Project Practitioners > DeAnna Burghart

DeAnna Burghart

DeAnna Burghart

DeAnna Burghart is Director of Corporate Services for ProjectConnections.com, where she coordinates the technical development, customer relationship management, and corporate product development efforts for their quarter-million members. She is a professional coach and trainer by training and a project manager by chance. DeAnna's introduction to formal project management came from materials planning in the aerospace industry and database administration within a major utility company. Since then she has acquired over a decade of experience as a web project manager—mostly as the projects fell into her unsuspecting lap—facilitating and overseeing design projects and marketing efforts for several start-ups and established small businesses before joining ProjectConnections. As a result, she has a deep sympathy for and understanding of the so-called accidental project manager—the hair-on-fire PM who got handed a flaming project and told, "Go build something. I'd like a progress report next Friday."

DeAnna has a B.S. in Organizational Communications and has significant experience in coaching and training, online focus groups, marketing analysis, and web-based seminar development. She has co-authored papers and delivered presentations on a variety of subjects from community theory to software training to management techniques, and edited Kimberly Wiefling's Scrappy Project Management, published in September 2007. Her particular project management interests involve communicating effectively in business settings; applying reasonable project management techniques to the myriad small and tiny projects that crop up in day-to-day work; balancing adequate documentation against the entirely sensible drive to avoid death by paper-pushing; and helping project managers find and recognize the tools that work best for their situation, so they can send their team (and themselves) home on time for a change.


17 Great IFTTT Recipes for Project Managers
By DeAnna Burghart
IFTTT (stands for "IF This, Then That") is an automation tool for linking apps, devices, and an ever-growing list of Internet of Things gadgets. These recipes will make it easier to manage your project communication automatically. Read More»

Automated Project Scheduling in Excel
By DeAnna Burghart
Have you ever wished you could see a simple project's tasks laid out on a calendar without wrestling with MS Project or similar scheduling software? Maybe you don't have scheduling software installed. Maybe it seems like way too much effort for this project. Maybe you want to be sure the rest of the team can read the schedule as well as you can. Maybe you just like using spreadsheets. This week I thought I'd share one of my Frankensheets, in the hope some fellow spreadsheet junkies will find it useful. If complex formulas and conditional formatting make you break out... Read More»

Projects Have Always Been Hard (Until Now)
By DeAnna Burghart
Projects have always been hard, especially long projects with sprawling scopes, conflicting stakeholder requirements, and impossible budgets and timelines. Basically, we've bought into our own PR, and it's a total fiction. And the proof is right in our history books. Read More»

Book Review: Grateful Leadership
By DeAnna Burghart
When did you last acknowledge someone? I don't mean a simple thank you, but a sincere, "mushy" expression of appreciation and admiration, a "heartfelt and authentic communication that lets people know their value to their organization or to their team and the importance of the contribution they make?" Judith Umlas is betting that it's been far too long, and that you should start right now. The title of Umlas's recent book Grateful Leadership suggests appreciation and an "attitude of gratitude," the sort of catch phrases that have become ubiquitous in a business leadership field dominated by admonitions to Lean In... Read More»

You Call That a Good Meeting?
By DeAnna Burghart
"Great meeting," was absolutely the last feedback I'd expected to receive. It had been one of those days, and as a result I'd walked into a big planning session totally unprepared and five minutes late. I presented my apologies and launched into what felt like a fast and loose high-level meeting, got consensus around a few items, and got the group to agree to a second session next month. Total time spent: about 40 minutes for what was supposed to be a highly detailed one-hour one-off meeting. Read More»

Do Templates Really Save Time?
By DeAnna Burghart
Since ProjectConnections is in large part a template repository, that’s the sort of question that would normally raise eyebrows. But I couldn’t help asking it when this cartoon popped up in my Feedly feed last week. The joke here, of course, is the time that was spent compiling the chart. But at the same time, this is a great reminder about proportional effort in your process improvements. Read More»

Has Anyone Seen Fluffy?
By DeAnna Burghart
How many personality types do you have? If you've ever worked for a large organization, you've probably gone through at least a few different workshops, like DiSC, Enneagram, MBTI, and Keirsey, to name just a few. Depending on who you ask, there may be two, three, four, nine, or sixteen different personality types. (One wag I know likes to say there are two kinds of people: People who believe people can be classified into different types of people, and people who know better.) In my experience, these workshops are a lot like most lessons learned meetings: We attend, document the... Read More»

What Do You Want?
By DeAnna Burghart
Next time you're stuck in a meeting or conversation that seems to be going around and around (and around and around), stop and ask one simple question: "What do you want out of this?" Here's the catch: The person you're asking is you. Too often, we allow ourselves to get caught up in the adrenaline of proving our case. This is especially true in technical disciplines, where the drive to demonstrate the error -- whatever it is -- may overpower any thought of actually fixing the problem. I've been guilty of this time and again in every imaginable venue. It's... Read More»

Your Project Needs a Better Life
By DeAnna Burghart
"When was the last time you described a project as being full of life?" Questions like this challenge our perspective on projects and teams, perhaps even the very nature of work. It's from that perspective that Right-Brain Project Management encourages us to review and revise our approach to work, collaboration, and project leadership, beginning with the deliberately provocative opening chapter "What's Wrong with Project Management?" The answer proposed -– a need for maturity, social skills, and passion -– is what Right-Brain Project Management aims to provide. The book is rich with statistics, research, and case studies, which will help even... Read More»

Why Project Kickoffs Matter
By DeAnna Burghart
A friend of mine said something this morning that inspired me the minute he said it: Teamwork in random teams has to start with you. Most people don't inherently work together unless you say something. Yes, he's a gaming friend, and he was referring to fragging noobs in battlegrounds rather than any sort of project work. (We talk about this sort of thing on Friday mornings. It's OK, though; geek is cool now.) Battlegrounds aside, his offhand remark struck me as the sort of profound conventional wisdom that has to become a blog post. Whether you're talking about orcs vs... Read More»




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