One of the most important aspects of a PMs job is to actively and proactively manage conflicts as they can easily delay or derail a project. During a training session, to the question of "State the causes of conflict in a project", 35 answers were provided. The top reasons were poor communication, project cost, lack of leadership & confused requirements. Below is an infographic displaying the responses.
These days, we hear the term SEO a lot. So what is SEO? Well, it stands for Search Engine Optimization. In other words, what can you do to be noticed by the leading search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. and be in the top of their published results. Once a user performs a search, they rarely go beyond the 3rd or 4th page seeking the information they need even if there are a thousand pages that are part of the search result. So, everybody wants to be listed on those 3-4 pages and if possible the first page because that is where the most hits happen. SEO is the process of understanding and gaming the system. Below are a few videos which will hopefully help explain the term and its implications better.
A blog combined with twitter & tumblr can be a great marketing resource for a small business. Once you create create compelling content, these services can help you get great visibility. I have heard & read a lot about the power of Wordpress, Blogger, etc. They are all good, no doubt, but from a pure beginners perspective where the goal is just to publish a customized blog in the simplest possible way, I have found that Weebly (www.weebly.com) is one of the best in its simplicity. Once I had my content organized, I was able to put together a website of 6 pages in 2-3 hrs. It is very intuitive, easy to understand and wholly drag & drop. Creating a blog is even simpler, as the template is pretty ready made and you just to start writing. Adding videos & pictures is a breeze as well. If you do need help in any aspects of your business or online marketing, feel free to email me email@example.com or call me at 443-422-3463.
*I have no referral dealings with Weebly.com. I just like the application.
Here is a great resource for creating a blog. Hope it helps.
Root cause analysis is always a challenge, especially on a challenging and large project, hence the below article on www.method123.com I found very useful. Below is the entire article.
Managing issues is an important part of project management. Sometimes when you try to resolve a problem, you find that what you thought was a root cause is really a related symptom, not the actual cause of the problem itself. Consider the following example.
Root Cause Analysis
A plant manager walks past the assembly line and notices a puddle of water on the floor. Knowing that the water is a safety hazard, he asks the supervisor to have someone get a mop and clean up the puddle. The plant manager is proud of himself for “fixing” a potential safety problem.
The supervisor, however, is suspicious. He is not sure why the puddle is there. It wasn’t there yesterday. He wonders what caused the puddle to be there today. Therefore, he looks for a root cause by asking ‘why?’ He discovers that the water puddle is caused by a leak in an overhead pipe. He asks ‘why’ again, and discovers that the pipe is leaking because the water pressure is set too high. He asks ‘why?’ again and discovers that the water pressure valve is faulty. He asks ‘why?’ again, and does not get a further answer. The faulty valve is the root cause of the problem. So, the valve is replaced, which solves the symptom of water on the factory floor.
Root cause analysis is a way to identify the ultimate cause of a problem. In the example above, there were many opportunities for solving the wrong problem.
However, these solutions would ultimately be wasteful and would not have solved the problem since they only addressed symptoms – not the problem itself.
Root cause analysis is usually accomplished by asking a series of ‘why’ questions. Just as the example above illustrates, you ask yourself ‘why’ a problem exists. Then you come up with one or more causes. For each of these causes, ask ‘why’ again. If you can answer that question again, then the first answer is probably a symptom brought on by the more fundamental cause. Continue to ask ‘why’ for each answer until you can no longer generate a logical response. This last answer is likely to be a root cause and is what generates the observed symptoms. You may discover more than one root cause through this analysis.
When you have identified the root cause(s), put an action plan in place to solve the problem. The symptoms should go away as well.
Not every problem has a root cause and root cause analysis is not the right problem-solving technique for all problems. But if you think that there is one underlying cause to your problem, root cause analysis may be the technique for you.
Demise of the Business Card as we know it??
As an Entrepreneur, Consultant & Business coach, I wear various hats in my work life. Some of the various activities that I do overlap, like as a Coach & Consultant but my role as a start-up has no direct connection to the other roles and I guess quite a few of us face the same scenario. I also attend quite a few networking events as these are important for my work. Having business cards is important for me and for quite some time, as my roles have increased, I have stressed about the right path to reconcile these various roles. I even considered having multiple cards or cramming all the information on one but both those were not very appealing. vCards have existed but they were nothing more than a collection of simple data. And then I discovered CardCloud (www.cardcloud.com) & Dooid (dooid.me) and voila, problem resolved. Having an email today, especially for a professional or business owner is nearly as ubiquitous as using credit / debit card while shopping. CardCloud, is very mobile-centric but also has a web presence, which I find very useful because I, personally finding working on a laptop much more easier than on creating something on a smart-phone. With CardCloud, one can create different business cards which can contain different company, contact and social media details. Now, one can have various cards for their various roles, easily available in the same space. You can upload your logo, picture and almost everything detail that a functional business card contains. When you are at a meeting, convention or conference and need to share your details, choose the profile that you want to share and simply email the information. The application records the details of the person who you shared the information with, when and where. If the person receiving the v-card has the application installed, they can see all the wonderful formatting you have done, else, it is a neatly organized vCard.
Dooid.me is quite different but performs a similar function. This application is more like your personal website with all your details, including social profiles organized in one place. You can choose your own background ala twitter and can also create a bio of yourself and upload a resume if you need to. The webpage is mobile optimized which renders beautifully in an android or iOS mobile device. You cannot have multiple profiles under one page but can choose to select what you want to share with someone. There are a lot of details that a user can make password protected and choose to share on a as needed basis.
