A Better Product; No. 01

Note: I’ve moved my newsletter to its own home @ TheStakeholderReport.com.

PLEASE READ!

TSR members, if you're reading this it means you've either paid for a monthly/annual subscription or you were granted a free upgrade. However, from today forward this is a paid-newsletter. It was never intended to be free, however, I had it marked as such while working through some backend issues. This was intended to be a benefit for paid members of Project Management Five. I am going to slow my roll over there to concentrate on making this the best damn weekly newsletter for Project Management; so much so that you'd be willing to share... all for you (see I care).

I apologize for any confusion I've created over the free/not free newsletter and if seems like a bait-n-switch (it's not) and I irked you, I apologize.

Have a great week!

let me know 📬 what's working and what's not, I love getting your emails. Also, if you like TSR please consider buying me a coffee (I drink a lot of coffee). ☕️"}],["hr",{}],["image",{"src":"https://res-2.cloudinary.com/ryanerickson/image/upload/q_auto/v1/tsr/Screen-Shot-2020-08-07-at-2.15.41-PM.png","width":1280,"height":669}],["hr",{}],["hr",{}]],"markups":[["a",["href","https://thestakeholderreport.com/"]],["u"],["a",["href","https://www.aipm.com.au/home.aspx"]],["a",["href","https://www.miragenews.com/ensuring-graduates-are-job-ready-to-deliver-future-projects/"]],["em"],["a",["href","https://www.pmi.org/certifications/types/project-management-pmp/earn-the-pmp/pmp-exam-preparation/pmp-exam-updates"]],["a",["href","https://cloud.ryanerickson.com/s/NeAKEWeMsqZZZ8e"]],["a",["href","https://www.project-management-prepcast.com/free/pmp-exam/articles/1086-pmp-exam-update-2019"]],["a",["href","http://www.bradegeland.com/blog/5-myths-about-project-meetings5091989"]],["strong"],["a",["href","https://www.simpletasking.com/"]],["a",["href","https://www.indiehackers.com/"]],["a",["href","https://www.indiehackers.com/steban/history"]],["a",["href","https://outline.com/E247cr"]],["a",["href","https://www.fastcompany.com/90537205/the-7-hallmarks-of-good-leadership-in-the-pandemic"]],["a",["href","https://www.forbes.com/sites/tracybrower/2020/08/09/how-to-close-the-distance-on-remote-work-the-most-important-leadership-skill/#5ce12d0116fd"]],["a",["href","https://www.wrike.com/blog/understanding-risk-breakdown-structure/"]]],"sections":[[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Welcome to TSR, now a standalone site and newsletter. This week I've started a new series on reviewing new and upcoming PM apps/sites. Also, have you ever been asked \"When did you \"become\" a leader?\" Read on..."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"If you find you like the newsletter, do me a solid and forward to someone else you think may like it. "],[1,[],0,0],[1,[],0,1],[0,[],0,"Did an awesome friend send this newsletter to you? "],[0,[0,1],2,"Subscribe for yourself here"],[0,[],0,"."]]],[10,0],[1,"h2",[[0,[],0,"Australia, pushing the envelope of our craft 🇦🇺"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Our neighbors to the south (and the other side of the globe for me) have the right idea: "],[0,[1],1,"come out of the pandemic on top"],[0,[],0,"! The Australian Institute of Project Management ("],[0,[2],1,"AIPM"],[0,[],0,") and the country's Minister for Education recently announced the ‘Job-ready Graduates Package.’ In short, it's a fantastic push to ensure the workforce is ready for the eventual upswing in the Project Management sector. \"... now is the time to ensure that higher education courses, specifically related to the discipline of project management, adhere to industry standards and best practices.\" The current plan: add, through the ‘"],[0,[3],1,"Job-ready Graduates Package"],[0,[],0,",’ an additional 39,000 students at universities by 2023 to push the PM craft forward."]]],[10,1],[1,"h2",[[0,[],0,"Change not for the sake of change 🧐"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"For my U.S. readers, and those that are looking to get their Project Management Professional (PMP) I thought I'd bring up this reminder that change "],[0,[4],1,"is"],[0,[],0," afoot! The Project Management Institute (PMI), "],[0,[4],1,"our"],[0,[],0," "],[0,[4],1,"PMP overlords"],[0,[],0,", announced a bit ago that the next revision to the PMP test is "],[0,[5],1,"due to go live on 02 January 2021"],[0,[],0," (that's a Saturday if any of you care 🤷‍♂️). You can find the updates via "],[0,[6],1,"this handy PDF"],[0,[],0,"; otherwise here's the info you might care about:"]]],[3,"ul",[[[0,[],0,"\"there are noticeable differences between this updated PMP Examination Content Outline and A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition. While there are some commonalities, it is important to note that the volunteer taskforce involved in the study described previously were not bound by the PMBOK® Guide.