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Risk management within project management

It is a well-known fact that any project is risky to some extent, and that is why the benefits of risk management cannot be overrated. If you handle risk management in the right manner, you will be likely to minimize every risk that happens during the project period, thus saving the money and making all the stakeholders interested enough.

Unfortunately, not everybody knows how to implement risk management successfully. Here are some tips how to use risk management with maximum advantages.

1.    Try to get used to risk in your every day, and sometimes even include it on purpose in project management in order to be aware how to cope with it.
2.    Detect all potential risks of your project. Usually all the risks in a project are divided into two groups: those ones connected to people and those ones linked to documents. The best way out is attempting to foresee possible troubles and risks caused by any of them. This approach will help you to make the risks smaller as soon as they occur.
3.    Communication can be the solution to risks. Communication includes the discussion of the situations when risks happened and, sometimes, some kinds of risk management trainings for the future. Communication will help to prioritize the tasks, thus relieving the burden of risks.
4.     Do not forget about positive risks which are likely to speed any project and even motivate the team to worker harder and faster to finish it.
5.    Arrange those members of the team responsible for the risk. It is going to set strict responsibility of people for the work they do. In general, such policy will minimize risks in the future.
6.    Range the risks. Some of them turn out to be rather serious and need immediate consideration, but some of them can wait till certain time to handle them. This approach is to help you to make the number of losses caused by risks smaller.
7.    Feel the necessity to analyze every risk that you meet in order to get new experience about them for the future. The collected information will improve the next projects a lot.
8.    Register all the risks occurred. Such records will give you a hand in critical situations and will allow to save your energy and other resources for new projects.

These are the tips that can be used to work with risk management. But, bear in mind, that any process needs improvements and perfection, and that is why you can find some more your own tips to work with risk management.

Database monitoring keeps your business work stable

As soon as the company creates a website to promote their services, they also develop the required database to the site. When the database is made up, special attention should be paid to its security and stable work. That is why database monitoring is considered to be a necessity in terms of company durable success. The specially designed software will check every database activity and indicate any potential alert.

If we speak about the importance of database monitoring, we can say that ignoring the idea of database monitoring sooner or later will lead to huge losses, because of information breaches or failures caused by hackers or virus programs. About 70% of all lost money ever happened because the top management was not interested in installing any protection software.

The aim of any database monitoring tool is to trace all the accounts of the site and the activities they perform. The number of accounts, who have some access to the database, can be rather huge, and they, for sure, have different levels of penetration. Depending on their rights, they are able to make some changes in the database – both good and bad ones. Database monitoring software records every single activity that takes places and makes a notice in case of unusual behavior. Such systems will easily see if some alterations are made to the database or some secret information is being looked at. After having detected a problem, the system gives a real time update to the email or a mobile phone with the detailed information about the alert and where to look for it.

New database monitoring tools provide monitoring facilities for all types of databases i.e. MySQL, Oracle and others.

Before the firm makes a final decision about what kind of software to select, they should bear in mind that any software should be adapted to their specific requirements. This is the obligatory condition to the successful functioning of the tool and the business in general.

The features of the up-to-date database monitoring solutions are able to conduct a multi-layer analysis of the whole database and make conclusions about every procedure made by a user.That is why we can say that the implementation of database monitoring software can be economically justified, as the tools are to prevent companies from losing their profits because of information theft or a breach in the database system.

Software development business processes

Business process management is one of the most important aspects of any business. Be it sales, services or software development – every successful company has to establish a system that will help managers keep track of the workflow and complete all the designated tasks on time. Carrying out proper management is a key aspect of business reputation and, consequently, its success.

In the field of software development, business processes have their own specialties. These can be subdivided onto two smaller groups: lifecycle processes and cross lifecycle processes. The first group usually consists of such processes that are part of software development company lifecycle. They include discovering requirements, finding possible solutions, building and designing solutions, releasing and deploying these solutions, and carrying out support services for the implemented solutions (including updates, enhancements and other relevant changes). The second group of processes usually includes: planning, calculating estimations (of effort, cost, time and quality), reporting and tracking processes, standardization, personnel training, monitoring staff performance, and controlling all the software versions in terms of configuration. While the first group is aimed to take care of the job itself, all the way from designing to servicing the software, the second group of processes is taking care of technical questions that are supposed to increase productivity, quality and performance of developers and products.

