Project Management in the WordPress Dashboard | wpmu.org


by 
WordPress Tutorials, Themes, Plugins & More – WPMU.org

A good project management system lets you keep track of (and manage) projects within your organization. It lets you relate and assign tasks to contacts, set milestones and goals, and it provides an easy to use interface for messaging other members of your team.

Every organization has unique needs, which means no project management system is perfect for every situation, but the WP Project Manager plugin is a great place to start if you want to bring simple project management functionality into your WordPress Dashboard.

In this daily tip, we’ll give you a quick review of this new project management plugin and a few suggestions on how you can use it to add project management to WP.

WP Project Manager Organization

WP Project Manager is organized around 5 main tabs:
1. Activity
2. Messages
3. To Do List
4. Milestones
5. Files

The Activity screen shows all items posted to the project in the style of most social media streams. It’s a simple status update with links to the individual activity.

The Activity Tab in WP Project Manager shows all project updates system-wide.

Messages are where you post notes regarding the project. They can be related to project milestones, or aimed at specific users.

Messages tab is a graphical display of all project communications

The To Do List gives you the ability to create tasks related to your individual projects, which can also be assigned to specific users. Leer más “Project Management in the WordPress Dashboard | wpmu.org”

How To Reframe the RFP and Charge For Your Creative Expertise | by Jake Cook


Often clients don’t know what they want but they want to know how much it will cost.We’ve all had that sinking feeling when meeting with a prospective client. The work is interesting and right in your sweet spot. But they don’t know exactly what they want or even what the deliverables should be. After a few minutes, you realize that just getting a decent proposal together is going to take a serious investment of time to unravel their needs.

Our company’s search for a better way to respond to RFPs (aka Requests For Proposal) began after a long and arduous bidding process around building a community-based website. We invested 3-4 days of our time conducting meetings, white-boarding ideas, and writing up our recommendations. We pushed the client into an awkward discussion around budget. But, at the end, we delivered a proposal with a rock-solid roadmap for executing the project.What happened next changed how we pitch and has made all the difference in our business.

Instead of hiring us, the prospective client simply passed around our ideas and deliverables to every other vendor for competing bids. Those vendors, in turn, said, “You bet we can do that – and for less.” We didn’t get compensated for our time or our work, but our ideas were implemented.

Lesson learned?

Prospective clients in the creative fields frequently use the RFP process – albeit unintentionally – as a cost-effective way to get brainstorming, mock-ups, and prototypes for free.

So what now? >>>  Leer más “How To Reframe the RFP and Charge For Your Creative Expertise | by Jake Cook”

Successful Leaders Don’t Need to be Present by Stephan De Villiers


http://switchandshift.com

If you’ve not read Stephan’s writings then welcome. For 21st century leaders, the over dependence on managers to make decisions is a bottleneck to progress. Though it may keep change resistant managers happy, it leaves many dissatisfied. Stephan offers up some insights to move away from the staleness inherent in inflated importance. This is part one of two.

If Your People are not Thinking, You are Failing as a Leader

Meet Gary.  He is the leader of a small organization and a very “hands on” guy.  He makes a point of knowing about every single detail in the organization and gets involved in the detail 90% of the time.  He further prides himself in his problem solving abilities. He is the “go to guy” and likes the fact that people look up to him when they have a problem. He gets involved in all the decision making processes in the organization.  In his mind he plays a vital role in solving problems and making important decisions.  Gary is convinced he is a very effective leader and his contribution plays an important role in the success of the organization.

Making People Dependant

The sad truth is Gary is not a very effective leader.  The way he leads people creates a culture of dependence on him as leader in the organization.  This results in people not thinking anymore, becoming lazy to solving problems and losing confidence to make decisions on their own.  Through his behaviour Gary stifles the creative genius of the people he leads.  By not affording them the opportunity to think and come up with solutions to problems and challenges, he has made them dependant.

Gary is not only doing the organization a disservice, but himself as well.  By focussing so much on solving other people’s problems, he neglects development areas in his personal leadership, such as coaching and setting direction.  He spends most of his time involved in problem solving mode, stealing time he could have spent more productively.

Successful Leaders Don’t Need to be Present

Successful leadership means your followers don’t need you around for them to be productive.  They can operate without you.  Once you set the direction, they move on their own accord towards the goal.  This means as leader you can spend your time on motivating, coaching and course correcting.  A successful leader allows people to make their own decisions.  It means they must be able to face problems and come up with solutions, without involving the leader in the process of getting to the solution. To achieve this, people in the organization must think for themselves.