\""]],[[0,[],0,"About half of the examination will represent predictive project management approaches and the other half will represent agile or hybrid approaches. Predictive, agile, and hybrid approaches will be found throughout the three domain areas listed above and are not isolated to any particular domain or task."]],[[0,[],0,"I'd "],[0,[6],1,"read the PDF"],[0,[],0," if you're looking to take the test after the New Year."]],[[0,[],0,"Check out the content makeup below too 👇"]]]],[10,2],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Might I also recommend taking a look at "],[0,[7],1,"PM PrepCast's discussion"],[0,[],0," on the changes."],[1,[],0,2],[1,[],0,3],[0,[],0,"I don't even have to take a test and reading my own writing is giving me a little bit of anxiety."]]],[10,3],[10,4],[1,"h2",[[0,[],0,"The Project, Life, Meeting, Care... Manager"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"It's true, as a Project Manager you're all of those things, and many more. However, today we're here to do a little \"meeting intervention\" and remind you exactly what you are in the eyes everyone else. "],[1,[],0,4],[0,[],0,"Here's the scenario, "],[0,[4],0,"you sent out a meeting invite to most of the team letting them know you're holding an important meeting at the top of the hour, 44 minutes from now. "],[0,[],1,"The top of the hour arrives and only half of the 14 requested people show. You tip your hat and show your visibly upset, but go on with the meeting. (Yep... been there...)"],[1,[],0,5],[1,[],0,6],[0,[],0,"All the facts aren't available to you for brevity, this is after all a newsletter. It would suffice to say you, nor your meeting, are as important as you (I included) think. If you need a reminder about the PM world and the reality of meetings, might I suggest you take look at Brad Egeland's recent post on the "],[0,[8],1,"myths of meetings"],[0,[],0,". "],[1,[],0,7],[1,[],0,8],[0,[],0,"\"All meetings are created unequally. So many factors go into a meeting – the project importance, the attendee list, the topic(s), the agenda, the location, the timing, and the proposed length…just to name a few. So meetings are definitely not meetings and if one is called, there’s no guarantee people will attend. We all find all reasons why we should not attend a meeting from time to time – legitimate or not.\""]]],[10,5],[1,"h2",[[0,[],0,"PM Digital Tools Review: Simpletasking"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[9,9],2,"Site, motto"],[0,[],0,": "],[0,[10],1,"Simpletasking"],[0,[],0,", work from anywhere"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[9,9],2,"BLUF"],[0,[],0,": There's no bloat, settings you don't need, nor bad design choices (hey, that's important)."]]],[10,6],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Today I begin a new series of reviewing applications and sites dedicated to making the project manager's life easier, if not better. We're all used to the likes of Trello, MS Project, or Basecamp. "],[0,[4],1,"I'm not looking at those"],[0,[],0,". I began looking for those that I hadn't heard of yet. I combed through "],[0,[11],1,"IndieHackers"],[0,[],0,"' data until I found some independent developers working on project management tools, sites, and applications. I emailed several of the developers of these apps with two questions:"]]],[3,"ol",[[[0,[],0,"How long have you been working on getting the site to where it is now; and"]],[[0,[],0,"What drove you/your team to create the app?"]]]],[1,"p",[[0,[10],1,"Simpletasking"],[0,[],0,"'s developer, "],[0,[12],1,"Esteban Saa"],[0,[],0," was gracious enough to entertain my questions first. So, it's the first review. Here's his answers to the above;"],[1,[],0,9],[0,[4],1,"\"Simpletasking started as an internal set of tools we used for a few years. I work on a couple of businesses/projects, each one with a different group of people. Switching between projects on the usual project management apps was painful, keeping track of multiple projects was almost impossible. 5 months ago I decided to improve it and bring it to the market. We call it simpletasking as the focus is simplicity/ease of use. It tried every single project management platform out there, and sincerely feel our product solves multi-project management the best. The product is now complete, we just started working on the front page and will likely start marketing in a week or so.\""]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Like any good application or website (*cough*) it takes time to get from a \"dream\" to a \"thing\" that becomes real, usable, and used. I didn't ask about statistics nor funding because I don't care about those things. I took this as a personal journey to see what these sites can do. I based my criteria on the following:"]]],[3,"ol",[[[0,[],0,"Visually; is the site/app appealing to look at design wise?"]],[[0,[],0,"Ease of use; is the site/app easy to use or are there hints/tips or a noticeable help menu?"]],[[0,[],0,"Tools; as a PM what tools does this site/app have that can help me "],[0,[4],1,"and"],[0,[],0," my team?"]],[[0,[],0,"Practicality; it is practical to use this site/app everyday or on a regular basis?"]],[[0,[],0,"Overall; was the overall user experience good, bad, or ugly?"]]]],[1,"h2",[[0,[],0,"Simpletasking, a review"]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"Visually"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"There's nothing impeding the use of this tool visually- at all. It's near literally \"what you see is what you get.\" It's fantastically easy to use; the buttons, sections, and areas are all right there. Also, their color choices of mint-green and grey are easy to look at."]