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Successful projects start with a good, quality project schedule. Creating a schedule is one of the first tasks you should do when given a project to manage.

The temptation is often there to get on with the work and worry about the schedule later - this is a mistake. You will be left exposed and, if challenged, will have no evidence of whether your project is on time or running late.

This article looks at a simple, practical approach to creating project schedules. After reading it, you will have a sound approach to creating schedules that you can use for future projects. Without further adieu, here's the 8-step guide to creating project schedules that drive project success

1.Plan with the Team: Team planning is more effective than planning on your own. It ensures everyone has a stake in the schedule and ownership of the outcome. The project team must account for all the phases, milestones and tasks, so the project can reach a successful conclusion.

I like to create a basic high-level schedule to kick things off. Even if it's wrong, it helps the session start moving. It's better than sitting in a meeting with your team staring at a blank sheet of paper.

2.Cover the Project Scope: Use the scope statement from your Charter to ensure you include everything the customer expects you to deliver. List all the activities needed to deliver the scope.

Look at the order of activities. It's often best to start with the most difficult tasks. The type of project may dictate the order. Clearly, you cannot build a house until the foundation has been laid. Think about the work you can do in parallel. What is dependant on other activities being finished first? Make sure you include those dependencies in your schedule. (more…)


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Benchmarking is a systematic tool that allows a company to determine whether its performance of organisational processes and activities represent the best practices.

Benchmarking models are used to determine how well a business unit, division, organisation or corporation is performing compared with other similar organisations.

A benchmark is a point of reference for a measurement. The term 'benchmark' presumably originates from the practice of making dimensional height measurements of an object on a workbench using a gradual scale or similar

The term 'benchmark' presumably originates from the practice of making dimensional height measurements of an object on a workbench using a gradual scale or similar tool and using the surface of the workbench as the origin for the measurements.

Traditionally, performance measures are compared with previous measures from the same organisation at different times. Although this can be a good indication of the speed of improvement within the organisation, it could be that although the organisation is improving, the competition is improving faster...

FIVE TYPES OF BENCHMARKING

  1. Internal benchmarking (benchmark within a corporation, for example between business units)
  2. Competitive benchmarking (benchmark performance or processes with competitors)
  3. Functional benchmarking (benchmark similar processes within an industry)
  4. Generic benchmarking (comparing operations between unrelated industries)
  5. Collaborative benchmarking (carried out collaboratively by groups of companies (e.g. subsidiaries of a multinational in different countries or an industry organisation).

(more…)


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Q. What is Project Management?

A. Project management is the science (and art) of organizing the components of a project, whether the project is the development of a new product, the launch of a new service, a marketing campaign, or a wedding.

A project isn’t something that’s part of normal business operations. It’s typically created once, it’s temporary, and it’s specific. As one expert notes, “It has a beginning and an end.” A project consumes resources (whether people, cash, materials, or time), and it has funding limits.

Project Management Basics: No matter what the type of project, project management typically follows the same pattern:

  1. Definition
  2. Planning
  3. Execution
  4. Control
  5. Closure

1.Defining the Project

(more…)


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Change is a common thread that runs through all businesses regardless of size, industry and age.

Our world is changing fast and, as such, organisations must change quickly too and be agile in the marketplace they operate in. Organisations that handle change well thrive, while those that do not may struggle to survive. The concept of "change management" is a familiar one in most businesses today.

But how businesses manage change (and how successful they are at it) varies enormously depending on the nature of the business, the change and the people involved. And a key part of this depends on how far people within it understand the change process.

One of the cornerstone models for understanding organisational change was developed by Kurt Lewin back in the 1940s and still holds true to some extent today. His model is known as Unfreeze – Change – Refreeze, which refers to a three-stage process of change.

However, some 70 years on, the model may appear dated to today's agile organisation because, by its very nature, 'refreezing' isn't appropriate as change is an everyday event and the 'refreezing' of processes and mindsets goes against their culture and business model

 LEWIN'S CHANGE MANAGEMENT MODEL


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In this 'Thoughts on Leadership' video, Paul Bridle talks more about technology and how it impacts on the world of work.


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