Posts tagged: project management resource

PM Tool Tip: Trello

Trello logoRecently I’ve been exploring a few online tools to use to assist with project management. One of those I’ve found particularly useful is Trello.

Trello is essentially an online version of a Kanban board. Like a Kanban board, it has multiple columns in each board, so that tasks can be created on the left hand side, and moved from column to column as the tasks are processed.

Obviously the most common use of Kanban is in software management, so development tasks, or user stories, would move through to development, testing, implementation, etc. However, these are not the only projects that can take advantage of this particular technique.

The replication of the usual physical Kanban board in a digital manner has some clear advantages. Teams which are not physically located in the same space can share the same board, and still be able to manipulate it in real time. Tasks can be assigned to particular people, and re-assigned simply. Extensive notes can also be appended to tasks, which in the real world would probably just make them fall off the board…

Security and privacy can be a concern when moving to using an online solution, particularly when the solution is hosted elsewhere. Trello allows you to create boards which only members of your organisation can see, and even to restrict access to named people. In addition, it is simple to allow certain people from outside of your organisation to use the boards, which has clear uses when it comes to projects across organisations.

The final advantage, of course, is that Trello is a free service. Take a look, and let me know what you think!

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Social Media: Delivering for Project Management?

Last week, I was fortunate enough to present to PMA Focus, a project management conference organised by Projekt Management Austria. My talk was on whether social media could really deliver for project management, and is above. I have included my planned transcript below.

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Project Management Link Round-up (2011-09-26)

Here’s a selection of project management articles I’ve been reading over the last week. Hope you find them useful!

  • I Just Want Everyone To Be Happy! – PM Hut

    It may seen at times that the success of the project is measured by the percentage of “smiley faces” among the project participants. However, project managers know that there are often unpopular decisions that must be made for the overall good of the project. While no project manager lasts long if everyone is always unhappy, there are times when s/he may have to make some people temporarily unhappy.

  • Finding the Reasons for a Project – Herding Cats

    If anyone is looking for one killer answer to why we need Project Managers in IT or software development, this is it. Who manages the demand? Who manages the capacity?

  • An Approach For Wording Risks – Better Projects

    Sometimes a risk is expressed as just a couple of words, which although may speak volumes to its author, don’t always give enough information to all relevant project stakeholders – for example, ‘content migration’ or ‘server load’ or ‘key resources unavailable’ are some risks I have seen recently documented. The ambiguous language can become a problem when it comes time to rate the risk and to devise mitigation strategies.

  • The Need for Definition in Ethical Project Management – The Art Of Project Management

    Is it possible that company leaders are causing ethical dilemmas by not really understanding philosophical aspects of ethics? The importance of ethical business practices are being stressed, as are the findings that ethical leaders tend to be more successful. However, leaders don’t seem to be spending enough time stressing the simple truth that what is ethical to one stakeholder may not be ethical to the next.

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Project Management Link Round-up (2011-09-19)

Here’s a selection of project management articles I’ve been reading over the last week. Hope you find them useful!

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Understanding Project Management Now Available

I’m pleased to announce the release of my audio lecture course, “Understanding Project Management”. The course is designed to help give newcomers to project management a solid foundation. It covers all the essential concepts and techniques you will need, and help get you started on your project management journey.

You will also learn about some of the common pitfalls you will face – and how to deal with nay-sayers in your own organisation!

You will learn:

  • to begin a project – defining what you want to achieve
  • to get to where you want to be – planning
  • to recognise when problems are coming – and how to deal with them
  • to deal with risks by spotting them early, and taking the right action then – not when it is too late
  • to review your project regularly – recognise where you are, what you have achieved, and what there is to do

As well as the 11 lectures, the course also includes project management document templates, enabling you to get up and running quickly. As a special offer at launch, there is currently 20% off the list price – don’t delay, this will only last until the end of next week!

For more information visit the Understanding Project Management site, or go straight to the order page.

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My hardest project

Last week, I wrote about a difficult project, and asked you what some of your hardest project was. I also promised I’d tell you about my hardest project, and here it is.

My hardest project is actually a small one. Just one person was needed to do the work on the product, and the project management of that work took only a small amount of my time – theoretically. In fact, I found myself spending longer and longer on the planning of the work.

