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Management Analysts


How Has the Management Consulting Career Evolved?

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Management consulting is a $250 billion industry and growing, according to Inc. magazine. The job outlook for the next decade predicts a faster-than-average 12 percent growth, with almost 100,000 new jobs coming online in the next decade.

Management Consulting | Kamyar Shah

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Does the title “management consultant” make you think of a vague, nondescript role? This could be true – management consulting opportunities and duties round out a vast area of the spectrum. …

The Top 10 Highest Paying HR Jobs

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A human resources MBA can be the ticket to a lucrative career, especially if you choose your job and industry carefully. Even for the same position, annual average pay can vary by $25,000 or more, depending on company or organization and location.

Featured Top-ranked HR MBA Programs

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Featured Top-ranked Master’s in HR Programs

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Choose one of these ten highest-paying human resources jobs to ensure a fulfilling career with good compensation. (Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Salary.com)

#10 – Employment, Recruitment, and Placement Manager

Median annual salary: $56,110

Employment, recruitment and placement managers oversee how and when a company hires employees. They direct their team on where to find talent, how to screen candidates and how to decide which candidates to pursue. Employment, recruitment, and placement managers must have good discernment skills and an eye for recognizing high-quality potential employees. They should have excellent interviewing skills and the ability to work closely with the hiring managers in different departments within the company. Most employment, recruitment and placement managers work under an HR manager or a director of human resources.

#9 – International Human Resources Associate

Average annual salary: $62,400

An international human resources associate plays a generalist role within a company’s human resources department, but with global responsibility. Such an associate may post jobs for staff, assist in recruiting efforts by screening candidates, review benefits and compensation packages and engage in other standard human resources activities. The difference between a human resources associate based at company headquarters and one who is international is that the latter must have a solid grasp of employment markets around the world—the cultural aspects, benefits and compensation, and how to best go about screening candidates. This is why they are paid more than national human resources associates. It also helps to be multilingual and live or have lived in the countries the associate is focusing on.

#8 – Executive Recruiter

Average annual salary: $78,785

Executive recruiters, sometimes called headhunters, look for individuals to fill senior executive job positions, generally at corporations or nonprofits. Executive recruiters need to know their industries well enough to be able to convince prospects, who are often employed at other companies, to come work for a competitor or a different corporation. Executive recruiters interview candidates for skill and cultural fit, presenting the perfect candidates to the corporation seeking to employ them. The executive search industry can be incredibly profitable for those who are successful at finding candidates to fill positions. They are often paid on retainer, paid in full when the candidate is presented to the company or paid a portion, up to percent, of a hired candidate’s first-year compensation.

#7 – Labor Relations Specialist

Median annual salary: $83,298

Labor relations specialists are the bridge between the corporations where they work and the labor unions that company employees participate in. Labor relations specialists must be experts in local, state and federal labor issues, so that they can devise contracts that adhere to the laws and politics of labor. A labor relations specialist also is a representative for the company in any legal action and sometimes public relations. The labor relations specialist must always keep a close eye on regulations, ensuring that his or her business is compliant at all times. Negotiating skills, the ability to read, write and interpret legal documents, and good communication abilities are a must.

#6 – Human Resources Consultant

Average annual salary: $87,000

Human resources consultants help corporate managers devise policies, employment structures, benefit issues, performance incentives, and anything else that corporations need help with. The consultant, usually a contractor, will come in as an independent expert who provides much-needed insight into a company’s human resources problems. An HR consultant analyzes a company’s human resources situation—its labor- and employee relations, the success of its employment system, how well benefits are panning out, and more—and recommends productive changes to that system. Oftentimes, HR consultants come from a background of in-house human resources work and have accumulated years of experience in their profession. Human resources consultants should be competent across the board of human resources skills.

#5 – Training and Development Manager

Median annual salary: $87,700

Training and development managers are in charge of all facets of employees’ training, education within the corporation, and career development. They organize orientation sessions for new employees, training sessions for all employees, personal development courses and any other in-person training that employees require to build their careers. Training and development managers are also in charge of composing any training collateral for staff, including manuals and books. People in this position must have excellent people skills, as they commonly hold meetings that require employee interest and motivation. Training and development managers should also have deep knowledge of the laws and compliance requirements within their workplace, so that they can keep employees up to date.

#4 – Compensation and Benefits Manager

Median annual salary: $94,291

Compensation and benefits managers are in charge of selecting and implementing the compensation and benefits programs for their corporations. Such managers use their grasp of corporate policy, insurance, and different benefits programs to pick the perfect programs for their company’s employees. They review and modify compensation and benefits programs, making sure such programs enable their business to attract and retain top talent. Compensation and benefits managers must have an excellent grasp of both pay and perks—how they work, how they must be allocated and matching what employees demand with the company’s budgetary constraints. A compensation and benefits manager generally has at least five years of experience in the field.

#3 – Human Resources Manager

Median annual salary: $96,130

A human resources manager is an HR generalist who oversees staffing, benefits, training, labor relations, compensation and all other components of a company’s human resources department. HR managers ensure that all procedures are compliant with both company policies and business laws. Human resources managers spearhead teams of recruiters and other specialists, create and facilitate projects, tackles problems and communicate with the director and executive level of a corporate management team. HR managers generally have at least five years of human resources experiences and come from a generalist background, or have the ability to competently juggle an array of human resources tasks.

#2 – Human Resources Director

Median annual salary: $142,860

A human resources director is in charge of all human resources activity in a company. That includes creating and implementing company-wide policies, recruitment and retention of employees, insurance, pensions, promotions, the termination of employees and benefits. HR directors also study the industry to devise a compensation system that both attracts talent and takes the employer’s cash flow into consideration. An HR director ensures the morale of existing employees by designing programs and benefits plans that keep employees motivated and working hard. In order to fit personnel activities within the company’s strategy, the human resources director must also ensure that all activities fit within the company’s budget. HR directors generally have around a decade of experience in the human resources field, and many get promoted into the position from an HR manager post.

#1 – Chief HR Officer/Vice President of Human Resources

Average annual salary: $214, 427

The Chief HR Officer is in charge of all of the human resources systems, policies and goals within a company. The CHRO oversees every aspect of the human resources department, from recruiting and hiring to training and development, as well as contracts, labor relations, benefits, services to employees, disputes, policy creation, and more. The CHRO, as part of the executive management team, reports to the CEO and is intimately involved with the strategic direction of the company. The Chief HR Officer should have one or two decades of experience in positions of increasing responsibility in corporate human resources, as well as well-honed decisionmaking and judgment skills.

Featured Top-ranked Master’s in HR Programs

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Featured Top-ranked HR MBA Programs

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The post The Top 10 Highest Paying HR Jobs appeared first on Human Resources Degrees.

10 Deadliest Occupational Diseases in History

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The world of work is full of surprises. The modern job market, for example, can take a candidate into areas where they undertake many unusual and unexpected activities. However, most of the time, present-day job seekers can at least count on being safe and not at risk from serious illness. Or can they? Throughout history, not everyone has been so lucky.

While the closest most of us get to occupational disease is a brush with carpal tunnel syndrome, we’ll soon see that there is a fascinating and disturbing assortment of illnesses and diseases that have made hay in the workplace – particularly in times past. Definitely not for the squeamish, what follows is a look through the murky world of work-related illness.

10. Chimney Sweep’s Carcinoma

Chimney Sweep’s Carcinoma

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Chimney Sweeps’ carcinoma, also known as Soot wart, is a form of skin cancer affecting the scrotum. Its name derives from the fact that it was first noted occurring among chimney sweeps – young men in their late teens and early twenties who had worked with soot for most of their lives. The disease was first identified in 1775 by Sir Percivall Pott, an English surgeon, and one of the first scientists to theorize on the link between cancers and environmental hazards. The disease into which Pott researched proved fatal if it was not treated. Left unchecked, the warts developed into a scrotal cancer that would make the testicles balloon in size before invading the abdomen with deadly effect. The only treatment available to medics at the time was surgery – cutting out the diseased flesh – a terrifying prospect for the young sweeps. The true cause of the disease was not proven until 1922, when carcinogens were discovered in soot.

9. Phossy Jaw

Phossy Jaw

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Phossy jaw, also known as phosphorus necrosis of the jaw, was most commonly seen among match workers in the 19th and early 20th centuries – famously, the “London matchgirls,” whose strike of 1888 brought the problem into the public eye. In those days, matches were made with white phosphorus, and prolonged exposure to the vapor of the substance caused deposits to form in the victims’ jawbones. Throbbing toothaches, extreme swelling of the gums and abscesses in the jawbone followed. The afflicted bones would also take on a green-white tinge, while severe brain damage also lay in wait for those already suffering. The only known treatment was to surgically remove the jawbones; if it were left unchecked, organ failure and death would result. The disease also caused tremendous pain and disfigurement, and the rotting bone tissue emitted a putrid-smelling discharge. Phossy jaw did not begin to decline until 1906, when the use of white phosphorus was officially banned.

8. Radium Jaw

Radium Jaw

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Radium jaw was a particularly unpleasant affliction that affected the so-called “Radium Girls” of the early 20th century. These workers were in the employment of the United States Radium Corporation, which enjoyed no small success with the production of its glow-in-the-dark radioactive paint. The paint, known by the trademark Undark, used radium as its chief ingredient. Unfortunately for the employees, they were told to lick the brushes they were using, the pointed tips of which were useful for painting fine details on clock faces or watches – but not so beneficial for the girls’ health. A painful swelling, bleeding and porosity of the jaws would follow, and ultimately, so too would death. Although radiation necrosis was initially denied by the company, the negative publicity created by the many cases of severe illness and death could not be ignored forever. Relatively simple worker safety laws were put in place and the outbreaks of radiation sickness eventually stopped altogether. The tragedy is that so many of these deaths were eminently preventable.

7. Byssinosis

Byssinosis

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Also known by the somewhat poetic name “Monday fever” – as well as the not-so-poetic “brown lung disease” – byssinosis is primarily associated with textile workers, especially young girls working in factories or mills. It is thought that exposure to cotton dust in poorly ventilated environments leads to the disease and its accompanying symptoms – namely, tightness of the chest, coughing and breathing difficulties. Experts believe the cause to be endotoxins from certain bacteria growing on the cotton. In extreme cases, the disease results in scarring of the lungs and, ultimately, death. During the 1990s, there were 81 bysinosis-related deaths in the United States alone. Such figures would likely have been much higher around the time of the industrial revolution, when cotton and fabric production increased dramatically throughout the world.

6. Anthrax

Anthrax

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Anthrax, which often affects grazing animals, is caused by a type of bacteria, and most forms of this acute disease can be fatal to humans. Ingestion, inhalation and direct contact are all paths to infection and, for some workers, contracting the disease is a distinct possibility – particularly in countries where it is common. Many people who deal with dead animals or their skin and meat are exposed to anthrax spores, but most of the time the levels are not high enough for the full-blown disease to develop. However, when anthrax does develop fully, the results can be devastating. This was the case in April 1979, when the town of Sverdlovsk (now Ekaterinburg) in the then-Soviet Union was exposed to an anthrax leak from a nearby bio-weapons facility. It is thought that the accident caused the infection of at least 94 people, 68 of whom died. An extensive cover-up operation was undertaken before Russian President Boris Yeltsin eventually admitted to the disaster in 1992.

