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All You Need To Know About Project Management

Team

Over the years we at Eylean have written a substantial amount of articles about project management, teams and tasks, time tracking and various other topics. However, you might have just joined us recently and instead of scrolling through should be able to find everything in one place. This is exactly what that is – your Eylean guide into the world of project management.

Leadership

First things first – no project could go ahead without a great leader. But what does it actually mean? Should you be strict or lenient, control the team in every step or let it find its own way? We get deeper into these topics with - The Many Hats of a Project Manager: Daily Struggles and Solutions and Becoming A True Agile Leader.

Team

Sorting out your team is often the next tough job you have to face a PM. So check out 5 Ways Of Getting There With Your Team to see how to motivate your employees and get them on the same page towards the goal. If you have started employing a younger generation but struggle to understand their ways Millennials In Your Team will be worth a while. Lastly the cautionary tale Amazon: The Story Of Productivity Taken Too Far should help you draw a nice line between team motivation and overworking them.

time track

Time tracking

One of the most controversial PM topics is still time tracking. Some say it is imperative in order to monitor and project, others see it as invasive and as putting unnecessary pressure on the team. Find out Why do most time tracking attempts fail within the first few months? and Learn efficient time tracking in 1 day to approach the practice in the right way if you decide to move forward.

 

Customers

While it is plain simple, that customers are the key to any business, sometimes it is easy to forget or overlook their wishes in the midst of a busy project. This thought piece should help you remember to Keep Your Customers Close.

Tools

No matter which industry you’re in, having the right tools can have a dramatic effect not only on your effectivity, but also on the work environment. So if you are in the market for one, check out Finding The Best Project Management Tool and 5 Tools to Head Start Your Project. For those already using Team Foundation Server, Top 5 TFS Plugins: Project Management will be a great asset.

top-methods

Stats

No project management article would be done without some numbers, so here are some of ours for your keen eyes.

Fun

Thought we would end with numbers? No, we at Eylean always try to end with some fun, so here are 5 lessons kids will teach you about project management.

Enjoy!

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WaterScrumFall – What Lies Beneath A Complicated Name

waterThere is no question that Agile is one of the top project management approaches these days and even littler question of it going away anytime soon. However, as more and more people start adopting the iterative practices, more innovations and modifications of them start to appear. Agile methods are being mixed together, redefined, scaled and in this particular case joined together with a completely different school of thought.

WaterScrumFall aims to breach the gap between two worlds, but does it succeed?

To put it simply, the hybrid approach joins together the linear Waterfall and the circular Agile methods to find a happy medium and the best of both approaches called the WaterScrumFall. The name looks a little heavy at the first glance, but it absolutely makes sense with the way the method is set up. Waterfall approach is used at the beginning and ending stages of the project, while the Agile (usually Scrum) approach is sprang into action right in the middle. Therefore we have it Water – Scrum – Fall, depicting the way hybrid projects are run.

The division

This structure makes sense when you think about most of the corporations and the way they react to change. Most of the companies are reluctant to switch up processes at large, however they can be easily changed in small teams, especially in the operational level. WaterScrumFall takes advantage of that – the activities that require more budgeting, planning and are related to higher management positions remain with the waterfall approach, while the execution is switched to Agile.

Let’s say an average project is composed out of 5 stages – Study/Requirements, Design/Planning, Implementation, Verification/Testing and Release/Maintenance. The first two stages require quite a bit of knowledge and analysis to make sure the project runs smoothly and thus are completed by the upper and higher management. This makes a shift to Agile difficult and the stages remain in the Waterfall methodology. Next comes the build stage that requires teams to create the products based on the laid out plan. On this operational level, making changes is much easier, thus Scrum practices are introduced.  Lastly, the resulting products have to be tested and maintained, which requires developed processes and a good overall understanding. This once more makes Agile adoption a little more tricky and the waterfall practices are used instead.

waterscrumfall

This way WaterScrumFall uses both approaches in places where they are the most comfortable for the company. Starting with Scrum on the operational level allows teams to evaluate its value and scale it at the pace they feel comfortable with. Thus avoiding rejection and misconceptions within the organization.