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"Easy of use"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"I went in cold with no understanding of what this site offered except tools for managing programs. I created my area without issue in less than five-minutes. When you first start there's only one hint to click the \"+\" to get started, and honestly, that's all you need to get started. If you're able to get yourself around the likes of the new Facebook interface, you're going to do fine on here."]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"Tools"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"The site has a fantastic suite of tools that you and your team will use; Kanban-type board, chat, updates thread, team members, and settings. "]]],[3,"ul",[[[0,[],0,"It's automatically set to send you email updates when a change or addition is made to the project boards. This could get a little annoying, real quick. But under the setting page you can shut the email notifications off. The site also supports browser notifications. "]],[[0,[],0,"The chat function is real-time across all team members logged in. "]],[[0,[],0,"The Board is a simple digital Kanban board. You have the standard three columns pre-made; to do, in progress, and done. It looks like you can make your cards as along as you need with text too. Also, you can add more columns in the settings page and change the names of the columns."]],[[0,[],0,"You can add team members and assign roles in the Team tab. Even better, you can add different team members to different projects without interference of each other. Different projects? Yep, you can run several at once. "]],[[0,[],0,"There's also a thread page, the front page, which keeps track of everything that's done on the project in one running list. Each item given its own \"task number\" (that's what I'm calling it). From here you can watch your team work in real-time. "]],[[0,[],0,"In the upper left corner (the green rectangle in the picture above) you'll see the latest updates from anywhere on the current project. When you have more than one project going (example in the below screenshots) you'll see them listed here and you can switch between the two by just clicking on the other project rectangle."]]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"Practicality"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"I could use this site daily, anyone could. It's super easy to use, has almost all the information one needs for almost all project types. If you're looking for a full-scale suite including Gantt charts, this isn't' for you, however. This is easily suited for Agile/Scrum teams without issue. I could even use it to collaborate on my site's post topics. "]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"Overall"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Overall I'm super happy with what Esteban and his team have created here. There's no bloat, settings you don't need, nor bad design choices (hey, that's important). The only issue I found while I was playing with it was a visual stall on uploading a picture. This was easily fixed with a screen refresh. Other than this "],[0,[4],1,"very"],[0,[],0," minor issue, "],[0,[9],1,"I can recommend this for anyone"],[0,[],0,". As I note above, it's super easy (dare I say stupid easy) to get started. This is an no-brainer of a recommendation. 🙌"]]],[10,7],[1,"h2",[[0,[],0,"When did you \"become\" a leader? 🤷‍♂️"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"I can honestly say I've never been asked that question. I can, however, say I've been asked many times \"what leadership lessons have you learned?\" Of course, I usually begin spouting off those lessons I learned from bad leaders. We all remember "],[0,[4],1,"those"],[0,[],0," lessons. "],[1,[],0,10],[0,[],0,"This week I came across a fantastic article via the Harvard Business Review touching on "],[0,[13],1,"leadership origin stories"],[0,[],0,". It's not long, and I highly recommend reading it (I even had my older children read it). From a leaders perspective I was caught by surprise when the topic of gender and leadership begin to entwine."],[1,[],0,11],[0,[],0,"As a leader "],[0,[4],1,"\"[b]e mindful that men and women may gravitate toward different lenses when it comes to reflecting on their leadership. To help them develop their identity, allow them to experiment with multiple narratives and select one that feels comfortable. That’s an important step. You can also help them notice the possible constraints of one narrative and enrich their stories with multiple narratives.\""],[1,[],0,12],[0,[],0,"I myself am an \"Accepting\" leader, I think. That is, one who didn't realize they were indeed a leader until they noticed people following them. "],[0,[9,9],2,"What kind a leader are you?"]]],[10,8],[1,"h2",[[0,[],0,"Parting Shot"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[9,9],2,"Additional Recommended Reading"],[0,[],0,": (Like those above, I'm not necessarily endorsing these sites, I'm sharing because the content is relevant to you and I.)"]]],[3,"ul",[[[0,[14],1,"The 7 hallmarks of good leadership in the pandemic"]],[[0,[15],1,"How To Close The Distance On Remote Work: The Most Important Leadership Skill"]],[[0,[16],1,"Understanding Risk Breakdown Structure"]]]]]}'>Welcome to TSR, now a standalone site and newsletter. This week I've started a new series on reviewing new and upcoming PM apps/sites. Also, have you ever been asked "When did you "become" a leader?" Read on...If you find you like the newsletter, do me a solid and forward to someone else you think may like it. Did an awesome friend send this newsletter to you? Subscribe for yourself here.Australia, pushing the envelope of our craft 🇦🇺Our neighbors to the south (and the other side of the globe for me) have the right idea: come out of the pandemic on top! The Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) and the country's Minister for Education recently announced the ‘Job-ready Graduates Package.’ In short, it's a fantastic push to ensure the workforce is ready for the eventual upswing in the Project Management sector. "... now is the time to ensure that higher education courses, specifically related to the discipline of project management, adhere to industry standards and best practices." The current plan: add, through the ‘Job-ready Graduates Package,’ an additional 39,000 students at universities by 2023 to push the PM craft forward.Change not for the sake of change 🧐For my U.S. readers, and those that are looking to get their Project Management Professional (PMP) I thought I'd bring up this reminder that change is afoot! The Project Management Institute (PMI), ourPMP overlords, announced a bit ago that the next revision to the PMP test is due to go live on 02 January 2021 (that's a Saturday if any of you care 🤷‍♂️). You can find the updates via this handy PDF; otherwise here's the info you might care about:"there are noticeable differences between this updated PMP Examination Content Outline and A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition. While there are some commonalities, it is important to note that the volunteer taskforce involved in the study described previously were not bound by the PMBOK® Guide."About half of the examination will represent predictive project management approaches and the other half will represent agile or hybrid approaches. Predictive, agile, and hybrid approaches will be found throughout the three domain areas listed above and are not isolated to any particular domain or task.I'd read the PDF if you're looking to take the test after the New Year.Check out the content makeup below too 👇Might I also recommend taking a look at PM PrepCast's discussion on the changes.I don't even have to take a test and reading my own writing is giving me a little bit of anxiety.The Project, Life, Meeting, Care... ManagerIt's true, as a Project Manager you're all of those things, and many more. However, today we're here to do a little "meeting intervention" and remind you exactly what you are in the eyes everyone else. Here's the scenario, you sent out a meeting invite to most of the team letting them know you're holding an important meeting at the top of the hour, 44 minutes from now. The top of the hour arrives and only half of the 14 requested people show. You tip your hat and show your visibly upset, but go on with the meeting. (Yep... been there...)All the facts aren't available to you for brevity, this is after all a newsletter. It would suffice to say you, nor your meeting, are as important as you (I included) think. If you need a reminder about the PM world and the reality of meetings, might I suggest you take look at Brad Egeland's recent post on the myths of meetings. "All meetings are created unequally. So many factors go into a meeting – the project importance, the attendee list, the topic(s), the agenda, the location, the timing, and the proposed length…just to name a few. So meetings are definitely not meetings and if one is called, there’s no guarantee people will attend. We all find all reasons why we should not attend a meeting from time to time – legitimate or not."PM Digital Tools Review: SimpletaskingSite, mottoSimpletasking, work from anywhereBLUF: There's no bloat, settings you don't need, nor bad design choices (hey, that's important).Today I begin a new series of reviewing applications and sites dedicated to making the project manager's life easier, if not better. We're all used to the likes of Trello, MS Project, or Basecamp. I'm not looking at those. I began looking for those that I hadn't heard of yet. I combed through IndieHackers' data until I found some independent developers working on project management tools, sites, and applications. I emailed several of the developers of these apps with two questions:How long have you been working on getting the site to where it is now; andWhat drove you/your team to create the app?Simpletasking's developer, Esteban Saa was gracious enough to entertain my questions first. So, it's the first review. Here's his answers to the above;"Simpletasking started as an internal set of tools we used for a few years. I work on a couple of businesses/projects, each one with a different group of people. Switching between projects on the usual project management apps was painful, keeping track of multiple projects was almost impossible. 5 months ago I decided to improve it and bring it to the market. We call it simpletasking as the focus is simplicity/ease of use.  