Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: project management

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to project management.

Why Software Projects Fail (and what you can do about it)

Why Software Projects Fail (and what you can do about it)IT professionals, project managers and software developers accept that failure is a natural part of innovation. In fact, a survey published a couple years ago by Geneca found that 75% of software projects will fail. That’s a high number!

While accepting failure is a natural part of a successful IT organization’s culture, leaders also have to be aware that some failure is preventable and comes with high costs. This is one reason they hire IT contractors — experts in their field that should minimize the risk on a project. As great as that is for your ability to hike your rate a bit, it also puts more pressure on you.

Thomas Smale, founder of FE International, recently published an article for Entrepreneur that discusses 6 common reasons a software project fails. Have a look to see if there are any ideas you can bring back to your client next time you’re called in to help make a project successful:

  1. Insufficient time to complete the project
    This is usually caused by companies having unrealistic and arbitrary deadlines because they’re in a rush to get the project completed. It is suggested to do enough planning upfront that will give developers all of the scope and parameters to work most efficiently.
  2. Inadequate planning
    Speaking of planning, that’s the second overall reason projects fail according to Smale. Lack of time, staff, resources and budget all can cause things to go wrong. He recommends senior management stay involved from start to finish so if inevitable change happens during the project, sign-off is quick, informed, and easy.
  3. Unclear project requirements
    Again, planning becomes a keyword, but this time, enough upfront conversation among all users so developers have a clear understanding about what they need to do.
  4. Too many people assigned to the project
    Logically, more help should speed things up, but Smale cautions that it can result in failure. On top of higher costs, there are more opportunities for misunderstandings, unclear communications, or inconsistent code.
  5. Lack of testing
    As time starts to slip (usually due to lack of planning), testing can be the first casualty, resulting in broken features, crashes or security breaches. It is instead suggested to test each component as it is completed throughout the entire development lifecycle.
  6. Failure to find a good project manager
    If you’re Project Manager, you have probably have experience entering into a broken project. This may be due to an incompetent consultant or because the company assigned the task to an internal person without the experience. It’s important to recognize the early signs of poor project management so it can be rectified before the project goes completely sideways.

As you read through the 6 points above, it should come as no surprise to you that failure to plan is a root cause of many software project disasters. Therefore, understanding a client’s plan (or if they have one at all) is always encouraged before a project begins and a quality question to ask your recruiter. What kind of software project failures have you seen?

Fix the Poor Attitudes and Negativity That are Destroying Your Project

Picture this — you just started a project with a client you’ve been looking to get into for years. The rate is fantastic, the contract is the perfect length, the work is exciting and the entire experience is going to look amazing on your resume. But when you meet your team for the first time, you quickly learn that it is a toxic mess filled with negative attitudes, childlike behaviour and terrible moods.

As this detailed infographic from Quill.com points out, there are a variety of behaviours and attitudes that can foster such an environment. Not only do they lower productivity, they destroy the morale in a team and drastically set a project back. Fortunately, the infographic also has some great ideas for both dealing with bad attitudes, and also preventing yourself from falling into the same trap.

Fix the Poor Attitudes and Negativity That are Destroying Your Project

What is a Gantt chart?

Love’em or hate’em, when a project has many tasks that need to be completed within a given timeline, using a Gantt chart is frequently the best way to stay organized, on track, and on time. Plus, it provides a superior visual for how long the project is going to take, understand bottlenecks and foresee potential problems.

Have you ever stopped for a second and thought “I wonder how the Gantt chart was created?” Probably not, but we’re going to tell you anyway! According to this infographic from Wrike, the Gantt chart was created in the early 1900s to manage batch production in machine shops. Today, IT contractors and project managers in all industries are using this handy tool.

What is a Gantt Chart? #infographic
Wrike Project Management Software

The Painful Truth of Progress Updates from People with No Idea

You probably recall previous TDC posts with comedy sketch videos titled “The Expert” from Lauris Beinerts. One was about being a subject matter expert and the other about working with clients. Now there is another take on office life in the form of progress meetings. It’s yet another look at how navigating through tech projects as an IT expert and working with your clients isn’t always the easiest thing.

Watch the video for a good laugh to end off your week!

10 Steps to a Successful Project Kick-Off

Much like a football kickoff, the project kickoff is the most important part of a project. The success of a football game stems from a productive kickoff. Similarly, as a project manager, the tone you set at the beginning of a project can make or break you.

But don’t worry because Wrike has you covered with 10 steps to a successful project. With these steps you can nail your kickoff and your team can start the project on a positive and motivated note.

10 Steps to a Kickass Project Kickoff: A Checklist for Project Managers (#Infographic)
Infographic brought to you by Wrike

The Top Online Project Management Tools

The Top Online Project Management ToolsEvery great professional, in any trade, requires tools to guarantee their work is done with as much efficiency and quality as possible. IT Project Managers are no exception to this rule and need to ensure they’re using the right tools.

Often, it is the client who makes the decision about which tools will be used; however, if your contract requires you to manage this piece, or they ask your opinion, it’s best to be prepared. For these situations, this article from FinancesOnline recommends you stick with cloud-based, online project management tools. While they understand every situation is different, the article lists five main advantages for sticking with online tools:

  • Unobstructed access to information
  • Facilitated onboarding
  • Focus on collaboration
  • Configuration
  • Affordability

If you’re sold on the idea, but unsure where to start, the article goes on to rank its 20 preferred online project management tools as follows:

  1. Wrike
  2. Asana
  3. Taskworld
  4. Basecamp
  5. Zoho Projects
  6. Smartsheet
  7. Nutcache
  8. Bitrix24
  9. Clarizen
  10. Trello
  11. Podio
  12. JIRA
  13. Teamwork
  14. ProWorkflow
  15. Easy Projects
  16. KanbanFlow
  17. dapulse
  18. Projectplace
  19. Mavenlink
  20. Taiga

Do you have a preference in project management tools? If so, please share it with our readers in the comments below. We’re eager to hear your reviews!