Two opinions

There are two schools of thought when it comes as to why the hybrid approach is necessary, but both deal with the same issue – implementing Agile practices in large organizations. The first opinion group claims that WaterScrumFall should be used as a stepping stone for companies reluctant to adopt Agile organization wide right off the bat. It sees it as a good way to start implementing Agile on a small scale and then increase gradually. Others claim that while Agile is very beneficial in the production stages, large companies simply will not benefit from a full Agile transition. Thus the hybrid approach is a great way to get the best of both worlds and keep both methods at their most suitable stages.

Whichever opinion you support, WaterScrumFall is a great way to test out Agile practices in any Waterfall company and see whether it has any potential to increase the business results in a positive way. At the same time it does not completely disregards the positives of waterfall and allows you to enjoy both methods.

Similar school of thought has been used in mixing Agile with PRINCE2, which proved to be a great solution for some.  Therefore, as I always say – don’t be scared to break the rules of Agile it may bring you the best results.

 

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Eylean vs. Jira – When Less Is More

eylean-vs-jira-small

This week I am bringing you another comparison of Eylean Board versus an industry leader. While most would be apprehensive about choosing a smaller tool instead of an all incorporated solution like Jira, there are definitely benefits in doing so. The pricing being just a small part of that.

 

When talking about project management tools the key is always simplicity and usability. How quickly and easily can you track, monitor and control projects without being completely overwhelmed by the process. Therefore choosing your project tool should not be focused on popularity or the number of features it has, but instead on how many of those features are you planning to actually use.

In this sense, more is not necessarily better and a smaller tool can be a better fit for your team.

Jira is a full on corporate solution aimed to integrate various departments, functions and have the whole system in one place. So it is great for large corporations in need of having a single tool for the whole company. However, if you are only using it to manage a few projects, the user experience might be quite different with unnecessary functions, lags and a complicated process to do simple daily tasks.

Eylean Board on the other hand is a more particular solution created especially for project management purposes. It ensures you can perform tasks and oversee the process quickly and analyze any task or process in detail when there is a need to. Therefore for teams that just need to manage their projects it becomes a more attractive and a better option.

Before choosing any tool you should take time to understand the expectations you have. In many cases you will understand it is not about the size or the array of features, but about the actual fit.

Reed the full comparison of Eylean Board vs. Jira here.

eylean-vs-jira

 

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2016 In Review – Which PM Tools Did You Use

Header-statsWhile 2016 is over and we are well into the 2017 there is still one more thing to do before we completely move on. That is reflection upon how have you used Eylean Board in 2016, what trends did you follow and how will that likely change in the future. So before any further ado, let’s review!

5-marketsCountry Of Origin

2016 has only changed the top 5 of our customer markets a little bit. In the first place we have the United States with 24.70%, followed closely by European markets – Germany at 24.48% and United Kingdom at 24.17%. Since our international client base is increasing, our home court user base is getting relatively smaller with 16.43% and the fourth place, while the fifth place is taken by Denmark with 10.75%. It is clear that there has been some movement in the top 5 markets where Eylean Board is used, the trend of strong western markets remains for now.

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Eylean vs. Trello – 5 Ways The Big Player Looses

eylean-vs-trelloWhen it comes down to choosing a project management tool, we always search for the best, the most suitable for our projects and our working habits. Many of these searches come up with Trello as a possible answer at one point or another and many teams end up choosing the online project management platform as their tool. However, I strongly believe, that this is not the sole solution in all cases and therefore want to discuss five instances where Eylean Board actually comes out on top of the industry giant.

Ready? Let’s go.

eylean-vs-trello1

The first big difference between Eylean Board and Trello is how they are used. Eylean can only be used on premise, via a local or an Eylean server, while Trello is used online. Right from the get go it is clear that the two quite similar tools cater to two different customers. The ones always on the move and in need of data accessibility anywhere are the Trello customers, while the ones working in one place or concerned about their data security are the Eylean Board customers. So if you are concerned or restricted in the way you handle data, the offline tool might be a more attractive solution. In some cases, however, the customers do not really care about whether the tool is online or offline, so let’s see what other differences the two have.

