December 14, 2017

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

Benefits of Using Nuvro Project Management Software

By Adrian DeGus

Nuvro project management softwareEvery company struggles to manage projects and teams effectively. From small startups with tight deadlines to large conglomerates making long-term strategic moves, they all need to balance resources with requirements, and future work with current operations. In my experience with this whole range of environments, I’ve had varying degrees of success with project management tools. I’ve used big, cumbersome legacy tools and compared them with small, simple, free apps.

Nuvro, a new option that was recently released, promises to offer a balance. I’ve been trying it out, and it has a great, clean interface, but also intuitive options to get all the way down into the details. Nuvro is sleek like Asana, but has Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) features similar to Wrike. Teams of all sizes can reach peak performance using Nuvro as their tool of choice.

The tools I have experience using all include task assignment, organization, and tracking. Most of them consolidate project management and collaboration, not always with the most effective result. They have a lot of similarities, which helps becoming familiar with them. I have several frustrations with the options on the market today, and they all seem to share those frustrations, as well. Nuvro offers a fresh look, solving several of my frustrations.

As with most modern software, no one person or office uses every single function available. There is some degree of customization just by focusing on those PM features important to your organization. Nuvro, likewise, has numerous features, and here are the most important and game-changing for me and my organizations.

Elegant Design and Aesthetic

Nuvro Project Management softwareProjects, tasks, and task details are the first thing you see when opening Nuvro. Each is neatly organized in its own column, to get a quick overview. Each shows progressively more detail, and the amount of detail is selectable. Specifically, the project folders in the left-most column can be expanded and collapsed to your preference. The middle tasks column is high-level, while the right column with task details gives you the opportunity to address more immediate or short-term concerns.

I was quickly able to start a list of tasks, and see the convenience of the main page layout. Every single feature is not immediately visible, but that is actually preferable to many project management layouts. You have what you need, when you need it, and can quickly navigate throughout the site to find a plethora of options.

Nuvro is one of the few that gets the subtleties of an activity feed. I have used many project management tools that flood their executive displays with distracting, irrelevant activity feeds. Technical support might need a full audit trail of activity, which Nuvro provides, but we don’t all need to see it all of the time. Nuvro makes it available with a simple click of a tab in an expanded view for clarity. This is just one example of the right information at the right time.

Throughout the modules of Nuvro, this thoughtfulness for end users comes to light. There is great flexibility, while making the default view the most useful and intuitive one. I appreciate Nuvro treating me as a professional, with mature processes and practical demands for workflow management.

Workload and Availability Views

Nuvro project management softwareWhen I logon to Nuvro, it shows project folders and tasks. It also shows me a calendar of my assigned tasks organized by due date. This is convenient, because I can concentrate on those that are overdue or shortly due.

Often, the short-term tasks are paused, or have dependencies that do not include me on the critical path. Then, I can focus on tasks due in the next week or later, and begin to complete my portion of those duties. It makes sense to see immediate concerns up front, followed by less pressing issues.

Nuvro is leading by example in this area. Not only for myself, but for each of my teammates, these dashboards allow us to coordinate and plan for competing workloads. We can attend team meetings to discuss who has slack in the schedule and who is overworked. Our management can redistribute the load based on a simple layout that is consistent across the team.

Integrated Messaging

There are numerous time management and relationship management techniques for optimizing email, because many people get overwhelmed with it. Messages get lost, associates feel ignored, or opportunities are missed.

Nuvro improves on the old idea of email. It connects to tasks to make sure things don’t get forgotten, and limits the audience to only those already on my project team. I can concentrate on project details in Nuvro, and switch gears when I have to address the real world.

The methods and techniques you learn for managing your Inbox can be useful in Nuvro, but they should no longer be necessary. With its integrated solution, Nuvro messages are directly connected to calendars, coworker dependencies, and tasks.

Performance Views

Nuvro project management softwareNuvro presents organization and individual performance information in a unique and novel format. Unlike any other tool I have used, Nuvro tracks performance in real-time, visible to the appropriate levels of the organization hierarchy. As with workload, managers can access this information in a consistent format across our teams. Performance dashboards show current productivity as a predictor of future results.

