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5 Tools Project Managers Should Use To Collaborate With Their Remote Teams More Efficiently

Remote working is rapidly becoming the wave of the future. Being able to work from home or any location greatly entices individuals looking for employment because it provides them with flexible working hours, while simultaneously allowing them to enjoy their personal lives. Here are some tips to collaborate better in a project team. Another reason work-from-home is increasingly embraced by many businesses is because it is cost effective. It grants employers better access to a wider talent pool as candidates’ location is no more an issue. However, managing remote teams can be very frustrating at times, if proper communication channels are not utilized. Fortunately, these challenges can be overcome by employing the right cloud solutions and every project manager should, hence, adopt a digital toolset that includes cloud-based tools for sharing files and project management. Here are our five favourite tools that can aid project managers in overcoming communication challenges and collaborating with their remote teams to enhance creativity and efficiency; Slack Slack is the most effective communication tool for remote teams as it centralizes all communication in one place. It is a lot like an online office space, which allows team members to work in partnership with one another, regardless of where they are located. Besides enabling employees to stay connected on a personal level via direct conversations, Slack lets team conversations be organized into channels. ‘Channels’ can be created for just about anything from projects to departments or even for different teams working on a single project. All team channels are open so that they can be viewed by everyone. This maintains transparency allowing all team members to be aware of what is going on and no one gets left out of the loop. Additionally, private channels with specific members can also be created, in case any confidential information is to be shared. One-on-one or group voice and video calls can also be made using Slack so that you don’t have to waste your time on other apps. Moreover, it lets you share files, documents and images with a simple drag and drop! All messages, files and notifications are automatically archived and can be accessed and retrieved with a simple search. Another exciting feature of Slack allows integrations of the different apps you use, which saves you the trouble of having to switch between apps. Therefore, this tool can be extremely helpful for project managers as they can keep tabs on their workers and also boost collaboration within their remote teams. Dropbox Dropbox is the simplest yet most efficient cloud storage and file synching tool. Since it is cloud based, the files saved onto it can be accessed from any device and from anywhere in the world. Perhaps, one of the best features of Dropbox is that shared folders can be created for teams and that makes the shared data available to all members with ease. When a document is edited by one user, it is automatically updated in real time so all the users can see the changes. Team members can also leave their comments and feedback regarding the progress of their project on the shared files. Another interesting feature of Dropbox is that a deleted file is not automatically discarded and can be restored within a thirty-day period. Hence, Dropbox is a great choice for businesses that employ remote workers as it offers an array of features that can make cooperation and collaboration between the managers and their teams more efficient and streamlined. Thus, it’s definitely worth a shot! Trello A useful management tool with a user friendly interface, Trello makes tracking tasks easier and less time consuming. Basically, a Trello board is like a list of things-to-do. Each list contains cards that are created to assign tasks to different team members. Members that have access to the board can move the cards across the different lists and even to different boards. Once a card is created, comments, labels, due dates and attachments can be added on to it to inform the employee, to whom the task has been assigned, about what the project entails and what is required of them. It is a great way to keep track of the assigned, pending, in progress and completed tasks. After a required task has been completed, discussions and feedback in the form of comments can be left on the card. Users receive notifications almost instantaneously and, hence, they don’t have to open or refresh the application repeatedly. It can be accessed from all devices which makes it a handy tool for team collaboration. iDoneThis The mental exertion, effort and time that goes into completing a project must be appreciated and the successes celebrated to keep the team spirit alive and the productivity levels high. Every project manager must make this a top priority to ensure project progress. This is because a team, especially if it comprises people who are geographically dispersed, must be made to feel a part of something bigger. Therefore, celebrating accomplishments as a team is essential and with iDoneThis, this goal is now much easier to achieve. iDoneThis is an email-based productivity log which documents the accomplishments of each team member by collecting information from them through email every night. It then sends out a digest highlighting the achievements of the entire team the following morning. This way, not only does this application keep track of the progress of the entire team but also inculcates a sense of belonging for each individual which can go a long way in augmenting productivity. GoToMeeting Face-to-face meetings are essential in business.  Discussing agendas, brainstorming new ideas and laying down a general roadmap for the future all gets done during meetings. With remote teams, this can be quite difficult due to the geographical locations of the workers. However, with the increasing number of tools that enable team members to video conference, this problem can be surmounted. GoToMeeting is a great video conferencing tool that lets you interact with your globally located team members and also broadcast webinars to thousands of viewers. After having a scheduled meeting, you can simply use your GoToMeeting application to join calls and even for screen sharing. It also allows users to record calls so that they can review the discussions later. Thus, this is yet another tool that aids in ensuring smooth development of a project. Remote collaboration can be very demanding and challenging. Implementation of appropriate web-based tools is the back bone of efficient project management, especially when working with remote teams. Hence, the tools mentioned above are essential for establishing effective communication between distributed companies and their teams and should definitely be employed to yield maximum productivity.