5. Asbestosis

Asbestosis

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Asbestosis is an inflammatory condition affecting the lungs that is directly caused by breathing in asbestos fibers. It often occurs among workers exposed to high levels of the dangerous mineral, or those dealing with it over an extended time period. The most obvious symptoms of asbestosis are shortness of breath and, in extreme cases, respiratory failure. Sufferers also face a greater risk of contracting lung cancer, not to mention mesothelioma (see entry 3). It can take several decades for the condition to manifest itself – but for people working in the mining, removal or manufacture of products containing asbestos, by then it may be too late. The disease is essentially characterized by scarring of the lung tissue by asbestos fibers, and at present there is no known curative treatment. In the worst cases, asbestosis can prove to be fatal.

4. Lead Poisoning

Lead Poisoning

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Lead poisoning is a potentially deadly medical condition caused by high levels of the eponymous toxic heavy metal in the body. Symptoms range from anemia and headaches to seizures, coma and death. Unfortunately for workers, occupational exposure is the main reason lead poisoning affects adults. Moreover, it has been estimated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that, in the US alone, over 3 million people could be exposed to lead while at work. Such exposure might occur in a myriad of ways: factory workers producing products containing lead, lead miners, plumbers, glass manufacturers, welders, printers and those involved in many more industries are all at risk. Lead poisoning was one of the first known environmental hazards. The metal was discovered around 6500 BC and its harmful effects were noted by as early as the 2nd century BC. Yet it can still cause illness and death even today.

3. Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma

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Mesothelioma is a cancer that arises in the mesothelium, the protective membrane covering several of the body’s organs. The majority of people who fall victim have worked in occupations that expose them to asbestos and the inhalation of asbestos fibers. The disease, which can take between 20 and 50 years to appear, is identified by various symptoms, including chest pain, fatigue, neck or facial swelling, and in severe cases blood clots, jaundice and internal bleeding. The dangers of exposure to asbestos were identified in the early 20th century, but this did not prevent the ongoing risk of mesothelioma to workers around the world. In Western Australia, the deaths of over 500 people from the disease appear to be linked with asbestos mining that took place between 1945 and 1966. And in recent years – from 1980 to the late 1990s – the number of people dying from the disease went up from 2,000 a year to 3,000 in the US alone. Many buildings built before asbestos was banned may contain it, and renovators and builders should proceed with caution.

2. Coalworker’s Pneumoconiosis

Coalworker’s Pneumoconiosis

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Coalworker’s pneumoconiosis (CWP), widely known as “black lung disease,” is another killer. Mentioned in the same breath both as silicosis (see entry 1) and Caplan’s syndrome (a lung condition caused by exposure to coal, asbestos or silica dust), CWP is brought about by long-term exposure to and inhalation of coal dust. It can lead to inflammation and in extreme cases the death of cells in living tissue (necrosis). Despite the fact that mining conditions have improved dramatically in recent times, 10,000 American miners have died from CWP in the last decade alone – an astonishing 7.5 percent of the country’s active underground coal miners. What’s more, rates of black lung disease are actually on the increase, nearly doubling over the past decade. In an effort to tackle the problem, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is currently offering miners a health evaluation every five years. Whether this measure is enough remains to be seen.

1. Silicosis

Silicosis

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Silicosis, also known as Potter’s rot, has the dubious distinction of being the most widespread occupational lung disease. It affects people the world over but is more prevalent among workers in developing countries. Directly caused by the breathing in of crystalline silica dust, it inflames and scars the lungs’ upper lobes. Alarmingly, from the early to mid-‘90s, each year, China recorded over 24,000 fatalities as a result of the disease – the telltale signs of which include coughing, fever and shortness of breath. Respiratory problems from the inhalation of dust have been acknowledged since at least Ancient Greek times, but of course, with industrialization, the problem only worsened. There is no known cure for silicosis; treatments instead focus on symptom-relief and reducing exposure to any lung irritants. The use of respirators has brought the mortality rate down in the United States, but silicosis remains an ever-present danger for others in the less developed world – from silver miners in Bolivia to denim sandblasters in Turkey.

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10 Great TED Lectures on Work and Success

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What is it that makes someone successful? What is it that makes someone happy with their work? In the following TED talks, some of the sharpest minds on Earth share their experiences with work, success and happiness.

Jason Fried: Why work doesn’t happen at work
Jason Fried, co-author of the best selling book Rework, explains in this talk why the modern notion of getting work done in an office building is worth challenging. He explains that some of the most productive minds almost never identify the office as the most important place to get work done, so why do so many businesses place so much emphasis on it?

Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work
Author Nigel Marsh speaks on the problems associated with giving too much power to an employer. In his talk, he outlines the fundamental problems that come with losing family and personal time to excessive work, and gives valuable suggestions for balancing working productivity and personal life.

Tim Ferriss: Smash fear, learn anything
Tim Feriss shares his personal experiences and thoughts on the various ways that fear impedes learning. Author of The Four Hour Work Week and an in-depth blog, Tim explains the subtleties and nuances of going from a place of fear to a place of understanding.

Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work
Psychologist and CEO Shawn Achor entertains his audience with his unique take on happiness: work is not necessarily the root of it. He explains instead why happiness acts as a catalyst for productivity, effectively reversing the roles of work and emotion.

Dan Pink on the surprising science of motivation
In this eye-opening talk, Dan Pink uses his experience with law to make a case against the way that rewards are presented in the modern era. He explains that several studies have shown current reward systems to produce worse results in an unusual way.

Alain de Botton: A kinder, gentler philosophy of success
Alian de Botton gives critical insight of how our perception of success and failure can distort our ability to relate to others, while simultaneously explaining the power of transcending the traditional habit of judging others by their profession.

Diana Laufenberg: How to learn? From mistakes
Teacher Diana Laufenberg shares wisdom from her years of experience. In this very easy-to-follow talk, she speaks on some of the key problems and misconceptions in the world of education and sheds light on how learning from mistakes is quite possibly one of the most valuable approaches to personal growth.

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius
In this moving TED talk, best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert articulates the problems that creative minds face by assuming all of the responsibility of being a genius. She explains how many other cultures have lived in assumption that genius was something that resides outside of the body, rather than something that lives within the confines of one’s own mind.

Dan Ariely asks, Are we in control of our own decisions?
Dan Ariely, writer of Predictably Irrational, makes a strong argument against peoples’ common belief that they are rational. In his talk, he gets his evidence in a compelling way that helps to illustrate why he has come to believe that the average person’s decision-making process is not as rational as they might assume.

Richard St. John’s 8 secrets of success
In this short yet powerful talk, Richard St. John encapsulates the elements of success. Over his years of research, he has conducted various interviews and found that the factors of success are different than the traditionally-assumed factors like luck and book smarts.

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Are talent management systems worth it?

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Are talent management systems worth it? The answer may be found in the overall recruiting process and the associated legal issues. Finding the right people for a specific position is not a simple function to perform since it is labor intensive and regulated by state and federal agencies.
To streamline the required procedures in this operation, small and large companies are utilizing various kinds of talent management systems. When a company implements a system with the best features, recruiters can capture accurate applicant information, save time and money, comply with state and federal regulations, increase applicant pool, reduce HR workload, improve cross organization support, identify trends and make better decisions. Listed below are four brief descriptions of its worth.

Captures Accurate Applicant Information

A talent management system is essential for companies that hire people on a regular basis because they provide the company with the tools needed to capture the required information. The data that the company captures usually includes the name of each candidate, position that they apply for, social security number, and other essential personal information. This information is used for numerous reasons including providing reports, analyzing data, and to responding to a diversity of requests. These requests may come from upper management, finance or from outside sources like various governmental agencies. Without these automated solutions, entire operations can be stopped to comply with one crucial request to avoid large penalties.

Talent Management Systems Improve Cross Organization Support

Today’s talent management systems are integrated with other databases. These systems create a seamless way of collecting essential information, while it also cuts down on the duplication efforts across the board. As a result, once the recruitment area has collected the personal information for an applicant, it is fed to others systems that need the data. This data may be used to hire the applicant into the company as a permanent employee or it may be used in a statistical report. Whatever the case, talent management systems can reduce the processing time in the recruitment area as well as on other sides of the house like benefits administration.

Strategic Planning and Decision Making Tool

The role that recruitment plays in any company is multi-faceted. From attracting the best talent in the industry to keeping whole operations functioning with the right human resources, recruiters are responsible for a wide diversity of things. One of which is ensuring the company saves money on human resources by developing a plan for the present as well as upcoming years. To accomplish these and other tasks, the recruiters must have accurate statistical data so that they can identify specific trends. For instance, these trends can determine how many full-time, part-time or seasonal employees are needed during peak times. With this information, the finance department can allocate a specific amount for these resources.

Comply With Governmental Regulations

The talent management systems are also used to ensure the company can comply with specific employment regulations. Based on the circumstances, EEO can request a detailed report of the company’s employment activities. These reports are used to make sure recruiters are providing all diverse groups an equal opportunity. When the company does not have diversity in their candidate pools, they can use the talent management systems to assists with identifying the areas of lack. After the areas have been identified, the recruiters can seek a remedy to the problem so that EEO will not charge the company with fines.

http://batrushollweg.hypersites.com/benefits-talent-management.html

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15 Ways To Onboard New Hires Efficiently (Even During Busy Times)

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15 Ways To Onboard New Hires Efficiently (Even During Busy Times)

Create A Complete Feedback Loop

One of the rather easy ways to evaluate and improve onboarding, be it in a high- or low-stress environment, is having a complete feedback loop with all stakeholders. This would allow for feedback from all levels, including the new employee. This kind of dynamic feedback allows for quick tactical pivots to improve the onboarding quickly and effectively. – Kamyar Shah, World Consulting Group

by Kamyar Shah – Interim COO


15 Tips For Tactfully Turning Down A Potential Client

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Stick To The Facts

Polite and factual statements are virtually always the best way of approaching most conversations, even the difficult ones. In this particular instance, it is just as important what is being said as how it is said—conveying that a relationship may not be as productive and effective while encouraging them to find alternatives would be the optimal approach. – Kamyar ShahWorld Consulting Group

By Kamyar Shah – Interim CMO

15 Tips For Navigating Family Business Challenges

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Keep Family Issues Out Of The Business

Though there are many different ways that may help avoid family pitfalls, one of the safest ways is a clean-cut separation of family and business. Creating a formal separation in which personal and family issues do not carry any merit when it comes to business-related matters will have the best chance for long-term success. Alternatives are more susceptible to occasional and repeated failures. – Kamyar ShahWorld Consulting Group

Check out my Part-time COO and/or Part-time CMO services

Overwhelmed? 15 Ways To Set Better Boundaries For Work And Life

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Overwhelmed? 15 Ways To Set Better Boundaries For Work And Life

Enforce The Consequences Of Your Boundaries

Boundaries are less about explicit expression than actions. For boundaries to be of any impact, there have to be consequences that are obvious enough. Those actions and consequences can be as simple as making sure the other side notices that they have been ignored on purpose, or as complex as explicitly and publicly emphasizing that they have been ignored for a specific reason. – Kamyar ShahWorld Consulting Group

Check out my Business Consulting and/or Management Consulting services.

