5 TED Talks Every Project Manager Should Watch

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One of the growing resources for leadership and virtually any topic imaginable over the last few years have been the popular TED Talks. From discussions on technology, innovation, leadership, and much more, these talks have been inspiring and informing audiences for years now.

If you are in a leadership position, some of these TED Talks should be must see videos for you. If you are looking to become a better leader and inspire and motivate those working with you, here are five TED Talks that you need to check out.

Yves Morieux: As work gets more complex, 6 rules to simplify

An innovative management consultant, Morieux discusses in this incredibly popular talk how there are two different pillars of management and how you as a manager, can begin to work more fluidly and efficiently. These two pillars discussed by Morieux are described as hard and soft. The hard pillar of management is defined by structure, processes, systems, etc. while the soft pillar is more focused on feelings, interpersonal relationships, traits, and more. You can check out more on these pillars and see all of his rules to simplify your work in the full talk here.

Kare Anderson: Be an opportunity maker

As a person in a position of leadership, people will be looking to you for direction no matter what project you are working on. In this talk by Kare Anderson, she discusses how those in these kinds of position have a responsibility to create opportunities for both themselves and others around them. Check out the full talk here on how you can become a successful opportunity maker.

Simon Sinek: Why good leaders make you feel safe

A wonderful talk from author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek, he discusses where good leaders come from and why they make us feel better about our lives and careers. Sinek speaks about how important it is for us as leaders to build trust within our companies and agencies as it will begin to inspire better work from one another. The more fearless and selfless of a leader you are, the better results you will obtain. Take a look at this fantastic talk in its entirety here.

Fields Wicker-Miurin: Learning from leadership’s missing manual

Leadership has always been a popular topic of discussion for many people around the world as we have all been searching for that trick or advantage to be a better leader. In this wonderful talk from Fields Wicker-Miurin, she discusses how being a leader doesn’t come from reading a self help book, but by simply taking initiative and doing something. The term “actions speak louder than words” could not be more true Wicker-Muirin’s definition of quality leadership.

Stanley McChrystal: Listen, learn… then lead

A fantastic speech from a former paratrooper of over 30 years, this talk discusses how leadership is about learning first, and then teaching those underneath you. If you try and teach without not understanding fully what you are talking about, the results will not be ideal. By listening to others and learning as much as you can, you can lead others much more efficiently. You can see this entire talk right here.

Our Favorite Developer Blogs (That Aren’t Strictly for Developers)

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There are a plethora of work blogs out there that cover a multitude of different aspects of the work force. These are some of our favorites.

WorkAwesome

Many people dread work for the long hours and unrewarding tasks involved. The folks at WorkAwesome though, believe that the better you work, the better your life can be outside of the office.

These blog articles discuss everything from early retirement to setting up more remote working for employees. If it will boost morale and create more quality work, WorkAwesome will cover it in their outstanding blog.

Simple Programmer

For any programmer of any skill level, Simple Programmer is by far one of the most useful and versatile blogs out there today. With a passion for making the complex seem simple and breaking things down to a basic level, anyone can learn and master computer programming in not time.

Everything from helpful video blogs on how to get a programming job to audio podcasts on learning simple coding are available on this outstanding site to help you get to the next level of your programming journey and become even better.

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A unique digital magazine that blends both development and pop culture, the Branding Muse was founded in 2011 and was even named as one of Forbes Top 100 Websites for Your Career.

In addition to an outstanding digital magazine, the Branding Muse also has a wildly popular blog page that focuses on helping individuals brand and market themselves in the 21st century. From celebrity stylists entrepreneur stories to tips on how to take your personal brand to the next level, you can find all this and more on the Branding Muse blog.

Scott Hanselman

An outstanding resource from well respected programmer, teacher, and speaker Scott Hanselman, this site provides everything from blog posts, Youtube podcasts, and a weekly talk show covering an array of different topics.

