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How to get technophobes into the online groove: project management tools

Ah, Seth Godin. If you're involved with marketing, branding, or life online, his blog is required reading. Seth has a very inspiring, no-nonsense way to think and express ideas.

In an interview he gave for the Spark 97 podcast, he was talking about how to get from living life offline to getting on the bandwagon and become present online. His point of view was quite interesting: being online is now required. Period. No ifs. No buts.

Then he said this: "Online project management tools force people to use the tools. Because
if you don’t, then you don’t know how to do your part of the project."

The challenge of moving to a collaborative project management system is also its strength

If you and your team choose to use an online project management system like AceProject, be prepared for the culture switch. The team goes from depending on the project management to know what they need to do, to sharing the responsibility of communicating with the rest of the team. Project […]

By |2010-01-11T13:52:00-05:002010-01-11|

Sharing the burden of project updates with your team: why collaborative project management tools are a time-saver and team-builder.

There are two schools of thought with project management tools: project management OR collaboration.

Why should project teams have two tools, one for project management and one for collaboration? Shouldn’t both these uses be united in one tool?

Project management is not about secrecy, quite the contrary. It’s about sharing information with everyone who needs it. Project management is about getting your team to work together to achieve results.

When using a collaborative project management system, you not only share information on the project with the team, your stakeholders and even your clients, you also get to share the burden to updating project information with your team. Instead of the project manager being the only one updating task statuses and entering time sheet data, it’s everyone in the team who does. The project manager simply double-checks and approves the updates.

Not only does it save tremendous amounts of time, it also empowers the team. It gives the team members responsibility towards the project, beyond their assigned work.

By |2009-05-29T14:42:00-04:002009-05-29|

Something can always be changed…but should it?

Seth Godin has a very insightful post about ignoring your critics.

I agree with him.

From a sales standpoint, critics are everywhere. People who are shopping for project management software often have a very definite set of features they would like to see in their tool. And when they are faced with the reality of an actual project management system, which cannot possibly include all the features everyone ever wanted, they may say something like “I would definitely buy AceProject is it did X.”

The problem is, if we added every feature asked during the sales process, AceProject would be a mess. It would have so many features, it would be unusable. And no one would want to buy it.

So, we need to balance what we choose to add to AceProject. If it keeps coming back (like task dependencies being too hard to use), we should do it. If it’s been asked only once, we’ll wait.

By |2009-04-03T12:04:00-04:002009-04-03|

How much is your time worth?

I just watched this nice video on how to trick Excel into making a Gantt chart.

It’s not that the process seems difficult, it’s just very time consuming:

  1. Create your task list, with start dates, durations and end dates.
  2. Create a stacked bar chart form this data.
  3. Modify your bar chart to make the start dates invisible.
  4. Modify your bar chart to make the tasks appear in the correct order (in ascending order of start date).
  5. Modify your bar chart legends so the right date range is used.
  6. Modify your bar chart axis divisions so that you can easily see if some tasks overlap.

My brain hurts.

I imagine there is a way to create templates to speed up the creation of the Gantt chart, but it still seems like twisting Excel into doing something it wasn’t designed to do in the first place. I understand that since pretty much everyone has Excel already installed on their computers, it seems like this process gives Gantt charts to project managers, for free.

Here’s the problem: your time is not free.

Think about it: how […]

By |2009-03-30T12:23:00-04:002009-03-30|

Teaching project management with AceProject

Last month, Melinda Cline gave a presentation about using AceProject to teach her students about management information systems and project management systems.

Here are her conclusions:

“Using AceProject, students have an effective tool to increase their understanding of planning, organizing, controlling, and monitoring projects in a global environment.  It is a cost effective way for instructors of project management and other IT management topics to introduce students to project management software without having to buy Microsoft Project licenses, which may be very expensive.  It also has the advantage of being a web based tool with 24/7 access by students and instructors.”

You can download her PowerPoint presentation here.

By |2008-12-10T15:56:00-05:002008-12-10|

Sales and marketing in the same person is good

I’m in charge of both sales and marketing at Websystems. This is highly irregular: at most companies, sales and marketing are kept separate.

However, in a small company like us, it makes more sense to have one person do both sales and marketing. Since our business is online, I can do live demos and write a press release in the same day. I like to keep contact with our potential customers, because it keeps me connected to what people are looking for in a project management system.

It’s very important for marketers to know what their audience is looking for. And it’s very important for the sales team to understand well how marketing wants to present the product.

At Websystems, having both sales and marketing in the same person is beneficial. I get good contact with the market, and I can align my campaigns with current and upcoming trends.

By |2008-12-01T18:48:00-05:002008-12-01|
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