7 Tips To Writing High Class Project Documentation

Knowing what documents to have in a project may be one thing, but to create high quality documentation is another. High quality documentation will ensure that everyone on the project is absolutely clear on what is required, what the status is and what it happening next.


Ensure that you keep your documentation as simple as possible by ensuring that you exclude any unnecessary information. Write you documents in clear, plain terms and limit the use of any abbreviations or terms that others may not understand. This will ensure that the documents are easy and quick to read.


Focus on the actual topic when you create your document. Think carefully about the content you will be adding to the document. List your topics and stick to them. Never go off the topic, as this may confuse the reader completely.


All your documents must have a clear structure, including a well-defined Table of Contents. You may want to include in your document the use of tables to improve readability, include diagrams to explain content further, use bold, italic and underlining to let certain areas such as headings stand out and when defining a number or group of associated items, use bullets.

The Story

Write your documents as if it was a story you are telling. This will improve readability and ensure that you have a captivated reader. Start with an introduction and inform the reader what the document is about. Then add the main content or body and make sure you close off the document with a summary or conclusion.


Write your document in such a way that it flows from paragraph to paragraph and topic to topic. This will ensure that the reader never has to stop to work out where they are in the document or what is coming next.

Amount of information

Provide the reader with the right amount of information. Keep it simple and short, but ensure that it is on the topic, informative and helpful. Never over explain everything as this may cause the reader to become bored reading your document.


Be passionate about the topic you are writing and ensure that you inspire the reader with the information you provide them. Be positive and inspirational throughout the document and you will excite the reader and you document will be a joy to read.

How To Implement a Project Management Methodology

A Project Management methodology is a series of phases, actions and tasks that needs to be followed in order to deliver projects successfully. However one of the major issues many companies experience is that once they have selected a project management methodology that suites their needs, they do not know how to implement the methodology successfully.

In order to implement a project management methodology successfully, you need to follow just 5 steps. These are:

Create an implementation plan
Customize the methodology for every project
Train all stakeholders on how to use the methodology
Constantly make sure everyone follow the methodology
Improve the methodology on an ongoing basis

The first thing to do in order to ensure that you implement the project management methodology successfully is to create a proper implementation plan. Take into consideration every action you need to do in order to complete the five steps listed above. Once you have done the plan, make sure you work the plan.

Not all projects are the same and because of these differences, you must be able to customize and adapt your methodology to such an extent that it fits the project. As long as you ensure that your overall methodology includes everything that may ever be needed by your projects, taking away from this methodology to fit your current projects should be easy.

One of the major failures in implementing any methodology is that the stakeholders are not communicated to as to the new methodology. You must train everyone that will use the methodology on the actual methodology and how to use it. Also remember that as new members join the team, that they are also in their induction trained on your methodology.

In order to ensure long term success of the methodology, you must through regular project management meetings and other methods of communication ensure that all stakeholders follow the newly implemented methodology. It may in the beginning require more effort to get all stakeholders to buy into the methodology, but once they start seeing the benefits, they will more easily adopt the methodology.

Lastly, a methodology should never be a cast-in-concrete thing, because as times change, so will your requirements and the methodology must be reviewed regularly to ensure that it is optimized and improved on an ongoing basis. A lot of feedback that may come from project management, not project feedback, sessions should provide input into improving the methodology.

If you follow these 5 steps and constantly improve and then re-implement your methodology, you should in no time have a very successful methodology that should be adopted by everyone in your team and organization.

5 Import Areas When Tracking Projects

Managing a project is not easy, with people, finances, time, equipment and materials to be managed on an ongoing basis to ensure project success. However, if you keep an eye on the following five important project areas, you will very much be on top of everything on your project.

1. Finances and time 

You must on a weekly basis review your project to see if it is still on track. You must identify all tasks that are slipping or running late and see if they would be delaying the overall project completion date. In order to re-assign time to more critical tasks, see if there are any non-critical tasks that can be delayed to later or even after project completion. Another method of time saving is to see if you cannot complete any tasks quicker and earlier.

2. Resource allocation 

You must keep a close eye on the percentage of time each of your team members are allocated to a task. If certain team members are over allocated and others are under allocated, you may need to look at reworking your schedule and working more efficiently. You may need to balance everyone's workload better so that everyone is allocated 80 to 100 percent.

3. Progress and efficiency of the team 

Not only must you continuously track the progress of every team member, but also the efficiency of every team member. This means that apart from the percentage progress everyone makes on his or her tasks, you must also check how many tasks are completed on time. Time sheets are very good tools in monitoring progress and efficiency of team members.

4. Risks, issues and changes 

All risks, issues and changes must be managed on an ongoing basis using appropriate management processes and forms and logs to record all these items. A great tip is to try and resolve any issues or risks as soon as they are identified, in order to minimize the impact they may have on your project. Changes must be discussed and prioritized with the relevant stakeholders on an ongoing basis and their impact on the project must be track and monitored.

5. Project health checks 

Tracking projects at a low level is part of ongoing project management, but you must also be able to every now and then during the project's existence sit back and review the project from a higher level to gain a view of the project's overall health and status. By taking a weekly summarized view of the project, you will be able to more effectively manage the project and lead the team.

Keeping these five areas constantly in mind during the entire project will ensure that you would be able to identify problems well in advance and then be able to act on these appropriately to ensure project success.

Choosing The Right Project Management Methodology

In short a project management methodology is all the steps you need to undertake to successfully deliver a project. This methodology will list all the project phases, activities and tasks required for successful completion of the project. It may also describe all these phases, activities or tasks in more detail and should also include all templates you may require. It may also, where applicable, provide you with practical examples.

