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Mini Course: Master Project Proposals for The Digital Project Manager

You will be asked to contribute to or write a proposal as a PM. What are the steps?

Galen will show you how to create an impactful proposal that has a strong foundation. He will use win themes, make thoughtful decisions about format, structure, creating tension, and involve your team of SMEs, all while keeping one voice.

You’ll feel confident and ready to write a strong proposal for your project after this mini-course.

What you’ll learn

How to create and effectively use win themes
How to structure your proposal to maximize impact
How to use tension to motivate your audience
How to include contributing SMEs without sacrificing consistency
How and when to disrupt the selection process to your benefit

Resources

Opportunity Qualification Scorecard (.xlsx).
Proposal Coverage Checklist (.xlsx).
Win Themes and SWOT Canvas (.pptx).
Example of a Short-form Proposal (.pdf).

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Mini Course: Master Plan – The Digital Project Manager

Let me tell you something about project planning. You don’t have to know everything in order to start. Iterations are a great way to build a high-fidelity project plan.

This mini-course will show you how to create a project plan that is both practical, based on real information, realistic, and that is within your team’s capabilities.

The best part? The best part? You can manage your project in manageable stages with less stress and more chaos.

This mini-course will leave you feeling confident and ready to plan your next project.

What you’ll learn

How to quickly sketch a project timeline
How to create a timeline for a high-fidelity project
How to optimize your project plans
How to save time with your project plan
How to manage project planning challenges
Walkthroughs of project plans for agile and waterfall projects

Resources

Project Plan Checklist (.pdf)
Timeline for Landing Page Project Agile (.mpp).
Timeline for Landing Page Project Agile (.xml).
Landing Page Project Timeline Waterfall (.mpp)
Landing Page Project Timeline Waterfall (.xml)
Timeline for Website Redesign (.mpp).
Timeline for Website Redesign (.xml).

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Mini Course: Master Project Kickoffs in 30 Minutes – Digital Project Manager

This mini-course will help you get started on your new projects.

With Ben Aston, The DPM founder, you’ll learn how plan and lead great kickoffs. He will also give you time-saving tips to launch projects like a pro over the next year.

Resources

Master Project Kickoffs Workshop Handbook (.pdf).
Project Kickoff Preparation Checklist Handout.pdf
Email Invitation Handout for Kickoff Meeting (.pdf).
Rules of Client Engagement Handbook (.pdf).
Handout for Kickoff Meeting Exercises (.pdf).

Internal Kickoff Meeting Agenda Template (.docx)
Internal Kickoff Meeting Agenda Sample (.docx)
Client Kickoff Meeting Agenda Template (.docx)
Client Kickoff Meeting Agenda Sample (.docx)

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Mini Course: Master Project Estimates, The Digital Project Manager

Most PMs have had to deal with budget constraints at some point in their careers. This course will teach you how to ensure that your next project budget doesn’t go stale.

Ben will guide you through the steps to create accurate estimates and understand different pricing models, so that you can optimize your project budget while keeping it in control.

What you’ll learn

How to use different engagement models in your projects
How to use the appropriate estimating techniques
How to create a budget and estimate for a project
How to optimize your project budget and cut costs
How to deal with estimating challenges
Walkthroughs of project estimates

Resources

Project Estimates Checklist (.pdf)
Estimate (Complex) Template (.xslx)
Estimate (Complex) Sample (.xslx)

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Mini Course: Master Project Communication – The Digital Project Manager

I will share some tips that will help you communicate better about your projects.

You can do most of these things right away. These communication hacks are easy to do. These communication hacks are easy to implement. However, they require a shift of mindset. This will make a huge difference in the quality and quantity of your client relationships.

This mini-course will make you feel confident and equipped to communicate effectively in order to build strong relationships and foster a positive work environment.

What you’ll learn

How to communicate effectively
How to create a communication toolkit
How to create a communications plan
How to use a communication plan
How to deal with communications challenges

Resources

Communication Plan Template (.docx)
Contact Report Template (.docx).
RACI Template (.xlsx).
RAID Log Template (.xlsx)
Status Report Template (.docx).

