What makes a good project manager? Is it the Master’s degree in Project Management? How about obtaining the Project Manager Professional (PMP) certification? All this formal education and theory definitely help especially when projects are valued at millions of dollars and all the neat little tricks are needed. But I’ll argue great project managers can be cut from many cloths and are often overlooked. As an example, how about the local guy who owns you favorite pizza joint? Not only does he cook the best pizza in town, he also has to ensure all the supplies are available to make your order. Another good example may be a wedding planner. Wedding planners track a lot of critically important issues which all come together at once making for a wonderful experience.
Recently, I experienced a life-changing event. About 4 months ago, my first child was born; a baby girl. If you were to perform an analysis of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) of my wife and I rising out daughter, you would find my wife accomplishes 95% of the tasks, the other 5% are accomplished by me. I often tell my friends the 5% I am responsible for is difficult. I stand in amazement of how my wife manages most of our daughter’s upbringing. Before bed there is a bath, bottles and formula for the nightly wake-ups are in her room, cloths are laid out for the next morning, laundry is done throughout the day, daughter is fed lunch, dinner is made for the family… Cost Variance (CV) and Schedule Variance (SV) are also always under analysis… and these are just a few things. So, in essence the title “project manager” is not fitting. At the very least, she is a “multi-project manager” but if you wanted to keep it simple “program manager”.
I have a new appreciation for moms. Throughout our journey to parenthood we have met many great moms (project managers) who have taught us so many things. To LW and TLM… thank you for being an example for us. My advice to readers, take a look around and find a good mom you can learn from. You may be surprised what at the knowledge you will acquire.
You walk into the office one morning, and the Project Manager asks you for a cost estimate for the second phase of your project. You think, “Wow – there is a lot going on in the second phase!” Where do you start? Depending on the size of the program/project – your office may have cost estimators who specialize in helping with this type of request. Even so, let’s talk about the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and how this process will look in reality. The WBS will give you the scope, or the baseline, of what you are estimating. You will also need the master schedule for the project to understand in what timeframe the project must be completed and maintained. For instance, if a project needs to be completed in a timeframe which would require double shifts or serious overtime of key personnel, you can see how this will affect the cost estimate. The schedule will also allow you to understand how costs will be phased over time (giving you the framework of a budget). Some other items to consider are resources, how accurate an estimate the Program Manager needs, the level of risk the program manager will accept, and what other inherent “costs of doing business” may exist.
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10 Best Apple iPad/iPhone Apps for Project Management
One of the best tools for managing projects is the iPad. There are many great Apps available that make it a powerful, portable tool – perfect for Project Management in today’s on-the-go world!
Some of the apps we recommend are:
1. Pocket Informant – a great task management app that syncs with Google Calendar and Toodledo to provide the best “Getting Things Done” experience (David Allen’s Productivity philosophy) of any app, including much more expensive versions. Continue reading »
2. OmniGraffle – Takes the place of Visio on an iPad – what else do you need to know? (Plus, it is easy to use as well!)
3. Mindo – A terrific mapping tool, enabling you to organize your thoughts and visualize concepts wherever you are.
4. Jot – The best white board application in the App Store. Perfect for “The Back of the Napkin” way of thinking/visualizing.
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