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What Is a Project Scope Baseline & How to Create One?

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

Learn what is a project scope baseline and how to make one. In this video, our host Jennifer Bridges PMP explains how to define the project scope and why it is important to create a scope baseline for your projects.

But before we move into that, let’s start with the definition of a project scope baseline.

What Is a Scope Baseline?

A scope baseline is an approved version of your project scope, which is documented in a scope statement, work breakdown structure (WBS) and WBS dictionary. The scope baseline is used as a reference to monitor project progress and compare actual versus planned results.

Thanks for watching! Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!

Baselining Project Scope

Baselining Project Scope
In this video, Jennifer talked about project baselines and what they mean for project managers. Project baselines, like a scope or schedule baseline, allow you to set a comparative performance standard for your project to measure planned versus actual dates.

How to Create a Scope Baseline

Creating a project scope baseline it’s easy, just follow these simple steps.

  1. Create a work breakdown structure and a WBS dictionary
  2. Define your project scope
  3. Create a scope statement
  4. Get your work breakdown structure, WBS dictionary and scope statement approved by the project stakeholders
  5. Once your scope management documents are approved, your scope baseline is ready
  6. Create a scope management plan to monitor scope and avoid common issues such as scope creep
  7. Create a change management plan to control changes to the project scope

So, as Jennifer said, project baselines are the most important project management tool to track cost, schedule and scope performance. That’s why making a project baseline can truly mean the difference between success and failure.

Pro tip: By using advanced project scheduling software like ProjectManager, you can create baselines to keep your projects on track. If a project is well out of scope, it might be necessary to reallocate resources to balance the triple constraint, or if that’s not possible you can re-baseline the project.

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Four Functions of Management: Planning, Organizing, Leading & Controlling

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

The word management is often treated as if it has four letters. But try getting anything done in a fast-paced work environment without applying the four functions of management.

No matter what type of work you do, having a clear understanding of the four functions of management will help you do that work more efficiently. It’s all about adapting to whatever work environment you’re in and making it perform better. Let’s learn more about the four functions of management.

What Are the Four Functions of Management?

The four functions of management are planning, organizing, leading and controlling. In order to be a successful manager, you must do all four while managing your work and team. These are the foundations of any professional managerial position. On top of this, there are other skills and specialized knowledge related specifically to the job you manage.

The concept of how management should interact with personnel was first codified by Henri Fayol, a French mining engineer. He developed a general theory of business administration and management functions, which developed into the four functions of management.

Without these four pillars of management supporting those other responsibilities, nothing is going to get done on time and within budget. If you’re managing yourself or teams of workers, you need to understand these fundamentals of management, which are the basis of management skills.

Of course, the four functions of management are theoretical. When you’re ready to put them into practice, you’ll need hybrid work management tools that let you connect with your coworkers and teams wherever they might be working. It’s part of the core responsibilities of a manager, no matter what your organizational structure is.

ProjectManager is cloud-based work management software that helps hybrid teams work better by giving them a collaborative platform with multiple project views. Just as there are different management styles, ProjectManager has different ways of working, from Gantt charts to task lists, calendars to kanban boards. All views share the same real-time data to keep everyone always working on the most current view of the project. Get started with ProjectManager for free today.

ProjectManager's task list viewProjectManager's task list view
ProjectManager has multiple project views, such as our task list, so you can manage work how you want to.—Learn More!

Function 1: Planning

The first of the four functions of management is planning: you can’t manage your work until you have a planning process. This means understanding your goals and objectives, which is the start of strategic planning. Having a strategic or tactical plan is how you get from point A to point B.

Of course, tactical planning is more than just getting from one place to another. There’s operational planning, which involves identifying and assigning resources, both in terms of personnel and materials. That means assembling a team and being able to allocate resources, such as the equipment they need to execute the work.

There’s also organizing your tasks, prioritizing them and giving each a deadline and duration. The plan includes adding tasks to a timeline to schedule your work. Then, you have to keep updated on your team’s progress and performance and, if they’re not meeting benchmarks, adjust your plan to get back on track.

Communication is a key element of planning. Managers must clearly communicate the plan to their team in order for them to properly execute the work. But, they must also communicate to stakeholders and keep them updated on the progress of the work that they are so invested in.

Related: Free Project Plan Template

Function 2: Organizing

Organization falls on every aspect of a manager’s responsibility. You can’t manage teams successfully without having some kind of organization. When you prioritize tasks in planning, you keep your organization in detail.

In terms of the larger picture when it comes to organization, a manager is responsible for making sure their company, department or project is running smoothly. This is done by creating internal processes and structures, as well as understanding your team or employees so you can place them where they’re best suited. Managers not only have to keep their work organized, but also manage the operation of their department and the people therein.

That doesn’t mean a manager is only delegating tasks and making sure those working under them have the resources they need to accomplish their tasks. They must keep an eye on the processes and structures they employ and adjust them as needed to make sure they’re working efficiently and keeping everyone productive. This organizing function is essential, which is why it’s one of the essential functions of management.

Function 3: Leading

Leading is about having the skills, communication aptitude and ability to motivate those you manage. Leadership is a critical role for anyone in management, which is why it’s one of the four functions of management. If you can’t lead, regardless of your leadership style, you’re not going to be a successful manager. It’s all about building trust with your team.

Leadership skills include conflict resolution. When you’re managing a diverse group, there will be conflicts that can delay tasks and cost your organization money. The better you are at identifying and resolving these conflicts, the better your management is.

Leadership styles vary, but they share giving their teams a strong sense of direction when defining goals and objectives. This is regardless of if they’re assigning regular work or introducing a new process to the team.

Because leadership can be expressed in myriad ways, managers of all stripes can find themselves cast as leaders. Some are more top-down authoritarians. That is, they employ autocratic leadership. On the other hand, there are bottom-up managers, who seeking collaboration from everyone in the office and encourage employees to participate in the process.

Whatever leadership style you have, or a combination of leadership styles, it can be applied to the way you manage your team members. Even the most hands-off leaders motivate and drive their teams to successful ends. There’s no one to do this, but the basic functions of a strong leader in management are understanding employees and what takes to get the best out of them.

Function 4: Controlling

The controlling function involves monitoring and tracking progress and performance to help when making decisions in a work environment. You can plan, organize and lead to your heart’s content, but if you’re not monitoring the quality of work of your employees, you’re going to be in trouble. If you need help with the controlling process, try our free dashboard template.

Beyond progress, performance and quality, the controlling process also includes how efficiently they’re doing their jobs and how reliable they are when taking on their tasks. Another term for this is control management and quality management. It’s a part of any decision-making process. You can’t make an insightful choice without good data to support it.

The purpose of controlling in management is not to dominate your workers, but to make sure that they’re meeting the goals and objectives of the business. Some managers will prefer to chart out the entire workflow of their teams while others will allow their workers to be self-directed.

These are two sides of the same coin, which is delivering quality on time and within the budget in all work environments, and the most important aspect of the four management functions. It’s all about meeting your financial goals and should be at the forefront of your management team.

How ProjectManager Helps With the Four Functions of Management

ProjectManager is a cloud-based tool that gives managers the tools they need to plan, organize, lead and control their teams, whether they’re under the same roof, distributed across time zones or in different departments. ProjectManager’s hybrid work management features give your real-time data to make more insightful decisions, work more productive and deliver success.

Easily Create Robust Project Plans

Making a successful plan means organizing tasks, linking dependencies and setting milestones. One of ProjectManager’s multiple project views is an interactive Gantt chart that does that and much more. You can easily filter for the critical path instead of taking time with complicated calculations. Then, set the baseline. Now, you’ve captured the plan to compare it to your actual effort once you start working.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart view for managing projects and teamsProjectManager's Gantt chart view for managing projects and teams

Monitor Your Team’s Progress in Real-Time and Improve Organization

You can’t control your team if you’re not monitoring them. You don’t want to get in their way, though, which is why ProjectManager’s real-time dashboard automatically collects data and calculates that information into easy-to-read graphs and charts on workload, time, cost and more. It’s like getting an instant status report whenever you want.

