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  • Are project management certifications are a waste of time?

    September 2015

    Reading time: 14 minutes I’ve been delivering projects and programmes for over 20 years. During that time, I’ve interviewed countless numbers of people for project management positions. Despite the hundreds of people I’ve interviewed who professed to have Prince2 qualifications, I’ve never met anyone who could tell me what the ethos of Prince2 is (and if you think its ‘Project in Controlled Environments’ you don’t know the answer either!). In this article I’m going to explain why project management certifications can be a waste of time and money, and what you can do about it, whether you’re looking to get certified or whether you run a project management function. And I might even explain to you what the ethos of Prince2 is. Before I go any further, I should declare that I do have project management certifications. These include CompTIA: IT Project+ (that takes me back a long way!), Prince2…

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  • 5 critical things you must do to make CRM effective in your business

    August 2015

    Reading time: 7 minutes CRM – Customer Relationship Management – you know what it is right? But why do you need a CRM? Do professional services firms typically use CRM, and if they do, is it better to have a sector specific CRM, or will any old CRM do? Should you use a cloud-based CRM, or have an on-premise one? Regardless of how it’s delivered, what if you need to change your CRM – how do you go about doing that? To get answers to these questions, and more, I spoke with Don Wiid of Contact Edge CRM. Don is an expert in Customer Relationship Management, better known as CRM. He has spent over 10 years working with CRM systems, and has written add-on programmes that have sold around the world.  His expertise as a business analyst and software developer has seen Don design and implement CRM strategies that have…

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  • 9 Lies That Are Holding Your Business Back

    July 2015

    Rating: Published: 2005 9 Lies That Are Holding Your Business Back is written by Steve Chandler and Sam Beckford. The focus of this book is pretty obvious from the title. It explores the 9 most commons myths, or lies, that we tell ourselves about running a business. These myths are not only untrue, but they are self-perpetuating and cause us to make serious business mistakes. The 9 lies that Chandler and Beckford examine are: I just need to know how to do this It takes money to make money We just need to get our name out there Experience will benefit me Lowering prices boosts business You have to be tighfisted Customers are hard to figure out I don’t need any help I am a victim of circumstance I must confess I’m becoming a bit of a fan of Steve Chandler. I’ve read a number of his books now, and…

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  • Growth is Dead: Now What?

    March 2015

    Rating: Published: 2013 Growth is Dead: Now What? is written by Bruce MacEwen, a lawyer and President of Adam Smith Esq., an online publication providing insights on the business of law. The core focus of this book is the changes in the legal industry brought about by the 2008 downturn. MacEwen defines 6 core challenges affecting the sector: Pricing pressures Excess capacity Proliferation of career tracks Partner expectations Lateral partner mobility Critical role of truly strategic thinking Ultimately these issues boil down to the fact that the market has changed substantially. Previously lawyers were in the driving seat, and with hourly billing there was little need to be efficient. But the market now finds itself in a position of low growth. The client is in the driving seat and they are are expecting more for less! MacEwen does a good job in exploring each of the challenges, backing up findings…

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  • What should you study – Prince2, Agile, or ITIL?

    January 2015

    Reading time: 9 minutes “As an IT Manager, with years of experience without certifications, I have been asking myself which qualification would be of most benefit to me – Prince2 or ITIL?” I recently responded to this question which was posted on LinkedIn. This article expands upon the answer I gave on LinkedIn, providing analysis on current trends, and opinions to take into account when assessing your certification needs, and those of your team. Some of the answers may surprise you! Declaration Before we dive into the article I need to make a declaration: I am an avid believer in life-long learning.  In line with this belief I have a number of certifications including Prince2 Practitioner, Agile PM Practitioner, ITIL, Certificate in Management, and a number of other certs going back to NT4 MCSE, and even Network+. So it could be said that I have a bias towards certification. But that’s…

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  • Legal Project Management, Pricing, and Alternative Fee Arrangements

    October 2014

    Rating: Published: 2013 Legal Project Management, Pricing, and Alternative Fee Arrangements is written by Jim Hassett and has probably the longest, most cumbersome title of any book I’ve ever read! Thankfully the content is better than the title. The main focus of this book is really alternative fee arrangements, or AFA’s as they are often known. Legal Project Management (LPM) is an essential discipline to be able to use AFA’s profitably, and Hassett has chosen to introduce LPM first. Like many books on the legal sector, it makes reference to the Altman Weil surveys. These annual surveys really do provide great insight into the sector. Hassett quotes a general counsel responses to the 2012 Chief Legal Officer Survey on the question of: “what you would most like to see from outside counsel?” the answers to which were: Cost reduction (50%) Non-hourly based pricing structures (53%) More efficient project management (53%)…

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  • How to make millions without a degree and how to get by even if you have one

    September 2014

    Rating: Simon Dolan is a multi-millionaire and features on the Sunday Times Rich List. He is the founder and sole owner of SJD Accountancy. If you’ve ever been an IT contractor you will have heard of SJD. The premise of the book, as it’s title clearly states, is How To Make Millions Without A Degree: And How to Get by Even If You Have One. The book is partly autobiographical, and in it Dolan provides advice to business owners and those considering starting their own business instead of going to University. However, I think the title is a bit of a shame as this book is so much more than describing an alternative to getting a degree. Dolan provides some of the most practical, straightforward business advice I have ever read in a business book. He has a no-nonsense way of talking that enables him to get to the point…

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  • Can you build a winning team without creating a sense of purpose?

    August 2014

    We’ve been working with a client recently to review one of their IT teams, and to help design an organisational structure that ensures success. One of the main challenges has been the importance that the client attributes to the team’s organisational structure. There is a strong view within the client that the best way to make a successful team is to come up with a winning structure first. That’s a bit like saying, “Get me the best sports team”, without identifying which sport you’re playing! Not only do we need to determine the game, but also the rules. If we want to play Rugby, is it the RFL or the RFU? And what’s our vision? Do we want to win the Challenge Cup, or can we only afford players that might mean we set our sights somewhat lower? Diving headlong into an org chart is a common mistake. This may…

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  • The War of Art

    July 2014

    Rating: Published Jan 2012 What’s it about? This book has probably the best Foreword of any book I’ve ever read. As it states, ‘I can procrastinate thinking about my procrastination problem’. If you write as part of your job I would suspect that you will be hooked by the end of the foreword. The purpose of the book is to help you recognise and respond to your internal resistance to make progress and achieve your dreams. It’s primarily about the challenges of writing, but I think it can be applied to most any goal or skill that you are trying to achieve. That might be starting or building your business, or anything which results in other giving judgement. The book is structured in 3 distinct sections, labelled: Book 1: Resistance, Book 2: Combating Resistance, Book 3: Beyond Resistance. The first and 3rd sections are very good. I have to say…

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