Month: September 2016

8 Ways to Improve Productivity for Startups

We all are bound by time and if you’re working in a startup, time is as precious as the funding that you receive or invest. Apart from managing a zillion things to make your firm work, managing time to execute your plans is quite critical. Increasing your productivity and reducing your stress should be your utmost priority and below are few tips that can help you achieve it.

1) Small Goals, Win Big!

Start with setting small goals for yourself. This will help you to concentrate on little things, which really changes the bigger picture.

2) Prioritize your Work!

Setting goals doesn’t make sense if you don’t prioritize your tasks. Make a to do list for yourself in a day and prioritize the tasks. This will help you to meet deadlines and reduce your stress. Use project-planning apps to synchronize your work.

3) Know your Appetite!

Have you ever filled your plate with lots of food and left it cause you were full? Happens a lot right. When at work it’s a similar scenario, don’t take extra work or assign yourself more tasks if you already have your hands full.

4) Learn to say No!

Being in a startup you always want to impress or make a mark for yourself and end up saying yes to everything you’re asked to do. It’s not a good practice, as this will just increase your workload, stress and reduce the quality of your work.

5) Do it Now!

This is what I keep telling myself every few hours cause I am a big Procrastinator! Humans work similar to rockets; we don’t work till our ass is not on fire. Avoid working on the last day to meet your deadline, this affects the quality of your work and takes your stress level to infinity.

6) No Long Meetings!

Meetings are the most time consuming and make sure you take meetings in the most efficient way. Brief the team about the meeting earlier through mail so you don’t end up wasting time telling everyone what is it about. Also, it doesn’t always have to be a conference room. Conduct stand up meetings to save time.

7) Take small Breaks

Make sure you have a 5 minutes break after completing your tasks. You deserve it, more importantly you need it! Working constantly stagnates your brain and will block all your creative ideas. Your brain and body needs to relax to get the best out of you!

8) Be an Optimist!

Staying positive and happy about your work will get half of your work done. If mentally you can visualize your success and maintain that thought process throughout you will execute it. Believe in yourself.

Project Risk Management: The Four Stages of Project Risk Removal

Project Risk Management: The Four Stages of Project Risk Removal

Project Risk Management: The Four Stages of Project Risk Removal

Project Risk Management – Here’s the Four Stages of Risk Removal.

A project risk can be defined as “an unforeseen event or condition” which may have a negative impact on the project’s objectives, in case the event takes place. Risks to a project are bound to crop up as a project progresses from being an idea mapped on a whiteboard into being a project management strategy. Different types of risk will keep on popping up at every stage of the project. Even the most skilled project manager who is working on a well-planned project will have to deal with risks. Project risks are inevitable and therefore, project managers must continually assess risks and develop plans to tackle them. The most effective way to deal with risks is to have a proper risk management procedure as well as risk removal stratagem.

The process of project risk removal involves the following four stages:

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Risk Identification:-

Identification of risks is the first and most important step of risk management. Each project team member should be involved in the process of identifying potential risks to the project. Once the risks are defined, the project manager should assess whether the risk is valid enough to be dealt with by the team. Though there will always be some level of uncertainty from the beginning of the project, it is imperative to gauge which risks should actually be dealt with. The negligible ones can be ignored as the project management team cannot afford to worry about every little thing. Instead, a risk management process should be initiated to formulate and implement risk mitigation strategies to avoid any disruptions to the project.

Risk Analysis:-

After you have identified the risk factor and it poses continuous risk, it important that you research, analyze and evaluate the risk. Only those risks which are a real threat to the project and appropriate action is needed, have to be analyzed. In this step, a lot of people are involved such as the project manager, key stakeholders, subject-matter experts, senior management and other decision-makers. Once the analysis is complete, additional information about the risk is known. Then it is the task of the project manager and key stakeholders to decide whether the particular risk is worthy of the project team’s time and resources or if it can be left as is. A very practical approach is required when analyzing various project risks.

Risk Determination:-

Once the project team is done with the identification and analysis of the risk, the next step is to determine whether the risk needs to be eliminated or accepted as a part of the project. If the risk is quite significant, then the project manager should formulate ways to mitigate the risk. It is also essential to update the project management plan to account for the risk.