Managers can spot problems with individuals, make corrections, and establish team goals. Executives can use the performance information to evaluate teams and the entire organization. My organization is competitive in a friendly way, so executives sometimes challenge teams to push relative performance above each other.

The standard format of these charts allows management to compare and discuss issues across the organization. Tech support managers can discuss underperforming teams with engineering. As a group, managers can compare best practices for improving performance with a full history. This history can be aligned with major management style changes to identify when effective behavioral measures started and finished.

Maximum Organization

If you’re like most of us, you have brilliant ideas for how to organize your life, but the execution of those ideas leaves you sometimes disappointed. Some of us use sticky notes. Some use cell phones. Some use personal assistants, whether paid or unpaid, such as overworked spouses and family members.

Nuvro offers to consolidate that information, too. Instead of feeling disconnected at your desk, it has helped me realize my job is where I can reach the pinnacle of organization and scheduling. The todo list app is invaluable for projects as well as personal items.

To Do lists stay private from your associates, so you can feel free to include sensitive information. Of course, that is limited to compliance with any applicable laws and regulations. It helps me to see work To Do items for the beginning of my day organized next to extracurricular items for later. That way, I can remember to pickup snacks for sports on the way out of work, and I don’t need someone to bug me about it constantly from home.

Smart File Sharing and Collaboration

Like a network share drive, Nuvro’s online document manager hosts files that are common to the organization and team. Due to its tight integration, however, I find that I prefer keeping files in Nuvro. That way, I don’t have to open a separate window to upload or check on someone else’s uploads.

At the organization level, we stay consistent by maintaining:

  • Letterhead templates with the official emblem and approved formatting. This is the “blessed” version, and always current.
  • Company handbook for employees. We can use the comments to record that everyone does a bi-annual review.
  • Business development and sales decks. Since sales teams are constantly travelling, they need online collaboration more than most.

Feeling anchored with a flexible tool

Nuvro has helped inspire confidence that we have a firm grasp our projects, our progress, and our future. At the management level and the executive level, we feel more secure in citing precise numbers for individual projects, employees, and the organization overall.

Nuvro helps me personally feel settled, since I can focus my efforts on one tool, instead of multi-tasking through various software, apps, and mobile and desktop formats. The front line of the company can also relax, since I approach them less often for reports. When they periodically update the Nuvro site on their specific responsibilities, we can see that information rolled up at the top level.

Nuvro has improved the morale of our teams, and helped change corporate culture. It highlights the shared responsibilities of the team, but also frees diligent members from catching flak if a couple coworkers are causing the team to perform below average. We can use the performance graphs to identify precisely which parts of the team need corrective action.

Conclusion

Nuvro has built the better mousetrap. Although it’s inconceivable that email or spreadsheets will ever be replaced, they are constantly supplemented by tools that excel at their specific responsibilities. Nuvro does several things better than other PM tools, and integrates all of its features very tightly.

About Nuvro:

Nuvro makes online project management surprisingly easy with the mission to help you and your team improve work efficiency by providing easy, intuitive, enterprise-grade project management software.

Virtual Project Teams – How to Establish Trust

By Howard B. Esbin

Successful virtual project management depends on superior teamwork. Positive interpersonal relations are a must. This is an essential precondition for trust to develop. Trust joins people together virtually by bridging time, geography, and culture. However, according to a large, growing body of research, establishing trust on a virtual project team is highly challenging. There’s little time or incentive for acclimatizing. There’s also almost immediate pressure to produce results. During the storming phase, unresolved interpersonal challenges cause significant disruption. Deadlines are missed and budgets run over. Without trust, too often team members disband remaining “virtual strangers”.

Virtual teams need special leadership … trust is essential … teambuilding exercises pay off, and …  unless a combination of high-tech and high-touch is maintained, performance peaks are often followed by declines in the productivity.”  (Creativity in Virtual Work: Effects of Demographic Differences: L.L. Martins, C.E. Shalley, 2009)

Problematically, 80% of distributed or virtual teams receive little or no training. Research shows a direct link between the “soft” qualities of a team, it’s “team-ness”, and the quality of software produced. Only 39% of software projects are completed successfully. 43% result in late delivery, cost overruns, and/or reduced features and functions. 18% fail. In one global survey, 75% of developers believed their own projects would fail.