People need to be trained to think. It may sound strange, because doesn’t thinking come rather naturally? The truth is very few people actually learn to think in terms of problem solving. Thinking skills like lateral thinking, thinking out of the box and analytical thinking, unfortunately does not come without training.

As a leader it is your job to help people to develop these skills. At first it will take a lot of effort and will not be easy, especially if your organization has a culture of dependency. It will also take effort from your side, because you will have to trust people to come up with solutions and make the right decisions. You will have to deal with wrong decisions and mistakes as part of the growing pains.

Being available as coach to guide and give advice will become your primary function during this transition. The good news is there is a process you can follow to make it easier to train people in their thinking processes.

The Think Training Process… Leer más “Successful Leaders Don’t Need to be Present by Stephan De Villiers”

Proposal Writing

I work at a Web development company and we’ve experimented with proposal writing a lot over the years. We’ve seen the good and the bad, and we have found something better. In this article I will share the pains that we have experienced in the proposal writing process, the solution we adopted, and our process for carrying out that solution. I’ll also give you guidelines to help you know when this solution is and isn’t appropriate.

Proposal Writing Causes Pain
After several years of writing proposals, we began to notice that something wasn’t right. As we considered the problem we noticed varying levels of pain associated with the proposal writing process. We categorized those pains as follows:

The Rush
Getting a proposal done was usually about speed. We were racing against the clock and working hard to deliver the proposal as efficiently and as effectively as possible. However, sometimes corners would get cut. We’d reuse bits and pieces from older proposals, checking and double-checking for any references to the previous project. While the adrenaline helped, the rush gets old because you know that, deep down, it’s not your best work. Besides, you don’t even know if you’re going to close the deal, which leads to the next pain.

The Risk
Our proposal close ratio with clients that came directly to us was high. We’d work hard on the proposals and more often than not, we’d close the deal. The risk was still there, however, and I can think of several proposals that we had spent a lot of time and effort on for a deal that we didn’t get. Not getting the deal isn’t the problem — the problem is going in and investing time and energy in a thorough proposal without knowing if there is even the likelihood that you’re going to close the deal.
The Details
The difference between a project’s success and its failure is in the details. In proposal writing, the details are in the scope. What work is included, what is not, and how tight is the scope? Now, this is where the “rush” and the “risk” play their part. The rush typically causes us to spend less time on details and the “risk” says: “Why spell it all out and do the diligence when you might not even get the project?” A self-fulfilling prophecy, perhaps, but a legitimate concern nonetheless. Selling a project without making the details clear is asking for scope creep, and turns what started out as a great project into a learning experience that can last for years.
Now, writing is an important part of the project and I’m not about to say you shouldn’t write. Having a written document ensures that all parties involved are on the same page and completely clear on exactly what will be delivered and how it will be delivered. What I’m saying, though, is that you should stop writing proposals.


By  | http://www.smashingmagazine.com

After several grueling days I had finally finished the proposal. I sent it off and waited for a response. Nothing. After a few weeks, I discovered that they were “just looking”. Despite the urgency and aggressive timeline for the RFP (Request For Proposal) plus the fact that we had done business with this organization before, the project was a no-go. My days of effort were wasted. Not entirely, though, because the pain of that loss was enough to drive me to decide that it wouldn’t happen again.

I work at a Web development company and we’ve experimented with proposal writing a lot over the years. We’ve seen the good and the bad, and we have found something better. In this article I will share the pains that we have experienced in the proposal writing process, the solution we adopted, and our process for carrying out that solution. I’ll also give you guidelines to help you know when this solution is and isn’t appropriate.

