Nutcache http://www.nutcache.com Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:01:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.3 Project Management Tips for Beginners http://www.nutcache.com/blog/project-management-tips-beginners/ http://www.nutcache.com/blog/project-management-tips-beginners/#respond Thu, 16 Mar 2017 12:37:12 +0000 http://www.nutcache.com/?p=40929/ Congratulations, you are contemplating the first steps in your very own startup project. We all have different endeavors in life that we choose to pursue. While making the decision to contribute to your passion on your own innovative terms, you can expect to conduct a lot of planning before seeing your project in full-swing. Maybe [...]

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Congratulations, you are contemplating the first steps in your very own startup project. We all have different endeavors in life that we choose to pursue. While making the decision to contribute to your passion on your own innovative terms, you can expect to conduct a lot of planning before seeing your project in full-swing.

Maybe you are an experienced entrepreneur or just a creative mind with your own individual aspirations and some good ideas. Regardless of your level of experience, all you need to oversee successful project management is the ability to establish and commit to plans and an understanding of basic project management tips.

Utilizing these principles applies universally and will time and time again- no matter what your academic or professional credentials are, these principles will help give your project management skills the shot in the arm you are looking for. Regardless of the direction you decide to take in the startup world, an understanding of basic project management theories and an understanding of your passion are your most useful tools.

Project Management Tips for Beginners

Laying a solid foundation is key, so let’s start at the beginning. Resourcefulness and adequate planning are essential components in implementing these project management tips. If you find that you don’t succeed initially, just remember that this is perfectly normal; some of my most well-thought-out projects have failed to see the light of day.

When this happens, find ways that you can either expand upon your idea or more practical ways to make it come to fruition. Sometimes, the second option is not always as simple as it sounds, if not impossible at times. If after exhausting all potential resources and ideas, you may just want to move onto something else.

This isn’t to say that you had a bad idea or that the most basic management techniques can’t be applied to your scenario. Sometimes, we lack a certain area of knowledge or necessary funds to make a particular idea a reality.

One important element to consider is accepting inevitable failure at some point or another. While this may sound a bit dramatic, no plans can be created without overcoming certain obstacles. Sometimes, we might simply not be able to overcome those obstacles. If you reach this point, it’s useful to reanalyze your approach or even your original idea.

If you find that your idea is feasible by using whatever and whoever may be of significant use to your project, it is time to put pen to paper. To see this through, you will want to set goals regarding the costs, scope of time, potential stakeholders, and professionals outside your area of knowledge. Naturally, you will want to make sure that such people possess the skills you need to fulfill your agenda.

These are just a few of the many basic theories that deal with project management. Even after you have developed your plan, it is wise to consider how you are going to maintain your project once it is successful. You will also want to consider further heights that you can take your project to. Think ahead of where you want to take it in the next 1, 3, 5, and even ten years.

Even though you might be establishing this project as a novice, you will want to consider just how far you can take your ideas or if you want to pass the responsibility off to someone else eventually. It is never too early to begin thinking of goals that you can set for the future, especially if you see that your idea was at least relatively successful.

One of the most humbling realizations for any new project manager is that they are most likely incapable of overseeing all aspects that make the project successful. One of the most important tips for project management entails reaching out to others.

This becomes a reality with the utilization of the most basic project management tips and tricks. Just having a useful idea for a project and creativity are not enough to oversee projects in their entirety, much less make them a reality.

If you are looking to generate a significant profit by maintaining a stable distribution of goods or services, you will likely need someone to help manage business accounts. You may also need attorneys to help draft necessary legal documents or patents, webmasters who will enhance the SEO and overall quality of your website, or any other specialist who is willing to contribute to your cause.

Your company will likely need help from many different professionals to oversee the project and may rely on attorneys, programmers, and people to manage their finances to keep the business sustainable. Still, these are minor components to consider in the grand scheme of the project’s objectives.

The principles that are universally applied to manageable projects are simple enough in nature. After all, that is why this guide was directed towards beginning project managers. If you have the proper resourcefulness and planning skills, working out the small details will most likely be the easiest and most enjoyable part of the project’s development.

Above all else, realize that you are not in this alone and that you will not be successful 100 percent of the time. You can reach out to other professionals that have knowledge in areas that can help your project. More importantly, use mistakes as an opportunity to overcome challenges that you might have. Repeated failures are best prevented when they have already been experienced.

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Time Management – A Prerequisite for Great Project Managers [Infographic] http://www.nutcache.com/blog/time-management-prerequisite-great-project-managers-infographic/ http://www.nutcache.com/blog/time-management-prerequisite-great-project-managers-infographic/#respond Thu, 09 Mar 2017 11:00:10 +0000 http://www.nutcache.com/?p=41038/ All great project managers understand and apply the techniques of effective time management; it’s a prerequisite to survive in this very dynamic field. An efficient and productive organization is one where employees have perfected the skill of time management seeing as there are quite a number of activities (personal and official) that demand your time [...]