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The Unconventional Guide for Project Risk Management

Two million dollars were at stake.
Campton College wanted to upgrade their call accounting system that was in place since the 1990s. The new system would manage all accounting information for their medical school, including billing, tuition, and expenses. It wasn’t easy to switch to a new product. To assess the potential risks and threats that could arise from switching bank information, they hired a risk assessment team. The college could be liable for $2 million, according to them.
Jean Scheid, Bright Hub Project Management, stated that the risk assessment team was able identify 14 different risks and provide solutions to those risks. This reduced the forecasted 249% risk to only 54.3%. The college was able reduce the risk percentage through secure processes and introduced a new system.
The college was able slowly to transfer their assets and was able protect their information from malicious attacks.
It would be so easy for project managers to manage their risk management processes smoothly.

But they can! They can!
Info-Tech Research Group found that organizations that use a formalized approach to risk management are 53% more likely than those who use an “ad hoc” approach to management.
Below are the steps that every business must take to reduce project risk.
1. Identify your pain points

There have never been projects without risk. Examples include project delays or failures due to budget overruns, leakage of sensitive information, improperly assigning tasks, and improperly assigning work. Risk management is all about identifying potential risks.
Project Management Times is a great resource for identifying common risks. These include:
Before you start the project, make sure to identify the risks that are most likely to occur and the most likely to have a negative impact on the project.
2. Assess the severity of each risk

Next, risk management involves identifying the potential risks that could affect the project. This chart is used by many government IT programs (this particular example was taken from an Old Dominion University document).

When assessing your risk, make sure you consider the following:Naturally, every project management office will have its own classification, but breaking down risk levels helps determine how much time each project should be given. Your risks should be categorized according to their probability and potential impact. You should balance quantitative and qualitative measures of risk using hard numbers such as cost, resources, labor, and time. Reach out to your stakeholders and use project management software for help identifying hidden problems.
3. Plan contingency and mitigation strategies

Once all the possible risks have been identified and documented, create contingency plans. This will reduce stress when a negative event occurs. Each possible risk should be addressed. Project managers should assess the likelihood and severity of each risk. Then, they should create a plan to prevent the most severe risks. The Office of the Assistant Secretary to Preparedness and Response has provided some examples of mitigation strategies:
More?
This is just a small overview of the ways project managers can plan for and manage risk. I’m sure there are many more. What can you do? What did you miss? Please share your thoughts with us!
Are you looking for Project Management software? Capterra’s top-rated Project Management software solutions are listed.

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4 Amazing HIPAA-Compliant Project Management Software Products

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, is a nightmare for many medical project managers. HIPAA describes what qualifies a person for “guaranteed issue”, a process in which insurance companies can’t refuse certain clients due to pre-existing conditions.
More importantly for project managers, HIPAA also outlines the standards for keeping health care information secure and the standards for electronic billing and other processes–regardless of if the patient is updating their Facebook and Twitter feed with all the details of their ailments.

HIPAA standards are important for medical project managers, even if they don’t want it. It enforces regulations that protect patients’ healthcare information. It has a significant impact on how project managers set-up their data centers and how they share that data.
TrueVault, a HIPAA-compliance software company, notes that HIPAA compliance is not an easy process. However, there are only four obstacles project managers must overcome in order to be compliant.
Software for Project Management Software that is HIPAA-Compliant
HIPAA compliance is obviously a bigger issue than how one interacts software or how software interacts patient information. Therefore, no software solution can make your medical facility HIPAA-compliant. There are however, some project management software features that can help. These include:
These requirements mean that there is no project management software specifically for HIPAA “covered entities.”
1. Intuit QuickBase

Intuit QuickBase can be a great choice for established healthcare providers and medical facilities. Intuit QuickBase offers many traditional project management features, such as task delegation, reporting, and communication among team members. However, it can also be paired to Intuit’s HIPAA Admin, Physical, and Technical Assessment app, which assists medical businesses in managing their processes to comply with compliance standards.
Price: Prices start at $15 per user per Month; prices vary depending on how many users are enrolled and what features they choose.
Have you used Intuit QuickBase before? Leave a review
2. Redbooth

Redbooth On Premise is a highly secure system that medical directors have used over the years. Some may be familiar with Redbooth under its former name, Teambox. Redbooth On-Premise is a great choice for larger medical firms, according to Ken Coburn, CEO and Medical Director at Health Quality Partners.
Price: Variable. $150 per month for a group of 10.
Have you used Redbooth? Leave a review
3. Projectplace