Keep Your Stakeholders In The Loop With These 14 Communication Tips

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Operate With Consistent Integrity

Though communication is the obvious answer, there is more to it. Communication at its face is great; however, in order to have the proper impact on stakeholders, those communications have to be above board. That usually translates into being accepted as a person of consistent integrity that will report objectively at all times. Without that perception, communication is not effective. – Kamyar ShahWorld Consulting Group

By Kamyar Shah – Chief Operating Officer

Financing Your First Business? 16 Expert-Recommended Funding Tips

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Financing Your First Business? 16 Expert-Recommended Funding Tips

Seek To Self-Fund First

Though there are many tools and platforms that make fundraising more accessible, there is still a lot to be said about self-funding. A self-funded company tends to signal several positive attributes that are highly desirable, including self-discipline. Though this may not apply to all business environments, it should be the first option to be considered. – Kamyar ShahWorld Consulting Group

By Kamyar Shah – Chief Marketing Officer

12 Up-To-Date Lead Generation Tips For The Modern Salesperson

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12 Up-To-Date Lead Generation Tips For The Modern Salesperson

Look In ‘Little Ponds’

The simplest way to exponentially grow inbound leads in later stages of a business is to adopt the “big fish, little pond” methodology. Secondary venues, or “little ponds,” that are unlikely to be overcrowded by others will allow the business to be the “big fish.” This approach, however, requires an immense amount of creativity and experimentation to find the proper and converting “little ponds.” – Kamyar ShahWorld Consulting Group

By Kamyar Shah – Read more about Management Consulting & Operations Management

Job Seekers: 13 Important Things To Look For In Your Ideal Recruiter

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Job Seekers: 13 Important Things To Look For In Your Ideal Recruiter

What They Do With The Information You Provide Them

Much like any other service provider, recruiters depend a great deal on information to provide the best possible result. Hence, it is important to be proactive and provide them with a complete background as well as a “narrative” of what you are trying to accomplish. The more details and guidance one provides, the more likely that the recruiting efforts will result in the desired outcome. – Kamyar ShahWorld Consulting Group

By Kamyar Shah –  Remote COO


Is Your Company Growing Too Fast? 14 Red Flags To Watch For

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Is Your Company Growing Too Fast? 14 Red Flags To Watch For

You’re Putting Out Daily Fires

Rapid growth entails change, which tends to create friction. That sort of friction tends to manifest in a wide range of symptoms such as quality control issues, customer dissatisfaction as well as internal conflicts. Those symptoms are just that—symptoms. The underlying causes are virtually always within growth and scaling projects that were not planned or not executed properly. – Kamyar ShahWorld Consulting Group

By Kamyar Shah – Remote CMO

15 Culture-Building Tips For An All-Remote Team

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15 Culture-Building Tips For An All-Remote Team

Encourage Cross-Collaboration

As someone that has worked 16-plus years remotely, the single most important cultural tool is cross-collaboration. Remote teams that integrate cross-collaboration among team members tend to create deeper and more personal relationships. It ultimately tends to translate into deeper personal bonds that not only help maintain but also evolve the organizational culture. – Kamyar ShahWorld Consulting Group

By Kamyar Shah – Business Consultant

The Project Management Triangle: Time, Scope & Cost

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The Triple Constraint in Project Management: Time, Scope & Cost

In parallel with the acceptance of PMBOK and Prince as accepted standards in Project Management, (“PM”) a veritable industry has grown up around Project Management offering help and assistance with understanding the concepts behind the standards.

One such concept is the Project Management Triangle, “PMT”.

Triple-Constraint.

Overview

One of the more difficult tasks in Project Management is scheduling or rescheduling a project and taking all the constraints into account. The Project Management Triangle, also known as the Triple Constraint or Iron Triangle, attempts to set out a model of the project constraints. Used in tandem with Project Management and scheduling software (often the same thing) it makes the job a lot easier.

First encountered in the 1950s, it assumes:

  1. Quality is affected and limited by Scope, Budget, and Timescale

2. The PM can make trade-offs between constraints

3. Changes in one constraint can have knock-on effects on other constraints

You should note that the PMT can not and does not:

  1. Hold all the constraints

2. Assume that trade-offs are always possible. Sometimes they are not

3. Provide assurances that quality is maintained

Another approach is to redefine the three constraints as Finance, Time and HR. A common technique is using the rather simplistic approach of applying more resources to reduce timescales. Unless costs reduce in other parts of the project by shortening deadlines, costs will inevitably increase.

If we now look at Time, Cost and Scope in turn:

There Are Three Primary Project Constraints:

1. A project and its subordinate tasks will have defined end-dates. Defined end-dates fixes the amount of time available for trade-offs. Time is generally uncontrollable, but failure to meet deadlines is not acceptable. Failure can be for any number of reasons but usually follows a lack of resources or inappropriately assigned resources.

2. A project will have an agreed budget. The usual assumption is that a project is saveable or completed more quickly by throwing money at it to buy more resources. That is not always true or possible.

3. The project scope is defined in the project charter and supporting project documentation. Scope changes will affect both time and cost. It is not always possible or advisable to tinker with the project scope outside formal change management processes.

What is the Project Management Triangle?

The project management triangle defines the basic constraints that a project operates within, namely:

  • Time
  • Cost
  • Scope

If we now look at Time, Cost and Scope in turn:

1. Time Constraint

A project is broken down into the tasks needed to complete it, and the relationship between each task. Task dependencies need to be taken into account, as do task priorities.

The process includes the creation of accurate estimates of the time needed to complete each task.

The output of this step is a Work Breakdown Schedule (“WBS”). A WBS documents the work effort for each task and rolls them up into stage and total work effort.

There are several ways to create a WBS, but one of the more common is to use a previous project of the same type as a template. Experience also counts as does knowledge of the work pattern of individual resources assigned to tasks.

2. Cost Constraint

Costing is a bit of a black art. Some costs can are stated exactly, but some are more of a bit of estimate (better known as a guess).  Knowns include staff costs, equipment rental, and subcontractor fees. Unknowns include some outsourced fees and project contingency. Simply put, it is is the typical accounting subdivision of fixed and variable costs.

There are many tools available to help, spreadsheets, for example. Data can be drawn from the organization’s systems, for example, wage rates. What also needs attention, particularly in longer projects, is cost escalation. Wage rates will go up, subcontractor fees may have inflation-linked escalations, and other indirect costs may vary.

All projects should include a contingency to draw on if needed to cope with variations. It can be a simple percentage of the total estimated project cost. Sometimes for a more detailed calculation, it is carried out as with risk, the likelihood of occurrence, the cost of mitigation, and the cost of recovery giving a contingency cost.

3. Scope Constraint

The Scope of a project is a formal statement of what a project is to deliver. It is a combination of the high-level requirements set out in the original statement of work and refined in both the project charter and project plan.

Changing the Scope is not easy and not generally advisable. Changes to Scope will bring changes to the WBS, and therefore to project cost.  Inevitably timescales will change.

All proposed changes must be put through Change Management. Unapproved changes are highly likely to ensure that the project will run over time and budget. In severe cases, it may fail to complete or complete without achieving its original objectives.

For longer projects, change is inevitable. The business environment today is one of rapid and frequent change, and businesses need to be quick and flexible to meet changing market demands.  Coping can be a real headache for PMs. It is often best to drive these types of changes through change control to ensure that all stakeholders are fully aware of the nature of the change, why it is needed and the potential effects on time and cost if it is approved.

A second consideration is that of quality. A task may be done well in a given time, but adequately in a shorter time, leaving some time to be traded off for other tasks.

Summary

The Project Management Triangle has become an accepted tool in the PMs armory and provides a valuable framework during the PM process. There are, however, as always some caveats and things to consider.

Of the three constraints of time, cost and Scope, changes to either one imply changes to one or both of the others. If you look at the triangle model, change one side, and you change the other two.

Time and Cost constraints are consistent. However, Scope means different things to different people and affects their analysis of the Project Management Triangle.  This ambiguity leads to endless discussions and interpretations of a project plan and can lead to some interesting conversations in a Change Management session. If you take a literal view of the triangle, with each constraint as one side, then changing one side changes the other two.

Over the years, the Project Management Triangle has evolved, and some different interpretations of the triangle have emerged using different or slight variations on Time, Cost and Scope. Time has tended to blur the value of the Project Management Triangle and introduced an element of flexibility in its interpretation.

Common Variations Are:

STR Model

STR stands for Scope, Time and resource. It is mathematically based, converting the triangle into a mathematical expression, S = TxR. It states that the Scope of a project is directly related to the time and resources applied to it. In short, if you want to reduce Scope, you need to reduce time and/or resources.

Quality at the center.

In this variation, the center of the triangle represents quality, clearly differentiating quality from Scope. The Scope is the deliverables and the project specification.

Moving Quality to the center demonstrates that any change to any of the three parameters potentially affects the quality of the finished product.

People at the Centre

In 1997, a research paper by Kliem and Ludin further modified the PMT to put People at the center. They concluded that resource management was the key to project success, irrespective of how well the rest of the project was organized and managed.

Conclusion

There is a raft of tools and techniques to assist the Project Management with the planning and execution of a project, of which the project Management Triangle is one. However, the Project Management Triangle has been around for at least 70 years, and many observers think it is not keeping up with the times and is in effect obsolete.

In particular, by having only three constraints, it does not easily cope with today’s complex projects which can involve many different variables touching on project planning and performance. For instance, it has difficulty in dealing with the integration of the Internet and Social Media because the associated resources and constraints are very much in the hands of third parties.

Some observers also feel it does not address stakeholder satisfaction and pays insufficient attention to quality. Others also point to a lack of emphasis on achieving measurable business objectives.

However, it is a very good starting point since it brings to the forefront the fundamental practical aspects of project management.

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Project Management Knowledge Areas of PMBO

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What is PMBOK in Project Management?

Project Management (“PM”) is not a new science.  It has been around for thousands of years.  The Egyptian pyramid builders must have had some form of PM, as did the Greeks and Romans. The medieval cathedral builders and the Victorian engineers must have used PM.  The big difference today is the use of computer software to automate the process, enabling projects to be more closely defined and managed.

As with other fields of study, PM has become formalized, regulated and recognized as a profession in its own right.

Project Management

In parallel with the codification of the PM process, the certification of PM practitioners is now a key part of demonstrating fitness for purpose. There is a range of major and subordinate qualifications in PM disciplines, including the PMI qualification based on the Project Management Book of Knowledge (“PMBoK”) and in Europe the Prince II certification.

“PMBOK stands for Project Management Body of Knowledge and it is the entire collection of processes, proven procedure, phraseology, and piece of advice that are credit as standards within the project management industry”. 

The emergence of certification provides clients with the comfort of knowing that the practitioner is qualified in the field, and practitioners the comfort of having to hand a globally recognized standard for the profession.

Having said that, there is a move afoot to position certified PM practitioners as qualified in any field.  That is being fiercely resisted because a PM usually needs practical experience in the field being project managed.   A common example is that a PM who’s entire experience is in the pharmaceutical industry is not qualified to manage construction projects. Besides, some areas need other qualifications and registrations outside PM to allow the PM to operate in that field.

The two leading frameworks currently are PMBoK and Prince.  PMBoK is owned and managed by the Project Management Institute (“PMI”), an American organization.  Prince was developed by the UK Government.