Soon, the project management load of this one small project started to crowd out other work. I spent more and more time assessing the risks the project faced, planning what tasks needed to be done next, and thinking about quality tests.

The reason for all this was, of course, that I didn’t want to face the person who was supposed to be actually doing the work, and hadn’t been. Mainly because that person was me.

The project I am talking about is one I’ve mentioned a couple of times here. It is creating an information product, a simple course to help you get the foundations of project management clear.

As I was writing it, a strange thing happened. Despite being pretty confident in terms of my knowledge of project management, I started to become more and more uncertain about what I was writing. Doubts would beset me, from everything from the concepts I was explaining to the words I was using to get my message across.

Now, I know this is a pretty special case when it comes to project management, because the Executive, the PM and the team are all the same person. But I still think I’ve learnt something from the experience.

Because, like any human being, I had some self-doubts, I retreated into something I was comfortable with, something which I knew I could do well – in this case, project management. The actual work of writing what I had planned to was getting pushed aside so I could focus on what I did well – even if that didn’t actually move the project along.

Luckily for me, the thing I am good at was also the thing telling me I wasn’t making progress, so it was pretty difficult to ignore. (Though, believe me, I made a good stab at it.) Eventually, I forced myself to knuckle down, to step out of my comfort zone and work on what needed to be done.

I’m actually pretty happy with what I’ve produced, and you’ll get the chance to judge for yourself. I’m releasing a sneak preview today, and you can go to this page to download it. (I hope you like it!)

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Understanding Project Management

I’ve been thinking for a while now about the difficulties there can be with getting good information about project management when you’re starting out.

Naturally, there are some great resources on the internet. To blow my own trumpet for a moment, my own New to Project Management? page offers some good pointers. Equally, there are a lot of other sites which offer very short introductions to the discipline.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realised that that is probably not enough for many people. When I first started my career, I was lucky enough to work for an organisation that understood the importance of project management, and had excellent mentors that could help me progress.

But there are many organisations out there that don’t understand this, or don’t have the resources to be able to pay for expensive training courses for their staff. What about prospective project managers in those places? What about the people in those organisations who have already had a project dropped on them, but are beginning to realise they haven’t got the tools to tackle it?

It seems to me that what these people need is a simple guide, not just to what project managers do, but to why they do it. An inexpensive pack of information that not only gives them the tools to tackle project management, but an understanding of when to use them. That understanding is really valuable, and it’s what you need to make all the processes project managers use make sense.

A couple of months ago, I started work on something to hopefully help those people. The more time I’ve spent on it, the more I’ve realised how useful it could be. I’ll be releasing it as my first information product, and I’m pretty excited with how it’s turned out. I hope you will be too.

I’ll be finishing it in the next couple of weeks, and I’ll keep you updated about how you can get your hands on it.

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PMXPO 2009

Yesterday was the PMXPO 2009, an online project management conference. It was a fantastic event, and I want to thank all the people at Gantthead for putting it together. I really enjoyed the presentations, and learnt a lot.

The presentations that were given were:

  • Fourth and Goal: Making the Tough Calls that Make Leaders Successful
    Bill Cowher, Former NFL Coach, Pittsburgh
  • How To Win The Super bowl of Project Management
    Harold Kerzner, Senior Exec. Director, Proj Mgt. IIL
  • Agile Project Management for Extreme Projects: Getting a Grip on Chaos
    Doug DeCarlo, gantthead SME, Extreme PM
  • Rethinking Project Priorities During A Recession
    Michael Wood, gantthead SME, Process Improvement
  • Making Successful Decisions: A PM’s Path to Success
    Dennis Buede, PhD, Author
  • Mind Mapping Meets Project Management
    Andrew Makar, PMP, gantthead SME, PPM
  • Managing Projects to Deliver Maximum Business Value
    Rodney J Trent, President, Stratex Services

Now, as I said, the conference was yesterday… but thanks to the wonders of virtual conferences, you can still go and see the presentations! Just pop along to the PMXPO 2009 site and register – and get watching.

(Oh, and for those of you who are PMPs, you can also earn PDUs from the presentations – what more reason do you need to check it out?)

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