How to Make a Work From Home Policy (With Examples)

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

Are employees more productive when they’re working in the office or when they’re allowed to work from home? The answer depends on who you ask. Company leaders can’t seem to agree whether working from home is good or bad for business. However, one thing is certain: the numbers show that remote work is on the rise, which makes it necessary to have a work-from-home policy in place.

A recent study by Global Workplace Analytics shows that 40 percent more U.S. employers offered flexible workplace options than they did five years ago. Plus, 69 percent percent of employers offer remote work on an ad hoc basis to at least some employees.

So the question is: should you give your employees the flexibility to work from home? What kind of rules or guidelines would you need to have in place? And what kind of work-from-home policy would you need to have in place? Let’s go through things to consider while writing your own work-from-home policy. We’ll even provide example work-from-home policies for you to explore.

What Is a Work From Home Policy?

Simply put, a work-from-home policy is a set of guidelines that outlines the rules about how employees can work remotely instead of physically coming into the office.

There are some jobs that can’t be done remotely. For example, if customers regularly come to your workplace, then you need to be in your office. However, the data shows that most people could work from home, with 56 percent of employees having some job duties that could be fulfilled from home.

Regardless of whether you allow your employees to work remotely, it’s important that you have an official work-from-home policy in your employee handbook so that all workers understand the rules for remote work requests and the approval process.

A work-from-home policy creates guidelines. ProjectManager is software that connects everyone no matter where they’re working. Our collaborative platform allows users to share files, comment and tag anyone on the team. Plus, managers get visibility into their team’s progress and performance with real-time dashboards and customizable reports.

ProjectManager's dashboard viewProjectManager's dashboard view
ProjectManager has dashboards that are accessible from anywhere your team is working. Learn more

What to Include in a Work From Home Policy

Remote teams are becoming more popular every day and so are work-from-home policies. Creating a work-from-home policy for your company sounds overwhelming, but it can be very simple as long as you keep key points in mind. Here are some key elements of a work-from-home policy to help you get started.

1. Eligibility Criteria

One of the key elements of a work-from-home policy is the eligibility criteria that are used to determine who’s allowed to work from home and who’s not. Organizations can build their eligibility criteria in the way that best suits their needs. Here are some things to consider when creating one for your work-from-home policy.

  • Role & responsibilities: Think about which roles are eligible for a work-from-home request. Some roles simply can’t be performed from home such as customer-facing roles or maintenance work.
  • Performance goals: Some organizations have strict eligibility criteria where only employees that meet performance goals can apply for work-from-home benefits. These performance goals can be anything such as sales goals.
  • Software/equipment limitations: Some organizations don’t have the required software or equipment for some roles to be performed remotely. In these cases, employees must use the office space and the available company assets.
  • Tenure: In most organizations, compensation and other benefits such as work-from-home policy eligibility are reserved for employees with a specific tenure, which can be months or even years.
  • Security risks: Some roles aren’t eligible to apply for a work-from-home policy because there are potential cybersecurity risks and concerns.

2. Approval Process

Eventually, some employees will ask to work from home. This means you’ll need to set up an approval process for work-from-home requests. It must be clear what the eligibility criteria are and what are the steps to submit and get their work-from-home request approved. The approval process varies; it can require a formal submission process or simply a verbal agreement.

3. Work Schedule

A basic function of a work-from-home policy is to define the working hours that will be expected from employees. Some work-from-home policies stick to the regular in-office work schedule while other flexible work schedules give employees the chance to work differently. When defining the work schedule for your work-from-home policy, think about time zones, work-life balance and performance tracking.

4. Compensation & Benefits

It’s important to outline the compensation and benefits for remote employees. These can include things such as internet expenses, vacations and PTO. Also, think about team-building activities for your remote teams, such as periodic in-person events or online activities.

5. Communication Guidelines

Establishing clear and effective communication channels is the cornerstone of a successful work-from-home policy. Make sure you provide in-office and remote employees with the team collaboration tools and tech support they need to collaborate. Also, it’s important to set virtual meeting guidelines and availability requirements for employees with flexible schedules.

Related: Free Communication Plan Template for Word

6. Timekeeping and Reporting

Your work-from-home policy must establish clear guidelines on timekeeping and reporting. It’s important to have software to track your employee’s timesheets, tasks and time off. Before establishing a work-from-home policy, make sure you have timekeeping and reporting tools to keep track of your employee’s time and progress.

7. Cyber Security Protocols

Different roles have different degrees of cybersecurity risks. But at a minimum, you should encourage the use of tools like virtual private networks (VPN) and train your employees on basic cyber security practices such as avoiding public networks, recognizing phishing emails or using encryption software when sharing sensitive data.

8. Team KPIs

You’ll need to define key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your team’s performance. Each role has different responsibilities, goals and deliverables that can be measured with KPIs. Team managers should be able to outline the KPIs for their team members.

9. Dress Code

Even though they’re not constantly interacting with customers, stakeholders or coworkers, remote employees still attend company meetings and virtual events. It’s important to define dress code guidelines for those cases, which can be strict or flexible, depending on your company culture.

Benefits of Having a Work from Home Policy

For years Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been touting the importance of a flexible work-from-home policy. He once said, “Companies that give extra flexibility to their employees will have the edge.”

Fast forward to 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and public health officials widely recommended that workers stay home to avoid spreading the virus. The CEO of media giant Charter Communications pushed back, issuing a memo telling employees they need to come to work because they “are more effective from the office.”

How is it that two corporate giants could have such vastly different stances on remote work? Every company is unique and needs to decide for themselves whether remote work is good or bad for their business.

Work From Home Policy FAQs

Below are some questions you should ask when considering your work-from-home policy.

Will Your Staff Be Productive Working from Home?

The debate about the productivity of remote work is far from being settled, but to get the best results, you need to set your team up for success. The most important way to help your team’s productivity is to leverage the right technology. If teams aren’t physically together, they need to collaborate digitally instead.

The best way to achieve this is through work management software that allows team members to work collaboratively on the same platform. If you don’t have a good system to get visibility into your team’s work, then remote work will lead to disorganization and a loss of productivity.

Can Your Managers Handle It?

Every manager has a different leadership style. Managers with strong communication skills will adjust well to remote work and see very little change in the team’s performance. But more traditional managers may not be able to handle the change. If your company leaders aren’t capable of managing a distributed team, then you’re going to run into problems.

Related: Managing Remote Teams: Challenges, Best Practices & Tools

What Do the Company Leaders Think?

It’s also important to talk to your leadership team about how they feel about remote workers because it’s their direct reports who will be utilizing your remote work policy. Your executives, VPs and department heads are often your most experienced staff, so it’s important to get their buy-in. If all company leaders are aligned with your company policy, you’ll see the best results.

How Will Remote Work Affect Profitability?

Remote work can have a big impact on the bottom line of a business. If there’s a productivity loss, then the company will suffer. However, some teams see increased productivity which can improve profitability.

Another financial consideration is that a remote staff doesn’t require the same amount of spend on things around the office. If employees work from home, the company will spend less on utilities, internet, snacks, equipment, etc.

How Do The Employees Feel?

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, gather employee feedback. The Global Workplace Analytics study shows that 80 percent of employees want to work from home at least some of the time, so it’s likely that having flexibility in your policy will make employees happy.

Additionally, your work-from-home policy can have a big impact on your ability to recruit and hire new employees. Highly qualified job candidates who are accustomed to a flexible work environment may pass you up if your policy doesn’t allow for remote work. This goes for employee retention, too.

Work from Home Policy Examples

Now that you’ve weighed the pros and cons of remote work, you’re ready to write your own work-from-home policy. We’ve included some examples of policies that you can use to get started.

Example: Strict Work From Home Policy

Because our company values hard work, collaboration and teamwork, we require that all staff come into the office. We do not allow employees to work remotely. Of course, if you are sick, you should not come into the office, but instead, take the day off.

Example: Ad Hoc Work From Home Policy

Our company values hard work, collaboration and teamwork, so we’d like you to work in the office each day. However, we understand that life happens and things come up, so we allow employees to work from home for one-off events like:

  • Your child’s school is canceled
  • You have a contractor that needs to come to your house during the day
  • You are feeling sick but you’re still able to work

Important note: All work-from-home events must be approved by your manager in advance so we can plan accordingly. Managers have the discretion to approve/deny any work-from-home requests.

Example: Allowance-Based Work From Home Policy

Our company values hard work, collaboration and teamwork, so we’d like you to work in the office each day. However, we also understand that time-to-time, our employees prefer to work from home for different reasons. To offer some flexibility, each employee is allotted three (3) work-from-home days per calendar month. Please use discretion when scheduling your remote days so that you are not away for important in-office meetings and events.

