This Thanksgiving, Take Time for Gratitude

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful!  During good times and in tough times, I find gratitude is one of the most powerful tools we have to make a change in our family, our workplace, and the world. It all starts at home.  When my children were young, as we sat down for dinner, we started a tradition of saying one thing we were grateful for each day.  Instead of complaining about what a teacher might have done or that the bully took my lunch money, we started our time together appreciating what was good in our day.  This would set the tone for the rest of the meal. This practice spread to my workday.  Regardless of how stressful or busy the day, my goal is to find something that was positive.  You can set the tone for your workday with a little gratitude. I am grateful for my family. I am loved and supported by my husband, my children and the rest of my extended family. I am grateful for my team. I am blessed to work with incredibly intelligent and creative professionals who know how to have fun. I am grateful for our customers. Project Management can be challenging.…

How to use Communication Styles to Drive Project Success

Understanding communication styles is pivotal to executing a successful project. As we have covered on the BrightWork blog before, ineffective communication is the primary cause of project failure 33% of the time and has a negative impact on project success more than 50% of the time according to research conducted by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The most useful skill to develop and use to combat this bane of project success is the ability to understand and adapt to different communication styles, while also appreciating the impact of your own style on a group dynamic. This article will delve into some established schools of thought around communication styles and help you apply them in the context of your project teams. I will begin with the four traditional styles of communication before looking at some more ‘new school’ approaches to communication. As Mark Murphy explained in Forbes, no one communication style is inherently better than another. Picking the wrong style for a particular audience, whether it’s one person or a thousand, shuts down listening and can spell trouble. Learning to build flexibility around your preferred style allows others to more successfully hear the important things you need to communicate. Below are…

How to Manage Your Time and Overcome the Myth of Multitasking

I don’t need to tell you yet again how valuable your time is. ‘Time is precious’, ‘time is money’― you have heard a thousand variations already. We get it, time is important…so what do I do about it? This article gives you just one perspective on how to manage your time and overcome the myth of multitasking.   “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” ― Charles Darwin, The Life & Letters of Charles Darwin   Make that a thousand and one variations you have heard already! Even Darwin is giving us grief for wasting time now. In reality, who doesn’t waste ‘one hour of time’ every so often? But of course, he has a point, those hours add up and you may find them turning into days or even weeks. That is where it is up to you to draw the line. So now you have decided to do just that, no more wasted time! But what does this mean?  How do you do it?   “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” ― Peter F. Drucker   While not an exact science, the discipline of time management can…

3 of the Worst Decisions Ever Made: A Failure Analysis

Decisions are one of the most unavoidable things in life; each and every one of us face them every single day. There is an old Dutch proverb that goes “he that has a choice has trouble”. Of course, decisions vary in importance and some are more difficult than others are but we can never truly anticipate the ultimate consequences. However, as Peter Drucker once said, “Whenever you see a successful business” you already know that “someone once made a courageous decision.” Replace the  word ‘business’ with ‘person’ or ‘project ’and the phrase still holds true: Whenever you see a successful person or project…’a courageous decision or decisions were made’. These decisions often go awry and lead to failure, but making good decisions comes from experience and experience comes from learning from your bad decisions and failures. Here are 3 of the worst decisions ever made, which all come with valuable lessons in decision making, so let’s do a ‘failure analysis’. Ross Perot turns down Microsoft Source When he described this move as being “one of the biggest business mistakes I’ve ever made”, Ross Perot was making something of an understatement. In 1979, Perot’s Electronic Data Systems was worth about $1…

5 Women Leading the Way in IT Project Management

International Women’s Day (March 8th) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action. It marks a call to action for gender parity – not only for International Women’s Day, but for every day. This aim for equality infiltrates all industries and roles, including project management. In 2015 The Institute of Project Management Ireland published findings from their annual survey of practitioners that were eye opening: “41% of the respondents and practitioners were women” “When questioned about their role in Project Management, women were more likely than men to consider project management as their primary profession, though they were less likely than their male counterparts to work exclusively on projects, being more likely to spend 25-50% of their time working in Project Management related activities, and the remainder of their time in other roles.” “Looking at the variety of projects and teams, women are slightly more likely to work on a wider variety of projects compared to their male counterparts.” “When questioned about the type and value of projects undertaken, women are more likely to work on projects of a shorter duration and of a lower monetary value than their…

