Picking Your Project Management Software With a 3 Point Checklist.

Looking for your next project management tool? Not happy with your existing tool? Making the right decision is not only about product features, but more widely, it is about product capabilities. Here are 3 points you can focus on when making this selection.

While talking to other project managers, it’s interesting to share thoughts on how the field is changing. Or, put more correctly, how the field should be changing more, but isn’t. We are all used to using the same old tools, but we all share the same feeling that something is missing. We should have newer tools at our disposal. Different tools. The right tools for the right job.

Frustration aside, at the end of the day, we just need to pick something fitting and we need certain criteria to select it.

There are so many features out there that it makes it hard to distinguish the more important tools/ software, from the ones we can do without. I would like to suggest that the list can be narrowed down to only 3 critical subjects that should be considered when choosing your project management software.

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Compatibility, the Must! What Should PMs do to “Be Compatible”?

“Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius

As we get further and further into the future, we find ourselves being taken over by computers. All of us. This computer intervention is aimed at trying to help us save time and energy. We can now do less and have more free time. This futuristic movement is also almost entirely out of our control. The internet is public, anyone can access almost anything and the sky is the limit to the amount of possible growth and change that can happen.

Sometimes we seem to want it. This change. Look at our GPS. We type, click and just do what the nice lady says. “Make a u turn.” “Accident reported ahead.” “In 1000 feet, turn left.” Or even the self-driving cars.  How easy it makes everything.

Other times, we may not want it…

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Sending a man to the moon in 6 months? Yes we can’t!

The most common method project managers are using to answer the question “is it possible” is capturing the project plan in a GANTT chart. But unfortunately, GANTT charts tolerate anything, even a plan to send someone to the moon in 6 months (which everyone knows is impossible).

While this specific example is a joke, thousands of unrealistic and unfeasible GANTT chart plans are created in the Project Management industry every day. They have tasks and dependencies, owners and hierarchies and it all looks fine. But it turns out to be a disastrous delay and an underestimation of complexity. As we all have experienced ourselves, some plans are sometimes unfeasible.

GANTT charts allow for unfeasible planning because they have no confidence assessment mechanism nor feasibility assessment mechanism. One can easily assume overly optimistic assessments of duration and perfect coordination among the project team. One can easily think wrongly that sending a man to the moon in 6 months is feasible. The chain of tasks looks good, so there’s no  problem? Right?

Well, Projectmaps are built to address this gap by offering confidence and feasibility assessments by structure.

In this article, we will go over the method created to ensure feasibility, something that doesn’t exist anywhere else other than in Projectmaps.

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“Backward Risk Calculation” for a risk-free project. Dealing with Risk Assessment

Have you ever stepped in dog poop? Well, of course you have. Everyone has or will at some point in their lives. When it happened to you, did you swear it will never happen to you again? If it happened once it will likely happen again. Can it be avoided at all? Can you PLAN not to step in dog s**t?

A good project plan defines what will be done and when. A good risk avoidance plan should define what won’t happen and how.

The key question for every risk is: “can it be avoided”? If an action is risky and a repeat of it can potentially put you in real danger, you must think what can be done to make sure it will not transpire in the first place.

Let’s delve into a new method called “Backward Risk Calculation.” This may help with the opening example, and will surely help save your project from going off the rails.

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5 Ways on How to Stay Calm When the Project Implodes?

Project managers are always under people’s watchful eyes. How they deal with conflict, if and how they celebrate success, how they acknowledge good work or point out gaps. It’s not easy to be under the magnifying glass all the time, and it becomes even harder in radical or escalated situations.

As an experienced project manager, you probably know all about rejection from a major customer, failure in an accreditation lab, bad application reviews Continue reading…

How critical really is the critical chain? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Having done quite well in manufacturing, the “term critical chain” had migrated and taken root in the world of project management. It was strongly adopted – and still used today.  Not only is it used  for calculating the project’s shortest path, but also as a way for thinking about the structure of the project. The term “feeding chains” offers a little buffering room and even improves how the project structure is described, along with the project manager’s ability to understand the makeshift dependencies logic of the project.

While this terminology might be good for project management, it is followed by a common and awkward mistake of assigning project risk to the critical chain. This is where this marriage between the terminology and the project management happens, leading the project manager to invest time in the wrong places. Let’s see why. Continue reading…

Tricks & Illusions: 3 Mistakes Project Managers Make When Reporting Updates

As a project manager, reporting the status and progress of the project to managers is part of your job. It’s great when the project is doing fine and everything is on track. It gets harder when things get delayed and the project gets out of control. It’s a nightmare when the situation is complicated and you only have a short session to explain “how we got there” and “how we plan to get out of the mess”. The greater the pressure on the project manager, the greater the likelihood typical mistakes will be made when preparing a management update.

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Project Marketing – It’s a Thing!

When Project Management and Product Marketing go into a room together, what comes out? Did you guess? Project Marketing!
Without a marketing campaign it’s almost impossible to introduce a new product into the market, while a good marketing campaign might make people chase the seller for more products. Your project is no different. You’d be amazed at the amount of time that can be saved for a project manager, simply by marketing the project in a better way.

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