March 26, 2017

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

How to Improve Project Information Flow to all Stakeholders

By Joel Roberts

On global projects spanning multiple continents, one of the biggest business challenges is to enable the flow of project information to all project stakeholders. This case study illustrates how the challenge was addressed.

The Jungheinrich Group, one of the world’s largest suppliers of industrial trucks, material flow and warehousing technology since 1953, with its headquarters in Hamburg, has been offering forklift-based products and services designed to get things moving for industrial customers.

Jungheinrich Group

Business challenge

Jungheinrich Group has grown rapidly and extended to more than 30 countries all around the world. The German giant have approximately 750 sales consultants and about 3100 mobile service engineers, which makes it a competent consulting and comprehensive service.

That lead to increased global distribution flows that was changing the face of company’s logistics. For their projects they were using Microsoft Project as their main project management tool.

Each project’s biggest constraint was the flow of project information to all project stakeholders. Jungheinrich Group decided that most of their staff only need to open and read mpp files, so Microsoft Project was not applicable in terms of cost-effectiveness.

Solution

Jungheinrich meetingThe company’s large user group forced them to search for a comprehensive viewer for Project plans. The company decided to cut costs on MS Project licenses, as they only needed a viewer that would simply open Project files for viewing.

First, they decided to make a snapshots of each plan and distribute them as a series of HTML files.

But quickly, they found that these files were just too static and non-transparent. Their consultancy was looking for a tool that will open the entire project plan, including the ability to display custom views for each plan.

Finally, they implemented a project viewer by Seavus that have similar look to Microsoft Project so that employees are used to it and didn’t need additional training.

“Since most of our users need to open very large .mpp files from time to time, it was an important part of our evaluation and one that Seavus Project Viewer was able to accomplish with no problems”, states the Jungheinrich Group.

“Once we purchased it, it was an easy product for us to deploy Enterprise-wide and has been a very stable and well accepted product by our employees.”

Business benefits

Seavus viewerToday, employees at Jungheinrich Group an effective Microsoft Project companion tool for opening and viewing Microsoft Project files at a very cost effective price.

With Seavus Project Viewer, each employee now could view all project data and custom views created by the project manager. In addition, the app is available for Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, Windows RT and online with the free app. This has resulted in a more efficient and effective flow of information to all project stakeholders.

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Joel RobertsAbout the Author:

Joel Roberts is a Project Management Consultant and an established author with more than 12 years of experience in working for Seavus Project Viewer and PrimaveraReader – solutions for viewing and analyzing project plans by the project team.

She is passionate about Mind Mapping and innovation management and her articles have been featured in more than a hundred project management and business websites.

Project Managers Discover Top Time Management Tips and Techniques

An important responsibility of a project manager is to manage time as a constraint which involves keeping an eye on the project schedule, ensuring team members are delivering on milestones, while having to keep track of your own time spent as well.

While your role is varied since you need to cater for every aspect of the project from cost management to human resource management, you are accountable for the overall delivery including all tasks tied to the project. This does not mean that the project manager must micro-manage everyone on the team as individuals are primarily responsible for various aspects of the project.

However, we find that a number of project managers spend time doing too much management and fire-fighting and then they are left with little or no time to work on strategy, leading the team and focusing on tasks that only they can perform.  An efficient project manager, therefore, should be able to effectively develop strategies for his/her team and perform oversight functions effectively all while being on schedule.

To support you to be more professional as a project manager, here is an infographic with very helpful time management tips with complements from Nutcache.

Time Management – A Prerequisite for Great Project Managers [Infographic]

Soft Skills for Project Managers

By Linky van der Merwe

Often in Project Management courses there is a big emphasis on the technical skills, also called ‘hard skills’ which are the occupational requirements that project managers need to do their jobs effectively. This would include the creation of tangible deliverables like a project schedule, project budget, status reports etc.

Soft skills for PM'sSoft skills complement hard skills.  Soft skills are the important interpersonal skills you need as a project manager to accomplish work through other people.  Soft skills are essentially people skills – the non-technical, intangible, personality-specific skills that determine your strengths as a leader, listener, negotiator and conflict mediator.

Developing your soft skills is equally important, but is often left to project managers to find suitable courses that would equip them with adequate soft skills like Leadership, Conflict Management and Emotional Intelligence.

Soft skills development

Why would you ask, are soft skills that important? Soft skills refer to behavioural skills – a sociological term relating to the cluster of personality traits and behavioural competencies that characterize relationships with other people.