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All great project managers understand and apply the techniques of effective time management; it’s a prerequisite to survive in this very dynamic field. An efficient and productive organization is one where employees have perfected the skill of time management seeing as there are quite a number of activities (personal and official) that demand your time during the day. Back to the project manager – It’s common knowledge that one of the constraints every project faces is time. Time cannot be stopped, paused or bought, this is why every good manager strives to maximize the use of time.

To successfully complete a project on schedule, the project manager would need to equip himself with the necessary skills for dealing with time-wasting tasks on a daily basis. A project that is not delivered on schedule will not only affect the budget that’s been designated for it, it will negatively affect the project’s resources and weigh on the morale of project team members.

Hassled, stressed out managers are a common sight in the project management industry and a common cause is that they spend so much time monitoring various activities and personnel that they forget to keep track of the time they spend on all these activities.  It is understandable that for a project manager striving to deliver good results at the end of the day, the temptation to micro-manage everyone is one that constantly hovers around.

However, history has taught us that prioritization, delegation and the ability to recognize time wasters for what they are, remain the bedrock of effective time management. Below are a few tips to help you make the best use of your time as a project manager.

time management tips

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What is Critical Path in Project Management and How Can it Help Me? http://www.nutcache.com/blog/what-is-critical-path-in-project-management-and-how-can-it-help-me/ http://www.nutcache.com/blog/what-is-critical-path-in-project-management-and-how-can-it-help-me/#respond Mon, 27 Feb 2017 11:00:12 +0000 http://www.nutcache.com/?p=40908/ The critical path method compresses complex projects into simplified lists, determining which activities are essential to keeping a project on schedule. Typically used in complicated bureaucratic agencies, the critical path method has found its way to the business sector, underlining the value of effective collaboration and time management. Critical Path of a Project Software can [...]

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The critical path method compresses complex projects into simplified lists, determining which activities are essential to keeping a project on schedule. Typically used in complicated bureaucratic agencies, the critical path method has found its way to the business sector, underlining the value of effective collaboration and time management.

Critical Path of a Project

Software can help with identifying and calculating the project’s critical path, which may be necessary for intricate projects. There are situations where the critical point can be identified without the use of secondary programs.

The basis of the critical path method is using the Work Breakdown Structure – or WBS. WBS resolves the project into actionable steps and manageable sections.

Start with the earliest task, and determine which following activities cannot be completed until this task is finished. The longest, more time-consuming task is the next step in the critical path. This process of picking a job and their dependencies is the basis of the critical path method.

What Is the Critical Path in Project Management?

Other projects can contain thousands of separate activities that cannot be executed without the input of dozens of employees and supervisors. For example, the onboarding process of a new project for a construction company may require prepared blueprints, foundation assessments, and building frameworks before the interior of a building can begin. Many of these activities occur at the same time, but most will require that previous steps are completed first.

As mentioned, software can interpret the process, but conservative assumptions are required, with project managers listing all necessary activities beforehand. Being conscious of how long an activity will take is important, keeping operations from becoming mundane or neglected.

Not only does the critical path in project management help a project to move along efficiently, but it reiterates what is expected from employees. Employees who don’t know what exactly is expected from them are largely disengaged, with a Gallup poll of professionals finding that only half of staff have a clear understanding of what is needed of them, with only 32 percent of employees noting that their managers help them set and meet performance goals.

What Happens When Critical Activities and Their Dependencies Aren’t Identified?

  • There is a waste of time. Staff work best and more efficiently when they are informed of the critical path and the amount of time and resources that each dependency requires. Without clear goals, there will be a waste of effort, time, and money due to a lack of priorities.
  • Secondary tasks will be prioritized. Unnecessary work will disrupt the flow of work in a project’s critical path. An epidemic, a percentage of employees utilize half of work hours on non-work-related activities, translating to failed arrangements and liabilities.

Duration of Projects When Using the Critical Path Method

Coupled with fixed activities and calendar deadlines, all subsequent activities before the initiation of a new task is given an estimated due date. Software modeling will show how long an action will typically take to be completed, as well as accommodate when an activity must be extended. This careful monitoring will help a project be efficient, even if there are unexpected delays.

A secondary aspect of the critical path in project management is emphasizing the role of employees and contractors. Each activity needs to have a designated resource, organization, or person that will be held accountable. Duration, delays, and costs are quantified in the form of a percentage. To help conceptualize the value of a task’s duration and value, I think it’s best to use an example.

In a hypothetical situation where the critical path method is applied, a contractor or a department is designated to complete a distinct task. Reports are showing that more resources are needed when available, with a contractor required for only 50 percent of their allotted time.

Percentages help shift resources accordingly to prevent under or over utilization. Resources in the form of capital and contractor time are used judiciously to make sure that a project is completed as cost and time efficient as possible.

Costs are estimated in the CPM report. Dependent and independent activities will have their costs and time requirements approximated, evaluating any additional costs for extended due dates.

