06/14/2016 by Brad Egeland Tags: project budget, project dollars, project schedule, project status
I realize that most project engagements have the funding for the effort locked in from the moment the paperwork is signed and planning starts to get underway. It’s part of your project client’s budget for that year or however many years the project is planned to stretch through. And if it’s an internal project, the same is usually true – lots of planning and budget forecasting has already happened and the money is there to kickoff and execute the project.
However, this is not always true. I have personally found out – the hard way – that this is not always the case and you may not know that until you run into budget problems on the project – even if they are caused by the delivery team. It can be a real concern – and not just with startups and SMBs who are more likely to sometimes be living from corporate paycheck to corporate paycheck. It can happen to the giant projects and the giant customers.
So what happens if the project funding goes away? Can you ever resurrect the project? If that looks like a possibility, how do you then position yourself to be ready to ramp up and restart the project at a later date? If it’s unlikely, then what do you do to leave everything on the best terms possible?
I’ve been through this once on a large project and nearly through this a few other times for various customer or project related reasons. Here are the best steps that I’ve come up with for handling a potential project shut down and leaving things ready to start again should more funding become available in the future and it is still a viable project and need…
Continue reading “What Happens When The Project Dollars Are Gone?”
06/01/2016 by Brad Egeland Tags: project manager, project profitability, project resources, Resource Management
Profitability on the projects we manage is always in question. It seems like it’s a daily fight to keep costs in check, keep tasks on track, and keep profitability on the project in line with expectations. Often we are only looking at a 20-30% profit margin. On a $100,000 revenue project, that means $70,000 – $80,000 in costs are already expected. It’s easy to see how some poor scope management can leak that away in a matter of days leaving the project manager wondering how he ended up coming in with zero profit on a project that he thought went well.
Resource management always has to play a key role in project profitability. Why? Because our project resources are often the most expensive expenses on the project. These are highly skilled individuals and they are often being charged against the project at rates of $100, $150 or even $200 per hour. One can see that inaccurate time charges, wasted or unproductive resource time, and poor task oversight can quickly lead to a project going way out of control and over budget.
In order to keep the project budget on track, the resource time well-mapped out, and their efforts reined in, the project manager must follow three key processes as described below:
Continue reading “How Smart Resource Management Increases Project Profitability”
05/25/2016 by Brad Egeland Tags: avoid project mistakes, project challenges, project issues, project mistakes
Project issues, challenges, mistakes…they happen. It’s a way of life. No project in the history of projects has ever gone perfectly throughout the engagement without bumps and issues along the way. As project managers, most of us are learning along the way – I know I am and I have about 25 years of experience managing projects. One thing I have learned is this…there are a few key things we must make sure that we – as project leaders – avoid repeating on our projects time and time again as they only lead to difficulty, confusion, customer frustration, and sometimes project meltdown. The list can be longer – much longer – but I’ve narrowed it down to these four key items:
Continue reading “4 Project Mistakes You Must Avoid”
05/03/2016 by Brad Egeland Tags: project risk strategy, risk management, risk management plan, risk strategy
We should want to take the time to analyze, assess, plan for and manage risk on the projects that we lead. The bottom line is…most of us really don’t. Or at least our customer’s don’t see the need to spend the time or our senior management, doesn’t…or we are just swamped and pushed to get the project running.
No question – the process of performing risk management on the projects that we run should be a given – it should be an essential part of every single project and it should have the proper amount of time and attention given to it. The reality is, we often skip over it or we spend very little ‘planned time’ on it. I tout risk planning and the creation of a Risk Management Plan as a deliverable, but due to time constraints, budget constraints, and lack of customer interest, it happens on less than half of the projects that I manage. I’m not proud of it, but it is reality.
Continue reading “Creating a Risk Strategy that You Will Actually Use”
04/15/2016 by Brad Egeland Tags: keeping projects on time, project management, project schedule, project timeliness
Timeliness. If there was one word to define project management with, that might be it. We have timelines, delivery deadlines, meetings, etc. Everything happens according to a schedule. There isn’t that much creative about it. There is, but it still involves a schedule and a timeline.
When we run into our CEO in the hallway – or get called into his office – about that big project and he wants to know something about it, it’s usually whether or not the project is on time so far. You better be able to say “Yes!” with a straight face. And if you haven’t had this happen to you yet with your CEO or some very high exec in your company, then maybe you haven’t managed a large enough or visible enough project yet. Don’t worry though, if you’re a successful project manager, you’ll get your chance eventually.