Proposal Writing Causes Pain

After several years of writing proposals, we began to notice that something wasn’t right. As we considered the problem we noticed varying levels of pain associated with the proposal writing process. We categorized those pains as follows:

  • The Rush
    Getting a proposal done was usually about speed. We were racing against the clock and working hard to deliver the proposal as efficiently and as effectively as possible. However, sometimes corners would get cut. We’d reuse bits and pieces from older proposals, checking and double-checking for any references to the previous project. While the adrenaline helped, the rush gets old because you know that, deep down, it’s not your best work. Besides, you don’t even know if you’re going to close the deal, which leads to the next pain.
  • The Risk
    Our proposal close ratio with clients that came directly to us was high. We’d work hard on the proposals and more often than not, we’d close the deal. The risk was still there, however, and I can think of several proposals that we had spent a lot of time and effort on for a deal that we didn’t get. Not getting the deal isn’t the problem — the problem is going in and investing time and energy in a thorough proposal without knowing if there is even the likelihood that you’re going to close the deal.
  • The Details
    The difference between a project’s success and its failure is in the details. In proposal writing, the details are in the scope. What work is included, what is not, and how tight is the scope? Now, this is where the “rush” and the “risk” play their part. The rush typically causes us to spend less time on details and the “risk” says: “Why spell it all out and do the diligence when you might not even get the project?” A self-fulfilling prophecy, perhaps, but a legitimate concern nonetheless. Selling a project without making the details clear is asking for scope creep, and turns what started out as a great project into a learning experience that can last for years.

Now, writing is an important part of the project and I’m not about to say you shouldn’t write. Having a written document ensures that all parties involved are on the same page and completely clear on exactly what will be delivered and how it will be delivered. What I’m saying, though, is that you should stop writing proposals.

Write Evaluations, Not Proposals

Write Evaluations, Not Proposals — And Charge For Them… Leer más “Proposal Writing”

Lessons Learned Running a Small Business in 2011

As 2012 begins, I want to look back over the past year to see what can be learnt from it. Learning from your mistakes is less glamorous than a list of grand New Year’s Resolutions (Though I do like those too), but often more effective at ensuring the next year is even better than the last.

With that in mind, what follows are some of the lessons I have picked out from my own 2011. I would love to hear if these resonate with you.

When looking back at your own year, I’d encourage you not to look for when things went “wrong” as such, but simply to think of how things may have gone differently. That’s what I’ve done. If I were to go back, I may well do some of these things the same, but considering the alternatives is a great way to learn.


Small Business Working

As 2012 begins, I want to look back over the past year to see what can be learnt from it. Learning from your mistakes is less glamorous than a list of grand New Year’s Resolutions (Though I do like those too), but often more effective at ensuring the next year is even better than the last.

With that in mind, what follows are some of the lessons I have picked out from my own 2011. I would love to hear if these resonate with you.

When looking back at your own year, I’d encourage you not to look for when things went “wrong” as such, but simply to think of how things may have gone differently. That’s what I’ve done. If I were to go back, I may well do some of these things the same, but considering the alternatives is a great way to learn. Leer más “Lessons Learned Running a Small Business in 2011”

7 Common Project Management Problems (And How to Solve Them)

It doesn’t matter how talented you are, if you can’t manage your projects, then you will struggle to achieve success.

To help you avoid that undesirable outcome, here are seven project management problems that designers and developers often face, as well as how to deal with them when they arise.

1. Your Client Gives You Vague, Ever-changing Requirements

Fickle clients can be a huge hassle. If a client doesn’t know what they want until a certain stage is complete, then schedule those decision points into the project as milestones. It is important to have a clear path mapped out from start to finish because it forces the client to be specific with their requirements, as well as keeping the project on track.

Be clear at the outset about what your task is going to be on the project and how much leeway is available. If you will need to be compensated for big revisions or changes in direction, then set a clear outline about the number of adjustments you can make before you need to charge more. If you can, quantify these adjustments with a number; it makes it much easier to keep track of things.
2. Your Client is Slow with Communication

People are busy, but it’s tough for you to move forward on a project if you can never get answers from the person you’re working with.

The good news is that you will drastically increase your response rate if you do a little bit of work ahead of time. Instead of waiting for the back-and-forth discourse to finally take place, simply start moving in the direction that you think is best and then seek verification. This strategy makes it easy for your client to quickly say yes (or no).

Here is an example:


by James Clear
http://sixrevisions.com/project-management/7-common-project-management-problems-and-how-to-solve-them/

It doesn’t matter how talented you are, if you can’t manage your projects, then you will struggle to achieve success.

To help you avoid that undesirable outcome, here are seven project management problems that designers and developers often face, as well as how to deal with them when they arise.

1. Your Client Gives You Vague, Ever-changing Requirements

Fickle clients can be a huge hassle. If a client doesn’t know what they want until a certain stage is complete, then schedule those decision points into the project as milestones. It is important to have a clear path mapped out from start to finish because it forces the client to be specific with their requirements, as well as keeping the project on track.

