The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world
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Abby Dryer, Author at UCSC Extension in Silicon Valley

Abby Dryer, PMP is a Chicago-based Project Manager, specializing in system integration. She focuses much of her energy on team-building and morale - as a cohesive team with high morale can be a determining factor in the success or failure of a project.

The Importance of the Pre-Meeting

If there is one thing I hate at work, it is being caught by surprise on one of my projects. As a Project Manager, I should not be surprised by anything that comes up in my Status Meetings. To avoid getting side-swiped by any news, I do my best to keep an eye on all aspects of my projects, at least on a high level.

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How to Create an Effective Status Meeting Agenda

Status meetings have a tendency to get a bad reputation.  Many can feel that spending anywhere from a half-hour to an hour just talking about project status when there is *real* work to be done is a major waste of time.    Many times, project teams work individually or in silos that keep them isolated […]

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How to get your Project Plan to Work for You

How to get your Project Plan to Work for You

‘Project plans’ as utilized in a business function, are used as a communications tool and a form of checklist of tasks. Keeping that in mind, the best place to start with creating your plan is to start with the high level deliverables of your project, and then break each of those deliverables down into the tasks that it will take to get them completed. I tend to treat this part of my project plan as my ‘brain dump’. I put in the high-level deliverables, then ask ‘then what?’

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Project Managers need to be Jesters

Project Managers need to be Jesters

We all know the saying Time flies when you’re having fun. Are you helping your team’s time fly?

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Project Managers are Supporters

Project Managers are Supporters

Many of the things that go wrong in projects will be wholly and completely out of your control, but can have a massive affect on your project. You will need to find a way to support your team while they work through whatever issues they may be dealing with.

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Project Managers Pave the Way

Project Managers Pave the Way

As a Project Manager, it is going to be necessary to pave the way through obstacles that come up as the project progresses. Some say that this is the main responsibility of a Project Manager, and I tend to agree. It is up to the Project Manager to ensure that obstacles are dealt with and mitigated before they affect the project team and the project itself. Generally, there are three different kinds of obstacles that projects face: Technical, Political, and Emotional.

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Project Managers are Leaders

Project Managers are Leaders

Think about a person that you would follow regardless of where they were going. What makes them a leader worth following? In terms of the business world, a leader doesn’t necessarily make decisions, and a leader doesn’t necessarily have the highest ranking title. A true leader is someone that has earned the trust and respect of their team; and as a result, that team will follow that person in whatever direction they take.

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What exactly, do Project Managers Do?

What exactly, do Project Managers Do?

Project Management is a very difficult line of work to describe in terms that every person can understand. The quickest answer I can usually come up with is “I get all of the work done on projects without doing any of the actual work”, which is the best description I have of what I do.

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The Blessed Curse of Opportunity

The Blessed Curse of Opportunity

I am part of the generation that has been told from birth that “as long as you have your college degree, you can grow up to do anything you want.” Realistically speaking, this concept is flawed, or at least overly general. I can’t become a Brain Surgeon with a degree in Social Behavior, and I […]

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