Collaboration

In 1 month be a better Project Manager

Project managing is the name of the game for the high level consultant. Complex projects need to be delegated to your team members, the aims of the project delineated and discussed and then the PM has to ensure that everyone is keeping up with their assigned tasks and checking that the work is correct and up to scratch as well as resolving any conflicts within the team. It is a big responsibility as the success of the project ultimately rests with you. If watching ‘The Apprentice’ has taught you anything, it’ll be that the PM’s neck is always on the line if anything goes wrong! With this in mind, keeping up with the latest project management training is a must – even if you only take one new thing away from reading an article or watching a video, it could be the thing that ensures the success of a project and a happy team.

Accenture’s Essential Skills series has an excellent video here on what project management is for the aspiring consultant

Top 10 Websites with Top Tips:

1) http://www.pmhut.com/seven-top-tips-for-being-a-better-project-manager The Project Management Hut seeks to emphasise the difference between a good project manager and a great one in this post. The website also includes plenty of further project management related posts including budgeting, delegating and team building.

2) http://www.businessknowhow.com/manage/project-management.htm 20 practical tips on how to ensure your project is successful and also includes 5 tips on how to avoid disaster!

3) http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-best-practices-for-successful-project-management/#. Tech Republic is an IT specialist so it is focused in this area but the same 10 practices apply to any project. The key thing to take away from this post is that it is the right mix of planning, monitoring and controlling that makes a good project manager – too much or too little of one will result in conflict and collapse. You can also sign up for the ’10 Things…’ newsletter at the bottom of the page for future tips.

4) Plenty of great whiteboard tutorials from the ProjectManager.com Youtube channel including ‘How to kick off your project’, ‘Good vs. Bad Project Managers’ and even ‘The Idiot’s guide to Project Management’.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUr0u2WqDWBdxrHnM1nRZiA

5) http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/ten-tips-for-being-a-better-project-manager.html A great Dummies help sheet here on the top qualities a good project manager needs

6) http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/10-quotes-that-make-you-a-better-project-manager.html This is a great list of famous quotes that will make you a better project manager – sure to motivate both yourself and the team!

7) https://www.workhoppers.com/blog/9-practical-tips-for-project-management-best-practices/ Workhoppers says ‘Let the plan be your compass that guides you to successful completion’ – importance of the Logical Framework Approach will come in handy here.

8) http://99u.com/articles/6946/top-10-characteristics-of-great-project-managers A simple list of 10 characteristics of a great project manager based on a study of the top rated 2% as rated by their peers

9) Expert coach Rosemary Hossenlopp gives a good tutorial here on what makes a good project manager in the consulting world.

10) http://quickbase.intuit.com/blog/2013/10/03/7-ways-to-be-a-better-project-manager-when-you-arent-one/ Some consultants may never have had any form of low-level project management experience before they started. This guide takes you through the steps for those who are unfamiliar. Includes a free downloadable ebook too!

11) http://project-management.com/5-tips-from-savvy-project-managers/ 5 really good tips for ‘savvy project managers’ here – more specific too than the usual ‘be organised’

12) https://www.mavenlink.com/community/blogs/1205-a-project-manager-s-top-ten-tips-for-keeping-a-project-on-time-and-on-budget  Written by a project manager herself, this is a great list of 10 tips to ensure your project remains on time and on budget

13) http://www.arraspeople.co.uk/camel-blog/projectmanagement/top-ten-tips-for-becoming-a-successful-project-manager/comment-page-1/ Another good range of tips here on project managing including keeping an open mind for new solutions and listening to others rather than being too dictatorial

14) http://www.creativebloq.com/design/5-valuable-tips-good-project-management-2133013 5 good tips from a director of project management. Keeping communication flowing is a key point here.

15) http://www.method123.com/free-project-management-book.php Download this Project Management Guidebook for free here and take a read of its useful tips.

16) http://www.recruiter.com/i/10-things-that-make-a-good-project-manager-great/ Take a look at these 10 guidelines for a project manager from a recruiting website – they know what they’re looking for in candidates so definitely a good list of key skills!

17) http://www.pmsolutions.com/resources/view/what-makes-a-good-project-manager1/ An interesting blogpost on what makes a good project manager in business.

18) http://www.hraconsulting-ltd.co.uk/free-online-project-management-course.htm A really great free 14 chapter course on project managing – should keep you going for the next two weeks as well…!