Scott’s ultimate goal through his site is to provide help for developers looking to improve their skills as a whole and prepare for and master new tech upgrades. Some of his more recent blog updates include getting ready for the upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8.

Hacker Chick

Another fantastic site for those looking to learn more about technology and development, this site is run by Abby Fichtner, a developer who has been named both an Innovation Amplifier by the Boston Globe and in the Top 25 Women in Boston Tech.

Hacker Chick provides great insight and interaction on all sorts of topics such as technology, inspiration, and community. Her goals are to push the edge, change the world, and foster innovation; something she attempts to accomplish under each one of the blog topics. You can learn more about all the fantastic things Hacker Chick is doing right here.

5 Reasons You Will Hate a Job in Project Management

1JUNEhpma206The world of project management has grown exponentially over the past several years, and many enjoy working in this evolving position. It should be known though, that this job is not everything that it is cracked up to be in some cases. Just like any position your will ever hold in your lifetime, there are always things that you will dislike or even hate about your job.

Unfortunately, project management falls right into this category as well. If you are considering getting into this field, there are several things you should be aware of before starting your journey. If you are already a project manager, you may be able to relate to some of these reasons.

You Hate Solving Problems

Some people are geniuses when it comes to solving problems and working things out. Others though, can really struggle with this element of working on a job and it can hinder their progress while also creating some kind of hatred for their job.

A project manager will be faced with problems and issues constantly and in each step and phase of a project. From a team member not getting an assignment done on time, to software hiccups, you will hit these speed bumps along the way. Whether it is big or small, you will have to take these challenges head on with your team. If you feel like you’re not up to this task on a regular basis, you may not enjoy this position too much.

You Hate Being Recognized For a Job Well Done

When a project manager successfully accomplishes a task and carries it out with perfection, they are sure to be recognized as a team leader and for the quality of their work. Be prepared to be praised and acknowledged for your successes, as the client will appreciate your effort. If you don’t enjoy being the center of attention or being placed on a pedestal, sorry, this position isn’t going to be ideal for you.

You Hate Continuously Learning2JUNEhpma206

The field of project management is constantly evolving and changing by the minute, which means you have to be ready to adapt and adjust on the fly. Constantly consuming new information and learning about new trends and practices is the best way to become a quality project manager. For the person who doesn’t want to expand on your knowledge of your field, this job is not for you.

You Hate Team Work

We all hated group projects in college. Well, consider project management a giant group project that carries far more weight than any 200 level class presentation. As a project manager, you will have to direct a team and constantly monitor their progress to make sure everything is being accomplished in a timely manner for your client. If you prefer to go it alone and work solo, don’t get into the project management field.

You Hate Having Independence and Freedom In Your Job

A large majority of jobs in the world have a very strict structure and chain of command when it comes to passing down orders. Project managers though, are the bosses and have total freedom to accomplish their tasks as long as it meets the goals and needs of a client. Freedom and independence are cornerstones of the project management profession, but if you prefer to be told what to do and have tight guidelines, you should avoid this line of work.

Waterfall vs Agile: What’s Best for My Team?

1JUNEhpma205For years, waterfall project management has been the strategy that project management professionals have relied on for software and accomplishing tasks. In the past several years however, newer methods have risen in success including agile, SCRUM, and hybrid models. These alternative strategies offer more flexibility for the project manager, which leads to less stress and higher quality work in the long run.

Waterfall, Agile, Scrum, Hybrid…

The world of project management is an ever evolving and progressing one. With this change comes new terms, techniques, and strategies for you to become familiar with and master. One of the more common project management strategies is waterfall project management. The traditional form, this strategy simply moves step by step and can’t progress until that step has been completed. More new age styles include agile, which consists of developing software piece by piece to release it at different stages. You can learn about these and other methods such as SCRUM and the hybrid model in this article from Rusty Thompson.

What is the Difference Between Waterfall and Agile?