Example: Open Work From Home Policy

Since our company culture promotes autonomy, innovation and flexibility, we have an open work-from-home policy. We encourage you to work from home any time you see fit, as much as you’d like.

Related Content

Managing remote teams can be challenging. That’s why we’ve created blogs, guides and templates to help you better manage your team. Here are some of them.

How ProjectManager Helps Teams Work From Home

When team members are working remotely, it’s an unfortunate truth that collaboration can suffer. That’s why ProjectManager has project management software with everything you need to work together with your team online. ProjectManager offers collaborative project management tools for teams that want to work better together, regardless of where employees are physically located.

Planning Tools

The success of a project is highly dependent on proper planning. To help you plan your projects, ProjectManager offers Gantt charts, which allow you to schedule your team’s tasks in a visual timeline. Then each task can be assigned to a team member to be executed, all on the same platform.

ProjectManager's Gantt chartProjectManager's Gantt chart

Shared Projects

Teams need to collaborate in order to be successful, which can be particularly difficult in a remote setting. With ProjectManager, teams can share the responsibilities and the tasks in a project so everyone is working in one central workspace together. Kanban boards can be turned into collaborative workflows so that everyone knows exactly what’s going on inside the team’s project.

ProjectManager's list view with a task overlayProjectManager's list view with a task overlay

Cloud-Based Platform

ProjectManager’s online project management software is accessible online via a web browser, so remote employees and those who work from home can stay connected to their teams as long as they have internet access.

Regardless of which style of work-from-home policy you choose, your team will benefit from ProjectManager’s collaborative project management platform. Managers love our software because it allows them to plan work, delegate tasks, track progress and collaborate with their employees through the cloud. Remote workers also love our tools because they can stay connected with their team and projects from anywhere. Sign up today and get your first 30 days for free.

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How to Create a Milestone Chart with Project Management Software

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

Projects, whether they’re large or small, are journeys. Project managers are responsible for making sure those journeys go according to plan and to do so, they need to break down projects into phases so they’re easier to manage. A milestone chart can help them do so.

What Is a Project Milestone?

A project milestone is an event that marks an important point in a project timeline or milestone chart. Some examples of project milestones include assembling a project team, beginning a project phase or the delivery of a project deliverable. We’ll dive into the different types of project milestones in more depth below, but first, let’s define what a milestone chart is.

What Is a Milestone Chart?

A milestone chart is a project management chart that helps project managers visualize project milestones. It typically shows each milestone and when it needs to be completed, the status of the milestone (complete or incomplete) and sometimes the priority of the milestone. Many milestone charts use specific colors of symbols to show the most critical milestones.

Milestone charts are typically created using Gantt charts, a horizontal bar chart that represents project tasks and milestones over a project timeline. This is a powerful project planning tool that allows project managers to create a project schedule.

ProjectManager is online project management software that lets you create project schedules and milestone charts in minutes with powerful Gantt charts. Our Gantt charts let you assign work to team members, drag and drop tasks, identify project milestones, collaborate with your team and set a baseline to track project variance in real time. Get started for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt charts are ideal to create milestone chartsProjectManager's Gantt charts are ideal to create milestone charts
Use ProjectManager’s Gantt charts to create milestone charts. Learn more

What’s the Purpose of a Milestone Chart?

The primary purpose of a milestone chart is to map out the milestones of a project so they can be easily identified by the project manager, project team members or stakeholders. However, milestone charts are useful for other reasons such as:

  • Sharing details during project status meetings with stakeholders
  • Focusing on project milestones helps teams better prioritize their tasks
  • Achieving project milestones help teams stay motivated

How to Create a Milestone Chart

The best way to create a milestone chart is to use project management software tools such as online Gantt charts, task lists and project calendars. ProjectManager has these and other project planning, scheduling and tracking tools. Here are some steps to create a milestone chart using ProjectManager or other similar project management software.

1. Create a Task List

No matter the scheduling tool you choose, you must create a complete task list. New tasks will naturally occur throughout the project lifecycle, but the original task list should be as exhaustive as possible. A detailed task list simplifies the process of identifying primary and secondary tasks and charting the best location for a milestone.

2. Schedule Tasks on a Gantt Chart

Once you’ve created a task list and documented the necessary details—task name, assignee, start date, end date, etc.—you now have all the information you need to schedule these tasks on a Gantt chart. Input the information you’ve already gathered and view your project schedule in seconds. From here, make changes and adjustments by dragging and dropping task bars.

3. Determine Project Phases

Using a Gantt chart to schedule projects means you’re almost automatically able to visualize your project in phases by analyzing and categorizing tasks. Each bar represents a different task and different colors can represent different project phases. When you can see these phases, placing milestones is nearly effortless. Once you decide where to put them, it’s only a matter of a few clicks.

4. Place Milestones

Modern project management tools make setting milestones effortless. When you’ve created your schedule and decided which task completions qualify as milestones, enter milestone details and share the information with your team so everyone can see. When you’ve placed your milestones, these achievements can be represented by a small diamond symbol that won’t clutter the schedule.

Project Milestones Examples

Milestones differ from project to project, depending on project size, scope and team size. Still, most milestones take similar forms and are used to represent events like:

  • Meetings
  • Sign-offs
  • Approvals
  • Beginnings of different tests
  • Construction phase completions

As you can see, these are significant events in a project lifecycle. If these don’t happen, the project won’t move forward. By highlighting them as milestones, you illustrate their importance.

Milestones often come at the end of project phases, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule. They can exist mid-phase and even act as the final push team members need to complete the phases. Milestones are among the most useful management tools a project manager can deploy to excite team members and maintain momentum to drive a project forward.

Free Project Management Templates

Milestone charts are a useful project management tool. However, you’ll need more than a milestone chart to manage your projects. That’s why we’ve created blogs, guides and templates to help you better plan, schedule and track. Here are some of them.

Gantt Chart Template

As stated above, milestone charts are created using Gantt charts. Our free Gantt chart template is a great place to start documenting your project tasks and due dates. Then, export the data into ProjectManager where you can set milestones, identify the critical path, assign tasks, set due dates and create a project schedule.

Project Dashboard Template

Having a project management dashboard to quickly monitor your project’s health is very important. Our free project dashboard template helps project managers keep track of project tasks, costs and workload.

Task Tracker Template

Project milestones can’t be achieved without completing project tasks. Our free task tracker template helps you track all your project activities so nothing slips down the cracks.

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Creating a Milestone Chart With ProjectManager

When you manage your schedules with an award-winning online project management tool like ProjectManager (you can sign up for a free trial here), milestones are represented on Gantt charts with a small diamond sitting on the schedule in relation to tasks. To create milestones, pick the important task on the schedule and change the property to a milestone. By hovering over the milestone icon, you can view its name.

a screenshot of the gantt chart in projectmanagera screenshot of the gantt chart in projectmanager

This eliminates the need to refer to different charts simultaneously and risks confusion along the way. The best part? It’s easy to make changes from anywhere you work by dragging and dropping the diamond icons.

Collaborate in Real-Time

Our Gantt chart gives your team an interactive platform for collaboration. They can view their team member’s progress on tasks and share comments and files on the task level. You can even set up automatic alerts to make sure milestones are met.

When you need to report your progress on reaching milestones to your stakeholders, ProjectManager has both a dashboard to track progress in real time and one-click reporting to generate shareable reports for anybody who needs them. Milestones have never been easier to use!

ProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows six key metrics on a projectProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows six key metrics on a project

Milestones are only one of the vast suite of project management tools you get when you sign up for ProjectManager. Our online project management software gives you robust online Gantt charts with milestones, real-time data, and a collaborative platform to make your team more efficient and productive. See for yourself by taking a free 30-day trial today!

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Project Prioritization for PPM (Matrix Included)

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

There’s a lot riding on what project your organization moves forward with, especially if you’re managing a program or portfolio. The investment of money, time and effort can be huge, not to mention determining where to allocate your resources. The reward can be big, too, but it can just as easily end up as a loss. Thankfully, there’s project prioritization to help guide your decision-making process.

Let’s take a look at the process for project prioritization and the various models you can use to judge the viability of potential projects. We’ll cover the process of allocating resources across a variety of projects and we’ll even throw in a free project prioritization template for Excel. Make sure to read it before you start your next project.

What Is Project Prioritization?

Project prioritization is a process that allows an organization to figure out which potential projects are worth doing. It helps project managers determine the existing projects that require immediate attention and those that can wait for resources.

