple drag and drop. The software is self-explanatory and the ability to modify the board gives you an opportunity to duplicate your previous solution in order to have a smooth transition period for all. Contrary to some other tools, Eylean Board can be used by developers, sales, marketing, finance and any other department in a company at the same time.

#3 Latest project management methods at your fingertips

Eylean Agile templatesLastly, you need an innovative tool to keep up with project management practices that are moving forward. Eylean Boards is just that – you will find templates for Scrum, Kanban and Scrumban boards or will be able to create your own templates modifying and improving the Agile methods to be just right for you. Furthermore, the Eylean team is fully emerged in following the latest Agile trends and can help guide your Agile journey.

Eylean Board is an intuitive and easy to use project management software that allows your team to realize their potential. Intrigued? Start the two-week free trial with no strings attached.

About the author: Dovile is the marketing manager at Eylean. She has been actively immersed in the Agile project management field for two years by working within the methodology and writing a blog about the newest trends and shifts in the industry.

Project Story: Retail Project for Clearance Sales

Retail project for clearance salesThe story is about a project in the Retail Sector with the objective of enabling the ability to do clearance sales and promotions in more than one price zone at different times. The Retailer had expanded its operations into multiple countries and, as a result, needed to track clearance sales in each of the countries at different times to the clearance sale in the original country.

To achieve this, the Retail Management System needed to cater for multiple price zones (one zone per country). The complexity of the project was that multiple systems would be affected, requiring a huge testing effort across many functional teams and systems. In addition to that, there were only two periods within the trading calendar that allowed the implementation of such an intrusive project in either June or September.

Although the project was originally planned to take 6 months and it took 9 months, it was considered a success due to the fact that the re-negotiated time and budget was achieved and the business benefit could be immediately realised. The business was able to run clearance sales in more than one zone at different times and they could copy the original clearance to another zone.

Project Structure and Frequent Communications

The project manager, Jeremy Powdrell, ensured that the project structure was setup properly with all key stakeholders identified upfront. Due to the sheer number of stakeholders and to ensure clear project communications that would align all involved, a monthly meeting was arranged in the company’s 200 seat auditorium. At the monthly meetings various sponsors and other key stakeholders presented aspects of the project, this assisted in alignment and raised the profile of the project.

During the Test Phase, the project manager scheduled daily meetings, especially during the final weeks of testing in order to deal with defects and issues quickly.

Performance feedback was intentional by engaging with both the project resources and their managers to discuss performance. This helped to ensure that Managers could properly recognise and reward the team members through the normal channels.

The Business analysis was also done very well. Training was prepared in advance and the training contributed to the fact that people were better prepared for the change.

Scope Changes and Planning Constraints

As a result of changes in senior management, the project sponsor had changed. The new sponsor then introduced scope changes to the existing project. The subsequent change control meant that the time required to implement the solution had to be extended.

The release of the new solution had to be carefully planned. Continue reading…

Leadership: 3 Important Activities Managers should do Daily

By Jacob Haney

Every new manager needs to know the three key activities they should be focusing on, which will make them successful as leaders.

3 Activities Managers should do dailyThose three keys are:

  1. building trust
  2. building a network and
  3. building a team

It is very rare that managers actually find the time to do all the work they have planned to do. Their time is mostly used to solve unexpected problems and to make sure that their team finishes their work on time, up to the standard and on budget.

Managers can sometimes feel desperate because urgent daily work hijacks the time they would use for their on-going work as managers and leaders. So, they push these key activities back. But, these activities are fundamental and substantial for a manager who wants to function effectively and be a good leader.

#1 Building Trust

To be a successful leader, you need to be able to influence others, and in order to achieve that, trust is the key. You cannot influence someone who doesn’t trust you. So, a manager needs to create a trustworthy relationship with everyone he or she is working with. To achieve that, they need to demonstrate the two basic components of trust; character and competence.

Character

Basic action and decision on values beyond self-interest and caring about work and the people who do the work. That’s character.