In the case of PMBoK, their major product is the “Project Management Body of Knowledge”, a paper and electronic publication issued to members of the Institute. It sets out a standard terminology and guidelines for the execution of projects.   They also hold examinations and award certification online and through agents.

It was first recognized as a standard by ANSI and IEEE in 1996 and has evolved through various iterations to the current level six in September 2017.   The Sixth Edition includes for the first time a recognition of the Agile environment.

It is intended to be a generalist guide to PM, but there are three extensions about specific environments recognized by PMBoK:

1.  Sofware Extension

2. Construction Extension

3. Public Sector (Government) Extension

While concentrating on aspects of project management unique to the craft, such as critical path analysis and the work breakdown structure, it reaches out into more general management areas relating to the planning and execution of the project, including human resources and budgeting.  It also involves an understanding of other management techniques including management science, financial management and communications.

It also considers the role of Programme Management, an extension of PM into the management of multiple linked projects, and the use of the Project Management Office.

The guide proposes that there are two main areas – Process Groups and Knowledge Areas.   In summary, 49 processes fall into five process groups and 10 Knowledge Areas.   This is true of most projects, but there will always be those that don’t quite fit the mold.

Process Groups

Process Groups define the various stages of a project, from initiation to closing:

1. Initiation

The project-kick-off, the identification of a need for a project, the preparation of an initial statement of work and budget, and obtaining sign-off  to start the project

2. Planning

Turning the statement of work into the project plan with:

  • A cogent statement of the project’s scope of work and success criteria
  • A schedule of project management meetings at a detailed and executive level, including change management
  • A coherent work-breakdown structure
  • Assigned resources and team structure, including task assignment and reporting
  • An agreed and signed-off project charter
  • Associated management plans for risk, communications, stakeholders.
  • Budgets

3. Execution

The actual running of the project.

4. Monitoring and Managing

The monitoring of project progress, the adjustment of the various project plans to meet changing circumstances.  Simply put, the processes needed to support the management of the project to make sure that it stays on time and cost budgets.

5. Closing

Finalizing all tasks, and receiving the formal closure of the project.

The requirements of each are self-evident.

PMBoK Defines 10 Knowledge Areas:

1. Integration Management

A project is made up of several inter-dependent and related work processes. This knowledge area relates to the requirement to co-ordinate these different processes.  Changes to one may mean changes to one or more other processes.

There may also be a need to reschedule all or part of the project.  Success at rescheduling without affecting the overall project performance needs a clear understanding of the linkages in the project and how changes, for example, reassignment of resources, may change the overall outcome.

If that understanding is missing or incomplete, the Law of Unintended Consequences will apply.

2. Scope Management

A project usually tends to acquire new objectives and tasks as it proceeds, “Scope Creep”.  If it happens in a big way, it’s called “Moving the Goalposts”.   It is probably one of the more difficult things to manage.

PMBoK defines it as “ensuring that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully”.

Scope changes can either creep in as seemingly simple requests from a user or as a response to a major change in business requirements incurred after the definition of the project.

Two things can happen – ignore scope creep or manage it.  Ignoring scope creep will result in a project going over budget and over time.  It may indeed fail.

Scope management involves impressing on the project team that they must not accept requests from users for on-the-fly changes and using change management to fully understand the implications of a change before authorizing or rejecting it.

3. Schedule Management

Very simple managing processes to ensure that they take place when they should take as long as they should and use the resources they should.

As with most simple things, this is not as easy as it sounds.  Tasks need to be reassigned, added and removed.  Resources become available, not available and don’t operate with the productivity required.

A complex task needing a practical knowledge of the project area, the resources being used and the stakeholder expectations.   Sometimes it is more HR than Project Management.

4. Cost Management

Cost is a key player in project execution.  One of the key goals of PM is to complete a project within budget and that involves:

  • creating an accurate project budget during project planning and having it agreed on
  • managing the execution cost of the project as it proceeds
  • in larger projects using someone from the Finance department to manage finances

5. Quality Management

Most organizations have expectations as to quality.  In some, these are codified in internal documentation, and in some cases are a legislative requirement.   A project may need regular quality reviews during its lifetime.

6. Resource Management

This is the art of leading and managing the project team.  It involves several, often conflicting activities:

  • Career Management of team members
  • Reassignment to meet immediate needs, for example, if a team member is off sick at a critical point
  • Long-term resource planning, how many, who does what, how long it will take, what new resources will need come on board or what resources will leave the project during its execution

7. Communications Management

A key component.  Several levels of communication are needed:

  • High-Level. Constant, but perhaps not detailed communications with the project sponsor and steering committee
  • Project-Based. Communications with project team members about project activities and assignments
  • Part of the high-level communications strategy, stakeholders need to be kept up to date.  It is a lot easier when the project needs more money or time to ask for it from a well-informed stakeholders group.

8. Risk Management

Things happen during a project that will affect it. They need to be identified, the likelihood of their happening and their impact assessed.  A vital task is to work out the effects of and the costs of prevention or letting it happen.   In some cases, it is better and more cost-effective to let it happen and sweep up afterward that prevent the risk happening ion the first place.

9. Procurement Management

A project will need to buy stuff, people, equipment, accommodation, travel for example. Most companies have formal procurement policies.  In some complex cases, this may require the project to go through a tender process.  A schedule of what is needed and when it is needed will help Procurement to make correct decisions at the correct time.

If a formal procurement contract is required, this may take some time to finalize. Any delays from following formal procurement procedures need to be factored into the project schedule.

10. Stakeholder Management

The project will affect many people, inside and outside an organization.  They may have the ability to affect the project scope and possibly stop it altogether.  They need to be identified and managed to minimize their effect on the project.

A key part is Stakeholder Communications. As President Lyndon Johnson almost said, “It’s better to have them inside the tent causing trouble outside than outside the tent causing trouble inside”.

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What is PMBOK in Project Management?

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0

What is PMBOK in Project Management?

Project Management (“PM”) is not a new science.  It has been around for thousands of years.  The Egyptian pyramid builders must have had some form of PM, as did the Greeks and Romans. The medieval cathedral builders and the Victorian engineers must have used PM.  The big difference today is the use of computer software to automate the process, enabling projects to be more closely defined and managed.

PMBK

As with other fields of study, PM has become formalized, regulated and recognized as a profession in its own right.

 

In parallel with the codification of the PM process, the certification of PM practitioners is now a key part of demonstrating fitness for purpose. There is a range of major and subordinate qualifications in PM disciplines, including the PMI qualification based on the Project Management Book of Knowledge (“PMBoK”) and in Europe the Prince II certification.

“PMBOK stands for Project Management Body of Knowledge and it is the entire collection of processes, proven procedure, phraseology, and piece of advice that are credit as standards within the project management industry”. 

The emergence of certification provides clients with the comfort of knowing that the practitioner is qualified in the field, and practitioners the comfort of having to hand a globally recognized standard for the profession.

Having said that, there is a move afoot to position certified PM practitioners as qualified in any field.  That is being fiercely resisted because a PM usually needs practical experience in the field being project managed.   A common example is that a PM who’s entire experience is in the pharmaceutical industry is not qualified to manage construction projects. Besides, some areas need other qualifications and registrations outside PM to allow the PM to operate in that field.

The two leading frameworks currently are PMBoK and Prince.  PMBoK is owned and managed by the Project Management Institute (“PMI”), an American organization.  Prince was developed by the UK Government.

In the case of PMBoK, their major product is the “Project Management Body of Knowledge”, a paper and electronic publication issued to members of the Institute. It sets out a standard terminology and guidelines for the execution of projects.   They also hold examinations and award certification online and through agents.

It was first recognized as a standard by ANSI and IEEE in 1996 and has evolved through various iterations to the current level six in September 2017.   The Sixth Edition includes for the first time a recognition of the Agile environment.

It is intended to be a generalist guide to PM, but there are three extensions about specific environments recognized by PMBoK:

1.  Sofware Extension

2. Construction Extension

3. Public Sector (Government) Extension

While concentrating on aspects of project management unique to the craft, such as critical path analysis and the work breakdown structure, it reaches out into more general management areas relating to the planning and execution of the project, including human resources and budgeting.  It also involves an understanding of other management techniques including management science, financial management, and communications.

It also considers the role of Programme Management, an extension of PM into the management of multiple linked projects, and the use of the Project Management Office.

The guide proposes that there are two main areas – Process Groups and Knowledge Areas.   In summary, 49 processes fall into five process groups and 10 Knowledge Areas.   This is true of most projects, but there will always be those that don’t quite fit the mold.

Process Groups

Process Groups define the various stages of a project, from initiation to closing:

1. Initiation

The project-kick-off, the identification of a need for a project, the preparation of an initial statement of work and budget, and obtaining sign-off  to start the project

2. Planning

Turning the statement of work into the project plan with:

  • A cogent statement of the project’s scope of work and success criteria
  • A schedule of project management meetings at a detailed and executive level, including change management
  • A coherent work-breakdown structure
  • Assigned resources and team structure, including task assignment and reporting
  • An agreed and signed-off project charter
  • Associated management plans for risk, communications, stakeholders.
  • Budgets

3. Execution

The actual running of the project.

4. Monitoring and Managing

The monitoring of project progress, the adjustment of the various project plans to meet changing circumstances.  Simply put, the processes needed to support the management of the project to make sure that it stays on time and cost budgets.

5. Closing

Finalizing all tasks, and receiving the formal closure of the project.

The requirements of each are self-evident.

The post What is PMBOK in Project Management? appeared first on Management Study HQ.

The Principals Of Project Management

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The Eight Principals Of Project Management

A principle is a rule to be followed or the foundation upon which something is built. Project management principles are the rules which govern all projects regardless of size or industry and lay the foundation for project management success. Overall, the project management principles answer five fundamental questions:

  • What do we want to achieve?
  • Why are we doing this?
  • How will we know we are successful?
  • Who will help us succeed?
  • How will things get done?

Principle 1: Overarching Vision, Goals, and Objectives

All projects start with the vision of a specific outcome. The outcome will usually be one where a particular need is met, or an issue is resolved. The vision, goals, and objectives help to define success from the onset. The vision helps to articulate “what” the project seeks to achieve and “why” you want to achieve it.

The “what” and “why” serve as a beacon that guides the project and helps with the evaluation of project success. It is possible to continuously evaluate whether the reasons for the project are still valid. Otherwise, it makes little sense to proceed with a pointless endeavor.

Principals Of Project Management

Principle 2: Well-Defined Structure

Every project operates under the triple constraint of time, scope and cost. A project also needs a team to support execution. A well-defined structure helps define the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved in the project.

This way, it is clear from the onset who is financing the project (the sponsor), who is overseeing the project (the project manager), who is offering expertise (the project team) and who benefits from the project (the client). A well-defined structure addresses the “who” aspect of the project.

Principle 3: Strategic Alignment

Before a project commences, it is vital to understand how it aligns with your vision. For example, we will introduce a new product or service to solve a specific problem for our customers (i.e. meet market demand). Strategic alignment justifies the project and supports the possibility of a return on the investment (ROI).

ROI can be financial or value-based and depends on the vision and goals of the project. For example, a new product or service will usually have a Principals Of Project Management, whereas a project to install a borehole to provide clean water for a village would have a value-based ROI.