Those who have been in the project management profession for years know that waterfall project management is the traditional method to developing software. Piece by piece, you need each step to be accomplished before the next one is added. Once each is done, the project can be completed. Agile on the other hand, is piece by piece in that each segment can be released to work on its own, as new chunks are added as they are complete, as discussed in this article from techcitynews.com.

Unicycle Man and LightbulbNew Research Turns the Agile vs. Waterfall Debate on its Head

While waterfall project management may be the traditional and more common method, it is also a strategy that is being phased out for newer and more innovative styles. A 2014 report discussed in this article from itproportal.com talks about the growing popularity of agile compared to the dying method of waterfall. The reports states that apps developed for agile had a much higher quality of code over those that combined the agile and waterfall methods. You can learn more about these projects in the article here.

Why You Are Failing With Waterfall – Consider Agile and SCRUM

The waterfall system in project management has been the go-to for years now. Recently however, it has fallen by the wayside for more innovative and advanced methods that are more ideal for adapting to the changing landscape. One of these popular new alternatives is the agile method. Of the many benefits this process has, some of them include adaptability, improved team collaboration, continuous working software, and project visibility through the entire process. With all these beneficial reasons, it is no wonder this strategy is becoming more and more popular.

5 Factors to Consider Before Taking the PMP Exam

stack of booksThe growing world of project management is constantly adding to its extended network of professionals each day. While anyone can get into this field, there are certain qualifications out there that will help you be more successful in this task. One of the biggest questions many project managers have to ask themselves at some point in their career is if they should go through the process of becoming PMP (Project Management Professional) certified. There are many pros and cons to taking this exam, as well as many aspects to take into account. From finances, time, benefits, and more, there is a lot to think over before just taking the exam.

Time is arguably the biggest factor in the world of project management, and it is important to account for how much time you have on your hands when you are considering getting your project management professional certification. A professional certification certainly does make your resume look far more impressive and can really boost your skill set and ability to get a job. In order to obtain it however, real world experience will take you a very long way.

Close up of people writing with pencilsFor measurement, if you have a four year degree along with three or more years of project management, 4500 hours of leading and directing projects, as well as 35 hours of project management education, you can qualify to take the PMP certification exam. If your eduction is lacking and only have a high school diploma or associates degree, you will need five or more years of experience, combined with 7500 hours of directing and leading projects as well as the 35 hours of project management education.

Another thing to take into account is what kinds of funds are you working with when going for your project management certification. You can often find PMP exam courses that are designed to prepare you for the course and meed your education requirements in just a couple of months. These classes can cost up to $4000 in some cases however, making them a potentially costly investment.

If you do decide to get your certification, the truth of the matter is that it will make you are far more attractive candidate to potential employers when you are searching for a job. While experience can outweigh education in many cases, the education that led to you getting your certification will get you and interview many times over someone who did not have as extensive of a background as you. In situations, a PMP alone is enough to get you a higher salary at your job or at a new position. A 2011 survey showed project managers with a certification were earning almost $14,000 more a year compared to those who were without the certification. With so many benefits, investing in this certification can give your career a real boost.

How Much Information Should You Give Your Clients?

Corporate Guy with Magnifying GlassIn the professional world, keeping your client informed and in the loop is crucial to their satisfaction in the long run. From start to finish, your client will constantly want to be in the know of what is going on with each step of the project and what progress is looking like. There are several reasons why you should keep them informed and what exactly you should keep them informed about. There can be a fine line between too much and too little information, and finding that happy medium is key to your success and their satisfaction with your work.

When you pay for something, you want to know you are getting the best product possible for your money. The same goes for your client and their happiness with the product they are receiving from you. Keeping the client informed from start to finish and letting them know when you accomplish both small and large goals in the process is a great way to keep them happy and know their money is being spent the right way. If they don’t know what you are doing with your time and how far along the project is in development, they can become very skeptical and not trust what you are doing.