Be clear at the outset about what your task is going to be on the project and how much leeway is available. If you will need to be compensated for big revisions or changes in direction, then set a clear outline about the number of adjustments you can make before you need to charge more. If you can, quantify these adjustments with a number; it makes it much easier to keep track of things.

2. Your Client is Slow with Communication

People are busy, but it’s tough for you to move forward on a project if you can never get answers from the person you’re working with.

The good news is that you will drastically increase your response rate if you do a little bit of work ahead of time. Instead of waiting for the back-and-forth discourse to finally take place, simply start moving in the direction that you think is best and then seek verification. This strategy makes it easy for your client to quickly say yes (or no).

Here is an example: Leer más “7 Common Project Management Problems (And How to Solve Them)”

Client vs. Designer: Four Lessons to Win the Battle

Sometimes, the client/designer relationship is like an age-old matchup reminiscent of Ali vs. Frazier. Eagles vs. Cowboys. Yankees vs. Red Sox. Except in this game, the battle isn’t on the playing field — it’s in the boardroom, on the telephone, in an email. And this isn’t a game reliant on physical strength or technique; it’s about wits, expertise and political posturing. And unfortunately, there’s one team that wins 99% of the time. You guessed it: the client.


by Phil Edelstein, Chris Fernandez
http://sixrevisions.com/project-management/client-vs-designer-four-lessons-to-win-the-battle/

Client vs. Designer: Four Lessons to Win the Battle

Sometimes, the client/designer relationship is like an age-old matchup reminiscent of Ali vs. Frazier. Eagles vs. Cowboys. Yankees vs. Red Sox. Except in this game, the battle isn’t on the playing field — it’s in the boardroom, on the telephone, in an email. And this isn’t a game reliant on physical strength or technique; it’s about wits, expertise and political posturing. And unfortunately, there’s one team that wins 99% of the time. You guessed it: the client.

Leer más “Client vs. Designer: Four Lessons to Win the Battle”

Charging Per Hour vs. Per Project

If you’re a corporate designer, you don’t have to worry about things like how to bill your clients, as you’re likely either on salary or have a predetermined hourly rate and regular work schedule.

But for freelancers, figuring out how best to charge clients for work completed can be a nightmare. After all, you want to charge clients a fair price, make a decent living, and get enough work so that you’re not struggling to find the next project.

In the world of web design, there are two basic ways most designers charge: per hour or per project. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method, and there are situations where one method works better than the other.

In this article, we’ve presented an overview of what’s involved in each method of charging, as well as what you need to consider when choosing a method.
Charging by the Hour

Charging an hourly rate is incredibly common in the world of freelancers, both for designers and other professionals.

It’s a pretty straight-forward way of charging. I just tell you I charge $X per hour and you either think that’s reasonable and agree to pay it or you don’t and you find someone who charges less.

Advantages to Charging by the Hour

As mentioned, hourly charges are very straight-forward. Some designers have a flat hourly rate regardless of the type of work they do. Others have different hourly rates for different functions (designing, coding, testing, etc.).

It’s easy to lay out for your clients exactly what you charge, and they often feel like it’s a more transparent way of doing business. It’s also a method clients are used to dealing with, as that’s likely how their lawyer, accountant, and other professionals also charge.


Written exclusively for WDD by Cameron Chapman.
http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2010/10/charging-per-hour-vs-per-project/

If you’re a corporate designer, you don’t have to worry about things like how to bill your clients, as you’re likely either on salary or have a predetermined hourly rate and regular work schedule.

But for freelancers, figuring out how best to charge clients for work completed can be a nightmare. After all, you want to charge clients a fair price, make a decent living, and get enough work so that you’re not struggling to find the next project.

In the world of web design, there are two basic ways most designers charge: per hour or per project. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method, and there are situations where one method works better than the other.

In this article, we’ve presented an overview of what’s involved in each method of charging, as well as what you need to consider when choosing a method.

Charging by the Hour

Charging an hourly rate is incredibly common in the world of freelancers, both for designers and other professionals.

It’s a pretty straight-forward way of charging. I just tell you I charge $X per hour and you either think that’s reasonable and agree to pay it or you don’t and you find someone who charges less.