Strategic alignment also looks within the project. All projects have stakeholders whose interests must be catered for throughout the project. Through continuous communication, it is possible to identify the needs and priorities of the stakeholders, address any concerns they might have and gain their support to deliver the project successfully.

Principle 4: Rules of Engagement

A project document often called the project charter, is signed at the start of a project. The project charter formalizes the project and authorizes a project manager to access the funds set aside for the project. The charter also outlines the project’s vision, goals, and objectives.

Further, it will describe the project structure and define success by using milestones. This document provides a background of the project, high-level cost estimates, and the overall project plan. The project manager can refer to the project charter for clarification at any point during the project.

Principle 5: Plan, Execute and Control

Every project involves a rigorous planning process. A project plan lays out the way forward from start to finish. It divides the project into stages, identifies the resources required at every stage, prepares for uncertainties and develops measures to guard against potential risks. The plan covers the “how” aspect of a project.

The execution phase is the action phase, where all the plans are set in motion. Every part of the execution phase is well orchestrated to bring the project closer to completion and successful delivery.

Success is measured by tracking project milestones against the project schedule. During this stage, communication plays a focal role in guiding the project. Where interdependencies exist between different teams, consistent communication is the glue that keeps things together.

The control phase of a project involves taking corrective or preventative action. Corrective action can include an inspection to identify and fix defects. Preventative action is adopting a standard measure of quality and ensuring each project element meets the desired standard.

Principle 6: Managing Risks

A Risk is an uncertain event whose occurrence could impact on a project and its objectives. Risks exist in every project and can be positive or negative. Positive risks present opportunities, while negative risks are threats to a project.

For example, new legislation can offer a positive or negative risk. As a positive risk, the new law may cause an increased demand for your product or service and thereby create an opportunity. Alternatively, the new law can be a negative risk or a threat if it requires you to make changes to your existing process and will cost time and money to implement.

Since risks are an inherent part of projects and continue to emerge throughout the life of the project, it is essential to plan and manage the risk with appropriate responses.

The risk response towards a negative risk include:

  • Avoidance of the risk by changing the project approach
  • Acceptance of the risk as necessary
  • Transferring the risk to a 3rd party such as an insurer
  • Mitigating the risk to reduce its impact on your project

The risk response towards a positive risk include:

  • Exploiting the risk
  • Sharing the risk with another interested party
  • Enhancing the risk for maximum benefit
  • Rejecting the risk

Principle 7: Change Management

Projects operate in a VUCA environment. VUCA represents volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. A VUCA environment results in changing priorities and needs. Change management offers a systematic way to prepare and navigate a complex environment.

One way to manage change in a project is by maintaining flexibility with the project plan and making a course correction as soon as possible. Another way to manage change is to make provision for it in the risk management plan. Based on experience, changes can be anticipated, and appropriate responses planned and implemented when a need arises.

Principle 8: Measurement and Accountability

When discussing any project, the saying “what gets measured gets done” is accurate. At the start of the project, the measures for success are defined for the project and the project team. The degree to which the project and the project team meets the criteria defines the level of success of the project. It is critical to creating checkpoints in the form of milestones throughout the project to measure success continually. Some likely measures of success include:

  • Customer satisfaction with the final product or service
  • Meeting a key objective as defined in the project charter
  • Delivering the project on schedule and within the agreed budget

Reflection is part of the measurement process. It helps to explain the progress of the project and to document what is working well and what can be improved. When done consistently throughout the project, reflection can salvage a dying project.

A project manager is accountable for an entire project. The success of a project lies in its ability to manage conflicting priorities and apply limited resources in the best possible way. The project team is also accountable to deliver on their roles and responsibilities as described to them at the start of the project.

In conclusion, the project management principles apply to all projects regardless of the model or methodology of delivery.

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What is Cost Management in Project Management?

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Cost Management in Project Management

Overview and Definition of Project Cost Management

Projects cost money. In most cases, a project will be operating with a cost constraint. “Project cost management is the process of estimating how much it will cost to run a project, how the project will be funded and controlling the available budget to ensure no cost overruns”.

Project cost management looks at four cost categories, namely, direct costs, indirect costs, variable costs and fixed costs.

Importance of Project Cost Management

There is no question that managing project costs is vital to the success of a project. One of the reasons is that cost management provides a framework against which costs can be estimated, tracked and managed. Further, the cost baseline for a project provides a means of monitoring project performance.

It is possible to determine when a project is on or off-track and allows for mitigation of cost overruns. Lastly, cost management for projects promotes transparency in the allocation and outlay of funds. In this case, projects will deliver value to customers and meet obligations to suppliers and stakeholders.

Cost Management

The Project Cost Management Process

There are four main steps in the cost management process which begins during the planning phase of a project.

1. Estimate the Project Costs

Cost estimation is not an exact science. It relies on several elements to refine the process and determine the most accurate cost depending on the stage of the project. These elements include:

  • A breakdown of project tasks and activities
  • The available industry data
  • Using a standardized method for cost calculation
  • External expertise and judgment
  • Inclusion of known and unknown risks
  • Provision for inflation

The Challenge of Cost Estimation

The cost estimation process is not without its hardships. For starters, if your project is groundbreaking and there has never been another like it before, expert judgment cannot help you with determining the cost estimates.

Second, the earlier it is in the process, and the longer the project, the harder it is to estimate. At the time of determining the project costs, a project manager will have identified all the tasks and activities which will be undertaken from start to finish of the project. It is worth noting that the accuracy of project cost estimates become more evident as the project proceeds through its lifecycle.

Usually, at the initiation stage of the project, the range of accuracy falls between -25% to +75%. This range is referred to as the rough order of magnitude (ROM). As the project moves along, the range of accuracy narrows to -5% to +10%.

Last, the expertise of the project manager and team affects how costs are estimated, budgeted for and controlled.

Cost Estimation Techniques

Using the details of the tasks and activities, the project manager can use one of several techniques to estimate the project costs. They include:

  • Using Expert Judgment: This draws from the experience of the project manager, the other project team members, experts, and industry knowledge.
  • Analogous estimating: uses the project costs of similar past projects. It is essential to consider the characteristics of the previous project under comparison. The project manager will aim to refer to projects with similar scope, budget, duration, and deliverables for the best estimate.
  • Parametric estimating: is statistical in nature. The method relies on the relationship of a specific parameter such as unit cost against another variable like mileage or square footage.
  • Bottom-Up estimating: estimates the cost of each component of the work from the smallest package and adding up the larger work packages. It is the most accurate estimation method, though it takes time because of the level of details required.
  • Three-point estimate: accounts for uncertainty and risk. It considers three points, the best-case cost scenario, worst case cost scenario and most likely cost of the project. The cost is summed up from these three points then averaged.

One formula is called the triangular distribution and looks like this:

(Optimistic + Most Likely + Pessimistic)/3

The other formula is called the beta distribution and looks like this:

(Optimistic + 4Most Likely + Pessimistic)/6

  • Contingency Reserve Analysis: As part of the planning process, the project manager will identify risks and allocate a cost to the identified as well as the unknown project risks. The amount set aside for known and unknown risks is the contingency reserve. As information becomes available, the contingency reserve can be utilized, decreased or eliminated.
  • Cost of Quality: Refers to the amount of money that is allocated to activities which aim to prevent, measure and fix poor quality in products or services. When estimating costs, it is imperative to include this cost, especially since quality is one of the measures of product or service success.

2. Determine the Project Budget

Using cost estimates, the project manager can determine the project budget. The project budget is a cost projection over the life of the project. As more information becomes available during each phase of the project, the project budget is reviewed and updated. In other words, the project budget is a live document. For easier monitoring, you can use an Excel worksheet or Project Management software. Some of the cost budget items include labor, cost of financing, materials, provision for inflation, equipment, services, facilities or contingency costs.

You need a project budget to provide a cost baseline against which the progress and performance of the project can be measured, monitored and controlled. Further, it communicates to stakeholders how much finance is required and should be approved at each phase of the project. Lastly, the project budget is a tool for controlling the costs of the project.

The elements which influence how the project budget is determined are:

  • The cost of previous similar projects as shared by the experts
  • The information available from the industry
  • The financial principles which will be applied
  • Funding sources and requirements. For example, loans, equity or investors

 The Process of Project Budgeting

1. Review Historical Data

The costs of a past project with similar characteristics can guide in developing a project budget.

2. Consult the Lessons Learned Report

A good project manager creates and maintains a lessons learned report to share the successes and learning points from a past project. The lessons learned report is, therefore, a good source of data about cost management best practice.

3. Rely on Expert Judgment

Experts in the fields of study related to a project can provide accurate estimates and considerations during the project budget process. They can create awareness of common project cost management pitfalls and how to avoid them.

4. Check and Recheck the Budget

A typing error can mean the difference between a well- funded project and an underfunded one. The project manager needs to ensure that all figures add up correctly, and each project cost is inputted accurately into the project budget template or software.

5. Conduct Data Analysis

Data analysis helps to determine the management reserves. Management reserves are an amount in the project budget, which the management can approve for use in unforeseen circumstances within the scope of the project.

3. Control the Project Costs

One of the measures of project success is delivering the project within the approved budget. To aid this process, the project manager must control the costs to ensure no overruns. This step of the cost management process involves updating costs and re-baselining the project costs where necessary. A project manager can manage and control the project budget by:

  • Tracking and updating project costs in real-time
  • Noting, investigating and remedying cost variances
  • Identifying potential areas of cost overruns and keeping them within acceptable limits
  • Monitoring work performance against funds released to confirm the value of the work
  • Ensuring the validity of change requests and managing the costs incurred to implement changes
  • Monitoring outflow of funds does not exceed approved limits at each stage of the project, for every work package and activity, and overall.

Using a cost tracking template or software, a project manager can record, monitor and update the various project costs. Depending on the type of project, the associated costs may vary. Some of the associated project costs include administrative costs, material costs, software costs, labor costs, travel costs, equipment costs, expert fees, insurance, office space and equipment, communication costs, storage fees, shipping and handling fees.

4. Develop the Project Cost Management Plan

The cost management plan is a part of the overall project management plan which focuses on how costs will be planned, designed and monitored. The cost management plan includes the following elements:

  • The units of measure for each project resource, for example, weeks or staff-hours for time
  • The acceptable level of exactness of figures, for example, rounding up or down numbers
  • The acceptable range of accuracy for costs and estimates, for example, -5% to +15%
  • Accounting for the cost of all project activities using project control accounts
  • The allowable variance thresholds from the cost baseline
  • Establishing how cost performance will be measured
  • Identifying the acceptable reporting frequency and formats
  • Practices to account for fluctuations in currency exchange rates

Guidelines for Project Cost Management

While project costs may change over the project lifecycle, they are manageable with a few considerations:

  • Plan for the Unexpected

All projects face both known and unknown risks, and it is critical to plan for them. When creating your project budget, ensure you prepare for both scenarios. An unforeseen change in legislation, weather conditions, company structure or team make-up, may lead to delays in your project. Planning for the unexpected guides a project smoothly during difficult times.

  • Account for Inflation And Currency Exchange Rates

Economies change and shift all the time. The net effect of these changes will impact on the project costs, and it is prudent to create a buffer for these changes. Further, it is beneficial to develop procedures to guide the project on how to handle inflation and currency exchange rates.

