Project management has been around for as long as human beings have endeavored en masse to complete tasks and projects of all shapes and sizes: from the Great Pyramid and Great Wall of China, on through 21st century workforce management by way of virtualization and the cloud.
Below is a brief, visual history of project management that illustrates a rich timelime of project management methodologies, advancements, and the overall evolution of the field. Now, more than ever, the ability to effectively manage projects large and small to successful completion is a vital and in-demand skill.
It’s no secret that exercise is good for your health. Building a habit of regular exercise into your life is a key part of managing your weight and keeping your heart, lungs, and other bodily systems in tip-top shape. But it can also dramatically impact your life in so many ways, helping you perform better at your job and enjoy life more outside of work.
Moving more not only helps you accomplish more, here's why it’s also critical to being your best at work and in life: From making you more productive, to boosting energy and stamina, to spurring creative thinking, to elevating your mood and even helping you sleep better—moving more each day can dramatically help you live and work better.
With all of these benefits, you’d think everyone would be exercising all the time, right? Unfortunately, no. We’re now more sedentary than ever.
Less than 2 in 10 Americans gets even the bare minimum amount of activity each week recommended by the American Heart Association.
Even worse, 40% of Americans say they never exercise.
We’re awake about 16 hours each day. But according to the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sport, our muscles are inactive most of that time—even for those of us who exercise!
How is that even possible?
Take a second to think about your average day. After rushing out the door, you sit in the car or on mass transit on the way to work. At work, you sit at your desk. Or you sit in a series of endless meetings. On the way home, you sit some more. And when you get home? It’s couch time. Then you go to bed. It’s easy, then, to see how your muscles could be inactive for most of the day.
Plus, I’m betting exercise consistently slips down the priority list when you look at your packed schedule. The same is true for so many of us. Not only are we not getting all of the benefits of regular exercise, but we’re actually harming our health by sitting so much.
The good news is all is not lost. You can reverse the affects of “sitting disease.” And you can reap all of the benefits that regular exercise delivers. I’ll tell you how during my Move More to Accomplish More webinar. Here’s just some of what you’ll walk away with:
How your body adapts to exercise
The very real health benefits of exercise and other surprising benefits
How much and what kind of exercise you need to reap the health and other benefits
Tips to move more throughout the day and reverse the affects of sitting disease.
With the release of the new Windows 8 operating system and the nonstop commercials for the Microsoft Surface tablet, Microsoft is making an aggressive bid to remain relevant in the increasingly complicated landscape of personal computing. Part of this push is the release of Office 2013, the latest version of the familiar Microsoft Office Suite. Each of the applications included have been through a major design overhaul, and all include a variety of new features that make them especially compatible with touch-friendly Windows 8.
But even with all of these changes, is it really worth it to upgrade to Office 2013? Below we’ll take a look at the key features that make an upgrade a compelling idea.
With Office 2013, Microsoft has made it possible to store and sync all of your documents across all of your Windows devices, so they can be accessed from anywhere. All you need to do is save documents to your SkyDrive, and you can open and edit these from any of your Microsoft devices. Never again will you have to email yourself a document or risk having your work stuck on a faraway computer. Office 2013 is designed to cater more toward our connected world.
Rich Media Features
Throughout the suite of Microsoft Office 2013 products, there are a variety of new rich media options to make your documents, presentations, and other files more interactive and engaging. For example in PowerPoint, you can find and add photos from albums on Flickr, Facebook, and other online services without saving to your computer.
PDF to Word Doc Capabilities
Have you ever had to type out an entire PDF document because you needed to be able to edit it in Microsoft Word? In Office 2013, you’ll never have to suffer through this again. Word now does a great job of converting PDF files to Word format.
Flexible Pricing and Delivery
As is the case with most software nowadays, installing the software is as easy as a download. All versions of the new Microsoft Office are available via download instead of with clunky software installation disks. Versions include Office Home and Student ($139.99), Office Home and Business ($219.99), and Office Professional ($399.99).