 

Advantages to Charging by the Hour

As mentioned, hourly charges are very straight-forward. Some designers have a flat hourly rate regardless of the type of work they do. Others have different hourly rates for different functions (designing, coding, testing, etc.).

It’s easy to lay out for your clients exactly what you charge, and they often feel like it’s a more transparent way of doing business. It’s also a method clients are used to dealing with, as that’s likely how their lawyer, accountant, and other professionals also charge.

Leer más “Charging Per Hour vs. Per Project”

5 Tips for Handling Pricing Objections

One of the most difficult aspects of business for many freelancers is the pricing of projects. While some designers offer package-based pricing, most will have to provide a custom quote for every new client. Making an accurate estimate as to how much time will be required is often a challenge, but for many freelancers what is even more difficult is closing the sale and getting the client to commit by signing a contract and agreeing to the price.

By nature most designers are not interested in sales, but it is a necessary part of being a freelancer. Of course, the more demand you have for your services the easier it will be, and the less pressure you will have to land each potential client. But in reality most freelancers today are not in a position to lose out on projects if it can be avoided.

In this industry pricing objections from potential clients are relatively common. Maybe the client doesn’t have much knowledge or experience in the area and they have unrealistic expectations of what is involved in the process and how much work is required. Or maybe they have a friend or family member who claims they can get a website for much cheaper somewhere else. Whatever the case, freelance designers never enjoy dealing with pricing objections.

In this article we’ll look at a few key things that you can do when you are in a situation where a potential client is hesitating to move forward due to price. While there will always be some clients who expect a top notch website for a bargain basement price, most clients are very reasonable and effective communication can often lead to some way to come to an agreement.


Via
http://vandelaydesign.com/blog/business/pricing-objections/

One of the most difficult aspects of business for many freelancers is the pricing of projects. While some designers offer package-based pricing, most will have to provide a custom quote for every new client. Making an accurate estimate as to how much time will be required is often a challenge, but for many freelancers what is even more difficult is closing the sale and getting the client to commit by signing a contract and agreeing to the price.By nature most designers are not interested in sales, but it is a necessary part of being a freelancer. Of course, the more demand you have for your services the easier it will be, and the less pressure you will have to land each potential client. But in reality most freelancers today are not in a position to lose out on projects if it can be avoided.

In this industry pricing objections from potential clients are relatively common. Maybe the client doesn’t have much knowledge or experience in the area and they have unrealistic expectations of what is involved in the process and how much work is required. Or maybe they have a friend or family member who claims they can get a website for much cheaper somewhere else. Whatever the case, freelance designers never enjoy dealing with pricing objections.

In this article we’ll look at a few key things that you can do when you are in a situation where a potential client is hesitating to move forward due to price. While there will always be some clients who expect a top notch website for a bargain basement price, most clients are very reasonable and effective communication can often lead to some way to come to an agreement. Leer más “5 Tips for Handling Pricing Objections”

How Analog Rituals Can Amp Your Productivity

As a society, we are engaged in a constant pursuit to be more productive. For the most part, this is a good thing. We want to work smarter. We crave efficiency. Time is our most precious commodity, and productivity tools help us spend it more wisely. Over the past few years, I have observed all sorts of methods for productivity. One consistent surprise is the role of monotonous rituals and what could be described as “analog drudgery” among the especially productive. For such accomplished people, I am shocked by the apparent lack of efficiency in their daily routines.

At one point during my research for Making Ideas Happen, I interviewed Bob Greenberg, the legendary CEO of the digital agency R/GA. With high-flying clients like Nike and other household names, Greenberg is overseeing a tremendous number of heavyweight projects at any point in time. He’s a busy guy and he’s been leading his industry for decades.

One consistent surprise is the role of monotonous rituals and what could be described as ‘analog drudgery’ among the especially productive.

Despite his digital interests, Greenberg’s productivity tools are entirely analog. He uses a paper agenda with a series of lists written at the top that he writes every single day. In the morning, Greenberg will manually bump uncompleted tasks from the previous day to the current day. He also re-writes the names of key clients and other areas of focus; often transcribing the same names again and again, daily, for weeks if not months or years.


As a society, we are engaged in a constant pursuit to be more productive. For the most part, this is a good thing. We want to work smarter. We crave efficiency. Time is our most precious commodity, and productivity tools help us spend it more wisely. Over the past few years, I have observed all sorts of methods for productivity. One consistent surprise is the role of monotonous rituals and what could be described as “analog drudgery” among the especially productive. For such accomplished people, I am shocked by the apparent lack of efficiency in their daily routines.

