Tag - Business Productivity Tool

Project Milestones Help Monitor Project Health

Project Management Needs Project Milestones

Project Management Milestones

Project milestones are special events that signify the completion of a promised deliverable. No project lasts forever; each has a defined beginning and an end. Because each project has a unique outcome (as opposed to business as usual), each must be managed with its own set of unique milestones built in.

Project milestones not only help project managers accurately determine whether or not the project is on schedule, they add significant value to project scheduling.

Managers and clients love project milestones because they provide an opportunity to validate the current state of the project against the overall schedule, since each milestone signifies some set of underlying work has been completed.

If a milestone date is missed, everyone knows immediately that the project is behind schedule.  Clients don’t need to know the individual status of all the activities in the work plan; he/she just needs to keep track of the status of the milestones to know if a project is on schedule or not.

Each project has a distinctive scope and set of goals. Project milestones provide a means to measure the inputs and the outputs of the project against the work plan. They also provide a great way to take a step back and validate the overall health of the project.

All successful projects have milestones, created at the beginning of the project and regularly reviewed and updated as the project continues. To insure the success of your endeavor take note of the following:

– Before the project begins, make sure that the client has approved the scope and goals, required inputs (time, money and resources), processes (planning, project management, analysis, testing and implementation) and outputs (project milestones and key deliverables) of the project.

– At each milestone, check the work plan to make sure that you and your client understand where the project is and re-validate the activities required for completion of the project.

– Evaluate what’s been accomplished and the effort, duration and cost estimates for the remaining work. Are your remaining estimates accurate? If not, modify the work plan. If it appears that your budget or deadline will not be met or if there are other potential problems, raise the issue and resolve the problem now.

– Issue a formal status update and make any other communications specified in the work plan.

Project milestone dates provide a great time to validate where you are, make any needed adjustments and get prepared to charge ahead.

social media productivity tool

Social Media Becoming a Business Productivity Tool

Increase Productivity with Social Media Networks

social media productivity tool

Until recently social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ were largely limited to marketing and community building functions at companies. But a recent survey conducted by McKinsey & Co. concluded that a majority of the estimated $1.3 trillion in untapped value from social technologies lies in “improved communications and collaboration within and across enterprises.” In other words, social media as an office productivity tool, in much the same manner that email did in the late 1990s.

Companies are moving beyond advertising on social media networks and are using social networks to build internal teams that solve problems faster, share information better among employees and partners, and bring customer ideas for new product designs to market earlier.

And as a bonus, the enormous popularity of the major social media networks means that for the most part your employees already know how to use them. That means that employees already have a basic ability to access company information simply because it’s easier to get to it. And because of employees’ familiarity with social media networks, very little training may be required.

In recent years, companies have begun to use social media tools such as internal networks, real-time chats and wikis for uses that go beyond marketing and community building to improving office productivity.

Other objectives where social media networks can improve for your business productivity and bottom line:

Wikis: Lets you build a knowledge-base that keeps the latest most up-to-date information in front of your managers, sales team and customer service reps with a wiki.

Blogs: Brainstorming and vetting new ideas. After all, your small business thrives on bringing new ideas to market faster. Blogs let you do that.

Web-based file-sharing:  You probably have the ability to share documents internally, but web-based file-sharing gives you the ability to share private documents with customers and partners in a secure, auditable way.

Micro-blogging: Lets you manage projects more effectively. Your team can’t always meet in person; micro-blogging keeps everyone in touch.

Much of work is social. But in today’s economy many employees now spend much of their time away from the office. Using social media as a productivity enhancement tool helps workers stay connected and can increase your ROI.