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The Practical PM Journal contains a wealth of information gained by project managers during the various phases of real projects. A community of project managers reveal the successes, failures and mitigation steps experienced in the practice of professional project management.

Topics cover all aspects of project management including:
- The five process groups: Initiation, Planning, Executing, Controlling and Monitoring and Closing
- The nine knowledge areas: Integration, Scope, Schedule, Costing, Quality, HR, Communications, Risk and Procurement
- Other related topics such as Operational improvement and program management

Active community members have the right to have at least one article per year published in the journal. The knowledge conveyed is of real value to other project managers as it offers the opportunity to avoid project trouble, gain efficiency, control schedules and more.

Project management professionals earn 1 PDU credit per hour of approved activity. Reading the Practical PM Journal articles, writing an article and discussing project management issues are all examples of valid PDU earning activities.

Comments are welcome on the posts found at Practical PM Journal. They must pertain to the project management topic. Spam comments will not be accepted. You are welcome to reference web sites that are related to the topic. You may also include an author link. Your information will not be shared with any third parties.

The Practical PM Journal contains a wealth of information gained by project managers during the various phases of real projects. A community of project managers reveal the successes, failures and mitigation steps experienced in the practice of professional project management. Topics cover all aspects of project management including: - The five process groups: Initiation, Planning,…

Ask any project manager, they always say that they are busy, and no time to take care about team. Along with the project success they need to take care about implementation of defined standards or processes, team motivation, training, team assessment, working with peers in acquiring more business, etc. If we observer, most of the responsibilities are related to each other.

A motivated team makes a project succeed; it helps in implementing defined standards and processes. A successful project leads to obtaining more business, etc.

This paper focuses on the importance of team motivation and how to build a good and responsible team.

Introduction:

A team can make or break a project’s implementation.

Being a project manager, I am here to share my experiences which might help other managers in managing their teams and making a project success. Following are a few points which I would like to discuss here.

Gather information about the team:

A manager has to gather both tangible and intangible information.

In many projects the team members join the project without any intervention of the project manager but it is the project manager who is responsible for the project’s success or failure. A manager might have gathered some information about the team members but the team is also intelligent enough to know manager abilities. Most team members will gather information about the project manager before joining the project, so manager need to be cautious as team comes with conceived notions.

Tangible Information: A manager should know about each and every team member’s previous projects, skills, interests, expectations, future plans, etc. It would be an added advantage if the manager knows about their personal priorities also, which will help in effective task delegation.

Subtle Information: The manager needs to work towards intangible qualities of a team member. A manager can gather these qualities by observing(only observing and not monitoring) their life style, body language, way of dressing, speaking, way of working, facial expressions, behavior, assertiveness, etc., and interact more often with the team (only with meaning full discussions) in an either planned or unplanned manner.

Having complete information about the team will help the manager to decide who needs what training and also task assignment. In one way this will reduce the project cost and increase the productivity. And in another way it will increase the intimacy between the team member and the manager. When the right time comes, the manager can use the hidden skills of the team.

The team has to get a feeling that the manager is more approachable.

I have two team members in team. Given a work one always looks for a shorter route to complete the work, and the other will study thoroughly and come to a solution. This kind of nature actually reflects in their lifestyle too. We need to consider these while assigning tasks.

Be aware of subgroups within the team:

The team members can be from different regions, technologies with different intentions and future plans. Whenever a new team is formed, usually people from same regions, with same interest or from same background and technology move together and form an opinion about the project as well as the project manager. But this is only the beginning, and the team is just in the forming state.

Having this information will help the project manager to know how the information is flowing (is it through a right media or not) and how the team is responding.

Identify the uniqueness of each team member:

A manager should know that each and every team member is unique. They will be having their own personal life, career plans and there might be a cause and expectation behind every one for joining the project. Each one will be very good in something or the other. Just imagine yourself in their place…as you have your own career plans and personal life, they also have the same.

This will help the manager to know the right motivation required for each and every team member as it differs from person to person. For example some team members get motivated with working in new technologies and some get motivated with monetary benefits and some with their position in the project.

A manager who can predict a team members behavior under certain situations and can delegate tasks effectively.

Share your work:

Manager has to categorize his work basically into 4 types.

Confidential and need immediate attention

Confidential but does need immediate attention

Not confidential but need immediate attention

Not confidential and does not need immediate attention.

Categories a & b cannot be shared to team members as they are confidential. Categories c & d can be shared among the team members based on the skills of team members. By implementing this, one way a manager get some breathing space and the other way the team feels that they are sharing project work.