Project Management Critical Path Tips

  • Using media to identify the critical path. Blueprints, pictures, and Excel spreadsheets are the hallmarks of the critical path method. Diagrams and an architectural plan are detailed as a point of reference to help distinguish dependencies and restraints.
  • Carefully review and monitor critical paths and their required tasks. It’s important to understand that even though time constraints are used in the critical path design, it is an accommodating methodology with an end-goal that can change from task to task as a project progresses.
  • Any tasks that take precedent to the following activity needs to be monitored to ensure that they fully developed. This method of project management can be considerate, but tasks cannot be ignored and needs to be factored in to make sure that a finish date stays consistent. Any slipped tasks will extend the due date, which in itself isn’t a problem – the issue is when an overlooked task isn’t noticed, and the due date is forced to be extended under rigid circumstances.
  • Dealing with multiple critical paths. Large projects can be broken down even further into sub-phases with independent critical paths. For large projects that will take many months or years to complete, it is important that tasks are departmentalized. Using this method, you can launch several projects with correlated sub-phases.

When used correctly, the critical path and project management systems will help you control the sequence of events. The critical path analysis has helped me classify tasks that have no float time, helping me break down and conceptualize the impact of aggregated activities and how it affects the finish date.

I – and surely, other professionals – have moments where I am engrossed with the fine print of a project, forgetting how peripheral activities influence a due date. Critical path analysis has influenced the culture of time management and will help your department stay on task while mitigating risk factors.

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We are off to a strong start in the new year! http://www.nutcache.com/blog/we-are-off-to-a-strong-start-in-the-new-year/ http://www.nutcache.com/blog/we-are-off-to-a-strong-start-in-the-new-year/#respond Tue, 07 Feb 2017 14:52:13 +0000 http://www.nutcache.com/?p=40664/ We hope you all had a successful start to 2017. Here at Nutcache we sure did as the update we’ve been working on for the past few weeks is finally released. We added some exciting and impactful changes to Nutcache to enhance your overall experience. Here’s what we released in the update: Project board templates [...]

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We hope you all had a successful start to 2017. Here at Nutcache we sure did as the update we’ve been working on for the past few weeks is finally released. We added some exciting and impactful changes to Nutcache to enhance your overall experience. Here’s what we released in the update:

Project board templates

Setting up a project board workflow to reflect your business reality can take time. So, in consideration of this, Nutcache now offers 4 project board templates to speed up workflow setup. You can now choose to create your own board and organize it the way you want or base your project workflow on a Kanban, Scrum, Weekday or Team members approach.

project board templates

 

Custom expense categories

PRO and Enterprise users will now have the ability to create additional expense categories to organize and track various expense types within their organizations.

custom expense categories

 

‘Duplicate’ feature in Projects

Because your work processes can be fixed, there’s no point setting up same projects with tasks, members and budget again and again. So Nutcache came up with the new “Duplicate project” feature, which lets you duplicate an existing project –with all of its content: tasks, members, budget, milestones—and use it as a template for your next projects.

duplicate project

 

Project specific tasks

Some changes have been made to the way tasks are managed in Nutcache. The task maintenance screen is now used to create more generic task types such as Analysis, Development, Tests, etc., while more precise and specific tasks can now be created and added right from the project.

add tasks to project

 

 

Improved search function

We made Nutcache even easier-to-use by making some significant improvement to the search by date function within lists. Searching within lists is now much faster and more intuitive since you can limit your search to a predefined date range or create your own date range.

search records by date range

 

Whatever the time of year, the Nutcache team is always working hard to enrich and improve your preferred management application, and it’s all yours to enjoy!

 

Boost your productivity today! Log in to Nutcache.

 

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Go Remote: 10 Great Careers for Telecommuting in 2017 [Infographic] http://www.nutcache.com/blog/go-remote-10-great-careers-telecommuting-2017/ http://www.nutcache.com/blog/go-remote-10-great-careers-telecommuting-2017/#respond Mon, 30 Jan 2017 13:17:37 +0000 http://www.nutcache.com/?p=40281/ Thanks to the advancement of technology, we now have the freedom to work from our living rooms and quite a number of large corporations, seem to be embracing this trend of hiring remote employees. Not only is it financially advantageous for the company but studies indicate that employees who work from home are significantly more [...]

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Thanks to the advancement of technology, we now have the freedom to work from our living rooms and quite a number of large corporations, seem to be embracing this trend of hiring remote employees. Not only is it financially advantageous for the company but studies indicate that employees who work from home are significantly more productive than their physical-office-space counterparts. In addition, you tend to find that employees who work from home are less stressed and enjoy a greater work-life balance.

It goes without saying that this remote work trend will be sticking around for quite a while and 2017 couldn’t be a better time to explore your opportunities in this area. This development also means that stay-at-home parents are now becoming work-from-home parents as this is a great way to make an extra income for the family while also spending quality time with the kids.

To break into this market would require possession of the right set of skills; while you don’t have to be a software developer to work from home, employers seem to favor some skill sets over some others. 

In deciding to go the telecommuting route, owning a computer and an internet connection is no longer enough to guarantee a steady paycheck, you should also have knowledge of what skills are in demand in the global workplace, so as to be able to tailor your personal development goals to meet the needs of the global workplace.

A look at the top remote jobs for 2017.

