Project Management

Giving Until It <i>Doesn’t</i> Hurt

To make a difference, it often feels like a person or corporation
has to give large amounts of money and overextend their generosity.
But the digital world has found ways in which we can all make
incremental contributions that do not feel as fiscally painful and
can be more widely practiced.

Project Management

New PM Articles for the Week of December 23 – 29

New project management
articles published on the web during the week of December 23 –
29. And this week’s
: ER doctor Darria Long explains key lessons from hospital
emergency rooms on handling stress and chaos. Great examples from a
great storyteller. 14 minutes, safe for work.

Ethics, Business Acumen and Strategy

  • Karen Hao
    calls for the ethical development and application of
    AI and related technologies. 3 minutes to read.

  • Emily Daniel
    pinpoints the trends in AI development and
    application that will command real investment in 2020. 4 minutes to

  • Peter Diamandis
    gives his take on how 3D printing will
    completely change retail. 4 minutes to read or 7 minutes to the
    podcast, safe for work.

  • Anna Prist
    predicts the trends for voice technology in the
    coming year. 5 minutes to read.

Managing Projects

  • Mike
    presents a capstone essay on how to be the best project
    manger you can be. 14 minutes, plus a couple of linked videos.

  • Anna Balyuk and Anna Bashyrova
    analyzed over 50 job
    requisitions at Amazon, Apple, and Google to determine what they
    are looking for in project managers. 7 minutes to read.

  • Roger Swannell
    shares his thoughts on how Microsoft Teams might
    be used by actual teams, as well as how it might be improved. 6
    minutes to read.

  • Glen Alleman
    recommends Brent Flyvbjerg’s new book, The
    Oxford Handbook of Megaproject Management. 2 minutes to read.

  • John Goodpasture
    shares his short course on risk management.
    About 3 minutes to read through the 23-slide deck.

Managing Software Development

  • Kiron Bondale
    gets to the essence of a recent Dilbert strip on
    shipping a product quickly, for the wrong reasons. 2 minutes to

  • Christiaan Verwijs
    helps us determine whether someone is an
    actual stakeholder or just an audience member. 4 minutes to

Applied Leadership

  • Charles Richard
    explains seven keys to leading effective team
    meetings. 4 minutes to read.

  • Liane Davey
    recommends that we let our team have that heated
    conversation. Conflict debt is a thing. 6 minutes to read.

Cybersecurity and Data Protection

  • David
    describes several social engineering tricks that are
    often used in targeted attacks. I’ve recently seen two of these
    in the wild—be aware! 6 minutes to read.

  • Trevor Daughney
    makes six cybersecurity predictions for 2020. 5
    minutes to read.

  • Terry Sweeney
    explains SIM-swapping attacks, from what they are
    to how they are achieved (access to the device isn’t required) to
    potential consequences. 4 minutes to read.

Pot Pourri

  • Sharlyn Lauby
    states that employee retention will continue to
    be one of the top priorities for 2020 and provides links to
    relevant articles on turnover. 2 minutes to read.

  • Suzanne Lucas
    quotes from a new study that found a partial
    explanation for the pay gap: men who report to other men get
    promoted faster. Be aware, be fair. 3 minutes to read.


Project Management

Implementation Plan: How to Create and Execute One

From the beginning of a triathlon to the first notes of an
opening night play—the way you start things off can set the tone
for the rest of the event. The same goes for an implementation
plan. Without one, your organization could rolling out big changes
with nothing but an online reference guide and a stressed-out
developer trying to make everything happen.

So what is an implementation plan, how do you make one, and how
do you execute it successfully? Let’s take a look.

What Is an Implementation Plan?

Used as a support device for your strategic plan, an
implementation plan maps out how to bring your strategic plan to
life by breaking it into identifiable steps, where each step is
assigned a to team member to complete on a set timeline.
Strategic planning
is done on an organizational level,
dictating the direction of the company strategy and allocating
resources to make that strategy come to life. Thus, the
implementation plan traces the edges of that, mapping out how to
best implement a strategic plan from the outset, and how to
effectively manage it as it gets put into place.

What Are the Benefits of an Implementation Plan?