5 Project Leadership Lessons from the NFL

In the sporting world, it is often said you’re ‘only as good as your last game’, meaning you are defined by your results. No one remembers any of the inch perfect passes Russell Wilson threw in Super bowl 49; they remember the interception he threw on the goal line that cost his team the championship. ‘Worst play call in Super bowl history’ is the phrase that was doing the rounds that following Monday. ‘What were Pete Carroll and his staff thinking, passing instead of running?’ One decision in the heat of battle, and it cost them everything. An entire seasons work, undone. So what can a project manager learn from this? Are you only as good as your last project? The hard truth is that no one will care about your project, they’ll care about the result. This is one of the many lessons that project managers can take from sports. Read on for 5 project leadership lessons from the NFL. 1. How to Define Success “In life, as in football, you won’t go far unless you know where the goalposts are”. – Arnold H. Glasow. Many projects fail as they are rudderless. Setting objectives, tracking responsibility, measuring success, –…

The Power of Training for Project Teams [Infographic]

Today, many employees are feeling more overwhelmed in their roles. Their time is limited, the pressure is on to deliver, and they want control over their learning. There is a steady increase in millennials entering the workforce and studies show that this group expects training. As a result, employers and projects need to start to budget and plan for more training in their spend. Unfortunately, this is often not the case and the opposite tends to occurs. When the purse strings are tightened, training budgets are often the first to go. Consequently, 62% of IT professionals report having paid for training out of their own pocket (Source: Bersin by Deloltte). Why Training? Training should be inclusive at all stages from onboarding to continuous development of skills and talent. In today’s ever-changing world of technology and study, management and organizations must ensure that employees are given the time and resources to allow them to improve. This will benefit teams and projects over time. The more skilled the workforce, the more confident they will be. This will help to drive results and hopefully minimize risks and issues.     Training at BrightWork Most of all, at BrightWork, we recognize the importance of training. As part…

Is Project Management Exciting?

If you’re in an organization and you want to do something new, strategic, exciting, challenging, difficult – it’s a project. So a project is a way to transform, to bring an organization, to bring a group to a new place. A project is a way to realize ambitions. A project is a way to help people in some cases achieve their dreams. So a project is from here to a new place, to a better place, to an exciting place, to a different place. A project is a way to get to where you want to go to. A really good project would be enjoyable because of the destination you want to reach and the journey that you’re taking. So it should be “I really want to get there. And it’s important to me. Or it’s important to my group, or my team, or my organization, but I’m enjoying the journey.” Proper project management, exciting project management is both an enjoyable journey and a fabulous destination.

Project Management Tip: Learn to Deal with Difficult Team Members

Disputes involving the members of a project team members are not uncommon, and they can often have negative effects on the project, colleagues and even the organization. Often times, a healthy tension can often be positive for teams, opening communication and allowing the team to innovate and grow. But if or when disputes threaten to derail the team from the primary goals, it is important that these situations are dealt with efficiently and appropriately in order to minimize the damage. In this short Project Management Tip, my colleague Ruairi suggests five strategies you can adopt to deal with difficult team members and keep your project running smoothly! If you would like to learn more about these five strategies for dealing with difficult team members and lots of other tips for making project management easier, check out our Project Management Tips ebook. The ebook is packed with useful information that we are sure you’ll both enjoy and find applicable to any projects you may be working on!  

Teamwork at Tough Mudder!

Here we go again! You may remember my previous post about Tough Mudder and Project Management, when I took on the course for my first time, last October. I still remember the buzz while writing the post, as I was sharing with you all, my wonderful and exciting experience. As described on their website, “Tough Mudder is a team-oriented 10-12 mile (18-20 km) obstacle course designed to test physical strength and mental grit.” – and it proved to be nothing less! Last Saturday, I faced the Tough Mudder challenge for another go…except this time, without the months of training, preparation, project planning, and team goals! This time, I signed up just four days (yes, FOUR!) before the event! So why did I do it again (without all the preparation) you may ask? Some may answer saying I am crazy and you are probably right, but I do love a challenge 🙂 A challenge, and a team which would support me all the way to boot!  Knowing you have one of the best and most supportive teams, whether is it a project team, a sports team or a team for Tough Mudder, you are already half way through your battle, or perhaps your project! I was…

