Friday April 18, 2014
What may be a project sponsor's worst nightmare? When there is a software investment and only then, he or she will realize the software is complicated and no one likes the way it works.
Today's software makers understand the changing dynamics of project management software, for example, that often involves many users, as well as coordination between departments and sometimes outside consultants. If a software company does not offer a free trial, I would venture to say, don't buy it. Use these tips to help guide your selection before you buy new software:
Involve users of the software -- giving the software to users to try before you buy will save time, costs, and will help you make better decisions. Understand when citizen developers, a term used to represent business users, who can see the value in applications that help the business, will need to be involved.
Comindware Project is a new project collaboration tool I reviewed that demonstrates how easy project management software can be. Read about Comindware Project and see how this company runs their software trial.
Involve leaders who want to improve -- in Seven Things Great Employers Do on HBR.org, the authors spell out the elements that impact culture and team engagement. First, involve leaders who want to work on improving themselves. Sounds a bit flippant, but leader's involvement signals engagement. Everyone has to get past the disenchantment that happens if leaders are not engaged.
Plan for set up and training costs -- users typically have fear of new software, especially if they don't know how to use it. Furthermore, learning software takes time. John Gabrick, CEO of MindMatters, an innovation management software company says organizations should spend 10-20 percent of the total cost of software documenting the functional requirement--for your own company's specific use.
Read Gabrick's and other tips to help manage costs and customization.
Compare 3 or 4 software products -- create a pros and cons table and enable everyone to share their ideas and opinions. Your time spent up front to make decisions that are right for your company and your team's unique needs are well worth the effort.
Image copyright Shannon Fagan/Getty Images
Tuesday April 15, 2014
Our business network is much like a garden. In spring, we amend the soil, get plants in the ground, then water, weed, and fertilize all summer long until harvest.
In the fall and winter, we share lessons learned and new gardening ideas with friends in our community (always a great topic at parties).
In my contact with Nancy Fox, a business strategist and advisor in Los Angeles, she shared tips for improving the way we network.
Nancy and I dug into the roots of networking, including obstacles along the way, as you will see in Networking in All the Right Places. As any gardener knows, you need to rotate your crops, like tomatoes and plant them in a different spot in the garden, much like you would do to meet new people.
In a similar way to gardening, a seasonal approach to networking may require us to review key strategies. We harvested two regimens needed to nurture our networks: new resources and social intelligence. Read about the insightful ways you can pursue to get out of your comfort zone. Let your network flourish.
Photo copyright John Rensten/Getty Images
Friday April 11, 2014
The project costs are running rampant, but quality and schedule are intact. If you are a project manager (PM), would you panic?
Think of a three-legged stool, where each of the legs are represented by time, cost, and quality.
These three legs of a stool are the same principles applied in project management's triple constraint. PM rock stars understand the art of project management is being well-balanced across all three constraints. The science of the triple constraint is excelling at managing all three with equal attention (see Southern Illinois University Symposium on Project Management).
But the three-legged stool concept, especially professional services, means at least two of the legs must remain constant for the project to succeed. If one of the three legs requires support, say costs are greater than expected, you don't necessarily lose the integrity of the project. This means project quality control and assurance comes at a price.
Keep in mind if you were to lose the integrity of two legs, the three-legged stool could not stand on its own. Think about it.
How can you improve project performance to manage all three constraints? The PM rock star suggests ranking the business priority of the triple constraints so you know where the project stands. Then, you will have to keep communication open and transparent between everyone on the project.
How Collaboration Can Work for Business
Create the Opportunity to be Part of Something Greater
Are You a Citizen Developer of Business Applications?
Photo copyright Jacobs Stock Photography/Getty Images
Wednesday April 9, 2014
This question will make you think.
Can you walk two dogs and talk on your cell phone at the same time?
I anticipate you know the answer (given at the end). My iPhone gives me options to Respond with Text (as pictured) if I am busy. My favorite one is "I'll call you later."
If you're like me, I prefer to stay in touch as quick as I can, whether it is voice, text, or email. So I'm getting in the habit when the phone rings and I can't answer it to select a quick response that immediately sends a text message to my caller. BTW, you can customize your own text message, too.
In my chat with co-founder of A Shop Called Brooklyn, Chaz Mee made it clear the value of conversation. In this fast-paced world, people need to feel instantly connected. Find out the technologies the creative agency relies on in, Brand Incubator Reveals New Breed of Technology Users.
And now...there are actually several answers to the above question: Yes, you can walk two dogs and talk on the phone if you're: 1. Wearing a bluetooth device. 2. Using your phone speaker. 3. Dogs are running free.