Setting right goals, sharing goals:

Once the manager knew about the team, it’s time to set the right vision for each and every team member. A manager has to delegate roles, responsibilities and goals to each and every team member in such a way that the right work is assigned to the right person.

Goals can be different for the team members though they are working for the same project. Based on the capability, role and interest of the team member, different goals are set.

A manager can share some of his responsibilities to the team members which he feels appropriate. Suppose a manager has a goal of conducting 3 training in a stipulated period, he can assign share same goal to some of his team members who are interested in trainings. This way both the objectives will get satisfied.

If the right work goes to the right person, then you need not look back for productivity.

Use ego to team’s advantage:

Having a team with too many geniuses is a problem. Being confident is good ego, but being is overconfident is bad ego. A team member with good ego is more productive.

Smart people love challenges. Put the goal before the team and ask them to solve it. And then challenge them to do it. Big goals are common in design, engineering and research sectors; innovation fuels their drive.

Smart people like being around other smart people. They especially enjoy proving how much smarter they are than the others. So use this ego to the team’s advantage. Treat everyone fairly — but not necessarily equally. That is, the more one achieves, the more recognition he will receive.

Manager has to ensure that rivalries are only achievement-oriented, not personal Confidence is fine, but not over confidence. Make certain that everyone continues to feel part of the team.

Once there was a situation in my project where we need to evaluate a difficult tool, and don’t have any kind of help from the product owners. There was a smart team member in my team who prefers to work individually and not in team. Always he wants to prove himself. I assigned this task to him, and he proved himself!

Emotional Intelligence:

Does any bad news become good over time if a manager is aggressive? NO. Manager need to find the ways to handle it soon.

Be careful of decision making and don’t let adverse facts defeat good decisions and don’t let anybody’s self-esteem comes in between. Remain calm under pressure and be kind to people. At the same time, be demanding of others. A good communicator knows when to speak and when to listen.

Whenever a team member is having any concern, listen to him/her completely and think from the team member’s perspective before taking any decision. Tf the manager is not bold then the team might misuse his/her trait. A manager has to develop the insight of knowing which the right request is and which is not.

Every manager must possess Emotional Intelligence and try to improve this skill constantly.

Encourage leaders in team:

Some people in our society are born leaders. Though they are not managers, they will have the leadership qualities. Some people in our society are just followers. The followers might be very good performers but they hesitate to take any new step on their own. They would just like to follow the leader. The manager should make sure that the leader’s steps should be profitable to the project. The manager must encourage the current leaders and ensure that the followers become future leaders.

E.g. If the leader wants to leave the company, he/she might inspire the other team members also to do so, which is a threat to the project. But if the leader wants to innovate something for the project then it might be advantageous for the team. So the project manager has to be very careful about these types of members. This type of information can be gathered mostly from observation and social network.

Interpersonal relations:

It is very important that the objectives of the project are correctly and equally understood by all the team members. Managers should maintain relationship with the team members to know their overall performance. It benefits manager to understand the personal side of team members, it is also important to facilitate or create conducive environment in the team to know and appreciate each other. Generally, appreciation by higher-ups is seen as a professional deed. An appreciation from your peer is seen as more genuine. If the manager can make this happen, he/she is well on their way to building a successful team.

Appreciate publicly and criticize privately. Make sure your acknowledgment does not demotivate other team members and everyone takes it positively.

Be a role model:

Most of us in our life are inspired by some one or the other. For me, my father is my role model as I grew up by observing his actions and behavior. Thus, “role model” is a behavioral function that encompasses how a person acts and responds to situations.

Long back, I completed a project with a team of 6 members successfully. After the project, the team said that “Whatever project you take care further, we all will join you. We would like to work with you again and again”

It is the highest honor that I have been paid in my professional career.

A project manager need to have good emotional intelligence, to be a role model, which is defined as acting in the proper manner during all occasions. This requires an awareness of one’s self to understand your emotions and how to respond in a positive manner to situations. Finally, one needs to manage relationships through awareness of one’s emotions and the emotions of others to successfully engage others.

Satisfying the team’s aspirations:

From the company’s perspective, a project needs to be successful. If the team is happy, then the future projects will be successful. For this, it is very important for the manager to take care of other aspirations of the team and also take care of their career plans.

In one way handling the team, and in another way dealing with higher management is also very important. The expenses or planning for these are not included in any project cost or in any risk management.

Assessing the team’s performance without bias:

The team needs an unbiased, consistent system of performance assessment. Nothing hurts positive motivation and morale more quickly than unaddressed problems or problems addressed inconsistently. Assess the team’s performance timely and update the goals if needed. Make sure the team members take the assessment positively and definitely the outcome will be positive. Make sure you and your team members are of the same opinion about their individual performances.