Case Study of a Virtual Software Development Team

Here’s the story of how one distributed Agile software development team proactively addressed the classic challenge of establishing trust at the start of their project during the forming stage.

The Prelude SuiteTeam Profile

The software development team, consisting of 9 team members, is cross-functional and cross-cultural in composition. The team lead, Dr. Faisal Nasser Shehab, is an Enterprise Architect and Associate Professor as well author of Emergent Leader Detection and Identification in A Virtual Team Environment: A Grounded Theory Study  The team is building a “Virtual Team Business Management System” based on Dr. Shehab’s research. Their mission is to provide organizations with “the knowledge, the framework, and services required to implement a robust and a mature virtual team management capability”.

Context

Last Spring, Dr. Shehab learned about a resource called the Prelude Suite that supposedly helps accelerate virtual team trust during formation. Aware of how disruptive and costly interpersonal challenges can be on distributed teams, he wanted his new team to start on the best possible note. After seeing the online demo and meeting the prospective resource facilitator, Dr. Shehab scheduled the Prelude Suite™ for the team.

Process

The team met together online for three sessions of about 90 minutes each. This process was guided by a trained facilitator. With each step, the team moved from a “me” to a “we” orientation. Throughout they used Self-Assessment, Self-Expression, Co-Creation, and Dialogue.

Each step features a set of exercises, team-based and synchronous as well as individual and asynchronous. Everyone meets together virtually in a private online platform called a Sandbox using rich media (Video, VOIP, Chat, Interactive Whiteboard). The following outline the team’s step by step experience.

Session 1: Tune Up

Exercise: iStar Self-Assessment™

Prior to their first session, teammates completed an online self-assessment called iStar™. Their resulting iStar Badges are automatically uploaded to the Team Constellation page. During this session, everyone produced their individual iStar Story™. This is brief, holistic positive thumbnail quickly written and easily shared round robin. This is a rapid yet meaningful way to build new awareness and understanding of team diversity and shared strengths.

They also reviewed their unique Elemental Table. This reflects the team’s overall make-up in terms of a range of soft skills. Teams are able to quickly, easily understand where change may be needed. Teamnates also receive an individual digital StarSmart Journal™, which allows for ongoing personal and professional reflection, goal setting, and measuring progress.

Exercise: Team Elemental Table™

Session 2: Practice

In their second online session, teammates practiced key soft skills together synchronously through a co-creation challenge using an online interactive whiteboard. First, they each create a personal iTag™ to symbolize their unique quintessential qualities and strengths. Everyone then shares their tags with each other. In the second exercise the team as a whole is then given a challenge to co-create a powerful digital symbol of their team spirit and excellence called a weTag.

Exercise 1: iTag™

Exercise 2: weTag™

Session 3: Bridge

In their third and final session, teammates went through two exercises. The Team Alignment Plan™ enabled them to quickly, easily bridge their shared soft skill inventory with project work goals, tasks, and deliverables. This is final check for the team to assess if they have what they need to move back into operating mode. Their final team exercise produced a robust Team Charter reflecting the insights gained and lessons learned about themselves as a team.

Team Alignment

Exercise 1: Team Alignment Plan (T.A.P.)

Team Member Feedback

“As a team leader, the Prelude Suite™ provided me with valuable insights into our team’s diverse strengths. This helped us to properly align team members with the tasks at hand. It also helped us to clarify our focus while affirming we’re on the right track. It was wonderful seeing how everyone came together online as a team. The weTag we co-created was a dynamic, truly creative way to spark team spirit and identity.  I really enjoyed the simplicity of the interface and the process.” Dr. Faisal Shehab 

“The Prelude Suite™ is the most unique team facilitation approach that I have encountered as a student and co-worker through my life time experience. This resource provides the most important thing for successful team formation – transparency. Moreover, it shows your own weaknesses as well as areas of strength. I highly suggest the Prelude Suite to any team that wants go through a proper facilitation and build transparent relationships in fast and smooth manner.” Georgy, Khetsuriani