Competence

Competence understands the work well enough to make valid decisions, and having the courage to ask questions when something is not clear. If employees believe in your character and competence, they will put their trust in you.

#2 Building a Network

Every team of employees depends on the support of other people and groups. Effective managers need to build and maintain a network of people and groups that will help their team achieve their future goals. This is actually the main issue that troubles many managers because they believe that networking is a kind of manipulation, where they need to pretend to like someone just because they need something from them.

Try to go above that, because without networking, you will limit your capabilities. Build a network honestly, openly and with the right intent. This will benefit all sides.

#3 Building a Team

In order to build an effective team, team members have to be bound with a common purpose which is based on shared values. The bonds between members need to be strong so that they believe that they are all succeeding or failing together. A good team needs to have rules of engagement.

Smart managers and leaders combine all of these elements and then they manage through the team. In an ideal situation, team members value their membership and they’ll do everything in their power not to let others down.

Good Manager to evolve and develop attributes of Leadership

This now brings the question of when will the managers be able to focus on these activities and still do their every day’s work. The answer is that the three keys are not just some tasks you can put on your to-do list. Strong and effective leaders lead and manage their daily work. Managers need to continuously and intentionally evolve themselves over their career to fully develop the attributes of a leader.

About the Author:

Jacob Haney is a content writer at Research Optimus which provides research and analytics services to businesses in the United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand from startups to corporates to medical research firms.
Virtual Project Consulting Please subscribe to Virtual Project Consulting not to miss future articles, tips and success stories!

Time Management: Gantt Chart as a Planning Tool

By Linky van der Merwe

Most existing project managers would know that Gantt Charts are popular tools to use for a visual presentation of a project schedule. Although numerous software tools make provision for Gantt Charts, the most widely used tool remains Microsoft Project.

For new or aspiring project managers, it’s important to understand that Gantt Charts come about as a result of the Time Management activities in the Planning process on a project.

Schedule Creation

When creating a project schedule, the order of the planning activities is important as explained below:

  1. Define activities by identifying all the specific actions to be performed to produce the project deliverables
  2. Sequence activities by identifying the relationships among project activities.
  3. Estimate activity resources by identifying the type and quantities of material, human resources, equipment etc to perform each activity.
  4. Estimate activity durations by analysing the work effort needed to complete each activity with the estimated resources.
  5. Develop the schedule – this is where activities are documented in a schedule (gantt chart) in the right sequence, with durations, resource assignments and constraints

History of the Gantt Chart

Wrike has created an interesting Infographic to display the origins or timeline of the Gantt Chart, the anatomy and how it’s used, as well as the benefits of using Gantt Charts on projects.

What is a Gantt Chart
Wrike Project Management Software

6 Email Productivity Tips

Time management tips for emailAs project managers, we are all inundated with emails daily. Therefore, I want to share the 6 Time Management tips to manage your email from BrightWork to help us become more productive as professional project managers.

Tip #1

Set special time aside for emails and turn off all email notifications.

Tip #2

Clear your Inbox once a day or at least weekly. This one I struggle with, but I do manage to read and action all my emails daily.

Tip #3

Eliminate multiple folders for different type of emails. Create one ARCHIVE folder for emails you want to keep and use the Search function to find them. With my ‘blue’ analytical personality, I still prefer folders, hence, it takes longer to clear my Inbox.

Tip #4

If you get the same questions again and again or you need to share the same information weekly, create an email in drafts answering the common questions.

Tip #5

Don’t reply to an email when you are angry. I believe anyway that it’s better to deal with conflict in person and keep emails for information sharing that is unemotional; that is more professional.

Tip #6

Have a systematic, simple email management process in place.

Click here for the Infographic: 6 Time Management Tips to manage your email

Let us know in the comments sections what other email tips you have!
Please click below to subscribe to Virtual Project Consulting not to miss any future updates!

Virtual Project Consulting

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...