The Summit, From Below

It’s pretty clear to me, at this point in my life, that I will NOT be climbing Mount Everest as part of ticking off items on my bucket list.  There are several key factors against me here.  First, I have a fear of heights.  Second, I don’t really like the cold.  And lastly, being deprived of oxygen is not exactly my idea of a good time. Nevertheless, I am fascinating by the process of ascending a peak like that.  Not the least of which is that, from what I can gather, someone has to “stay behind” at Base Camp for logistics, rescue, encouragement, etc.  Granted, Base Camp is a tent at 23,000 feet, so it’s not exactly like trying to run the expedition from the Hilton in Katmandu, but I am sure that there’s still a sense of loss or powerlessness that comes from not being with the summit climbers step by step as they negotiate the Hillary Step and brave both the elements and time to get to the summit (and back) safely. I think that project leadership shares some interesting parallels with leading an expedition from Base Camp.  For many of the projects I have led recently, I…

Infographic: Hard & Soft Skills of the Successful Project Manager

In order to be a successful project manager, you want to walk the balance between hard and soft skills which will help you avoid the most common project management pain points. Soft skills are the intangible, interpersonal skills that do not employ templates or PM tools. But these skills, such as communication and managing expectations are critical for the successful completion of project management. Just as important are the hard skills of project managers, which involve the creating project deliverables and often involve the use of templates and project management software. I came across this inforgraphic from Brandeis University recently that shares some insight into: Why projects fail Soft skills of project managers Hard skills of project managers Balancing the two Balancing the hard and soft skills will help you to be a successful project manager.  Any other skills you would add here? Brandeis University M.S. in Project and Program Management Online

Weekend Links: Why We Collaborate, Yammer and Other Stories

This weeks’ round up covers everything from Yammer and why we collaborate, to SharePoint planning, to basic tips for project management.  Enjoy! Why We Collaborate – Exploring Yammer Maturity & Engagement – Interesting article on collaboration and the stages of Yammer maturity.  Perficient Focus on the Last Mile of SharePoint Automation – Christian Buckley looks at some best practices for designing SharePoint solutions with the goal of improving end user productivity.  CMS Wire Changes within Microsoft Do Not Mean SharePoint’s Demise – Mark Rackley looks explains why the SharePoint brand is not going anywhere.  IT Unit Take Control of Growing SharePoint Environments – An article exploring how you can manage and maintain high-performing SharePoint environments, even as users and content grow. CMS Wire 7 Indispensable project management tips – A look at some of the common factors of project management success.  InfoWorld Predictions for the SharePoint UX – Highlights from Christian Buckley’s May 2014 #CollabTalk tweetjam.  IT Unity Back to Basics (Again) with Enterprise Collaboration – A mid-year check up on enterprise collaboration and technology goals. CMS Wire Logo

Bi-Modal IT

Like most of us, I think the project and program managers at one of my clients have become seriously enamored with all forms of agile development and the associated PM methodologies that would tag along.  And that’s OK!  A lot of good has come from IT being more transparent, stakeholders having more of a ‘say’ in what gets done next, and how much money is left in the budget and what it should get spent on. But too much of a good thing is rarely wise.  So I read with great interest an article by Gartner that talks about “bi-modal” IT – basically, that agility is great for innovating, but that doesn’t release IT from its role to ‘keep the lights on.’   As a portfolio manager, I found this approach to be remarkably pragmatic –  allowing agile to do its best when IT needs to create new value, but recognizing that to achieve Service Level Agreements, maintain process controls, and generally ensure that transactions get managed the way they should, rules, checks and balances are necessary. I think this is an idea that has come at the right time.  We, as project and program managers, have embraced agile and scrum,…

Leadership Lessons From Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, anti-Apartheid icon, South Africa’s first black president and Nobel Prize winner, died yesterday at the age of 95.  He will be remembered in history as one of the most remarkable men who ever lived.  There was so much courage, sacrifice, humility and wisdom in his life – characteristics that have much to teach us and the generations to come. I’m a project manager and team leader, and today as I reflect on his passing I am especially motivated by the lessons his life teaches me about leadership.  And I find inspiration in Mandela’s own words of wisdom. Conquer Your Fears “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Lead From the Back “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” Have a Core Principle “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with…