5 Tools Project Managers Should Use To Collaborate With Their Remote Teams More Efficiently

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5 Tools Project Managers Should Use To Collaborate With Their Remote Teams More Efficiently

Remote working is rapidly becoming the wave of the future. Being able to work from home or any location greatly entices individuals looking for employment because it provides them with flexible working hours, while simultaneously allowing them to enjoy their personal lives. Here are some tips to collaborate better in a project team.

Another reason work-from-home is increasingly embraced by many businesses is because it is cost effective. It grants employers better access to a wider talent pool as candidates’ location is no more an issue.

However, managing remote teams can be very frustrating at times, if proper communication channels are not utilized. Fortunately, these challenges can be overcome by employing the right cloud solutions and every project manager should, hence, adopt a digital toolset that includes cloud-based tools for sharing files and project management.

Here are our five favourite tools that can aid project managers in overcoming communication challenges and collaborating with their remote teams to enhance creativity and efficiency;

Slack

Slack is the most effective communication tool for remote teams as it centralizes all communication in one place. It is a lot like an online office space, which allows team members to work in partnership with one another, regardless of where they are located.

Besides enabling employees to stay connected on a personal level via direct conversations, Slack lets team conversations be organized into channels. ‘Channels’ can be created for just about anything from projects to departments or even for different teams working on a single project.

All team channels are open so that they can be viewed by everyone. This maintains transparency allowing all team members to be aware of what is going on and no one gets left out of the loop. Additionally, private channels with specific members can also be created, in case any confidential information is to be shared.

One-on-one or group voice and video calls can also be made using Slack so that you don’t have to waste your time on other apps. Moreover, it lets you share files, documents and images with a simple drag and drop! All messages, files and notifications are automatically archived and can be accessed and retrieved with a simple search.

Another exciting feature of Slack allows integrations of the different apps you use, which saves you the trouble of having to switch between apps. Therefore, this tool can be extremely helpful for project managers as they can keep tabs on their workers and also boost collaboration within their remote teams.

Dropbox

Dropbox is the simplest yet most efficient cloud storage and file synching tool. Since it is cloud based, the files saved onto it can be accessed from any device and from anywhere in the world.

Perhaps, one of the best features of Dropbox is that shared folders can be created for teams and that makes the shared data available to all members with ease. When a document is edited by one user, it is automatically updated in real time so all the users can see the changes. Team members can also leave their comments and feedback regarding the progress of their project on the shared files.

Another interesting feature of Dropbox is that a deleted file is not automatically discarded and can be restored within a thirty-day period. Hence, Dropbox is a great choice for businesses that employ remote workers as it offers an array of features that can make cooperation and collaboration between the managers and their teams more efficient and streamlined. Thus, it’s definitely worth a shot!

Trello

A useful management tool with a user friendly interface, Trello makes tracking tasks easier and less time consuming. Basically, a Trello board is like a list of things-to-do. Each list contains cards that are created to assign tasks to different team members.

Members that have access to the board can move the cards across the different lists and even to different boards. Once a card is created, comments, labels, due dates and attachments can be added on to it to inform the employee, to whom the task has been assigned, about what the project entails and what is required of them.

It is a great way to keep track of the assigned, pending, in progress and completed tasks. After a required task has been completed, discussions and feedback in the form of comments can be left on the card.

Users receive notifications almost instantaneously and, hence, they don’t have to open or refresh the application repeatedly. It can be accessed from all devices which makes it a handy tool for team collaboration.

iDoneThis

The mental exertion, effort and time that goes into completing a project must be appreciated and the successes celebrated to keep the team spirit alive and the productivity levels high.