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Risk Removal:-

The final step is to work towards removing the risk from your project. This takes place when- either the risk is accepted due to the processes in the risk management plan or is successfully mitigated. Risk removal ensures that the project team no longer needs to spend its time and effort dealing with that particular risk. This in turn gives the project manager more freedom to better utilize his resources. It is true that risks are on-going in nature and you will keep on facing different risks at every stage of your project. But with each risk removal, you are one step closer to the successful completion of your project.

Seven Early Signs of Project Failure

Seven Early Signs of Project Failure

Seven Early Signs of Project Failure

In the field of project management, changing dynamics and uncertainties always pose a risk. If you want to step up your game as a project manager, you can learn through various resources how to successfully run a project. However, it is equally important to know the causes of project failure so that you are able to turnaround the situation in the nick of time. If you are aware of the warning signs, then you can make appropriate changes to achieve the desired outcome.

The following are seven early signs pointing that your project is headed towards failure.

1. Undefined or poorly defined project objectives and requirements:-

Project managers must collaborate with project stakeholders to clearly define the project requirements and deliverables. Defining project objectives and requirements is essential in order to define the project scope. If the project scope changes frequently, then it negatively impacts the schedule, budget and resources of the project. This can cause project delays and eventually failure, if not tackled in the early stages.

2.  Lack of adequate project planning:-

Once the project manager has defined the project scope, project planning is the next step to jumpstart the project. You must understand that there may be more than one way to achieve the project requirements and that scope and cost vary based on the project management approach. Therefore, the project manager must develop a scope management process to frame clear and concise project scope statements and reasonable budget and schedule estimates.

3. Lack of change management process:-

Due to unforeseen and uncontrollable reasons, project changes are bound to occur. However, lack of suitable change management process will increase the chances of project failure. A strict change management process needs to be incorporated so that the effects of changing project requirements are duly analyzed, prioritized and adjusted as per the scope, budget and schedule of the project.

4. Lack of stakeholder involvement:-

Project managers must engage the key project stakeholders and seek their involvement since the beginning and throughout the entire project. This will ensure that project requirements are clearly defined and communicated to the project team. Lack of stakeholder involvement results in tasks and deliverables not meeting expectations; thereby causing project delays and failure.

5. Bad timing:-

Bad timing means that it may not be the right time to do a project. The reasons for it may be many- either the organization does not have an appetite for it or the end users aren’t ready for a change or the market is unfavorable. If the timing or the environment isn’t right, then the project is bound to fail.

6. Power struggle and personal agendas:-

Power struggle between the project team members can be destructive and negatively impact the project. A power struggle can fuel inter-personal conflicts and dilutes the focus towards achieving the desired outcome. Also, some people may enter a project with personal agendas to use it as a platform to attain personal gains. The project manager has to ensure that the project team concentrates on organizational objectives rather than their personal agenda.

7. Inadequate Documentation and Tracking:-

Lack of documentation or proper tracking of milestones will add to the confusion. It is important that the project manager maintains proper records and monitors the tasks and deliverables at regular intervals. This will help him to identify the areas where more resources are needed to complete the project on time.

Conclusion:-

These early signs of project failure need to be taken seriously so that the management takes timely action. By simply stopping or restarting the project at an earlier stage will help avoid huge losses or project failure. There are many other reasons which can lead to project failure such as insufficient resources, unrealistic expectations & deadlines, lack of proper communication, inefficient project team, absence of motivation and unhealthy client/vendor relationships.

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Must ReadWhy Projects Fail?

Also ReadHow to Define the Project Scope?

How to Define Project Scope?

In project management, the first step of project initiation is to define the scope of the project. Defining project scope is a part of project planning which involves the determination and documentation of various project goals such as tasks, deliverables, functions and features. The project scope needs to be well-defined and detailed in nature. Also, it should be approved by all stakeholders. Project Scope is crucial to project management since it can greatly impact the schedule or cost (or both) of a project. Only after defining project scope, the project manager will be able to allocate tasks and direct his team to complete the project successfully.

Must Read: 7 Quick Tips Regarding Project Management App

Mentioned below are the steps for defining project scope:-

1. Define the project objectives:-

The objective or goal of a project could be anything- creating a new product, creating a new service model for an organization, developing new software, etc. But it is the responsibility of the project manager to adequately define the project objectives so that his team delivers something that matches the client’s requirements. Identifying project objectives is critical to define the project scope since they help the project manager to decide what project methodologies have to be applied to the project to make it a success.