All the above mentioned processes have certain characteristics that have to be taken into account. Among the most important process properties are: the cycle time (process duration), effort (how many developers are needed to complete the task), size of task (amount of lines of code) and others. It is much easier to establish a good workflow tracking system using these characteristics.

However, in order to make the above mentioned system working, it is necessary to consider a lot more factors that are often changing the amount of pressure that has to be applied to the developer team. Among these factors are capability (as a measure of efficiency in a certain project) and schedule pressure (amount of time given to process or complete a certain task).

All things considered, it is important to note that software development is one of the fields that began using workflow management to improve the quality their work as well as to effectively manage processes and coordinate developers. It proved its effectiveness and is now widely used in almost every business sphere. Using such system to your advantage will certainly develop a better cooperation within the company and, as a result, increase the quality of output from your business.

Must-have gadgets for work, leisure and travel

Have you ever noticed that even while we are planning holidays at the beach we often base our decision on whether there is Wi-Fi available in the hotel? Someone might say that we are leaving in the tech-obsessed world, but I think there is no shame in admitting that we all love the benefits technology provides. We enjoy new features in our smartphones and laptops, like testing new mobile apps and most of us can’t even imagine what our life would be like without our favorite devices. And for those who like being surrounded by gadgets I’ve put together a small list of highly helpful devices that might come in handy during work, leisure and travel time.

• Emergency battery charger is definitely a must-have for everyone, because no one wants to get stuck in a strange city with cell phone battery dead. Emergency battery charger will help you to charge your cell phone or laptop when there is no regular means for re-charging at hand. By the way, backpack with a solar charging panel is another great way of re-charging devices for hikers and travelers.

• Digital hanging luggage scale is one of my personal favorites. You all know that when we are travelling we want to bring home as many souvenirs for us and our friends as possible. But if you buy too much and exceed luggage weight limit, you are going to have to pay for overweight and you won’t be happy about all those souvenirs anymore, and this small gadget allows avoiding such annoying inconveniences.

• 4G hotspot will come in handy both at work and if you are staying not at some fancy hotel. This little gadget will allow you to be sure that you can get in touch with your family or coworkers at any time.

Micro earpiece can be used for work and study as well as for leisure. You can use it for such business purposes as: managing event, running presentation or negotiation and even delivering a speech. And if you are one of those people who can’t live a day without favorite music playing into your ear you can use wireless micro earpiece with MWE MP3 set to listen to the music covertly.

• As if it wasn’t awesome enough designers of Swiss army knife have made it even better by adding USB flash drive to standard travel kit: knife, scissors, nail file, screwdriver and so on. The new modification will allow you to keep all the necessary digital info in your pocket.

So, here’s the list of my personal favorite gadgets that might be useful in different situation. Hope some of these devices got you interested.

Useful tips for managing your personal and business finances

One does not need to be a genius to understand that money and profit are important to any business. Managing your finances is a far more difficult task that you can probably imagine. Many starting businesses fail due to the fact that their owners think about the long term strategies but fail to think about immediate expenses and startup costs. Both personal and business finances are ruled by the same set of rules, although these spheres are quite different, unless you are running a very small business that will have to depend on your personal finances. Here is a small set of rules that will help you optimize and balance both your personal and business finances.

Separate your finances. Even if you are running a small business it will be a good idea to separate your personal money from business. One must create a separate bank account that will be used for business purposes only, such as business related expenditure and profit accumulation. This idea will also come handy in terms of income taxation.

Keep improving your business credit. This is indeed a complicated task, however it will pay off. Studies show that many businesses have recently improved their credit profiles, meaning that there are now a lot of competitors around. A good credit history will become an important asset toward getting another loan for your company.

Create a budget. Tracking capital expenditure as well as strictly following the budget are two most important aspects of a good financial system. If you are running a small business it is necessary to decide on your personal and business expenses in order to decide the amount of money that has to flow in and out every month to satisfy all your personal and business needs.

