All posts in Project Management


Master Project Management with the Critical Path Method

Master Project Management with the Critical Path Method

Project management requires a wide spectrum of skills, organizational abilities, and attention to detail to make sure everything moves forward according to plan. A good project manager is able to keep all the plates spinning in sync while making it appear effortless at the same time.

However, the more plates you have spinning at once, the harder this is to accomplish. Critical path method (CPM) is one of the tools project managers can use to create a comprehensive plan and organize complex projects with many moving parts.

In this Process Street post, I’ll take you through the CPM process step-by-step, and then show you how our templates and checklists can take some of the stress out of your project management.

Read on, or feel free to skip ahead:

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Stop Profits Plummeting with a Quality Management Plan

quality management plan

Quality management. Oh, how I love thee.

You’ve given us rubber flavored cookies, phones that go up in smoke, and exploding car airbags (we’ll get to all of that later).

Last year, 337 food products passed through stringent quality management procedures and went to market with major issues. So major, in fact, that each and every one of those products had to be recalled. This cost the US economy over $7 million.

But, the cost of poor quality management surrounding the production of food is only a tiny part of the picture:

Defective product incidents have caused in excess of $2 billion of losses over five years” – Allianz, Product Recall, Managing the Impact of the New Risk Landscape

When you consider that the global quality management software market is valued at $7.96 billion, why are we, as consumers, still being exposed to low quality, defective products?

Because, contrary to what most organizations think, there is more to quality management than simply making a good product. You need to know how you’re going to make it good and how you’re going to make sure it remains good.

In other words, you need a plan. A quality management plan to be exact.

The reasons for this will become even clearer as we make our way through this Process Street post and discuss:

Let’s get planning.
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How to Beat the Bus Factor (and Be Prepared for Anything)

bus factorWhat would happen if you were hit by a bus while walking to work?

Well, other than the morbidly obvious, and the time and money spent hiring and onboarding their replacement…

This is the line of thinking behind the infamous “bus factor” – the minimum number of people who, if out of action, would cause your operations to collapse.

46% of UK businesses would be forced to cease trading immediately if a key person died or was unable to continue working through illness or injury” – Online Money Advisor, Key Man Insurance: A Definitive Guide to Key Person Insurance

It might not be ideal, but it’s a harsh reality that every team has to face; whether temporarily or permanently, your colleagues aren’t always able to make it into work.

We, here at Process Street, have had more than our share of project delays (and even failures) due to a low bus factor, which is why this post has been written. Today, you’ll learn how to identify risky projects by using the bus factor, and how to mitigate those issues as quickly (and cheaply) as possible.

We’ll be covering:

Let’s get started.
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Become a Lean Machine With These Top 8 Lean Tools (Free Templates)

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Studies show that moving towards a leaner business model can improve productivity by up to 25%, increase stock turnover by 33%, and increase on-time delivery by 26%.

The recognized benefits of being lean are only accumulating, with more and more studies advocating lean approaches in business for both economical and sustainable success.

However, some companies choose not to embrace lean philosophy through fear that the costs related outweigh the benefits gained. With this, we at Process Street have come to help.

You see, this fear has oozed from imperfect implementation and a misunderstanding. With the right lean tools and techniques, lean thinking can easily and successfully be applied.

In this article, we present you with our top 8 lean tools to assist you in implementing lean philosophy for your business or line of work. By using these tools, you will see a transformation, with maximal value and minimal waste.

Along with these tools, we grant you access to our template resources, which you can hop in and use right away for free.

Click on the relevant subheaders below to read the section of choice, alternatively scroll down for all I have to say.

Keen to become lean? Let’s jump in!
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Write a Successful Project Charter With Our Project Charter Template

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70% of projects fail, and the cost of this failure is a staggering $50-75 million.

Project breakdown can be mitigated via a project charter, and in this article, we at Process Street will show you how.

By following our Project Charter Template, you will target project failure from the root. Our template will guide you through the recognized process needed for successful project completion.

Click here to access our Project Charter Template!

From this article, you will learn what a project charter is and why you need one. The key elements that make a successful project charter and how you can implement these elements using our free Project Charter Template.

Click on the relevant subheader below to jump to the section of choice. Alternatively, scroll down to read all we have to say regarding project charters.

Let’s get started!
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How to Prevent Project Failure With a Risk Register

risk register

What do professional skydivers and successful project managers have in common?

They both identify, assess, and plan for risks.

Skydivers look at the conditions, equipment, and capabilities before, during, and after they jump out of planes. Project managers look at the conditions, equipment, and capabilities before, during, and after projects.

Why do they do that?

To stay on top of potential issues that could derail intended outcomes” – Project Manager, Guide to Using a Risk Register

How do they do that?

Well, I don’t know how skydivers do it, but to identify, assess, and plan for risks, a good project manager is never far away from a risk register.

But, when I discovered that 81% of organizations feel their risk registers are ineffective at identifying and planning for potential risks, and 30% of projects fail as a direct result, I felt the need to write this Process Street post about how to create one.

So, listen up as we go through the following:

If you’re in a hurry, grab this free Risk Register Process Checklist now, and catch up with the what, why, and how later.

Got your parachute? Ready, set… Geeeeronimoooooo…

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How to Write a Project Proposal To Win Investment (With 4 Free Templates)

how to write a project proposal

I have a proposal for you.

