Made a joyful career change and now work in recruitment. My new job requires logging of all interactions into a CRM. I also have a paper notebook. Things go into the paper notes but do not always end up on the computer. I estimate I am not accounting for 40% of what I could get credit for. I think that the notebook being an actual book matters. I have started setting appointments to remind myself of mundane activities, but that is not enough. Has anyone abolished taking written notes in pursuit of putting everything onto a computer? What has kept you going?
Trying to remember a team-building game I played maybe a decade ago, so I could maybe re-construct it and play with friends. [more inside]
My manager is very hands-off and this is not going to change. How can I get better at managing myself, when I would prefer an environment with more direction and feedback? [more inside]
I'm in my first year as a principal at a special needs high school and recently, the school director (above me organizationally) hired a new teacher who isn't quite fitting in. Far too many staff members have approached me and basically, this new teacher is pissing a lot of people off. It's not worthwhile to get into specifics, but it is fair to say that their issues are valid and this new teacher acts like a know-it-all, she's fairly abrasive and dismissive to seasoned staff. These teachers are well-respected in our field and great at their jobs. [more inside]
So, I manage a business. I’ve had general management experience in the past, but it didn’t translate particularly well to this job. I feel like I’m in over my head and need advice. [more inside]
When I encounter a problem that I want to improve my management of, what is a better strategy than, "find book on Amazon/ order book/ never read book or only read 1st chapter? [more inside]
Please help me figure out what direction my career could or should move in, based on my current job as Product Manager, my skills, and my strengths. [more inside]
Currently, I'm the "Office Manager" for a large, family-run restaurant that employes 170+ people. I am in charge of Design (internal/external, web, print, etc - this is actually what I have my degree in), limited PR (we have an external firm that I liaise with, I do all social media and PR asset management), Bookkeeping/Payroll/Accounts Payable, Limited HR (onboarding new employees, helping to create and maintain training materials, but no hiring/firing/discipline), IT/Tech Support, Project Management, Answering Phones/Reservations, etc etc... oh, and managing the actual office, too (ordering supplies, filing, printing menus, fixing the copier, what-have-you). I need a better job title. [more inside]
One of our sales reps is retiring in two weeks and I am to take over his accounts and duties. The problem is he isn’t exactly helping with the transition process. How do we motivate him to help us prepare and be ready for his exit? Right now we might end up high and dry without access to important information we need to work after he's gone. We need to know what is going on with the accounts and everyone we should be working with. [more inside]
Some years ago, I read about a study on workplace productivity, set up to test the effect of a new office layout (or perhaps some other physical feature of work environment). They changed to the new layout, and productivity jumped up. Over the following months, however, productivity tailed off to the original levels. So they changed the layout back to the original one. Again, productivity spiked suddenly and gradually declined back to the baseline. It was concluded that, whatever the relative merits of different office arrangements, the very act of making a change causes a temporary productivity increase. Does anyone know where I can find this study? [more inside]
Running a small business and I need to strike the right balance between being available and growing my business. [more inside]
A friend runs a small professional organization with about 60-80 members, and is looking for a way to more easily manage membership. She is hoping to find software or a web service designed to do these things:
- Most importantly: allow members to pay an annual membership fee online. She also needs to be able to look up who has paid and who hasn't.
- Allow members to log in and update contact information and other info (such as number of accredited hours).
- Email all members, download a list of members, and so on.
My responsibilities at my job have slowly but organically grown until they are more than I can handle alone. Fortunately, my boss is very good at giving me people to do things for me. Unfortunately, I am having a hard time transitioning from the paradigm where I hold absolutely everything in my head, so I end up farming out simple tasks but then staying late putting a finished product together. How can I learn to divide work among multiple people successfully? [more inside]
What does "Project Management Light" look like? Are there good resources out there team members can read/watch/etc? Background and requirements inside. [more inside]
I'm looking for some software that will help me manage a small artwork rental business. I've been looking at library systems, since the sign out/sign-in concept is the same, but none of them seem to offer the ability to charge a fee to sign items out or keep track of fees owed to artists. Any suggestions? [more inside]
I'm considering further education, and I'm looking at either an MBA or MS in Operations and Engineering Management. I've already got the MSME and significant aerospace product engineering experience, and MSOEM would help give me a leg up to Engineering Manager or Chief Engineer. But an MBA would be a more business-focused curriculum, which could help me leverage my experience and knowledge into perhaps a wider field. So, which one gets your vote, and why? How much of a factor is the choice of school? What other questions do I need to ask? (Assume that tuition is not a factor.) [more inside]
My company is becoming more focused on billable hours and resource allocation and I an sinking. Please help me stay afloat. [more inside]
I need to pay someone to keep me organized and contact other people for me and sort of, well, bully me into staying on task. But I don't know what sort of person that is. Who am I trying to hire? Details below. [more inside]
I'm petite, younger, female and upper management in a male-dominated physical line of work. Several of my colleagues and employees regularly make casual friendly but slightly condescending comments to me. I generally push back pretty firmly with employees and ignore it from colleagues, but I feel uncomfortable and am unsure if MeFi might offer some better tactics for responding. [more inside]
