When it comes to project management related topics year 2014 was no more special than any other year. Readers from all over the world visited our blog searching for answers and advices to their questions and problems. Here is a list with the top 10 most read articles starting with the one with the most visits:
It can easily be seen that there is no particular topic that visitors are especially looking for. However it seems many of them are interested to know more regarding the work with baselines. Otherwise several blog posts are related to improving the skills required to better plan and manage projects – on short users want to become better as project managers.
Of course readers feedback is welcomed for the new 2015 year.
Any organization thrives or fails because of its people. It is no wonder that so many highly successful organizations, like Samsung, Intel, IKEA, Procter and Gamble, just to name a few, invest in talent management. Talent management refers to “a set of integrated organizational HR processes designed to attract, develop, motivate, and retain productive, engaged employees” according to the staff at Johns Hopkins University. For organizations that carry out projects, talent management also means equipping team members with the right mix of technical, project management, and leadership skills, according to the authors of PMI’s Pulse of the Profession “In-Depth Report: Talent Management.” Here are four reasons why any organization that does projects should invest in talent management:
1. Talent management improves projects’ performance.
According to the authors of PMI’s “Talent Management” white paper, organizations that invest in talent management are more likely to succeed in projects than organizations where talent management is poorly aligned with organizational strategy.
2. Talent management means having the right people for the right project roles at the right time.
Effective talent management ensures the organization has qualified team members and project managers ready for any new project when the need arises. As such organizations will not have to wait to recruit new talent, and delay a project’s start, having the right staff available can turn into a competitive advantage.
3. Talent management leads to motivated, and thus productive, team members.
Giving team members the opportunity to grow professionally and personally by developing their technical skills, project management skills, and soft skills, and providing them with mentoring and coaching sessions can motivate employees. Of course, not all employees will take advantage of those opportunities, but those who do will become even more valuable for the project and the organization. (more…)
Stand By Soft is pleased to announce the release of RationalPlan 4.10. Current version comes with a web-based project management module for the Server product, more reports, better support for opening Microsoft© Project files and many other features. Plus starting with this version all RationalPlan products are available for Mac OS X users within the App Store.
RationalPlan suite started as a desktop application designed to run on all major operating systems – Windows, Linux and Mac OS X – but it evolved into an embedded management system that is now available even as a project management cloud service both for individuals and for companies that need a distributed solution with concurrent access from multiple users.
Important changes for this version:
RationalPlan Server can be used in two flavors: On Premise – installed on the clients hardware with a one time payment – and as a Cloud service – hosted on RationalPlan’s servers with a monthly payment. Starting with this version a web-based project management module was added such that users can start managing their products directly from a browser. Although the module is in beta version and is under heavy development it is stable and can be used even in production. (more…)
Starting with version 4.7 RationalPlan Single is distributed as freeware under all Linux operating systems. RationalPlan is a project management suite that puts the accent on productivity, ease of use and fast learning. The Single version can be seen as an alternative to Microsoft Project and the perfect solution for novice or accidental project managers.
RationalPlan products work on all major operating systems including Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. This is a major advantage as it offers cross platform compatibility. Linux platform was the last one that was adopted and presents the best integration with Ubuntu distributions (the products are even listed under the Ubuntu Apps Directory). Even more the company decided to offer the Single version as freeware on Linux. This decision is aiming to help the educational environment (students, teachers) and non-profit organizations.
The product uses Java framework and the recommended version for users is Java 1.7 from Oracle.
The integration with Microsoft Project is a big bonus as it basically offers users an alternative to MS Project on a free use basis.
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. The suite includes:
RationalPlan Single Project – an alternative to Microsoft Project and the perfect solution for novice or accidental project managers
RationalPlan Multi Project – project management software for multiple projects, projects that are interconnected through dependencies and share common resource
RationalPlan Project Viewer – free project management software viewer, the solution for anyone (from project stakeholders to team workers) to view projects details
RationalPlan Project Server – a centralized place to manage the company’s projects while offering concurrent access to different users
There are as many types of project managers as there are projects, so any attempt to create the ultimate classification of project managers would equal chasing rainbows. However, since a project manager is essentially a manager, I’ll talk about the two main types of project managers classified according to the style of management they are adopting: autocratic and participative.
Autocratic management strictly means the manager makes all the decisions, without involving the team members. But such a project manager would obviously be a bad project manager – imagine planning a project without involving the team, estimating the duration of tasks without the team’s input, making all decisions without considering the team. So by autocratic project manager, I mean a project manager with a tendency towards autocracy, not autocratic in the purest sense of the word.
You can think of this kind of project manager as the traditional manager – not the “whip in hand” manager, but one who makes most decisions unilaterally, with minor input from the project team. Such a project manager is able to make quick decisions and, if he or she is technically competent and experienced, those can be good decisions. When you have a newly formed team, unwilling to express their opinions or give their input, an experienced project manager with an autocratic tendency may be what the team needs. Also, in a crisis requiring swift decisions, an autocratic project manager is what it takes. Nevertheless, such project manager imposes authority rather than solves problems through negotiation with the team, and on the long term, the project may suffer from poor team coherence. (more…)
When rare and extreme events never observed before occur, they have major consequences and sometimes even global impact. World War I, AIDS, 9/11, but also the advent of Internet are all black swans, or extremely rare, unprecedented events with inconceivable consequences. The term black swan was coined by the philosophical essayist Nassim Nicholas Taleb in the book The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. Taleb uses the term black swan to refer to extremely rare, very difficult to predict, and massive-impact events. Zooming into the realm of project management, when negative black swans (unconceivable risks, extremely unpredictable, and improbable) occur, they lead projects to failure.
Inherently, black swans cannot be forecast—they are unique events that are not in statistics and their total impact on a project is impossible to predict, which makes them most dangerous to any project. While managers cannot plan for such risk, simply taking no action and hoping a black swan doesn’t strike their project is not the wisest thing to do. But if they cannot plan for the unplanned, what can they do?
First, managers can learn to distinguish black swans from grey swans and prepare for these. Not all project failures are due to black swan events, but to grey swans, which are rare but predictable risks. Professor Elisabeth Paté-Cornell from Stanford argues in an article in Risk Analysis that black swans are extremely rare, but people in industry and finance often use black swans in the aftermath of a disaster as an excuse for poor planning. In my opinion, this may also happen in many major IT projects that fail, for example those going over budget by 200 percent and over schedule by 70 percent—surprisingly, a situation that strikes one in six projects according to the authors of a Harvard Business Review article. Although managers blame black swans for such project failures, often their risk analysts have failed to factor in grey swans. Identifying and mitigating grey risks should be part of effective risk management. (more…)