“The Prelude Suite™ user experience model is fun and simple yet innovative and challenging.  I rediscovered a great deal about myself and others in the team. The most important feature is not the technology we don’t see or the user interface but the ability of the program to create a shared sense of community.” Ferrel Son

“The ITag™ exercise was illuminating. It helped boost my confidence and belief in myself. Team exercise: helped with team bonding and awareness of traits of team members. Overall: first time with kind of experience. The collaborative approach makes it authentic and I will recommend the Prelude Suite™ to others.”  Ifeoma Okafo-Eke

Outcomes and Benefits

These outcomes and benefits may be achieved by any virtual project team committed to a truly successful delivery. This simply requires three 2-hour online sessions, high-speed Internet connection, video, headphones and mike. Pricing, available upon request, is competitive and flexible.

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Prelude SuiteAbout the Author: Howard B. Esbin PhD is the creator of the Prelude Suite™, training and certification that is offered via an online interactive course involving theory and practice. The unique learning design is informed by Howard’s academic graduate research and extensive management experience in international development, philanthropy, and the private sector.

The International Labour Organization, Education Canada, and UNESCO have published his writing. Click here for his chapter on virtual team creativity in Strategic Management & Leadership for Systems Development in Virtual Spaces.

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.

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.

Project Management Tool: Meet Cardsmith, Digital Solution for Sticky Notes on a Whiteboard

By Monica Borrell

As Project Managers we have all used sticky notes on projects and wished that there was a better way to capture them!

Question:  What do all of these things have in common?

  1. To-do Lists
  2. Project Planning
  3. Work Breakdown Structuring
  4. Agile Software Development
  5. Visual Portfolio Boards
  6. Kanban
  7. Scrum
  8. Brainstorming
  9. Mindmapping
  10. Value Stream Mapping
  11. Strategy Mapping
  12. Ranking and Sorting

Answer:  They are productivity and organizational methodologies that often make use of sticky notes and whiteboards.

Meet Cardsmith, a web-based productivity tool inspired by sticky notes that works like you think!

Example Work Breakdown Brainstorm in Cardsmith

Cardsmith to brainstorm

Example of a Kanban Board in Cardsmith:

Cardsmith as Kanban board

Virtual Teams

What happens when these activities need to be done by a group where not everyone is in the same room?  Then what?

With Cardsmith virtual teams can brainstorm opportunities together, plan projects and run Scrum standup meetings, all while looking at the same Visual Board.

Anyone on the team can contribute to the process by adding, moving or changing cards and everyone in the meeting can instantly see the change.

Cardsmith brings the advantages of physical sticky note boards to the digital world. Customers have commented that “Other software exists to do these things, but Cardsmith is the closest to the experience of using a physical board with cards or sticky notes”.

Agile teams around the world are using Cardsmith to brainstorm, plan and execute on projects from startups, to multi-nationals. Teams using Cardsmith are building everything from businesses to software products to healthcare products.

Benefits of Cardsmith

Being modeled after the physical world of sticky notes and whiteboards brings some key benefits to Cardsmith users:

#1. VISUAL: you can see the “big picture” and the context of what is happening.

The “big picture” with a Project Portfolio Board:

Portfolio board template

#2. FLEXIBILITY: Cardsmith doesn’t prescribe any particular methodology.  Rather, it can conform to the team’s preferred methods. You can manage your team via Scrum, Kanban, Waterfall, or a hybrid method that suites your way of working.

#3. SIMPLICITY: Cardsmith is intuitive to use. There are not hundreds of features that are rarely used.

#4. ADAPTABILITY: The process of managing projects or other work might start out with assumptions that need to be changed as the team or the project evolves. Cardsmith Boards can be easily refined, or changed as new learning happens.

#5. MULTI-LANGUAGE: Just like with sticky notes, if you write on a Cardsmith Card, or title your Grid Columns in Spanish, you now have a Spanish application!