In order to select the right project management methodology, you must first define your requirements. This will include describing what content you need, for instance must it list every project phase, action and activity. Must it be industry specific or can it be generic and should it also include the processes specific to your industry or organization. Further you must define the features it should include for managing your projects, such as reporting and tracking features and importing and exporting of information.

Another very important step is to review what you already have. This could be an existing methodology, documents and templates. If you have something that works 80 percent and maybe only need a bit of tweaking, why reinvent the wheel? Maybe you only need a few more templates or documented and formalized processes.

You may also want to do a bit of research on existing methodologies that are out in the market. These may come packaged with all your requirements, templates and features you have described already and can then easily be adopted for your specific needs.

If neither your current methodology or any market available methodologies provide for what you need, you can also look at taking best of both worlds and customize your own and existing methodologies to better suite your needs. This may be a bit more time consuming, but the benefit here is that it will closer fit your exact requirements.

Finally, when you have accessed all options and decided on a specific project management methodology, the most important action is that of implementing your selected methodology. In order to fully implement your methodology you must ensure that everyone adopts your methodology, you provide appropriate training on the new methodology, you communicate your methodology to all stakeholders, and you use your methodology in all your projects and ensure that you continuously improve your methodology.

By ensuring that you stick to these 5 steps, you can select the appropriate methodology and successfully implement and use it in your project management.

6 Steps to Initiate Projects Successfully

Numerous projects never even get past the detailed planning phase and the main reason for this is because they have not been defined and scoped properly and as a result there is no buy-in into the project or sponsorship is lacking.

Following the following six steps to initiate your projects quickly and efficiently, should ensure that they get the correct buy-in and sponsorship from senior management, which will ensure their survival.

Step 1: Create a detailed business case.

This must be done in conjunction with the business owner and must be detailed enough for everyone to exactly know what the business requirement is. This document will become the foundation of the project and must be approved by the project sponsor.

Step 2: Do a Feasibility Study.

Undertake a feasibility study based on the business case to determine the different solutions for the business requirement. Based on the business case and feasibility study a preferred solution must then be determined.

Step 3: Create the Project Charter.

The Project Charter is a very important document as this will combine information from the business case and feasibility study to describe the new project and its vision, objectives, scope, deliverables, project team and a high level project and implementation plan. The same goes for the Project Charter as for the Business Case in that it must be approved and signed by the project sponsor, as this will be one of the official documents for your project.

Step 4: Define your Project Team.

Now that the project charter has been defined, you can now define the team based on this information. Here the Board or Steering Committee must be assembled and a Project Manager must be assigned. It is then the responsibility of the Project Manager to recruit the rest of the Project Team. Depending on the size of the project, the Project Manager can also only recruit Team Leaders, who then in turn will recruit the members of these sub teams. Ensure that there is a defined and documented project job description for every member of the team, so that everyone understands exactly what their individual roles would be.

Step 5: Setting Up a Project Office.

Once you know who will be on the project team, the next step is to create a physical environment from where the project will be managed for the duration of the project. This must provide all the premises, tools, material and equipment for every team member and it is best to create a detailed checklist to ensure that nothing is missed when setting up the project office.

Step 6: Review the Initiation Phase.

Once you have gone through the creation of your business case, done a feasibility study, created the project charter, established the team and have set up the project office, it is necessary to review this phase in order to ensure nothing was missed and that you get approval from all stakeholders that the initiation phase is complete and you are now ready to move on to the next phase of your project namely the Planning phase.

8 Golden Rules When Starting New Projects

Starting a new project can be a daunting task, especially when you are new to project management. Many project management methodologies concentrates very much on theory, without providing actual practical examples of how to implement the learnt methodology.

In order to ensure project success when starting a new project, there are 8 golden rules to adhere to in order to ensure total project success. These are sponsorship, targets, scope, resources, planning, processes, tracking and reporting.

Project sponsorship is one of the most important key successes for a project and you must ensure that you have a sponsor that understands the business and knows the importance of the project for the business. The sponsor must also have the right level of influence in the business and be able to provide the necessary resources to ensure project success.

Confirming targets with the project sponsor and other key stakeholders is of utmost importance. A feasibility study will help to confirm that any targets that are discussed are achievable. Add a bit of "fat" into your project, both from a time and budget perspective to cover any possible future scope creep.

Ensure that you confirm the actual scope of the project upfront. This way you will ensure that any future scope changes can be managed successfully. Also, try and keep the scope to a minimum. The benefit of breaking up a large project into more manageable pieces, will allow you to deliver tangible benefits at a more regular interval, rather than a final project after a couple of years.

For project success, you must identify and find the best people for your project. Confirm your key project team as early as possible and communicate this to all stakeholders, to ensure their availability at the right times. You must also identify any additional resources that can assist you in any contingency situation. As a project progresses you will most probably need more people than you originally identified and having a "backup" team to fall back to is a great key to project success.

Planning is one of the most critical success factors in any project, as the project deliverables will be measured against this plan. The best method, I found, is to only do detail planning for the next three months, there after only at a high level. Also, never over-plan and list all tasks for the entire project right at the start. Your stakeholders will hold you to these plans.

Processes are another critical success factor in your project, as this will ensure that everyone working on the project adheres to the same standards and know exactly what to do. Ensure you have documented processes for items such as time management, cost management, change management and even risk and issue management. Ensure that such processes are communicated to all stakeholders and people on the project team.

Once you have your project planning in place, another important task is to ensure that you do proper project tracking. This will allow any stakeholder at any time to see what the status of your project is. Creating a dashboard for the different levels of stakeholders in the project is one of the best communication tools you can have, being it a high level summary for the Project Steering Committee or a more detailed dashboard for the team members on the ground.