It tried every single project management platform out there, and sincerely feel our product solves multi-project management the best. The product is now complete, we just started working on the front page and will likely start marketing in a week or so."Like any good application or website (*cough*) it takes time to get from a "dream" to a "thing" that becomes real, usable, and used. I didn't ask about statistics nor funding because I don't care about those things. I took this as a personal journey to see what these sites can do. I based my criteria on the following:Visually; is the site/app appealing to look at design wise?Ease of use; is the site/app easy to use or are there hints/tips or a noticeable help menu?Tools; as a PM what tools does this site/app have that can help me and my team?Practicality; it is practical to use this site/app everyday or on a regular basis?Overall; was the overall user experience good, bad, or ugly?Simpletasking, a reviewVisuallyThere's nothing impeding the use of this tool visually- at all. It's near literally "what you see is what you get." It's fantastically easy to use; the buttons, sections, and areas are all right there. Also, their color choices of mint-green and grey are easy to look at.Easy of useI went in cold with no understanding of what this site offered except tools for managing programs. I created my area without issue in less than five-minutes. When you first start there's only one hint to click the "+" to get started, and honestly, that's all you need to get started. If you're able to get yourself around the likes of the new Facebook interface, you're going to do fine on here.ToolsThe site has a fantastic suite of tools that you and your team will use; Kanban-type board, chat, updates thread, team members, and settings. It's automatically set to send you email updates when a change or addition is made to the project boards. This could get a little annoying, real quick. But under the setting page you can shut the email notifications off. The site also supports browser notifications. The chat function is real-time across all team members logged in. The Board is a simple digital Kanban board. You have the standard three columns pre-made; to do, in progress, and done. It looks like you can make your cards as along as you need with text too. Also, you can add more columns in the settings page and change the names of the columns.You can add team members and assign roles in the Team tab. Even better, you can add different team members to different projects without interference of each other. Different projects? Yep, you can run several at once. There's also a thread page, the front page, which keeps track of everything that's done on the project in one running list. Each item given its own "task number" (that's what I'm calling it). From here you can watch your team work in real-time. In the upper left corner (the green rectangle in the picture above) you'll see the latest updates from anywhere on the current project. When you have more than one project going (example in the below screenshots) you'll see them listed here and you can switch between the two by just clicking on the other project rectangle.PracticalityI could use this site daily, anyone could. It's super easy to use, has almost all the information one needs for almost all project types. If you're looking for a full-scale suite including Gantt charts, this isn't' for you, however. This is easily suited for Agile/Scrum teams without issue. I could even use it to collaborate on my site's post topics.  OverallOverall I'm super happy with what Esteban and his team have created here. There's no bloat, settings you don't need, nor bad design choices (hey, that's important). The only issue I found while I was playing with it was a visual stall on uploading a picture. This was easily fixed with a screen refresh. Other than this very minor issue, I can recommend this for anyone. As I note above, it's super easy (dare I say stupid easy) to get started. This is an no-brainer of a recommendation. 🙌When did you "become" a leader?  🤷‍♂️I can honestly say I've never been asked that question. I can, however, say I've been asked many times "what leadership lessons have you learned?" Of course, I usually begin spouting off those lessons I learned from bad leaders. We all remember those lessons. This week I came across a fantastic article via the Harvard Business Review touching on leadership origin stories. It's not long, and I highly recommend reading it (I even had my older children read it). From a leaders perspective I was caught by surprise when the topic of gender and leadership begin to entwine.As a leader "[b]e mindful that men and women may gravitate toward different lenses when it comes to reflecting on their leadership. To help them develop their identity, allow them to experiment with multiple narratives and select one that feels comfortable. That’s an important step. You can also help them notice the possible constraints of one narrative and enrich their stories with multiple narratives."I myself am an "Accepting" leader, I think. That is, one who didn't realize they were indeed a leader until they noticed people following them. What kind a leader are you?Parting ShotAdditional Recommended Reading: (Like those above, I'm not necessarily endorsing these sites, I'm sharing because the content is relevant to you and I.)The 7 hallmarks of good leadership in the pandemicHow To Close The Distance On Remote Work: The Most Important Leadership SkillUnderstanding Risk Breakdown Structure