7 Irish Sayings to Make You a Better Project Manager

On March 17th, communities around the world gather together to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Ireland’s most famous holiday.  As a nation, the Irish are well-known for having ‘the gift of the gab’,  a natural ability to speak in an entertaining and persuasive way. With that in mind, I have put together a list of seven Irish sayings to inspire you and your project team. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!   However long the day, the evening will come Meaning: We all struggle with projects that seem to go wrong at every turn. By its very definition, a project has a start and end date so just hang in there – the project will finish at some point.   You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind Meaning: Procrastination is the enemy of a productive project team. Spending too long planning a project, worrying about risks, or delaying a task until the time is right means you will never get any work done.   Three best to have in plenty – sunshine, wisdom, and generosity Meaning: Whilst we cannot control the weather, maintaining a positive attitude and practicing generosity whenever possible can elevate your overall mood and outlook. This…

[Infographic] 7 Inspirational Quotes to Help You On Your Project Journey

Whether you’re studying for exams, tackling a huge project at work, or planning to take part in a marathon, you’re only going to succeed if you can stay motivated. For some that motivation comes easy but for others, it is more difficult to be inspired and stay energized. Be assured you are not alone in this obstacle, most of the greatest inventors and creators throughout history have hit stumbling blocks. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” – Thomas A. Edison. Add in team members,  a long and arduous project and this task becomes even more difficult. However having team members personally commit to your project’s success gives you the greatest chance of achieving it. A motivated team member will find it easier to go the extra mile and do all the necessary tasks that need to be done to assure success. Here is a fun infographic we’ve created with 7 inspirational quotes to help you through each step of the project journey. Take a look and if there are others that work for you or your team let me know in the comments below.          

Wait, let me check…

Every time I think about how life must have been 150-200 years ago, before electricity, and therefore the power to do things we now take for granted, like moving water through a hose with a bit of “kick” on it, I am amazed at what got accomplished through sheer willpower and teamwork. And for my money, nothing says old-fashioned teamwork like the ‘bucket brigade.’   For any of you not familiar with the term, here’s what Wikipedia says, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bucket_brigade . Essentially, it’s a long line of humans who literally pass a bucket full of water from wherever the water source is to a fire. The last person in line, closest to the fire, tosses the bucket on the fire. This goes on, one bucket at a time, until the fire is out. And clearly, this must have worked at least occasionally, or people would have stopped doing it. I imagine that, among the many challenges of accomplishing this effectively, one of the hardest parts is that each member of the brigade has to quickly and flawlessly take the bucket from the person “upstream” and get it into the hands of the person “downstream” while not spilling any water.   If the bucket…

Friday Funny: Top 10 Project Management Quotes!

Our favorite day of the week can mean only one thing – another Friday Funny for you all to enjoy! This week, I stumbled upon this blog post by management.simplicable.com which provides 101 brilliant quotes that all project managers can relate to! I decided to rifle through the selection and pull some of the more humorous ones. Enjoy 🙂 Adventure is just bad planning ~ Roald Amundsen Most plans are just inaccurate predictions ~ Ben Bayol Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised ~ Denis Waitley Managing to have a sense of humor makes it a lot easier to manage people ~ Steve Wilson I’ve got an opinion on everything, so I should go into management ~ Richard Gough Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans: it’s lovely to be silly at the right moment ~ Horace My personal philosophy is not to undertake a project unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible ~ Edwin Land Estimating is what you do when you don’t know ~ Sherman Kent In politics stupidity is not a handicap ~ Napoleon Bonaparte How does a project get to be a year late? One day at a time…

[Infographic] Tips to Make Users Love SharePoint

SharePoint is an amazing business tool, yet so many we see the platform viewed as nothing more than a glorified file share. So how do you get end users to leverage SharePoint for those business processes it is so perfectly suited? The folks over at Sharegate put together this handy inforgraphic on seven tips that to help you get your users to LOVE SharePoint. Crafted by: Sharegate The SIMPLEST SharePoint Management tool suite.