Security, security, security. Projectplace is an ISO-27001 certified service. It also has a Norton secure seal, and was awarded the Qualys Secure seal. This means that no one will be able to hack into the project information system. Projectplace, which uses a simple Kanban system to facilitate communication between stake holders and team members, is especially effective. Individual users can set their own restrictions and sign-ons to limit access to secure files if they are concerned about security.
Price: Variable; starts from $29 per user per month.
Have you used Projectplace? Leave a review
4. TenRox

TenRox, a cloud-based software, is well-known for its amazing reporting features. It is also certified by AICPA and ISO-27001 for security, making it an international leader in secure data. TenRox is a powerful toolbox for project management that can be used by large medical facilities. It can do everything from budgeting to expense tracking to risk assessment.
Price: Not open

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Gantt Charts: A Guide for Project Managers

Did you know that 57% of projects fail because of a “breakdown in communications?” Want a gorgeous visual representation of your project’s progress that can help alleviate a host of communications-related issues that could derail your project?
Gantt charts are your welcome.

Gantt charts are bar graphs that show how much work is needed in specific time periods. These charts are used to visualise a project’s schedule.
Histories

Although the Gantt chart was first created in Poland by Karol Adamiecki, in the early 20th century it was named after Henry Gantt, an American engineer who popularized the chart in the West. Colonel John T. Thompson, the inventor of the Thompson submachine gun was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in 1918 for his “exceptionally meritorious” and conspicuous services in the design and production small arms. He also wrote Henry Gantt a note acknowledging the Gantt chart’s role in his success, “A large part of this reward for the accomplishment a great war task, is due to H.L Gantt or his assistants.” My compass was the Gantt general control and production chart.
Over time, professionals modified the Gantt chart to what we use today. Despite being frequently called upon to manage large construction projects (such the Hoover Dam), Gantt charts were quickly adapted to all industries, especially those that have deadlines, shifts and complex production processes.
How does it work?
Gantt Chart for Vermont Teddy Bear: An Introduction to Business, Karen Collins
Gantt charts visually show what tasks must be completed at which point in the project to make it move forward. A Gantt chart is useless without well-thought-out information. Project managers must identify the essential tasks of the project. What is required to make the project “finished”?
Next, project managers must determine how tasks relate to one another. Tasks can be either sequential (each task must be completed before the next one starts) or parallel (each task can run simultaneously). Project managers should schedule as many parallel tasks possible to optimize delivery times.
Draw your charts. Make sure to create an x-axis that includes dates and a task order y-axis. The final product should look similar to descending stairs.
Are there tools that can help you create Gantt charts.

Gantt charts can be drawn manually by busy project managers. There are many project management software options available that can help project managers create, share, and organize Gantt charts among their teams. These are four options that project managers should consider when using Gantt charts for organizing their projects.
These four options were chosen for their Gantt functionality. With all four of them it is clear that Gantt was not an add-on but a cornerstone in product development. These four options represent the full range of Gantt project management software, from enterprise systems to open-source and free.
Microsoft Project

Microsoft Office says that the Gantt Chart view is the most popular view in Microsoft Office Project 2007. This popular tool provides a Gantt chart wizard to assist new project managers in creating their charts. Microsoft Project is a robust program that can be scaled to any size company. These Microsoft Project alternatives may be a good choice if you are looking for software solutions that offer similar features.
Gantter
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Get free project management software Gantter is a cloud-based project management software that integrates with many Google apps, including Google Drive. Gantter does not offer many features, including collaboration. This app is best used for charting purposes. Looking for products

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How technical project managers can deal with non-technical customers

IT project managers are the translators for the business world.
They can speak both code and business, and use their knowledge of both to help both sides of an organization communicate.

Sometimes, being a translator for your company can be the most frustrating aspect of a project manager’s job.
The problem.
Jason Cohen provides a great analogy for technical communication with non-technical customers. It’s like a doctor explaining the complications of a disease to a patient. He writes:
There is nothing you can do because this field requires years of education and real-world experience. The complexities and context of the field are difficult to convey to even intelligent laymen.
Trust your doctor.
Although it won’t improve your relationship with your customer by sharing this analogy, it can help you to see the severity of the situation. It doesn’t matter how much you explain, or how desperately you wish your customer had the same technical knowledge and experience, sometimes your customer won’t “get it.”
These tips are intended to help you communicate effectively with your non-technical peers. While it won’t magically make them understand technical processes and procedures, these tips will help project managers to keep the scope and completion criteria under control while still adhering with business drivers.
Use existing project management processes.