Every project manager must make this a top priority to ensure project progress. This is because a team, especially if it comprises people who are geographically dispersed, must be made to feel a part of something bigger. Therefore, celebrating accomplishments as a team is essential and with iDoneThis, this goal is now much easier to achieve.

iDoneThis is an email-based productivity log which documents the accomplishments of each team member by collecting information from them through email every night. It then sends out a digest highlighting the achievements of the entire team the following morning. This way, not only does this application keep track of the progress of the entire team but also inculcates a sense of belonging for each individual which can go a long way in augmenting productivity.

GoToMeeting

Face-to-face meetings are essential in business.  Discussing agendas, brainstorming new ideas and laying down a general roadmap for the future all gets done during meetings.

With remote teams, this can be quite difficult due to the geographical locations of the workers. However, with the increasing number of tools that enable team members to video conference, this problem can be surmounted.

GoToMeeting is a great video conferencing tool that lets you interact with your globally located team members and also broadcast webinars to thousands of viewers. After having a scheduled meeting, you can simply use your GoToMeeting application to join calls and even for screen sharing. It also allows users to record calls so that they can review the discussions later. Thus, this is yet another tool that aids in ensuring smooth development of a project.

Remote collaboration can be very demanding and challenging. Implementation of appropriate web-based tools is the back bone of efficient project management, especially when working with remote teams. Hence, the tools mentioned above are essential for establishing effective communication between distributed companies and their teams and should definitely be employed to yield maximum productivity.

Erica

Erica Silva

Blog Author

Erica Silva is a blogger by choice.  She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. Currently, she is associated with MeetRV Team.

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The 7 Principles of PRINCE2®