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Project Management Evolution: What The Pyramids Of Egypt Tell Us About The History Of Project Management [Infographic] http://www.nutcache.com/blog/project-management-evolution/ http://www.nutcache.com/blog/project-management-evolution/#comments Tue, 17 Jan 2017 11:00:43 +0000 http://www.nutcache.com/?p=39710 It’s so exciting to see how project management has evolved from a non-structured, non-recognized practice to one whose impact can be felt in almost every field of endeavor. Spreading its tentacles to IT, marketing, Administration, HR – project management is dropping anchor as it arrives at the port of all these other professions. A significantly [...]

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It’s so exciting to see how project management has evolved from a non-structured, non-recognized practice to one whose impact can be felt in almost every field of endeavor. Spreading its tentacles to IT, marketing, Administration, HR – project management is dropping anchor as it arrives at the port of all these other professions. A significantly varied version of the profession can be traced back to as early as the Biblical age, with the Egyptian pyramids – which have their place in history as one of the most popular, mind-blowing man-made wonders of the world.

Such a significant project like that would have seen the pharaohs of that period, unknowingly draw on the basic principles of project management.

They would have had to:

Justify the reasons for the project – The ruling class may have had a solid reason for constructing these massive tombs in the shapes of pyramids. Historians posit that the peculiar design was to help the structures withstand the elements and the test of time.

Plan for the project – They would have needed to develop elaborate plans for the pyramids, the architects would have given an estimate of how much material would be needed for construction and plans would have been made on where to source those materials from.

Those in charge of constructing these tombs would have anticipated several risks and made changes to accommodate those risks as it is evident in the various modifications that took place through 5 dynasties.

Fast-forward centuries later where projects are bigger, trans-national and much more complex; project managers are now relying on collaborative management tools to help them stay more organized and efficient.

Here’s an awesome infographic that tells us just how far we’ve come.

The history and evolution of project management.

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8 Top Project Management Methods, Approaches, Techniques http://www.nutcache.com/blog/8-top-project-management-approaches-methods-techniques/ http://www.nutcache.com/blog/8-top-project-management-approaches-methods-techniques/#respond Thu, 12 Jan 2017 11:00:12 +0000 http://www.nutcache.com/?p=40187/ Frequent visitors to this blog section, must have heard the terms Prince2, Scrum, Agile…being thrown around quite casually; These are just a few of the project management methods or laid down procedures for the successful execution of a project. Some of you might be quite conversant with these project management methodologies while others may still [...]

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Frequent visitors to this blog section, must have heard the terms Prince2, Scrum, Agile…being thrown around quite casually; These are just a few of the project management methods or laid down procedures for the successful execution of a project.

Some of you might be quite conversant with these project management methodologies while others may still be trying to navigate the complex but exciting world of project management and these terminologies  may sound a bit foreign to you. That’s okay, the purpose of this post therefore, is to totally immerse you in the project management methodologies that project managers, for decades, have come to rely so much on. For the seasoned project manager, here’s another great opportunity to remind yourself of some of the best techniques and methodologies that have birthed some of the world’s greatest products.

Why Project Management Methods?

The answer- why not? Think about it for a second, at one point in your life, you must have placed an order for an equipment or tool with a lot of disconnected parts that cannot be correctly put together with the aid
of an instruction manual. Same goes for project management. There are a lot of interconnected and interdependent tasks; ergo the need for a set of generally accepted instructions to serve as a guide for managing project activities.

12 Common Project Management Methodologies

1. Agile

The Agile Project Management Process is a value-centered methods of project management that allows projects to get processed in small phases or cycles. The methodology is one that is extremely flexible and projects that exhibit dynamic traits would benefit from this process as you would find that project managers working in this environment treat milestones as “sprints”; the goal being to continuously adapt to abrupt changes from client feedback. It is best suited for small software projects made up of a highly collaborative team or a project that requires frequent iteration.

2.Waterfall

The Waterfall Methodology, on the other hand, is a traditional approach to project management and more commonly used in the manufacturing or construction sectors. A lot of experts believe that it was the first model to have been adopted in software engineering. The model takes a linear approach towards project management with the project being broken down into sequences with the kickoff of a phase dependent on the completion of the preceding one.

This method primarily consists of 5 stages:

Idea Engineering – System Design – Implementation – Testing & Validation – Maintenance

3. Scrum

The Traditional Waterfall method reveals a more lengthy process where planning alone could take a couple of months before moving to the next stage – design. The design phase could also take a couple of months; this could lead to the launch of a product that could be termed obsolete in the current marketplace.

With Scrum, however, the planning is just enough to kick off the project as it is based on the Agile framework that was discussed earlier. It’s a great way to prevent delays in product launch because the entire process focuses on team collaboration. The Scrum master facilitates the scrum sessions (sprints) which occur within a time frame of 1-3 weeks. The result is an iterative process that significantly saves the company a lot of time and money.

4. PRINCE2

PRINCE2 is an acronym for Projects in Controlled Environments; it originated from the UK and has come to be accepted in the UK as best practice for project management thanks to its very flexible nature. With Prince2 the outputs are clearly defined and there is a business justification for every project.

This project management method is also characterized by products that are delivered on time and well within cost estimates. The roles are predetermined before the kickoff of the project and every member of the project is well aware of their responsibilities towards to successful execution of the project.

