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Posts Under "Documentation"

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»

Do you want to be a Project Ninja?
By Margaret de Haan
I have been reviewing many Job Descriptions that are out there for Project Managers, and I realized the other day that if I was really graded solely on what was written in mine, I would really be failing in the eyes of the company. We are so much more than tasks, dates and Project Plans aren’t we? In many ways I am very lucky, the VP that I report to and I, see many things the same way and are more flexible in terms of allowing team members to bend the rules and do what makes sense, than to follow... Read More»

What Really Is A Project Manager?
By Margaret de Haan
The longer I work in some form of a Project related role within any organization, the more I realize that the skills required to manage a Project to a successful outcome requires so much more than is encompassed in the PMBOK. I have also found that there are many Project Managers that don’t share that philosophy, insisting to stay “inside the lines” of what is outlined in the PMBOK – a “that’s not part of a PM’s job” mentality. I have seen again and again that ideal increasing risk, reducing the quality of deliverables, and costing money. The big one... Read More»

Project Chronicles
By Ann Drinkwater
Documenting the good and bad within your project, with your stakeholders and teams is very beneficial. Through the process you will gain a strong historical account of events which can be used as a personal, team and ultimately organizational learning and management tool. The act of documenting creates introspection and perspective. It doesn't matter your position with your company; varying perspectives and insight is critical to enterprise and personal improvement. It also doesn't matter if you have a background in writing. It is the process of identifying and articulating your thoughts and observations that matters. Being a highly analytical and... Read More»

Think Simple Whenever Possible
By Margaret de Haan
I recently went through the exercise of bringing on a contractor for a six month period to assist with an overload of analysis on various Project efforts. I am continuously surprised at how many different interpretations of “Agile” I get, and how often practitioners within the Project Management arena seem to feel that their value to the discipline is their ability to use tools. Although I agree that the ability and capacity to use tools is important, I don’t see that in the top three skills required to be a good/great Project Manager. I asked each candidate what the bare... Read More»

Is This A Project Managers’ Favorite Task?
By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
You know what task I’m talking about. Your project is up and running, you’re moving on to another project, gearing up, getting organized, motivated, excited about the new project, just can’t wait to get going, when the boss says, “Oh, by the way”. These are words no project manager wants to hear, but I digress. The boss comes in and says, “Oh, by the way, don’t forget, you have to close out your last project”. Talk about being deflated. Project closeout is the least enjoyable project task there is. It is boring, you’re not motivated, the other team members are... Read More»

Vendor Data Requirements (continued)
By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
In the last article I started a discussion on Vendor Data Requirements and their importance to your project. This is the vendor data you require with their proposal and later in the project should they be the successful bidder. In review, this document is typically used when purchasing equipment and outlines to the vendor exactly what information you expect him to include with his quote. In this article I will cover additional information that you should be asking for and why you need the information. Following are some additional data items typically required from a vendor ; 6. Transport As... Read More»

Information Required To Get The Job Done
By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B
Vendor Data Requirements In the last article, I talked about the Standard Component List and it’s importance to your project in helping make sure you get what you want and what you need. Another important document, that goes along with the Standard Component List, is the Vendor Data Requirements. This document is typically used when purchasing equipment and outlines to the vendor exactly what information you expect him to include with his quote. This document comes in a couple of formats, one as a printed document describing in detail what information you are looking for and the other as an... Read More»

Don't Fumble That Handoff
By Kent McDonald
In honor of the impending (and long overdue) start of the college football season, I wanted to talk a little bit about project handoffs, specifically changing project managers in the midst of a project. Hopefully project handoffs of this sort do not happen as frequently as the handoff between a quarterback and running back occurs in football, but in the past six months I have experienced more project handoffs than expected. Through these experiences, I have discovered a couple of techniques that decrease the chances of dropping the project, just like grabbing the ball with both hands is very crucial... Read More»

Show Me the Reports
By Ann Drinkwater
A few years ago I wrote about outsourcing considerations ( and another article on cultural considerations ( These ideas still hold true and possibly more so, in our ongoing efforts to do more with less. Ensuring we meet organizational objectives for the lowest cost possible requires thorough analysis and due diligence when choosing a vendor. I strongly believe the devil is in the detail when it comes to numerous areas, including contractor selection. Proposals you may receive when going through an RFP process, likely include standard/marketing content prepared by those employed to close the sale through written promises. During the... Read More»

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