At one point during my research for Making Ideas Happen, I interviewed Bob Greenberg, the legendary CEO of the digital agency R/GA. With high-flying clients like Nike and other household names, Greenberg is overseeing a tremendous number of heavyweight projects at any point in time. He’s a busy guy and he’s been leading his industry for decades.

One consistent surprise is the role of monotonous rituals and what could be described as ‘analog drudgery’ among the especially productive.

Despite his digital interests, Greenberg’s productivity tools are entirely analog. He uses a paper agenda with a series of lists written at the top that he writes every single day. In the morning, Greenberg will manually bump uncompleted tasks from the previous day to the current day. He also re-writes the names of key clients and other areas of focus; often transcribing the same names again and again, daily, for weeks if not months or years. Leer más “How Analog Rituals Can Amp Your Productivity”

Managing Your Client Schedule

Having lots of clients is the goal for any freelancer who’s serious about business. The money is always flowing, your clients are happy and you’re working hard to maintain your reputation. The problem though, is the fact you haven’t seen the outside of your office for weeks, you dream about the next email you’re going to send to your clients, and you’re constantly checking your phone for client replies when you’re supposed to be like, doing other things.

Being a busy freelancer is much better than being a bored freelancer, but like with everything, it comes with its own set of problems. How do you deal when you have several projects going on at one time, and several more potential projects in the works? Most importantly, how do you keep your sanity?


http://freelancefolder.com/managing-your-client-schedule/

Having lots of clients is the goal for any freelancer who’s serious about business. The money is always flowing, your clients are happy and you’re working hard to maintain your reputation. The problem though, is the fact you haven’t seen the outside of your office for weeks, you dream about the next email you’re going to send to your clients, and you’re constantly checking your phone for client replies when you’re supposed to be like, doing other things.

Being a busy freelancer is much better than being a bored freelancer, but like with everything, it comes with its own set of problems. How do you deal when you have several projects going on at one time, and several more potential projects in the works? Most importantly, how do you keep your sanity?

Learning To Schedule

Learning to schedule both your daily, weekly and monthly time slots is probably one of the most important business tasks you’ll ever need to do. It’s yet another skill you have to learn as you go along in day-to-day business. Mishandling this can cause late projects, late payments, no personal life–and the worst of all–angry clients.

Here are some tips that have helped me get a handle on scheduling: Leer más “Managing Your Client Schedule”

How to Get More Done and Have More Fun

Have you ever thought that by simply rearranging your daily tasks you could increase your productivity, get more done and enjoy yourself more? The biggest asset of freelancers worldwide is that they usually do what they love, and love what they do. But, what happens when you get stressed with deadlines, long working hours and lots of clients and you don’t have any more time for yourself, your family or your personal projects?

Most of you are probably organized to some extent. Most of you probably have a to-do list where you add tasks that need to be done and tick them off once they’re completed. However, have you ever thought that by simply rearranging that to-do list you can rediscover that working is fun, pleasant and enjoyable? By simply rearranging to-dos you can give yourself daily boosts.

How? You may ask. In this post, I’ll answer that question and show you how to get more from your work and more time for yourself.


//freelancefolder.com | Bogdan Pop

Have you ever thought that by simply rearranging your daily tasks you could increase your productivity, get more done and enjoy yourself more? The biggest asset of freelancers worldwide is that they usually do what they love, and love what they do. But, what happens when you get stressed with deadlines, long working hours and lots of clients and you don’t have any more time for yourself, your family or your personal projects?

Most of you are probably organized to some extent. Most of you probably have a to-do list where you add tasks that need to be done and tick them off once they’re completed. However, have you ever thought that by simply rearranging that to-do list you can rediscover that working is fun, pleasant and enjoyable? By simply rearranging to-dos you can give yourself daily boosts.

How? You may ask. In this post, I’ll answer that question and show you how to get more from your work and more time for yourself.

Leer más “How to Get More Done and Have More Fun”

10 Extremely Useful Time Management Tools

Web designers, especially freelancers, face the challenge of effectively managing their time while juggling a lot of different responsibilities. There are a number of online apps and tools that can help you to take control and make the most of your time. In this post we’ll look at 10 that may be able to help you. This includes calendars, to-do lists, time tracking, and project management tools. If you have a favorite please feel free to share in the comments.


