Welcome to the August edition of our Business Performance eNews. We especially welcome you if you are one of our many new subscribers. In our last issue, we concluded our series on managing successful change. It is sometimes hard to appreciate just how important managing projects well is to our change efforts. Whether you are a change manager, department manager, team leader or specialist, getting projects done right is the only way you can implement significant change to your business or team.
We devote this issue to promoting these all important project management skills. Our feature article this month raises the critical questions you need to ask at the start of any project if your project is to meet its objectives. As you read the article, think deeply about which questions you need to ask throughout the life of your project. Your answers should surprise you.
In our last issue, we also heralded the imminent release of Project Master Version 3. We are now proud to announce that the new version of Project Master is here. In our endeavor to improve your customer experience, this month we also announce our new shopping cart. Find out more below. Plus, we introduce you to our negotiation expert, Peter Spence. Find out what Peter is up to in Meet Our Expert of the Month.
Seventeen "Must Ask" Questions for Planning Successful Projects
by Adele Sommers Ph. D.
Why do some projects proceed without a hitch, yet others flounder? One reason may be the type and quality of the questions people ask at the very start. Below are 17 insightful queries that can expose the uncertain aspects of your project, and thereby help you avoid expensive surprises later on.
- How Would You Describe Your Project?
Explain as expressively as possible the ultimate, "big picture" vision and purpose of your completed endeavor. How will it look, feel, taste, sound, perform, increase productivity, help your customers, or otherwise benefit human kind?
- What Are Your Goals and Objectives?
What are you trying to accomplish? List the project goals and objectives in terms that are clear, concise, achievable, and measurable. Example: "Produce a four-hour video training series on self-defense along with a training resource guide and database, to be accessible by college students on the Internet by May 2006."
- Who Will Benefit from Your Project?
Examples of audiences or beneficiaries include: Clients, customers, customers' customers, local communities, wildlife, students, and specific population segments.
- Will You Be Creating Any Products?
Examples include: Books, publications, studies, reports, manuals, video, audio, multimedia productions, tools, instructional materials, graphics, software and information systems, Web sites, databases, widgets, and special equipment.
- Will You Be Providing Any Services?
Examples include: Providing telephone support, business software training, day care, statistical analysis, copy editing, and customer satisfaction surveying.
- What Methods Will You Use?
For example, will you start by researching your audiences' needs? Will you use phases for design, development, implementation, pilot testing, and rollout?
- What Kind of Schedule Do You Anticipate?
Will your project or program involve an incremental implementation process that might occur over many months or years? If so, what long-term phases are you anticipating? Are there critical milestones within these phases? Can you create a detailed schedule for near-term tasks you will be performing?
17 "Must Ask" Questions.
Are you new to project management? Check out these resources:
Our down to earth A Guide to Project Management provides all the practical help you need in managing your projects. Whether you are new to project management or have some experience, you will find plenty of valuable tips and customizable templates for making your next project a success. Find out more about our A Guide to Project Management and download the free introductory chapter today.
Project Master Version 3.0 Is Here
This release sees many significant enhancements and added features. We wish to thank all of our beta testers who worked hard to guarantee the reliability and stability of this version and for putting all of the new features through some tough testing.
Whether you are about to manage your first project or you are a seasoned project manager, you will love how Project Master can help you deliver better projects. With Project Master, you can:
- create and manage your project schedule and task allocations
- automatically draw a schedule timeline (Gantt chart)
- monitor and report on your project costs
- manage your project changes, risks and issues all in one place
- produce and distribute a range of automated schedule and budget reports
- create schedule and budget charts and a one-page summary report
Our latest version brings you the New Project Wizard, reports displayed in your local currency and the ability to easily import and export your project data, plus much more. To find out what else is new in Project Master, visit the Project Master update page. If you are a current user of Project Master, visit the free upgrade page to find out how to get the latest version at no cost to you.
Buy Project Master now.
New Shopping Cart
We are also pleased to announce our new partnership with ecommerce retailer, FastSpring. FastSpring are leaders in shopping cart order processing and strictly adhere to industry security standards. With our streamlined FastSpring shopping cart, it will be even easier for you to buy from our store. And your purchase will be backed up by responsive and professional customer support.
We've also made it easier to buy one of our products for a friend our colleague. Look for the Give Gift link next to the Buy Now button. For more guidance on purchasing options, visit our How to Buy section. You can also find answers to many purchasing questions on our Purchasing FAQ page.
Download our August Catalogue for the latest product updates and purchasing guide.
Meet Our Expert of the Month - Peter Spence
This month, we proudly feature Peter Spence. Peter is an expert negotiator, consultant and trainer with over 18 years' experience in negotiation practice and mediation. He has prepared and delivered negotiation skills training to company Executives, CEOs, Directors, finance and medical professionals and has facilitated a number of strategic planning sessions. Peter describes his approach as "working from a position of mutual trust and respect for all parties in a dispute." Contact us today to find out more about how Peter Spence can help you.
Meet the other members of our expert team of professional consultants, trainers, facilitators and coaches. Whether you need help with your current issues or a future project, our experts are ready to assist you in a variety of specialized fields.
Get your daily online management and training tips. Follow us on Twitter and become a Business Performance Fan on Facebook to get your regular dose of sage advice and information tips to help you become more productive.
Visit our web site at
www.BusinessPerform.com for lots of expert guidance and practical tools designed to help you get ahead of your competition. Also, be sure to pass this newsletter on to friends and colleagues who want to stay up with what's on. From all of us here on the Business Performance team, we wish you a productive month and look forward to communicating with you again soon.
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