ProjectManager's real-time dashboard for managers to track progressProjectManager's real-time dashboard for managers to track progress

Generate Reports for Shareholders and Enhance the Controlling Function

To drill down deeper into the data use, ProjectManager’s one-click reports, which you can filter to focus only on that information you want to see. ProjectManager has a report on timesheets to see how long teams are taking on their tasks, project variance to capture the planned versus actual effort and even portfolio status reports if you’re managing more than one project. Reports can then be shared with stakeholders to keep them updated. This has obvious applications to the four functions of management.

ProjectManager's status report filter windowProjectManager's status report filter window

ProjectManager is award-winning software that helps manage hybrid teams, no matter where they are, how they work or their skill level. Our tool connects teams to help them work better while giving managers the transparency they need to better lead and deliver results for their stakeholders. Get started today for free and join the 35,000-plus professionals using ProjectManager.

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How to Create a Workflow Diagram for Your Project (Free Tools Included)

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

A workflow diagram lets you view the whole project in one flow chart. All of your tasks and how they move from one to the next are outlined in the project plan, of course, but having a visual is a quick and easy method to see the big picture.

Every tool that helps define the project and make it more manageable is valuable.

What Is a Workflow Diagram?

A workflow diagram is a type of flowchart that displays every task in a project or business process, including dependent tasks. They can be hand-drawn, and are often used to quickly pitch a project by illustrating its workflow. Workflow diagrams were introduced in the manufacturing industry in the late 1880s to help with production process improvement. However, they are now used in various industries, including finance, government and commerce.

A workflow diagram is like a map. It has a starting point and a path that leads to the final deliverable of the project. By following a workflow diagram, you don’t take unnecessary detours and complete your work faster. That’s why workflow charts are commonly used for process improvement, business process mapping and business process analysis.

You can’t create a workflow diagram until you have a clear project plan, business process or, at least, a workflow analysis. This lets you define the work, as well as standardize and identify key decision points in the process.

Using a workflow diagram with workflow management software will streamline your business process. ProjectManager is a cloud-based work management software that delivers real-time data so you can catch issues in your business processes quickly and resolve them before they become problems. Build fully fledged project plans on Gantt charts, kanban boards, task lists and more. Try ProjectManager today for free.

Workflow mapped out on a Gantt chartWorkflow mapped out on a Gantt chart
Schedule workflows and execute them in real time with Gantt charts in ProjectManager. Learn more.

How Do Workflow Diagrams Help with Project Management?

Process mapping a workflow diagram is beneficial to project management because it helps teams their role in the sequence of work. This creates better communication between departments and gives teams a firm grasp on what they have to do.

Workflow diagrams also help you discover blocks in your project schedule before you execute it. A workflow chart, therefore, identifies areas that can throw your project off track. This gives you time to brainstorm process improvement and process modeling solutions with the team before a bottleneck negatively impacts your schedule and/or budget.

A flow diagram can help across teams as well. It’s a great collaborative tool everyone can use to understand the work you’re doing. This knowledge makes communication clearer. Also, when a new person is onboarded, having a business process mapping tool like a workflow diagram speeds up the time it takes for the new hire to get acclimated with the project.

Shapes for nodes can also play an important part in defining the workflow diagram. For example, an oval indicates the starting or ending point of a process. Rectangles are instructions or actions. The diamond shape identifies a yes or no decision that will lead the workflow in one of two separate paths. A circle means when something moves from one section to another. Arrows indicate the direction of the next step.

Components of a Workflow Chart

The workflow chart is made up of six components:

  • Participants: These are the people who are in whatever process is being diagrammed. This also includes their role in the process.
  • Activities: This is your work. For example, activities could be ordering, billing, financial services or manufacturing. Each task is detailed.
  • Order: This outlines what happens before and after the activity, and if any of these tasks are dependent on others to start or stop.
  • Input: This is what is needed in order to do the activity, such as materials or data.
  • Output: This is the end result of that activity, such as the data or document or whatever will be passed on to the next activity.
  • Standardization: Usually, steps are represented by nodes. These nodes are linked by a line showing the direction the work is moving. Therefore, several nodes can be stacked on top of one another if you’re executing work at the same time.

Types of Workflow Diagrams

You can illustrate a workflow diagram in several ways:

  • ANSI flowchart: The ANSI flowchart, which uses symbols from the American National Standards Institute (hence the acronym). It’s the most commonly used variation.
  • UML Activity: UML, or unified modeling language, graphically shows the order of the steps in a process. It also represents the flow of control.
  • Business Modeling Notation: The business process modeling notation (BPMN) is similar to the UML, but is more likely used by technical and business people that focus on business process and information rather than output.
  • Swimlane: Swimlane is a diagram that separates the different parts of an organization to highlight the interaction between these units. It gives users a high-level view that exposes potential inefficiencies.
  • SIPOC: The supplier, input, process, output, customer, or SIPOC shows who created and received the data. It also outlines the high-level processes involved.

Related: Arrow Diagrams for Projects: Activity on Node & Activity on Arrow

How to Create a Workflow Diagram

As noted above, a workflow diagram doesn’t just magically appear on the page. You have to do the work, which involves analysis. Follow these six steps to make your own workflow diagram:

  1. Identify the Processes You Are Tracking: Deciding which project processes you want to track will help determine the type of diagram you use. Keep in mind who will use the workflow diagram, technical or non-technical, as that will also inform the diagram used.
  2. Define Start and End Points: The workflow diagram needs a kick-off point to start the process and an end goal where that process is completed. It’s not illustrating a continuous process but, like any project, one with a beginning and an end.
  3. Get Your Information Together: Outline the activities involved in each step of the process and who the decision-maker is for each of these steps. You’ll also want to know the timeline for the process, any deviations, possible bottlenecks and ways of improving the process. This information should be gathered by talking with teams in every department involved with the workflow.
  4. Find and Remove Inefficiencies: Define your tasks to streamline your process. Decide if each task is a must-have, useful, nice-to-have or not necessary. Make sure these distinctions align with your overall goal and your overall workflow management.
  5. Create the Workflow: This is where you take all the data you’ve compiled and make it a visual map of the workflow process. This can be done by hand or with a diagramming tool. The final workflow diagram should be easy to understand, edit and share.
  6. Review and Refine: The workflow diagram is not a static document. It should be continuously reviewed and refined as bottlenecks occur, some processes are taking too long, costs are up, etc. There is always a path towards greater efficiency and you and your team should be open to it.

Workflow Diagram Example

To better illustrate how to create a workflow diagram, see the below image of a simple workflow of publishing a blog post to drive traffic to a website. As illustrated below, the project begins with searching for the right keywords. These are search terms that potential customers are using and will hopefully bring your blog post to the top of a query.

workflow diagram exampleworkflow diagram example

Once you decide on a topic and choose keywords, you assign them to a copywriter, who delivers the first draft to their editor, who edits the draft. This is represented as a triangle, rather than a rectangle like the other activities. This is because it’s a yes or no decision.

Once approved, the copy moves to the art department and visual assets are created to accompany the piece when it is published. The copy and assets are then uploaded to a content management system (CMS), such as WordPress. Now, a final edit is made, again with a yes or no decision as to whether there need to be any revisions.

If everything looks good, the blog is published. It is then shared on various social media platforms to help draw traffic to the website. This process is completed. Of course, there are other processes afterward, such as analyzing traffic, but that’s for another flow chart.

Free Tools for Making a Workflow Chart

Drawing a network diagram by hand is good for getting your point across, but in terms of using one for a project, you need something that is clear and easy to read at a glance. Unless you have a facility drawing and good penmanship it’s probably better to use a diagramming tool. They’re easier to share and edit, too. The following are a few free ones to get you started.

  • edraw by wondershare: This free diagram solution makes workflow charts but also mid maps, and other visual tools. Great for collaboration.
  • draw.io: This free diagram-maker works with Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, GitHub and more. It makes flowcharts, process diagrams, network diagrams and much more.
  • SmartDraw: This free drawing program has many templates to get you started, from flowcharts to floorplans. It also integrates with Google Workspace, Microsoft Office, Atlassian’s Confluence and Jira.