I can build you a house, complete with walls, windows, doors, and a roof for $350,000.

Do we have a deal?

No. I didn’t think so!

To make a decision like this, you need cold hard facts. You need details, clarity, and proof! You need budgets, breakdowns, and solid guarantees.

That’s exactly how a project stakeholder feels when they receive your project proposal, and explains exactly why companies only win 15% of the proposals they submit.

Project stakeholders will, on average, receive around 50 proposals a week. To choose you out of this huge pile, they need clarity, details, specifics, lateral thinking, and a whole heap of persuasion.

You need to learn the art of how to write a project proposal, to stand any chance of winning their investment, and increasing your proposal success rate.

So, join me in this Process Street post where we will take the following lessons in how to write a project proposal:

If you’re in a hurry, grab this Project Proposal Template Checklist, and catch up with the class later:

Click here to access the Project Proposal Template Checklist!

Now, butts on seats, no talking, and let the class begin!
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Prevent Project Failure with this Free Statement of Work Template (SoW)

SoW

I once lost $45,000.

What makes it worse (or perhaps better?!) is that it wasn’t my money.

It was my previous employer’s.

I was managing a website build for a big client and was under huge pressure to meet a tight deadline. So, as many do, I decided to start the project before the Statement of Work (SoW) was signed by the client.

This was a big, expensive, mistake to make.

It cost an additional $45,000 to re-work parts of the build that the client had verbally approved, but hadn’t legally signed off.

Ouch.

(Despite what you might think, this isn’t the reason I don’t work there anymore!)

According to research, 37% of projects fail due to a lack of defined and approved project goals and objectives, which come with a Statement of Work (SoW). This causes around 80% of organizations to spend at least half their time on expensive rework.

Not using a Statement of Work – SOW during the project initiation is a major cause of project failure” – 4PM, Statement of Work – SOW

But what is a Statement of Work (SoW) and how do you create one?

All will be revealed in this Process Street post, as we go through:

If you’re in a hurry, grab this free Statement of Work Process Template now, and catch up with the rest of the post when you can:

Click here to access the Statement of Work (SoW) Process Template!

Otherwise, keep reading and we’ll go through this template, in a little more detail, later.

Let’s get into it!

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Business Requirements: How to Create a Business Requirements Document (Free Template)

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Tom: “I need a new warm, down jacket for my next trip.”

Me: “Great, I would opt for Patagonia or Arcteryx.”

Why did I recommend these brands to Tom and these brands only?

It is due to brand trust. I know these brands deliver exactly what I want consistently.

As consumers, Tom and I are Patagonia and Arcteryx stakeholders. We have expectations these two outdoor brands need to satisfy to retain our custom. These expectations translate into requirements. In this scenario, our requirements were:

  • Value for money
  • Robust, long-lasting products
  • Functional products
  • Products that deliver on their intention

Patagonia and Arcteryx meet the business requirements for their products, satisfying stakeholder and business needs. And so the brands thrive with a good reputation, brand identity, leading to a healthy bottom-line and company success.

Defining the business requirements of a new product, project, system, service, or software is vital. Without defined requirements, there is an absence of clear goals, focus, and progression measures. This doesn’t bode well for success.

For instance, a study by Pulse of the Profession reported 37% of software projects failed due to poorly defined requirements.

Because we don’t want you to fail, in this Process Street article we explain exactly what business requirements are and how you can identify them for your business or line of work. We explain the benefits that come from correctly defining business requirements. We then clarify how you can document business requirements in a Business Requirements Document using Process Street’s Business Requirements Template.

Sounds like the article you need to read to succeed…right? 😉

As such, let’s jump to it. Click on the relevant subheaders below to hop-across to that section. Alternatively, scroll down to read all we have to say:

Correctly defining the business requirements for your organization or line of work starts here. Keep reading and learn how to consistently meet the needs of your stakeholders.

Ready?
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How Scope Creep Negatively Impacts Project Success (& How to Fix It)

scope creep

There’s nothing more frustrating to a project manager than witnessing the slow, painful death of a healthy project to the beast known as scope creep. When last minute changes transform their straightforward, A-to-B project plan into a sprawling mess of up-ended sprint plans and gold-plated feature requests, branching out in all directions with no concern for time or resources.

In one extreme example, the head contractor for the extension of a city library ended up actually suing their client in a scope-creep induced rage, claiming that their almost 55-week delay was a direct result of the large number of last minute changes.

In order for a project to be successfully completed on time, the project manager and their team need to agree on a clearly defined project scope before getting started.

However, life isn’t so straight forward and changes to the project will inevitably need to happen.

But additional problems can arise if the changes aren’t dealt with properly.

Scope creep can quietly sneak its way into your project and set your team down an unproductive and self-destructive path, wasting your company’s resources, missing deadlines, weakening team communication and, ultimately, ruining any chance of your project’s success.

So what can you do to avoid this fate, and overcome scope creep once and for all?

In this Process Street article, we’ll be covering everything you need to know scope creep–from what (and who) causes it, to how to manage it, even in an agile environment where change is embraced.

We’ll be covering:

If, however, you’re struggling with planning your own projects and want a quick solution, grab our free Project Request Form Template below!

So, let’s get started with the basics!

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