In addition, Microsoft has offered Office 365 as a productivity and word processing option. Office 365 provides all of the Office Suite as apps and is purchased as a subscription of $99.99 a year. This option includes all of the Office apps and comes with 60 minutes of Skype calls per month.
What do you think about the upgrade? Share your thoughts below!
The recent Yahoo internal memo that requests employees to work in their offices has stirred up quite a lot of discussion on the Internet. And it’s no wonder—most knowledge workers and Gen Y employees are accustomed to the flexibility of working from home sometimes. People are increasingly working on-the-go. The boundaries of office, workspace, home, and third-places are increasingly blurred. Enabled by the latest mobile devices, tablets, and easy access to the Internet, work is more about what you do or accomplish, not where you get it done.
Numerous studies have shown that people working away from their offices are more productive because they are less likely to be interrupted by coworkers who drop by their cubicles, take fewer sick days, and save time on their long commute. These positive results extend to call center employees, as well. People who telecommute are also more satisfied with their work/life balance as they are better able to control their workflow during the day.
So why is Yahoo requiring their employees to return to work in offices?
It is hard to say what’s the ultimate goal of the new policy. Based on discussions on the Internet and blogosphere, it seems that some Yahoo employees have taken advantage of their telecommuting policy and are not performing at their jobs. The memo points to the benefits of having better communication and collaboration when people work side-by-side, and increased insights, speed, and quality when employees work in the same physical locations.
Regardless of the tone of the memo and how it’s communicated with Yahoo employees, let’s take a look at the key issues Yahoo raised: productivity, communication, and collaboration.
Productivity. By now, many studies have shown that doing work remotely or telecommuting does, in fact, increase workers’ productivity. The issue at Yahoo seems like a performance issue, not a telecommuting issue. If Yahoo employees abuse their telecommuting policy, it’s imperative that managers/leaders take action to hold employees accountable, recognize their performance, and follow-up with employees who do not perform. Perhaps this new policy is the first step Yahoo leaders are taking to hold employees accountable for their performance.
Communication. While it is true that the serendipity that happens at cafeterias, hallways, or water-coolers can lead to great insights, there are many technologies that facilitate effective communications, from smart-phone to online meeting tools. Regardless of whether you work in the office or in a remote location, there are ways to communicate with coworkers. The key is to ensure that access to the company intranet, relevant technology, and the speed of connection are not barriers to remote workers.
Collaboration. Similar to communication, there are many online collaboration tools that enable employees to work together while they are physically apart. Work is increasingly distributed. For companies that have dispersed geographical locations, it is impossible to require a team of employees to always work side-by-side in a conference room. There are stages of collaboration. Sometimes your team will need to work together to ideate, confirm objectives and strategies. Other times your team members will need to go off to do solo work or have quiet time to think before they get together and collaborate on ideas. Solo work and thinking may best be accomplished while working from home or in a space without constant interruptions.
The bottom line: remote work is here to stay. It’s the employees’ responsibility to earn trust from their managers, be accountable for their performance, and accomplish what they set out to do. It’s the management’s responsibility to have relevant people practices that facilitate remote work, hold employees accountable, and have clear consequences when employees do not perform. Last but not least, employees should have easy access to the information and resources they need, either in the cloud or on company servers, to enable productive work from anywhere.
What do you think? Is remote work a peril to productivity? How would you address the issues highlighted by the Yahoo memo? Please share your thoughts and comments below.
We're also giving away several copies of David's new book! Simply participate in our short Leadership Survey for a chance to win.
The world is becoming an increasingly visual place—and your organization, business, or team needs a leader with the right visual IQ and know-how to communicate the "big picture." You don't have to be an artist, but becoming adept at utilizing visual practice techniques will be a huge boon to getting your team on board, sharing ideas, propelling projects forward, and so much more.
Read on for our interview with David Sibbet, who shares his expertise about the practice of visualization, why it's important to be a visual leader today, and how you can become one.