The final golden rule for project success is project reporting. Make sure that you upfront agree on the detail of project reporting to the various stakeholders, as well as the time lines in which such reporting will be done, i.e. monthly to the Steering Committee and weekly to the active team members.

How To Create A Project Charter

The purpose of a Project Charter is to document the vision, objectives, scope, deliverables, organization and the implementation plan. It is important to set the direction and ensure that you obtain the buy in from all the stakeholders. The project charter will also help with managing the project scope.

To create a project charter, you need to follow the following for steps.

1. Project vision, objectives, scope and deliverables.

The first step is to define the vision. This states the purpose of the project and defines the end goal of the project.

Based on the vision, you must document the objectives of the project. These objectives describe what must be achieved by the project. You can use the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) way to describe them.

When you have documented the vision and objectives, you can then document the scope. The scope will describe the boundaries of the project by describing how the business environment will be changed when delivering the project. This must include what is in and what is out on the project.

Once you have documented the scope, you can then document the deliverables that will be deliver.

2. Project organization.

In the organization section, you will identify how the project will be structured by describing who the customers are, the stakeholders and there different roles, everyone's responsibilities and reporting lines.

The customer is the person or entity that is responsible for agreeing the deliverables and signing of and accepting the deliverables when they are completed.

A stakeholder is the person or entity who may have a specific interest in the project. This could be people or entities directly involved in the project, such as the project owner, project manager and team members, internal to the organization such as the CEO, Financial Director who needs to provide financial resources or external entities such as other organizations or governmental departments.

You then list every key role involved. These may be the Project Owner, Project Sponsor, Project Board and Project Manager. You must also provide a short summary on the responsibility of each.

Once you have documented the full project organization you can then include a diagram depicting all the different project stakeholders and the links and reporting lines between them using a Project Organization Chart.

3. Project implementation.

You should now be in a position to describe the implementation. This must include the implementation plan, milestones, any key dependencies and a resource plan.

The implementation plan will include all the phases, steps and activities of the project and can be created in an Implementation Plan. This may provide the Stakeholders with confidence that the project has been thought through thoroughly.

Now you should be able to create a detailed resource plan for the project, which must include all resources, including people, finances, equipment and materials.

4. Risks and Issues.

As a final step in the project charter you must also document the risks and issues that are know at that specific time of the project. You can also include any constraints and assumptions for the project.

And there you have your project charter. The benefit from creating a project charter is that it will help you manage the scope and ensure that you deliver consistently on time and within budget.

What Is The Role Of A Project Manager?

Do you as a project manager know exactly what your role is on a project? Is it currently the role of a project administrator?

The role of a project manager is to deliver a project on time, within budget and to the agreed specifications.

This implies that as a project manager you need to upfront specify exactly what will be delivered and then document this along with a work schedule and budget.

But this is not all that a project manager needs to take care of. There are a few other very important skills a project manager requires to ensure he or she succeeds as a highly qualified project manager.

These different roles are; finding the right resources, leading and motivating them throughout the project, managing the budget, managing scope changes on the project and maybe most important is continuously communicate the state of the project to all stakeholders.

Finding the best resources to work on your projects is very important. Successful projects are delivered by highly skilled teams and as such it is the role of the project manager to put together the best team of skilled people that complement each other perfectly. The best way to achieve this is to document a detailed Job Description for each role player on the team. This will not only ensure you engage the most appropriate team members, but will also give everyone in the team a clear understanding of what is expected of them right though the whole project.

Once a team has been created, another role the project manager has to play is to lead and motivate the team continuously. You are the one responsible for ensuring that every task is completed successfully and on time, and as such needs to be the one that is going to have to be strict in ensuring that every task is completed one time, with the highest quality and within budget.

Apart from being strict, you will also have to be able to lead the team and give proper direction where necessary. Motivating the team during tough times is also very important. To lead the team and ensure that they work hard, the project manager must lead by example and as such work even harder than the rest of the team.

Every project must have a clearly defined budget. It is the project manager's responsibility to ensure that spending on the project stays within the budget. This could be achieved by creating a proper project budget listing every expense in detail and make sure that each of these items are budgeted for. If any unbudgeted items do come along, ensure that these are communicated well in advance and are then included in the budget. Remember to never be afraid to ask for more budget, if that is what the project requires, but be able to clearly justify such a request.

Another issue that can sink a project very quickly is when scope changes or scope creep, as it is referred to more often, is not managed correctly. The scope of the project must be defined upfront, agreed to by all stakeholders and formally signed off. Any new changes or requirements that are asked for must then be documented via the proper change process and discussed and prioritized at the appropriate meetings.

Remember than more often than not, such scope changes will lead to further financial requirements and must be included in the budget.

Finally, another role the project manager must be able to execute perfectly is that of communication of the project during the whole life cycle of the project to all stakeholders. Ensure that a communication plan is documented and signed off up front and stick to this communication plan. If all stakeholders at all levels know that the project is on track or that appropriate measures are put in place to bring the project back in line, it will motivate everyone on the project.

Project status must be communicated to all stakeholders, the team, the project owner and project sponsor and customer minimum every week. Ensure that this is communicated in a formalized, documented way every week at the same time and never, never, never miss a week. Ensure that you communicate the right messages to the right people at the right time.

Easing the Pain of Implement Project Management Standards

Are you running projects haphazardly without any formal standards? Have you previously tried to implement project standards, but have failed dismally? Then you are not alone, this happens to every project manager, but if you take the medication prescribed below, I am sure your pain will go away very quickly.

Project standards are a set of rules and best practices in guiding you to undertake projects successfully. There are two very popular standards, amongst others, which have been adopted all over the world and depending on where you come from and the culture of your organization; it will decide which one will be best for you. If you are an American based organization or have an American culture, then PMI would be best suited to your needs. Prince2 again is more aligned to English-based organizations and cultures.