2JUNEhmpa130No matter what kind of project you are working on, there will always be those few clients that are overly involved and want to know every last detail of a project’s progress. If you initiate this discussion and give them regular updates, you can control the flow of information and likely get them asking fewer and fewer questions as they will instead just be waiting for the usual updates. The more information you offer up on a volunteer basis, the less they will hassle you for information during your process.

At times when you are working on a project, the client will have situations where they would like to make some changes to the finished product. If you consistently keep contact  and communicate well with them, the better chance you have of avoiding some costly mistake. By keeping contact and knowing what they want, you can keep all changes they want happening so you don’t miss something that was requested two weeks ago due to you not touching base.

Another great way to keep the client in the loop and satisfied is to educate them on the process right from the get go. If you can teach them a little bit about what exactly you are doing, they can know what to look for on similar projects in the future, as well as appreciate the attention to care and details that you demonstrate.

Each project is different as far as success goes, but if you follow some of these tips and tricks, you can always keep your client as satisfied as possible.

The Benefits of Working Remotely

Woman watching a laptop in a restaurantThe workplace of the 21st century is a constantly changing environment that provides the employee with a plethora of different opportunities for growth and improvement. With less office space available for newer companies today as well as the many new tech start ups where all work is done online, the trend of working remotely has grown exponentially. While some employers may be against this method of having their employees work remotely due to not being able to monitor them as closely, there are many benefits to allowing this that may outweigh the negatives.

One of the best reasons to allow remote working for your company is the overall well being of your employees in the long run. Studies have shown that a worker that is allowed to do their job remotely is generally less stressed out than the employee that is coming into the office five or six days out of the week to get their job done. By giving them a little more freedom and a longer leash, employees will enjoy their place of employment much more which will usually lead to better quality work.

Working by the poolThese days, companies are always looking at how to save a little money here and there. Allowing remote work for your employees can save you a great deal of money on office space and in office resources for said employees. With less rent due to a smaller space plus fewer computers, you can bring in more profits in the long run for your business.

For a digital company in the 21st century, keeping employees engaged and knowledgeable in the world is key to success. By allowing remote working, no two employees will be working on the exact same time table, which will allow them to be online and plugged in a different times of the day, which in turn exposes them to different content and broadens the horizons for your company.

By allowing remote work, you are instantly going to attract the best and brightest talent who are looking to work in your field. A company that helps cater to the needs of employees and offers outstanding perks and benefits like working from outside the office will automatically make your place of business a very desirable and highly sought after place to work. You should have no problem bringing in fantastic talent when you need it.

These are just a few of the many reasons to implement remote work for your business, but it is clear that the positives can be very beneficial in the long run.

Maximize Productivity by Conquering Distractions

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No matter what field you are working in, productivity is arguably the most important part to being successful. In the 21st century, it seems as though procrastination is the king of how we get our work done, which only leads to more stressed out employees and employers, and can even equate to sub-optimal work. Unfortunately, we tend to fall in a rut of procrastination and it can be a very difficult one to get out of. So how do become more productive and get more work done? Here are a few helpful tips and tricks to get your on the right track to a more productive workflow.

Working smarter and getting your day moving in a more positive direction is a great way to be more productive in your work day. In today’s working world, we tend to be consumed by a multitude of tasks at once and tend to bounce around from one to another, which can actually slow down the amount of work we get done on each. Instead, set up a specific time where you focus on one single task and that one only. By putting all of your energy into this one without thinking of your other duties, you will be able to produce higher quality work, and likely finish it faster than you would then working on in in spurts.

Businessman with multi tasking and multi skillAnother great way to improve your productivity is by planning your day better, and handling it the night before. Even at the end of the day, set up a schedule for the following workday and consider breaking it up in to segmented time slots so you know what to expect the next day when you get in. By giving yourself an allotted amount of time, you can focus all of your energy into it at once and create better results.