The implementation plan plays a large role in the success of
your overall strategic plan. But more than that, communicating both
your strategic plan and the implementation of it therein to all
employees helps staff to feel as if they have a sense of ownership
within the company’s long-term direction.

Increased Cooperation

An implementation plan that’s well communicated also helps to
increase cooperation across all teams. It’s easy to work in a
silo—you know exactly what your daily process is and how to
execute it. But reaching across the aisle and making sure your
colleague is aligned on the goals that you’re also trying to
meet? That’s another story entirely. But with an implementation
plan in place, it helps to bridge the divide just a little

Ensure Buy-In

Additionally, with an implementation plan that’s
thoroughly-researched and well defined, you can
ensure buy-in from stakeholders
and key partners involved in
the project. And no matter which milestone you’re at, you can
continue to get that buy-in time and time again.

Stay on Track

At the end of the day, the biggest benefit of an implementation
plan is that it makes it that much easier for the company to meet
its long-term goals. When everyone across all teams knows exactly
what you want to accomplish and how to do it, it’s easy to make
it happen.'s Dashboards for Tracking’s
project dashboards make it easy to stay on track—Learn
How to Make an Implementation Plan

There’s not really a standard one-size-fits-all solution when
it comes to creating your implementation plan. It’s more of an
amalgamation of tasks that comes from a needs assessment when
evaluating your strategic plan. Generally, an implementation plan
tends to look like the following:

Research and Discovery

Start by asking yourself:

  • What teams need to be involved to achieve the strategic
  • How long will it take to make the strategic goals happen?
  • What should be allocated from a
    budget and resources standpoint

By interviewing stakeholders, key partners, customers and team
members, you can determine the most crucial assignments needed and
prioritize them accordingly. It’s also at this stage that you
should list out all the goals you’re looking to achieve to
cross-embed the strategic plan with the implementation plan.
Everything must tie back to that strategic plan in order for your
implementation plan to work.

Map Out Assumptions and Risks

This acts as an extension to the research and discovery phase,
but it’s also important to point out the assumptions and risks in
your implementation plan. This can include paid time off or
holidays you didn’t factor into your timeline, budget
constraints, losing personnel, market instability or even tools
that require repair before your implementation can commence.

Assign Responsibility

Each activity must include a primary champion to be the owner of
it. For tasks to be properly assigned, this champion will need to
do the delegating, ensure that all systems are working as per
usual, keep track of their teams’ productivity and more. In the
case where a risk becomes reality, this person can manage it on a
more micro level so that no one person has to take full
responsibility. Task
management software
is practically essential for this

Determine Activities

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Who needs to be involved in the plan?
  • What are the stakeholder requirements?
  • What resources should be allocated?
  • Are there any
    we need to list out?
  • What are the risks involved based on the assumptions we
  • Are there any dependencies for any of the tasks?

Once all activities are outlined, all resources are listed and
all stakeholders have approved (but no actions have been taken just
yet), you can consider your implementation plan complete.

How to Maintain Your Implementation Plan

Making sure your implementation plan is a success requires more
effort than just setting it up and letting it run—it requires
active participation. This means creating a system where your team
can collaborate
and track all updates so you can monitor and report the
implementation progress to key stakeholders at each milestone.

Additionally, at each milestone, gather all team members
involved and share all stakeholder decisions with the team. Keep
the door as open for as much communication as possible, so you can
continue to encourage both stakeholder buy-in and an environment
where all team members feel as if they have an active stake in the
success of the project. Even if some details change during a
milestone, everyone can have all questions answered and changes to
the implementation plan can be made efficiently without disrupting
tasks and their dependencies.

What Are the Risks of an Implementation Plan?

As is the case with any well-thought-out plan, there are risks
involved. When it comes to an implementation plan, the main risks
of program failure can involve the inability to get either buy-in
or resources from stakeholders, business partners or team

Sometimes this could be because of a resistance to change, a
loss in confidence among staff or even a lack of prioritization
from leadership. Whatever the case may be, it all comes down to
communication. If you’re communicating goals across team members
well as well as reporting data efficiently (and thus, getting
buy-in from stakeholders), then those pitfalls really shouldn’t

Outside of communication issues on a more rare level, there are
factors outside of the organization’s control that can impact
your implementation plan. This can include losing key personnel,
destabilizing economic changes, new competition that has entered
the market with a similar product and even natural disasters
affecting your organization’s ability to produce quality

How Helps with Implementation Plans

Creating and managing an implementation plan is a huge
responsibility, and one that requires diligence, patience, and
great organizational skills.