For this to be effective requires evaluating criteria to make an educated decision on projects that align with your organization. Think of it as ranking projects based on their return on investment (ROI) or the critical nature of the project depending on your needs, objectives and goals. The same process can be applied to tasks in a single project.

This is more difficult as it’s likely that every contemplating project has some value. And aren’t all tasks important? It’s rare to find projects so cut and dry to easily divide between must-do and must-pass. Having a dedicated and thorough process to help make an objective decision is key to whether that potential project is successful.

Project prioritization is a well-reasoned way to determine how an organization should allocate its resources. It allows organizations to define their needs and find aligning projects or tasks while staying within scope. This helps organizations avoid wasting time and money on projects not in their best interest.

Project management software can help with project prioritization and overall project success. ProjectManager is project management software that helps you plan, schedule and track projects in real time. Project prioritization is essentially a list of projects organized by certain criteria. This can be done on our task list, where comments can be added and files attached. When a project is chosen, it’s easy to switch to the Gantt view and start planning, assigning and tracking progress in real time.

ProjectManager's list viewProjectManager's list view
ProjectManager helps with project prioritization with its robust list view. Learn more

Project Prioritization Process

For a project prioritization to be objective and accurate, you must have a project prioritization process. You can use this project prioritization process to determine which project you want to pursue. If you’re managing a portfolio, it can help you plan resource allocation in a manner that’s beneficial to all of your projects.

1. Define a Prioritization Criteria

The first step is understanding the strategic value of your portfolio, program or project, or the strategy of your organization. Any attempt at project prioritization without first defining the prioritization criteria is bound to fail. This begins by interviewing the key stakeholders in the organization or the project. Have them brainstorm the strategic goals for the organization or the project and use these criteria to score the project or projects.

2. Use a Project Prioritization Matrix

A project prioritization matrix is simply a structured approach to finding the critical project or tasks. It can be simplistic such as what’s called an Eisenhower chart. It’s a box divided into four quadrants. Across the top is a column for urgent and not urgent, while up the left side are two rows for not important and important. The top left quadrant is where you can place projects that are urgent and important. The top right is for projects that are important but not urgent. At the bottom is urgent but not important and neither urgent nor important. This helps you separate the wheat from the chaff by using the criteria developed in the first step to determine what goes where.

3. Score Your Projects

We used a simple project prioritization matrix as an example but there’s a more complex option. Once you have a project prioritization matrix, you can begin to evaluate and score projects. Whichever you use, you’ll need to understand the basic information for each project and score each against the criteria you defined. Also, estimate costs, including resources, that you’ll need to deliver the project. Explore the risk for each project and any other pertinent information that will help you make an objective decision.

Related: Free Resource Plan Template for Excel

Project Prioritization Methods

Again, project prioritization sounds like a simple ranking, but it can be exceedingly difficult—especially when you’re working with a lot of projects. A project prioritization matrix is a great tool, but you’ll also want to apply project prioritization methods. The more work you put into this process, the better your results. You don’t want to be misled and choose the wrong project because you didn’t do the due diligence. Here are some project prioritization methods you can use to help you through the process.

Scoring Model

The scoring model is helpful when there are many selection criteria as well as when you’re comparing dissimilar projects. Both of these increase difficulty, but the scoring model simplifies this by grouping criteria by strategic alignment, benefits, ROI, risk and so forth. On top of that, each group is weighted so some have more significance than others. Beware, it’s hard to accommodate a lot of criteria accurately and biases and guesswork can cloud your findings. If you have time, you can use the scoring model against existing projects to gauge its accuracy.

Payback Period

The payback period method is relatively straightforward. Managers look at projects in terms of how long it’ll take for the project to recoup its cost. More attractive are projects with a short payback period as opposed to those with a longer payback period. The longer the payback period, the riskier. Who knows what changes or issues will arise? However, the shorter the payback period is not a guarantee of a higher rate of return. This is a straightforward method but perhaps a bit too simple in some scenarios.

Net Present Value

Net present value is about investing in projects that have a positive net present value and avoiding those with a negative net present value. This accounts for the time value of money, meaning future money is less valuable than presently available capital. That’s because of the earnings potential of the present money. When deciding on a project, the organization uses the net present value rule to decide whether the project is viable. If it’s negative, then the project is likely a loss. But if the net present value is positive, the project should be profitable. A neutral net present value will require non-monetary factors, such as intangible benefits, to make a more accurate decision.

MoSCoW Method

The MoSCoW method is a prioritization technique that breaks up criteria into four categories: must have, should have, could have and won’t have. As with any prioritization method, you must first define your objectives and the project scope. Then you need to include key stakeholders and figure out how to resolve disagreements when making ranking choices. You’ll set up milestones, establish acceptance criteria and rank your projects. Don’t forget to assign resources to get a full picture. It helps to get feedback afterward and adjust your findings accordingly. This cycle continues until you feel you’ve reached the right answer.

Kano

Kano is primarily used when prioritizing features on a product roadmap. The criteria, in this case, is how likely the feature is to satisfy a customer. Product managers use this method to help them prioritize potential new features by grouping them into categories, such as disappoint, satisfy and delight customers. This method is unique in that it’s designed for a product development team and focuses on customers rather than costs versus benefits.

Risk Priority Matrix

In this project prioritization method, you try to identify all the project risks and then rank them. This allows project managers to know which risks will potentially be most harmful and should be addressed first when and if they arise in the project as an issue or problem. The ranking of each risk is from tolerable to low, medium and high, with intolerable being the most severe. Each is determined by how likely it is to occur and what its impact will be.

Project Prioritization Template

To help you get started with project prioritization, download our free project prioritization matrix for Excel. It’s an Eisenhower box that allows you to place projects in specific categories so you can determine which project will align best with your organization’s strategy, goals and objectives. This is only one of the dozens of free templates you can find on ProjectManager’s template page. There are free templates for Excel and Word that cover every phase of project management.

Key Benefits of Project Prioritization

We’ve already touched on some of the benefits of project prioritization, but there are so many that it’s worth listing a few more.

  • Manages the project pipeline so you know where projects go in the delivery timeline
  • Helps run projects smoothly as you’ve done the due diligence to ensure they fit within your organization’s overall strategic goals
  • Matches the projects you initiate with the resources you have
  • Keeps risky projects that can damage your bottom line out of your portfolio
  • Improves project success rates

ProjectManager Is a Project Prioritization Tool

We offered you a free project prioritization matrix template for Excel, but that’s only the first step in project prioritization. ProjectManager is online project management software that helps you prioritize projects and better manage them. We provide users with real-time data that helps them make better decisions and a suite of powerful features to prioritize and manage projects.

Get a Real-Time Portfolio Summary Dashboard

If you’re managing a portfolio, it can be difficult to know how to allocate resources across those projects. Our software has a portfolio summary dashboard that gives you a high-level view of your portfolio in real time. You can quickly see time, cost, workload, progress and total cost for all projects and zoom into each project for more detailed data. This helps portfolio managers make insightful decisions as to which projects need immediate attention.

ProjectManager's portfolio summaryProjectManager's portfolio summary

Create a Portfolio Roadmap

Managing one project or a portfolio is hard, but having a roadmap to lay out your work on a timeline is the first step toward success. We have a robust Gantt chart that can be used in the traditional sense of organizing tasks but can also make a portfolio roadmap showing you all the projects in your portfolio. Having that big picture helps you see what needs attention and what can wait.

ProjectManager's roadmapProjectManager's roadmap

We also have a full suite of features to help you better manage your project, program or portfolio. Resource management tools allow you to balance your team’s workload to work more productively. You also get visibility into their availability when making assignments. Teams can use task management tools and comment and share files on our collaborative platform to work better together.

ProjectManager is award-winning software that helps you prioritize projects and track their progress and performance in real time. Teams can collaborate, and managers get transparency into their process to reallocate resources as needed to avoid roadblocks. Join the teams at NASA, Siemens and Nestle who deliver success using our tool. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

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Change Management: Walking in the Footsteps of the Project Lifecycle

PM Articles by Project Times. 

PMTimes_Sep28_2022

Over the years, many theories of change have been proposed. For example, Kotter’s theory of change articulates 8 steps in a change management process, starting with the first step of needing to ‘create urgency’ through to the final step of ‘anchoring change in corporate culture’. 1

Lewin’s change management model proposes 3 phases for organizational change, starting from phase 1 which involves ‘unfreezing’ (preparing the organization to accept change that is necessary) to stage 3, which involves ‘refreezing’, which occurs when the organization is back in homeostasis.2

However, in my view, what has been poorly defined in the literature thus far is the difference between general cultural change within an organization and change management that is indigenous to the project lifecycle.