With the involvement of technology in our lives today, it can be difficult to stay on task without being distracted easily. From our phones, tablets, even if your company communicates via Skype inside your office, there are plethora of different outlets calling for our attention that can draw us away from our work and put us under the gun in the end. Conquering these distractions is essential to being successful in your work life, and doing whatever you can to put them out of your way is key to good productivity. Consider putting your phone or tablet on airplane mode when working on an important task to cut down on the urge to look. You can also turn off notifications on your Skype so you are not distracting by the constant ringing of a new message.

Concentration in the 21st century can be difficult with so many elements that can distract us so easily, but if you follow some of these tips, you can easily become more productive.

How to Hire Your First Freelance Developer

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These days, it can often be much simpler and much more affordable to hire a freelance developer, rather than hire a new full time employee for your firm or agency when tackling a new project. From the ability to manage them on a closer level without any long term commitments, as well as being able to save a little money, the freelance option makes sense a large majority of the time. While there are many positives to this alternative hiring route, there are still many things to be aware of when hiring the right one, and making an informed decision is very important. If you are hiring a freelance developer, here are a few tips and tricks to finding the perfect one for you and your project.

asian man sleeping on couchWhen it comes to hiring a freelance developer for your project, the old saying “you get what you pay for” couldn’t be truer than it is here. More than likely, you have a very specific project to accomplish that has very defined goals and regulations along the way. The more you pay, in many cases, the better experience you will likely receive in the long run.

It is also important to be aware of different methods of payment you can decide between when hiring a freelance developer. The two typical options are either hourly pay or a fixed price. With hourly pay, you may save some money, but you might also get some poor work for your money. On the other hand, fixed price will usually cost more for better work, but a bad experience will leave a sour taste in your mouth, as you still have to pay that one price.

As with any task in the workplace, communication is the biggest key to success when working on a project. When working with a freelance developer, communication is even more important than usual. Specifically defining your project and telling the freelance developer what the exact parameters are of a project is directly defined with the quality of work you will receive and the overall success of the project itself.  By specifically defining your project outline, you open your hiring pool up to more freelancers to choose from. A vaguely defined project, and you will need a highly informed freelancer, which can cost you more money. From quality control to saving you money, better communication is key.

Follow some of these simple tips and tricks, and you will be able to find the perfect freelance developer to accomplish your project.

Have We Blacklisted the Secret to Success?

Grunge colorful texture vintage backgroundIn the business world over the last few years, it seems as though hard work has begun to receive a bad rap. If you are working hard, you are labeled as a workaholic and told you need to get out more and get a life outside of your job. If you are truly dedicated to accomplishing your goals and becoming successful in whatever your field is, then hard work should be applauded and even encouraged. While hard work is looked down on in the 21st century of immediacy, that work ethic is exactly what will set yourself apart from the competition and get you ahead even soon than you ever imagined.

In today’s world, hard work is criminalized and unappreciated. Changing the view on this is best way to reach your goals and is truly the key to success. The earlier you are able to develop a strong work ethic that you can commit to on a consistent routine, the more successful you will be and the more often that success will find you. The world seems to be focused on “working smarter” instead of working harder, but working hard is the smart move in the long run as you will gain a huge competitive advantage on your opponents in your field.

If you are just starting out as an entrepreneur, hard work is even more important in your path to success as the early stages will be defined by your level of work ethic and the decisions you make to set the tone for your future. One of the best things you can do is to either have a team or at least a support group around you that is just as dedicated to your success and believes in your hard work as they can support, encourage, and keep you accountable each step of the way.

Being smart with your money is another important thing that will come from you working hard. Managing your expenses properly and working hard to always be spending it on what you need, not necessarily what you want, will seem like a very difficult task at first, but will pay off huge dividends in the long run. The harder you work in all aspects of your career, the quicker success will find you and the greater that success will be.

Do you believe in the hard work ethic? What strategies do you implement in your career to make sure you are working hard to get a step ahead of the competition? Let us know in the comments!