However, once you have decided one which one to use, implementing the standard using a few of the tips below, will surely take away most of the pains you may experience in this environment.

First start by reviewing your existing project terminology along with your selected standard as guidance and then document and communicate the project terminology to everyone that is a stakeholder in projects in your organization. Also, re-affirm this glossary of terms every time you undertake any project management training, so as to ensure that these terms are understood and adopted.

Next you have to implement your Project Life Cycle. This will be a series of steps to be undertaken to implement any project from start to finish. Ensure that all new projects are using this life cycle, but do not try to rework existing projects using the new life cycle, as this will just create extra confusion and hardship.

Within every project standards there are guidelines and principles that are recommended to be followed, but which are not prescribed as the alpha and omega. Review these and adopt and customize to fit your organization, project and project team. Once you have done this, communicate this to all stakeholders on your projects, to ensure everyone understands and is aware of the customized standards and guidelines. Never adopt a standard in its entirety, unless you are 100% sure that it will be a perfect fit for your organization. Rather review the guidelines and make the necessary changes to suite your organization and culture.

Now that you have successfully selected and implemented your project standards, you need to ensure that it is followed by each and everyone, every time a project is done.

Reviewing your projects on an ongoing basis will help to ensure that the terminology, project life cycle and guidelines and standards are followed consistently, so that your projects have the maximum change of being successful every time.

10 Hot Tips for Ensuring Project Success

It has been said that nearly 80% of all projects either fail completely or never get to completion. This is a very big statement to make, but I have found that if you stick to the 10 tips given below, you will most definitely always deliver a quality project, on time and within budget.

1. Project kick off. 

When you start your project, the most important thing is to ensure that you obtain the requirements in as much detail as possible. You will then be able to exactly understand what needs to be delivered, by when and to whom. This business case document will form the basis of your project.

2. Timeframes. 

As far as possible, keep timeframes as short and realistic as possible. Do not commit to long term deliverables, but rather split these up into mini projects or separate phases of an overall encompassing project.

3. Milestones. 

Create milestones for every phase or piece of work in your project. Add delivery dates to these and stick to them. If you are going to miss a deadline, communicate this to you client as early as possible.

4. Deliverables. 

Deliverables should not be confused with milestones. Once every deliverable has been completed, it must be formally handed over to the client, who should sign an Acceptance Form to confirm it has met their expectations as per original requirements.

5. Clients. 

Understand your client and involve them right through the entire project, from planning to implementation. Communicate to them on a regular basis to ensure you get their buy-in in the project.

6. Scope. 

Document the scope of the project up front, including what is in and what is out and have this signed off by the client. Any future scope changes must be re-evaluated and agreed by all stakeholders against the original scope. A formal change management process will go a long way to assist with this.

7. Quality. 

Quality on any project should not be a negotiable factor and must always be of the highest possible. Ensure that you implement a clear quality management process, ensuring constant review throughout the project. This should include peer reviews so that team members review each other's deliverables.

8. Risks and Issues. 

Risks and issues must be formally documented and discussed and reviewed at least every week. Ensure that these are prioritized, responsible persons assigned to each and actions have due dates.

9. The Team. 

It is very important to assemble the best team possible to deliver the project. Require the best you can afford. Your role would be to lead and motivate the team and ensure they work well together.

10. Communication

Make sure that a formal communication plan is drawn up, which will communicate the correct information to the correct audience at the correct intervals, from daily team meetings right up to the executive level of dashboard reporting to senior management.

Applying these ten tips to every project you manage should put you on the right track to deliver projects of high quality, on time and within budget, every time.

5 Easy Steps to Plan Your Projects

To ensure that you have a crystal clear project plan for every project, you must always take the following 5 steps to have a properly planned project. These steps are: Setting the project direction, identify all the tasks to be done, create the inter dependencies between relevant tasks, assign the resources and finally managing the plan.

Setting the direction of the project upfront will make sure that every stakeholder in the project is on the same page when the project starts. You need to include here the project's vision, goals and all tangible deliverables. The high level timeframes and resourcing requirements must also be indicated. Document all the "in scope" and "out of scope" deliverables. Where necessary you can indicate what will be "in scope" in a phase 2, 3 or further down the line. Also identify and document the project benefits, costs and any milestones and constraints. Only once all these have been documented and agreed with the relevant stakeholders, will you be in a position to understand the full extent of the project.

Once you have a clear understanding of the project's deliverables can you move to the next step, which is to start the actual planning. You will have to identify the high level groups of tasks or phases of the project that will make up the full project. Then each of these would need to be broken down in tasks and even sub-tasks until you have what is referred to as the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). This will initially be a series of activities following each other. Next assign duration or effort and start and end dates to each of these. Remember to always add a bit of extra time for any future unknowns. Now, also add your milestones.

The next step is to now determine all the inter dependencies between all the tasks and sub-tasks an to add all of these. This will ensure that when one task is starting to slip, it will inform you of any slippage or issues you may encounter with other tasks further into the project.

When all inter-dependencies have been added, the next step is to start adding all the required resources to the project. This is not only the people that is required to do the work, but also resources such as finances, equipment, materials and even the location or locations where the project will be executed. As you add resources, continuously check your resource allocation, as you may over utilize one and under utilize another resource. Over utilization could be a serious problem in your projects, as this may have the effect that not all tasks will be completed on time, if a specific resource is assigned to multiple tasks that require completion at the same time.