With, you get
access to cloud-based Gantt
, so your team can access and view their activities no
matter where they are. Plus, link to dependencies within and across
teams, so everyone is on the same page no matter where they

Gantt chart screenshot of implementation planAssign tasks and
build timelines for your implementation plan.

When it comes to an implementation plan, there are many ways to
make one that’s best suited for your team. With, you get access to both agile and waterfall
planning so you can plan in sprints for large or small projects,
track issues and collaborate easily. Try kanban boards
for making backlogs or for making workflows in departments.

kanban screenshot for implementation plansGet visibility into
your tasks and processes with kanban boards.

Switching up the activities after a milestone meeting with
stakeholders? You can easily add new tasks, set due dates, and
track how far along your team is on their current activities.

Implementation plans are the backbone of an organization’s
strategic overall plan. With, give your
organization the software they need to gain insight into all
resources needed, view activities on their lists and collaborate
with ease. Sign up
for our free 30-day trial today.

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Plan: How to Create and Execute One
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Project Management

Philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility: A Needed Partnership

Philanthropy and corporate social responsibility are very
different, but they need to work together to be as effective as
possible. There are any number of alignments between CSR
initiatives and philanthropy in every corner of the globe-and in
every aspect of society.

Project Management

Dealing With Delays in EPC Projects

Delays in engineering, procurement and construction projects almost
feel inevitable. However, they can be avoided if we understand and
identify their causes before the start of the project-and try to
mitigate the gaps during the project lifecycle.

Project Management

Developing Your Project Management Workforce

Organizations and PMOs can create the right environment to
organically develop project managers in-house. Here are five steps
to getting it done.

Project Management

The Gift of the Project Managers

For project management to truly be a gift, we need to rethink how
we speak about it, how we present it and how we practice it. We
need to present to the world something that they want, that they
will appreciate and that they will value.

Project Management

Embracing the End-of-Year Cleanup

The end of the year often represents closure on projects and a
mini-break before the start of the next year's projects. How should
a new PM (and all of us!) take advantage of that?

Project Management

6 Tips for Better Schedule Management

Timetables, deliverables, resources and even risks—everything
that is involved with a project is wrapped up inside the schedule.
Arguably one of the single most important aspects to any
well-planned project, your schedule dictates which tasks need to be
done when, and which resources will be allocated to complete those

But as they say, even the best-laid plans of mice and men often
go awry. It’s up to an extremely adept project manager to enact
better schedule management for their teams. Let’s take a look at
how that’s done.

What is a Project Schedule?

A project
is a list of a project’s tasks, milestones,
deliverables and resources with pre-determined beginning and end
dates. Project schedules can be conceived from many places, but are
primarily put together from a list of stakeholder requirements.

Project scheduling occurs during the planning phase of a project
and shows how the tasks (and, ultimately, the entire project) will
progress over the project timeline.

Related: Project
Scheduling Software

How to Make a Good Project Schedule

Just like the 5 W’s of journalism, start creating your project
schedule by asking yourself those same 5 W’s:

  1. Who (will do it?)
  2. What (resources do we need to make it happen?; needs to be
  3. Where (i.e. which teams in which departments need to be
    involved to make it happen?)
  4. When (i.e. what does the timetable look like? 3 months? 6
    months? 1 year?)
  5. Why (i.e. what is the ultimate goal of this project?)

You can even interview other team members and stakeholders by
using these questions as a basis for your interview process. Then,
aggregating their answers and coming to a formal agreement, you can
start mapping out your dates, activities, set the timetables,
milestones and allocate

6 Schedule Management Tips

There are many ways to create a project schedule, but creating
and managing a good project schedule takes calculation, time,
strategy and collaboration. Let’s take a look at some tips on
managing a solid project schedule.