  • Monitor Costs in Real-Time

Project cost accounting can be time-consuming, especially when handling large projects spanning several years and possibly different jurisdictions. The way around this is to track and update costs as they are incurred using a defined system like an Excel worksheet or project management software. The necessary documentation, like invoices, should back the details of all project costs. Where appropriate, explanatory comments should be included when the outlay is still fresh in the minds of the project team.

  • Resolve Variances Promptly

Any project cost variances should be investigated and addressed immediately. This practice reduces the knock-on effect of delayed payments, accruing interest on delays or the project stalling.

  • Document Everything

All project-related matters must be documented for audit purposes, posterity and transparency. The project charter helps provide high-level project costs and rationales, while the cost management plan offers details.

The post What is Cost Management in Project Management? appeared first on Management Study HQ.


The Definitive Guide to Project Management Methodologies

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Project Management Methodologies

Project Management has been around for millennia. The guys that built the Pyramids, the Parthenon, all the Roman aqueducts and roads must have used some kind of methodology. The medieval cathedral builders and the Victorian engineers must also have used a methodology.

Project Management Methodologies are not such a new thing and build on a long history of practical use. A Victorian engineer, if asked what methodology he was using would reply, “I’m doing it the way it’s always been done”.

Project Management Methodologies

First, what is a project management methodology, and are they suitable for all environments?

Essentially, a project management methodology is a guiding set of rules, policies, and principles for planning and executing a project. Because projects and project objectives can be so different, different methods are used in different projects.

It also means that the current push to believe PMs can be used in all circumstances is wrong. The practical experience of the project area is essential. When presented with a construction problem, a PM with experience entirely in another industry would struggle.

To look at the various methodologies, here are some common ones, though there are other specialized variants for specific circumstances, such as Lean and Kanban.

1. Waterfall

The waterfall is one of the older methodologies, first coming to prominence in the late 1960s, and was primarily developed for use in the then-new software development environment. It is a sequential series of activities.

Its main benefit is that by concentrating on user requirements, it assists the development process and goes a long way to preventing scope creep. It is easy to understand and to use.

Its primary disadvantage is that it is very inflexible and can’t easily cope with scope changes during the development process. Going back is not allowed.

2. Agile

Agile was created in response to the front-loaded inflexible Waterfall methodology in the early 1970s. As projects became more complex, the inability of Waterfall to cope became more and more evident.

Simply put, Agile is the opposite of Waterfall. Where Waterfall has a heavy front loading in collecting user requirements and writing them in stone, Agile favors a more nimble iterative strategy of small incremental steps.

A significant advantage of Agile is the involvement of the stakeholder in the development process. This reduces the risk of the project going off course. The flexibility also allows for easy (sometimes) accommodation of scope changes as they occur during the project.

On the downside, incorporating scope changes can lengthen projects and make the PM’s job of balancing tasks and resources much more difficult.

3. Scrum

A common development of the Agile philosophy is Scrum. It has been said that “Agile is the philosophy, and Scrum the methodology. While Scrum is agile, agile isn’t Scrum.”

Scrum focusses on the project team, and in some projects, the team is self-policing with no designated PM. There is a concentration on communication in the project. Each team member is expected to be aware of the overall project context and to fit their priorities into the overall project priorities.

One particular aspect is that of “sprints”. A sprint is 30 days with concise daily progress meetings called “stand-ups” in which the project team concentrates on a wishlist of small chunks of the project achievable in the 30-day window.

Advantages of Scrum are that by having sprints, immediate issues can be identified and dealt with very quickly.

The disadvantages include that it is not suitable for all projects. The collaborative team environment might not work in complex projects with large work teams, especially if they are dispersed over several locations. The absence of a specified PM makes the management of scope creep difficult and increases overall project risk.

4. Critical Path Management (CPM)

All the methodologies discussed above are primarily focused on software development projects. They can be used outside that environment, but agnostic methodologies like CPM may be better suited as an alternative.

CPM concentrates on minimizing the critical path of a project. It identifies tasks and their dependent tasks and specifically looks for tasks that can overlap.

The advantage of CPM is that it allows for better scheduling and management of project slack time.

The disadvantage is that it is for experienced PMs only. The ability to accurately asses task duration and slack is a vital part of CPM, and if the PM doesn’t have the practical experience in that field, then the PM will miscalculate. Hence the earlier comment that PM skills are generally not wholly transportable.

It is also very front heavy and does not cope easily with scope change.

5. Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)

CCPM is similar to CPM but has a much heavier focus on resource management. It leans heavily on mono-tasking, which is resources concentrating on one task at a time and avoiding multitasking as far as is possible.

Starting from the end product, tasks are started as early as possible with minimal resource requirements and much effort is expended on keeping resources occupied and minimizing lost productivity. It is often used in resource-scarce environments.

The main advantage is that of resource efficiency. In projects using outsourced resources, this can reduce the cost of contractors. One often-quoted other advantage is that it does not strive for the ideal solution, but by concentrating on the “good” solution is more likely to result in the project finishing on time and in the budget.

On the other hand, the use of padding and slack time to eliminate resource inefficiencies as far as possible can backfire. If a resource knows that there are five days to complete a task, they will take five days, potentially delaying the project.

CCPM is only suitable for environments where a resource works on only one project. It cannot cope with resources working on multiple projects at the same time.

6. Integrated Project Management (IPM)

All the above methodologies are not great at operating in environments where the project deliverable is not a single entity but a part of a larger delivery, for example, creation and population of a website as part of a larger marketing campaign. In short, the creative environment.

IPM is an attempt to meet that shortfall. While adopting the development process common to all methodologies, that is defining and agreeing on project scope, preparing a project plan and executing it. Supported by management and change control activities. IPM emphasizes sharing standardized processes across the organization to cope with the integrated nature of the overall project.

The advantages include that of transparency. Everyone is involved in the project, so communications are enhanced, and to much reduce the chances of changes in one area negatively affecting the project.

The downside of IPM is that it needs comprehensive planning and communications during the planning stage. This will increase the overall project timescale.

7. PMBoK

What can we say about PMBoK? It has become the yardstick for measurement in the PM landscape. However, it’s not really a methodology, though most people think it is. It is more a compilation of the various elements of the PM landscape under one roof. It hosts standards, terminologies, best practices and guidelines for effective Project Management.

So, it is usually applied in combination with one of the other methodologies to provide the framework for their operation.

Some elements, Risk Management, and Communications management, for example, can be applied as they stand from PMBoK to make up the full PM environment. In short, it is a template for a PM to develop the methodology best suited to the particular circumstances of the project they are facing.

8.Prince 2

Finally, we come to Prince2, developed by the UK government as a standard for project management in the Public Sector. It is mandatory in several areas of government in the UK.

Prince 2 is similar to PMBoK but has a greater focus on the doing bit of PM. It is built around 7 themes, 7 principles and 7 processes, allowing the PM flexibility in defining the project environment and managing the project as it proceeds.

Apart from the obvious advantage of certification in Prince 2 being a great advantage in working as a PM in UK government projects, it has “Learn by Experience” as one of its 7 principles. Using Prince 2 will ensure that a growing PM learns on the project.

The downside is that, as with most government activity, it is hidebound by documentation.

This list is not comprehensive by any means but hopefully highlights the more common PM methodologies. Other methodologies like Six Sigma, Crystal, Feature Driven Development (FDD), Dynamic Systems Development (DSDM), Rational Unified Process (RUP), Kanban, and Lean Development (LD) are used, but as in the case of Six Sigma, more often as a part of a broader consultancy methodology.

What you choose depends upon several things, the environment in which you will be working, the type of project and it’s complexity.

Beware though there are fads and flavors of the month in PM methodologies. Project management methodologies are merely tools to assist with delivering projects. We should be focusing on the bigger picture – delivery and not on the often irrelevant details of one methodology over another.

The post The Definitive Guide to Project Management Methodologies appeared first on Management Study HQ.

Why Studying Marketing and Management While Working is a Great Idea?

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Why Studying Marketing and Management While Working is a Great Idea?

It’s no secret that working while taking classes on the side can be quite overwhelming. You will need to balance your time between attending lectures and meeting your target at your workplace, find resources to pay your tuition fee as well as your own daily expenses, not to mention the physical exhaustion that comes with such a commitment.

However, the benefits of studying always outweigh the overwhelming challenges. Not only will you be able to gain the relevant knowledge, but you also stand a chance to implement those tactics at your place of work.

Studying Marketing and Management

Learning has also changed in the past decade. Now you can digest complex topics by enrolling in online courses that use clever visuals as well as get marketing homework help from an online tutor at odd hours.

In the past decades, different statistics have suggested that business management and marketing are some of the most sought after subjects of study in colleges. For many years, these subjects have continuously outperformed more traditional disciplines such as medicine and engineering.

But what are the benefits of studying management and marketing? More specifically, why should you enroll in a marketing or management class while working? Read along to find out.

5 Reasons to Study Marketing and Management While Working

1. You Can Combine Both Courses

While working, one thing is for sure; time is of the essence. Due to this, it’s of utmost importance to make the most out of the little time you may have, especially when it comes to bolstering your CV. Marketing and management give you the opportunity to do both courses at a go.

The availability of joint honors while doing a course either in management or marketing gives you ample opportunity to further develop your skills in other different subjects. This could be psychology or even a foreign language, which goes a long way in benefiting your ability to conduct foreign businesses.

In a nutshell, the reality of taking either of these courses while working is that they are quite open-ended. Therefore, you can always tailor your course to whatever you are most passionate about.

2. You Get a Good Introduction to How a Business Should Run

Whether you aim at running your own business at some point or merely looking to manage a big company, these programs provide an overall overview of the realities of business. Remember that the two most important elements of any business are management and marketing.

By studying these courses, you can get valuable insights about the entire business industry. With such knowledge at hand, you will be in a better position to determine business trends in the real world, and help improve your business.

3. You Become an Effective Team Player

For any marketer or business manager, one of the most important attributes to possess is to be a team player. Contrary to common belief, being a business manager is not all about leading from the front. As much as this is correct to some instances, being a team player is what fuels a business forward.

The same applies to your workplace. While learning the importance of teamwork and how to fully participate in activities with fellow students, these programs give you an opportunity to practice and develop your skills at your workplace.

Not only will you develop better relations in your place of work, but you will also be practicing to be a better manager and marketer in the future as well. Always remember that if you fail to function well as a team player, you will undoubtedly fail to successfully manage or market a business.

4. You Get the Relevant Knowledge

Perhaps the most important benefit of taking a management or marketing course is that you stand to benefit from acquiring the necessary education. In today’s world, businesses not only look for skills or experience. Most employers now demand to see a considerable level of education from prospective candidates.

As mentioned before, these courses give you the opportunity to learn other different courses. Such courses always come in handy while defining your personal competencies to potential employers.

If you have an ambitious long time career, these programs give you the opportunity to not only gain knowledge on how the business world works but develops you personally in readiness for your long term goal.

5. Learn How to Manage People

When it comes to the duties of a business manager or a marketer, the two most important duties include delegation and supervision. These duties form the backbone of how a business runs. And while they are vital to the success of a business, these duties, which involve management of people, don’t come naturally to everyone.