Back to timeliness. For me, staying on time comes down to focus on 3 key concepts. These are…
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04/07/2016 by Brad Egeland Tags: project management best practices, project management process, project management software, project manager
The key to an easier project management process…work smarter, not harder. It’s painful when we watch people around us making life or work harder than it needs to be just because they’re not using the processes or tools or help that is there before them. We see this in life, we see this all around us in the world, and we see it in work, too. Hopefully we don’t see it too much in ourselves, but I’m sure it happens.
As project managers, how can we work smarter not harder? What can we do to get our work done, make our teams feel like they are being expertly led, and let our customers know that we’re doing everything we can for them? For starters, we can use the tools and templates given us and not try to reinvent the wheel on every project. That means not just going our own way, but relying on others when necessary, and using shortcuts – good shortcuts – whenever possible.
It’s my belief – and experience – that our processes of managing our complex projects for our project customers can be easier and go more smoothly if we are continually relying on the following…
Continue reading “Making Sure Project Management Best Practices Work for You”
03/29/2016 by Brad Egeland Tags: project out of control, project schedule, project warning signs, project workload
Ever had that feeling of panic where you know you’re busy, you know there are things you should be doing, but you’re not sure what and in what order? Maybe you are so busy that you aren’t budgeting your money well. Or you have so many clients or potential clients that you’re missing scheduled calls or needing to postpone meetings at the last minute.
This can be so true of our projects, too, when we get overloaded. It can be our project workload – maybe multiple projects took off at high speed all at once. Or maybe something came up in our personal lives – good or bad – that is occupying our train of thought. Whatever the cause or the problem, it can wreak havoc on one or more of our projects. If you’re in this situation, you may not be aware of it. But I’m going to give you five signs (and I’m sure there are many more) that you may be losing control of one or more of your projects due to distraction, work overload, or maybe you’re just in over your head technically speaking or can’t handle your team chemistry. Whatever the issue, look for these signs and then wake up and take some corrective action before you find yourself out of a project or out of a job.
Continue reading “Signs Your Project May be Out of Control”
03/17/2016 by Brad Egeland Tags: client project, consulting project manager, project management consultant, project manager
When we think of project managers, most of us think of company employees placed in the PM role to take on either internal or external projects. But that is not the only scenario. Sometimes companies go outside and bring in consultants on a project by project basis to manage projects, save projects, or consult on the building of the PM infrastructure within the organization.
When the project manager is hired as a consultant rather than being an internal resource leading the project, there is definitely a different set of rules, a different set of expectations and a different process for onboarding that resource. Being hired as a project management consultant simply presents a unique set of challenges. First, as a consultant, the project manager has been employed by a client because that manager possesses or has demonstrated the necessary ability to manage projects. Second, this project manager also has to adjust to the client organization and people, and this can take time to ramp up. The following are some of the issues that a project manager can expect to find and adjust to at a client site.
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03/10/2016 by Brad Egeland Tags: customer subject matter expert, project manager, project success, SME
The project manager and team can only go so far with the project sponsor in getting the planning portion of the project off the ground. Absolutely key to planning, business process definition, requirements definition and documentation and even testing is the customer subject matter expert or SME.
When leading a project, the project manager and team usually want to get as much accurate input into the current business processes and what they need to be when the solution is implemented. The project sponsor can envision, champion, and hopefully fund the project, but as far as giving the project manager and team a real world technical expertise in this area…well, he usually doesn’t quite cut it. For what really needs to happen, who will be affected, how things really need to ‘work’ upon implementation, the project manager must track down end users and technical support individuals for the solution in the customer organizations. These individuals are what are called subject <a href=”http://www.istanbulofistasima.net/” title=”ofis taşıma”>ofis taşıma</a> matter experts, or SMEs.
Continue reading “The Role of the Customer Subject Matter Expert in Project Success”
03/03/2016 by Brad Egeland Tags: project collaboration, project manager, project success, project teamwork
The team that works well together can achieve much together. That concept is at the very heart of collaboration and teamwork. Whatever a project manager can do to keep team members and the customer engaged, responsible and owning of their own tasks and taking care of updating status on tasks as they go can make the life of a project manager much easier. What tool you use to get you there is your choice – there are many options for both desktops and web-based project management.
In terms of collaboration and teamwork in general, we have all seen that when people work together leveraging complementary individual strengths the results can be exceptional. But getting people to work this way can be a challenge and it cannot happen by mandate. The project manager’s role is to actively facilitate collaboration and establish the conditions for good relationships.
Continue reading “Collaboration and Teamwork are Keys to Project Success”