I work for a large government agency where the "management cadre" is separate from the "professional cadre." Top- level professionals make as much or more than managers, at least up to the middle levels. More and more people are deciding to stay in their professional or "field" jobs, so managers are now coming from outside, with little substantive experience, and get overwhelmed almost immediately. When they founder, as is more often the case, there are few ambitious people under them looking for an opportunity to shine by taking on extra responsibilities, so they just keep chewing up the scenery. The fact that it is next to impossible to fire anyone at any level for any reason means there is little incentive for anyone to change, and the crappy economy means nobody wants to let go of a good salary, not to mention a great pension. Lather, rinse, repeat. Have you ever been part of this dynamic, and if so, how did you handle it? Have you ever seen an organization dig itself out once the situation got to that point? What constructive actions can the professionals in this scenario take, short of taking on responsibilities that don't belong to them ( and that they don't have the authority to carry out anyway)? [more inside]
I work in a small business that reflects a lot of the same problems I've seen in other groups when they try to be productive. You get some people in a room with an intent to create an outcome, a project that is going to take considerable amount of time, thought, resources and creativity. Just getting people to stick to one single discussion thread in this large project becomes practically impossible. How do groups collaborate successfully to create an outcome that is worth the effort? [more inside]
I am a senior technical specialist in my company, and I've been asked to manage a small team. This is being sold to me as a great development opportunity, lots of prestige, greater authority and decision-making power, etc. etc.. While that all sounds great, it's a line management role. It's not that I'm not a people person, but I feel that it's not the right time in my life to be taking on a major new responsibility. How do I politely and constructively turn down the "opportunity"? [more inside]
After a crazy Kickstarter adventure, I suddenly find myself with ~65 products to create, 2000 customers to send them to, and loads of information (names, email addresses, shipping details, order selections, order fulfillment status, funds donated) from 4 different sources (Kickstarter surveys, Surveymonkey.com, paypal.com, private emails). I need some way to keep track of all of it, so that I can easily find and export information (Who ordered product X? Who ordered product Y and hasn't yet had that order fulfilled), easily change entries (Customer B: Can I switch from product X to Y?) and easily add entries (New customer C). What's my best bet?
I'm a Project Manager at a web company that makes websites, apps, etc. We are pretty small so any solution needs to be affordable and easy to use. There are so many project management tools out there and we have evaluated many. I have a short list of things I'm looking for which I'll outline inside but mainly there seems to be a lack of resource management at an hourly level. So, either that is too high level for the price/ease of the tools we are looking at, or people are managing that some other way. Data and management geeks, please help!! [more inside]
My manager is overwhelmed. I'm unhappy. He's asking for feedback from team. [more inside]
My bar / restaurant I opened is in its 2nd year of operation and it's running smoothly while turning a profit. Can I take a step back or should I continue to put in long days at the bar because that's what I'm supposed to do? [more inside]
I'm nearly 40 years old and by some measures, successful. I graduated from a top university and have been employed by major companies for nearly 20 years of my professional life. I've grown increasingly dissatisfied with my chosen career though, and I was hoping some of the wise minds here could give me some advice. Details follow. [more inside]
What are your favorite pleasant but professional ways to say 'Don't take this to me. Take this problem to Jane Smith instead." [more inside]
Over the summer I was promoted to Art Director at my small company (15 people total). I've never been a director before, and so far things have been going really well, but I feel like I'm still on shaky ground when it comes to dealing with people when they've made mistakes. What are you supposed to do and say when someone screws up and you want them to be held accountable but you also want to treat them like the human being they are? [more inside]
My software management roll is expanding, looking for those rare, insightful, better than average books on the subject. [more inside]
Our organization's complexity has outgrown our project management software several times. I'm looking for options to research as the next step above something like Basecamp or single desktop Microsoft Project installations. If you have experience with project management software for large teams please let me know your thoughts. Details inside. [more inside]
Yes, I know you are not my doctor. Yes, I have been to see a doctor. To date, no diagnosis and no drugs prescribed, a lot of pain that shows no signs of going away. [more inside]
Trying to help a friend find a solution. They need a simplistic solution to tracking some office items. They have several demo kits (15) that their team uses. They need a way to see where each kit is at, without having to contact each employee that's out in the field to see who has what. [more inside]
How should I deal with a co-worker who won't evacuate when a fire alarm sounds? I am particularly concerned because his mobility is limited. Added complication: he is my boss. [more inside]
I am looking for informed opinions and articles on why we are so bad at estimating our time on projects, specifically from an IT project management-perspective. [more inside]
Our new project leader is making my staff miserable and threatening the professionalism and success of the project itself. Both project and staff are dear to my heart, as well as my professional identity. No one wants to make waves while on the project; I've recently transferred to a different project. Is there anything I can do? [more inside]
