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Understand These Three Estimating Concepts

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Estimate in Phases

One of the most difficult aspects of planning projects is the estimating process. It can be hard to know exactly what work will be needed in the distant future. It can be difficult to define and estimate work that will be done three months from now. It’s harder to estimate six months in the future. Nine months is even harder. There is more and more estimating uncertainty associated with work that is farther and farther out in the future.

A good approach for larger projects is to break the work into a series of smaller projects, each of which can be planned, estimated and managed separately with a much higher likelihood of success. From an estimating perspective, the closest project can be estimated more precisely, with the subsequent projects estimated with a higher level of uncertainty. When one project completes, the next project can be estimated with a higher degree of confidence, with estimates refined for the remaining projects. This technique also provides checkpoints at the end of each project so that the entire initiative can be revalidated based on current estimates to ensure that it is still viable and worth continuing.

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Why you Should Baseline Your Plan

April 3, 2013 – Posted on

Looking through recipe books gives me great ideas about the kind of dinners I will cook during the following week. But when I try to make the recipes, they never turn out just like the picture in the book. That’s probably because I rarely have the right ingredients, so I make changes to the recipe as I go along! The end result tastes fine, but it doesn’t look like the picture of the food made by the professional chef.

The professional chef’s starting point – the recipe and the photo – is the baseline. That’s what you think you will achieve when you start to cook. What you get at the end is often very different! Not necessarily wrong, but just not what you thought you would get because of the changes you made along the way.

Project plans are no exception. At the beginning of the project you put together a project schedule with your team, using online project management software or other tools. Then you work towards completing that plan. Changes are approved, risks appear, people leave and others join the team, and over the course of the project the plan adapts and ends up looking different to how it did at the beginning.

Experienced project managers will have taken a baseline of their plan once they first put it together. A baseline is a snapshot of the plan at a fixed moment in time. It is the original approved version of what you set out to deliver.

You might be wondering why it is worth bothering to keep a copy of this plan – after all, if everything is likely to change, surely it is more valuable to refer to the most up to date version? Well, yes, it is. You do need to manage the project using the most recent plan. But it is useful to have a copy of the original baseline for comparison. Here are some reasons why.

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How to manage your manager

By : Jennifer Whitt, Director of

It’s one of my most favorite topics, one of my biggest lesson learned. So, we’ve all been there, right? On our project, where we have the manager always hovering over us checking in, checking in, checking in, or that one who you can’t find them when you need them the most.

Well, I remember a story back when I first started working corporate America, and I had one of those managers who were always coming in every five minutes. So the work area that we were in, everyone in the office area, the manager would have to come by the secretary’s office, so we had secretaries in those days.

We had the secretary notify us by phone, by an intercom with the code word of “Duck on the pond”. “Duck on the pond” meant duck and run because here comes the manager, so we would all duck and run. So instead of using the duck and run and the code, I’m going to offer you six tips to manage up effectively.

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How to Manage Your Project Risks

A risk is something that might affect the success of your project. Like, if you’re going out – you’d consider the risk of it raining today. You’d be sure to pack an umbrella if you thought the risk was high!

You’ll find risks on your project too, and the difficult thing is that you never know exactly if and how they will affect you. The best you can do is plan to mitigate the risk (like packing your umbrella) or work out how you can stop it happening in the first place.

Here is a simple 5 step process that you can use to effectively manage risks on your project.

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4 Ways to Power Through Tough Projects

4 Ways to Power Through Tough Projects

February 20, 2013 – published on project

Sometimes changes on your projects are totally out of your control. For example, a key manager at a client may move on and his replacement is less than pleased with your company. What can you do to keep your nose to the grindstone and power through these tough times? Use the following four insights to help you move through such changes with your head held high.

It was a great project manager job. I spent the early part of the week at the corporate office catching up on what was going on in the company, meeting with developers and managers on my projects, and going out to lunch with friends. The rest of the week it was important for me to be onsite at our largest client’s office, since we were so integrated into what their company was doing.

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Manage Communication – Eight Steps to Manage Virtual Teams

Most everyone works in a team environment. Generally, the most effective teams are those located together. On the other hand, globalization is driving team staffing in the other direction.  The Internet, faster and more reliable communication, and collaborative tools are allowing people to come together on teams that are no longer co-located. Globalization is pushing work all over the globe, with independent people and teams working anywhere and everywhere. Individual and team training can be done easily through e-classes. These groups are referred to as “virtual” teams. They are real teams but they are referred to as “virtual” because they do not communicate and interact in a traditional face-to-face manner.

Manage Communication
Eight Steps to Manage Virtual Teams

There are some special techniques that can be used to manage these virtual teams.

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