Take a typical project lifecycle as shown in Table 1.3 When we try to superimpose an aforementioned change model (let’s take Kotter’s), on the project lifecycle, it is easier to see why the change model isn’t entirely commensurate with the project stages.

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Table 1. Kotter’s 8 stages of change superimposed on a typical project lifecycle

This reflects the fact that existing change models relate to general cultural change rather than project-specific change. However, in projects, both types of change are at play. We need a new model of change that adequately reflects both the cultural and project-specific change that occurs within projects. I have proposed a new model below in Table 2.

In this model, stages of cultural change and project-specific change are highlighted alongside each of the project lifecycle phases. The cultural change elements draw on Kotter’s model of change.

Table 2. New paradigm for change within projects.

By using such a model, project managers can know with greater clarity what activities they need to partake in at each stage of the project lifecycle when putting on their change management hat.

References
  1. (2022). Kotter’s 8-step change model. Available at: https://www.accipio.com/eleadership/mod/wiki/view.php?id=1874. (Accessed: 17th September, 2022)
  2. (2022). Lewin’s Change Management Model: understanding the three stages of change. Available at: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM_94.htm. (Accessed: 17th September, 2022).
  3. Adobe Communications Team. (2022). Project life cycle: a guide to what it is and the 5 life cycle stages. Available at: https://business.adobe.com/blog/basics/life-cycle (Accessed: 17th September, 2022).

Ali Raza

Ali Raza is an alumnus of the NHS Management Training Scheme. Ali has worked in many NHS organizations including commissioning and provider organizations.


RICE Framework for Prioritization in Product Management

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

What are you going to put on your product roadmap? It’s not an easy question. Which product gets the green light? What features need priority? The RICE framework provides a scoring model for product managers when prioritizing roadmaps.

RICE is an acronym that stands for reach, impact, confidence and effort. Read on to learn how these words can help with product management and determine what are the pros and cons of using a RICE framework for prioritization.

What Is the RICE Framework?

The RICE framework is a scoring method used by product managers to prioritize what’s placed on a product roadmap. This can include products, features and other initiatives. RICE stands for reach, impact, confidence and effort, and these four factors help determine what gets priority.

Having a method by which to prioritize is crucial to building a product roadmap. The RICE framework helps product managers know what to work on first from the list of opportunities for improvement and feedback received from customers.

The RICE framework helps you look at each factor of a product idea objectively and helps you balance costs and benefits. This is a relatively new method developed by messaging software maker Intercom. They developed this scoring method to help make consistent decisions across different ideas.

Once you’ve decided what goes on your product roadmap, you need project management software to build and manage that roadmap. ProjectManager is project management software that helps you plan, schedule and track your product roadmap. Use the Gantt chart to see the products and features scheduled from start to finish in one place. You also get metrics such as planned effort, actual effort and more to keep your product on track. Get started with ProjectManager today for free!

ProjectManager's Gantt chartProjectManager's Gantt chart
ProjectManager’s roadmap helps you prioritize your product features. Learn more

RICE Scoring Model

We’ve explained what the RICE framework is, but how does it work? The first step is understanding the four factors that are used to score priority. Let’s go a bit deeper into each aspect of the scoring model.

Reach

In this context, reach means how many people you think your product or feature will reach over a given timeframe. That time period can be a month, quarter or year. Once you have a timeframe defined, you need to determine how many customers you’ll get over that period including customer transactions, free-trial signups, how many users will try the new features, etc. To score the reach portion of the RICE framework, simply use the number you expect to reach. If you plan on 100 new users, then your reach score is 100.

Impact

Impact helps you set a quantitative goal. In other words, what is your goal, conversions, new customers, brand loyalty, etc.? This metric is more difficult to measure because the “why” a customer makes a decision is hard to discern from mere data. That’s why there’s a five-tiered scoring system of impact.

  • Massive impact: 3
  • High impact: 2
  • Medium impact: 1
  • Low impact: .5
  • Minimal impact: .25

You can add these up and get a rough idea of the impact in a quantitative number.

Confidence

You don’t want to get the product team excited about a product or feature that’s not well-thought-out. The confidence factor helps you support projects that have an impact and the data to back it up. Confidence is measured in a percentage.

  • High confidence: 100 percent
  • Medium confidence: 80 percent
  • Low confidence: 50 percent

You want to be brutally honest in your assessment or you’ll suffer the consequences later on. This helps you ensure the impact of the product or feature is based on data. If your confidence is less than 50 percent, the success of the product or feature is going to be a long shot.

Effort

How much effort will the initiative require? This is measured by person-months which is the amount of work that one team member can accomplish within a month. This has to be a rough estimate as it’s impossible to define the time and effort necessary for any project—there are always risks, issues, changes, etc. The scoring method, however, is similar to the reach scoring. Estimate the total number of resources needed to complete the product or feature over a specific time period to get the score. So, five person-months is a score of five.

Related: Free Risk Register Template for Excel

Using RICE for Product Management

You can see how RICE measures various factors to help with prioritization. We’ve already defined what the letters of the acronym mean, but how do you calculate those scores to come up with the prioritization necessary in product management?

Project management looks after a product from start to finish. It balances the need to deliver profits with customer desires. This process then means understanding what’s technically and operationally possible. You’ll come up with many ideas and the RICE framework helps you choose the ones worth your time and money.

To do this, take the numbers you got for the reach, impact and confidence and multiply them. Then divide that by the number you got for the effort to get your RICE score. It measures the total impact per time worked, which can be maximized through product management by pursuing the ones with the best score.

That doesn’t mean the score from your RICE framework is set in stone. You have to look more holistically. A low RICE score could be the project you need to initiate. There might be dependencies that influence your timeline, but the RICE framework is a great tool to sharpen your focus.

Pros of the RICE Framework

As we mentioned earlier, RICE has its pros and cons. Let’s first look at some reasons to use the RICE framework. As we’ve emphasized, product prioritization is a strategy used by product managers to figure out where their efforts will be best rewarded. It helps to gather all necessary inputs, make repeatable decisions and communicate why you made those decisions to stakeholders and your team to get their buy-in.

The RICE framework also gives product managers the big picture by looking at a variety of different factors rather than just focusing on one. It’s data, not a gut feeling, and product managers live and die on the accuracy of their data. This also means you can make actionable metrics that are rooted in user engagement and user satisfaction. It also offers scalability as product features grow.

Cons of the RICE Framework

We don’t want to oversell the RICE framework. It’s a great tool, but before you race to tell your product team about this new prioritization method, let’s explore some of the cons. The RICE framework is time-consuming so it isn’t ideal for time-sensitive projects.

In addition to time, data is a problem. Sometimes the data you’re estimating isn’t available, such as effort. You’re just coming up with a ballpark figure that could be way off. Reach, too, is a bit of a fantasy. These are simply difficult to measure and might lower your confidence, but in so doing you overlook some great features. You have to be disciplined to make sure your calculations are accurate. Remember, you’re working across four factors, which means four times the opportunity for mistakes.

ProjectManager Helps with Product Management

The RICE framework helps you build a better product roadmap, but then you have to manage that project and deliver it to your end-users. That requires product management software that can plan, schedule and track progress and performance. ProjectManager is product management software that connects teams across departments and gives them real-time data to make more insightful decisions.

Manage Work With Kanban Boards

The product manager will prioritize a product roadmap, but the product team needs different tools to do their job. Our multiple project views allow product teams to toggle between different tools that are all updated in real time with the same data. On kanban boards, they can manage their backlog and work collaboratively on planning sprints. Product managers get visibility into their work and can spot potential bottlenecks and reallocate resources to keep teams productive.

ProjectManager's kanban boardProjectManager's kanban board
Track Progress With Real-Time Dashboards

Priorities mean nothing if you can’t stick to the schedule or stay within budget. Our project dashboards capture live data and display it in easy-to-read graphs and charts. You get a high-level view of six project metrics, from time to costs, tasks to workload and more. If you’re not on track, reallocate resources to get back on schedule. Best of all, unlike lightweight alternatives, our dashboards require no setup. They’re ready when you are.

dashboard showing project metrics in real-timedashboard showing project metrics in real-time

You can also dive deeper into the data with customizable reports on workload, costs and more that are easily shared with stakeholders to keep them updated. Or look at the calendar product view to quickly see upcoming deadlines. Stakeholders will love this view as they aren’t interested in getting into the weeds, but only want to make sure the product is on schedule.

ProjectManager is online product management software that connects teams across departments, even if they work remotely. Our collaborative platform allows you to share files, make comments and even tag anyone on the product team all in real time. Use the tool that teams at NASA, Siemens and Nestles use to deliver success. Get started with ProjectManager now for free.