I found both of these apps very useful. I tried a few others but did not find them as user friendly or feature rich as these two. That is my personal opinion. I am aware of RFID embedded b-Cards which are more durable and wi-fi enabled so that you can keep those cards (your contacts) updated of any changes that may happen in the future but as I have not personally tested them out, I cannot comment on their usefulness. But from the web apps that I have been using, I feel, that we are seeing the demise of the physical business card as we know it. So, for me, for the time being, GOODBYE physical b-Cards and HELLO feature rich V-Cards.
by Adam Gottlieb (www.frugalentrepreneur.com)
If you are a small business owner or a self-employed professional, and you are reading this post, then you’ve heard (probably numerous times over) that you should be including social media in some way in your marketing. For some of you, you are also hearing that social media should be used in your customer relations.
But beyond this vague knowledge, when it comes to the implementation, many of you are getting it wrong, and you may not realize just how much your social media efforts are actually cutting in to your income when they supposedly should be increasing it.
A Few Words About Where I am Coming From…
The idea for this post has actually been percolating for some time. It all started with a recentinterview I did about content marketing for small businesses working with limited resources. That got the wheels spinning. Then, I wrote a post a few weeks back about why some small businesses should not actively market themselves on location-based social media platforms. Finally, over the past week, I’ve been mulling over a book put together by Danny Iny over at Firepole Marketing called, Engagement from Scratch which offers a ton of insight about how business owners can build a loyal and engaged online audience (a big shout out to Ti Roberts who alerted me to this great free resource.)
I want to start off by saying that I have nothing against social media for business owners. On the contrary, I fully believe that with the right approach, businesses can use various social media platforms to increase sales, improve customer experience, and gain immensely valuable market feedback.
What I do have a problem with is the way these platforms are being thrown at small business owners as the holy grail of accomplishing all the things just mentioned above. And a holy grail social media is not.
Social Media Enhances; It Can’t Create Something From Nothing
There’s a great deal of social media hype out there- a lot of it baseless. I believe that many social media evangelists are playing on the vulnerabilities that small businesses tend to have, such as limited resources, limited experience, and limited reach.
There is also a physiological component here: many small business owners and self employed professionals don’t fully recognize the value that they have to offer their customers and thus are looking for ways to compensate, to add some extra appeal to their offerings. Social media savvy has somehow become this elusive stamp of competence and quality.
The result is that there is a literal movement of businesses and individuals who are going through a lot of hoops, spending a great deal of time and money, and many are technically making all the “right” moves on social media, yet they ultimately end up unsuccessful. For all the success stories out there, we just can’t push under the rug the thousands and thousands of individuals and small businesses and even big businesses, that were unsuccessful in their social media campaigns- regardless of the platform.
Where are they going wrong? The vast majority of the time, I’ve found that it’s a matter of perspective.
Social media at its core is a medium of communication and information sharing. It canenhance what already exists to build something greater, much like binoculars or a microscope can enhance your sight- it can extend your reach, improve your customer response time and effectiveness, help you learn about your customers, and market trends. But we have to get away from this Social Media God complex. Social media alone cannot do all these things and especially not for free. If you’re blind, don’t bother looking through a pair of binoculars…
It boggles my mind how this message can still be promoted.
To the extent that business use these platforms to merely amplify their message and reach, to the extent that they truly understand what works and what doesn’t in terms of marketing in our Internet-based world, and to the extent that they truly try to connect to their customers, to address the actual flesh and blood people behind those social media accounts, online purchases, and survey responses, to that extent they will be successful.
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www.frugalentrepreneur.com has posts and links to some very economical or free resources that can help entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial PM's alike.
Below is a very interesting article that I found written Julie Anne Hoey (ww.projectmanage.com)
If you are a relatively new start up or entrepreneur, you don’t need to worry about implementing project management tactics to your processes yet, right? Wrong. The truth is it’s never too early in a small business to start incorporating project management tactics and methodologies into your workflow and structure…even if it’s just you.
When launching a start up, you’re probably in the process of learning a new product or service, or learning how to market it, promote it, etc. Therefore, implementing proper PM tactics are just as important as in any organization, regardless of how much time it has been around and established. In fact, proper project management techniques used in a new start up can be just as crucial.
Here are some areas where project management techniques have proven most beneficial for start ups:
Link to the article
Entrepreneurs & entrepreneurial PM's share many common traits and often have to do more with less hence any free resource is always a great resource. Below is part of the article and a link to the article from Shane Robinson in Forbes about this.
Skype – If you don’t know Skype by now, crawl out of your hole. Download it on your phone because it’s great for communicating over Wi-Fi and especially for communicating with international contractors when you don’t want long-distance charges.
Dropbox – Great to have on your phone for three reasons: 1) it allows you to access all your business files in the cloud right from your phone (great for meetings if you forget a presentation for example); 2) cloud storage across your phone and computer is a great way to back up all your files; 3) you can share all files in your Dropbox account with any recipient, without having to email them.
Genius Scan – I can’t tell you how much time I used to waste when I first started my business and had to find a Kinkos every time I needed to print, scan and fax documents. This app won’t let you print (obviously), but it will let you take a picture of any document, or string of documents, and then send it to your recipient as a single PDF file, the same way an office scanner would. Another 30-minute trip to Kinkos, or $200 expenditure on a scanner, saved.
Splashtop – Download this app, and you can actually get remote access to your computer, right from your phone.
Smartr – If you’re big on networking and want a good way to remember when you last kept in touch with someone, then this app is like the analytics for your address book. It’s also an all-in-one location to get calendar events and read email, Facebook messages and Tweets from your contacts as well.
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