1. Never Manage Your Project Schedule in a Silo

When managing your project schedule, always review the
with your stakeholders and team members at each
milestone, so you can make sure that expectations on project
completion are realistic and team members are confident in meeting
the demand.

Whether it’s a fully detailed project schedule or a master
schedule with a basic list of tasks, your timeline is the
fundamental piece that will make the project go smoothly. Keeping
an open line of communication on many ends will not only lessen
risk but will ensure a seamless project process.

2. Make a Note of Milestones

can include the beginning and end of a project, as
well as a method to mark the end of a phase of project work. This
can include design approvals, product implementation, quality
assurance and requirement completion.

Each milestone is also an opportunity to meet with stakeholders
and team members and ask questions, review the success of the
previous project phase, and make sure that everything is headed on
the right track. Managing expectations at each milestone will help
team members and stakeholders rest assured that the project is
going according to plan.

3. Determine and Manage Your Dependencies

If one task can’t be completed without another task also being
completed, that’s called a dependency. Determining these right
off the bat and including them in your project schedule will help
minimize risk and ensure that each task can be performed
effectively with minimal roadblocks and need for management down
the road.

Managing them thereafter means ensuring that every dependency
has been marked off the list before another task has started. By
keeping an open-door policy with your team members, you can make
sure that no surprise dependencies have cropped up during the
project process. Even if a dependency has suddenly come into play,
you can ensure that it fits into the project timeline with ease by
better managing an already-streamlined schedule.

gantt chart with project schedule with dependenciesEasily create task
dependencies in’s Gantt chart.4. Estimate
& Review the Time it Takes to Complete Each Task

In order to properly calculate your schedule, you’ll need to
factor in all dependencies and estimate the time it will take to
complete each task, as well as the project as a whole. It’s also
important to consider non-work time, like company-wide holidays and
paid-time off so that no assumptions about employee’s time are

Of course, surprises will always come into play during any
project, so manage these as early as you can. Is an employee going
on an unexpected bereavement leave? You can embed this into your
project timeline since you already gave yourself some wiggle room
at the outset, and keep things functioning at optimal levels.

Then, once the tasks are complete, review the time it took to
complete each task, note any surprises that came up along the way
and address what steps were taken to manage those risks as they

5. Chart your Critical Path

critical path
is, well, critical. Charting it out will tell you
the longest length of time needed to complete project tasks. It’s
typically calculated automatically with project scheduling
software, giving you a framework for understanding the least amount
of time it will take to complete a task with the shortest amount of
slack. This helps minimize risk and will serve to give you a good
average or gauge against the actual realized time it takes to
complete the given task.

To determine your critical path, you must complete the

  • List all the tasks needed to complete the project
  • Mark the duration of those tasks
  • Collect your task dependencies and milestones, and list them

Once these steps are complete, you can determine both the
earliest project completion date as well as the latest project
completion date so your stakeholders and team members can manage
expectations properly.

Additionally, you can use this as a great tool to review the
time it took to complete each task against critical path data, and
see how your team members’ performances measure up.

6. Identify Scheduling Assumptions and Constraints

This part is easy to do and is also extremely important. In
order to identify your assumptions, start by looking at your
constraints. Your constraints are often identified by the time,
budget and scope of any project, so your assumptions are usually in
one of those three categories. Knowing what your assumptions are
ahead of time will help you to better understand and mitigate
project risk and deal with the potential impact of a risk coming to

Assumptions can include things like…

  • Assuming your team will be completed with the project in a
  • Assuming none of your team members will be taking vacation
  • Assuming the team members will only cost a certain portion of
    the budget

Identify these and you’ll be able to do a better job at
mitigating risk and getting a grip on your schedule.

How Helps with Schedule Management

Getting control over your schedules is no easy feat, but it does
help if you already have a highly-organized schedule in place at
the outset.

With, you can
say goodbye to stiff MS Project and hello to our cloud-based,
interactive Gantt charts. This planning tool will help you build
out schedules along with their dependencies, track project progress
and better collaborate with others across the board. You can import
MS Project plans, too.

gantt chart with a project scheduleTurn your schedules
into visual timelines in

Sometimes, all it takes is having a little extra assurance that
your project is functioning at optimal levels. With, you’ll get real-time
dashboard tools
that help you monitor tasks, teams, costs,
scope and more so you can instantly see how your project is

dashboard for tracking project’s
dashboards track your schedule in real time.