Related Posts

Achieving Quality Performance and Results

PM Articles by Project Times. 

Projects are performed to deliver quality products/services and satisfy budget, and schedule expectations.  This article focuses in on quality deliverables, their relationship to quality performance, and the quality management process that seeks to ensure that quality criteria are met.

The quality of performance (the work required to deliver results) and the quality of the outcome (a service or product) are intimately related. Every outcome is the result of performance, a process. High quality performance delivers high quality outcomes. The process is the key. If it is a good one, it makes sure that quality is defined and mutually understood by stakeholders and that “critical assessment” is done with positive attitudes.

Quality Management

If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.
W. Edwards Deming

Quality management (QM) is a process. It is well described in PM standards, yet poorly defined quality criteria and personal reactions to critical assessment, if it is done at all, get in the way of applying quality management principles.

The goal of quality management is to improve the probability of achieving quality outcomes. It makes sure results are being developed in a way that leads to success and whether success has been achieved.

Effective quality management relies on a simple model:

  • Set quality criteria
  • Define the process for controlling quality, including roles and responsibilities
  • Assess performance against the criteria
  • Learn
  • Adjust
  • Continue.

It is a variation on the classic Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) model. So simple and rational. Yet, there is still need to raise quality consciousness and overcome the obstacles to a practical effective quality management process.

What Gets in the Way?

There are three primary obstacles to achieving quality outcomes: lack of clear definition of quality attributes (specifications), poor collaboration, and resistance to critical assessment. These are strongly influenced by people’s attitudes (mindset) and their setting – organizational values, processes, and relationships.

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Fuzzy Specs – Lack of Objective Criteria

If you and other stakeholders don’t know what quality is how can you achieve it?

Clarity and agreement regarding what you and other stakeholders mean by quality in each case, avoid subjective expectations and the inevitable conflicts that occur between those who deliver and those who receive and/or assess results. One person’s sense of quality is often not the same as another’s, so it is important to get into details about what is expected.

This obstacle seems easy to overcome. All you have to do is specify the product and performance with objective quality criteria.

But anyone with experience knows that it is not so easy. It takes time, skill, effort and most of all collaboration among performers  requirements analysts, quality management staff,  users, and clients.

For example, performance quality can be defined in terms of error or defect rates and productivity. Product quality, in terms of measurable attributes such as resiliency, duration, reliability, and customer satisfaction. Service quality can be specified with parameters for response time, customer satisfaction, etc.

Defining requirements takes time and effort. And it is hard to specify the less quantifiable quality criteria like color and texture, look and feel, refined finishing, absence of subtle flaws.

Clients often say that they’ll know quality when they see it. That tells you that when it comes to specifying quality look and feel requirements, it is best to use examples, CAD renderings, prototypes, and an agile approach.

Collaboration

Collaboration is the key to success. A collaborative process helps to get everyone to own the definition and to make sure that what is expected is feasible and fits within time and cost constraints. When quality specifications are set by the client without involvement of the people who must deliver and test, the stage is set for conflict and unnecessary pressure on the delivery team.

In a collaborative process, the delivery team can give feedback about the costs of quality features while clients and others can bring in cost of quality (for example the cost of errors and maintenance) to enable the team to justify costs related to higher quality. The quality control people can set expectations and engineer the best testing approach.

Together, stakeholders, deliverers, clients, quality assurance and control staff, users agree upon a set of criteria that is likely to be met with expected levels of cost, time, and effort and on the process they will use to make sure quality is achieved..

Whether you are taking an agile approach in which the team is working together to evolve the product throughout the project, a hybrid approach, or a more waterfall like approach, the time and effort required for collaborative work more than pays off by minimizing unnecessary conflict and unmet expectations.

Resistance to Assessment

Setting criteria is critical. Once set, assessment is a natural, obvious follow up.

How hard could that be? You just measure interim and final outcomes against quality criteria, when there is a diversion, determine cause, decide how to proceed?

However, overcoming resistance to assessment is even more difficult than overcoming the “fuzzy specs” obstacle. Here we are confronted with cultural, procedural, and psychological barriers.

The psychological level is the most important. Many people take criticism of their work as personal assault. There may be cultural issues regarding critical assessment. Some fear being fired. Old personal issues are triggered. Some fear saying something that might upset key performers and co-workers. Sometimes performers get angry at testers and reviewers when they come up with errors or performance issues.

Its complex. The secret ingredient is clear communication regarding what assessment is all about and how to do it in a way that continuously reinforces the sense that criticism is a positive thing that contributes to ever increasing quality. Acknowledge the obstacles.

If below par performance is not confronted it will continue. Individuals will not have the opportunity to learn and improve their performance. If errors and omissions are not discovered during controlled testing, they will be discovered after the product is released for use, at a far higher cost than if detected earlier.

Quality Process

Quality process leads to quality outcomes. We are addressing the quality management process. Its success relies on mutual understanding and collaborative effort by stakeholders. Together they address the obstacles of fuzzy specifications, lack of collaboration, and resistance to critical assessment.

Spend the time and effort on continually refining the quality management process to avoid unnecessary conflict, dissatisfaction, and poor-quality outcomes. Start with a review of your current situation – Is there a documented process? Is everyone happy with the way things are being done and the results?

See the article The Key to Performance Improvement: Candid Performance Assessment
https://www.projecttimes.com/articles/the-key-to-performance-improvement-candid-perfromance-assessment/

A Guide to Work Orders & Work Order Management (Template Included)

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

Work orders help organizations manage their maintenance work. They act as the paper trail defining what needs to be done, by when and for what period of time within an organization. Work order management is critical in industries such as manufacturing, construction and others that rely on the use of heavy equipment and machinery.

What Is a Work Order?

A work order is a document that describes how maintenance work will be performed. A work order should include a description of the maintenance activities and information such as who requested and approved the work order, the maintenance technician responsible for executing the work as well as the associated due dates, costs and resources.

Work orders can be either executed by an internal maintenance team, or if your organization doesn’t have one, you can hire a third-party maintenance contractor.

What Is Work Order Management?

The term work management simply refers to the tools and strategies that are used to plan, schedule and manage work orders efficiently so that you can solve critical maintenance problems, keep equipment in optimal conditions and make sure asset downtime is minimized.

Traditionally work orders used to be issued and managed as physical documents. However, managing physical work orders is a thing of the past. Today most organizations use software to manage their work orders and their maintenance staff.

ProjectManager has planning tools such as Gantt charts, kanban boards and task lists to create online work orders that help you save time. Easily create tasks, assign work to team members, set due dates and control costs with online timesheets. Get started for free.

 ProjectManager’s planning tools are ideal for work order management ProjectManager’s planning tools are ideal for work order management
ProjectManager’s planning tools let you assign, schedule and track work orders without paperwork. Learn more

The Work Order Process

To create a work order, organizations usually go through this basic 3-step work order process.

1. Create a Work Request

Work orders can’t be created without submitting a work request first. Work requests are created once a maintenance issue is identified. They can be submitted under a different number of cases such as a customer request, a safety inspection, a preventive maintenance audit or an internal request.

2. Evaluate the Work Request

Work requests are submitted to the maintenance manager, who evaluates them and turns them into a work order. To do so, he must first determine if it’s feasible to execute the requested maintenance work and then allocate resources such as materials, equipment and personnel in order to create a work order.

3. Create a Work Order

Once the maintenance manager has identified the necessary resources to execute a work request, he can turn that work request into a work order. As stated above, the work order includes all of the information about the maintenance activities to be performed such as the due dates, job description and requirements, among other details.

Related: Free Work Order Template for Excel

What Are Work Orders Used For?

Work orders standardize workflow and create a simple and fast process for scheduling, assigning and tracking maintenance work while documenting resources and tracking performance.

Work orders are primarily used in the construction industry for service requests, but can also be used for products, inspections and audits. Work orders may not always be referred to as such. For example, in manufacturing, a work order is often called a sales order when a build or engineering is to take place.

Regardless of what industry a work order is used in, it’s used to track and monitor the status of the job to make sure it is finished on time and within budget. This is true when work orders are used in field service or within an industry that’s tasked with regular inspection. In that regard, they act almost like a project status report.

Work Order Types

There are different types of work orders that are part of the maintenance schedule of an organization. Here are the most common types of maintenance work and the types of work orders that are created for maintenance teams.

