People can work together even if they do not trust each other, but only people who trust each other can collaborate efficiently. Project managers who do not trust their teams tend to engage in micromanagement, which translates into ineffective project work. Team members who do not trust each other spend energy on protecting each other’s interests and hiding relevant information, which may lead to the project’s failure. A project manager that lacks his or her team’s trust endangers the project, as team members are likely to feel unmotivated to complete the work and unlikely to communicate their ideas openly. Without trust, no effective collaboration or knowledge sharing is possible.
If you have yet to earn your team’s trust, you are likely struggling to lead your team. They may suspect that every recommendation you make is only in your own interest and not the team’s. You are likely finding that your ideas are difficult to implement, and you spend a lot of energy on trying to convince people that you are right.
How do you earn your project team members’ trust?
Progressively, in time. You do not gain people’s trust as you would gain a prize. You accumulate bits of trust, and you preserve that trust through your actions and words. It may take you a lot of time and effort to build up a decent amount of trust that allows for effective collaboration with your project team. And sometimes it is impossible to gain everyone’s trust.
What is trust?
Trust is intangible, and it means different things to different people. In general, having your team’s trust means that people believe:
- What you say is true: Communicate effectively and be transparent with your decisions and the way you lead the project. Demonstrate you have no interests that conflict with those of your team members. They should trust that you are all working together towards the same goals.
- You do what you say: Keep all of your commitments and build a record of respected promises.
- You are open with your intentions: Communicate effectively and keep everyone “in the loop.”
- You are qualified for your job: Demonstrate your project management skills rather than boast that you have the right PM qualifications or experience. Be consistent in your decisions and treat everyone fairly.
- You trust them: Trust comes both ways. Have confidence in your team members’ skills and their capacity to deliver what they promise. Read the rest of this entry »
Being a diligent project manager is a quality, just like being detail-oriented is an advantage in most professions. Over-diligence, just like perfectionism, is desirable in some situations, while in all others over-diligence becomes an obstacle in the way of getting things done.
Micromanaging means over-supervising each task that the team members need to complete, not delegating tasks, and, ultimately, not trusting the team members and their competencies.
Micromanaging is not bad essentially. It is just a very inefficient, and thus costly, way of managing people to achieve the desired outcome. Micromanagement is actually useful in some situations, such as when an inexperienced team member needs to complete a task that would be too risky to not complete perfectly, or when an employee has demonstrated that he or she cannot be trusted. Micromanagement, to some extent, may even be useful in the early stage of a project.
In most other situations, micromanagement frustrates everyone involved, and hurts the project. It steals the project manager’s time that should be spent on motivating the team and keeping the project on track. Micromanagement undermines the team’s morale and impedes the project’s progress.
Are you Micromanaging?
You are “guilty” of micromanaging, in situations when you should not, if you recognize yourself in all or some of the following statements:
- You prefer to complete the team members’ tasks yourself because you are convinced you can do it better than they could.
- You organize several-hour-long status report meetings more often than you need to.
- You tell your team members all the tiny steps they need to take to complete their work.
- You monitor everyone’s progress closely, but you are losing sight of the project’s progress.
- You allow your team members to make no decisions.
- You think perfectionism is the best quality of a project manager. Read the rest of this entry »
As any internationally recognized certificate from a reputable institution, CAPM® is not just a piece of paper, although if it were, it would be the kind that can get you shortlisted for an assistant project manager position.
CAMP®, or Certified Associate in Project Management, is a certification you can obtain from the PMI institute if you are a beginner in project management, you had some formal project management training and/or experience, and you need a proof that you understand the fundamentals of this discipline. If you already have many years of experience in project management and want to certify that, there are more advanced certifications than the CAPM®, like the PMP® or PRINCE2®. In some cases, you may not need any certification at all, unless the organization you work for, or want to work for, requests it.
To obtain the CAPM®, you need to pass an exam with 150 multiple-choice questions, not very complicated, but not simple either, based on project management theory. To sit for the exam, you also need to have a bachelor degree and to have completed at least 23 hours of formal project management training or have at least 1,500 hours of demonstrated work experience in project management. These prerequisites may vary, and to get an updated list, it is recommended to have a look on the PMI institute CAPM® website.