Apple – Steve Jobs – Insanely Simple Project Management

I read a book last weekend on the recommendation of Markus Westerlund the CEO of Rdigo (a BrightWork partner company). The book is titled “Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success“. It is a good read for a few reasons: It tells a great story – the story of Apple as seen from the inside – so it is a compelling industry read It carries an important message – keep business simple It has a section on how to be successful with Simple Project Management – the Apple / Steve Jobs tips I guess I liked the book for more reasons than the above. At BrightWork we see customers struggling with the complexity of Project Management and we also see customers being very successful with their Project Management when they START simple and then evolve. When reading the book I was triggered to relook at the famous Apple Ad – Think Different … and I was directed to a version narrated by Steve Jobs – well worth the 1 minute. You have to love the message in this. So in the spirit of the Apple Ad – be a crazy one and implement Simple Project Management at your shop. I commend this…

5 Ways to Master Collaboration, and Other Stories of the Week

It’s that time of the week again, so sit back and enjoy these articles about collaboration, SharePoint 2013 and why you should care about organizational culture! The Blueprint of We: 5 Ways to Master Collaboration (Fast Company) There are 7 billion people on the planet. Sooner or later you’ll have to work with some of them. Here is a five-part prescription for how to collaborate with less stress and more focus on innovation. SharePoint 2013 Browser Comparison Report Card (SharePoint Joel) Browser + Mobile enhancements are one of the Top 3 Reasons to Upgrade to SharePoint 2013. One of the big reasons I’m happiest when working on SharePoint 2013 has a lot to do with the huge improvements in browser support for basic things like multi file upload and working with data in a grid style view.  Replacing so much that previously was done in ActiveX with HTML5 compliant client based solutions with backward compatibility is huge. Audio manufacturer boosts go-to-market speed with centralized web content management (SharePoint Team Blog) New Jersey-based D&M Group is the parent company of several high-end audio brands such as Denon, Marantz, and Boston Acoustics. With offices in more than 70 countries, D&M Group struggled…

CAML Designer

AT the moment I am in the middle of updating our training documents for the upcoming BrightWork Master Class. As part of this update, I am finally getting around to creating a training guide that focuses on the Project Metrics List we launched in the last release of BrightWork. As some of you may know, the Metrics list allows you to select a BrightWork Report or a SharePoint list as the data source. When you select a list, you have the option of filtering the list data by selecting a view in the list, or by writing your own CAML. Obviously, creating a view is a far easier option but it also slightly risky as views can often be edited or deleted by other people. A far more secure option is to write your own CAML and use that to filter the list you are using to generate the metric. Collaborative Application Markup Language (CAML) is an XML-based language that is used in Microsoft SharePoint to define the fields and views that are used in sites and lists. See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms426449.aspx for more information. When you setup filtering options in a view, it is done via CAML that is written for…

Hear How Thermal Dynamics Customized SharePoint and BrightWork to Meet Their Needs

Pre-BrightWork, Thermal Dynamics was very unorganized and often one person did not know what another person was doing. To create simple reports was very time consuming because information was stored in several different places like email and Excel files. Thermal Dynamics started with SharePoint, and then looked for a solution that could extend SharePoint for project management and fit their business processes. BrightWork was able to customize a solution around their APQP system, which is specific to the automotive industry. They now manage all on-going projects with BrightWork and use the system as a one stop shop for reporting and compliance for the very strict APQP process. Hanns Schweis, IT Manager, Thermal Dynamics: Check out more success stories, where Our Customers Do The Talking!

Administrator loses control!

Are you a SharePoint Site Collection administrator? Have you ever experienced a loss of permissions within your own site collection? Well if you have answered YES to both of these questions you may find this article helpful. Scenario: A primary site collection administrator with Full Control permissions, cannot see the full range of options available on their site actions drop-down in their own site collection. They further investigated and discovered they could no longer make any changes what so ever to the site collection. Note: BrightWork site collections work off standard SharePoint security like any SharePoint Team Site. We have detailed the various local permissions that are required to create projects, templates and portfolios. There are three main scenarios which may present a loss of permissions… 1. The Site Collection is locked in Read-me Mode Possible Reason: If a server recently shut down unexpectedly To unlock: Within Central Administration –> Application Manager –> Site Collection Quotas and Locks http://weblogs.asp.net/peterbrunone/archive/2011/03/01/read-only-lock-on-a-sharepoint-site-collection-or-why-can-t-i-edit-anymore.aspx 2. Content Database for the site collection is locked in Read-Only mode Possible Reason: A failed restore of a site collection can leave a Content DB in Read Only mode To Check for Read-Only: Within Central Administration –> Application Manager –>…

Ghost users from times gone past!