  • General work order: A general work order describes activities that can’t be classified as preventive, inspection, emergency or corrective maintenance work. An example of a general work order could be setting up new equipment in a production facility.
  • Preventive maintenance work order: Preventive maintenance work orders are used to schedule routine maintenance work that needs to be done to keep equipment working at optimal conditions.
  • Inspection work order: Inspection work orders, as the name suggests, are issued whenever an organization wants to inspect its assets. These are usually recurring maintenance tasks similar to preventive maintenance work orders, however, maintenance technicians are focused on identifying risks and problems.
  • Emergency work order: Emergency work orders are issued whenever an asset breaks down, and this requires immediate action from the maintenance team. These are also known as reactive maintenance work orders and have a high priority level.
  • Corrective maintenance work order: A corrective maintenance work is employed whenever a maintenance technician identifies a maintenance issue, problem or potential risk. Corrective maintenance differs from emergency maintenance because in this case, the problem or issue is diagnosed before it becomes an emergency that causes equipment to fail.

How to Write a Work Order

Now that we’ve learned the basics of work orders and work order management, let’s learn what a work order should include. Here are some steps you can follow to write a work order. Then, use our work order template to create your own work orders.

1. Contact and Internal Information

Our free work order template can be customized to fit the perimeters of your business, but it’s fully loaded with the basics. At the top is where much of the pertinent information is captured, such as company name, address and contact.

There’s also a place to add the work order number, which is key to keeping track of the job and finding the work order quickly. Dates are included for when the work order is issued, when the work is expected to start, finish and when it’s completed.

A priority level can be set. The person who requested the work order is identified and a customer ID for internal use is given. For larger organizations, the department can be specified.

2. Job Description

The meat of the work order is the job and its related labor and materials. Here, the work is described, who is billed is identified, and, if necessary, where the work will be shipped is identified.

Following this is a detailed description of the work to be done and how many hours it will take to do each maintenance activity, as well as the rate of the worker tasked with the job. This is then totaled.

3. Required Materials

The next section in our work order sample lists the materials needed to complete the work order, how much of each, the cost and any applicable tax. This is added to the above total for a subtotal. Any additional charges are added to this subtotal to reach the total price of the work order.

Finally, there’s space to add additional information before the signature and dateline. Again, these are just 3 basic steps to create a work order, but with these steps and a few tweaks to our free work order template, you can create any type of work order.

Work Order Template

You may be wondering what should be on a work order to yield the most effective outcome. To get a better general idea of work orders and what they entail, let’s look at a work order sample. ProjectManager has a number of free project management templates, and pictured below is a full version of our work order template. We will outline the different elements of the work order and how to use them.

Work order template in ProjectManagerWork order template in ProjectManager

ProjectManager Helps With Work Order Management

ProjectManager is award-winning software that helps organize work and drive efficiency. Generating, tracking and paying for work orders is enhanced by our online tool that gives you real-time data to always know if you’re keeping on schedule.

Our kanban boards let you create digital work orders and manage them online. Simply use our kanban cards to enter the information about your work order, assign it to a team member, set due dates and track its progress across the kanban board. ProjectManager’s kanban boards also allow you to schedule recurring tasks, which are ideal to schedule preventive, inspection and corrective work orders.

ProjectManager's kanban boards are ideal to manage tasks while executing work ordersProjectManager's kanban boards are ideal to manage tasks while executing work orders

Track Work Orders With Online Dashboards

Keep track of the progress of your work orders on cloud-based dashboards that automatically reflect status updates and calculate metrics such as time, percent complete, costs and more. For example, if you’re putting together a mechanic work order and your maintenance crew is in the field, they can still collaborate online with the rest of the team.

real-time dashboard monitors progress and performance of work ordersreal-time dashboard monitors progress and performance of work orders

Control Costs With Cloud-Based Timesheets

Time logged on work can also be tracked with timesheets that streamline payroll as well. They’re secure and easy to use. Our unlimited file storage means you can use the tool as a centralized hub to manage all your work orders.

ProjectManager is an online tool that organizes work and workers for greater productivity. Manage your work orders and keep your team working wherever they are or whenever they’re working. Try ProjectManager today by taking this free 30-day trial.

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7 Tips for Better Construction Daily Reports & Daily Logs

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

Documentation is required in any project, but even more so when it comes to construction project management. Construction projects demand regular and detailed reporting during execution so you can review and analyze your progress. This data is delivered in the form of a construction daily report.

The construction daily report is usually handled by the site manager and will be repeatedly created and delivered over the course of a project. It’s an important aspect of construction project management so you’ll want to make sure you’re doing it correctly!

ProjectManager's Gantt chartProjectManager's Gantt chart
Generate construction project reports in seconds with ProjectManager’s robust reporting tools. Learn more

What Is a Construction Daily Report?

A construction daily report is a log that lists the events that occurred during a work day on a construction site. This includes the weather conditions, material inventories and work performed, among other details. There are several reasons why a general contractor, construction project manager or even a project owner would need a construction daily report.

This construction report must collect pertinent information about the job site—from the weather conditions to a list of visitors that day at the site. It’s a complete record of the day’s work that provides a log of everything that has transpired.

What Is the Purpose of a Construction Daily Report?

As you can imagine, the construction daily report is essential to getting work started quickly and accurately for the next day. It lets subcontractors know where their tasks left off and if they have the equipment and supplies necessary to continue the next day. This is critical for keeping your construction project on schedule.

Additionally, a construction daily log protects workers and managers on the site. If there’s a delay, for example, that is captured in the report and explained. That paper trail prevents blame from falling on an undeserving party. This is important if there are any legal issues, as you have a record to support your defense.

Better Reporting for Practical Results

Keeping a record of the day’s events offers insight into what’s going on in the project and allows you to tweak resources to get things done more effectively. Construction sites are complex with many activities taking place at once. Reporting keeps everyone aware of what’s going on so workers and subcontractors can do their jobs without getting in the way of others.

Finally, the daily report also communicates the status of the project, so it updates those with a vested interest in the construction and keeps them informed.

ProjectManager construction ebook adProjectManager construction ebook ad

How to Create a Construction Daily Report

Creating a construction daily log can seem intimidating. There is so much to cover and you don’t want to overlook anything that might be crucial to proper documentation. But daily reports have been a normal staple of construction sites for almost as long as there have been construction sites so there’s a roadmap you can follow.

1. Log General Information About Your Project

The first step is to create a cover page or include general information about the project at the top of your construction daily report.

2. Log in the Weather Conditions

Weather conditions can greatly affect construction projects. This means that your daily log must have a place where you can log the weather conditions for the day.

3. Create a Crew List

An important step when making a construction daily log is to list the crew members that were at the job site and log their hours worked.

4. Document Work Accomplished

The work accomplished by the crew must be documented in the daily construction report. It’s important to include a status for each task such as to-do, doing and done. This will help you better track the progress of your team.

5. Track Your Equipment on Site

Just as with your crew, you need to keep track of your equipment. Your construction daily report should list the equipment that was used on the job site and the hours for which it was employed. This is important for resource management purposes as well as maintenance and security.

6. Track Your Construction Materials

Keeping track of construction materials such as wood, paint, concrete or glass is very important. As a construction site manager, you’ll need to do two things to track materials with a construction daily report. First, you must check your inventories and list the material type and quantity that are available.

Secondly, you need to document any delivery of materials that occurred during the day. If a scheduled delivery of materials doesn’t occur, you’ll need to document that in your daily log.

7. Document Delaying Events

There are several events that can cause a construction project to be delayed. Some common delaying events are poor weather conditions, equipment malfunctions or a failed delivery of materials.

8. Document Accidents, Incidents & Other Events

Unfortunately, construction projects are prone to incidents, accidents and other unplanned events. It’s important that you document everything that occurs on your job site and take any necessary actions promptly.

9. Track Your Meetings

As a site manager, it’s important to keep track of any meetings that occur on the job site. Any meetings that occur outside shouldn’t be included in your daily construction daily report.

10. Keep Track of Site Visitors

Every daily construction report should document any visitors who were at the construction site. This is important for compliance reasons, as it’s a safety requirement for all construction projects.

11. Signatures

Whoever is in charge of preparing the daily construction report must sign the document. This is the last step that formalizes the document and holds the preparer accountable for any mistakes or omissions.

Construction Daily Report Template

Since the report is daily, it’s good to have a template with all the information you need to capture already built-in. This way all the vital data is already laid out and you just have to fill in the details. ProjectManager has dozens of free project management templates, including a construction daily report that you can download and customize as needed.

Construction Daily Report Excel TemplateConstruction Daily Report Excel Template

Best Practices When Keeping a Construction Daily Log

As useful as a construction daily report is, creating one is not without its challenges. The first thing is to be consistent. Don’t complete a daily report every other day as it loses its purpose. These daily reports are named for a reason and need to be filled out at the end of every workday.