These programs give you the opportunity to be able to gauge your expectations. You will also learn how to build an effective relationship with people around you and those you oversee.

The post Why Studying Marketing and Management While Working is a Great Idea? appeared first on Management Study HQ.

What is Project Scope Management and Why It’s Important?

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Project Scope Management: What It Is and How to Do It?

Every project has a scope.  It defines what is to be produced.  It is set out by the client in a business case document, in a formal statement of requirements as a project, charter agreed between the client and the project team, and as a work program, setting out the project timings and costs of delivery in a project plan prepared by the project team.

Project Scope Management

Management of project scope has increased in complexity in recent times. Digital tools support the management of projects over a variety of different communications media.  Without management of the various inputs and outputs, the Project Scope can move out of control.  Hence the need for an effective scope management system. Change the project scope, and the project costs and timescales will also change.   The ultimate deliverable will also be affected.

Some projects have a formal scope statement set out in a project document, and others use the Work Breakdown Structure (“WBS”) of the project plan.   Either way, tasks included in the scope statement are in scope.  Everything else is out of scope.

For the larger projects, PMBok has set out a multiple-step process. Smaller projects will also use this approach, with some steps collapsed together.

The steps involved in creating an effective scope management program will include:

1. Create a Formal Scope Management Plan.

In effect, this is a three-step process:

a. Scope Planning

This process establishes the scope management environment, and is developed from project documentation and agreed with project stakeholders.  With change management, scope management will link directly with the change management plan.

b. Requirements Collection

Requirements Collection is a detailed interaction with all stakeholders to find out what their needs and expectations are. It is an iterative process.  The output documentation should also set out for the management of their expectations.

c. Scope Definition

When you have planned the scope and defined the project deliverables, you are now in a position to document precisely what is, and what is not in scope.  This statement will become the project bible, referred to throughout the project to determine if an activity is in scope or not.

2. Create a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

At this stage, the WBS can now is with the tasks, resources, and costs needed to deliver the deliverables. The agreed and signed off WBS will, in effect, define the project scope.

3. Project Validation

Having defined the project deliverables, the project scope, and how the project is to be managed through its lifetime, it is now time to validate those statements and assumptions.

Two Steps:

  1. Have the project documentation approved and signed off by the stakeholders. This fixes the scope and prevents any comeback later.  The WBS may need to be revised.

2. I agree with the approval process. Completed tasks are signed off as such. Stakeholders need to sign off milestones. This is particularly important if external contractors are to be paid based on delivery.

4. Change Control

Changes to scope inevitably follow changes in requirements.  This will be part of the overall scope management environment and is developed from project documentation and input from stakeholders.

It is vital to involve stakeholders in this exercise if only to have them understand that once defined and signed-off, the project scope cannot be changed outside of formal procedures.  If they do need changes, they will understand how to request them and what follows after submission of their request.

Scope Variations

However, like a business’s annual report, the defined project scope is a snapshot of what was wanted when the project was first agreed.  Life goes on, and the basis on which the project was built will change.  Changes will happen, intended and unintended.  They change the project scope, and that is where scope management comes in.

Changes can come from the stakeholders in response to changing business requirements.  Sometimes they have a change of mind when they see the practical implementation of the project as it proceeds.  In an IT project, they may want changes to the layout and text on user screens, despite having agreed to them at an earlier stage.

Changes may come from external sources.  For example, in our building example, changes in Health and Safety regulations may force changes in how tasks are executed.

Often in a project, individuals apply small incremental out of scope changes to the project, each with little or no effect on the project critical path. Still, cumulatively they may do so, and one task change may have an unintended effect on another task.

Implementation of unauthorized changes gives rise to a term familiar to most PMs – Scope Creep, and it is the prime function of scope management to limit scope creep.

Scope Creep has Several Effects:

1. The project does not meet its original design objectives. To use an old analogy, what was initially designed to be a horse is delivered as a camel.

2. The target timescale and budget are not achieved.

3. The client is not happy with the product delivered as the project proceeds and will resist any requests for further time or money.

That means there is a need to manage Project Scope.   You need to understand that Scope Management is a bit of black art, in that there is no authoritative way to do it.  It requires diplomacy, pragmatism and a full understanding of the big picture.

There are three basic approaches to Scope Management and Scope Creep:

1. No Changes to the scope are allowed.

2. Changes are allowed but only after approval by Change Control.

3. All changes, unauthorized and authorized are allowed.

1. No Changes

This is ideal and is rarely if ever, achieved.

No Changes imply that the project scope as set out in the project documentation is the project bible and will not be changed.  Any out of scope changes submitted to the PM is either discarded or put in a pending file for consideration after the project is complete.

There is no change control because no scope changes are expected or entertained.

The difficulty here is generally the management of the project team and management of the client.

There is a tendency for small changes to slip through when the client asks a team member directly.  The excuse is that it is only a small change and will take no additional time or cost.  The team member implements the requested change to keep the client happy.  The danger is the law of unintended consequences.

Without looking at the effect of the small change, it could be that it affects another task in the project, and cumulative changes could affect the project itself.  This small change might conflict with another small change.

Either way, project quality is compromised, and perhaps some of the project budgets are spent on unauthorized activities.

In an environment of no changes allowed, it must be made clear to both project team members and the client that no changes will be entertained.  Hold them in a pending file by all means, and they will be considered at a later stage.

There is no escape, unauthorized changes will be found.  Quality audits in which deliverables are measured against the project scope will highlight the small changes.

However, this approach is often considered too inflexible, and there are times when an urgent or forced business requirement causes changes to the project that must be implemented.

2. Change Control

As we have already discussed, scope changes are sometimes necessary, and a mechanism is needed to manage them.  The Change Control mechanism is a first step in controlling scope creep.

To put it simply, the change is requested, it is then considered by an appropriate body, usually a Change Control Committee, and either authorized, rejected or held pending.

The Committee may ask for further information and analysis to help their decision.   They need to know the effects on timescales and budgets and perhaps peripheral issues relating to the implementation of the change.

Managing Scope Creep in this way will move from a technical exercise to one of people management.  Some client staff will expect that their requests are carried out without question, and will not be best pleased if they are rejected or pended by the Change Control Committee.

A savvy PM will know when it is better to give way in consideration of the bigger project picture, even though under other circumstances the request would be pended or rejected.

The use of the Change Control Committee will provide some protection to the PM, but some ruffled feathers can be expected from time to time.

3. All Changes Implemented

It is fair to say that the uncontrolled application of changes is a PM’s nightmare and a recipe for disaster.  That may not be entirely true for small projects, but the project landscape is littered with the skeletons of failed projects where scope creep was not controlled.

At the very least, project timescales and budgets will not be met, and the PM will walk a difficult path in justifying project delays and additional costs.   You will have an uncontrolled and probably uncontrollable project.

The client and team members will become disillusioned and unhappy with the frequent changes in the work program and deliverables.

The project deliverable may not be as originally envisaged, and the client will be unhappy with it.  It may well be that the project moves to a state where it will never finish.

Bottom line, this is not the right place to be.

The post What is Project Scope Management and Why It’s Important? appeared first on Management Study HQ.

What do Project Managers DO? 15 Key Roles and Responsibilities

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Project Manager Job Description

A project manager plays a central role in ensuring the success of a project. They direct the project from initiation to closure. They are responsible for delivering the project on time, within the agreed budget and to the expected quality standards.

The project manager takes time to understand the vision of the project and motivates the project team to achieve it. The project manager maintains the teams’ focus on the project goals throughout the project. The other responsibilities of the project manager include:

Project Manager 15 Key Roles

Project Manager 15 Key Roles and Responsibilities

1. Project Planning

Planning is the first step towards ensuring project success. The project manager creates an overall project plan. The project manager understands the project goals and will outline all the project requirements from start to finish. They will also break things down further to:

  • Identify all the project tasks to be completed
  • Determine who needs to complete each task
  • The timelines for completion of each task

The project manager creates the supplementary plans which support the main project plan. Each plan handles a different aspect of the project. Examples of the supplementary plans include:

The planning phase also involves understanding who is affected by the project and who affects it (stakeholders). The project manager identifies the stakeholders and plans on how to engage with them throughout the lifecycle of the project. The stakeholder management plan includes how and when to communicate the progress of the project, any changes in the project scope and any risks the project faces.

2. Activity and Resource Planning


Before a project commences, a project manager will collect the project requirements and define the scope. Scope definition is an essential step in determining the activities of the project and the resources required for successful execution and delivery. The project manager will:

  • define the activities
  • determine the order in which activities will be carried out
  • estimate how long each activity will take
  • identify the corresponding resources for each activity

Every project utilizes resources such as time, money, technology, people and materials. A project manager is responsible for determining the resources required in each stage of the project. One of those resources is people. Using the information from scope definition and the list of activities, the project manager will either engage and hire a team or assemble a team from the existing organizational resources. The project manager then proceeds to a plan for what each person on the team does and when they need to do it.

In some cases, the project manager may work with a specialized department to source and acquire resources. For example, the project manager can work with the procurement manager in their company to identify a supplier who can provide materials for the project.

Another resource which a project manager needs is money. Based on the scope of the project, the project manager determines the activities of the project. The project activities help to develop the cost estimates for the project. Depending on the level of activity details available, the project manager can determine high-level costs or more detailed cost breakdown. Either way, the scope, and activities guide the cost estimation process.

The project team falls under the leadership of the project manager. The scope of the project informs a project manager of the specific knowledge and skills they need on the team. Once the human resource requirements are clear, the project manager can assess and determine the best-fit candidates for the project team.

Finally, the project manager will create different plans for managing each resource. There is a plan to manage resources, manage costs, manage the schedule and manage the scope of the project.

3. Continuous Learning

A project operates within an internal environment (the company) and the external environment (the community and outside world). These environments may have an impact on a project. It is the responsibility of the project manager to continue learning and keep abreast of the relevant company and industry news. This way, the project manager is aware of any changes which may affect the successful completion of the project.

For example, the introduction of new legislation may need the project manager to look for new permits and licenses. Also, if the management within the company changed, the new leader may let the project continue with some changes or scrap the project altogether.

4. Communicating From the Start to The End of The Project

Communication takes up more than 80% of a project manager’s time. Project managers are responsible for ensuring the stakeholders, project team and clients understand what the project seeks to achieve. A large part of communication happens between the project team and the project manager.

As the project progresses, the project manager lets everyone know the progress, the milestones achieved, and what they can expect in the next stage.

The best-laid plans often go awry. In such cases, it is the responsibility of the project manager to communicate the challenges they are experiencing and make proposals for course correction. A project results in a unique product, service or result. It means that there is a client who needs to be informed of a new product or service.

This is also the responsibility of the project manager, who may hire an external firm or send out communication through the company’s marketing department.

After completing the project, the project manager formally hands over the project. The project team meets to discuss and assess what worked, what could have gone better and eventually document a lessons learned report.

5. Leading the Project Team

Leadership is another critical responsibility of a project manager. The project manager guides the project team and ensures that everyone performs in their role. The personal and professional development of the project team falls to the project manager. As the project leader, the project manager will assess and report on whether suppliers are performing their jobs as per the contract. The work of reviewing contracts and allowing the release of payments falls to the project manager.