Ever seen SharePoint users listed in your My Work Reports or mentioned in drop down menus belong to staff or members who haven’t been around for years? We are commonly asked what is the easiest way to remove these users? We will use a SharePoint hidden view and heres the steps. Briefly to introduce myself as this is my first time blog for BrightWork. My name is Jonathan Browne I am a Support Engineer here at BrightWork, better known to our customers as JB. There is a view which will show you all users involved in the site collection. This view should correspond with the dropdown of users you see in any “My Work Report”. This view will then allow you to remove any users from your entire site collection*. To explain how you access this hidden view with example urls. Your own url will be used. 1.       Firstly you must be logged on with site collection admin rights. 2.       You want to remove the portion highlighted from the url of your site collection http://sp2010.brightworkdemo.com/sites/pmpoint/Example/example/example/default.aspx     …which leaves you with http://sp2010.brightworkdemo.com/sites/pmpoint/ Now add the following hidden view portion to the url…      _catalogs/users/simple.aspx     …which leaves you with a complete url. http://sp2010.brightworkdemo.com/sites/pmpoint/_catalogs/users/simple.aspx    …

NUIG on Using SharePoint and BrightWork to Provide One Integrated Project Management and Service Request Solution

The Problem The ISS department at National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) needed a PM environment that wasn’t too complex, but provided reporting on projects, a document repository, budget management, and time recording. The system needed to reflect structure, stages, guidance and control that fell in line with culture of the department. The Solution NUI Galway now uses BrightWork on SharePoint for the entire spread of work and project management. The department makes extensive use of Workflows and BrightWork Reports to deliver a very capable application, and recently added a Service Request application based on BrightWork that allows them to manage all of their Helpdesk tickets. Sinéad Ní Fhaoláin, NUIG: For more on this case study, click here.

SharePoint for Project Management: School Districts

The Durham Public School district (DPS) is a K-12 public education district in North Carolina, encompassing 53 schools. There are 29 elementary schools and 24 secondary institutions, comprised of 34,000 students and 4,000 faculty and staff. The mission of DPS is to work together with parents and the community to ensure that every student receives the best possible education that enables them to discover their interests and reach their full potential. Challenge In North Carolina, the state mandated that every school district track School Improvement Plans (SIPs), which before the introduction of BrightWork, was a paper document that principals submitted once a year and was subsequently tucked away in a file. Follow up was cumbersome. As a result, the progress and adherence to plans was not evident, as the status of SIPs were not reported or tracked consistently at every school in the district. When new leadership took over the helm, they expected more consistent, high-level tracking of SIPs, and instituted the full project management discipline to do that. Also, external stakeholders were interested to track the progress of lower schools performing throughout the entire school year. Solution DPS wanted a methodology and not just the tool, so the first…

SharePoint for Project Management: University

National University of Ireland, Galway was established in 1845 and is one of Ireland’s foremost centers of academic excellence. The Information Solutions and Services department at the University was formed in 2009 and one of the objectives of this merger was to further formalize development and project work. The group is responsible for providing effective and secure computing to the University, supporting University-wide email and inter/intranet services, developing the technology infrastructure of the University, and coordinating the technology strategy of the University. Challenge The ISS department set up a Project Management Office to work on processes, a projects register, document templates and to provide guidance and support. PRINCE 2 had already been selected as the project management methodology. The purpose of the PMO was to embed a project management culture within the ISS department. Before they could even consider any sort of project management software, ISS wanted to first establish project management processes in the department, using a “just enough” approach. When it became clear that ISS was now mature enough to consider project management software, there were a few major factors that the department considered when looking for a tool: Quality and functionality, cost, and complexity of deployment Project…