Now that you have created the tasks, added the inter-dependencies and added resources, you are ready for the final step which is to manage the plan. Firstly you can now create a baseline, which is used to measure the actual progress against. Once you have created the baseline, never change it, as this will then not be able to provide you with a clear measureable on the effectiveness in managing the project. Then you can start to record and track the actual time spent on every task against this baseline on a daily basis. When scope change occurs, remember to record any new tasks, start and end dates.

This plan can now be used to continuously track and monitor the progress of the project and will also provide you with enough information to regularly communicate the status of the project to all stakeholders.

And there you have the five steps to easily plan projects. Using these five steps every time you plan and manage the project, will most definitely ensure success on your projects.

10 Practical Strategies For Project Managers

I've listed these in the order I think is most important. You should rate them for yourself.

Take some time to reflect on each. Add any you think I am missing, and throw out any you disagree with. Only you know what works in your particular environment.

1. Access to Information

Accurate information about the state of the project must always be available to everyone who needs to know. Use a web site, or shared network drive and keep it up to date. Communicate and socialize the location of the information. Make it easy to access. Make the information available in several layers of detail to satisfy the diverse information needs of different stakeholders. I guarantee this will reduce the number and duration of meetings and ebb the constant flow of e-mail and phone calls. In turn, you will be able to spend more time managing.

Keep no secrets about the state of the project, and don't surprise anyone. You can't bail a struggling project out yourself. A small risk or issue today will grow into a crisis if not dealt with quickly.

2. Change happens

Don't struggle against it, but manage it ferociously and with great courage. This is all on this subject for now, as this subject is worthy of it's own article, which is forthcoming. Just recognize that change is inevitable, and must be managed closely.

3. Have the facts straight and use data when reporting on the state of the project.

Intuition is a great quality, use it to know you need to review the facts, but it has no place in status reporting. Report the facts with no emotion. Emotion leads to finger pointing and blame.

4. Focus on the scope, schedule, cost, and quality of deliverables.

Don't focus on people and tasks. Reporting "Bob didn't write the specification" closes the door on understanding the problem and fixing it. And it kills your relationship with Bob for future specifications. Instead, report "The specification needed to be completed today, and it isn't". Then work with Bob to understand the problem and fix it.

5. Resist escalations (going over or around people).

While sometimes it is necessary to ruffle feathers, if you're constantly escalating, people will become alienated and lose interest in what you have to offer. When you escalate, be sure you have your facts straight, and that you are doing so as a last resort because your project is in jeopardy.

6. Strive not to use words like "No" or "Can't".

Too many of these words too often will create a perception that you are inept or not a team player. Eventually, people will start going around you to get things done. Instead of "No" or "Can't", clearly describe options and well thought out implications for each.

7. Be the cheerleader and keep things positive.

Celebrate every success, no matter how small. Regardless of the size and scope of your project, you want everyone to think it's the most important work in the world to be doing right now.

8. Keep the emotional bank full by praising those who do good work.

Eventually, you will need to make an emotional withdrawal from people, having them love you now makes it easier for them to forgive you later.

9. Things will always take 30% longer and cost 30% more than your initial estimates.

Pad your estimates. If you're lucky and persuasive enough, you may get approval for what you originally estimated.

10. Become an expert user of the Microsoft Office Suite of products.

Proficiency in Project, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access will give you a decisive edge over other project managers because your ability to execute quickly will increase dramatically.

Effective And Efficient Project Management Solution

Project management refers to a properly planned and organized approach to complete any assignment successfully. In order to better understand what project management solution does, we should clearly define the project first. It is a onetime unique endeavour, which is carefully planned to achieve a goal successfully. It is a collaborative effort, within a team working, on the assignment with constraints.

The entire process of mapping involves creating a plan, which also includes determining and finalizing the goals and objectives. It also goes on to identify the tasks to be performed to achieve the goals under consideration.

The plan also helps to identify the resources needed and the budget and the timeline for the duration. The most important part of the process is the implementation of the plan along with controlling parameters. This ensures that the performance of the task is as per the expectations of the stakeholder.

The major phases under which an effective system preparation goes through are definition, feasibility, planning, implementation, evaluation and support. A major challenge for the planners is to achieve all the determined goals and objectives, while making sure that none of the constraints are violated.

The most typical constraints are related to time, cost and scope. These are the most important parameters to be controlled throughout the life cycle of the assignment. Hence the various tools become very crucial for good planning.

The tools basically cover various types of software which assist project managers in planning, estimation, cost control, scheduling and budget control. They also let them monitor and control the resource allocation, communication, quality parameters etc depending on the complexity of the assignment.

Some of the important tasks performed by the software are now being discussed. One of the widely used features of these applications is scheduling. This software lets a user schedule a series or sequence of tasks. The schedule can vary in complexity depending on the software being used.

These tools can map events that have dependencies on different events. It can be used to show relationships between various events and functions. It can also assign resources to each task. The duration of the tasks can also be defined during the mapping.

The tools can also be used as an information management system. They can generate reminders to be sent to various team members and can also prepare progress reports for the task. It also helps in generating and determining various statistics related to the assignment.

There can be different ways to use these tools. They can be installed on a system and then be used by all the team members. It can be a web based application. The team management would be required to access the web site which hosts the software and then feed all the required data on to the application.

Building Project Management Templates for Your Project

Developing the right project management tools to manage project performance is the first step to project structure and success. Unfortunately most companies do not start out with sophisticated and expensive project management software but rather start with a collection of home grown templates usually in MS Excel and Word format. Where do you start?

Look at what elements are required to manage your project. If you use the PMBOK based process groups, you can select a few key tools to setup a basic structure for your project. By starting with the development of several key tools, you can start a basic framework that is applicable to most projects. By covering the five process groups you setup a structure that supports the project throughout its whole lifecycle. At some point you may find that you may need to add to the list of required tools depending on the type of projects, complexity and risk. This initial list according to process group will get you started.