The exam is not the simplest, nor the most difficult you will ever need to pass. Probably, the best strategy is to enroll in a great project management class if you need formal training and get a good textbook. Here are some tips, some of them more obvious than others:
- Only register for the exam if you really need the certification. If the organization you work for requires it, your employer should offer to cover your training and/or examination costs. Neither the exam nor the training is free.
- If you are a job seeker, especially a fresh university graduate, the CAPM® might be the thing that distinguishes your CV from the rest of the applicants with the same degree. Many organizations, especially research and governmental institutions, conduct projects and require staff with some knowledge of project management. Read the rest of this entry »
Personal life is a good place to start testing the managing skills and also to improve them. Once someone gets to the point when he thinks he is the master of his day by day life he can start extending his skills on his professional life.
No one was born an expert. We all start from low and through study, hard work and exercise will eventually get there. But in time and with patience… This process should start in childhood with the help of parents and continuously evolve in time. Being an organized person will always help in any working domain. Personal life is the right place to practice on. And the best part is that it can be done for free, without constraints and with minimum failure risks.
Know what to do and when
In order to reach the final outcome for any type of work it is important to know what needs to be done and when. Once it is established a to do list it is a good practice to prioritize it. A logical pattern should be followed to reach a goal. One must decide what is going to have the biggest impact either in good or in bad on the final deliverable.
Prepare for battle
Knowing what to do is not enough to be efficient. Nowadays people tend to have so much things to accomplish that they just get distracted from one objective to another. Meditation and exercise are some of the tools that should be used to refocus, that will help anyone to move from one day to another and to stay on track.
A well done plan is the key to efficiency. One solution to achieve it is to do part of the work in the evening – organizational stuff – that will set you up in no time for the next morning. Dead simple: prepare it and then just jump in to get it done.
To mix or not to mix – that is the question
OK, suppose one has what it needs to manage both his life and his job. But is it a good thing to mix them? For simple tasks this may not be a problem but if things get more complicated at work it is a good idea to separate them. Failure in personal life has a smaller impact and will influence only the close people. However not meeting a deadline within a project can be a major risk with a large impact over many people and with high costs… Read the rest of this entry »
Starting with Mac OS X Mountain Lion the Gatekeeper was introduced that by default does not allow users to run applications downloaded outside of the App Store. In this situation are also the RationalPlan users that are downloading our products directly from our website.
Now since Mavericks is a free upgrade from Mountain Lion the same restriction applies. Hence if you find yourself a fresh Mavericks user and when trying to install RationalPlan you get an error like this one:
you can solve it by going to Apple menu > System Preferences… > Security & Privacy > General tab and under the header “Allow applications downloaded from:” check the Anywhere box. This will allow you to install RationalPlan. However after the install is complete you might want to set it back to Mac App Store and identified developers.
Being able to communicate effectively, manage people, quickly solve problems, or be organized are essential skills for any good project manager. Being a leader is even better. Knowing how to employ project management tools and techniques is key. But having domain knowledge, or a broad understanding of what the project is creating, is not usually considered an essential skill even though it can be crucial for planning a project properly, creating realistic schedules and work breakdown structures, and understanding the complexity of the team’s tasks.
What is Domain Knowledge?
Importantly, domain knowledge should not be mistaken for technical knowledge; one can have domain knowledge but not be an expert. It is true that sometimes it is not a good idea to have a project manager that is also a technical expert because a project manager needs to manage the people who manage technical tasks, and not perform the tasks in their place. But domain knowledge is essential considering the bulk of a project manager’s job is communication.
The Need for a Common Language
Communication is what takes up most of a project’s manager time, and effective communication is likely the common trait of good project managers. There has to be a common “language” between the team and the project manager, and this implies domain or even technical knowledge. First of all, the project manager needs to effectively exchange information and ideas with the team members. This would be impossible or just ineffective without domain knowledge. Second, the project manager needs to keep all key stakeholders updated with the project’s evolution. Knowing the technical terminology helps the project manager gain the stakeholders’ credibility.