How ProjectManager Helps With Workflows

Knowing your process and mapping a workflow diagram is only the start. You have to implement that plan and execute it on time and within the agreed-upon budget. That takes visibility into the process and resource management tools to keep your team working at capacity. ProjectManager is a cloud-based software that delivers real-time data to make more insightful decisions to control your workflow.

Create Workflows on Kanban Boards

Turning a workflow diagram into a tool that gives teams assignments and managers transparency into their work requires kanban boards. These visual workflows allow teams to manage their backlog and work collaboratively to plan sprints. Managers can view the board and catch bottlenecks before they block the team and reallocate resources to keep them working. Even if the manager is working on one of the other multiple project views, such as our interactive Gantt chart, all the data is updated simultaneously across the tool so everyone is working on the same up-to-date data.

ProjectManager's kanban board viewProjectManager's kanban board view

Manage and Track Resources

Workflow diagrams show the path forward for teams but resource management tools keep them working productively. One thing to manage is how many tasks you’ve assigned to each team member. Our color-coded workload chart makes it fast and easy to see who is overallocated and who has too few assignments. Then you can reallocate resources right from the workload chart and balance your team’s tasks to keep them working at their best.

ProjectManager's workload chartProjectManager's workload chart

Report on Progress on the Fly

Stakeholders are going to want to see your workflow chart but as the project proceeds, they’ll also want data on its progress. One-click reports on tasks, time, budget and more can be filtered to show just the information they want and they are easily shared as a PDF attachment or even printed out if that’s how they prefer to get their status updates.

ProjectManager's project status report filterProjectManager's project status report filter

Don’t rest the success of your project on workflow diagrams alone. You have the map now you need to get there with project management tools that help teams collaborate, automate notifications and help you monitor, track and report on performance. ProjectManager is award-winning software that organizes work to help you achieve your goals. Our work management tool is designed to work with hybrid teams no matter where they are, how they like to work or their skill level. Turn your workflow diagram into an interactive project management tool. Try ProjectManager today for free.

Related Posts

The Art of Assertive Waiting

PM Articles by Project Times. 

Waiting is a fact of life. We wait because we want something to happen. We want the bus to come, to get to the front of the line, we want some work to be completed or some event to take place.

The way you wait effects your health, relationships, and performance. There are choices. You can be active or passive. And if active, you can be aggressive or assertive. You can make waiting for an opportunity to relax, do something productive, and cultivate mindful self-awareness. Or you can grumble, complain, and stress-out.

“Waiting is” is a quote from Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. It refers to waiting without wanting things to be different from what they are. The bus hasn’t arrived yet, there is nothing you can do to make it come. If you accept that and make the best of your situation, you are happily waiting for – stress-less peace caused by accepting things as they are and knowing what you can do to influence things going forward.

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Waiting in Projects

In the realm of projects, project managers wait for resources, decisions, and deliverables. Schedules predict task duration, the wait time to completion. The more critical the task, the more difficult it is to wait for it to be completed.

The art of waiting is in the way performance is managed. Your project control process makes a difference in the quality of your waiting and the way you wait for influences the way you control your project and manage your relationships.

Decisions and work by functional managers and contractors are often more difficult to manage than other kinds of deliverables. Decisions, particularly the more critical ones that can hold up a project, are made by powerful stakeholders like clients, sponsors, and regulators. These folks are not as likely as others to have a clearly stated due date, and even if they do, they are subject to dynamically changing priorities. Most often they are not held accountable for missing a target date.

The contractors and functional groups contributing to your project have conflicting priorities as they juggle your work and the work they do for others. Direct project team members may be late in completing their deliverables, and late and inaccurate in reporting progress for any number of reasons.

So, there is waiting and with waiting, uncertainty. Uncertainty anxiety and annoyance arise and they make waiting more difficult than it needs to be. You experience the stress of not knowing what is going on.

Waiting happily is up to you. The trick is to decide what to do (or not do) and how to do it while you are waiting. Do it, and be happy.

Assertive Waiting

There are choices – assertive, aggressive, and passive waiting. ‘Aggressive’ is sharp, there is a flavor of violent forcefulness. “Assertive” on the other hand is confident and connotes a softer active effort to achieve a goal.  Both connote action, doing something to move things along. In “Passive” waiting, there is no action beyond observing.

Assertiveness implies confidently speaking up for a point of view while respecting others. Here we are using the term to mean being

skillfully active while waiting. Your action is motivated by the goal of assuring success. You respect others. You can choose to act or not act.

Project Control

Effective project communication and control procedures influence the waiting process.  In an ideal world waiting for a resource, deliverable or decision is easy.  People know what they have to do, by when, and they do it without prompting. A reporting process keeps everyone up to date. If people become aware that they can’t fulfill their commitments, they make that known. The project manager monitors progress and does not need to do anything if things are moving along well.  If they are not, he, she or they would assess cause and impact and manage expectations – adjusting the plan and informing stakeholders.

But what if things are less ideal? For example, if the progress reporting process is not effective because it either does not exist or some players don’t update their plans or report inaccurately.  Then greater assertiveness is required.

What can you do?

Ask questions with kind inquisitiveness, be gently assertive. Be sensitive to the other parties’ sensitivity to hierarchy and control issues, their fear of being judged for not performing to plan. Maybe they do not have the information needed to accurately revise their estimates. Maybe they just don’t care or they don’t believe in schedules and progress reporting.

Understanding others, you can craft the most effective response.

For example, you can call, email or message a contractor or functional manager to say something like,

“I am submitting a progress report to the boss/sponsor/steering committee/etc. and I need to give them a sense of where you are in your task and your estimate to completion.  Let us know if there any issues that might get in the way.”

At first, there is no need to copy anyone besides the people with the information you need. Depending on the level of awareness of the players and the cultural setting, there may be sensitivity about letting others know that there might be an issue.

If there is no adequate response, then call. If still no response, you have a problem. Send a reminder of your request and cc someone to create accountability and an audit trail. Avoid exhibiting your frustration, remain calm and persistent.  Make a resolution to fix the project control process to make waiting easier for everyone.

Be patient, persistent, compassionate, and, if you can, help others to get what they need. Be patient but don’t stand for abuse.

What Makes Waiting for a Challenge?

Antsy feelings – restless, nervous, impatient, anxious, a gnawing sense of worry – are at the root of aggressive behavior.  With mindful self-awareness hard to be with feelings that can be observed and accepted, and you can choose the behavior that suits the situation best.  You become responsive rather than reactive.

Without mindful awareness, there is a tendency to impatiently react. The opportunity to develop greater self-management is lost. You may get what you want but not what you need, and you lose the respect of those you work with. You may lose your best players. You lose the opportunity to rest peacefully at the moment allowing things to unfold while being appropriately active.

Happily Waiting

There is a time for everything. Projects rely on activity. But that doesn’t mean there is no place for inaction – not doing. You need time for rest and reflection. There are periods during project life when there is nothing for a project manager to do but wait.

When you are waiting, let go and trust in the process. Relax. Find your calm center and let your intuition and experience lead you. Respond mindfully and skillfully. Choose between anxiously waiting and happily waiting.

For more on waiting happily, see the article “Happily Waiting: What to Do with Your Impatience” http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102273237048/archive/1121285490509.html

Project Scope Statement: Include These 7 Things

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

Project scope—it’s a moving target and one you want to get a bullseye on before you map out your project management plan. Defined as the sum of all project work, your project scope is the boundary in which your entire project exists.

But the scope of a project it’s not just about work management. To define it, you’ll need to understand the project goals, work breakdown structure, requirements, among other things. Then, once you’ve defined your project scope, you can create a scope statement.

What is a Project Scope Statement?

A scope statement is a document that defines all the elements of the project scope as well as assumptions, project requirements and acceptance criteria. Your project scope statement will act as the primary tool for stakeholders and teammates to refer back to and use as a guideline to accurately measure project success. We’ll explain each of the components of a project scope statement in the section below.

Pro tip: The project scope statement is part of the scope management plan, an important section of the project plan.

project status report filter from ProjectManagerproject status report filter from ProjectManager
Filter status reports from ProjectManager to see only the data you want.

