Project Management in the WordPress Dashboard | wpmu.org


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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”