Schedule daily or weekly meetings with the team and ensure to get feedback on the project/projects’ tasks. You will be surprised how effective this tool can be in building employee motivation and morale. You can make their day.

Confidentiality:

However much you become close to the team members, you have certain responsibilities, and you have certain goals. As a manager you are not supposed to share any confidential news. Also make sure you do not share one team member’s information with the other team members.

Build network with the team:

Generally it happens that no team member would like to have lunch with their boss as they often speak/discuss about them only at lunch breaks, and the team will feel inconvenient if the boss is present with them for lunch.

Most of the information will be shared among team members at lunch and tea breaks, outings. Though this is normally unofficial information, at times there will be very valid information also. Try to have lunch with your team, if not regularly, at least a few days in a week, to build good relations with them. If the team really feels happy by your presence at their break time, then definitely you are moving in the right direction.

Develop trust:

Have you ever seen team members working for their boss to complete work on time? They work just because they want to be associated with the manager. This comes only with trust.

Long back, when I was a team member, we were facing some problems in deliverables and getting tensed. Then my manager came and said that “Let’s work together. If it is a success, then we all will succeed, and if it is failed we all will fail. Let’s put our step forward”. His words inspired us and gave confidence which made our deliverable successful.

Project managers must build trust with the team through actions that demonstrate honesty and integrity. Honesty and integrity are vital traits to build upon through consistently upholding the truth. One lie can destroy future trust. Treat them like your family members, and let that family bondage develop between the team and yourself.

Don’t promise the things which cannot be done.

Project management is not as easy as we discuss it in our documents. It will either make or break a project. Express your trust in others through your actions and the team will also trust you. Good luck to all project managers, and I wish them to enjoy their project management.

 

Laxmi Vemaraju, December 2014

Ask any project manager, they always say that they are busy, and no time to take care about team. Along with the project success they need to take care about implementation of defined standards or processes, team motivation, training, team assessment, working with peers in acquiring more business, etc. If we observer, most of the…

When we are talking about project management techniques and concepts, you can find a lot of references and expertise to guide you through and add to your knowledge as a project manager increasing your ability to manage complex projects.

But what you will not find that easy when you are planning to establish project management department and leading the change in your organization, how to start and what you should consider in your plan.

At this stage you will need to focus in the project management itself along with other issues like calibers, process, organization structure and mind set of your colleagues in other departments. [click to continue…]

When we are talking about project management techniques and concepts, you can find a lot of references and expertise to guide you through and add to your knowledge as a project manager increasing your ability to manage complex projects. But what you will not find that easy when you are planning to establish project management…

Being a database manager for a State Agency and having to manage different databases, web servers, application servers etc including the team resources is no easy task. We have about 10 to 15 critical applications that are operated 24/7 and cannot sustain a down time. Managing System Administrators and making sure the servers are patched cloned and operated at its potential is another daunting task.

When we started growing in terms of on-boarding new applications, databases etc to the existing pool it was a little overwhelming to manage them all. That time, I brought in the Agile methodology to my team so we work with smaller projects or applications and also making team members the stake holders in the project. The team members were responsible for the applications they will step up to own and understand the functionalities etc. [click to continue…]

Being a database manager for a State Agency and having to manage different databases, web servers, application servers etc including the team resources is no easy task. We have about 10 to 15 critical applications that are operated 24/7 and cannot sustain a down time. Managing System Administrators and making sure the servers are patched…

The surveying of buildings has been commonplace for a few hundred years now, however, it has not been known as a profession until the later 20th century, and it is now one of the broadest areas of surveying in practice, with domestic projects to major retail development. A building surveyor’s job is designed to offer advice on different aspects of design, construction, maintenance, repair, restoration and refurbishment of a particular building. They provide a quality report stating clearly any defects with the property, the different ways of improving it, and any structural facts or recommended solutions. What’s more, they can advise how likely it is that you’ll be able to get planning permission, how much any work will roughly cost to conduct, and how suitable the building is for the particular use you have in mind.

What do they do?

Building surveying work varies dramatically day-to-day, it can involve drawing up detailed plans, advising on whether a grant might be available and even consulting with architectural professionals to help prepare a detailed plan of work. Then once the work is underway, the building surveyors project manage, are responsible for budgets and oversee work on site – they see the project right through from start to finish, offering advice and guidance along the way.

Among their lengthy list of responsibilities, they are also in charge of putting forward any type of planning applications, advice on property law, building regulations and other legal matters such as health and safety – all of these things which the ordinary person would know very little about. In the unfortunate case of building and contract disputes, building surveyors can act as expert witnesses or represent their clients.

Is there much need for Surveyors?