 

 

The official certification of project management training is the Prince2 programme. Consultants won’t need this as you learn it on the job, but there are plenty of resources online that relate to those taking this course which can be useful for you.

http://www.pmtrainingonline.com/page/1517335  Basic PM training for as little as $24

https://www.project-management-prepcast.com/ A full PMP training course is available for $179.99 but there are plenty of free resources on this website too

http://instructing.com/ $499 for the complete course but a demo is available for free and is conducted by the author of the PMP exam guidebooks.

http://certschool.com/free-pmp-webinar/ Join this website for free live webinars on various PM topics throughout the year.

Enterprise Mobility Apps – Accessing Big Data on the Cloud

enterprise mobility app

Consultants are always on the go and it often feels like every second counts. These days, ipads and smartphones are becoming more and more useful in enabling us to continue our work lives at any point of the day. This may be slightly frustrating, but it is no doubt useful.

Being able to access all the Big Data systems such as SAP software from your smartphone means that whilst travelling you can continue the work that you would do on the office systems.

Smartphones are already becoming more powerful and capable of performing tasks formerly reserved for the computer. A recent amusing poster on the tube in London showed the new Nokia Lumia 925 with the full Office suit entitled ‘Excel in Bed’

excel in bed

No doubt this is a major development in how consultancies are working and will continue to work in the future. SAP has started to develop enterprise apps in 2014 and some of the options include:

  • BusinessObjects
  • CRM Service Manager
  • Rounds Manager
  • Strategy Management
  • MMX 365
  • Push 365
  • Cart Approval
  • Infrastructure rapid-deployment

But there is still a long way to go as Charles McLellan reports here http://www.zdnet.com/enterprise-mobility-in-2014-app-ocalypse-now-7000028499/

Let’s see how far the developers can take these EM apps!

 

Top Tips for Motivating your Team

Being a good project manager is not simply about having a tight grip on the reins and chasing up colleagues to ensure work is done correctly and on time. It’s also about motivating the entire team to do a good job and care about the project and its outcomes. Consultancies are often full of bold personalities and so with a variety of potential clashing rivals, sometimes things can be difficult. But a good project manager will remain cool under pressure and ensure that everyone is united under the same goal – to solve the financial problems facing the company.

Take a look at the following 10 websites for helpful advice…

1) http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/tech-decision-maker/want-to-motivate-your-team-here-are-20-things-to-start-doing-now/ Loads of advice from Techrepublic on things you can do straight away to improve your team relations

2) http://people.rice.edu/uploadedFiles/People/TEAMS/Leading%20and%20motivating%20as%20a%20manager.pdf A great printable pdf explaining how to be a great manager that can motivate their team

3) http://www.tlnt.com/2013/11/05/7-tips-for-motivating-your-team-even-when-the-going-gets-tough/ TLNT (Talent Management – HR) has a great article here on how to keep motivating people, even when times get stressful

4) http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140224160944-158230243-motivate-your-team-10-simple-ideas 10 simople ideas from LinkedIn explaining how to keep up encouragement and playing to the strengths of individual team members

5) http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMM_67.htm Take this Mindtools test to see what kind of project manager you are and how to improve your motivation techniques

6) http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/201454 A useful post to take heed of in the current economic climate – how to ensure motivation within a team is maintained cheaply

7) http://www.pagepersonnel.co.uk/motivate-your-team.html List of ten simple rules to keep your team engaged – including beer time and friday fun!

8) http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/motivating-your-outsourced-offshore-team.php If you are working for a large consultancy firm with offices across the world, your team might not even be all in one place. This article explains how to manage an offshore team

9) http://www.managementcentre.co.uk/knowledgebase/unlocking-motivation-in-staff Quite an academic article about unlocking motivation in staff – worth a read though as it is simply explained but using sociological theories

10) http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/217801 A great list of 14 ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ in management – take heed and don’t make the common mistakes!

Top Tips for Running Effective Workshops

Management Consultants not only travel and do analytics on Excel – they need to run good workshops to explain to their clients the new proposals that will turn the company around. This isn’t just a lecture and presentation, it’s about getting the people involved and showing them what actions they need to take.

And for those higher up in the business, you may be running workshops for those newbie graduates that have just joined, training them to be a consultant. This will require plenty of workshops…so how do you run the best one you can?

The following 10 websites will show you how!