#6. CLOUD BASED: Sticky note boards in the Cloud give additional benefits of having a digital solution. They include:

  • The ability to move seamlessly from ideation to execution. It has been said that moving into structure or execution too swiftly hampers creative problem solving. Cardsmith supports innovation by letting the team start without structure – in what we call a “Freeform” view. Here, a picture is worth a thousand word, so check out this video to see an example of Brainstorming and Project Planning in action.
  • The ability to move from the “big picture” to the fine details. By linking multiple Cardsmith Boards together, one can allow executives to see the “big picture” (perhaps with a Visual Portfolio Board for the entire company or department). Then they can drill into individual to a Project Status Dashboard, and then finally – if needed – into the details that may be in a Project Task Board, or Scrum Board.
  • Multiple views of the same cards. A team might start out by sketching out a Brainstorm of ideas, and then move into turning the best ideas into action items. Next, they may organize these tasks into a project plan in a Grid view. Both the project plan view and the original brainstorm (“freeform” view) can be retained and referenced.
  • Supplemental information. Inside the Cardsmith cards, you can add fields that are meaningful to your team and label these fields whatever you want to, if you want to use field labels. These fields can store notes, checklists of tasks, mention other people who need to do something with the card/task/idea/project, attach images or link to other systems, including other areas of Cardsmith.  Another feature is that you can change the “card view”; the way cards are seen on the screen between several views from showing only the Card title, to showing the first few fields to featuring an Image on the front of each card.

Example of the Image Type Card View:

Team board

  • The ability to total up values such as estimated hours, or story points. The Cardsmith “Grid View” allows you total up fields with a particular label by row, by column or both.
  • Template boards. Not everything needs to be built from scratch. Cardsmith provides template boards with popular configurations. Boards can be shared and copied, so you can easily create your own template boards.
  • Template cards. Who wants to add a bunch of standard fields to dozens of cards? Once you have figured out what fields are most often needed, you can set a card configuration to be the default card so that new cards that are added have the fields that you determine to be needed. Any card can also be copied, or moved between boards.
  • Do a brainstorming with a large group. Maybe you are doing a speaking event and taking ideas from the audience. If you set the board to be Public and Collaborative, anyone with the link to the board can contribute cards, even from their mobile devices.
  • In the physical world, you can’t hide a column to get it out of sight and focus on more important things. Cardsmith allows for the hiding and displaying of columns or rows so you can focus on what is most important.

To learn more about this innovative solution, visit Cardsmith.co

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About the Author: Monica Borrell, CEO and co-founder Cardsmith.co

In between creating companies, Monica has held various positions on contract with large organizations doing change management, product management and project leadership consulting. She is also a Leadership Consultant with Project Elevate where she mentors and coaches project managers to become strategic leaders.

PMO are you Looking for PPM Software with a Difference?

Today I would like to introduce an interesting concept, the democratization of project management. What this means, is to ensure that professionalized project management is no longer a privilege available to only a few.

It’s based on providing access to all organizations – regardless of size – to professional, organized and simple project management. It must be equally accessible to a certified specialist as it is to someone who has never heard of PMI, for example. This is according to ITM Platform, providers of a Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) Software with a difference.

The democratization of project management consists of bringing to everyone what was previously only accessible to the largest players. How has this philosophy made ITM Platform different from other PPM software?

ITM Platform PPM software

How ITM Platform differentiates itself

  1. We facilitate use of the system by everyone involved in the projects.Clarity and ease-of-use are not incompatible with a system that offers comprehensive features. Our efforts are focused on offering a complete and user-friendly system that adapts to your company and product. The market contains some very simple and visual tools, but they fall short in terms of functional characteristics. Others are highly comprehensive but entirely unusable.
  2. We offer deployment periods for our solutions that range from five minutes to four days.Other solutions with comparable feature sets range from six months to one year. We achieve this with a native cloud-based model, a series of predetermined configurations that facilitate start-up and user-friendly and easy-to-understand training materials.
  3. We provide the complete freedom to complete a deployment without the need for consultants.Having to contract another organization to launch a tool at your own imposes limitations. Consultants should only be necessary when they are going to provide methodological value, when they are going to help transform the organization or transfer knowledge.
  4. We offer all the features you could wish for, but delivered in an intelligent fashion without requiring clients to follow steps that are not natural for their organization and without restrictions that add nothing to the project.
  5. And, above all, we are accessible in terms of price.We have made great efforts to create a “fat-free” company with only what is absolutely essential for delivering what our clients need.