5. PERT  

PERT stands for Project Evaluation Review Technique; in an earlier post, we stated, that it most often combined with the Critical Path Method. This project management method is a favorite of most manufacturing companies as it takes into cognizance the time it takes to complete a task. Time is an important factor in project management as it also determines the budget for the project.

6. Adaptive Project Framework

Robert K. Wysocki is an authority on the Adaptive Project Management Framework and in his book, Adaptive Project Framework: Managing Complexity in the Face of Uncertainty, he talks about the discovery of new applications for which the traditional linear approach may not be suitable for. He goes further to identify “…the difficulty in specifying complete requirements at the beginning of the project” as the major reason why present-day projects fail to meet the requirements of the Traditional Project Management Approach.

The solution to this dilemma lies in the adaptive project framework; a process that was created out of the need to adapt to the continuously changing phases of a project.

7. Extreme Programming (XP)

This methodology which also has its roots in the agile framework was developed by in the 1990s by Kent Black. This short life-cycle method has as its main objective, the improvement of product quality, client satisfaction. Its characteristics and principles make for a project management team that strives for excellence in the development process. In his book – Extreme Programming Explained, Kent explains that the methodology is becoming more prominent because “…XP is particularly well-suited to help the small software development team succeed.”

8. Kanban

The Kanban project management process does away with the sprints and milestones that are attributed to the scrum and traditional methods of managing projects respectively. What you would find, is a more visual approach to managing time, project scope and budget; these 3 factors determine the success of any project.

Kanban, a lean scheduling project management method was developed by the Japanese Toyota Corporation based in the 1940s. The idea behind Kanban is continuous delivery, especially when combined with the scrum methodology. It uses a system of visual cues that let the project team know what is expected of tasks within the project in relation to quantity and quality as well as when the tasks are expected to be accomplished.  

Choosing the Right Project Management Method

The project management methods outlined above are by no means exhaustive; there are quite a lot of offshoots and hybrids out there that have churned out fantastic results. The issue, however, lies in the identification of a suitable approach for managing your projects because these approaches serve as blueprints and the approach utilized could mean the difference between the failure or success of the project so here are a few points to guide you.

  1. Find out from team members what has worked in the past – This will help narrow down the choices
    you have to make.
  2. Clearly, define the needs or expectations of your clients – Keep in mind the fact that requirements could be fixed or dynamic.
  3. Outline organizational goals, keeping in mind project costs as well.
  4. Consider the structure of the team – Are they virtual or physical? Is some of the work being outsourced?
  5. Lastly, you need not decide on a one size fits all kind of approach; keep in mind that it is perfectly acceptable to pick the various positive elements from all the individual methodologies to create a process that could work marvelously well for your team.

 

What do you think? Does this work for you? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

 

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21 Best Project Management Books for Beginner and Advanced Project Managers http://www.nutcache.com/blog/21-best-project-management-books-for-beginner-and-advanced-project-managers/ http://www.nutcache.com/blog/21-best-project-management-books-for-beginner-and-advanced-project-managers/#respond Tue, 10 Jan 2017 14:24:06 +0000 http://www.nutcache.com/?p=40191/ There are tons of project management books out there with precious little time to read them in between, riding the subway, preparing a project kickoff checklist and eating a burger for lunch. This year, it’s all about effective time management, efficiency, and improved processes. This is why we have brought you a roundup of the [...]

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There are tons of project management books out there with precious little time to read them in between, riding the subway, preparing a project kickoff checklist and eating a burger for lunch. This year, it’s all about effective time management, efficiency, and improved processes.

This is why we have brought you a roundup of the top 21 best project management books to help build your arsenal. It’s even been grouped into beginner, advanced or management categories to help with decision making.

Now you know what you’ll be reading in your spare time this year, and yes, you’re welcome.

Category: Beginner and Accidental Project Managers Best Project Management Books

1. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)–Fifth Edition 5th Edition

Author: Project Management Institute

Insights: This is a great guide for beginner project managers as it comes fully packed with well-defined processes. It is a must-have for those who are yet to take the PMP test.If you are already a member of PMI, then you should be able to download a free pdf version in English, French and some other major languages.

It also comes with some memorization aids for theories and formulas that you would find really helpful.

2. The Project Management Answer Book, Second Edition

Author: Jeff Furman

Insights: The author has over 15 years of IT projects management under his belt so you can be certain he knows one or two things about project management. This book primarily focuses on the fundamental principles of project management with relevant examples cited. The author does a fabulous job of providing relevant information in an easy-to-read Q&A format, all laced with an appropriate dose of humor.

3. Project Pain Reliever: A Just-In-Time Handbook for Anyone Managing Projects

Author: Dave Garrett

Insights: With an ability to provide real solutions to specific project management problems, this book is exactly what it is – pain relief for project management. Accidental project managers would fall in love with this book that gives practical solutions to project issues.

4. The Scrum Field Guide: Agile Advice for Your First Year and Beyond (2nd Edition) (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn)) 2nd Edition

Author: Mitch Lacey

Insights: Struggling to adopt Scrum and Agile methodologies? Fret no more; this book is more than an introduction to Scrum, the advanced sections shed more light on managing conflicts, optimization, value measurement just to name a few. When you do get it, we would love to know what you think about the “Story” sections at the beginning of each chapter.