Project Scope Statement Outline

Now that we know what a project scope statement is, let’s learn how to write this important project management document. Similar to the Five W’s of Journalism—Who, What, When, Where, Why—in order to have your project scope statement properly outlined, you must address these seven things:

1. Project Goals & Objectives

Project goals and objectives are what define the purpose of a project. Project objectives are the smaller steps that lead to the project goals, which are broader. Start your project scope statement by explaining them. These goals and objectives should be documented in a project charter too.

2. Project Requirements

Project managers and stakeholders must reach an agreement about the project scope and other project requirements such as the expected quality, risk, benefits, cost, among others.

3. Project Scope Description

It might sound easy enough, but this is the most important step. Here is where you’ll define your project scope, which is all the work that needs to be done to complete the project. Here are some simple steps to help you define the project scope.

  • Use a work breakdown structure to visualize all your project tasks, deliverables, and milestones.
  • List out what is within the scope of your project, and what is out of scope. Everything that’s not included in the project scope is known as project exclusions.
  • Identify project constraints, which are all the limitations such as time or cost.
  • Create a scope baseline to compare your actual progress to the planned project scope.

Project exclusions and constraints are very important because they help establish boundaries for the project to exist. They also manage your stakeholders’ expectations/input, and give your team members some creative limitations to work within.

4. Project Exclusions

While it’s imperative that you define the boundaries around what the project includes from the outset, it’s also extremely important that you list out what this project does not include. For example:

  • Application updates that are planned for a later project and are intentionally not included on this project
  • Restricted or rescheduled customer access to certain support lines/product features

5. Project Constraints

Project constraints are what make managing projects such a puzzle to solve. The top three constraints to managing any project are typically time, money and scope, known as the triple constraint of project management. They are interconnected, meaning that if you pull one lever on ‘scope’, another lever on ‘money’ or ‘time’ will also move.

But there are additional project constraints that can crop up at any time, including risk, resources, organization, method, customers and more. List all the constraints you foresee in your project, so you can try to have solutions in place ready to launch when needed.

6. Project Assumptions

Your project assumptions typically revolve around the very things that end up being constraints, including time, money and scope. For example, it’s in this section that you will list out, “the front-end development team will be available during this project time period”, or, “the customer support team will receive new product training by x time.” It’s important to list these out as this will not only tell key stakeholders what your primary resource needs are to make the project go, but it will also give you quick insight as to where your biggest risk factors lie.

7. Project Deliverables

List out the deliverables your team members need to produce in order to meet business objectives. This can include the product itself, instruction and installation manuals, marketing materials, press releases, advertising campaigns and more.

Your project scope statement outline will help act as markers as you build out your full scope statement. Because while predicting the future of the project is impossible at such a high level, this is the first step to getting your project as close to the outcome as possible. By starting with the seven key statements above, you can get a head start on a successful project.

Gantt charts are the workhorses of scope management. However, most Gantt software is woefully limited in terms of its functionality. ProjectManager has dynamic online Gantt charts that do the regular organizing, prioritizing and linking dependencies and adding milestones. But unlike other tools, you can filter for the critical path. When you set the baseline, you’re able to compare your actual progress to what you had planned. There’s not a better way to monitor project scope.

timeline visualized on ProjectManager's Gantt charttimeline visualized on ProjectManager's Gantt chart
Keep to your project’s scope with robust Gantt charts from ProjectManager.

Project Scope Statement vs. Scope of Work

There are a few things that project scope statements typically get confused with, including your scope of work. They may sound similar, but here are the primary differences between these two.

Your scope of work is an agreement of work, typically between consultant and client, that details the agreement of work to be performed, including, but not limited to:

  • Deliverables/products/results
  • Project timeline
  • Project milestones
  • Reports to catalog project progress

While your scope of work can be time-consuming to write, it outlines the project itself and not necessarily the plan that’s to follow. The project scope statement, in turn, fulfills that role by detailing and mapping out exactly what to expect with the project plan and the project itself.

Project Scope Statement vs. Project Scope Management Plan

They might sound similar, and the outcome of the project may be similar, but a project scope statement is different than your project scope management plan. A project scope management plan is what follows the project scope statement, detailing the scope management process from the start to finish of your project life cycle.

Additionally, it helps define the work that must be done over the course of the project, and it controls and monitors those processes. It also documents and tracks phases to avoid scope creep, and assists with project closing, including an audit of deliverables and assessing the project outcome for success factors.

Your scope statement isn’t nearly as involved—it’s just the umbrella over your project scope management plan, acting as a rubric for stakeholders and team members to follow.

Best Practices for a Successful Project Scope Statement

Here are the best practices to consider as you write your project scope statement:

  • Avoid using jargon-heavy language. You’ll be talking to multiple people across multiple departments and specializations, so keep the language consistent and clear.
  • Keep it short. Since this is a document that is seeking stakeholder buy-in, there will likely be plenty of editing to be done before it’s finalized, and it will need to be a quick reference guide for later. So, keep it simple and save the verbiage for your full project plan.
  • Stay away from sweeping statements. You don’t want to over-commit your resources on the project before it even kicks off.
  • Make sure it answers questions, like:
    • What are the long-term business benefits?
    • What does it provide our customers that does not already exist?
    • Is this better than what we currently offer on the market?

How ProjectManager Can Help With Your Project Scope Statement

Major project rollouts can be demanding on both your time and energy. Don’t let it overwhelm you before kick-off. For starters, you can use our Gantt chart software to create a WBS and get a visual on deliverables, as well as the tasks needed to complete before submitting your project scope statement.

From there, you can try ProjectManager and use our task management features to get all the necessary tasks organized, prioritized and sorted by project phase. You can even ask other people for input: team members can comment directly on the tasks so communication stays organized and to the point.

task list feature in project managertask list feature in project manager

Keep tabs on your resources, tasks and deliverables and more so you can keep your project on track. With ProjectManager, you can practice mapping out your project timeline by using our Gantt chart, list out deliverables using our task list or kanban tool and invite team members to review the timeline before submitting the scope statement to key stakeholders. Start your free 30-day trial today.

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Project Scope 101

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

Defining the project scope is a critical part of the project planning process. That’s because the project scope defines the boundaries of what will and won’t be part of the project work, which is very important when making the project budget and schedule.

So, naturally, scope management is a very important area of project management and there’s a lot to learn about it. But before we jump into that, let’s start with the definition of project scope.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart showing the project scopeProjectManager's Gantt chart showing the project scope

Manage and execute your project scope with ProjectManager’s Gantt charts. Try it out with a free 30-day trial!

What Is Project Scope?

The project scope is the total amount of work that needs to be done to complete a project. It’s also one of the triple constraints of project management. Defining scope is part of the project planning process and helps project managers determine what the project goals, deliverables, tasks, costs and deadlines are.

The project scope is usually defined in a document called scope statement, while the scope management plan explains how it will be controlled. Let’s learn about these important project management documents.

Project Scope Statement

As mentioned above, the scope statement is the project management document that describes the scope of a project.

A scope statement usually includes the following elements:

  • Project Goals & Objectives: The project requirements or acceptance criteria.
  • Project Deliverables: The outcomes of project tasks.
  • Project Exclusions & Constraints: As a project manager you need to explain what can’t be done and why.
  • Project Assumptions: Some inital assumptions that the project management team has before executing the work.
  • Project Milestones: These mark important moments in your project life cycle, such as the end of a phase.
  • Scope Baseline: Your original scope as you planned it. The scope baseline allows you to compare actual results against what it’s in your scope statement.

The scope statement is also a guideline for the project manager. It helps them make decisions about change requests throughout the project life cycle. Change is an inevitable part of any project, no matter how thorough your project plan is, so you want to include the likelihood for change in your scope statement to better manage it later.

Scope Management Plan

The scope management plan is an element of the project plan. It includes the scope statement as well as the action plan that the project team will take to monitor and control the project scope.

How To Define Project Scope

Defining project scope means more than just identifying all tasks, deliverables, milestones and dependencies. Follow these steps to have a more holistic view of your project scope.

1. Define Project Goals & Objectives

Project goals and project objectives are not the same thing. Goals are higher-level than objectives, which are more specific. They must be defined in a project charter during the project initiation phase.

