Do you have usable intelligence?

Let’s look at data which is raw and has not been interpreted. Information is the conclusions drawn from data and then usable intelligence can be said to be the insights about the information. In the old days, most documents were physical, which meant the data couldn’t be accessed automatically.

For example, if somebody was working on a project, the information was on paper on their desk so you just couldn’t get at it. Even for your own work, the retrieval effort was so high that the value of the data was completely ignored.

So to extract usable intelligence requires a change of mindset. What type of intelligence is available? Provided you can access it, things like spreadsheets, purchasing & delivery records, manufacturing data, internet traffic data, product complaint data and so on.

It’s all there and to help analyze this we can use tools:

Pivot Tables have been around for quite a while and they use a graphical interface to design reports using spreadsheet tables. It requires a certain amount of learning but they’re very helpful when you’ve got the idea of how they work

IBM Watson Analytics is interesting because it examines the data automatically and suggest reports. You see a report that could be useful and click on it. So you don’t have to do so much thinking.

So the challenge is to experience the benefits of shifting from pencil and paper working. Once you’ve got the benefits, then you will start using more of the intelligence which you already have.

So if you have project issues to discuss, please do contact me.

Thanks very much.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

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Do you really benefit from your virtual meetings?

How often have you experienced a teleconference where the answer to a question is: “Sorry, I couldn’t hear that. Please repeat your question”.  In my experience, this is a sure sign that the colleague was doing something else instead of listening actively to the discussion.

Meetings can be used for many functions including:

  • Sharing information about the progress of your work
  • Problem solving
  • Encouraging team building
  • Confirming understanding
  • Briefing about the work
  • Training
  • Checking the mood of the team

and so on.

The unwritten assumption used to be that all of these functions are best (or even only) achievable using a face to face meeting. Nowadays this assumption is simply not correct. Many or even most of the objectives of meetings can be carried out more simply by other methods.  To answer the question in the title is: “No, we do not always benefit from our virtual meetings”.

Very often, meetings take place to achieve one or other of the objectives already mentioned when it is simply not necessary to hole a meeting.  To give one example in project management: status of work is better communicated by updating a database of actions completed which is shared with management, clients and colleagues.  The meeting need then only review the status, not waste time collecting status information.

Project work requires that those involved and the stakeholders understand each other exactly.  This is not possible if the virtual meetings take place in an atmosphere where the participants focus on something else and treat the meeting like a cinema: I can look when I want to and nobody will notice if I don’t.

In French, the saying is “Ce n’est pas du cinéma” – “it’s not just cinema” is a good motto for virtual meetings.

My tip: look at the information sharing needs of each participant, then decide how to deliver this.  If a virtual meeting is suitable for some of this, that’s fine, but it should not be the default solution.

Thank you.

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4 Essential Knowledge Management Processes

4 Essential Knowledge Management Processes.

Data is in a database and is not much use without being interpreted. But knowledge is in your head. It is interpreted data and it has meaning.

This idea of organizational knowledge management has been introduced into the ISO 9001 standard.

There are 4 processes:

Here’s the first one: You have to find out what knowledge you need to run the business so that it is consistent.

The second one is you have to make sure that the knowledge is kept up-to-date and it’s available to the people that need to know it.

The third one is: consider the current organizational environment and the trends – there may be changes in the requirements.

And the fourth one is: to make sure that we get the additional knowledge suggested by reviewing the trends and requirements.

So if you want to discuss this or any other project issue, please connect with me at scatterwork.com.

Thank you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

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Can you really afford on-site Project Team Training?

Can you really afford on-site project team training?

On-site training has great advantages. The face-to-face interaction is natural and it is great fun and effective.

Online training also has advantages.

It is immediate – it can be set up with very little lead time. It involves no travel costs and the logistics are simpler, for example you don’t need to organize rooms or lunches or travel visas. And it’s effective.

So when you look at both of them, why do we need one or the other? Very often the assumption is that the face-to-face interaction is the only way to do it, but today people are very used to operating through the social media and they have a completely different and more relaxed way of interacting with people who are further away.

The result of this is that online training is also effective, so it’s up to you to decide.

To discuss this or any other project issues, please connect with me at scatterwork.com .

Thank you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

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Can you offer global services to local clients?

Can you offer global services to local clients?

Clients who are local deliver locally. Or maybe globally or something in between.

But when we look at the inputs that local clients use, some of them will be local, (particularly people will be local to the business) and they will be using global inputs – there is virtually no business these days that doesn’t use some product or service that comes from somewhere else.

So the question was “Can you offer global services to local clients?” And the answer is a resounding “yes”.

So if you want to discuss this or any of your other project issues, please connect with me at scatterwork.com.

Thank you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

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6 Benefits of cloud based Business Process Management

6 Benefits of cloud-based Business Process Management:

The first one is that it increases the reliability of your business to use processes as a way of optimizing the way you work. This increases your production capacity and also reduces your stress. Informal processes are captured and added to the organization’s know-how. If you don’t do this and people move away, you can lose their know-how as well.