SharePoint for Project Management: Oil & Energy

With headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Ensign Energy services is an industry leader in the delivery of oilfield services. Since its inception in 1987, Ensign has employed an extensive fleet of flexible, mobile oilfield equipment to meet the challenging demands of the oil and natural gas industry. Ensign is a leader in drilling and well servicing through the innovative use of technology, with an established reputation for the highest safety standards and environmental stewardship. The company has a division of 40+ experts specializing in Information Technology which services up to 7,500+ company personnel in over 17 countries. Challenge Ensign set the goal to establish their Project Management Office’s presence and to create a results driven “best practices” project management environment. The organization identified three key constraints the were inhibiting productivity that the PMO needed to address: 1. Establish clearly defined project management practices 2. They also required a “central point” for project-related work that was clearly defined 3. Over-allocation of resources was a major concern Solution Ensign deployed BrightWork on SharePoint to set up a PMO and establish one standard project management methodology in the organization. Using SharePoint, the PMO set up a “home page” for all project related work…

Streamline Your Project Management Processes with SharePoint

Aramex is a leading provider of comprehensive logistics and transportation solutions. Established in 1982 as an express operator, the company rapidly evolved into a global brand recognized for its customized services and innovative multi-product offering. The range of services offered by Aramex includes international and domestic express delivery, freight forwarding, logistics and warehousing, records and information management solutions, e-business solutions, and online shopping services. The IT team at Aramex’s head office employs around 60 IT professionals with various specialties in software development, MIS, infrastructure, network and information security. A project office body is responsible for overseeing the various projects running within the IT team from initiation to closure, providing the various business stakeholders a high-level view of the projects progress. There were a few project management challenges the organization faced before implementing BrightWork. Aramex had many different projects going on at one time, all of various sizes, complexity and stages of completion, making it very difficult for the company to use a standard PM process for all projects in the organization. The issues included: • Time wasted when constantly meeting with project managers getting updates on project statuses • Too time consuming for project managers to manually calculate the most…

SharePoint for Project Management in Healthcare

Children’s Hospital Boston is a comprehensive center for pediatric healthcare located in Boston, Massachusetts. As one of the largest pediatric medical centers in the United States, Children’s Boston offers a complete range of health care services for children from birth through 21 years of age. Children’s Boston is the pediatric teaching hospital for Harvard Medical School and serves patients from over 150 countries. It is the world’s largest pediatric centered research enterprise receiving $225 million in annual research funding. For the past 21 years, Children’s Hospital Boston has been ranked #1 or #2 in the US News and World Report: “America’s Best Children’s Hospital”. Challenge The initial goal at Children’s Hospital Boston was to get a “snapshot” of the 20-30 on-going projects in the PMO. It was important that whatever solution they chose met certain requirements that would enable them to easily track work and projects in the PMO. The tool had to be: • Integrated with SharePoint because team sites were already being used in the PMO • Intuitively obvious – both easy to use for project managers and for the rest of the organization without any training • Sustainable – which for Children’s Boston meant that project managers…

The Program Management Value Pack

A theme that I found running through the many of the presentations at IPM Day 2011 was the importance of program or portfolio management. There were maybe 5 or 6 presentations about PMOs, or the value of program management, or importance of project prioritization and PMO best practices. All of the presentations approached the topic from a different angle and provided new insights, but they all shared one message – the importance of project portfolio management. Ardi Ghorashy, IIL Trainer and Consultant, would be an expert in this area and delivered two presentations on the topic. In his first presentation, Ardi discussed how a PPM helps give firms focus and discipline necessary to prioritize and manage the projects that are most important to the business. In his second presentation “Synergy, Continuous Improvement and Organizational Learning: the Value-Pack of Program Management,” Ardi looks at what he calls the value-package a program management delivers to an organization, and then he provides an overview of PMI best practices for successful program management. But first let’s just briefly look at some of the reasons why managing project portfolios are so important. Programs help organizations: – Identify project dependencies – Enable better communication within the…