5. Project Management for Non-Project Managers

Author: Jack Ferraro, PMP

Insights: Yet another great resource for accidental project managers; this book talks about the critical project management skills even as it lists out step-by-step guidelines for project management process. It also highlights the crucial roles that both functional managers and project managers play in the successful execution of any project.

6. Bare Knuckled Project Management: How to Succeed at Every Project

Author: Tony Gruebl and Jeff Welch

Insights: With over 25 years experience in improving business processes, deploying leading technologies, managing teams, Tony sure has a lot to tell his readers about his career in project management. His book gives tactical insights into the rescue of complex projects, even as he shares a few secrets for improving organizational performance. Great for beginners and advanced project managers alike

7. Project Management Jumpstart, 3rd Edition

Author: Kim Heldman

Insights: In this book, Kim discusses the basic principles of project management, breaks down budgeting and monitoring in an easily comprehensible format. If you also want to know more about goal setting and risk assessment, and what project management certifications are available or required, then this is the book you should be reading.

8. Project Management Absolute Beginner’s Guide (3rd Edition)

Author: Gregory M. Horine

Insights: Find out what mistakes are common with new managers, master the essential skills required of every good project manager, learn to lead projects and create budgets and schedules like a pro and construct and accurate work breakdown structure like you’ve been doing it all your life.

Category: Advanced Project Managers Best Books on Project Management

9. The Agile Mind-Set: Making Agile Processes Work

Author: Gil Broza

Insights: This project management book might just reveal the secret ingredient your organization may have been missing. Gil takes readers way past best practices and tools to revealing what having the “Agile-mindset” is all about.

10. Advanced Multi-Project Management

Author: Gerald I. Kendall, PMP and Kathleen M. Austin

Insights: Project environments are often plagued with numerous problems depending on the scale and nature of the project and both authors do a very good job of identifying those problems. This book is an authoritative resource material from veterans who have seen it all and done it all. Find out their secrets to managing complex multiple projects concurrently.

11. Large- Scale Scrum: More with LeSS (Addison – Wesley Signature Series (Cohn)) 1st Edition

Author: Craig Larman and Bas Vodde

Insights: This book will help project managers better define their products, get a better understanding of Scrum and it’s scalability, even as the authors educate their readers on the Scrum master roles.

12. Strategic Project Management Made Simple: Practical Tools for Leaders and Teams

Author: Terry Schmidt

Insights: A practical guide to getting the results you want through a time-tested change methodology. Find what strategies Terry employs in tackling issues that have given more than one project manager cause for concern.

13. Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling 11th Edition

Author: Harold Kerzner, PH.D

Insights: This 1296-page book on project planning, scheduling and control is a favorite of both beginner and expert project managers alike. Join Harold as he takes you through the rudiments of project management and business intelligence. It even comes equipped with hundreds of discussion and multiple- choice questions to help prepare you for the PMP Certification Exam.

14. The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer

Author: Jeffrey K. Liker

Insights: The Toyota Corporation’s approach to management and leadership is one that seen a series of discussion, deliberations, and reviews: their approach has birthed tremendous success in companies who have embraced their methodology. It thrives on the principles of continuous improvement and respect for people and Jeffery does a good job of chronicling the Toyota culture.

15. Managing Public Sector Projects: A Strategic Framework for Success in an Era of Downsized Government (ASPA Series in Public Administration and Public Policy) 1st Edition

Author: David S. Kasse

Insights: With this book, David aims to tackle the issues that come with managing projects in the public sector. It’s just 278 pages but it clearly points out the unique aspects of managing sector public projects; a great transition tool for managers coming in from privately owned establishments.

16. Digital project Management: The Complete Step-By-Step Guide to a Successful Launch

Author: Taylor Olson, PMP

Insights: Project managers working in a technology focused environment will find Taylor Olson’s book very helpful as it gives a step-by-step guide to digital project management. From creating a project scope document to search engine optimization, Taylor tackles everything a digital project manager may face in a very concise manner.

Category: Best Books on Management 

17. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t
Author: Jim Collins

Insights: What’s an enduring great company? How can a company move from good to great? How is growth sustained in a good company? The author answers this and more in this 400 page-turner.

18. Leadership Excellence

Author: Jim Denney

Insights: This book can be described as a go-to-guide for attaining excellence in leadership as the author takes us through not only his experiences but that of some of the world’s top leaders; sharing the seven sides to leadership as he goes along.

19. The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker’s Essential Writings on Management (Collins Business Essentials)

Author: Peter F. Drucker

Insights: With over 25 books under his belt, Drucker is considered an authority in the field of management; with sections like “Management Challenges for the 21st Century”, “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” as well as a chapter that talks about the Post-Capitalist society, this book is gem for any aspiring manager or management executive.