2. Collect Project Requirements

Project requirements can also be found in the project charter. Stakeholders have quality, financial, and other types of project requirements. Those requirements will help you define what can and can’t be included in your scope.

3. Project Exclusions & Constraints

Project exclusions refer to anything that will not be done. Determining that is just as important as defining the scope. That will help you avoid any misunderstandings with project stakeholders. It’s also important to note any important constraints such as costs that might affect the project scope.

4. Define Tasks & Deliverables

A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a planning tool that helps project managers visualize all the tasks required to complete a project, organize them by hierarchy and identify dependencies and deliverables.

5. Make a Resource Management Plan

Now that you’ve identified your project tasks, it’s time to determine what resources will be needed to execute them. This includes team members, equipment and materials. You’ll need to allocate those resources to accomplish every task in your project scope. Estimate these costs and add them to your project budget.

6. Change Control Process

The project scope can be negatively impacted when changes such as new project requirements go unnoticed. That’s because they create extra work which is not accounted for. That’s called scope creep. To avoid it, you need change control procedures such as change requests so that the project team can adjust the scope management plan.

Now that you have defined your project scope, you’ve completed the first step in the scope management process.

Scope Management Process

Scope management is one of the most critical areas of project management because managing a project is really managing its scope. That’s because scope management consists in achieving the goals of the project within the time and budget approved by the stakeholders. But those decisions are not necessarily binding. Things change, of course, but you have to make sure those changes are aligned with the stakeholder’s project goals.

3 elements of project scope including definition, training, and communication3 elements of project scope including definition, training, and communication

Managing project scope means from the start that you and the stakeholders have a clear line of communication. You have to know their vision to know what they’re expecting in a project. That way, when change happens you can direct it to meet the project’s goals while keeping the overall project on track. But that’s just the beginning.

To manage the scope of the project, you have to do five things:

  1. Define the Project Scope
  2. Write a Scope Statement
  3. Create a Scope Management Plan
  4. Define a Scope Baseline to Control Scope
  5. Monitor and Control your Project Scope During Project Life Cycle

Pro tip: Scope Management is defined as a project management knowledge area by the project management institute (PMI).

How to Manage Scope with ProjectManager

ProjectManager has a bevy of tools to help managers track their project scope. First and foremost, from a project manager’s perspective, is our online Gantt chart. Use our Gantt chart to create a project plan, where all of your scoped tasks are scheduled with assignees and deadlines. Plus, our Gantt charts feature progress bars that update in real time as team members complete their tasks, so you have utmost transparency.

gantt chart for managing scopegantt chart for managing scope
ProjectManager’s Interactive Gantt Chart

Task Management Features for Doing the Work

ProjectManager comes with three different views for working on tasks. The Gantt, which we mentioned, kanban boards and task lists. All three views can be used to work on the same project, which means team members can work on the project tasks their own way. This flexibility improves productivity across the team, making sure that you avoid the dreaded scope creep.

task list for managing project scopetask list for managing project scope
Task management tools for enhanced collaboration and productivity.

Project Dashboards for Better Tracking

Dashboards are your best friend when you’re trying to spot scope creep. Our real-time project dashboard gives you a live look at critical metrics across your project. This live data lets you spot bottlenecks and issues faster than you would have thought possible. Plus, it’s all displayed in simple graphs that can easily be shared with stakeholders or team members.

Dashboard for tracking scope creepDashboard for tracking scope creep

The best way to manage scope in a project is to have an online project management tool that gives you real-time data so you can act when issues arise and before they become problems. ProjectManager is cloud-based, so when your team updates their statues, from wherever they are and at whatever time, that information is immediately updated and you can monitor the progress of your project more accurately. See for yourself by taking this free 30-day trial

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Own Your Own Professional Development

PM Articles by Project Times. 

This year (2022) is the best time to talk about something interesting – that is professional development. Why do I think you may be interested in this topic? Well, a recent (Sep 2021) survey conducted by HR Platform Employment Hero [1] via about 1000 survey respondents found that 48 percent of Australian workers planned to look for a new job in the next six months. That’s 1 in 2 people Down Under, a huge number, isn’t it? No wonder people in the US are talking about the Great Resignation[2]!

If you are still reading this article, you are potentially interested in investing your time, energy, and money in your professional development, so that you can seize the chance to progress your career sooner. You may want to ask me, “where should I start?” Well, Richard Branson once said: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” So, my first advice is for you to check if your employer’s career paths and progression programs are in place that you can take advantage of. It is probably the easiest way for you.

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However, if the existing solution is not in place, the next best solution is to have a private chat with your people manager, see if he or she can create a bespoke solution for you, based on your circumstances. Check out this article from the job search portal Indeed and follow the 9 steps[3] to prepare your talking points before your meeting with your boss to show your commitment.

My personal experiences have been that most employers do care about their people’s career plans, especially when you have made consistent and visible contributions to their business. However, I admit there are organizations where staff hasn’t been provided with sufficient career progression opportunities. If unfortunately, this has been your experience, keep reading and I have a piece of good news for you – you can own your own professional development.

Here is how (3-Steps Plan):

  1. Set your career goal – If you like what you do, do you want to work at a more senior level? If you don’t like what you are doing, use your imagination superpower to determine your dream jobs. Talk to your family and friends to understand your strengths and talk to a trusted industry connection to understand which roles will match your strengths.
  2. Analyze the gaps – How can you get there? What skills will be required from your future job? What skills have you already got? What are the gaps? This step may sound difficult, but there is a short path – check out your current & future jobs on seek.com and write down the required skills.
  3. Bridge the gaps – Prioritise the skill gaps based on importance, urgency, and logical sequence. Now you may ask, is there a learning model that I can follow to upskill myself? The answer is yes! Let me tell you a bit of the 70-20-10 learning framework.
    • 70% of your new skills can be learned from doing. You can ask for new tasks at work, apply for a secondment or participate in professional volunteering. These activities can help you accumulate the required experience for your future.
    • 20% of your new skills can be learned from others. Coaching, mentoring, and attending industry events are widely available options to you.
    • 10% of your new skills can be learned from formal learning. Courses and certifications, if chosen wisely, will give you a decent return on investment.

To help you best bridge your skill and experience gaps, I have created a 1-pager diagram for your kick-start. It is based on my own professional development experience and the successful mentoring sessions that I have provided to my mentees in the last 7 years.

If you follow the 3 steps plan, make sure you set up regular checkpoints to reflect your progress. Adjust your approach as required. If you show your commitment, I don’t see why you cannot achieve your goal after a reasonable period of time. So, I wish you good luck and be part of your own success in the year ahead.

Reference:

  1. Australia’s version of the ‘great resignation’ revealed as staff swap jobs, Sydney Morning Herald, https://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace/australia-s-version-of-the-great-resignation-revealed-as-staff-swap-jobs-20211111-p5984f.html
  2. Who Is Driving the Great Resignation?, Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2021/09/who-is-driving-the-great-resignation
  3. How To Talk To Your Boss About Career Advancement in 9 Steps, Indeed, https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/how-to-talk-to-boss-about-career-advancement

Lawrence Dong

Lawrence Dong is a result-oriented professional with 15 years of experience in Business Analysis, Project Delivery, and Leadership. He has been certified in CBAP, Scrum Master, PMP, and ITIL. Having workers across various industries including Banking, Logistics, Government, Healthcare, Superannuation, and Telecommunications, Lawrence is experienced in creating fit-for-purpose solutions via his exposure to industry best practices. To give back to the community, Lawrence has volunteered as a Board Director of IIBA Australia in the past, and as a long-time mentor through non-for-profit organizations.


The Triple Constraint in Project Management: Time, Scope & Cost

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

The triple constraint of project management has been given many names – the Project Management Triangle, Iron Triangle, and Project Triangle – which should give you an idea of how important the Triple Constraint is when managing a project. If you’re managing a project, then you’re working with the Triple Constraint.

Therefore, it can be easily argued that the Triple Constraint might be the single most important concept in the history of project management. When used in combination with effective project management software, it can give you the ability to drive your projects to success.

Triple Constraint DiagramTriple Constraint Diagram

What Is the Triple Constraint in Project Management?