There is a wide range of project management methodologies available in the market, but PRINCE2® is one of the most widely used project management methods that has been used by the enterprises and businesses in more than 150 countries. One of the sheer benefits of the PRINCE2® method is that it can be applied to different projects, irrespective of their sizes and business verticals. It is noticeable that the PRINCE2® project management method can be used in IT as well as non-IT projects too. It is a comprehensive project management method that can be applied to any project irrespective of their geographical location, industry sector and project size.  The PRINCE2® courses cover basic four elements: themes, processes, principles and project management. There are some impeccable benefits of a PRINCE2® certification for candidates. There are two major types of certification available in the PRINCE2® project method: PRINCE2® Foundation Qualification PRINCE2® Practitioner Qualification The foundation program is a basic course that covers basic principles and themes for supporting individuals who work in a project environment supported by PRINCE2®. Candidates who belong to engineering and technology can go for this Foundation qualification course.  The PRINCE2® Practitioner qualification course is an advanced course that covers all the aspects of the PRINCE2® method including themes, processes, principles and project management. You will get a comprehensive introduction to the PRINCE2® project management method. There are some institutes that also train candidates for PRINCE2® management roles that are essential when the project is very big and complex. Here, the managers will be able to complete the project by assigning roles and responsibilities to the team members effectively and will be able to complete the project in a coordinated, consistent and superior manner. These courses are designed by experienced trainers who have years of experience and expertise in the domain and have a proven track record in the PRINCE2® project management. All you need to do is hire the best institute that offers the best PRINCE2® course and also helps in the placement activities too. There are businesses and enterprises that ask for candidates with a PRINCE2® certification; either foundation or practitioner certification. If you have this credential in your resume, it will improve your chance to get a job. All you need to do is to search for the right institute on the internet or your local business directory and that is all.  What is PRINCE2® and why it is so popular amongst businesses? Projects in Controlled Environments, PRINCE2® is a high-quality project management method that has carved a niche for itself by offering superior project management processes, no matter how big or small your project is. It adds streamlined, controlled project management principles and themes that help managers to manage and control projects easily and effectively.  You might still wonder whether PRINCE2® is the right tool for project management. What are the benefits of it? Why should you implement it on your current project management tools? To make things easier, we will discuss 7 principles of PRINCE2® method in details here. It is a process-based method that helps businesses to manage the project from start to finish. As we all know, before starting a project, it is important to plan it to avoid last-minute hurdles and hindrances. With the help of the PRINCE2® method, all the stages of the project are clearly described, roles and responsibilities are assigned to the teams and control and management of the project are easier to track. 7 principles of the PRINCE2® 1. Continued business justification: No matter which project you are working on, your project must have a clear justification including a clear requirement, a defined customer, feasible and scalable benefits and a complete cost assessment. This is the primary principle of the PRINCE2®. It helps you to stay focused on the project and you will be able to drive all your efforts to the common goal of the project- the desired goals and outcomes. 2. Learn from experience: Also, it is important that all the experiences are recorded for the future course of actions. Furthermore, it will help teams to learn from their mistakes and they will be able to finish projects with more dedication and expertise as they have learned lessons. All the stages and their outcomes are recorded in the PRINCE2® environment to make consistent and reliable learning.  3. Defined roles and responsibilities: When the team members have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities, it becomes easy for them to work with dedication and it also improves their productivity and performance too. With a PRINCE2® management method implementation, you would be able to define the roles and responsibilities of each team member to work more efficiently and effectively with unparalleled outcomes. 4. Manage by stages: Also, projects are completely broken in different sections and stages to manage them more effectively and accurately. Once the stage is over, it is reviewed by the superiors and learning will be recorded for the future course. This further helps management to ensure that the project is on its track and there are no loopholes involved in it. 5. Manage by exception: Board members are senior executives who have major roles and responsibilities in the organization and they cannot allocate time for the project on a daily basis. What they will be able to do is to define baseline requirements and assign them to the project manager. Some of the measurable elements of the project are time, cost, risk assessment, scopes, and others. If there are any issues such as project running late or is not on the track or goes out of budget, the project manager will take appropriate actions. However, there are some issues that might impact the establishment. Such issues are exceptions and here, board members intervene and make decisions. 6. Focus on the product: Also, teams are there to ensure that the deliverables are measured accurately and precisely and meet the project objectives. Superior quality control is the main thing that is always checked and compared with the requirements. 7. Tailor to suit the project: Different projects have different tailored requirements and with the PRINCE2® environment, tailored approach for each project is possible. The PRINCE2® method will be able to cater to your custom needs by adjusting different aspects of the method such as a number of team members, the amount of oversight and stage planning. Why PRINCE2®? What 2 stands for? There are chances that you might wonder what 2 stands for the PRINCE2® method. Well, the original PRINCE version was developed and introduced in the late 1980s specifically to manage IT projects. However, in 1996, the approach was reviewed and updated as per the latest issues and hindrances faced by the project management teams across the globe. A team of experienced project management specialists of more than 150 public and private organisations worked and updated the version and developed a new version that is more effective, efficient and accurate. The latest version is more improved and precise that addresses almost all the issues in a very defining manner. This latest version is called PRINCE2®. The number of roles in PRINCE2® PRINCE2® There are a total of three core roles: the project board, the project manager and the team. However, there are additional supplemental roles defined to make the project management more streamlined and linear.  We will discuss the total of 7 roles in PRINCE2® The customer The customer is the one who owns the project and is paying the organization for the project to be completed.  The user The user is one who will use the deliverables of the project or one who will be impacted by the outcome of the project. Sometimes, the user and the customer are the same people. The supplier A supplier is a person who possesses the expertise to complete the project and is responsible for delivering the best outcomes decided by the customer. He offers the knowledge and skills to complete the project. The project manager A project manager is a person who will monitor and control the complete project. The project manager is a very special person who is responsible for completing the project successfully. From planning, organizing and controlling the work, everything will be done by the project manager. Also, the project manager will be responsible for forming the team and assigning roles and responsibilities to the team members and overseeing the work assigned to them. The project manager will also ensure that the project gets completed in the required timeframe and the outcomes are measurable and accurate as per the customer’s requirements. The project team and team managers The project teams are the ones who will perform the duties and tasks assigned to them effectively and efficiently. There might be one team or multiple teams to perform various tasks and actions. Teams might have a separate team leader who is responsible to ensure that the given tasks are completed in time. The administrator If the project size is small, the project manager will take responsibility of the administrator. However, in big and complex projects, the administrator is required. The administrator will be responsible for the setting up of meetings, tracking of the daily deliverables, updating everyone involved with the projects about important instructions and specifications about the project. A separate project support office is established to ensure that the project runs smoothly and completes in a given timeframe. The project board includes multiple people such as the customer, the end user and the supplier. There are three perspectives that are checked by the project board: The viability of the project is defined and checked by the customer to ensure that the project is important and should continue. The user ensures that all the needs are being met to complete the project on time. The supplier has a major responsibility. They will ensure that the project is running in the right direction and is offering a practical solution to the issue. The 7 phase process for the PRINCE2® project management method. Here, we will break the complete project management process in 7 parts to understand it more clearly.  1.Starting up a project Here, a customer submits a project requirement called the project mandate. It is a brief introduction to the needs and objectives of the project. The organization will access the project requirements and will make sure whether the company is able to complete the project or not. Once the project is approved, the customer will give a more detailed brief including actions, resources and other crucial information to complete the project.  2. Project direction Now the organization managers will check out the viability and justification of the project by reviewing and evaluating the project brief. They will assign a project manager and other necessities to complete the project. 3. Project initiation The project initiation document will be prepared by the project manager. The document will cover a comprehensive plan and six different factors including cost, quality, scope, time, risk and advantages.  The documents will be sent to the project board for approval and once the board approves the plan, the project will start.  4. Stage controlling The whole project will be broken into different stages and to complete these, teams will be formed and assigned responsibilities.  The project manager will map the process for each project stage and will take actions when any hindrances and loopholes arise.  5. Product delivery management The main responsibility of the project manager is to compare the deliverables and expectations from the project board. They will ensure that the deliverables meet the expectations.  Once the project is completed, the board will review it and ask for revisions and changes if needed.  6. Stage boundaries management The manager and the board will evaluate and review the deliverables at each project stage to ensure that the project is going in the right direction. 7. Project closing Once the project is completed, the project manager will close threads such as documentation, outcomes and reporting. The PRINCE2® is a very effective and superior project management method as it offers impeccable opportunities to the project board and the project manager to track the success of the project at each stage of the project.
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Five Tips To Ace The PMP Certification Exam