Keep good records, too, because taking the time and effort to fill out a daily report is wasted if you can’t find it when you need it. Make it part of the process to file away the work. Keeping good records is critical for any project, especially in construction, which is another reason to look into project management software that can store your digital files.

7 Tips to Make Better Construction Daily Reports

To make the best construction daily log possible, here are some tips to apply when going through the process.

  1. Be detailed: Find the right balance. It shouldn’t be too broad to make the daily report unusable, but you should also know when to go into detail such as when there’s a stoppage or incident.
  2. Be timely: The reports need to be filed as early as possible. If you wait until the next morning to fill out the daily report for the previous day, much of the detail will be lost.
  3. Be simple: While you need to be detailed in your reporting, it should also be clear and concise. Many people will read this and you don’t want to lose them in jargon.
  4. Be open to input: As the site manager (a position not privy to everything that has occurred on the worksite) usually fills these out, it’s good to be open to participation from the crew. Even a brief chat before they leave can help you fill in the report more accurately.
  5. Be transparent: The daily report is a communication tool and should deliver information to a wide variety of project team members to identify any problems and to keep a record of progress.
  6. Be compliant: The daily report is a good way to make sure you’re meeting the standards outlined in the construction contract. Take the necessary steps each day to make sure you’re in compliance with your contract, code and other regulations.
  7. Be efficient: The best way to save time and money is by incorporating your daily reports into a larger construction project management software. With this tool, you’ll file reports faster and be able to use that data when managing your plan and schedule.

Construction Project Management Templates

Managing construction projects can be very complex. That’s why we’ve created free construction project management templates you can use to help you plan, schedule and track your construction projects. Here are some of them.

Work Order Template

Our free work order template helps project owners and contractors reach an agreement on the construction work to be performed and the amount that will be paid for it.

Construction Schedule Template

Having a well-planned schedule is key to success in the construction industry. Our construction schedule template allows you to set due dates, assign tasks to team members, set task dependencies and much more.

Punch List Template

Our free punch list template is ideal to track tasks that are left uncompleted as teams get close to project completion. It’s a great tool for construction project managers, site managers and anyone who wants to make sure no work is left behind at the final stages of the construction project.

Related Content

How ProjectManager Creates Construction Daily Reports

ProjectManager is an award-winning project management software that reports in real time and organizes your tasks to keep you on track. If you’re looking to get rid of the paper construction daily report and move to a dynamic software tool that can let you better manage and report on your construction project, then you need project management software.

Create Reports in Seconds

Much of what you have to track on the construction daily log can be generated with one click of your keyboard with our reporting feature. The project status report gives you an overview of the health of your whole project and tasks. You can see which tasks are overdue. Other reports include the project plan, tasks, timesheets, availability of your crew, their workload and the project variance to see if your actual progress is aligned with your schedule.

filter a status report to get the information you wantfilter a status report to get the information you want

Maintain a High-Level View

You can get an instant status report by using our real-time dashboard. The dashboard collects data from your team’s status updates and automatically calculates that information and displays it in easy-to-read charts and graphs. Anytime you need to see if you’re on schedule or keeping to your budget, it’s available immediately.

dashboard showing project metrics in real-timedashboard showing project metrics in real-time

ProjectManager is a project management tool that organizes tasks, teams and projects with real-time reporting tools, so you always know where you are and what you’re spending on your project. Join the tens of thousands of teams and organizations that use our tool to run successful projects. Take our free 30-day trial today.

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How to Write a Business Requirements Document (BRD)

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

It’s easy to get lost in the weeds when you’re managing a project. There are day-to-day operations that the project manager obsesses over, but they also need to see the big picture. That’s why a business requirements document is so important.

To prove this point, let’s define what a business requirements document (BRD) is and what its components are. Plus, we’ll give you tips on how to write a better one before showing how project management software can make the process even more efficient.

What Is a Business Requirements Document?

A business requirements document offers an overview of what a business does and why it needs the project deliverable to be undertaken. It outlines the business solutions for project requirements that are necessary for the project to deliver value and becomes the foundation of the project’s life cycle.

The business requirements document highlights what the end result of the project should be. When a change request is introduced to the project, the business requirements document must be revised to reflect this change.

The main purpose of a BRD is to show what the system will look like from a business perspective. It includes both the business solution and the technical solution to the project. The business requirements document helps answer the question of what is needed for the business. It also answers how the project will be delivered and contains a prioritized list of features and business requirements that the delivered software, product or service must provide.

Think of the business requirements document as the defined steps you should follow to reach a result that serves both the customers and stakeholders for the delivered product, system or service. The project team is involved in this process to help determine how to implement the delivery of the project and fulfill what the business needs. Stakeholders are also involved and must agree on the plan before it’s implemented.

To accomplish this, you’ll need project management software that can organize tasks and connect the entire project team. ProjectManager is online project management software that delivers real-time data across multiple project views that lets everyone work how they want. Our interactive Gantt chart can be shared with teams and stakeholders as tasks are organized on a timeline. You can link dependent tasks, add milestones and filter for the critical path. Then, set a baseline and track your business requirements document in real time over the life cycle of the project. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chartProjectManager's Gantt chart
ProjectManager has interactive Gantt charts to get everyone’s input when planning a project. Learn more

Business Requirements vs. Functional Requirements

It’s common to confuse business requirements with functional requirements. They’re both requirements, but they serve different purposes. To review, business requirements explain the final results of a business goal in the project and why the organization should initiate that project.

A business requirement isn’t about offering or proposing a solution, only defining the task at hand. This includes defining the short and long-term goals, the company vision and the scope of the business problem.

On the other hand, the functional requirement is about how a system needs to operate in order to achieve its business goal. It proposes subjective solutions based on the organization’s strengths and limitations as well as being technically focused. A functional requirement is also presented with a use case.

It’s not always easy to tell the difference between a business requirement and a functional requirement. Project activities can be both a business requirement and a functional requirement or even neither.

Related: Free Requirements Gathering Template for Word

What Should Be Included in a BRD?

Why should you create a business requirements document? It reduces the chances that your project will fail due to misalignment with business requirements and connects the organization’s business goals with the project. It brings stakeholders and the team together and saves costs that accrue due to change requests, training, etc.

You’ll want to create a business requirement document, and even though it’s an involved process, it can be broken down into seven key steps. They are as followed.

1. Executive Summary

To begin, you’ll need to create an executive summary that provides an overview of the organization and the challenges facing the business. You’ll explain the issues and what the organization is trying to achieve to ensure everyone is on the same page. This section should be short, like an elevator pitch, summarizing the rest of the business requirements document.

2. Project Objectives

After summarizing the issue you plan to address in the project, you’ll want to clearly define the project’s objective. This helps define the project phases, creates a way to identify solutions for the requirements of the business and the customer, gains consensus from stakeholders and the project team and describes how you arrived at the objectives.

3. Project Scope

The project scope should define in detail what is covered in the project and what would make it run out of scope. This creates a clear boundary for the project and allows stakeholders and teams to agree on the business goals and high-level outcomes. Note what problems are being addressed, the boundaries for implementing the project and the expected return on investment (ROI).

4. Business Requirements

Here you’ll want to list the business requirements or critical activities that must be completed to meet the organization’s objectives. These business requirements should meet both stakeholder and customer needs. This can include a process that must be completed, a piece of data that is needed for the process or a business rule that governs that process and data.

5. Key Stakeholders

Now you’ll want to identify and list the key stakeholders in the project. Once you have that list, assign roles and responsibilities to each. These might be people outside of your department so you should define their role in the success of the project. This information needs to be distributed in order for everyone to know what’s expected of them in the project. You can even use this section to assign tasks.

6. Project Constraints

At this point, you’ll want to explore the project constraints. Define the limitations of the project and share those with the project team so they know of any obstacles earlier than later. In order for them to clear those hurdles, you’ll want to provide any necessary training or allocate resources to help the project stay on track.

7. Cost-Benefit Analysis

You’ll also want to do a cost-benefit analysis to determine if the costs associated with the project are worth the benefits you’ll get. This requires first determining the associated costs of the project, such as upfront development costs, unexpected costs, future operating costs and tangible and intangible costs. You’ll also need to figure out what benefits derive from the project.

3 Key Tips to Write a Business Requirements Document

As noted, the best way to begin writing a business requirements document is to meet with your stakeholders and team to get a clear picture of their expectations. But that’s only the start. There are many other best practices for writing a BRD. Here are a few.

1. Start With Thorough Requirements Gathering

Requirements gathering is the process of identifying all requirements necessary for the project. That means everything from the start of the project to the end of the project. You’ll want to address the length of the project, who will be involved and what risks are possible.

