Project Management BasicsWritten by Michele Webb
If you have ever had responsibility for managing a project, regardless of how little or how big, you will understand many nuances and special considerations that have to be taken into account behind-the-scenes. Project management success stories rarely show struggles, problems or weaknesses of project or team to public. One author, Herbert Lovelace, likened this to kitchen, which “…tends to be cleaned up before it is shown to guests! “
Understanding how projects should be managed or “by book” methodology is a good reference guide and tool for everyone. But, in order to succeed project manager must understand myriad of people, their needs, and potential problems and issues that need to be tackled before project can be called successful. In my own experience, project management is a culmination of all experiences and knowledge I have gained on past projects and is modified based on circumstance. There are, however, some very broad guidelines that can be implemented to help ensure project stays on track.
1.Identification: make sure problem, or project purpose, is clearly identified before starting. This is best done by putting purpose into writing and having entire team review text. Next, solicit team’s agreement to purpose in a roundtable meeting. This will also help to identify customer’s concerns and issues that need to be addressed throughout project and help to stratify resources and potential conflicts team may encounter.
2.Preparation: is all about figuring out what to do and how to do it. Although most of us can handle mechanics of preparation fairly well on an independent basis, it may be more difficult to ensure that all project team members are in agreement. It is advisable to have everyone sign off on what is to be done and his/her role in project as part of preparation. People are far more likely to support something that they understand and have had a role in developing. In our organization we use a document, called a Scope of Work agreement, as part of contracts and negotiation process that details work to be done on project. By using this document we can clearly set project tasks, milestones and timeline before contracts are finalized. Here’s one tidbit, if you are trying to implement systems, and you can’t explain it easily, don’t implement it!
Is VoIP the 'Next Big Thing' in Telecommunications?Written by Marvin Bellnick
VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol has been simmering for past few years. This year market has heated up. Many large businesses have jumped on VoIP bandwagon and have realized savings of 50-percent or more off their phone bills. VoIP providers are competing to add to or replace large PBX systems for corporations and add web conferencing capabilities plus wireless VoIP (wVoIP) over LAN’s as well.
Hospitals and other large, fragmented workforces are discovering value of using wireless VoIP phones to converse with one another quickly and efficiently while in different wings, floors or buildings of a large facility. This kind of wireless VoIP setup can have huge cost savings over cell phones and is more efficient that using pagers.
While business VoIP has caught on in corporate landscape, residential VoIP is still trying to take hold. This is largely because of a couple of current disadvantages of VoIP. First, not all current VoIP systems have power backups. When power goes out in a residence, landline is still operational. Since VoIP works over a high-speed Internet connection, which requires power, if power goes down, so does VoIP connection. This will be of concern to many concerned about emergency situations. The good news is that many VoIP hardware providers are starting to deliver systems with power backup to address just this issue.
The second drawback of residential VoIP is that not all current VoIP service providers offer full, 24-7 emergency 911 service. After hour calls in Florida, may be mistakenly rerouted to Idaho for instance. This is also about to change. The Federal Communications Commission has mandated that all phone service providers offer e911 service as standard. According to FCC, “All interconnected VoIP providers must automatically provide E9-1-1 services to all customers as a standard, mandatory feature without customers having to specifically request this service. VoIP providers may not allow their customers option to “opt-out” of E9-1-1 service.”