Never borrow money against your business. This is the rule that has always been easy to violate. Borrowing money from your business or vice versa may cause a cycle that will never stop. It is very tempting to invest more into business when things are going bad or take the money out of business when things are going great. Do not try to mix up personal and business finances: pay yourself a fixed salary.

Get good accounting and sales staff. Many underestimate the value of a professional accountant or a sales manager. However, if your business is not that big or you require additional help on accounting and sales, you might consider a software solution. Sales processes tracking software as well as other finance and administration software solutions will definitely be a quite inexpensive solution that will either substitute or help your accountant.

It will take quite a while to make your business blossom. However, no one will take care of the above mentioned essentials except you.

The role of software in business management

Every day we use software for business and leisure and don’t even think twice about it. But if we do take a little time to analyze how software can help us managing our daily tasks and business projects, we might see how one single program can immensely boost our efficiency.

In business world software is primarily used for organization, increasing speed of tasks execution and later on for analysis of efficiency of the projects and activities. We often use spreadsheets and notes to organize our tasks, and thanks to specialized online solutions now we can do it much faster. Such tasks as data creation and manipulation and complex calculation used to take hell lot of time, and now they barely take a few minutes. And the same goes for project management systems that started gaining popularity thanks to the advanced features that not only allow managing tasks more productively, but also give opportunity to organize team efforts more efficiently and cut on the expanses and time spent.

In this article we are going to discuss how effective software can make project management easier for all the participants, including managers, team members and even clients.

As most of the managers can affirm, collaboration and communication is one of the most exhausting parts of the management, especially nowadays when hiring distant teams and freelance workers are pretty common practice in any business. Assigning tasks to them takes time and different approaches, because someone uses e-mails as a mean of communication, someone collaborates via Skype and someone can only be reached on the cell phone number. But with collaborative web- based system like Comindware workflow management software, for instance, managers can assign tasks and communicate with all the employees within one program. Such collaborative features allow responding quickly to the changes in the project. Thanks to e-mail notifications assignees will always know about the updates and deadlines of the tasks.

finance softwareSome project management systems provide pre-designed solutions that make work in departments much easier. Human resources and software development tools, finance and administration software allow automating routine processes and save a lot of time that is usually spent on absolutely useless requests and paperwork.

The newest project management systems enable managers keeping in touch with the process even if they are on a business trip and don’t have access to their office computer. Thanks to mobile web-based versions of the products it’s possible to make changes in the project from any place that has Internet connection. Such features provide managers more freedom in their actions and movement. Also, these tracking features bring visibility into the projects, which allows not only managers but also clients to control the process.

Another thing that is definitely worth mentioning while discussing role of software in modern project management is that it allows dealing with multiple projects at the same time since from now on you don’t have to look for needed information in different files and folders. All you need is in one system and you have access to any information at any time of day or night.

Using all the benefits of such software in your work you will be able to achieve completely new quality level of project management.

Managing remote teams

Nowadays a lot of companies hire freelance workers, especially if they have to execute a massive project in a short period of time or have a small working space. And managing freelancer scan be one hell of a challenge, because while most of them are highly interested in the result of their work, there are definitely going to be several people in the team who don’t have enough self-discipline and miss deadlines all the time if they are not under control. To keep an eye on remote teams managers have to use email and Skype and all kinds of task tracking solutions, the benefits of which we will discuss.

To manage remote team effectively manager should have access to the software that would allow them create and assign task, communicate with employees and track the issues within one system. One of the solutions that features all of those option is Comindware workflow software. One of the greatest advantages of using workflow management software is that team members can see the list of the tasks and evaluate their time according to the deadlines. Also, the program can be set up in a way that it would send the alert when the deadline is due, so managers don’t have to worry about calling their freelancers and reminding them to do their job in time.

Another great feature of work management software is that managers can communicate with each and every team member inside the system, which means no more cell phone calls, emails and Skype-conferences. And thanks to integrated collaboration features your employees will also be able to ask you questions on the tasks, leave comments and relevant links. Everything you need you will have in one program, and that is a huge time saver.

