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The Top Project Manager Skills for Team Building

What are the top project manager skills for building a team? Although technical skills are important, these so-called “soft” skills are also vital because they lay the foundation for building a strong, successful team. According to CIO.com, you need these soft skills to “help you navigate the challenges inherent in project management, from scope creep and delays to conflicts among team members.” We were inspired to create our own list of nontechnical project manager skills needed to build a successful team. A project is only as a strong as the team that works on it. And a team is only as successful as the project manager that leads it. Here is our list: Create a Sense of Teamwork There is a difference between a group and a team. When someone is a part of a team, they belong and they want to give their input and participate. When issues arrive, work on them as a team and figure out solutions together. Use a collaboration tool that facilitates regular conversations. Communicate Ensure that everyone is on board, that all the meetings are attended, and that everyone asks questions and gives their input. This can be as simple as reserving the last ten minutes of each meeting for questions. Encourage face to face conversations or phone calls over emails to avoid miscommunication. Have a fixed meeting time for regular status updates and issues to be discussed. Build Trust How to create project management success: build trust. Instead of hovering over each team member, give them space to complete their work. Show them that you can trust them with their responsibilities. Delegate Responsibilities By the end of each meeting, each team member should have a clear idea of what their action items […]

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Top 4 Mistakes in Project Management

Imagine you are going on a road trip with your family, but you failed to plan it out. You don’t know where you are stopping. You are not sure what direction to take. You made a mistake in failing to plan. Mistakes in project management can happen in a similar way. All project managers know this. I recently read this article from CIO.com, “12 Common Project Management Mistakes–and How to Avoid Them“, and I wanted to give my own input on what I think are the biggest mistakes in project management. Here are the top pitfalls in project management – and tips on avoiding them. Not Having a Clear Plan Imagine that road trip again. Maybe if you were taking this road trip all alone, it wouldn’t be a problem, and you can choose to stop everywhere. But with your spouse, your kids, and even your family pet with you, everyone wants to stop somewhere different. No one can agree on where to eat. Everyone has different schedules. Chaos ensues. Not Managing Now imagine you are still on your road trip, and everyone is arguing over where they want to stop. There is some conflict. Do you ignore everything that is going on? Or do you find a solution? In project management, failing to manage and failing to find solutions for any problems that arise can cost you. You have to know when to step in, but also you can’t “micromanage” the team. You don’t need hourly updates, but you do need to know when major issues arise. There has to be a balance between the two. Not Being Flexible While you may think of your project plan as your bible…don’t hesitate to listen to […]

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Top Project Management Trends for 2017

What are the top project management trends? Last year we did an infographic for the top project management trends in 2016. Now we created a new list to reflect the vast changing field of project management for 2017.  Here is our list of the upcoming popular topics: Mobile Back in 2014, according to Capterra, “mobile exceeded PC internet usage for the first time in internet history.” Today, your project management team is probably not sitting on a traditional desktop completing their milestones. One member might be on their laptop. Another on may be using a tablet. The third team member can be on their mobile phone. Project management tools today need to fit these mobile demands. Flexible Schedules More remote workers means an increase in flexible schedules. Employees now work at what used to be considered “off hours.” The nine to five work schedule has changed. Your meeting can be scheduled in the evening or even weekends when different schedules and time zones are involved. Workers from different parts of the world can work together more easily and efficiently.  Flexible schedules results in more opportunities for teams to complete projects. Importance of ‘Soft Skills’ Are soft skills necessary? According to CIO.com: “In addition to PM certification and technical training, softer skills and solid communication — whether verbal or written — will continue to increase in value.” Although technical skills are important, soft skills such as communicating effectively can make the difference between a project team that works well together and one that doesn’t. An effective project manager has the soft skills to lead and assist his or her team members to success. Collaboration Spreadsheets and emails are not enough for collaboration anymore. These days, you need a tool to unite all team members […]

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How to be a Great Project Manager – An Infographic

What does it take to be a great project manager? What separates the good from the great. We created an infographic of the top things we value in a great project manager.

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Agile: A breakdown of the different subsets

What is Agile? Agile development came as a response to the limitations of the waterfall methodology. But what exactly is agile? Agile itself is not a methodology–it is an “umbrella term” that encompasses several agile subsets. Some subsets include: Scrum, XP, Crystal, FDD, DSDM and even Lean Practices (Code Project – Agile Software Development). What are the different agile methodologies and how do they compare? Read on to learn about the different subsets. DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development Method) DSDM “is an organized, common-sense process focused on delivering business solutions quickly and efficiently.” DSDM is most efficient when there is a specific time requirement. The focus of DSDM is “delivery of the business solution, rather than just team activity” (Code Project – What is DSDM?). Main points about DSDM: users are active throughout the development and they are able to make changes and affect the end result of the project. The team makes important decisions quickly. Releases are frequent and allow for feedback and change. Results are always visible. There is always room to go back and make changes. An overview of the requirements are planned in the beginning while details are left for later. Constant testing makes sure the product is meeting goals (Code Project – What is DSDM?). FDD (Feature-Driven Development) FDD was created to work specifically for larger teams. This method creates the “initial object model” through an “intense, highly iterative, collaborative and generally enjoyable activity.” The large team works together to truly understand the project (DZone). The main difference regarding FDD is the “feature list.” The feature list is made up of “small, client-valued requirements” that “drive the project.” The feature list replaces the backlog in other agile methods such as Scrum. The feature […]