Project Charter. This document is used to authorize the start of your project. Contains basic initial details such as Project Name, High Level Scope, Anticipated Budget Estimate, Sponsor, Project Manager and Steering Committee.


Project Plan. A governance document that details a number of the PMBOK Knowledge areas such as Scope Management, Cost Management, Communications, Risk Management, Time Management, Quality Management, Human Resource Management, Integration Management, Procurement Management.

Project Schedule. The detailed work breakdown that identifies tasks, resource requirements, task duration and dependencies. Many people use a tool such as MS project to develop a Project Schedule with Gantt Chart.

Risk Assessment. A measurement tool to identify the associated risks on the project.

Executing & Monitoring 

Actions/Issues Log. A quick start tool to identify project issues and actions not typically covered by the project schedule. Typically includes item description, target completion, status, priority and associated notes.

Risk Register. This lists the identified risks against the probability of occurrence of the risk event vs. the associated impact if realized. A good register also includes a measurement mechanism to identify the severity level and which ones the project will address, monitor or dismiss.


Close-Out Document. A capture of the lessons learned process that also includes project finalization details, performance vs. expectations and archives of related materials.

Setting up these seven tools will give you a basic project tool kit to manage your projects. And even using templates in Word, Excel and PowerPoint will initially provide you with a simple but useful structure. I have found that in organizations just embarking on project management methodology, stakeholders more readily adapt to using such familiar tools. As you grow your resources, try adding additional templates that can be used to support your organization's typical project needs.

How to Use Your Project Plan Template to Eliminate Feeling Overwhelmed

Often when working on their businesses or in their jobs, people have so many responsibilities and tasks that pile up quickly. While this situation can be considered a sign of success, it can easily lead to a sense of overwhelm, deterioration in the quality of work in the form of sloppy or shoddy performance, and even a failure to complete all the tasks someone has committed to accomplishing.

In the face of this complexity, it can be hugely useful for people to turn to a project plan template to help manage the intricacies of moving several fronts at once. However, many shy away from the use of project plan templates because they may feel there is not enough time to plan, or project planning templates are not a useful way to invest their limited amount of time. This consideration is actually quite limiting and, on the contrary, not planning effectively is often a reason why employees, managers, or business owners may experience being overwhelmed and overworked.

So how can a person use a project plan template effectively to combat those feelings of overwhelm and not being in control? The process is quite simple and straightforward. The objective of a project plan template is to capture, to the greatest extent possible, all the actions and steps that need to be taken from the beginning of a project to its completion, in the order those moves need to be made.

Why is the scope of such a template naturally so large? By reviewing an all-inclusive tool in this way, a person using this organization device can be confident knowing everything that needs to be tracked and on paper (or on the computer) is in fact accounted for. Surprisingly enough, overwhelm tends to disappear for many people at this point. Overwhelm disappears in this way because overwhelm is primarily a function of a person not feeling that they are in control, or that they do not have a solid grasp of what needs to happen in order to produce certain results. So, it is usually when those next actions are laid out in a systematized way that the overwhelm disappears. It really is that simple!

Use a Project Plan Template to Get Projects Done Faster

As a business owner, you know that everyday you've got what seems like a million and one things to do and it always seems like you never have enough time. And if you've got several projects on the go, you might wonder how you'll keep everything organized so that you meet your deadline and have more happy (and repeat!) clients. And this is where a project plan template can come in very handy.

Consider for a moment that in order to run a successful business, whether it is an affiliate marketing business, web development, writing, MLM or even an "offline" service business, you have to keep things organized and scheduled.

If you don't not only will you not get things done that need it, you'll soon find yourself having a severe lack of motivation to reach your goals. And this, more than anything, can cause you business to fail. Once you lose focus, it can be incredibly hard to get back on track. Having a daily schedule helps. As does having a project plan template.

Now, I can almost hear you saying how complicated that sounds. But really it is only as complex or complicated as you want it to be. So, what's the best way to come up with a project plan template? Pick your most complex current project, list everything in bullet point form such as specifications (measurements, page or word counts, etc.) as well as time lines and milestones.

Then, with this done, take the outline and simply rewrite it so that it is in a "blank" state. It is always easier to take things out of the outline depending on the project then to try and put them in, which is why the first time you create your project plan template you should use the most complex project you have as a sample.

Now, here again you might be thinking that the best way to go is to immediately jump into a new project and you may see the extra step of using a project plan template as a waste of time. But, consider the fact that with this type of template available, you can quickly and easily figure out the major and minor requirements of the project in question and be able to effectively schedule milestones for yourself, which is important especially if it is a big project. Once you've finished the tasks for that day, set the project aside and do something else.

Main Features of Project Charter Template

Project management has never been a very smooth process especially if you do not have the right tools. The success or failure of every project lies with whether or not the right foundation and ground breaking work was put in place during the planning stage. Skipping any planning process or having it shortened would improve the chances of failure hence the need for the use of project charter template, a tool that offers you a step by step guide of what you should include in your project plan.

Project charter template offers you a step by step guide on what you should have included in your project charter. Among the available templates is the scope statement template that defines in detail the full scope that the project at hand will cover. The management plan template outlines in several simple steps what your management plan re to ensure that you achieve your desired result.

Cost is an important part of any project management and if any project is to succeed, costs should be kept down. The cost management template enables you present your costs in a very clear manner that your financiers will understand without struggle, unlike when you are to design your own cost template. How the work to be done is broken down into units together with how such work done are managed to meet the required quality is also listed down in the charter template hence making it easy to be used.