My SO has years and years of stellar restaurant management experience. How can he parlay this into a career outside of food service? [more inside]
First of all, if there are better places on the internet where I should ask these types of questions about project and company management, please let me know. You guys are awesome, but I have plenty of other types of questions I'd like to ask in here, and, plus, I need to find the best source for answers to specific questions like this and fast. I need the proper technological solution for managing the flow of tasks and information of an entire company. The company is about 20 people in the office (half of them engineers) and about the same in the fab shop, so it's small. I am not the owner, but the oft-ignored second-in-command. See my other questions (here and here) for more details about my specific working situation. Right now, the company can only be described as chaotic. We have taken probably on probably too much work, people (especially me) aren't aware of what others are doing, collaboration takes place in inefficient bursts in the conference room, and the massive amount of information we generate per job and in the rest of the business is never easily found when needed. The owner causes a lot of these problems with his capricious style of running the business and tends to only add to the entropy, but I think that centralization of information and communication may save it before it's too late. I need the proper tool or tools to do this. I'll discuss where I am thus far, and we can go from there. [more inside]
I will be starting to work on several small, overlapping projects soon and need a lightweight tool. WANT: Ability to manage 2-3 resources (mostly me, really), schedule tasks, create and output Gantt charts. DO NOT WANT: The security hole of suck known as Java, so Project Libre, OpenProj and the like are right out. MEH, WILL ACCEPT IF NEEDED: Cloud app. I really prefer desktop programs for various reasons, but if the best solution is on the cloud, so be it. A PLEA: I'm going to a presentation on Office 365 tonight with a devotee of MS Project. Please arm me in advance against the call of the dark side! [more inside]
I'm helping an older gentleman get going with his first smart phone. He is traveling without a car, camping without power, battery consumption management on the phone is CRITICAL. The app needs to FIRST be simple to setup and use, second allow him to easily see what is using the battery, and third have tools to kill wasteful usage. Free would be nice, but willing to pay for a SIMPLE app that does what he needs without confusing him with bells and whistles. [more inside]
I work at a small non-profit academic organization (30 staff). We're currently in a period of "organizational restructuring," spurred by the (coincidentally timed) resignation of several of our key leaders, and I've been asked to be part of the team that helps decide what this new structure should look like. Help. [more inside]
I am a professional publisher who produces four lifestyle websites loved by lots of people. After four years of non-profitability, I've decided to kill one of the websites at the end of the year. Should I give the site's 175,000 monthly readers a heads-up that the site is dying? [more inside]
I think my boss didn't handle things well today, but I need some help because I have lost all perspective on this situation. I'm only 7 months in as a system analyst (programmer) and I guess I don't get the biz yet. [more inside]
Are there any websites or programs that can read and export MS Project .mpp files that are more affordable and just as capable as MS Project? Failing that, what's a good online website that can achieve the same effect of building the chart for the customer and maybe even allowing them to collaborate with us on it? We're a small company whose customers often like to see and modify MS Project files at the beginning of a project. Project is expensive and locked to one computer per license, and I don't feel like installing it on lots of computers here when most of the users will use it maybe 1% of the time. Plus, none of us know how to fully extract all the value from this expensive software to justify it. I'd like a solution more tailored to our small needs that still will satisfy our customers. I'm also open to other project management solutions as detailed below. [more inside]
I will be assigning a small staff to shifts in multiple locations at different times on a weekly (or bi-weekly) basis. I need to develop an efficient way to keep track of who is supposed to be where at what times, and be able to keep that data for future reference. It would be great if I could keep track of how many shifts each person is assigned on a monthly/quarterly basis. I'm envisioning cumbersome spreadsheets that I'm loathe to create from scratch. Is there an Excel template or a (free/cheap) software solution that will do this for me? Do you do this sort of thing and have advice for me? I'm not the kind of person to reinvent the wheel, so I'd appreciate any help I can get.
We have four departments and each has their own way of managing their student lists, I'd like to find one solution to rule them all. [more inside]
What software/websites would you recommend to help a team of not more than a dozen individuals at different sites manage a collaborative project? [more inside]
I work at a radio station. One of my managers attended a public radio networking event recently where people were bandying about the idea of book clubs for radio station listeners. Our top-level manager has decided that "we are definitely doing the book club thing." This is now my problem. [more inside]
At work, I need to run staff meetings. Please tell me how to run meetings that are helpful for employees and don’t waste time. [more inside]
I am embarking on a large ongoing project, and I am hoping to incorporate some project management ideas to keep me on task. What I am hoping for is as follows: *Easily managed, intuitive, customizable database. *Easy date-tracking. *Automated "ticklers" (i.e. reminders) to check each part of the project at predetermined intervals (one month, three months, etc.). *Easy status tracking. What I am really hoping to build is a system to track a large number of similar items through a long process while still being manageable by one person, and to have the data available quickly. Any suggestions on where I can learn how to develop a system like this, or any suggestions on pre-established systems or software that would help would be greatly appreciated.