The Troubles of Ineffective Project Management

When the work is not getting done, many good projects can go bad causing a multitude of complications. There can be a number of reasons as to why projects take turn for the worse, although poor project management is often one of the main causes.

As bad project management can lead to some catastrophic outcomes, Taskworld wants to help you identify ineffective project managing by revealing all types of poor project management practices. With this infographic, you can learn all the details of bad project managing, and get some tips on how to improve your own managing skills to avoid future project failure. Take action today to stop project delay!

The Troubles of Ineffective Project Management [Infographic]

The Timeless Guide to Being a Project Manager

A lot can change in three years. The team you work with, the cell phone you use, and even the look of your favourite website have all probably transformed since 2014.

If you’re a Project Manager, you’ve almost definitely been at the forefront of big change in the last few years and experienced progress in both your projects and your duties. But, as much as there have been technological advancements and some new ways of thinking, this infographic proves that the basics of Project Management remain the same. It was published to the Smartsheet Blog a little over three years ago to kick-off 2014 and, as you look through it, you’ll notice that this guide to being a Project Manager is still very relevant today, and probably will be for many years to come.

The Timeless Guide to Being a Project Manager

Balancing Hard and Soft Skills in Project Management

In its simplest form, a Project Manager’s job is to ensure a project is completed successfully. In more complex terms, it includes managing countless aspects from people to budgets to timelines.

You don’t always need the title of Project Manager to be responsible for the completion of a project. Independent contractors are often brought into lead a specific task due to their niche skillset, and naturally end up taking on these responsibilities.

As the infographic below from Brandeis University shows, projects fail for any number of reasons. And, if you read further down, it implies that the root of these failures is lack of specific skills, both hard and soft. The infographic goes on to explain that most people excel at only one type of skill and need to work to develop the other.

Thankfully, this helpful infographic goes further to provide tips and tricks on how you can improve your hard and soft project management skills. If you’re in the profession, or a subject matter expert who gets pulled into leading projects, have a look and see how you can improve on your skills.

Discover Vancouver and Its Job Opportunities

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

The Insiders’ Guide to Moving to Vancouver… Plus a Tip to Find Work When You Get Here!

The truth about the Canadian economy is that while some regions may be booming in job opportunities, others continue to struggle. Even in those cities where careers thrive for one trade or skillset, an expert in another field may not be getting the same luck. If you’re considering a change in venue to find a new career opportunity, have you considered moving to Vancouver?

Is Vancouver the Right Place for You?

Downtown Vancouver Sunset
Downtown Vancouver Sunset” by Magnus Larsson is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

We all have our perspectives on what a city must be like, even when we’ve never set foot in it. Vancouver is one of those cities that evokes a lot of different feelings amongst Canadians. It gets its fair share of press, both negative and positive, which feeds into the stereotypes we all have. For example:

  • We’ve all heard of the “crazy” Vancouver housing market — it exists, but both the City and Province are taking steps to make renting in Vancouver or purchasing a house or condo more affordable.
  • The rain — there is a lot in the winter, but winter is soooo short!
  • The beauty of the city — oceans, mountains, parks… what’s not to like?

The truth is, if you want to live in a city with access to an endless selection of outdoor activities, a thriving arts and culture scene, more international restaurants featuring ethnic and sea food than you will find anywhere, great post-secondary schools, and an airport that gives you access to the entire Pacific Rim, Vancouver is it!

The Job Market and Opportunities in Vancouver

Vancouver has a thriving economy. Already considered one of the most livable cities in the world, businesses are flocking to the city in record numbers and that is driving a lot of opportunity. Companies like Google, AOL, SAP, Amazon to name a few, have decided that Vancouver is a great place to put down roots. Access to Engineering grads and a lifestyle which attracts potential employees from all over the globe has made the city increasingly attractive. And with this “boom” the spillover effect is that other areas of the economy have to respond to the need for increased services and infrastructure. And that leads to more and greater job opportunities, which is where we are at today.

An Inside Scoop on Project Management Jobs in Vancouver!

Eagle is one of Vancouver’s leading employment agencies and we offer a number of IT job opportunities, both contract and full-time. Today, we’re fortunate to be partnering with BC Clinical and Support Services Society (BCCSS) to assist them in hiring a large number of permanent employees with IT Project Management expertise, including Portfolio Managers, Infrastructure Project Managers and Project Manager Team Leads.

Not only is this one of the largest initiatives that I’ve ever been part of, but it has to be one of the largest in Vancouver’s history! And it is not just the volume of recruits needed. The opportunity to work in the health sector, delivering services to mission critical staff and systems in a challenging and dynamic environment, is a rare opportunity that does not come along often. Fantastic Benefits, Pension and other perks all add to the attractiveness of these roles.

So if you’ve been thinking about moving to Vancouver or always had a question in the back of your mind as to what would it be like to live there. Stop thinking about it and act… now is the time.   Feel free to leave your questions in the comments section below.