You can also optimize and standardize the processes When you have a good way of doing something, then you can make it even better.

There’s no point in doing things less than the best way.

With cloud-based BPM, each activity is announced by a notification, usually an email, so the training becomes telling people “When you get a message like this, then react to what it tells you to do”.

If the wording of the tasks is properly done then the amount of training needed is reduced considerably.

The users can be anywhere in the world, particularly today with mobile phone access to networks. The team members don’t all need to be sitting in one place together, so this gives great scope for deciding who’s involved in doing the work.

BPM business process management is actually a requirement of the ISO 9000:2015 standard.

So if you’d like to discuss this or any of your project issues, please connect with me.

Thanks very much.
Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

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Project Portfolio vs. Product Portfolio

My name is Klas Skogmar and I’m going to talk a little bit about how project portfolio management relates to product portfolio management.

First I am going to talk about what a single project is. A single project takes the strategy and it converts it to a product, service or another result. If you have multiple projects, you have a product portfolio. And project portfolio management is taking ideas and concepts and qualifying those ideas into your project portfolio and ensuring you maximize the return of the organization’s project portfolio.

So how does a project portfolio relate to a product portfolio?

A product has a life cycle where you may have many projects. You might have a project to initiate or launch a product; you might have a project to update the product; you might have a project to discontinue the product. So during the lifetime of a product, you may have many projects. In a few cases where a single project may result in multiple products as well, so there are relationships between the two.

So if you control your organization based on the products
– if the products are the central thing in the organization or service
– then they dictate how your project portfolio will look like.

On the other hand, if your projects are reactive and you may deliver products for a client for example, then your project portfolio is the central thing and you focus more on your project portfolio.

Even in a situation where you focus on your product portfolio, you still need to maximize your project portfolio through good project portfolio management, to ensure you do the right changes to the right products. You should also remember that there are other portfolios such as a customer portfolio or customer agreement portfolios. And in some cases and organizations, you might need to manage all of these and then the customer portfolio might influence or dictate how you work with your customer agreement portfolio. That in its turn my dictate how you work with your product portfolio and that might dictate how you work with the project portfolio.

So you need to be aware of these different portfolios
– how they relate to each other and also which one of these portfolios is most central to your own organization
– to be able to succeed in project and product portfolio management.

Thank you very much.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

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Make scheduling teleconferences easier

Many projects work across time zones so misunderstandings about time causes delays, especially in teleconferences.

Informal methods to set the meeting times take more effort than they are worth. It’s better to use meeting time tools, which depend on everybody keeping their calendar up-to-date. These tools read your calendar and convert the times to your time zone.

Here are a couple of tools which compare calendars, depending on what operating system you are using:

For Apple: Pick.co
For Gmail: Assistant.to

Here are some more where instead of comparing calendars they look at your calendar and then offer your availability and the other person selected by hand:

Infususionsoft
TimeTrade

Our favorite here is doodle. This is a free application, you can use it immediately, you don’t have to sign up and it converts for time zones, is suitable for team use and it’s accessible through a browser.

It’s also intuitive. But as with most tools: you have to do a little bit of work yourself:

When you have set up the meetings, it makes sense to then send out invitations to go into everybody’s calendars to make quite sure they got them. But it certainly does all the “donkey work”, all the hard work of converting time zones automatically for you.

So if you have any comments or queries about project issues, please do connect with me.

Thanks very much.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

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Who says face to face meetings are essential?

Who says face-to-face meetings are essential? Let’s do a balance sheet.

In favour is that it’s much easier to reach decisions: we can talk to people in different ways – formally, informally, at the flipchart, over lunch and so forth. And of course, it is great for team building.

But let’s look at the negative side. We may have an end of phase meeting in a project that needs to go ahead and the business cost of delaying it can be significant. So if we have to bring people from different places, there will be a delay setting up the meeting.

And then of course there are the costs of travel and maybe hotels flights and so on.

And then we also lose business efficiency because you can’t work as well while you’re traveling. Some people try to, but really you can’t work as efficiently while you’re moving around as you could in your office.

So the negative business effects of not holding the meeting on time are considerable.

If we took the old way of doing things and just came online, then we wouldn’t have very good meetings but these days there are so many tools to help us get those meetings right, that it doesn’t always make sense to hold a face to face meeting.

We can do the team building another time, whenever we get the opportunity. But we don’t need to tie the team building to the decision-making.

Thank you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

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Be the Leader of your Projects

My name is Hadi and I am the author of the book “Be the Leader of your Projects”. I wrote this book because my philosophy is “whatever we do in this world, we should be the leaders of our job”.

For my starting point, I asked myself the question myself: “what do the great leaders have in common and how can we use these for project leadership?”

Then I searched for a variety of leaders, such as Ataturk, Ghandi, Jack Welch and so on.

Then I determined five common features or leadership behaviours:

Shared Vision
Influence
Motivation
Learning
Creating an Effective Team.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

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