How Project Managers Can Adjust to Weather Delays

Efficient project planning is a huge part of every project manager’s job.  Unfortunately, the weather does not always cooperate with well-planned schedules and time-sensitive events.  Keeping the following tips in mind can help you plan for the inevitable weather delay with increased confidence and finesse.   Know the weather trends in the areas in which you are working Different areas deal with weather differently. A state that gets frequent snow will have the equipment and knowledge to deal with it with limited workday interruptions. In a state that doesn’t often get snow, the odd snowstorm can be a major hassle. Plan your projects around knowledge of local weather patterns to avoid unnecessary stress on team members and the frustrations that come with re-scheduling. If you know that afternoon thunderstorm are common in the summer, it would make more sense to schedule outdoor tasks in the morning.   Consider the weather when making project plans Anticipate weather delays when setting your long-range plans for a project. Make allowances for these delays in your scheduling and in the language of your contract. Be sure to clearly communicate to clients, contractors and other team members about your weather delay policies. If everyone is…

Project Management is Not a Luxury, It is a Necessity

“Poor project performance’ is frequently given as a reason for project failure. Project management is no longer ‘nice to have’, it must be a core competency of an organization.” – KPMG’s International 2002-2003 Programme Management Survey. In 2002, the KPMG International Programme Management Survey found that out of all the companies surveyed, 57% had experienced at least one project failure in the past year. Of those organizations that experienced at least one project failure, 59% could not determine the magnitude of the failure. These types of project failures demand greater transparency regarding project performance, meaning companies must utilize PPM tools and improve their PMO. The study separated companies into two regions and found the average cost of project failure was an astounding $8.9M in Asia Pacific and $11.6 in Rest of World. It is not realistic or reasonable to believe that executives would be able to accept those types of losses. On the other hand, this same survey found that organizations who rated themselves as having a mature PMO, 33% in Asia-Pacific and only 11% in the Rest of the World experienced a failed project in the past year, clear evidence that a PMO and project success go hand-in-hand. A…

Reusing Web Parts: Exporting and adding to Site Gallery

Most experienced BrightWork users will probably have configured BrightWork Reporter, the cross-site and cross-list reporting web part that comes with BrightWork. Every instance of a report is driven by an XML file that we call a Reporter Definition. You add the Reporter web part, select the Reporter Definition, report type and then configure the report accordingly. Most web parts do not require a lot of setup. You just add it to the page and away it goes showing you the contents of a particular list. However, web parts with a large number of configuration options, such as BrightWork Reporter, have an almost infinite number of final possibilities. Getting the report configuration right can take a while! Once you get it right, repeating this work can be a pain. Fortunately, SharePoint allows you to export the web part and upload it to the site collection Web Part Gallery for easy reuse. Click Exporton the web part menu and save the web part to your desktop (it will save as a .dwp file). Navigate to the site collection home page and click Site Actions | Site Settings. Click Web parts. Click Documents | Upload Document. Navigate to the location where you have…

Enable Flyout Menus on the Quick Launch

The Quick Launch can be a great way to highlight the process or methodology that your team is following; however, if you have a project site with a very busy Quick Launch it can often take over the page and become too dominant. Some of our customers prefer to reduce the noise of the Quick Launch by collapsing the content to just the headers and enabling flyout menus for the rest of the content. In this post, I will describe how to do just that. For today, this is SharePoint 2010 only. You can also do this in SharePoint 2007 but the steps and tools required are more complex. The site I will use is the default IT Project Manager template, shown below. As you can see the Quick Launch is quite long. To enable flyout menus on the Quick Launch: Navigate to the site in question and click Site Actions | Edit in SharePoint Designer. Right on v4.master and click Copy Click Paste. Note: Creating a copy of the master page before editing it is always a good idea, as it makes it easier to revert any changes. Right-click on the copy and click Edit File in Advanced Mode.…

Reusing Web Part Pages

In a previous post I wrote about how to Create your own Web Part Page Layout Template. This week I am going to describe how to reuse a page that has some web parts added to it. You can imagine a situation where you create a new web part page and add some web parts to it. Great, going forward you will be able to reuse this work in new sites, if you use the original site as a template. But what if you want to have the same page in existing sites? If you have lots of sites, going to each site and creating a new web part page, adding and configuring a few web parts could take ages. In reality, this can all be solved with our good friend ‘copy and paste’. Again, I will use SharePoint Designer 2010 to do this. You can download it for free from here: 32 Bit | 64 Bit. If you are not yet on SharePoint 2010, the basic principle of what I will show is pretty much the same in SharePoint 2007. The principle also remains the same if you don’t have pmPoint.Next time, I will write about how to enable…