A Project Manager’s Guide to Surviving Thanksgiving in 7 Simple Steps

Are you already feeling the heat thinking about your Thanksgiving turkey? Time to show the family how a true project manager takes over the kitchen – it is your time to shine!   But wait…will the turkey be big enough? What if the dinner is ready, but of course some of the guests are extra late? Or even worse, they show up extra early? And the hot topic lately…the family member who will request if each item is gluten-free, dairy-free, taste-free! Okay, this IS a project and in order to successfully manage a project, you need an approach. So here it is, a project manager’s guide to surviving Thanksgiving in seven simple steps!   1. Define Your Scope How many family members have you initially invited and how many have RSVP’d (as we know to allow for a few extra – someone always forgets to RSVP!)? Is it going to be a full sit down meal or a buffet? How many turkey lovers to you have, who will most definitely look for seconds?   2. Initiate the Project The first task is to ensure that you have approval to proceed with the project. You might say that it is easier…

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,…

If You Build It, Will They Come – Project Management on SharePoint

You have been given the task of looking at SharePoint as a possible candidate for Project Management software. Along with your research you come across the BrightWork Project Management in SharePoint Solution. Intuitively, you understand that this could work. But you have reservation since previous attempts to bring technology solutions for Project Management have failed. A quiet voice inside your head whispers: “If you build it, they will come”. “What?” you say out loud. The voice repeats “If you build it, they will come.” You think you have been working too hard and obsessing over this assignment way too much. You’re about to put in for immediate vacation time, when the clarity of the statement hits you. This could work. You will have to carve out a portion of the SharePoint Farm and its resources for it. It will be hard to justify with solid numbers at first, but you understand, “If you build it, they will come”. So you take a leap of faith, make the purchase on your credit card, and convince your SharePoint Administrator to allocate a site collection on the Farm. He thinks you are crazy, having taken up precious disk space and network bandwidth to…

BrightWork 2010 & Demand Management

We are very happy to provide our customers with enhanced Demand Management capabilities in BrightWork 2010 for SharePoint 2010. Below are some details we hope adds to your understanding of how this all works, and stirs up some ideas of how you can put this to use for your organization! Our Demand Management features, like so much about BrightWork generally, can be implemented in a sliding capability manner, depending on your own needs. Here are the 4 ways to implement this, from the simplest to the more extensive (hint: each successive method builds on the former method): 1)      Project Request List: This is simply a list added to an existing project site. Provides fields to support tracking a request, approval of the request and the subsequent creation of the project site (assuming it is approved). Just add to the Quick Launch, and you’re ready to go. 2)      Project Request Manager: This template offers a more comprehensive process than the Project Request List. It provides a separate site to create requests, supply supporting documents and track organizational goals. Additional features: An email workflow that notifies the nominated Request Approver when a new Project Request has been submitted and also copies the…

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.

Captain Kirk, Project Leader

Last week I came across a great article by Andrew Knapp of Forbes called Five Leadership Lessons from James T. Kirk. Being a Star Trek fan, naturally, I was going to read the article. And since we at BrightWork are in the business of Project Management, I also wanted to see how those leadership lessons from Captain Kirk applied to project management. Below are 5 leadership traits of Captain Kirk that Andrew points out, and what they mean to you, the project manager.   1. Never Stop Learning This is applicable to all aspects of life really, but project management is one area that is very much about learning. In our experience, many project managers are in the category we call “Project Managers by Accident”. These are people thrown into the deep end with no real project management experience or knowledge. So for these folks, the first step is to learn the project management discipline and what leadership style will work for them in their organization. But these are not the only PMs who should be learning. Even the most experienced project managers understand that no project will ever go according to plan. In this light, project managers should always…

5 Templates for Project and Portfolio Management using SharePoint

Yesterday we ran a live webinar where we presented 5 templates for managing a single project and a portfolio of projects on SharePoint. We had a huge sign-up. Not surprising really considering the growing application of SharePoint to a wide array of business processes. Apart from the awesome collection of 5 (they are powerful), I was really taken with the results of the surveys we did before and after the session. At the beginning we asked attendees the following question: “Do you use SharePoint to manage projects and portfolios today?” 24 % said No 43 % said Yes – we use SharePoint for some projects 33 % said Yes – we use Microsoft Project and SharePoint on many projects We then presented and demonstrated each of the 5 SharePoint templates: Projects Tracker Project Lite Project Standard Project Structured Project Office & Portfolio Office At the end of the webinar we asked attendees “Would you now consider using SharePoint to manage projects and portfolios of projects?” 4% said No 50% said Yes – we will use SharePoint for some projects 46% said Yes – we will use Microsoft Project and SharePoint on many projects Go figure. Watch the webinar (the recording…

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…