//vandelaydesign.com/blog

Web designers
, especially freelancers, face the challenge of effectively managing their time while juggling a lot of different responsibilities. There are a number of online apps and tools that can help you to take control and make the most of your time. In this post we’ll look at 10 that may be able to help you. This includes calendars, to-do lists, time tracking, and project management tools. If you have a favorite please feel free to share in the comments. Leer más “10 Extremely Useful Time Management Tools”

7 Warning Signs Your “Big Idea” Is Going to Flop

By James Chartrand

Ever have a really great idea for a product?

You know, the kind of idea that leaves you slack-jawed and wide-eyed with wonder at the sheer potential of it all. You want to grab someone by the shoulders and explain the whole thing in a breathless rush, watching their eyes grow in wonder as they realize you’re going to be rich and famous. For the next few hours or even days, you find yourself revved up in high gear, eager to turn your big idea into reality.

Oh yeah. It’s an awesome feeling.

There’s only one problem: what comes up must go down, and sometimes big ideas do just that – they flop, hard. You could shrug it off and say that failure is really a learning experience, but wouldn’t you rather learn how to avoid those flops so you can save yourself time, money and heartache?

I know I would.

So here are seven warning signs your big idea is about to flop and seven ways to avoid landing with a splat:


Broken-Lightbulb

By James Chartrand | //blog.kissmetrics.com

Ever have a really great idea for a product?

You know, the kind of idea that leaves you slack-jawed and wide-eyed with wonder at the sheer potential of it all. You want to grab someone by the shoulders and explain the whole thing in a breathless rush, watching their eyes grow in wonder as they realize you’re going to be rich and famous. For the next few hours or even days, you find yourself revved up in high gear, eager to turn your big idea into reality.

Oh yeah. It’s an awesome feeling.

There’s only one problem: what comes up must go down, and sometimes big ideas do just that – they flop, hard. You could shrug it off and say that failure is really a learning experience, but wouldn’t you rather learn how to avoid those flops so you can save yourself time, money and heartache?

I know I would.

So here are seven warning signs your big idea is about to flop and seven ways to avoid landing with a splat: Leer más “7 Warning Signs Your “Big Idea” Is Going to Flop”

Fight The System: Battling Bureaucracy — Part 2


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Ensuring Approval

When working for a large organization, you constantly require the approval of others to move anything forward. If you want a budget for a new Web project, you need to get senior management to buy in. When you conceive an approach for a new design, it needs to go through marketing and the brand police. Sooner or later, everything you want to do on the website needs approval.

This approval process is often a nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be. Understanding a little about human behaviour (which you should already know) smoothens the way.

The first step is to identify key influencers.

Identify the Influencers

Every decision-making process has key influencers. Sometimes the influencer is obvious because only one individual gives approval. But it is usually more complex. Sometimes the person you are dealing with is not really the one with the power. In many cases someone else is, someone with whom you have had no contact. When dealing with committees, you will also learn quickly that not all committee members are equal. Some are senior, while others are simply more dominant or aggressive. The trick is to identify the key influencers.

But don’t assume that the key influencers are always the loudest or most senior. Sometimes it is those with the most connections or a close relationship with an executive. Identifying who can swing the decision in your favor can be tricky but is incredibly important.

SM8-20100805-171809 in Fight The System: Battling Bureaucracy — Part 2
A Web designer tries to identify who the real client is.

Once you have identified them, the next step is to get them on board. This means dealing with them directly rather than wasting your breath arguing in a committee…

Avoid Committees, Talk to Individuals

The committee is the scourge of larger organizations. They stifle anything but the most conservative of ideas, they move slowly, and they undermine decisive action. Unfortunately, committees are here to stay, and there is little point to fighting them. But there is more than one way to skin a cat and more than one way to run a committee. In fact, you can use one of the committee’s greatest weaknesses to your advantage.

One reason committees are so slow is because getting everyone in a room to make a decision is hard. In our case, this is a good thing. Instead of meeting the committee as a group, start meeting its members individually. Some of these meetings can be over the phone or quick chats. But with the key influencers, take the time to sit down face to face and properly discuss the project.

Meeting with committee members individually has two advantages. Leer más “Fight The System: Battling Bureaucracy — Part 2”