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5 Books that will make you a better manager

Posted by on 3:02 pm in Business

5 Books that will make you a better manager

Last week we talked about the importance of “sharpening your axe”. I consider reading to be one of the best means of self-development and improvement. Although I do not always get to complete my annual goal of 20 non-fiction books, I try. So over the years my physical and virtual bookshelves got rather heavy. Today I want to share with you my Top Five books that made me a better manager (or at least that’s what I like to tell myself). I strongly believe that project management is not about processes, fancy PM practices or methodologies. It is...

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Easy Projects Version 10

Posted by on 11:03 am in Easy Projects, New Releases

Easy Projects Version 10

We are happy to announce the immediate availability of Easy Projects version 10 for all hosted and in-house clients. Here are some of the key new features and enhancements: New Activity Assignment Control, allowing you to specify exactly how many hours each assignee should work on a task Report Generator: portfolio field added to the activity datasource Built-in interactive tutorials available for all users (hosted version only) Changed text field length limit from 255 to 4000 characters Removed restriction for unique project names. Major...

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The unbearable lightness of training

Posted by on 3:55 pm in Business

The unbearable lightness of training

When we first introduced SalesForce in our company many years ago, we failed miserably. Within a month, everyone was back to using ACT! When I spoke to the team members, I was given various reasons: “it’s too complicated”, “web is slower than desktop”, “I can’t waste my time looking for the reports”, etc. It became clear that something was wrong with our process. Something was missing. We called a team meeting and after few hours of debates we ended up with a consensus. We need product training. Kind of a no-brainer now, but hindsight is...

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4 Sure-Fire Ways You Can Destroy Team Morale

Posted by on 4:02 pm in Project Management

4 Sure-Fire Ways You Can Destroy Team Morale

Office morale is and always has been a fragile thing. You can start a project with a strong, united team, only to have a collection of backbiting malcontents by the end—if you handle the situation the wrong way. Unfortunately, it’s really easy to do that. Especially if you use one of the guaranteed bad ideas below: You prioritize yourself Leaders are supposed to put their team members first. In a military organization, they’re the ones who eat last, sleep least, and work the most. They put the welfare of their team first. But if you place too...

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Focus Where You Are Free

Posted by on 12:06 pm in Business

Focus Where You Are Free

Last week I was very fortunate to attend the Mary Heiny Sensei Aikido seminar. Heiny Sensei is an amazing teacher who has been practicing Aikido for over forty-five years, more can be found about her amazing journey here. By the end of the day I had left with lots of great insights into technical and philosophical aspects of Aikido, however there was one idea that really struck close to home. During the practice, Heiny Sensei shared a tip from one of her own teachers: “When someone grabs you, don’t focus where you’ve been grabbed. Focus on...

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4 Mistakes Freshly-Promoted Managers Always Make

Posted by on 11:50 am in Project Management

4 Mistakes Freshly-Promoted Managers Always Make

Your company has recognized your stellar performance and promoted you to a manager role. Congratulations! This is a great accomplishment, no question. But it’s also going to be a very humbling experience as you stumble through your first few months. Chances are, you have no prior experience managing a team. Now, your organization might provide you with manager training (and if they don’t, ask), but it still takes time to adjust into the new role. And during that time, you’re probably going to make one of these four very common mistakes. Doing...

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How to Give Bad News to Your Project Sponsor

Posted by on 12:08 pm in Project Management

How to Give Bad News to Your Project Sponsor

What happened the last time your project was hit by major problem? Did you have to update your project sponsor? Were you apprehensive about it? Nobody likes reporting bad news, especially when your sponsor is part of upper management. Part of this is the reaction that you get. A bad delivery could damage your reputation, affect your team’s standing, and possibly change the level of support your project sponsor’s willing to give. If the situation is really bad, it could even affect your job security. But there is a way to give bad news that...

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Project Management 101: What is a PICK Chart?

Posted by on 1:58 pm in PM 101

Project Management 101: What is a PICK Chart?

Have you ever had a number of options available to you, but couldn’t decide which one worked best? I’m not talking about trivial decisions like what’s for lunch, or what TV show to watch. I’m talking about the significant, far-reaching choices you make as a project manager: which issue to tackle first, for example, or which project to prioritize. Consider using a PICK chart. What is a PICK chart? The PICK chart is a Lean Six Sigma tool that was first developed by Lockheed Martin for lean production. Its original purpose was for organizing...

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Repair Your Project with the Three R’s

Posted by on 11:00 am in Project Management

Repair Your Project with the Three R’s

Is your project at risk of failing? Are you losing steam or (even worse) losing control? Are issues piling up faster than you can deal with them? Sometimes problems are too big to fix by spending more time at the office. Band-aid solutions don’t always work, and can often lead to more complications. In these extreme situations, the best way to repair your project might be to overhaul it with the three “R’s”. Retrace your steps You have to figure out what to fix before you can fix it. How did this project get in such a bad state? Is it your...

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5 Tips for a Successful First Project

Posted by on 1:40 pm in PM 101, Project Management

5 Tips for a Successful First Project

Few things are more thrilling (and nerve-wracking) than doing a project for the very first time. But you don’t want this inexperience to be an excuse for failure. You want to hit the ground running and show your new team that they can trust you to perform. To that end, I’ve assembled a few tips that can help you make a strong project management debut. 1. Do your homework Whether it’s a new career or a new industry, there are holes in your knowledge that you need to fill. Try to spend as much time as possible reading up on your new environment...

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