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Agile versus Waterfall: An Infographic

Agile versus Waterfall What are the advantages and disadvantages of the two top methodologies in project management? We created an infographic with the key features of each and how they compare.  

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Project Management Trends: An Infographic

The Top Project Management Trends What are the top project management trends right now? What is the methodology of choice for project managers? We compiled the latest PM trends for you.  

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Four Benefits of Working with Remote Teams

  We once wrote a post about the possible disadvantages to working with virtual teams and the solutions to overcome those challenges.  But while there can be challenges, there are also benefits to working with a remote team. And according to the data, work from home numbers are growing. A survey by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com shows that 20-25% of US workers telecommute at least some of time and 50% of the workforce have a job that is “compatible with at least partial telework.” What does this mean for the US workforce? Telecommuting is a possibility for many jobs, and the number of remote job opportunities are rising. The survey also shows that while the US workforce grew by 1.8% from 2013-2014, the remote workforce grew by 6.5%. Here is our list of the top benefits of working with a remote team: More Opportunities Once upon a time, meetings occurred only Mondays through Fridays between 9am and 6pm. Today, there are opportunities to meet at unconventional times that can work better for everyone’s schedule. With different meeting tools, a team can meet at 9pm on a Tuesday or maybe 10am on a Sunday. With a remote team, there are less time limits and restrictions. Less Expenses What if you are an employer in California and the project manager of your dreams was located in New York? Which would be easier: to ask that individual to relocate halfway across the country, or to hire that project manager remotely? By allowing that project manager to telecommute, they can start right away. There would be less time and expenses spent on moving and getting situated in a new location. Collaboration Using Tools With all the tools out there today, collaboration can be […]

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Data Shows that Agile Methodology Adoption is ‘Now the Norm’

Agile Methodology is Becoming Popular According to a recent survey of IT professionals, the agile methodology is becoming popular. A recent survey shows that the trend has shifted to agile. In a study of 601 IT professionals: 67% described their organizations as “Pure Agile” or “Leaning towards Agile.” 9% described their organizations as “Pure Waterfall” or “Leaning towards Waterfall.” 24% considered themselves “Hybrid” (TechBeacon). What are the Benefits? Why is this methodology becoming so popular, and what are the benefits? Research shows that the top benefits of agile adoption are: “Enhances collaboration.” “Increases the level of software quality in organizations.” “Results in increased customer satisfaction” (TechBeacon). When the agile methodology was introduced about 15 years ago, it was seen as a competitor to waterfall (TechBeacon). Now, it is the method of choice. The waterfall methodology differs because usually each step is completed fully before moving on. Agile involves the customer and allows for  feedback to be integrated. Conclusion Is agile right for you? You should ask yourself: how can agile benefit my organization and career? And how can bigger enterprises practice agile? TekOptimize is now offering SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) Certification courses. Contact info@tekoptimize.com for more information.   Source: TechBeacon http://techbeacon.com/survey-agile-new-norm Photo: Unsplash.com

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ROI and our Customer Success Story

What is ROI? Return on Investment (ROI) can be defined as “a profitability measure that evaluates the performance of a business by dividing net profit by net worth” (Entrepreneur). You calculate the ROI to determine how profitable an investment for your company is through a formula: Return on Investment (ROI) = (Gains from Investment – Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment (Ready Ratios) We have been asked about our ROI for our tools, and to get an answer to this question, we decided to take a closer look at one of our customer success stories. The Company Imagine being a football coach and having to manage 75 games all at once. An organization had a similar situation; they had major releases where each release had up to 75 projects with over 300 multidisciplinary, global staff all going live over the same weekend. At first, the organization used spreadsheets to keep track of the transition execution plan. The spreadsheets attempted to capture over 20 major environments with over a dozen high-level execution steps per environment. These tools initially maintained the multiple releases, but eventually as the go-live dates approached, the workload became complicated and unsustainable. Think back to the 75 games, how would you keep track of all the players, what if some players became sick? How would you be notified? What this company needed was the right tool to maintain the releases. The Solution “We have the world’s best-in-class enterprise release management process, and now we have the best-in-class automated tool to support our release practice with TekOptimize.” – Transition Manager Lead The company needed a tool that could meet the demands of the Enterprise Release Management Operations (ERMO) processes. They chose our solution […]