Meeting with stakeholders and need to show them how everything
is progressing? Our reports
are fully customizable to get you the data you need. Plus, you can
calculate planned versus actual progress across individuals, tasks
and projects so your critical path is completely measurable.

automated reporting feature in projectmanager.comMake custom reports
and turn data into actionable insights.

Risks and surprises can make for a sub-optimal project progress
and throw your whole team off course. With, give your
stakeholders and team members the software they need to collaborate
effectively, report project issues and updates and make sure all
dependencies are taken care of no matter what. Sign up for our free
30-day trial

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Tips for Better Schedule Management
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Project Management

Agile vs Waterfall: What’s the Difference?

According to Newton’s third law of physics, every action in
nature has an equal and opposite reaction. The same can be said for
the field of project management, where every constraint usually
impacts another constraint, and every missed deadline puts the
project off the delivery date by just a little bit longer.

Newton’s third law is also true in the case of agile vs
waterfall, where one sprang to life as a reaction to the other. But
which one was first, what are their differences, and do they have
anything in common? Let’s take a look.

What is Waterfall?

waterfall methodology
is a process where project activities are
broken down into linear phases. Created a few decades before the
agile methodology, each phase is reliant upon the deliverables of
the previous phase. Commonly used in engineering and software
development, it’s a more structured approach because progress
falls in one direction, like a waterfall, from ideation to launch.
One of the very first
of the waterfall method was in 1970 by Winston W.

The waterfall model is used in a variety of industries, from
construction to marketing, but we’ll talk about it in software
development terms as we define the different phases.

Phases of the Waterfall Method

  1. Research and Interviews: This involves
    capturing system and software requirements for the product by
    researching and interviewing the stakeholder team, the engineers,
    getting customer feedback and researching competitor product
  2. Design: There are two parts to this phase,
    including logical design and physical design, all resulting in the
    software or product architecture.
  3. Implementation: In this phase, software
    engineers and developers return a beta version of the product after
    synthesizing the information from the research and design
  4. Verification: In the verification phase, the
    product team gets user testing data and customer feedback regarding
    the product proving its validity.
  5. Maintenance: Once the beta version has been
    tested and the final product has been launched to the general
    population, it’s in this phase that bug fixes are made and
    features updated.

Each phase must be completed before the project can move on to
the next phase. It’s particularly formal in execution, where
phases are almost never repeated and exist in isolation.

Benefits of Waterfall

The good thing about the waterfall method is that it places more
importance on a structured, well-documented approach, so that no
knowledge is lost at any turn. Whether there’s a hiccup in the
project or an addition made at a later phase, all steps that have
been taken up until that point have been recorded for posterity.
The phases are commonly laid out on a Gantt
, where tasks are made into timelines and dependencies are

waterfall plan in a Gantt chartAn example of a
waterfall plan on a Gantt chart in—Learn

It’s often said that the waterfall method is best for projects
where the scope is fixed, requirements are understood, and the
design team knows exactly what code needs to be embedded.

Drawbacks of Waterfall

The downsides to the waterfall method are that the customers
never really play a role in the development of the software once
their requirements are recorded during the research and interview
phase. So interaction between the brand and its audience is
extremely limited to just the very beginning and the very end of
the project.

What is Agile?

Agile is a methodology suited for software developers and
engineers where requirements and their solutions change over time
through collaboration by bridging the gap between
cross-functional teams
and the end user. It’s because of this
that agile is an extremely iterative and adaptive methodology that
allows for tons of flexibility and rapid change.

Even though agile is popular, the history of agile is in its
infancy. In 2001, a group of 17 software developers got together in
a resort in Utah, and together came up with the “Manifesto
for Agile Software Development
” as a reaction to what they
deemed as heavy project management methodologies—like

Agile Principles

The main values of agile include prioritizing individuals over
tools, functioning software over documentation, collaboration over
contracts and change over planning.