One of the obstacles that appear while working with remote staff is that they don’t have immediate access to all the files relevant to their project. And with task tracking software you can attach files and templates that might be needed right to the task in the program, so your assignee could have everything for an effective work.
For those managers who have to run their projects while business travelling it’s important to have management solution with mobile and web access. That way you will be able to track your ongoing projects, make changes in plans if necessary, consult your employees and reassign tasks in case of emergency by using your mobile phone.

Choosing Programs for Heads of Project Development Departments

I’d like to focus your attention on the choice of software for those who don’t manage projects themselves but are heads of project departments. Generally speaking, this is a person who doesn’t manage projects directly but has to assist others in this. What does such head want to know?
• What are his employees doing at the moment?
• Which projects are they working on?
• When are the deadlines of these projects?
• Who will perform new projects?
• Who can be appointed to solve a sudden problem (detect and fix a critical mistake, visit a client to bring back to life a fallen system; etc.).

Having search the Internet, I have discovered two types of such software:
• Fully functional project management systems;
• Multi project management systems.

Fully functional project management systems

Such programs are intended for assisting in choosing projects for execution and in monitoring project execution. They assume that there are more than enough projects and it’s necessary to choose the optimal way of their execution; or abandon some of them at all.

The main advantage of these systems is their functionality which allows solving all the above mentioned tasks and even much more if needed. Unfortunately, such systems require implementation, which is their main disadvantage. The systems have powerful functionality and for adjusting it according to your company’s needs you may need an additional project on its implementation. Moreover, you may need to change the existing project execution methods or replace the existing tools. By the way, the cost of a license and implementation are likely to be high.

Here are the examples of such systems: Daptiv PPM, PPM Studio, Changepoint , Spider Project, etc.

Multi Project Management Systems

I’m speaking about special project management solutions that let us track the execution of projects and their mutual influence on each other in the course of execution.

Let’s take, for example, Multi Project Planner. This program is designed for planning the simultaneous execution of several projects under conditions of limited resources. The main tool of this program is a general board, which is, in fact, a simple Gantt chart where the tasks of each project are presented in different colors. First of all, in a new window we create a Gantt chart for the new project paying no attention to other projects. Then the created diagram is moved to the general board for planning. All the problems connected with the limited resources become visible at once. The program has an option of leveling resources which will let fix the problems.

The program has an intuitive interface which is suitable for planning several simultaneous projects. However, the program doesn’t solve all the set tasks since this is a planning tool not a task tracking tool.

Comindware Tracker software is another program of the same type that allows managing several projects at a time. With the help of this software, you can track time, provide communication and collaboration between employees, draw project plans, group projects in portfolios and analyze these portfolios, track task execution and employees’ workload, create reports. It is also ideal for distributed teams.

This program doesn’t require any special training and has an intuitive interface. It can be integrated with Microsoft Outlook and perform the functions of a GTD program. Moreover, this program is absolutely free.
Premium Project Viewer allows viewing several files in the Microsoft Project format as one project. It lets you see the problems of cross project interaction in a convenient form. Moreover, the program provides several tools for analyzing projects and project portfolios.

The program is easy to implement and use and doesn’t require changing the existing order of business processes in the company. But some users claim that Premium Project Viewer has a rather complicated and confusing interface.


Of course, the above mentioned programs are not the only programs at the market. The choice is big and you have many ones to choose from. If you are a big company that wants and, which is more important, has powers and resources for optimizing business processes in the sphere of project management, you need fully functional systems for managing project portfolios. You just have to hire consultants, launch an implementation project and go ahead! But don’t forget that in this case you will have to throw away the existing project management programs which you have grown out of and start from the beginning. After implementing the system, your company will be one project environment.

If you don’t want to change anything in the company and just need to bring together the data from the already used project management system, you can pay attention to such software solutions as Project Viewer and Comindware task management program.

Author Byline
Hi, my name’s Steward Copper and I am the owner of Project Management Insights. While working as a project coordinator and BA, I have tried almost all possible PM tools, BA instruments, collaboration programs, including tracker and human resource management software solutions. I use Comindware Tracker for my project management processes. Follow me on Linkedin.