Risk control is a prerequisite when it comes to projects management. Personnel management also needs to be approached well hence the project charter template would offer you the best way forward that will enable you manage your projects well.

How To Go About Preparing An Action Plan Template

Action plan template is a tool used to point out activities required to achieve commercial, administrative or other specific goals addressed during assessment process of the concerned project. Proper implementation & subsequent achievement of preset goals is a time consuming & tough job. After strategic goals are put in place via the assessment process, provisions have to be made for passing over the ideas to the members of a collaborative project.

Several time bounded meetings have to be held at the project site or the institution office to reach a fruitful & feasible decision regarding the final action plan. The project moderator here has a number of key responsibilities. At the beginning, he should help project members understand the needs of constructing a transparent & comprehensive plan template. After this point is made clear to them, the members should be provided with a few templates to obtain their views on them. The moderator should discuss this issue open mindedly, as project members here may object on several points made in the plan & thus propose a construction of a whole new plan. If any changes have to be made, then discussing those points & inscribing the new action plan may take several other meetings. Matters may get delayed due to all this, as every implementation step put up in the plan has to be written in a format which should be understandable for people who will lead the project to its ultimate goal.

An ideal action plan template must have an uncomplicated outlook, must facilitate understanding of individual roles among project team members & manifest any project infeasibility. They should be capable of bringing you out of all the dilemmas and bringing you on the right path. It should be written in a tabular format so that individual points don't get overlapped with each other, thus providing it a professional & readable look to it.

What Is Project Management?

There is plenty of speculation available concerning the definition of project management. However, what is project management in actuality? What do managers have to be knowledgeable about in order to create projects that are successful? We are going to talk about the basic concepts of project management.

People are born with the ability to solve problems. When a difficult issue hinders us from achieving our goals or other positive things that we want to achieve, we use all of our known resources to devise a plan that will solve those issues and help us get what we want. Via projects we try to find answers for the issues that are presently stopping us from reaching our goals.

What is a Project?

A project is a short term task that intends to provide an answer to a difficult issue. It involves putting a new plan in place in order to get positive results. The majority of projects are basically the same in nature. They generally have these components:

An established time of existence, which consists of both a beginning and ending date
Specified goals of what has to be accomplished
Certain allotted budgets and revenue
Specified goals with guides to assess success

It does not matter how large the project is or how difficult it may be, the action plan is the key to it being successful and the foundation for its life cycle. A good plan exists due to project management.

What is Project Management, Again?

Project management is basically the action plan that is used to combine and optimize the required assets to effectively finish the project and obtain the desired outcome. Project management consists of the general plans, action plans, particular tasks, timeframes, duties as well as goal expectations. Project management combines the tools and methods for strategizing, implementing and monitoring the project.

The project management action plan goes through these steps:


What is Project Management in Actuality, Really?

There are two basic methods for project management:

1.Bottom-up-approach (participatory):

Participants figure out and study the requirements, the options to fix the problems or come up with new methods to make a situation better. A plan is submitted after the contingency stages.

2.Top-down approach (directive):

An upper level manager gives the project to the project manager.

Even though it takes up more time, the bottom-up project method is the better method because it places the authority wherever there is potential and opportunity. It gives authority to everyone that is participating and it also gives them opportunities for making decisions for all aspects of the project management stages. This method also makes all commitments and accountabilities much stronger. In addition, it creates values that can be followed for the long term.

The top-down method specifies the requirements and methods for tackling them. Managers determine who will have authority, how the project will be done, and what assets will be used and how long the project will last. This method does not provide the same values as the bottom-up approach, but it does give faster answers.

The project participants might not be active in all parts of the project management stages; however, there are chances for them to stay in a supportive position.

Manager's Key Guidelines to Successful Project Management:

It doesn't matter what type of method is applied, the top-down or the bottom-up, most parts of the components are created, implemented and watched by the project manager.

Here's a set of rules to help your project campaign:

* Make sure that the project's goals are solid, obtainable and reachable. The SMART tool is a helpful example.

* Create a workable outline with designated tasks, timeframes, duties, needed assets, expectations and guidelines.

* Identify project stakeholders: A stakeholder is anybody who is interested, influenced or affected by the project.

* It is essential to establish participants and their duties from the very first of the project. A stakeholders analyses would be the best way to handle this.

* Understand the project's hardships, setbacks and risks. If you know how to identify project restrictions and hardships at the start, it will be much simpler to handle them when they occur. Also, have a backup plan for when something does not go as you envisioned it.

* Establish a project budget. Itemize all costs of the project and determine the cost of each expense such as administrative, delivery, outsourcing, so on and so on. This will give you the capability to adequately manage the budget.

* Pinpoint the resources of the project such as the skills, capabilities, physical assets as well as intellectual assets. Create a listing of everything involved. It is essential to understand and work with the project resources. This is a wonderful strategy for re-cycling the team's skills and experience and putting them on a totally different playing field.

* Pinpoint the strategies and plans that are required for planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the project.

* Correspond-Correspondence and interaction are very important in project management. You need to describe and provide credibility of your projects to your clients, partners and investors. You have to discover methods for making them interested enough to want to invest and be supportive of the project. Make sure that everybody constantly knows what is going on and what to expect during the course of the project. Get them involved by utilizing their expert planning and implementing skills as much as you can. Write everything down, even if it requires a lot of your time. You should always have good documentation of the project's progress and success.

Are You a Slave to Project Management?

Gantt charts - loathe them or love them?

They are a fundamental tool in a project manager's toolkit. However, an unseasoned project manager can find that they can take over the project and result in reduced control. How so? In this article we will look at their potential pitfalls and provide some tips and strategies for ensuring successful project management. Gantt charts are, after all, just one of many ways of presenting the project planning and actual data that has been input.