So, what is the Triple Constraint? That’s easy, it’s a model of the constraints inherent in managing a project. Those constraints are threefold:

pm software for managing the iron trianglepm software for managing the iron triangle

  1. Cost: The financial constraints of a project, also known as the project budget
  2. Scope: The tasks required to fulfill the project’s goals
  3. Time: The schedule for the project to reach completion

Basically, the Triple Constraint states that the success of the project is impacted by its costs, time, and scope. As a project manager, you can keep control of the triple constraint by balancing these three constraints through trade-offs. We’ll explain how these trade-offs work in the section below.

While it’s true that the Triple Constraint is an important part of any successful project, it doesn’t determine success. Projects are made from many parts, more than the three that make up the Triple Constraint. That’s why some project management experts have added three more constraints to the model, to better reflect the most critical areas of a project. Here they are:

  • Quality: There are quality standards for every project, whether its final deliverable is a tangible or intangible product. Project managers need a quality management plan to control quality.
  • Risk: Risk is inherent to any project. That’s why project managers need to create a risk management plan to explain how project risks will be handled
  • Benefit: There are different types of benefit obtained from a project. Project managers must ensure that project stakeholders get the best financial benefit possible.

How Does the Triple Constraint Work?

As stated above, project managers can increase or reduce the cost, time and scope of a project with trade-offs to keep it on schedule and under budget. Let’s see how these project triangle trade-offs work with some examples.

  • Time and Scope: You can reduce your project scope to also reduce your project duration if you’re running behind schedule. In the opposite case, you can increase the length of your project timeline in case the project stakeholders come up with extra project activities.
  • Cost and Scope: By reducing the project scope, you’ll need to execute fewer tasks, which means lower costs. In the opposite case, a larger project scope means higher costs.
  • Cost and Time: In some projects, time and cost can be directly related. For example, the costs of renting equipment or labor are directly proportional to the time you need them for.

All these scenarios are applying the Triple Constraint for managing the project, but there are many more possible trade-offs that can occur in a project, which also involve quality, risk and benefit.

By using a project management dashboard, a manager can keep sight of the project as it progresses. Metrics such as the schedule, cost and scope of the project are easy to track. With this information, a project manager can identify issues and adjust the Triple Constraint to prevent those issues from developing into problems. ProjectManager features a real-time dashboard that presents all the critical project data that impacts the triple constraint.

dashboard for tracking the triple constraintdashboard for tracking the triple constraint
ProjectManager’s Real-Time Project Dashboard

How to Manage the Triple Constraint

The Triple Constraint appears simple, but that’s only on the surface. Each of the three points of this triangle can be unpacked to reveal deeper meaning.

Cost

The financial commitment of the project is dependent on several variables. There are the resources involved, from materials to people, which all include costs.

There are also the fixed and variable costs inherent in any project, such as equipment or labor, which must be calculated. This can seriously come into play with the use of contract workers or outsourcing.

This is what project managers do to control costs:

  • Estimate the costs for all the tasks in the project scope
  • Create a project budget based on the estimated costs of the project
  • Use the project budget as a cost baseline, which is employed to control costs during project execution
  • Control all project costs to keep spending under the project budget
  • Adjust the project budget when necessary

Related: Free Project Budget Template

Scope

As mentioned, the project scope refers to all the project work required to complete the project. Managing that work is critical for project success. When managing scope it’s critical that you prioritize your tasks, enabling you to plan and assign resources effectively.

To manage scope, project managers:

  • Use a scope management plan to clearly define what project activities will be done
  • Share the scope management plan with all stakeholders, so everybody is on the same page
  • Use change orders to avoid scope creep and keep track of all changes made to the project scope
  • Manage stakeholder’s expectations to maintain the project scope
  • Use task management tools and techniques to keep track of all project activities in the scope

These scope management actions taken by project managers are all essential because the amount of time each task will require is critical to the cost and quality of the final product. This can have a great impact on schedule and cost, especially so if the project is on a large scale.

Related: Theory of Constraints: A Guide for Project Managers

ProjectManager has task management features that make it easy to assign, sort and prioritize your tasks. This way you can delegate all the critical project tasks to the right people, preventing the dreaded scope creep. Plus, by offering file sharing and task comments, we enable collaboration on the task level.

task management features to manage scope in the triple constrainttask management features to manage scope in the triple constraint
ProjectManager’s Task Management Features—Click to learn more

Time

At its basic, the project schedule is the estimated timeline allotted to complete the project, or produce the final deliverable. Usually, this is figured out by first estimating the time that each project task will take.

A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is used to identify all the project activities. Then project managers can use different scheduling techniques such as the critical path method or PERT charts to determine the total duration of the project.

Here’s what project managers do to control the project schedule:

  • Use a Gantt chart to visualize the project schedule, define task sequences and monitor the duration of each task
  • Create policies, procedures and documentation for planning, executing and monitoring the project schedule
  • Allocate resources effectively using a resource schedule to avoid bottlenecks
  • Compare the schedule baseline to actual progress to determine if projects are on track

Now that we’ve learned what most project managers do to control the triple constraint, let’s learn about the project management tools that you can use to help you with this process.

managing the triple constraint onlinemanaging the triple constraint online
ProjectManager’s Interactive Gantt Chart

Controlling the Triple Constraint with ProjectManager

As mentioned at the top of the post, the triple constraint when used in conjunction with a project management software is the best way to control your project and lead it towards a successful end. ProjectManager is a cloud-based project management software with real-time data that gives project managers the power to manage each arm of the triple constraint: costs, time and scope.

Costs

ProjectManager helps you track your project costs to make sure you’re not overspending. You can create budgets, add project expenses and input hourly rates for all of your resources. The real-time dashboard tracks cost and five other metrics across your project and reports on them instantly in easy-to-read charts and graphs. This is an easy way to keep an eye on your costs and make sure you’re aligned with your budget. Now you can catch budget issues before they become a problem.

ProjectManager's dashboardProjectManager's dashboard
Track your project in real time with dashboards—Try It Free

Time

Your schedule can get away from you, but not with ProjectManager. When tasks are updated, they’re instantly reflected across the software. That means, your reports and dashboard are accurate and current. You can even watch the progress of individual tasks on the online Gantt chart, where the duration bar indicates how much progress has been made on the task.

Timesheets are synced with the team’s tasks, which makes it easy for team members to select their task and just enter it. This brings their time into the timesheet, which can then be previewed and approved with a few clicks.

Scope

Scope is going to change throughout the project, and ProjectManager has the tools to stay flexible with those changes. There are multiple project views, so you can switch from the Gantt to the kanban board to get visibility into your workflow. Kanban cards, which represent tasks, are set by priority, which can change as the relevance of those tasks change.

kanban view in ProjectManagerkanban view in ProjectManager
ProjectManager gives you three views for projects, which improves scope management.

The great thing about kanban boards is that they’re set up to deliver tasks to team members only when the resources and capacity are there to complete them. As the scope of the project changes, the kanban board can quickly adjust.

If you notice teams are under- or overallocated, you can balance that out on the workload page. The workload page has color-coded charts that show at-a-glance who is overloaded with tasks and who is available. You can reallocate their work quickly and easily to keep the project within scope.

The Triple Constraint will help you manage your project. Planning for the schedule, scope and cost of your project will help you achieve your goals and objectives. ProjectManager, a cloud-based project management software, gives you the tools to use this model effectively. See how our real-time dashboards & interactive Gantt charts can help you by taking this free 30-day trial.

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What is a Hybrid Team? How to Lead Hybrid Teams

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

Office work had been changing, even before the events of 2020 accelerated them. People were demanding more flexibility. They no longer saw the office as an absolute. More companies began offering flexible hours and remote work as team culture evolves.

This has led to the birth of a new business term: the hybrid team. But with anything new, the definition of a hybrid work model has not come fully into focus. Is it simply working remotely? What does it mean to team members? Let’s take a look at the hybrid work environment, the growth of a hybrid workforce and hybrid work management software.

What Is a Hybrid Team?

A hybrid team is a flexible team that is distributed across different locations or different departments of a company (or a combination of both). Members of a hybrid team use different tools to work and have different skill levels..