Since projects are delivered or executed through people, your soft skills are like the glue that will hold the project team together when the going gets tough, for example when projects fall behind, or immovable deadlines are looming, or the normal stress coming from project delivery and dealing with issues.

At the end of the day a project manager wants a balance of hard and soft skills. Hard skills are more technical in nature where as soft skills are intangible and less visible. Soft skills are typically employed without the use of tools and templates. Soft skills can be taught, but they are typically honed by years of experience.

How to improve soft skills

When you set out to improve your soft skills as a project manager, there are 3 key things you need to remember.

  1. Make the commitment to learn and improve
  2. Put yourself in situations where you can practice various soft skills
  3. Evaluate your progress and adjust as needed

At this point you may be wondering if there is a finite list of soft skills to focus on as a project manager. According to my research there are at least 11 soft skills that should be part of your make-up as a professional project manager. They are:

  1. Leadership
  2. Team building
  3. Motivation
  4. Communication including active listening
  5. Influencing
  6. Decision making
  7. Political and cultural awareness
  8. Negotiation
  9. Conflict management
  10. Emotional intelligence
  11. Problem solving

Over the years I’ve published many articles on various soft skills. For more interesting articles with practical advice on developing your soft skills, continue reading about Leadership, Team build, Communication, Decision making and Emotional Intelligence.

If you are new to project management and you are serious about developing yourself as a professional project manager, please look at the Fast-track Growth Program which was especially developed for people like you in mind. It’s an online, self-paced training program for busy professionals which will give you the essential elements for project delivery. It’s the fastest way to grow critical Project Management competencies like technical and interpersonal skills, and becoming a confident project manager!

Is Project Management Success on the Rise?

The more mature companies are with project management, the more likely they are to achieve their goals of adding value, advancing strategies and to increase competitive advantage.

PMI Pulse of the Profession 2017This is according to the PMI Pulse of the Profession Report for 2017, a global survey of project management practitioners that charts the major trends for project management now and in the future.

The results in the Pulse of the Profession indicates that more organizations recognize the strategic value of projects and programs. There’s a growing focus on talent management, executive sponsorship, and benefits realization management. At the same time, organizations are searching for ways to be more agile, customer focused, and competitive and this is a big driver for executive leaders, PMO directors and project teams.

There’s a growing need for a culture of engagement, learning, and innovation. To make progress the focus should remain on developing project management talent, managing project benefits, establishing PMO’s, driving executive sponsorship and by addressing agile approaches.

To read the full Report Pulse of the Profession 2017: Success rates rise, visit PMI.org.

Looking for a Project Management Training Service Provider?

Review Article

Training with KnowledgeHut

In the dynamic world we live in today, learning policies within organisations are evolving at rapid speed in response to emerging technologies. Traditional, formal and scheduled training methods have given way to more informal and on-demand forms of learning, with an increasing accent on blended and e-learning delivery modes. Continuous training and collaboration helps organizations stay at the cutting-edge of change.

Global Training Provider

KnowledgeHut is a Global leader in online and classroom training for on-demand certifications like PMP, PMI-ACP, MS Project, PRINCE2 and more. As an industry-leading training company operating across 70 countries and 6 continents, their courses are aimed at delivering measurable improvements in business performance and productivity. Training is delivered across the US, Canada , Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, UK, Ireland, APAC and SE Asia.

Training with KnowledgeHut

Agile and Scrum training in Sydney on 1st February’17

Professionals who have completed their courses are equipped with state-of-the-art knowledge and technical skills that enable them to stay at the forefront of their careers.

KnowledgeHut works with the Global Blended Model of Approach (GBMA), an effective method that makes training and learning easier for individuals and organizations in the industry. This methodology works through a blend of extensive online training in tandem with traditional classroom based learning. Participants have consistently achieved positive training results, with a shorter learning curve and significantly higher retention of the subject matter.

Specialties

KnowledgeHut is a registered Education Provider (REP) of Scrum Alliance, PMI and IIBA. It’s also an ATP of EC-Council, CompTIA, APMG for PRINCE2 training, as well as a certified partner of AXELOS and the disciplined Agile consortium and Scaled Agile Inc.

KnowledgeHut offers an extensive selection of vendor-authorized training and certifications for PMI, Microsoft, APMG, CompTIA, and Scrum Alliance among many others.

Close the skills gap

They specialize in training, consulting, Scrum Master Training, Certification courses as well as e-Learning. Have a look at their Infographic on the Future of IT.

If you want to train with a company whose mission it is to empower human capital through industry accredited, nationally and internationally recognized courses to close the skill gap, visit KnowledgeHut and find the course that will make you more successful in 2017 and beyond.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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