To start we will be clear that we are not going to deal here with repetitive implementation / rollout projects where a template plan has been refined over a series of projects and becomes a standard checklist for project management. This article is about those one off  projects. These projects may be within organisations small, medium and large.

Most larger organisations have well developed and run 'IT' departments. They usually have formal project offices with established plan templates and standards, with project office staff and automated plan analysis systems (for example seeking orphan tasks / missing dependencies and so on to measure overall 'plan quality'). Smaller organisations - for example, 'IT solutions houses' - may lack this level of sophistication but will certainly use detailed project plans.

What is good about Gantt charts?

Gantt charts are an excellent format for presenting dependency and progress data, but as with most things in life, the returns will be dependent on the investment. So, the more care that goes into the project plan data set-up, then the better will be the feedback. However, there is a danger that the level of detail that can be built into the typical project plan can itself require a disproportionate amount of project management maintenance. We will not go into great detail here, but dependency and critical path management are of major importance. So, 'sweating the detail' in the plan is critical at the outset.

This leads to the actual project management overhead getting out of kilter with the budget allocation. What suffers then? An overloaded project management team, under-maintained plan / actual data or both even together. The result is Gantt chart slavery.

So, how do we avoid this paradox?

The approach should be based on a comprehensive Risk Assessment of a project at or before formal startup. The risk areas to be considered will certainly include:

- organisational politics and readiness
- organisational technology literacy
- organisational staff skills level
- technology proposal
- business risk (eg market / competitive pressure; degree of process change required)
- timescale - rate of business change
- resource including $ availability
- commitment of sponsors

The outcome should be categorisation of the project as Low, Moderate or High Complexity. Note that a Moderate Complexity project may have a High Complexity phase (and this links back to Contingent Project Management - dynamic tuning of the project management process itself during the project).

These differing levels of Complexity would require differing levels of project management effort allocated in the resource budget. A rough guide would be:

Low Complexity - project management effort 7-11% of overall resource budget
Moderate Complexity - project management effort 12-17% of overall resource budget
High Complexity - project management effort 18-22% or more, of overall resource budget

Undoubtedly these figures will seem inordinately high to some managers. However, more than 30% of projects are deemed failures - and failure is always the result of inadequate project management (which includes Risk Assessment and Management). So, the 'buck stops' at the quality or quantity of project management.

Project Managers Must Have Proper Information About Project Tracking Software

Need help organizing project planning boards, activity time frames, and task designations? What this particular office needs is a project tracking software. The project tracking software is basically a program, possibly downloadable from the World Wide Web or purchased in CD ROM or hard disk form and then downloaded into the computer's desktop system. It can also be a software that translates into a program that is accessed only through the Internet, and then, through this, one will be able to track activities more easily and efficiently.

What Project Tracking Softwares Can Do

The features installed in project tracking softwares available in the market these days actually vary depending on the company that manufactures the software program. But there are some characteristics that are inherent in task tracking softwares. Among these characteristics are as follows:

1. Creating project plans. A project tracking software typically has templates where one can put in all the projects he currently has at hand and then draft a plan out of all of them. This way, there will be no more struggling with dusty chalk boards or messy tasks calendars. Also no more panicking when the office organizer gets lost from its storage space in the desk drawer. All one has to do to be reminded of his project plans is to check it out when he opens his computer. Also, through this template or draft plan, he can update the progress of his projects as often as he wants, and then, get an overview as to what projects are already finished, what projects need to be given extra attention, which needs to be attended to as soon as possible, and which can be set aside for the time being.

2. Making project reports. Apart from creating the actual project plan, a project tracking software also usually has the capacity to let the user draft reports on each project in the plan template. Possibly, he can even create presentations with this software. This way, whenever the user has to deal with something that is related to his projects, he no longer has to bother with various other software programs (i.e., which to open, MS Word, PowerPoint, or Outlook?) or files (i.e., what file name or folder name he has saved his project in); all he has to do is to run the project tracking software, select the tasks in question, and everything will be there, including his presentation for their upcoming board meeting.

3. Create a timeline for every project. Aside from making plans and reports on every project, a project tracking software would also play a kind of organizer function for the user - it would tell him just what needs to be finished when, as well as let him create a sort of calendar of activities for each activity.

Safety Plan Template - Why You Must Have One

If you have a business that employs people our you actually care about your staff then you certainly need to implement a safety plan in your business. If you run a construction site or a building a project where there are potential accidents than you certainly need to implement a plan to ensure the safety of every person who comes in touch with your project.

This is not only required by law in most countries, but you should take this responsibility seriously. A plan is going to be your tool to protect your staff and anyone else that may come in touch with your business or project. A template will enable you to create a safety plan very easily without stress or headache.

This template will already have a lot of information already within it and or you simply need to do is modify the plan to suit your project our business. This is then quiet easy to do. How much easier is it to modify a template then to create a document from scratch?

Creating a plan need not be a headache when you use a template. There is no point in re-creating or reinventing the wheel so why would you try to re-invent a safety plan? Smut business means looking at what other people have done and taking their ideas and modifying it to suit your business. We are not talking about copyright issues or plagiarism, but simply getting ideas from what other people have experienced.

You can also purchase plenty of templates online which enable you to have full rights and use the plan within your business or project. A typical safety plan will have issues that need to be addressed on site with your team and these issues should form part of your training. When you implement your plan to ensure that all of your staff, customers, clients, or any other personnel that come in contact with your business or project a well aware of the safety issues that apply to your business.

It is imperative that you implement safety to save headaches and suffering and losses showed the unfortunate occurrence of accidents occur. Everybody wants to avoid accidents so it is smut business to implement safety plans.