20. Managing Stakeholder Expectations for Project Success: A Knowledge Integration Framework and Value Focused Approach

Author: Ori Schibi, PMP

Insights: Stakeholder management is one area that is often overlooked in project management but experienced project managers would be quick to point out the challenges that come with managing stakeholder expectations. If you hope to develop a skill in stakeholder analysis and management, then you would love the checklists that the author has included.

21. Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams (3rd Edition)

Author: Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

Insights: A perfect resource material for those working in a software-related environment. The software industry is quite a complex one, requiring tremendous skill and dexterity to operate in, let alone manage. Project managers operating in this industry would, therefore, appreciate the tips and ideas that both authors proffer for effectively managing teams and improving their productivity.

 

What do you think of our roundup? Have you read any of these books? Then please leave a comment below, we would love to know what you think; besides, someone could find it useful.  

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Understanding the Rudiments of Web Based Project Management Tools http://www.nutcache.com/blog/understanding-the-rudiments-of-web-based-project-management-tools/ http://www.nutcache.com/blog/understanding-the-rudiments-of-web-based-project-management-tools/#respond Fri, 06 Jan 2017 13:54:28 +0000 http://www.nutcache.com/?p=40155/ The internet has contributed in no small way to the advancement of the practice of project management; with web based project management, project managers can easily process information pertaining to a multitude of projects or different phases of a singular project. Web-based project management software leverages the internet to help project teams create and monitor [...]

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The internet has contributed in no small way to the advancement of the practice of project management; with web based project management, project managers can easily process information pertaining to a multitude of projects or different phases of a singular project.

Web-based project management software leverages the internet to help project teams create and monitor tasks, schedule activities, calculate critical paths and build timelines. They often come as an integrated package with the capacity to host millions of users all over the world simultaneously. This is made possible by the installation of the main software on a central server; this enables multiple users, have access to it.

The History of Web Based Project Management Tools

The job of planning, executing and monitoring a project is not an easy one. Experienced project managers would be quick to point out the series of complex activities that pave the road to the completion of any milestone. What you would also commonly find in the field of project management are the interdependencies of tasks. The Nest describes the concept of interdependency in the workplace as “The idea that two parties in a conflict need each other to complete their own tasks.” A situation where a worker’s deliverables rely solely on the completion of the task assigned to another worker within or outside the organization.

Often times, team members are geographically dispersed and effective collaboration would require the use of certain tools in order to achieve organizational objectives and web based project management software was a perfect solution to the dilemma.

As early as 2570 BC the practice of project management has been in existence as is evident in the historical Pyramid of Giza; fast forward to 208 BC where the world gets treated to another architectural wonder, the Great Wall of China. Both projects would have elicited a great deal of planning, implementation, and monitoring – the hallmarks of project management. However, it wasn’t until 1917 that we saw Henry Gantt come up with an exceptional scheduling tool to aid the practice of project management. That tool is what is known today as the Gantt chart.

Since then, the world has witnessed the birth of several other project management techniques and tools like the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), and PERT just to mention a few. However, modern project management kicked off around the mid-80s when information technology witnessed a rapid growth spurt. Companies like Oracle and Artemis were the first to get on the train with the Scitor Corporation (now SAIC – a technology and engineering company) following closely. The internet facilitated the rapid exchange of information; email allowed people track project progress, documents were easily accessed and as the concept of remote working grew, we began to see more and more project teams collaborate on tasks from different parts of the world.

In 2008, project managers were introduced to the concept of Cloud-Based Project Management Software. This development was a very welcome one for the industry as it allowed remote teams to work more efficiently, simultaneously increasing productivity. Today, we see project management apps that allow users access information, track progress, send documents, approve costs etc., while on the go.  

Advantages of Web Based Project Management Tools

Web-based project management tools are very advantageous to project managers; With these tools, project managers can:

  1. Collaborate with team members in real-time

Project management software serves as a platform for team members to easily communicate with one another in real time. The advantage of this is that updates are usually faster and team members are kept in the loop at every point in time.  

  1. Drive Efficiency

Web-based project management software automatically optimizes an organization’s efficiency and productivity, drastically cutting down the amount of time it would take to accomplish certain tasks.

  1. Ensure Optimum Collaboration Amongst Team Members

It also lends a boost to the collaborative efforts of the team as it not only serves as some type of communication hub for team members or between an organization and its clients regardless of what niche they operate in, but it also assists in coordination, monitoring, and control of individual tasks.

  1. Reduced Cost of Operations

Organizations need not hire skilled IT personnel to download the software on any number of computers; expenses for web-based tools are only incurred based on the frequency of use and in some cases, the scale of use.

  1. Be Assured of Data Security

Web-based software is the best when it comes to the security of company data; this is because the information is usually stored on a secure server. These servers are often managed by cyber security companies whose sole job is securing clients’ information.

  1. Furthermore…

Web-based project tools help anticipate project risks, aid project scheduling, reporting, document sharing and are surprisingly easy to use.

How to Identify The Best Web Based Project Management Tools

Choosing the right software for your team will largely depend on the size of the team and your scale of operations. Nonetheless, there are some key features you may want to watch out for when deciding on what tool to use.