Most people think a hybrid team is a distributed team, with some working remotely and others in an office or central location. But the definition of a hybrid team is flexible. Some are team members are remote employees, while others have a more flexible work schedule in and out of the office.

One connecting thread is that a hybrid team doesn’t work in a single work environment. Hybrid teams are made up of people who work differently, whether due to location, tools or skill sets. This leads to having to manage hybrid teams differently because, you can’t just have regular team meetings in a conference room or bump into a coworker in the hallway.

You could use a variety of apps, such as Zoom, Slack, Google Suite, etc., and you might have to. But they don’t offer a single source of truth where data is updated and shared throughout the team.

ProjectManager is a cloud-based tool that connects teams, updating them through email and in-app alerts when comments or files are added to a task. Multiple project views let them work how they want, such as on the task list that fosters collaboration, updates status and organizes work. Get started with ProjectManager for free today.

ProjectManager's task list viewProjectManager's task list view
ProjectManager has multiple, such as the task list, so teams can work how they want.—Learn More!

How to Support a Hybrid Team

Because some hybrid teams are distributed and some are fully remote, managers have to think creatively to support them properly. Without the right kind of support, a hybrid team is destined to fail. However, with the proper resources, hybrid teams can be productive and even attract outside talent.

First, you need buy-in from executives. Then, once your company offers flexible work environments, you have to sell it to your team. That might be harder than you’d think—some prefer the office, others would rather work from home and some will a mix of both. Find out what’s best for them.

The last thing you want is to appear to favor one team member over another in the team. The playing field has to be equal in a hybrid work model. Those who work in the office shouldn’t get preferential treatment just because they’re physically in the office space. Remote workers can, unfortunately, sometimes be seen to be slacking off or not being recognized for their participation.

The next step is making sure that your team has the resources they need to work remotely while still connecting with other team members. That sort of virtual collaboration requires using a variety of applications, such as a messaging app, video conferencing, being able to share files, etc.

Benefits of a Hybrid Team

There are many benefits to opening up your business to a more flexible work environment. Let’s take a look at a few below.

  • Larger Talent Pool: One of the biggest benefits is that you’re no longer looking for talent within a narrow radius of an office. With a hybrid model, you can recruit from anywhere, exponentially increasing the number of candidates for a position. You now have a global, diverse pool of talent from which to choose.
  • Multiple Work Environments: Another plus is that you’re not wedded to one work environment or the other. You can have an office, which allows for one-on-one brainstorming, connecting with people in person and incubating ideas. But you can also have a virtual team that opens the door to worldwide recruitment, greater diversity and innovation.
  • Increase Employee Retention: If your teams are happy, they’re more likely to stay at the job. It also means that your workers will be more productive, because happy teams are productive teams. Many employers make the mistake of thinking an employee’s sole interest is the size of their paycheck. But more and more, the work-life balance has become of greater importance.

Challenges of Leading Hybrid Teams

That doesn’t mean that embracing hybrid teams and flexible work environments is without its challenges:

    • Harder Communication: The main issue that comes up with a company contemplating hybrid teams is communication. These fears are legitimate but not insurmountable. At the minimum, there should be regular virtual meetings, either weekly or even daily standup meetings. This brings everyone together to discuss the activities of the week or day and gives people an opportunity to share ideas and feedback.
    • Lack of Historical Precedent: Another problem is that hybrid teams are the new frontier in work. That means people are often making it up as they go along. This is a surefire recipe for trouble. The best way to maneuver through this is by including your hybrid team, finding out what they want and trying to find the middle path that connects the office to remote workers.

Tips to Manage Hybrid Teams

It’s hard enough to manage a team when you’re all in the same physical space. That only becomes more difficult when you’re working with a remote team or a hybrid team. Here are some tips to improve your management of hybrid teams.

Be Inclusive to Everyone on the Team

Whether you’re working shoulder-to-shoulder, working remotely or have a flexible work environment, every team member should feel that your management style is the same. Even with hybrid meetings, some can feel as if they’re not at the forefront of their manager’s minds, especially when handing out kudos on good work. Having everyone on your hybrid team feel as if they’re being treated equally will go a long way to improving morale and productivity.

Be Flexible with your Hybrid Team

It would seem obvious that hybrid teams by definition would embrace flexibility, but some team members can become jealous of the flexible work schedules of others. Either they don’t like working from home, setting their schedule or something else entirely. As a manager, you have to give everyone the freedom to set up a schedule that works for the company and the employee. More importantly, have everyone on the team understand that you’re less interested in micromanaging hours than in seeing results.

Be Communicative When Remote

Communication is the lifeblood of any business, and hybrid teams are especially sensitive to this as they’re distributed in such a manner that traditional communication tools often no longer apply. Even with the best video conferencing and messaging apps, there can be gaps. Remote workers should have some person-to-person time every now and then with the entire team. Team-building activities work best in person and the results are a more cohesive hybrid team.

Be Transparent

Building trust takes time, but you need to work on having everyone in the team not only work together, but respect one another. As a manager, you can be open and encourage your team members, whether they’re in the office or working remotely. Also, be sure to keep an eye on their stress levels. It’s easier to gauge a team member’s emotional state when they’re working beside you, but you have to put in an extra effort for your remote workers or those with flexible working arrangements. Regular one-on-one check-ins can help.

Use the Right Software

Hybrid teams are dependent on software to keep them connected. There are a lot of collaborative tools for team management for remote teams, so spend some time finding the one that is right for you. Using only one project management tool would be ideal. Using many different apps can often lead to gaps in team communication, and that creates delays that can cost you money your business can’t afford.

How ProjectManager Helps Hybrid Teams

ProjectManager is cloud-based project and work management software for hybrid teams. It provides one source of truth for everyone, no matter where or when they’re working. Multiple project views allow team members to work how they want, no matter what department they’re in or their skill level.

Work Flexibly with Different Work Views

For example, hybrid teams tend to be self-directed. ProjectManager’s kanban boards are visual workflow tools that give teams autonomy and managers transparency to manage without getting in the way. Team members can use the kanban board view to manage their backlog and work together by commenting and attaching files directly to the task. Managers can see roadblocks and reallocate resources to keep teams working at capacity.

ProjectManager's kanban viewProjectManager's kanban view

Assign Work and Allocate Resources Easily

Assigning work to hybrid teams can be problematic. How can managers know if their teams are overallocated? ProjectManager’s resource management tools give managers a virtual window into their team, from the My Work page that shows everyone’s tasks and status to the color-coded workload page that makes it easy to balance workload at a glance.

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Track Key Performance Indicators in Real-Time

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Top Project Management Conferences of 2022

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

The project management industry, and our concept of what a project constitutes, is always changing. Nowadays, even non-PMP-certified workers are taking on work that closely resembles a traditional projects, and the desire to manage them better is growing every year.

One way to keep up with the latest project management trends is to attend a project management conference in 2022. It’s a great way to further your education and learn about new project management software tools that are on the market.

ProjectManager has compiled the top project management conferences for 2022. Some are taking place in person, and some are being held remotely, so chances are there are options on this list that you can attend!

February

Festival of Education & Research

Where: Virtual
When: Feb. 9
Website: https://www.apm.org.uk/

The Association for Project Management (APM) is a chartered membership organization representing project professionals worldwide. Through its annual Festival of Education & Research, it’s committed to recognizing excellence in project management academia, education and research.

What To Expect: This education conference is focused on the academic, but is also suitable for students and those in the early stages of their career as project professionals. There will be an award ceremony for the project management graduate of the year, project management postgraduate dissertation of the year, project management apprentice of the year, project management educator of the year and many more. Develop your skills, learn about new project management research and become more employable.

Technical Project Management Conference

Where: AMA Conference Center, Atlanta, Ga., USA
When: Feb. 23-25
Website: https://10times.com/

Project management at its core is a technical discipline, and the Technical Project Management conference, produced by the American Management Association, is a great place for those in the IT and technology space. They expect 2,000 to 5,000 professionals to attend based on previous project management conferences.

What to Expect: This three-day event focuses on the importance of planning, scheduling and how to manage scope. There will be breakout sessions on using project management tools and techniques to help with more accurate estimates, how to keep projects on track and on evaluation of project performance. Communication skills will be addressed, as well, to help with building better project leaders.

