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Top Features in a Project Management Tool

We are happy to share with you that TekOptimize’s project management tool, XenonPMO, has been listed in Docurated’s  “Top 50 Salesforce Project Management Tools and Software Solutions.”  We have been featured in the list simply because XenonPMO has the right features that any project manager, management, and other stakeholders will want. With our experience in designing and developing tools like XenonPMO, I thought I would share with you the top four features that would be valuable to any organization. What are the top four features that you absolutely need for a PM tool to be successful? Everyone probably has their unique list of what they find important, here is ours: 1. Easy Navigation Imagine you download a project management tool and you are stuck trying to navigate the home page. How do I add tasks? Can I attach any files? Where is the help document? It shouldn’t take you all day just to figure out the basics. You want a tool that is intuitive and easy to use so that you can go about your work day. 2. Mobile-Functionality According to GO-Globe, “mobile apps now account for more than half (52%) of all the time spent on online digital media” and “smartphone users spent 89% of their mobile media time using mobile apps.” The conclusion is clear: The usage of mobile app and software tools/applications integrating with mobile are important now more than ever, and mobile use will continue to grow. However, not all project management tools have mobile-functionality. While project management tools are traditionally used on laptops or desktops, these days the workforce is increasingly on the go. Some workers may want to check the status of their project during their commute to work […]

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Top 4 Productivity Tips for Project Managers

We all think we are masters at multitasking, but studies show that multitasking is counterproductive, because we do not give anything our full attention, and we are more likely to make mistakes. How can you increase your productivity as a project manager? We put together these top tips to help you successfully master your tasks. Don’t Check Your Email Constantly You are in the middle of a project with a deadline approaching, and everything is going great. Ping! Your phone just alerted you to a new email. You stop to take a quick look. Sound familiar? Most of the emails we receive are non-urgent or spam. Set specific times during the day when you go through your email—so that you don’t waste time throughout the day constantly checking it. There are apps you can set up that will alert you to important emails. Make a To-Do List Do this first think in the morning when you get into the office—write down all the tasks you need to complete for that day (or for the week if you are feeling ambitious). Include a couple of things that you have already completed so that you can cross those off right away. Getting all your ideas on paper (or screen) may make it easier for you to concentrate. Take Regular Breaks This may seem counterproductive, but taking short breaks every once in a while will help you recharge and stay focused. Taking regular breaks can help you avoid feeling burnt out. Go grab a healthy snack, take a 5 minute walk outside if the weather is nice, or just go say hello to a coworker. Prioritize Don’t waste time doing things that aren’t so important (like organizing your […]

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  • Top Project Manager Skills
  • Keys to success for a project Management team

5 Soft Skills Every Project Manager Should Have

  What are the top non-technical skills that project managers should have? 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 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 non-technical 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: 5. Creates 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. A project manager should create that sense of teamwork by encouraging open communication by giving everyone a voice. This can be done, for example, by setting aside the last ten minutes of each meeting for everyone to give their input and ask any questions. 4. Communicates Effectively A project manager should encourage face to face conversations or phone calls over emails to avoid miscommunication. Instead of going back and forth through one long, never ending email thread, it’s easier to discuss the issue in person. Have a fixed meeting time for regular status updates and issues to be discussed. 3. Builds Trust Instead of hovering over each team member, give them space to complete their work. Show them that you trust them with their responsibilities. 2. Delegates Responsibilities By the end of each meeting, each team member […]

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  • mistakes in project management
  • mistakes in project management

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 […]