This is how to make project management accessible to all. The concept of project management democratization goes beyond the tool itself. PM knowledge is shared also via regular publications and webinars.

PPM Tool Selection

When selecting a tool, go for an option that offers value to both project managers, program managers, and the portfolio team. While many PPM tools offer a great value for the latter, they may be difficult to adopt for the basic project planning needs of ‘accidental’ project managers, and perhaps add even less value to team members.

The less attractive a tool is for project teams, the worse the quality of project data. This means that you should look for a tool that allows for easy project planning and execution: not just portfolio management and Business intelligence.

If you would like to try ITM Platform for yourself, please visit PPM Software here.

PrimaveraReader – Simple to use viewer for XER schedules

By Joel Roberts

If you manage your construction & engineering projects with Oracle® Primavera P6, you may want to know about a software that goes hand in hand with P6, and how you can benefit by utilizing the features this software provides.

I’m writing about PrimaveraReader, which is a .xer viewer in its nature, able to perform a wide variety of project scheduling functions, beneficial your team and organization.

PrimaveraReader enables users to view Oracle® Primavera P6 Schedules in .xer or xls. format.

View schedules

Project stakeholders like project managers, contractors, and subcontractors can take advantage of the software and gain greater visibility over the project progress by utilizing the following views:

  • Activities
  • WBS – Work Breakdown Structure
  • Projects which represents the Enterprise Project Structure (EPS)
  • Resource assignments
  • Detail view of selected item in current view
  • OBS – Organizational Breakdown Structure
  • Roles view

Why reader for .xer files instead of sharing .pdf files?

PrimaveraReader as .xer file reader provides an interactive overview of the project with personalized view. Moreover, users can use custom and auto filters with flexibility when viewing a file as well as navigate through predecessors and successors with complete overview.

With .xer reader, you can also work with custom layouts imported from .plf files, and take advantage of visual baselines comparison on the activity updates from previous .xer file versions.

Cutting costs on software licensing

Nowadays, as a consequence of the global economic crisis and slow recovery from it, companies are trying to tighten up their spending and budgets on costly software technologies and services.

Moreover, if we consider a project where most of the people work on their assignments, while only project managers, executives, and coordinators make changes on the schedule, then a lightweight application to display project views could dramatically reduce costs for software licensing.

Reduce license costsОne of the most eminent attributes of PrimaveraReader is its speed. Anyone having issues with importing large .xer files knows how important is the speed. It takes minutes, and some managers even reported hours to open a large .xer files in P6.

But that’s not the case with PrimaveraReader, as it will open .xer files in a matter of seconds.

Progress Update

The Progress Update functionality at PrimaveraReader allows team members to propose assignment progress and activity status in their respective views. The Project Scheduler then decides whether to accept or reject the updates proposed by the team members.

progress updates

Project Baselines

Baselines functionality allows comparison of up to four updated versions of a project schedule. Users can view precise graphical presentation of what has been changed from the original schedule in the Gantt preview. It’s an easy visual comparison utility, helping you to keep track on the project progress.

project baselines

Filters and Search

With the latest release of PrimaveraReader, users can filter project data that meets certain criteria, such as milestones, completed activities, in progress or critical activities. User can pick between User Defined and Default Filters to be applied to the current view.

Searching within the project data is also a feature to be highlighted and useful when you need to find a specific item from the current view.

Mobile Support is expanding

Not all people from the team might work on a PC. That’s why the vendors developed iOS application to support users with iPhone and iPad devices.

The iOS app supports reading files hosted in iCloud or One Drive for business. There are plans to extend with an Android version in the following period.

Benefits of PrimaveraReader

The benefits of using PrimaveraReader are huge for project teams of any size. I’ll highlight some of the most important:

  • Save time and share plans in XER format without exporting to PDF.
  • Greater control over team members and reduce the risk of having unclear tasks.
  • Reduce manual workload and avoid mistakes when receiving progress updates.
  • Worry-free sharing of the project details without the risk of unwanted changes.

Thanks to this powerful reader for Oracle® Primavera P6 files, you have an affordable, user friendly, and comprehensive addition to Primavera P6. If you want a tool that you can use to view .xer files, you’re very well advised to get PrimaveraReader.

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