2. Differentiate Between Business Requirements and Functional Requirements

Remember, business requirements are what needs to be done, such as the project goals, and why that’s important for the organization. Functional requirements are how the processes, be they a system or person, need to work in order to achieve the project goals.

3. Use a Stakeholder Matrix

An important aspect of any business requirements document is identifying stakeholders. In fact, this should be done early in the process and a stakeholder matrix can help you analyze those stakeholders. It helps you understand the needs and expectations of your stakeholder in terms of their power or influence and the level of interest in your project.

ProjectManager Helps You Track Business Requirements

Once you have your business requirements document, the real work begins. There are many project management software tools that can help you plan and measure your project. ProjectManager is unique in that it adds real-time tracking to make sure your business requirements are being met.

Monitor Project With Real-Time Dashboards

When you make your plan on our interactive Gantt charts, the last thing is to set the baseline. Now you can track project variance across many of our features. Keeping projects on time and under budget is critical to meeting the business requirements of your stakeholders. To get a high-level view of the project, simply toggle to the dashboard where you can view six project metrics. Get live data on costs to tasks, and workload to health, all in easy-to-read graphs and charts. Unlike other tools that offer dashboards, you don’t have to waste time setting ours up. It’s plug-and-play.

dashboard showing project metrics in real-timedashboard showing project metrics in real-time
Share Progress Reports With Stakeholders

Being able to view your progress and performance in real time is important for stakeholders and project managers. We have customizable reports that can be generated with a keystroke. As stakeholders don’t need all of the details, filters make it easy to focus on only the data they need to see. Then, easily share the report as a PDF or print it out, whichever delivery method your stakeholders prefer. We have reports on status and portfolio status, time, cost, timesheets and more. It’s a great way for project managers to dig into the data and keep stakeholders updated.

ProjectManager's status report filter

ProjectManager's status report filterOf course, tracking is only one of the many features you’ll find when using our software to deliver your project. We offer task and resource management tools to balance your workload and real-time risk management, too. Keep track of potential risks that might keep your team from achieving the business requirements set by stakeholders.

ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that helps you plan, schedule and track your project in real time. Use our tool to make sure you’re meeting all the business requirements in your BRD. Our collaborative platform makes it easy to connect with teams to help them work more productively and stakeholders to keep them up-to-date. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

Related Posts

Best of PMTimes: 5 Tactics To Successfully Handle Multiple Projects Simultaneously

PM Articles by Project Times. 

Managing multiple projects at the same time can be an absolute n-i-g-h-t-m-a-r-e.

You need to keep track of your projects’ moving parts, ensure you’re using the right processes and strategies, stay within deadline, keep your employees motivated, and be mindful of your expenses.
Data even shows that on average, 88% of remote workers experience miscommunications and inconsistent leadership with team members, highlighting the importance of proper program and project management.

Sadly, we just scratched the surface. So much more goes into project management than the things we pointed out.

The good news is, there are tips and tricks to help you manage multiple projects simultaneously.

Continue reading to learn five proven tactics that will help you run your projects efficiently.

1. Stay On Top Of Your Work Schedules

Regardless of how carefully you planned your projects, everything can easily go off track if you don’t establish a schedule that includes your team’s work for the month, quarter, or year.

For instance, without a clear schedule, team members might fail to prioritize tasks, overlook critical jobs, and miss deadlines, which can seriously hinder your project’s completion and even impact the result’s quality.

Use reliable work scheduling software to ensure every project team member is on the same page, keep your workflows moving seamlessly, and keep everything on track.

For instance, Deputy lets you build work schedules in minutes by using its easy-to-use interface to schedule the right team members at the right time across various locations and roles.

You can easily create shifts, assign them to staff members, drag and drop to change them, copy schedules, modify them accordingly, and export them to a CSV file, spreadsheet, or print them.

You can also send the schedule directly to your team through mobile or desktop. If you change the schedule, the assigned person gets a notification, and they can accept the confirmation request.

A robust scheduling tool helps ensure your lines don’t get crossed, work gets done, and your project deadlines are met.

This helps keep your multiple projects on track and your team members more productive. Your project schedules will also be maximized for optimum efficiency, avoiding potential delays.

2. Prioritize Tasks

With so much on your plate, it can be tempting to tackle the easiest projects first, but you must resist, or you could kill your team’s productivity and efficiency.

Prioritize based on tasks that will have the most significant impact on your project and program goals. This helps you manage several priorities while working on multiple projects effectively.

Doing so allows your team to work strategically on both micro (i.e., organizing daily to-dos based on importance) and macro (i.e., moving low-impact projects to the following quarter) levels.

Let’s say your team is working on four product launches simultaneously with the overarching goal of increasing customer revenue.

While the four projects require about the same amount of time, effort, and resources to complete and roll out, assess which one has the potential to generate a bigger impact on your new customer revenue than the other three.

Prioritize the project (or projects) that have the most significant contribution to achieving your goals.

This helps you manage your resources and allocate your time better while ensuring your efforts align with your project goals and deliver your desired results.

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3. Establish Goals And Plans

Without establishing a standard project planning process or workflow, you’ll likely manage each of your projects differently.

This can lead to issues down the line, such as inconsistencies in your deliverables and precious time wasted on setting up new processes for each project.

That is why you need to have a solid plan, establish standard processes, and identify responsibilities from the get-go.

Outline everything from your goals, each step, and task necessary for project completion, schedules and deadlines, and the persons and teams responsible for specific jobs at the project level.

At the program level, develop plans, processes, and clarify responsibilities. Establish team-level goals and communicate the projects crucial to achieving those objectives.

You can start outlining your goals using a Specific, Measurable, Accurate, Realistic, and Timely  (SMART) approach and this sample goal-setting template.

You can use other templates as references and build on those to develop your project and program objectives.

Optimize your project management processes by setting team-wide standards. For instance, you can require project team leads to submit a brief before outlining a project plan for big projects.

You can also create templates for projects your team often handles to ensure consistency across projects and save time and effort.

Clear goals, plans, and responsibilities help your teams avoid inconsistencies in processes and deliverables.

4. Conduct Systematic Progress Updates

Tracking status and progress updates in a multi-project environment are critical to keeping stakeholders and key project players in the loop.

After all, you wouldn’t want your clients, for instance, to be breathing down your neck because you didn’t give them any status reports, making it crucial to establish a systematic updating process.

Establish smart, systematic status updates so that you can manage stakeholder expectations efficiently.

Below are a few tips for doing strategic and systematic project status updates.

  •     Define expectations. Layout the specific steps task owners or the team members in-charge of particular tasks are expected to follow. Identify a time frame for updating relevant stakeholders, whether every three days, weekly, monthly, etc.
  •     Include a high-level overview of key areas in the project. Add several bullet points that provide an update on the accomplishments, progress, and upcoming work for each key area of your project’s status. This ensures essential points are covered, and stakeholders get all the necessary updates they need.
  •     Schedule accountability. Have third-parties, such as staff in another department, the project sponsor, or other stakeholders, conduct reviews to ensure the resource person or task owner follows protocol and the specified updating time frame to a tee.

Implement a systematic status updating process to keep your project team motivated, ensure they understand the project plan, why it’s crucial to stay up to date, and clearly see the multiple demands your team must meet.

5. Delegate And Empower Team Members

Exercise effective delegation in your resource management by adopting clarity, authority, and accountability.

For instance, empowering your graphic designer to create a landing page for a new project means making sure he/she is absolutely clear about the task by providing a work breakdown structure.

This work breakdown structure of building a landing page campaign for a new product from Kanbanize is a good example.

A work breakdown structure outlines the phases of the project process clearly.

Additionally, to ensure the project process and phases are when delegating, be sure to:

  •     Clearly communicate the work breakdown structure
  •     Set a project deadline
  •     Relay specific client expectations
  •     List down the available resources the task owner has
  •     Describe the workload
  •     Provide him/her the authority to make and carry out decisions

Clarity ensures your team is clear on the direction. Team members avoid any guesswork and prioritize critical tasks and projects.

A clear work breakdown structure and project scope will also empower teamwork that boosts productivity while giving members a sense of fulfillment for meeting multiple demands.
Leverage a reliable project management tool that can streamline your work breakdown structure’s workflows and processes.

Data can back up the effectiveness of using the right project management tool with 77% of high-performing projects using project management software.

What’s Next?

Handling multiple projects at the same time is inevitable in project management and any efforts you take on.

While the tips in this guide are in no way guaranteed formulas for success, these are good building blocks to help develop your strategies for effective and strategic multiple project management.

Leverage the tactics we shared to stay on top of your projects’ moving pieces, meet your deadlines, and achieve your goals.