Over the previous decade, the demand for building surveyors has risen with the increasing refurbishment of urban areas, older properties and rural sites – how many new buildings have been erected in your local area in the last decade? While no one would pretend the construction industry was not affected by the recession, and the level of opportunities reflects the economy as a whole, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has suggested there is still plenty of demand, especially for building control surveyors.

Clients are broad-ranging, and might include potential buyers, sellers, mortgage lenders and property owners. If you are interested in the make-up of buildings and like the idea of a varied job where expert advice is vital, this could be the ideal job for you. Do bear in mind that you should have good problem-solving skills, strong communication and presentation skills, as well as being able to understand your client’s business needs. Overall you really need to enjoy working with people in a predominately male environment, with only a quarter of the establishment being women.

Qualifications

Although there is no minimum set of entry requirements in order to train as a building surveyor, in practice most people who enter the profession are educated to at least A-level standard or equal. If you want to get a head start in your career path then the most common path to do this is to undertake a degree accredited by the RICS or the Chartered Institute of Building. These are available at a variety of further education facilities, but especially in previously called ‘Polytechnics’ which have more recently been reformatted as Universities, for instance places such as Anglia Ruskin, the university located in the heart of Cambridge.

If you feel you are too old to go back to university or you want to continue with your job at the same time as complete your degree, then why don’t you study via a distance learning course, part-time course or even a sandwich course? There are plenty of options for you to explore, don’t lose all hope because there are relevant post graduate and conversion courses available if you have a different degree. Once completed you’ll be ready and raring to go! Most will then start at a basic level of trainee position within a surveying firm.

Pre-entry involvement is highly recommended, as in all career paths, this experience allows graduates to experience the practical application of ideas in the ‘real world’, and can lead directly into employed positions. Likewise any work shadowing or on placements with major employers can be hugely productive and valuable to your career, but be prepared that the work you are offered will probably be an internship or apprenticeship, which is either minimum wage or unpaid.

Most surveyors choose to work towards a chartership with one of the professional bodies, predominantly RICS, as they set the qualification criteria. ‘Chartered surveyor’ is an internationally recognised qualification which opens up opportunities abroad, not to mention leading to increased responsibility and the all-important sought after high salaries!

Key skills:

In order to be successful in becoming a building surveyor, you need to have certain skills that will help your career progression, just some of these key abilities are:

  • Willingness to work outside in all conditions – very important as the British weather is very unpredictable
  • Interested in knowledge of the buildings environment
  • Excellent IT skills, including knowledge of industry-specific software
  • Analytically minded, with strong problem-solving skills
  • Interpersonal and communication skills, both written and oral – this is extremely important as you with deal with all forms of communication on a daily basis
  • Excellent people, project and time management skills
  • A full clean driving licence
Featured images:
  • License: Creative Commons image source
  • License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://all-free-download.com/free-photos/boston_public_library_boston_massachusetts_217864.html
  • Image credit smartphotostock.com

Karen is a prolific writer, and as owner, landlord and tenant of various residential and commercial properties for housing her 2 growing businesses in, has become familiar with the profession of building surveying. She has used the services of Barker Storey Matthews for all her commercial property advice in the Cambridge area.

Karen James on Google+

The surveying of buildings has been commonplace for a few hundred years now, however, it has not been known as a profession until the later 20th century, and it is now one of the broadest areas of surveying in practice, with domestic projects to major retail development. A building surveyor’s job is designed to offer…

The Modern Web
The Modern Web is a book that web design executives will like because it gives specific details on how you can improve on the web design skills they already have in order to please clients better. It is also not a huge book and it contains everything they need to know in a way that is simple to understand. The good thing about this book is that it does not rehash the basic design principles of JavaScript, HTML and CSS and the author mentions the latest techniques of web design using these concepts. For the web design executive who wants to stay ahead of the game, the author mentions what the future of web design will look like in light of advances such as mobile web development. If designers need step-by-step examples of how to utilize the latest techniques, this book has visual examples for reference. The chapters in this book that may be of interest to web design executives include web apps, multimedia, modern JavaScript, structure and semantics and web platform.
Website Optimization
Every successful web design executive must know the art of optimization and in the book Website Optimization, the web design executive can learn innovative methods of optimization so that he will have greater success with his web design projects. The book is written by Andrew King, a leading figure in website optimization, and he has some fascinating nuggets of wisdom that can help web design executives and their employees. In this book King mentions the importance of search engine optimization and common mistakes executives make in this area. King also endorses pay-per-click methods for websites and he dedicates another section of this book to creating and maintaining user-friendly navigation for clients.
Executive Guide to Information Security
Web design executives need to be concerned about threats to their information security and this means that they will need to understand the latest and best ways to maintain safety of websites against viruses, hacking or other problems that could destroy this security. The book Executive Guide to Information Security gives web design executives insight into how to do this. The author Mark Egan starts the book with a history of information security and he also discusses the need to hire more personnel who are skilled and experienced in this sector of web design.
Return on Design
Web design executives who are interested in looking at their firms as an investment should purchase the book Return on Design because author Ani Phyo discusses how they can get returns on their investments as executives. Phyo mentions that web design executives need to define their business goals and it is important that they have an understanding of what their clients’ needs are in order to create better websites for them. Phyo then talks about specific techniques for better web design such as the use of sitemaps and testing clients’ websites.
The Ecommerce Book
Web design executives whose clients are mostly online business owners will benefit from the book The E-commerce Book. Author Steffano Korper teaches you diverse methods of developing successful e-commerce web design strategies and he also discusses the importance of diversifying customer payment choices and marketing as fundamental to e-commerce web design.

