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Ask a Project Manager: School vs The Real World

Dear Elizabeth: I am a new project manager in my first internship. I’m out of my depth and overwhelmed with the new jargon. In particular, what I’m finding is that my work environment isn’t exactly like the theory I learned on my project management degree course. What tips do you have for me?...

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Advice for Project Managers: Good Questions to Ask in a Job Interview

Remember: interviews are two-way conversations. You need to "interview" the company to find out if this is a place you'd like to work. Use these questions to help you find the right boss, culture, and job during your project manager interviews....

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5 Time Tracking Myths Debunked

No value, employee burnout, waste of time. Project management expert Elizabeth Harrin has heard it all before. But, timesheets aren't as painful as they used to be, she argues. In this post, Harrin breaks down the...

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Advice for Project Managers: How do I measure the success (or failure) of my projects?

“Dear Elizabeth: I want to get better at measuring the success (or failure) of my projects. What project management metrics should I be focusing on? And how can I use these metrics to improve project performance?” OK. I don’t mean to start off by being controversial, but you’re asking the wrong person. It’s your project...

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Advice for Project Managers: Finding Mentors and Collecting Project Feedback

In her monthly advice column, PM expert Elizabeth Harrin shares her strategies for finding mentors in the project management space and gathering feedback at the end of a project....

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Advice for Project Managers: Soft Skills Needed for Success

Dear Elizabeth: I’m currently a technical project contributor, but I would like to be a project manager. In my experience, technical leads don’t always have the people skills necessary to manage teams and processes. What soft skills do I need to develop in order to be successful as a project manager? —Climbing the Career Ladder...

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Advice for Project Managers: How to Save Your Job, and Process vs Tool

Dear Elizabeth: Process or tool—which comes first? Our executive team disagrees about this every time we evaluate our project and work processes and start to consider software tools—current and new ones. I fall on the side that process comes first, then you use the right tool to support it. Others argue that you get the...

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Advice for Project Managers: The Productivity Roller Coaster and Starting Projects too Soon

Dear Elizabeth: I run a product team that responds to seasonal demands, and our output fluctuates. We have times when we’re very busy and then a couple of weeks where it’s slow. There’s always work to be done, but when demand ebbs, people’s productivity and engagement does as well. How do I keep my team...

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Advice for Project Managers: How to Get More Resources and Manage Chaos

Dear Elizabeth: I’m currently running a large project that’s a mess. We’ve lost team members, the customer has asked for more features and now we’re scheduled to go well over our deadline. I’ve had endless conversations with my manager about the need to add more people to the project—I’ve even shown her my resource workload...

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Advice for Project Managers: Preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Setting Goals

Dear Elizabeth: My company’s management team is talking a lot about the incoming Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0. I’m hearing a lot about how we’re going to have to increase productivity and flexibility in our processes. As a product team manager this sounds exciting but I’m not sure what to do to prepare. Advice?...

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Advice for Project Managers: How to Better Prioritize Work and Projects

Dear Elizabeth: I manage a team that that is always juggling multiple project tasks. How can I keep my team focused on their top priorities, and help them know what the latest priorities are? – All Over the Place Dear Place: Welcome to my world! Juggling is the norm, I’m afraid, but it’s great that...

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5 Common Problems for Small Project Teams

“Small is beautiful.” So championed British economist E. F. Schumacher, and those of us who have worked in small teams are highly likely to agree. Small teams (10 and under) often work on highly complex problems, in fast-moving environments and with a high degree of trust. A great team can deliver amazing projects and create...

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