People-OnTheGo: For those who aren't familiar with visualization or visual practice, can you please describe the basic ideas of the field and its uses in a business or professional environment? What are some common applications?
David Sibbet: Visual practice is using the tools of design thinking and graphic design interactively—much like one uses spoken words. Where once these ways of working were focused on design itself, the methods are now used by leaders and facilitators to support meetings, teams, and organization change processes. Visual practice includes graphic recording of meetings, visual facilitation of meetings and teams, and use of many kinds of media on the part of leaders to collaboratively develop visions, processes, and plans.
Why do think it's important in this day and age for leaders and managers to be "visual leaders"?
Almost all media in today's world integrates text and graphics, and in increasing numbers of cases, video. Not only are younger people quite fluid with these new ways of communicating, but anyone who is trying to develop and align people on new plans needs visuals to make sense out of the complexity. People understand how different parts of an organization connect and work together with mental models, diagrams, maps, and other kinds of displays. A leader who is visually adept has a tremendous advantage in his or her personal communications. If a leader understands how to work with and guide visual professionals it is an even greater advantage.
How can visualization techniques improve meetings, project management, and overall team function?
Active visualization improves meetings in four proven ways. 1. Visual spark imagination. 2. Active recording and co-creation greatly increases engagement. 3. Visual are the key to big picturethinking and systems thinking in groups. 4. Visuals create a group memory that supports implementation and action. This latter aspect is critical to project management, which is largely about getting actions to align and integrate over time. While project management software is highly visual, it is designed for individuals. Graphic templates, decision rooms, roadmaps and other large format visuals are what work with groups. Teams that understand how to run visual meetings and work visually in virtual settings have a much greater chance of getting results than those that don't—especially if they helped co-create the key documents they steer by.
What are three ways that leaders, managers, and others can increase their visual IQ? For non-artists/drawers, what are some tips and tricks to overcoming a fear or hesitancy of using these visual strategies?
Visualization is effective with very simple shapes and figures that anyone can learn to draw. The first way a leader or manager can become more literate is to use visuals in his or her personal notetaking and diagramming to thinking through ideas. A second important way is to begin paying attention to organizing mental models and metaphors that are embedded in verbal communication, and allow people to see how things work together. Visual note taking helps with this, but working with a visual practitioner who graphically records what is happening in key meetings raises everyone's consciousness on a group basis about the metaphors being used. To the extent that much of strategic thinking is analogous thinking (i.e. comparing one thing with something else), visualizing these comparisons allows everyone to expand on, challenge, and ultimately understand how everyone thinks things should work. A third way is to encourage teams and groups to share their ideas with each other using graphic templates rather than slide decks. Slides help the individual develop ideas, but do not invite enough engagement and interaction in most cases to allow others to come to new insight. Large murals and sketches, sticky notes and timelines allow groups to develop ideas all together at a rate that everyone can absorb. Drawing and diagramming is a way of thinking in and of itself. Consciously picking different formats to work with is like going to a brain gym and working out all the different mental muscles available to human beings.
Please describe some of your favorite visualization techniques and technologies.
A. Telling a group story visually is a winner in any kind of situation where you need to onboard new people, reflect on the past for insights, reinforce and think about values and culture. B. I love using graphic templates in small groups to create rapid prototypes of different things—like the general environment, possible visions, new business models, potential action plans—and then comparing for common themes and insights. Groups are full of wisdom and ideas if allowed the means to express them. C. Another favorite is taking strategy, visions, new business models, and other outputs from key meetings and turning them into story map posters that any leader can use to share the conclusions more widely. Treated like software, these large murals can go through versions and people provide input and feedback. The process of vetting the images aligns everyone who is involved, and makes the visuals very meaningful when they are eventually used in less interactive media. The technologies that allow these things to happen easily consist of readily available big paper from plotter printers, all variety of sticky notes in many color, many choices of water color markers, digital cameras and simple photo processing software. The professional tools for print production, infographic design, and video are easier and easier to use. There really is no technical barrier these days to being highly visual, as young people are discovering in explosions of interest.