From that, there are 12
principles of agile
that elaborate on the main values,
including prioritizing customer satisfaction, encouraging change
requirements, delivering working software, cross-team
collaboration, face-to-face conversation, sustainable development,
simplicity, the best architecture and a team that regularly seeks
to promote efficiency.

Benefits of Agile

The benefits of agile are reflective of its values and 12
principles. This process tends to have the highest customer
satisfaction rates, routinely delivers high quality products,
reduces risks, increases project control and generates a better
return on investment, faster.

But as it is with any endeavor, there are downsides here as

Drawbacks of Agile

When it comes to agile, there is sometimes an element of
unpredictability, especially for those software developers and
engineers who require a bigger picture planned out ahead of time to
better understand the project scope.

Additionally, while opening the communication lines between end
users and software developers means that you’ll produce a product
that more customers will appreciate, it also means that there is
more time wasted on communicating between teams. Ultimately this
produces a better quality product, but it comes at the cost of

Agile vs Waterfall: The Major Differences

There are many differences between agile and waterfall, but the
major ones lie in the details.

Waterfall as a process is linear, while agile is iterative. What
that means is waterfall works best when the scope and any possible
risks are assessed at the outset, whereas with agile, the scope
doesn’t really need to be defined in the beginning, and change
requests can be made as long as it’s within time and budget.

Waterfall is better for large teams and doesn’t require too
much coordination across teams as everyone has a role and knows
what part they play in the project. Agile works best when it’s
executed inside small to medium-sized teams that have a high level
of cross-integration.

Additionally, customer feedback is given at different phases
between the two methodologies. Customer feedback is a permanent
fixture inside the agile methodology, while it’s only present
during milestones for the waterfall methodology.

From a funding and budgetary perspective, agile works best at
increasing funding at each
project milestone
, while waterfall works best when dealing with
contracts up-front.

Do They Have Anything In Common?

Similarities between the two methodologies revolve at higher
levels, mostly around feasibility. In both agile and waterfall
methodologies, there has to be some sense of feasibility and
opportunity for funding before work on the project can begin,
whether that’s a contract up-front or percentage of the payment
at each milestone.

There is also planning involved in both methodologies, however
they are done at different phases. In the waterfall methodology,
planning is front-loaded to the beginning of the project on a
highly-detailed level to reduce risk and avoid changes once the
project has begun. In the agile methodology, there is also a
considerable level of planning done, however this is done during
sprint planning when the developers are ready to take pieces of the
project and make a plan to develop.

Additionally, there is much to be monitored and reported on in
both the waterfall methodology and the agile methodology. In the
waterfall methodology, project progress is measured alongside the
project plan, whereas with agile, the project progress is measured
against every sprint.

It’s important to mention that both methodologies use Gantt
charts to ensure their project is moving full steam ahead with no
roadblocks or hiccups along the way.

How Helps with Agile and Waterfall Projects

Whether you’re using the agile methodology or the waterfall
methodology for your next software project, you’ll need a
cloud-based tool to cut back on emails and make communication
between teams and customers seamless.

Need to assign tasks to certain offsite team members in seconds?
has Gantt charts that help you measure out your next sprint or plan
out your next phase based on your current benchmarks. Whether
you’re pivoting fast or planning a multi-phase project at the
outset, you can line up tasks with dependencies within and across
projects, not matter how collaborative your team needs to be.

gantt chart for agile or waterfall projectsUse’s Gantt charts to plan agile or waterfall

And regardless of whether or not you’re using waterfall or
agile for your next project, gives you the
ability to monitor and report on every level of the process. The
shows you the status of each task and team workload
instantly. This helps you pivot quickly in an agile project, or
recognize that a scheduling change needs to be made in a waterfall

project dashboard screenshotMonitor key project
metrics in real time with our dashboards.

Missed deadlines and a lack of communication can act as
roadblocks in your project, no matter which type of methodology
you’re employing for your team. That’s why
is dedicated to giving teams the software they need to plan
processes, assign tasks and collaborate effectively no matter where
you’re located. Sign up for our free
30-day trial today.

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Waterfall: What’s the Difference?
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