2. Define the process requirements:-

It is essential that the project manager understands the process requirements as it helps in defining the project scope. The stakeholders, senior management and project team members need to have a common understanding about what has to be included in or excluded from, a project. This will make it clear to all parties concerned as to what product or service will be delivered.

3. Involve the correct stakeholders:-

For a project to become a success, the stakeholders who are commissioning the project have to be closely involved at various stages of the project. If the stakeholders do not actively participate in every aspect of the project, then the project manager will have to lead making assumptions. This can add to confusion and even lead to scope creeps.

Also Read: 5 Tips to Succeed in Project Management

4. Identify the limitations:-

Rather than focusing on what is out-of-scope for a project, it is essential to document what exactly will be delivered as an outcome. However, it is also important to make known what will not be done; otherwise certain tasks will be executed on assumptions and cause time and cost overrun.

5. Change Management:-

It is natural for parts of any large project to change along the way. Though it is advisable to avoid scope creep, there are times when a particular part of a large project may require change due to the dynamic nature of business. In order to avoid disagreements and changes to a project’s scope by all stakeholders, it is advisable to have a strict change management process in place. Once the project scope has been defined, it should not be changed without the proper change management functions taking place, at which point appropriate action can be made to address the moving project necessities.

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Conclusion:-

For a project manager, defining the project scope will give a sense of purpose when executing the project. Understanding the project scope helps in dealing with challenges and risks. Moreover, the project scope acts as a foundation on which the schedule, budget and resources of the project are planned. A well-defined scope is the secret to keep the project under control and avoid scope creeps which will lead to successful closure of the project.

Complete Collection of Project Management Statistics 2016

Of late, the project management landscape has become dynamic. There is increased emphasis on efficiency, productivity and reporting as well as added stress on the IT industry. Due to the changing dynamics of the industry, being a project manager today is much different than being a project manager back in 2005. A lot of research has been done to analyze how often projects fail, the cost companies bear due to losses, etc.

The project management statistics below can help us understand how the role of a project manager has changed over the years and how project management has performed across various industries in the last 5 years.

  1. One out of six IT projects has an average cost overrun of 200% and a schedule overrun of 70%. Around 45% of companies admit that they are unclear about the business objectives of their IT projects. (Harvard Business Review)
  2. As per an IBM study, about 40% projects meet budget, schedule and quality goals. (Harvard Business Review)
  3. Only around one-third of all projects were successfully closed as per the time and budget set, during the past one year. (Standish Group)
  4. About 75% of IT Executives expect their software projects to fail. (Geneca)
  5. The US economy loses $50-$150 billion because of failed IT projects every year. (Gallup Business Review)
  6. The median salary of project managers is $87,500 in the United States. (Glassdoor)
  7. 50% of all Project Management Offices shut down within three years. (KeyedIN)
  8. Only 56% of project managers hold professional certification and about two-thirds of CIO’s consider PMI certification as a valuable benefit, but not a necessity. (Wrike)
  9. High performing organizations are able to successfully close 89% of their projects whereas low performing organizations complete only 36%. (Project Management Institute)
  10. 80% of “high-performing” projects are led by a certified project manager. (Price Waterhouse Coopers)
  11. About 49% organizations have incorporated a project management training program. (PM Solutions)
  12. 44% project managers do not use project management software, even though PWC concluded that using PM software increases performance. (Price Waterhouse Coopers)
  13. A whopping 97% of companies believe project management is imperative for business performance and organizational success. (Price Waterhouse Coopers)
  14. 60% companies do not measure ROI on their projects. (KPMG New Zealand: Project Management Survey 2010)
  15. Around 33% projects meet failure due to lack of involvement from senior management. (University of Ottawa)
  16. Project managers consider reliability, ease of use and ease of integration as the top three parameters while selecting PM software. (The Access Group)
  17. 66% project managers identified level of software support as the key decider while investing in new software. (The Access Group)
  18. Two-thirds of companies use project management software to communicate with their clients. (Capterra)
  19. It is estimated that the healthcare industry will increase project management roles by 30% between 2010 and 2020. This is a higher growth rate when compared to the other project-intensive industries. (Project Management Institute)

It is projected that more than 40 million new project manager roles will be created across the globe by year 2020. This will have an economic impact of more than $20 trillion on the seven project-intensive industries such as Finance & Insurance, Manufacturing, IT services, Utilities, Healthcare, Oil & Gas and Construction. (Project Management Institute Research Report)

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