Benefits of Domain Knowledge
From another stand point, a project manager that has first-hand knowledge of what the team is doing should -at least theoretically- earn the project team’s respect or trust more easily than a project manager who is an alien to the project domain. A project manager with solid domain knowledge is able to quickly grasp if the team’s schedule estimates are realistic, although this would be more a question of being a good project manager: earning the trust of the team and using historical data, like lessons learned, to back up the team’s estimates. In many cases, estimates are optimistic; other times, some team members might come up with overestimates just because they assume the domain-alien project manager has no idea of the tasks’ complexity and how long they take to complete. Read the rest of this entry »
Earliest Feasible Date
Earliest Finish Time
Earliest Start Time
Early Finish Date
Early Start Date
Early Start Time
Early Warning System
Earned Value (EV)
Earned Value Analysis
Earned Value Cost Control
Earned Value Management
Earned Value Management System (“EVMS”)
Read the rest of this entry »
Stand By Soft is pleased to announce the release of RationalPlan version 4.6. RationalPlan is a project management software that puts the accent on productivity, ease of use and fast learning. Current version comes to support this ideology by offering the possibility to easily reschedule the project. More than that the integration with SkyDrive storage service offers increased collaboration and productivity.
RationalPlan is a project management software that was designed to help different types of users starting with newbie project managers, continuing with users that need an environment to handle multiple projects and up to companies that need a distributed solution with concurrent access.
Important changes for this version:
- Added the possibility to generate project invoices
- Automatically reschedule uncompleted tasks
- SkyDrive storage service integration
- Added the possibility to roll up tasks
- Documents management module
- Added the option to remember usernames and passwords when working with RationalPlan Server product
- Better integration with Microsoft Project
- Improved administration area within the RationalPlan Cloud solution
At users request it was added the possibility to generate project invoices. Hence it became a must to have the possibility to manage company’s financial details like tax ID and tax rate. And since RationalPlan customers come from different locations on the globe with world-wide clients it was also added the possibility to apply the tax rate only for certain clients.
Sometimes a project can be put on hold for various reasons. But when it resumes the initial plan is not valid anymore except for the already executed tasks. In this situation a reschedule is required starting from a new reference date. This is now possible in RationalPlan. Already completed tasks will remain at the initial location, while partially completed tasks will get splitted and rescheduled along with the uncompleted ones.
After Google Drive and Dropbox storage integration in version 4.4, RationalPlan continued with SkyDrive storage integration. Users can now manage their projects without worrying if their data is safe on their local hard-drives. All they need to do is to keep their files stored on any of the above three storage hosting solutions. Read the rest of this entry »
It all started some time ago when I heard about a project management related podcast hosted by Cesar Abeid. I am talking about Project Management for the Masses podcast. I did not give too much credits to it until an interesting episode caught my attention: “Stop Hiring Project Managers!” and decided to listen to it.
Now the fun part is that although initially I wanted to listen to the podcast intrigued by the title, in the end I got to hear about an initiative of Shim Marom, a PM in Australia, in which he was trying to get a number of PM bloggers to write a blog post with the same title, to be released on the same day, at the same time: a PM Flash Blog. The interesting part is that it is the first PM Flash Blog.
Participants are from all over the world and the theme selected is “What does project management mean to me – a Project Manager’s sermon“. Publication date has been set to 25 September 2013 at 01:00 GMT and posts will be tagged on social media with #pmFlashBlog.
Happy writing everyone!
Stand By Soft is delighted to inform users that RationalPlan suite has made the finals of the Construction Computing Awards 2013 in the Project Management/Project Planning category.
Voting is now underway and finishes on November 7th, with the winners announced on November 21st at the Hotel Russell, London. More information and the online voting form can be found at www.constructioncomputingawards.co.uk.
So give us a helping hand and vote RationalPlan as your preferred project management software. Voting is easy and fast and all it requires is just some basic information from you.