AIPM National Conference

Where: Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, Queensland, Australia
When: Feb. 27-March 1
Website: https://www.aipm.com.au/

The 2022 Australian Institue of Project Management (AIPM) National Conference is themed “Forward With Purpose.” It plans to address how to plan for a future beyond the Covid crisis. Part of that is how to move into the future with purpose and optimism. It will look at preparations in projects and organizations considering the inevitable surprises that are sure to recur.

What to Expect: Featured speakers include Jarrod Ball, chief economist, the committee for the economic development of Australia (CEDA); Shade Zahrai, leadership strategist and global peak performance consultant; Phile Slade, behavioral economist, psychologist and journalist, Rachael Robertson, leadership and teamwork expert; Dr. Greg Usher, executive general manager, buildings and property, RPS, Australia; and His Excellency General the Honorable David Hurley, AC DSC (retired), governor-general of the commonwealth of Australia.

Be Prepared for Project Management Trends in 2022 with This White Paper

Each year there are new methodologies, techniques and other trends that drive the industry. Get a head start on what those trends will be in 2022 by reading ProjectManager’s free Global Project Management Trends 2022 Report. Over 600 project management professionals were surveyed to find out what was impacting their work. One of the biggest trends is the hybrid boom and how to manage teams who are distributed, in different departments and with different skill sets. Read all about it and be prepared for your project management conferences!

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Click here to download ProjectManager’s survey report on 2022 project management trends.

March

The Resource Planning Summit

Where: Park MGM, Las Vegas, Nev., USA
When: March 20-23
Website: https://www.resourceplanningsummit.com

The annual two-and-a-half-day Resource Planning Summit is a place where the industry meets to explore resource planning and is welcome to professionals of all levels.

What to Expect: Some topics of discussion include multiple organizational units competing for the same resources, low resource planning maturity derailing key initiatives, ad-hoc staff planning contributing to poor annual operating plan (AOP) forecasting, management not supporting resource planning in an agile environment and HR, finance and PMO competing for the resource system of record. Project management professionals (PMP) can early up to 20 PDUs. As with most of the in-person events being held this year, the Resource Planning Summit is monitoring the evolving public health recommendations to keep participants safe.

April

ProjectSummit Business Analyst World

Where: Orlando, Fla., USA
When: April 11-13
Website: https://www.pmbaconferences.com/

Project Summit Business Analyst World is a huge North American conference, so big in fact that it happens several times over the year in various locations (this one and in Washington, DC, May 2-4; Toronto, Ont., Canada, May 16-19; a virtual world conference, June 20-23, with other dates to be announced in Boston, Ma., USA; Vancouver, BC, Canada and Chicago, Il., USA in the fall).

What to Expect: Industry innovators help professionals be more productive, and learn best practices, skills and strategies to succeed with over 25 educational sessions and four hands-on workshops. Attendees can earn up to 18 PDUs.

May

Project Management Symposium

Where: Virtual
When: May 5-6
Website: https://pmsymposium.umd.edu/

The pandemic has moved many of these conferences online, including this project management symposium produced by the University of Maryland Project Management Center for Excellence. One of the benefits of this trend to virtual conferences is that anyone anywhere can attend. That means no travel, no hotel or food costs, just pure project management.

What to Expect: Attending the conference and viewing the recorded sessions can earn participants up to 44.25 PDUs in the PMI Talent Triangle towards maintaining their PMP certification. That’s obviously geared to certified professionals, but with potential topics ranging from agile, DevOps and hybrid approaches to new project management tools and solutions the conference should have something for everyone tasked with managing projects.

Agile & Beyond

Where: Detroit, Mich., USA
When: May 24-25
Website: https://agileandbeyond.com

Agile is not new. It’s been around for a couple of decades. But it continues to speak to project managers who are looking for a more iterative and flexible approach to managing projects, rather than the traditionally planning-ahead model. Agile & Beyond is a great opportunity to mingle with a community of like-minded professionals and executives.

What to Expect: Sessions focus on agility, software engineering and lean business. Each day opens with a keynote speech and ends with social events for everyone to connect in person and catch up. The conference is following local and federal safety protocols to ensure the health of everyone who participates.

June

Global Scrum Gathering

Where: Denver, Colo., USA and Virtual
When: June 5-8
Website: https://www.scrumalliance.org/

The Global Scrum Gathering is produced by the Scrum Alliance, which is a member-driven nonprofit certifying body that has supported the agile movement since 2001. This is the organization’s first in-person conference since everything changed due to Covid in 2020. But the event is not only on-site, it’s a hybrid conference with a wide suite of offerings for both physical and virtual attendees.

What to Expect: It’s a great opportunity to hear from experts in the agile environment, a way of approaching projects that have moved from software development and now touches almost all business sectors. The Scrum Alliance offers a Gathering Insider option to be the first to hear what’s planned for the Global Scrum Gathering 2022.

10th IPMA Research Conference

Where: Belgrade, Serbia
When: June 19-21
Website: https://www.ipma-research-conference.world/

The International Project Management Association (IPMA), a federation of 72 member associations worldwide, will be having its 10th IPMA Research Conference on value cocreation in the project society. The conference lists its goals as an exchange of ideas, dialogue between practitioners, knowledge sharing on the latest trends, networking and more. There will be plenary sessions, presentations of papers, inactive workshops, round tables and more. The major tops are on project society, business projects, project value and leadership and digitalization.

ACMP’s Annual Conference

Where: Virtual
When: June 28 – July 1
Website: https://www.acmpglobal.org/page/GC2022

The Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) is taking its 2022 conference virtual because of safety concerns related to the pandemic. The theme of this year’s conference is Embracing the Changing World: Diversity, Technology and Adaptability. ACMP wants to lead the way change works with the aspiration to innovate and lead change practices and the management of change in projects.

What to Expect: They focus on professional expertise to achieve business and organizational results. It’s an independent and trusted source of professional excellence, advocating for the discipline and creation of a thriving change community. Change is a part of every project so this conference should be of interest to all. More details are forthcoming on the link above.

July

Agile 2022

Where: Nashville, Tenn., USA
When: July 18-22
Website: https://www.acmpglobal.org/page/GC2022

Agile Alliance, a global nonprofit membership organization founded on the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Its Agile annual conference is all about the exploration, innovation and advancement of agile values and principles.

What to Expect: The conference brings a spectrum of agile communities together to share experiences and network. Global professionals attend to learn about the latest practices, ideas and strategies in agile software development from leading experts, change agents and innovators. The conference is open to all but members get a significant discount on registration.

October

Future PMO

Where: London, England
When: July 18-22
Website: https://www.futurepmo.com/

Future PMO is a one-day event that is for PMO and project management professionals of all levels. Attendees gather from across the globe.

What to Expect: The speakers are a balance of PMO and project portfolio management but this is also a social event in a non-sales environment, which adds to its attraction. For example, this year’s theme is retro gaming. So get ready to level up! Speakers include Federico Vargas, CEO, GE360 and keynote speaker Laura Barnard, training and consultant, on PMO strategies.

TBA

PMI Global Conference 2022

Where: TBA
When: TBA
Website: https://www.pmi.org/global-conference

The Project Management Institute (PMI), a leading industry trade organization, produces the annual Global Congress North America for professionals in project management. The date and venue have yet to be announced, but keep an eye on the Global Conference website—this is an event you’ll not want to miss.

What to Expect: The three-day, project management conference gathers industry professionals and gives them an opportunity to learn about project management, share their insights into the industry and network with other professionals throughout the world. PMP-certified individuals can earn up to 18 PDUs.

It’s still early in the year and many organizations are likely debating whether to have their annual conferences in person on virtual. Be on the lookout for announcements and keep your datebook open.

ProjectManager is a hybrid work management cloud-based software that delivers real-time data that keeps teams working better together, no matter where they are or how they work. Multiple project views and a collaborative platform offer a single source of truth to keep everyone always on the same page. Join the 35,000-plus professionals already using our tool at organizations from NASA to Seimens and Nestle. Get started with ProjectManager for free.

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