Many people in the tech industry have switched to Agile because it’s easier and more efficient. Although Waterfall methodology is easy to understand, it doesn’t account for knowledge issues at the beginning of any project. The right method can improve communication between you, your customer, and yourself.
Scrum is a form Agile that emphasizes the “inspect and adjust” feedback loop. The product owner must have a vision of the final product and be able to refine it as the project progresses. He or she must act as a barrier between the technical team members and the stakeholders. Product owners are more successful with customers if they focus on the “what,” rather than the “how”. Listen more than you talk and think about the ideas for the final product.
via Scrum Alliance
The product owner should “own” communication between the technical team and stakeholders. Scrum is a process that allows you to limit communication to one point. You don’t want your entire tech team trying to interpret vague “whats” from customers.
It’s important to note that sometimes sticking to process 100% can be burdensome. Capterra relies 80% on Agile. However, Agile requires flexibility. If there is more than one person communicating between our technical team and our business development team, we don’t insist on sticking to process.
Avoid task limbo

The problem with Agile methodology is that there are so many variables at play, it’s easy for tasks to slip into limbo. I refer to a situation where the project manager has not decided whether the team should move forward with a task. This is likely because she or he hasn’t confirmed that the product manager or stakeholders want it.
Projects can be ruined by limbo. Key product features are lost without cause, adjustments that should have taken place earlier in the project are delayed until the last minute, and new requirements are added to the project.
There are two ways to avoid this problem. The first is to force your project management team or stakeholders to make a decision: do or don’t do. This should be done for every project task or requirement.

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Risk Management Strategies for Successful Project Execution

You’ll be better prepared to manage unexpected risks when you have a risk management strategy.
Imagine a new opportunity for a project. Gather your team and create a plan to complete the project by the deadline. You do everything you can to achieve the client’s project vision, from allocating resources to assigning goals to project team members.
After a few weeks, however, your project is halted for a while because of unavoidable circumstances. This is something that no one could have foreseen. Do you find this risk daunting? You’re not the only one!
Although project managers try to avoid unanticipated risks, many still face them. Every project is subject to some risk, no matter how hard you try. Project risk management can be difficult and unexpected risks can strike at any time. Don’t blame yourself. Instead, prepare for them in advance so that your project plans don’t fail.
This article will discuss four risk management strategies that can increase the chances of your project succeeding. Let’s first understand the basics of risk management strategies, and why they are important.
What is a risk management strategy?
A risk management strategy is a proactive approach to identifying, assessing and responding to potential risks that could impact the project’s completion timeline. This involves reviewing and updating the risk assessment regularly based on new information and actions.
You must be a project manager and know how to manage risks effectively. An enterprise risk management plan is needed to identify, evaluate and control risks. You can create mitigation plans to reduce the potential impact of risks by closely monitoring them.
Implementing strategic risk management techniques will ensure that a project is on track and succeeds. Many businesses seek project managers who are able to manage project risks when they hire. Capterra’s 2021 Project Management User Survey found that 52% of project managers believe managing project risks is an important part of their job performance. It is also included in their annual review. (See the methodology of the survey here.
When is it appropriate to include risk management strategies in your plans?
Project management involves planning, execution, monitoring, control, and closure. Experts recommend that risk management methods be included in the initial stages of project planning (i.e., planning), as there is still time to adjust and fine-tune. This allows for a more proactive response to any potential risks.
You must understand, however, that not all risk management strategies can be implemented in the initial stages of a project due to the complexity of the components involved.
Below are some factors that will help you choose the right time to use each risk management strategy.
1Risk avoidance
It is a plan that prevents any potential risks from happening in the first place. Risk avoidance plans typically include changing the scope or timeline of a project or hiring more staff to manage problems. This strategy reduces the risk of significant risks occurring during the project tenure.
Why not include risk avoidance?
Prevention is always better than treatment. You can reduce the risk of project failures by anticipating them and creating contingency plans to mitigate them.
It is cheaper and more time-efficient to address risks before they become serious problems that cause damage. You can reduce the chance of project delays by anticipating and creating plans to address them.
When should you include risk avoidance?