1) http://rosssimmonds.com/entrepreneurship/deliver-successful-workshop/ Workshop wizard Ross Simmonds gives five workshop tactics here to ensure your audience is engaged

2) http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/PlanningAWorkshop.htm A great detailed post from Mindtools about preparing a successful workshop, including links to other useful related pages on the site

3) http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/CONDUCTING_EFFECTIVE_WORKSHOPS.html A detailed article on the website selfgrowth.com – lots of ideas on how to conduct workshops effectively

4) http://businessanalystlearnings.com/blog/2013/2/28/organizing-effective-requirements-workshops-before-during-after The ‘before, during, after’ of the workshop planning process

5) http://uxmag.com/articles/don%25E2%2580%2599t-have-a-meeting-throw-a-workshop Bored of endless meetings? Why not throw a workshop instead!

6) http://blogs.computerworld.com/it-transformation/21897/simple-effectiveness-innovation-workshops Running an innovation workshop to come up with ideas and solutions with stakeholders? This post, aimed at IT consultants but still relevant, offers 10 ideas to ensure the outcomes are worthwhile

7) http://www.suiteseven.com/articles-and-resources/running-a-content-strategy-workshop-rahel-bailie/ Another blog post giving advice for workshop planning to ensure goals are reached

8) http://www.slideshare.net/lamplightcoaching/14-and-a-half-workshop-icebreakers-exercises-for-coaches  Sometimes find it difficult to get everyone engaged and talking to each other? How do you differentiate a workshop from a lecture? A useful document here full of ice-breakers to create a working workshop

9) http://www.workshopexercises.com/Team_Building_exercises.htm Struggling to get the audience working together? Use some of these team building templates to help

10) http://www.boxtheorygold.com/blog/bid/57859/Your-First-Business-Improvement-Workshop 10 ideas on how to conduct a Business Improvement workshop

And if you’re looking for more, read ‘How to Run a Great Workshop: The Complete Guide to Designing and Rubbing Brilliant Workshops and Meetings’ by Nikki Highmore Sims

Top 10 Consultant Bloggers

Yes, this is a blog about bloggers. But blogs can be a good source of reading and knowledge, if you find the ones that are written straight from the experiences of professionals. So here is the rundown of the best for improving knowledge and truths from the inside…

1) http://consultantsmind.com/skills/  Excellent tips here on things from how to make your powerpoints better to how to make a good excel model. It’s written by a consultant for consultants because they ‘think a bit differently’.

2) http://www.sourceforconsulting.com/blog/ Three writers doing blogs here both for consultants and for clients. The right hand side gives a huge list of different categories that the blogs fit into so there is sure to be advice for your sector here.

3) http://www.jrothman.com/articles/ There are over 200 articles here on a range of things that Johanna Rothman has consulted on during her career. The ‘Management Myths’ articles are good reading.

4) http://millerware.com/the-20-best-blogs-for-a-management-consultant-in-2013/   A list of the 20 best blogs out there, as recommended by a consultant who regularly reads them.

5) http://top-consultant.blogspot.co.uk/?view=mosaic   Plenty of articles with plenty of comments from consultants on them too. Everything from tips on job-hunting to general consulting news.

6) http://www.consultantninja.com/  Great array of articles here from the bitterness of being on the road (including stats on the left of how many air miles he clocked up in a year) to tips on using Excel. Good links to other sites too.

7) http://steveshuconsulting.com/  Good bullet point format for consultant tips, including the 11 point ‘Management Consultant Manifesto’ and ‘8 Secret weapons of the Modern Consultant’ (A few older blogs from Steve Shu can be found here: http://steveshu.typepad.com/)

8) http://crazyconsultant.blogspot.co.uk/   An amusing read of the highs and lows of a self proclaimed ‘crazy consultant’. His confusion of random things on planes is pretty funny and I’m sure plenty of air miles heavy consultants would very much sympathise!

9) http://www.accenture.com/us-en/blogs/consulting-analysts-blog/default.aspx Of course aimed at promoting Accenture but you get to hear from different consultants working at the company and their experiences front the front line.

10) http://blog.evisors.com/4-takeaways-from-my-experience-as-a-management-consulting-recruiter/ Some short blogs here, mainly aimed at candidates entering the consulting world. There are also ‘webinars’ that you can buy for $3 such as ‘Confessions of a McKinsey consultant’.