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Four Tips To Prepare For PRINCE2 Certification Exam

PRINCE stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments. In simpler terms, it is one of the leading project management methods in the market at present. The government of United Kingdom first used this methodology in their processes. It was later adopted by the private sector. It follows the product-based planning approach. A certification in this methodology could help you upgrade your knowledge about the domain and to seek better job opportunities. A few tips to ace the certification exam are: Tip #1: Last-minute prep Students have a habit of studying a few topics right before entering the exam hall or once they reach the exam hall. They believe that they will able to remember it clearly once they study the topic at the last minute. This is a myth and do not follow it at any cost. Last minute prep only ruins your confidence as you feel you haven’t prepared enough. It will be very difficult to recollect the topic that you had studied in the last minute. This will get you worked up and leave you confused. The end result will be that you won’t be able to perform properly in the rest of the questions as well. To avoid all these troubles, study well in advance and only revise once if you like after reaching the venue. Tip #2: Enroll for an offline/online training course The PRINCE2 Foundation certification is easier compared to the Practitioner certification. One of the best ways to prepare for the practitioner certification is to join a training institute or an online training program. The benefits of doing this are plenty. You will gain access to a tonne of study material. There will be trainers in the online as well as offline course who have taken the exam and could give you crucial tips which they have gained from their experience over the years. You might be reluctant to spend the extra money and time initially but, in the end, it will all be worth it. The institutes will also give mock tests in which you can apply the knowledge and tips you have gained in the classes. Tip #3: Practice makes a man perfect You could join an institute, you could buy a tonne of study material, and you could search for many tips and tricks. In the end, if you don’t practice these on a regular basis, it is futile. In order to ace the exam with flying colours, you need to practice the topics on a daily basis. Make sure you prepare a schedule and stick to it. A week before the exam, take a break from everything else and focus only on the exam. It is 2.5 hours that can completely change your future. The practice tests are also crucial as they give you a feel of the difficulty of questions in the actual paper. Hence, spending the extra few hours on preparation will all be worth it in the end. Tip #4: Ensure you clearly understand the different aspects During the exam prep, ensure that you know the different roles and responsibilities and also all the responsibilities of a particular role in the project management team. Understanding the sequence of all processes is also crucial. This includes figuring out who is responsible for a particular activity in a project. There are many themes included in the PRINCE2 manual. For the Foundation Exam, you need to be thorough with all the purpose statements mentioned at the beginning of each process/theme. The process by which a principle is used in a specific method should also be known to you. Another essential aspect of the Practitioner exam is product planning. You need to have a thorough idea on the diagrams and product descriptions under product planning. Though you don’t need to draw diagrams in a multiple-choice question, it will be easier to solve the problems if you can efficiently draw the diagrams. A formal certification is always necessary from a career point of view as it helps you to gain better job opportunities and improve your pay grade. It is also an indication that you have thoroughly grasped all the concepts of project management. Being proficient in a particular project management methodology is a vital addition to your skill set.
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