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5 Eylean Board Features To Make Project Management Easy

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No matter if you have just started using Eylean Board or have been doing it for a while, it is always a good time to refresh the memory and improve the processes. That’s why this week I came up with a list of the 5 Eylean Board features that you may have forgotten or discarded, but may actually be able to benefit greatly from. So without any further ado lets dive in.

Custom Task Boards

Now, I am sure you are well aware of the possibility to create custom task boards within Eylean Board. However, did you know that you can modify the predesigned and the ones you are currently using as well? Simply hit ‘Configure’ at the top of the screen and add, delete and rearrange any columns or rows you wish. Just make sure that you remove all tasks from the column or row you wish to delete before and go ahead.

So if your process suddenly changes or the board structure does not satisfy you anymore, change it and keep on enjoying the best setup for your team!

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Finding The Best Project Management Tool

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Being active members of project management community we often encounter questions on what is the best project management software, how to find the perfect solution and what would best fit in one situation or another. And while sometimes a recommendation can lead to a gem in a sea of tools, more often it provides an option that is just okay, but not great. Therefore, it is important to realize that finding the perfect tool is a job you and your team will have to do on your own.

The good news is we are here to help guide you towards that perfect option and have some simple tips on how to get there.

1.       It is not a popularity contest

When looking for your next company tool, you will inevitably want to do research online, ask for opinions and statements from other teams that have tried it. And while this is all great, you should always take the opinion of others with a grain of salt. A tool may fit one company perfectly and be completely wrong for another. So before looking into the vast array of options online and trusting the most popular tool is the best, you should lay some groundwork first.

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5 Ways Of Getting There With Your Team

070516-N-1745W-001Last week I talked about the importance of getting to know your customers and collecting their feedback. This week, I want to bring the focus a little closer to home, to the employees. No matter how you slice it, your employees are the key in making everything happen. Without them there would simply be no company. However, we often forget that and observe a diminishing engagement and lack of morale. So what should you do to make sure your team stays as enthusiastic about the future as they were on day one? I am sure these tips will help put you on the right track.

  • Define the rules of the game

Before even talking about empowering and engaging employees, you should make sure that there are clear rules to define the processes. Not only that, but that you also take some time and talk these rules out with your team. Have an open discussion about the management practices and you will be surprised about the valuable feedback and insights that will be offered. This way, you will not only make sure they know the rules, but also have the team be part of their creation.
Genuine interest and open doors will put you ahead of the game.

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The Many Hats of a Project Manager: Daily Struggles and Solutions

many-hats

It is no secret, that project management is more than just following deadlines and overseeing work. No matter the size of the company, managers have to take on various roles to make sure their team reaches the desired result. This role juggling may be well known to the experienced project managers, but for those still ranking up their expertise, multiple hurdles await.

Check out our list of the most common project management daily struggles and their solutions.

  • The lack of motivation within the team

When managing a group of people all in pursuit of the same results, you will inevitably find yourself dealing with team members that seem to have lost their drive. It will put your project behind and influence the rest of the team in a negative way. When faced with such a situation, it is important to remember that it is your job, not to only create the plans for the future, but to also make sure the team is motivated to complete them.

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Agile Project Management in German Startups

German-startupsAfter looking into Lithuanian startups and their views on Agile we wanted to compare them with startups from other countries. This time we took on Germany and surveyed startups from various fields asking them what they knew about project management and agile.

While the two surveys yielded similar results in that Agile practices are well known and practiced, there were some key differences as well. Within Lithuanian startups Scrum and Kanban were used by an overall majority of Agile practitioners, while in German startups, they only racked up half of the votes, leaving more space for Scrumban and other methods.

Lithuanian and German startups also found disagreement in the positives and negatives of Agile. One party said that the practice increases team motivation, while other stated the opposite. Time planning, process control and result evaluation were also mentioned – see the full infographic to see how they compared.

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