Gadgets for Business

Everyone who’s in competitive business knows that sometimes it’s little things that make you stand out among the line of companies that provide the same services. Great first impression at negotiations, quick responses to the questions or even newest device or software that your company uses can tip the scale in your direction. Tablet PCs and laptops are irreplaceable nowadays and it’s doubtful that someone has to be reminded about their helpful qualities. Instead we will talk about some not so wide-spread gadgets that will help you get this extra edge and improve efficiency of your work.

1. If you tend not to sit behind the desk all day but often organize business meetings, presentations and negotiations wireless and cordless scanner should definitely be in your arsenal of business tools. This portable gadget can take any documents anywhere at any time and turn them into files that can be easily synced. A rechargeable battery is enough for about 600 pages of scans. The scanner has a built-in memory which syncs with Cloud server of your choice. The device will come in handy for scanning conference documents and expense reports, photos and business cards and turn these tons of useless paper into storable digital information that can be found at any time when needed. Overall, portable scanner is a helpful gadget that you can take with you for a business trip or conference where some unexpected business opportunities might occur.

2. Wireless earpiece is yet another gadget that can make businessmen’s day sufficiently easier. If you have to make speeches from time to time, conduct negotiations in foreign languages and don’t feel comfortable doing that, then wireless earpiece is a must-have gadget for you. This multifunctional device is meant for secret communication and is perfect for situations when you don’t have enough time to prepare for a speech or a business meeting. Thanks to the wireless earpiece you basically get a secret assistant who helps you answer questions, provide important numbers and statistics on the spot without having to go through notes. Instead you can concentrate on your performance, which is one of the most important parts of any presentation. Secret communication via earpiece is carried out with the help of Bluetooth transmitter that connects the earpiece to your cell phone. One of the most popular sets for covert communication is MWE Watch set  where Bluetooth transmitter and highly sensitive microphone are embedded into ordinary looking watches

3. If you want to save time and impress your clients and partners you should think about purchasing speech recognition tool that can make your life and life of your personal secretary a lot easier. It’s irreplaceable if you are one of those creative people who get brilliant ideas all of a sudden and need to write them down immediately. It also helps to write documents and e-mail and organize spreadsheets rather quickly. The gadget is perfect for those businessmen who aim for major productivity boosting and try to cope with typing-related issues. It also provides great mobility for those who want to use time more efficiently while performing routing tasks at a computer.

All these gadgets can sufficiently help you running your business with more productivity.

Tracking the tasks in daily life

tracking the tasksDifferent jobs often demand different solutions to complete tasks effectively and on time. Almost every if not all jobs require employees to respect the deadlines or even do the assignments in advance. As to me, a manager in a rather big international corporation, it is highly important to not only track my own tasks and responsibilities, but to also track the tasks that I assign to my working group. Therefore, it has been an essential part of my work for many years to keep record of all the work that has to be completed by my subordinate colleagues and by myself. And I came up with a great solution, which I will explain further and in more details.

Firstly, it is necessary to mention my attempts to track the tasks of my employees that were not very successful. I attempted various methods all the way from sticky notes to e-mails and calendar reminders, but hardly any of them did its job the way it had to be done. Sticky notes, for instance, covered every corner of my work place, which made it nearly impossible to navigate through them and choose the ones that have higher priority or are urgent at a given day. Calendar reminders and e-mails were slightly better, but due to the amount of tasks that I have to track during a certain period of time, these sorts of things become overcrowded with notifications. Moreover, many calendars and especially e-mail services require constant internet connection, which may not be always available.

The solution appeared one of the days, when I was browsing the internet and found an interesting article on time management and task tracking. The proposals to try task tracking software were very appealing to me and I decided to give it a chance. Since that moment on I am using a computer based program that happened to perfectly meet my needs and is absolutely free to try and use. The best thing about this software is that I do not depend on internet connection and the program’s interface is not bulky and hard to understand. In fact, my severely limited understanding of computer technologies allowed me to start using the software in less than 10 minutes.

Taking into consideration all the pros and cons for using technological advancements in my life, I can confidently assure the reader that as far as my experience goes, the task tracking software has been the best solution to me, as a manager and as a person, who is also responsible for completing a certain amount of work by deadline. I hope that someone will learn from my mistakes and experience and will take my call to try task tracking software!