What do you see is the future of visualization? And why is it important to get on board with this practice now?
In general, rich media is on the rise in all channels of communication. In business, because visualization is essential to systems thinking and design, and both these qualities are in high demand, visualization is also in increasing demand. This is probably why "design thinking" is so trendy right now. The fact that new touch technologies are transforming our ways of relating to the computer is bringing hand-creation back into vogue, so visualization goes beyond thinking to co-creating. In the future it's possible we'll see keyboards as a very outdated way to interface with information. Since a premium in any organization is having people engaged, understanding what they are doing, and remembering plans as everyone works on different aspects of a project—and these benefits come regularly when groups work together in visual ways. I believe you will see visualization become as standard as writing and calculating.
Forget oil, it’s creativity that may be our most elusive untapped resource. And it’s the reason why major global players like Google and 3M have famously allowed for “creative free time” at work, in which employees can engage in projects they’re passionate about for a nice chunk of time each week, be it a personal hobby or the like. This carte blanche on workplace creativity has been credited in leading to significant innovation at these companies. Moreover, they’ve given us insights on how to foster a more creative work culture, and are contributing to a greater movement in discovering how the brain can access and harness its amazing powers of creativity and innovation.
Daniel Guillory, CEO of Innovations International, is a recognized expert on creativity and innovation, having worked with Toyota Financial Services, Ronald McDonald House Foundation, Merck & Co., and many other corporations and non-profits. We asked him to share his top five book picks on creativity, the brain, and innovation for both in and outside the workplace, so you can better tap into that vast, subconscious well:
1. Innovators DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators by Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and bestselling author Clayton M. Christensen
2. The Dream Workbook: Discover the Knowledge and Power Hidden in Your Dreams by Jill Morris
3. Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life by Shakti Gawain
4. The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How. by Daniel Coyle
5. The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills by Daniel Coyle
You may have heard about the cloud, the "next big thing" in computing, virtual storage, sharing, and internet technology. And even if you haven't, you're likely using cloud-based services in your home or workplace already, such as Gmail, Skype, Dropbox, and more. In anticipation of "Living in the Cloud," our free webinar on Thursday, August 2, we interviewed presenter Thomas Koulopolous about his book, Cloud Surfing, the business and personal implications of the cloud, and where this innovation will lead in the coming years.
People-OnTheGo: What prompted you to write Could Surfing? And why now?
Thomas Koulopoulos: The book started nearly three years ago with a simple premise that nearly every social, economic, academic, and business institution is being threatened by the intense hyperconnectivity of the cloud—and yet this hyperconnectivity will increase tenfold in less than a decade. The implications are beyond our wildest imagination.
You mention risk, innovation, scale, and success. Do you believe that the risk is well-managed now, and that success outweighs the risk?
I believe that the appetite for risk is very much a cultural norm that is influenced by the price of failure and the cost of experimentation. For example, the risks we took to put a man on the moon or to end World War II had enormous implications that we were willing to accept because failure was not an option. In some way we lament the progress made in those eras and we talk about how that appetite for risk has changed radically. However, what I see as a result of the cloud is that today young entrepreneurs celebrate failure and experimentation. They discount the risk and have much less fear of it. The reason is simple: they can experiment quickly and at near zero cost, while also having a shot at changing the world à la Facebook or Twitter. It's no longer about just managing risk, it's about accepting it with open arms.
How do you compare cloud computing to the mainframe era from years ago? What are the resemblances and the key differences?
I often hear people say that cloud is just the old time-sharing model used in the mainframe era. That is an incredibly simple way to avoid the disruption that the cloud will cause. The cloud is not just about technology. The cloud is about connectivity. Mainframes did very little to connect people and machines. They were repositories of data and information which caused organizations to be inwardly focused on highly structured frameworks for how pieces of data worked together. The cloud is all about connections, a focus on the outside, and a lack of structure where data and information are being brought together in ways we never could have rationally anticipated.