All projects should have a project team and steering committee. The steering committee is a smaller team that makes decisions about the project and helps with execution by offering expertise during the project. For example, a typical steering committee would include the project sponsor (the financier of the project), marketing, IT, operations and the project team. The project manager convenes steering committee meetings and guides discussions towards consensus for the good of the project.

Influencing is a vital skill in leadership. During project execution, a project manager deals with internal and external stakeholders, suppliers and the project team. A project manager influences the outcomes by building trust with the teams, gathering and applying relevant information to reach agreements.

6. Motivating the Project Team

A project manager is in a unique position. They are responsible for keeping the project and the project team on task. Before the project manager can motivate the project team, they need to understand each team member.

They need to identify who is driven by external factors such as the project environment and who is motivated by internal factors such as a personal sense of achievement. This understanding of motivation helps the project manager decide what they can do for the team to keep them focused on the activities of the project.

7. Controlling the Project Schedule (Time Management)

There are three things that mark the success of a project: whether it was completed on time, according to budget and the expected quality standards. Time management is, therefore, an essential part of a project manager’s job.

The project manager needs to create a realistic project schedule that ensures all the project activities are carried out as expected. Where necessary, the project manager will update the project schedule to reflect any changes or delays in the project. Communicating the project schedule to the team will help ensure that deadlines are met, and any deviations noted and addressed quickly.

8. Cost Estimation and Budgeting

It is impossible to run a project without money. A project manager is responsible for estimating project costs. One way is to use the costs of a similar past project. Another way is to use expert judgment based on past experience with projects of the same nature.

The more accurate methods of estimating costs involve using a detailed breakdown of project activities to determine the cost of each component. After estimating the costs, the project manager will create a budget for approval by the client or project sponsor. As the project progresses, the project manager needs to keep an eye on the spending to avoid cost overruns.

9. Controlling Quality to Ensure Client Satisfaction

Quality is one of the measures of project success. During the project, the project manager will put measures in place to evaluate the project deliverables to ensure they meet the stakeholder requirements.

Further, the project manager will share the progress of the project with them, obtain feedback and continue to involve them in the process as much as possible. By controlling the quality of the project and involving the client, the project manager increases the chances of acceptance of the final project deliverables. It also ensures there are no unexpected requests from the client in the middle of the project.

10. Risk and Issue Management

A good project manager can identify and plan for risks and issues. Using a RAID log, the project manager captures Risks, Assumptions, Issues, and Dependencies. To break it down:

  • A risk is a potential event that could have an adverse effect on the project.
  • An assumption is something you believe to be true about the project.
  • An issue is something that could go wrong in the project and cause delays.
  • A dependency is when one activity/input relies on another activity/output.

After capturing this information, the project manager will know whether to avoid, transfer, mitigate or accept the risk. They will also plan accordingly for the risks and issues.

11. Executing

One way you can define a good project manager is one who gets things done. Project managers select and plan for the resources. They ensure that all the plans from the planning stage are implemented.

During execution, the project manager is responsible for any testing or piloting of new products or services. They are also responsible for ensuring the right quality standards are used.

12. Monitoring and Evaluating

The project manager keeps a keen eye on the progress of a project to ensure everything is going according to plan. A project manager can initiate a change request to correct defects. A defect is a deliverable that does not conform to the expected standards.

The project manager also observes that quality is maintained during the project. They work with the project team to prevent errors and inspect the final product before it is delivered to the client.

13. Project Reporting and Documentation

Using project reports, the project manager communicates the progress and performance of the project to the key stakeholders. The project manager can use the traffic-light system of red, amber and green to report on how the project is fairing.

At the end of the project, the project manager compiles a final report which includes a history of the project, what it set to achieve, the lessons learned and the final deliverables. The final report is signed off and archived for future reference by another project team.

14. Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management is yet another responsibility of a project manager. Knowledge management occurs during all the stages of a project. It is about more than creating and filing project documents. Instead, the project manager must find a way to use what is already documented (explicit knowledge) and the knowledge, skills and expertise of the project team (tacit knowledge). Tacit knowledge exists in the minds of the project team and other stakeholders. A good project manager creates an environment of trust which allows everyone to share their stories, contribute to the project and have this information documented for posterity.

15. Closes the Project

Upon completion of the project, the project manager has a responsibility to conduct a formal project hand over to the owner. They will verify that all the deliverables are available and meet the quality standards. The project manager brings together the project team for a review of how the project unfolded.

Under the leadership of the project manager, the project team will discuss and document the lessons learned. The lessons learned aim to guide project managers running similar projects in the future.

A project manager has many responsibilities, and while project success depends on excellent project management skills, they must inspire the project team to action.

The post What do Project Managers DO? 15 Key Roles and Responsibilities appeared first on Management Study HQ.

10 Ways To Drive Sales To Your Products On Amazon With Social Media

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10 Ways To Drive Sales To Your Products On Amazon With Social Media

Driving sales to your products on Amazon can be challenging, but it is definitely not impossible. Customers are attracted to smart strategies without even recognizing the underground work that’s been carried out for them, and that’s great because they shouldn’t. Otherwise, your products would lose credibility. Thus, ensure that you are using subtle ways to capture their attention and thus, boost your profits. This article will help you come up with a plan to do just that.

 Products on Amazon with Social

1. Use SEO as Your Main Tool

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is one of the best tools you need to succeed in the online world. If you are not familiar with how it works or runs, you had better start learning, because it will boost your sales and profits. How? SEO techniques teach you how to bring more visitors to your webpage and thus, increase traffic. Here are some ideas to implement:

  • Google Keyword Planner. Google algorithms run on specific keywords. The better the keywords, the higher your ranking. So, this tool will help you figure out which keywords are trending and which one you should avoid. It will also analyze your favorite keywords and compare them to those of your competitors. How does this relate to Amazon? Amazon listings are also able to rank on Google, so that’s how this tool will help you.
  • This is a way to research keywords from Reddit, which helps when you promote your Amazon products on this website.
  • Another tool specially designed for Amazon. It helps you track your favorite keywords volume and ranks your seller position, estimated sales, etc.

There are many SEO guides online that you can check out if you need more help with this. Worse come to worse, you could also hire a custom papers specialist to do the job for you.

2. Check for Sponsored Ads

SEO is the first tool that you should use; however, there are other techniques and tips that might help you. One of them is checking for sponsored ads – and, eventually purchasing them. This is indeed not organic advertising, but it’s a great tool to make use of when your budget allows. In a nutshell, you will be able to sponsor your products by paying for ads. This is not the best option to use, but it’s a good backup plan in case SEO brings less than satisfying results. If, however, SEO is enough for your business, don’t bother using this option. Keep it as a plan B.

3. Share Your Listings on Social Platforms

The best way to attract new customers is by promoting your products on social media. Because of the popularity of platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, sharing your Amazon products using your company’s accounts will bring positive results. However, make sure you are not too “blunt” when advertising, as customers do not appreciate that but are rather scared of such promotions. You could use any of the following ideas:

  • Create a promo code to share on social media.
  • Create quality content and include your product links within your articles. You could make how-to videos or vlogs on various themes to drag attention to your Amazon listings.
  • Another cool idea is hosting some sort of a contest. You could promote your special sales on social media and have customers login to their Amazon accounts and choose your products to win a prize. Make sure you spread the word about this on as many social media platforms as you can. You could also send your clients e-mails informing them of your offers.

4. Analyze your competition

You must be the best to be successful on Amazon, with the competition running so tightly. So, analyzing your competitors is a must. If you are not tracking their offers and strategies, you might fall behind. Here is what you should pay attention to:

  • The Competition’s Prices. If your prices are much higher or lower than those of your competition, you might risk losing customers, either because they’ll consider your products low-quality (if prices are too low) or too expensive (if they’re too high). So, choose a winning price based on market research.
  • The Images Included. Visitors are always checking out images before purchasing a product, so you should use images that encourage them to buy your stuff. Check out your competitors’ images and bring to table something more original, if possible. Always strive to be better than them.
  • The Text That They Are Using. Make sure that you have a more structured and well-organized Amazon content than your competition. Don’t try to impress your customers. Be straightforward and offer high-quality; that’s all that matters.

5. Contact influencers

If you haven’t heard by now, influencers are en vogue now. Your Amazon products could greatly benefit from such a partnership, so try to reach out to some, see how it goes. Send them private messages and make them offer – see who replies, what conditions they require, and how their work ethic looks like. Test them before choosing them and don’t worry, there are plenty out there. Influencer marketing is one of the fastest traffic-increasing techniques that I’ve used as a marketer. However, if your influencers are not committed enough (or if you are not committed enough to open up a close relationship with them), things might just not work out.

6. Your Ratings Must Stay Impeccable

You cannot argue with this – your Amazon ratings must be close to perfect. They must be as accurate and thorough as possible, not to mention real and thus, organic. Customers will tell if you are using fake customers, so don’t even try to. Your products should maintain anywhere between 4 to 5 stars; once you go lower than 4, something must change. To maintain high ratings:

  • Write an accurate description of your products. Use online assignment help to figure this out, if needed. Make sure that your content is grammar and mistake-free.
  • Your customer service must be impeccable as well, so treat your clients the right way. Have someone be online at all times and answer any inquires.
  • If disappointed buyer reviews start showing up on your page, reach out to them to find out how to improve your services.

7. Shipping Must be Efficient

Another important thing is using effective shipping methods; and when I say effective, I mean fast and of high-quality. Amazon wants to keep its customers happy, so poor shipping performance will drag you down. You could check Amazon Seller Central to monitor the quality and status of your deliveries or you could use Amazon Fulfillment as an option, whichever works best for you. I’d recommend trying them both out and see which one fits the context.

8. Your Seller Rating Matters

If you have low seller rates, then your products will not rank high on Amazon. Thus, you must monitor your ratings constantly and make sure that they remain high. Here is how you can improve them:

  • Use the previously mentioned Seller Central to track your progress and check customer satisfaction.
  • Maintain great customer service. I know I said this already, but I must emphasize it again, as it is highly important. The quicker your buyers get their products and solve their problems, the better and higher you’ll rank on Amazon.
  • Stay within Amazon’s regulations when dealing with customer feedback. There are specific rules that must be followed; therefore, negative comments cannot simply be deleted for customer fairness. However, exceptions can be made. Check out their regulations to find out.

9. Offer Deals

Another way of increasing your customer database and thus, rankings on Amazons is by offering deals. People are attracted to giveaways and more willing to check out your products in the future if they receive something for free at first. Consistent visitors will check out the Today’s Deals page regularly, so make sure you make it on there. Use Lightning Deals for the best boost-driven practice. They run up to 12 hours and can only be given once per week.

10. Your Content Must be of High-Quality

Last but not least, your content must always be of high-quality, especially when we talk about Amazon. As I said, your competitors will win if you are not able to provide customers with enough reasons to buy your products – and what better way to do it than by providing accurate, clear-cut descriptions of them?

Conclusion

Boosting Amazon sales by using the above social media tools is the best way in which you could succeed. Follow the advice and let us know how it goes. Good luck!

<Author Bio>

Alice Jones is a writer and journalist at essay writing service USA. She is from San Francisco, CA. She graduated from the University of San Francisco and got a Master’s degree. Alice concentrated on such topics as business, marketing, and freelance when writing college papers. She also specializes in content writing.

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