  • Time Tracking  – This is one feature you should not overlook; project teams become more efficient when they are not only able to accurately ascertain the time spent on tasks but make sure deadlines are met as well.
  • Budgeting and Expense Management– With this feature, project managers are able to keep the project under budget. With Nutcache, for example, project managers can quickly get an overview of how much has been spent so far and it can be grouped according to tasks or by members.
  • Online Invoicing – This allows you automatically send an invoice to a client when a milestone has been reached.
  • Effective Collaboration – What is effective project management without collaboration? Whatever tool you get should be able to keep all team members connected. Clients should also be able to leave frequent reviews or comments on any task.
  • Document Sharing  – Any good web-based project management tool should support document sharing; you want to be able to quickly receive and send a document across for review or approval.

 

What are your thoughts on this post? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

 

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Revealing the Secrets to Effectively Managing Multiple Projects http://www.nutcache.com/blog/revealing-the-secrets-to-effectively-managing-multiple-projects/ http://www.nutcache.com/blog/revealing-the-secrets-to-effectively-managing-multiple-projects/#respond Wed, 04 Jan 2017 14:40:32 +0000 http://www.nutcache.com/?p=40152/ The Project Manager is a Multi -Tasker One of the most valuable skills any project manager worth his salt should possess is the ability to manage multiple projects. Whatever career you decide to pursue, chances are, you will find yourself handling more than two or more tasks concurrently; they could be short tasks that require [...]

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The Project Manager is a Multi -Tasker

One of the most valuable skills any project manager worth his salt should possess is the ability to manage multiple projects. Whatever career you decide to pursue, chances are, you will find yourself handling more than two or more tasks concurrently; they could be short tasks that require just a couple of hours to complete or projects and programs that span months. One way or another, there would be a time in your career where meeting several deadlines simultaneously become all you can think of. You begin to wonder how best to manage these projects and what tools you can employ to help streamline your processes in order to make you more productive.

How to Manage Multiple Projects

In this post, we would be looking at strategies to help you manage multiple projects and the best tools to help you become more prolific in your career as a project manager. The ultimate aim being not only to help you beat deadlines but to do them in such a way that you are not keeling over under tremendous pressure even as you strive to remain organized and stay proactive. Being proactive is one of the first steps towards eliminating anxiety in the workplace, even as one seeks to control various situations as opposed to reacting to events or situations when they occur. It then goes without saying that a proactive manager should know how to manage multiple tasks/projects concurrently.

So without much further ado, here are 3 secrets to achieving superman status at the workplace.

1.       Plan

The world we live in today is one that is evolving at a very fast pace. Companies are constantly innovating and launching the-next-big-things, we constantly seek faster modes of transport, the world needs a permanent cure for cancer, we want more durable tools, we want computers that process data faster than the speed of light etc All these changes taking place are sure to keep any project manager on his toes – the secret to maintaining one’s sanity is planning.

The absence of a project management plan is the first indicator of failure for any project. Planning helps you align projects requirements with your organization’s overall business strategy. A good plan helps the project manager anticipate risks and ensures that resources are utilized judiciously.

2.       Delegate

Even superman had help. The biggest mistake any project manager would make, is trying to accomplish every task solo. It’s not only irritating to your employees, but it increases the amount of time needed to get things done. You also do not want to be micromanaging your team members as it stifles creativity, it does not elicit loyalty to the project, employees are not given the opportunity to prove themselves and when left unchecked can lead to a high rate of employee turnover.

A good project manager should learn to delegate as delegation significantly reduces the project manager’s workload, leaving you with ample time to attend to strategic issues that demand utmost attention. This in no way relates to abdication, rather project managers should see this as a step towards delivering quality projects in record time.

For best results;

  • Work on assigning tasks to subordinates – Some great tools to help you with this would be the Work Breakdown Structure and the Project Scope.
  • Transfer authority alongside tasks – Assigning tasks without the authority to perform said tasks often poses some form of complication among project team members.
  • Help your team members understand the level of responsibility that is being handed to them and ensure they understand that they would be held accountable for whatever task is being assigned to them while you concentrate on providing oversight functions.

3.       Prioritize

This is a skill you MUST master if you aim to take your multi-tasking skills to a whole new level. People who handle 3-5 projects simultaneously have the same number of hands as everyone else, but what they have learned to do differently is prioritize. Of course, there is the 80/20 rule that posits that 80% of the work we typically do in a day contributes to less than 20% of the value of our work. That means you want to be spending more time on things that actually add value and less time on activities like reading and responding to emails.

Want to join the high-flying train? Here’s what you should do:

  1. Make a list of all the tasks or projects that require your attention.
  2. Categorize the tasks on your lists as either high priority, medium priority or low priority. You can also check out Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix.  It’s a simple but very effective time management tool anyone can use.
  3. Create a timeline based on the information you got from the second step, keeping in mind all the deadlines you are expected to meet.
  4. Get cracking!

To find out more about prioritizing, take a look at this very informative post.

In Conclusion, Here are Some Tools for Managing Multiple Projects

Earlier on, we introduced you to the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), the project scope and Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix but here are some other tools worthy of note. They include:

 

We always love to hear from our readers, feel free to drop a line or two below, letting us know what you think.

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