What would be the top cloud services that businesses "must" explore?
Start with the basics: storage and computing (aka Amazon); move onto processes and applications (aka Salesforce); from there go to private clouds (putting your apps in the cloud), then consider which apps you can provision to the public cloud. Having done that you have about 1% of the cloud under your belt. Again, the misunderstanding is that the cloud is all about technology. It's not. The cloud is about how you employ people, utilize talent, collaborate, predict, infer sentiment, shape and influence markets, and ultimately how you build your business model. That is a long journey.
Why should individuals explore the cloud?
The most amazing thing I see among individuals over the age of 40 is that they bury their head in the sand when it comes to the cloud. The only practical answer to how you will survive the cloud is to learn how to surf it. That only comes with using it. So rather then poo poo Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and instant messaging, I tell people to just use them. Even if they can't possibly see value to it. The reality is that the value of the cloud will change. While there may be much more effort involved in extracting value from the cloud today than most people think they will get back, it is still something you need to use to appreciate and to evolve with. If you sit on the sidelines you had better be ready for an incredibly steep learning curve.
Where do you see this phenomenon going 5 or 10 years from now?
I often joke that the best futurists are not the pundits, gurus, or economists but rather the science fiction writers. Wells, Asimov, Heinlein, Clark were all much better and much closer at predicting the future than the best pundit. The acceleration of the cloud will be unlike anything we have experienced. Yet, there are some telltales that show us the trajectory. The best one is to watch the way your kids behave online. Look at how they game, socialize, play. What you are seeing is how they will work. To me that is the best indicator of how radically different even the near-term future will be. The good news (or perhaps the bad news for some) is that most of us will be here to see that future. Whether we will be ready for it and be able to surf it is another matter all together.
If you Google “cloud computing,” you are likely to find more than 200,000,000 results. Yes, that is 200 million of them.
But you don’t even need to Google it. Just look around your office, and you are likely to find many cloud services that are in place: from web content management, to e-commerce, sales and marketing, storage and backup, financial applications, web conferencing, and the list goes on.
On one side, there are some compelling benefits for cloud services, ranging from significant cost advantages, to easy access across the globe, and offloading the operational headaches of these systems to someone else.
But on the other side, there are risks relating to security, confidentiality, content ownership, stability of providers, among others.
Have you adopted cloud computing and to what extent? Share your experience with cloud computing in the following survey for a chance to win a copy of Cloud Surfing by Thomas Koulopoulos!
Barry indicated that the threats can come from a variety of sources including:
Here are some attackers profiles
Insiders: Insiders have a unique advantage due to access/trust. They can be motivated by revenge, organizational disputes, personal problems, boredom, curiosity, or to “prove a point.”
Script Kiddies: Relatively untrained hackers that find exploit code/tools on the Internet and run them indiscriminately against targets. While largely unskilled, they are numerous.
Criminals: Cyber based attacks offer new means to commit traditional crimes, such as fraud and extortion. Organized cyber-crime groups have adopted legitimate business practices, structure, and method of operation.
Terrorists: Cyber-attacks have the potential to cripple infrastructures which are not properly secured. In addition, cyber-linkages between sectors raise the risk of cascading failures throughout the Nation.
So what can we do?
The first thing we can do is to become aware of the issues and help create such awareness at our companies and communities. The next thing we can do is to team up with the variety of organizations who are working diligently at prevention and preparedness and become part of this effort.
Barry Cardoza, Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP), and Principal of Barry Cardoza LLC, specializes in Business Continuity Program Development, Enhancement and Analytics. Barry has over 40 years of experience in business management, business process analysis, and continuous process improvement. This experience has been within many different industries and includes over 20 years within the banking industry. Previously responsible for Union Bank’s Business Continuity strategy, policy, compliance, and program implementation.