Conclusion

The role of web design in industries such as business, entertainment, politics and education has increased greatly and it is up to web design executives to create high quality projects that will produce the best results for the clients they serve. With these five books, the executives will have the necessary information to improve their work and obtain new clients.

Zane Schwarzlose is a writer at Fahrenheit Marketing, an Austin based web design firm. Zane would like to read “The Modern Web” book.

The Modern Web The Modern Web is a book that web design executives will like because it gives specific details on how you can improve on the web design skills they already have in order to please clients better. It is also not a huge book and it contains everything they need to know in…

Nowadays, staff outsourcing has become an integral part of various industries and organizations, allowing employees from around the globe to collaborate on different projects. Besides the intangible costs of lost information and low morale associated with employee turnover, organizations also incur huge costs of replacement hiring, separation processing, training, lost business and lost productivity, which can be avoided by planning ahead in order to protect your human resource interests. Anything can be easily outsourced now from accounting and payroll to computer programming and sales. Staff outsourcing has proven to be a very useful tool mainly because if offers more efficient and less expensive services than the salaried employees.

The business works faster as employee productivity increases

Outsourcing your staff is an easy way of ensuring that people are retained for specific tasks and positions. Moreover, training is not required and such employees are always ready to start working. If the organization needs employees with specific sets of skills, those are the skills to be sought through the outsourcing procedure. Therefore, the skills, plans and performance of each employee will always be aligned with the general goals and objectives of your business since your entire team will be aware of what is expected of them. This enables the business to work faster. The disparity between a profit and a loss can be determined by a swift start up.

Reduce the operating cost

Your total cost of labor from recruitment, workers compensation, office space, benefits and low productivity can be decreased trough staff outsourcing. This goes a long way in making the organization more efficient since such costs can be quite high especially for large organizations. Since most outsourcing agreements are paid through an invoice instead of being put through a payroll, the payroll and data processing expenses are also minimized due to the reduction in staff.

Growing your business by increasing profits

Staff outsourcing has become a very important competitive tool, especially in the current economy due to the cost effective and devoted staff. Outsourcing staff can have a huge impact on the productivity of your company because the staff you outsource will always strive to meet your performance plans. Therefore, your business will always be operating at high levels of output.

Reduce turnover

Employee turnover has proven to be one of the biggest hits of the profitability and productivity of most organizations. Moreover, keeping good and reliable employees happy has to be planned and it can be quite expensive because it entails many costly processes such as recruiting the best and most reliable people, designing good compensation plans, training and development, and regular performance reviews. Besides reducing turnover, outsourcing your staff can help you make strategic plans and allocate the scarce resources efficiently by ensuring that you have good information regarding your staff in order to make good decisions.

Focus on business

Each organization has various departments and projects which must run efficiently in order to the business to achieve its overall goals. Staff outsourcing reduces your required commitment to employees. Therefore, it enables to relax and focus on vital business processes and projects knowing that other responsibilities and liabilities and handled competently and professionally.

The global economy and instant communication have enabled various companies to outsource staff from anywhere in the world. Staff outsourcing has become finely tuned resulting in a system that has enabled organizations to pass ideas and projects around the globe at the speed of light on a daily basis.

Featured images:

John Chen is a travel writer currently located in Bangkok, Thailand. He writes not only about traveling in Thailand, but also about business and staff outsourcing in Thailand.

Nowadays, staff outsourcing has become an integral part of various industries and organizations, allowing employees from around the globe to collaborate on different projects. Besides the intangible costs of lost information and low morale associated with employee turnover, organizations also incur huge costs of replacement hiring, separation processing, training, lost business and lost productivity, which…

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