10 Qualities and Skills Your Next-Gen Project Manager Should Have

What are these core qualities and skills that the next generation project management head should have?

1. Management Ability.

Motivating a team to focus on the job and achieve the project goal is one of the project administrator’s basic tasks. Moreover, the ability to make the team collaborate with each other effectively is a bigger task. It is very important for next generation management.

2. People/Interpersonal Skills.

A person who has the ability to build and maintain positive relationships with fellow members as well as stakeholders is essential to become an effective next-gen project manager.

3. Emotional Intelligence.

A person who is emotionally intelligent can easily identify verbal and non-verbal elements that can help him in the project planning.

4. Adaptive Communication.

Next generation project management consists of leaders who are articulate in the way they express their insights using the most effective communication methods for each group of people.

5. Business Oriented.

The next-gen project manager is knowledgeable of how a business operates. He has business acumen that gives him the strategic and tactical skills that can help him understand the details of the project easily.

6. Adaptability and Flexibility.

Change is constant and the needs to adapt to the industry trends as well as become flexible to change his approach to suit the business needs.

7. Results-Oriented.

The next generation project management works with the end in mind. Hence, tasks are being done efficiently so that the end-result is effective.

8. Customer centered.

Customer satisfaction is important. The new manager has the ability to understand the end customers’ needs so that he is able to pattern the end product to satisfy them.

9. Ethical Character.

Aside from all the other qualities and skills, the next generation manager needs to have an enthusiastic personality as well as a credible and ethical character.

10. Logical and Analytical Skills.

The next-gen project leader can analyze things to make sound decisions.

With all these qualities and skills, the project manager of the next generation knows how to schedule the project tasks as well as allocate resources properly. He knows that knowledge and experience in budgeting and risk management are essential, so he studies on them and gains the relevant experience to become more effective in his job. He also understands the importance of managing the team, change, and issue that come along the way.

The next-gen project administrator is one who has all these essential traits and qualities that can help him propel the project into maximum performance.

To accomplish all his goals, the project manager needs a project management software like Nutcache’s project management and collaboration program to assist him in his projects. Please visit nutcache.com to get your free trial.

Seven Key Formula for Winning Cost Proposals

In a highly-competitive environment with tight budget constraints, your cost proposal solution must not only be compliant but also responsive, competitive and convincing.

From the cost side, it is nearly impossible to have an impact on the technical proposal. But you can follow seven key basics that will go a long way to making your next proposal a winning cost proposal as well.

1. Have available and make use of current customer information – know the market factors driving price.
Knowing what your customer is all about is the first step. You are merely guessing about the customer without knowledge of their prior buying history, their budget pressures, authorized program funding, deductions for program support, customer staff, and reserves as well as their independent cost estimate and whether they are price oriented or performance oriented. You must obtain your intelligence ethically.

2. Know what it costs your company to do business.
We’ve often heard from many companies that they can’t find out what it costs to do the work until the final RFP comes out. That’s hogwash. With a draft RFP you can do an early estimate of what it costs you to do the work. Without a draft RFP you ought to have enough intelligence about the procurement to estimate what it will cost you – even if it is a wide ranging estimate. Remember this is not an exact science and you will get more accurate as you get closer to the real RFP. Knowing the costs early will help you get creative in the last step. If you wait until the final RFP comes out, you are too late to make a creative difference in your pricing (different from cost) because you are too busy guessing about what the real costs are. With knowledge about your costs early, you can make many creative choices to win.

3. Know what your competitors’ costs are to do the same business.
Without competitive information, you are just guessing about what it takes to win. This information is readily available through GSA Advantage, Internet searches, FOIA requests, and subscribed search services such as EZGovOpps and GovWin. Find out who your competitor teammates are and how they will bid by looking at past wins by your competition and their teammates. Gather intelligence about what corporate investments they are likely to make in the project and what their probable approaches are to bidding. Find out the little tricks your competitors use to get lower pricing such as changing work locations to get to lower base, infusing productivity enhanced tools, staff greening. Companies tend to do the same things over time. You also need to consider whether your competitors are incumbents. Incumbents tend to take fewer risks and think less ‘outside the box’.

4. Provide a well-designed work breakdown structure (WBS) that ties to the performance work statement and is supported by basis of estimates.
We believe that without a WBS for estimating the work outlined in the performance work statement or the statement of work, you can’t adequately think through all of the elements related to performing. You are likely to leave out some elements or potentially double up on your estimates. We often find that a three level WBS is adequate to estimate the work. Further, we see that contractors frequently estimate at all levels of the WBS rather than only at the third level, causing confusion and estimating incorrectly. When you develop this level of detail, it is easier to detect where you can make corrections, cuts or additions to your costing.

5. Actively determine your company investments in the project you are bidding.
Company investments are those items that your corporation makes to enhance the performance or efficiencies of the project (training, recruiting, transitions), investments in property, plant and equipment, and project-specific reductions taken by the corporation in indirect rates. All of these types of investments are those which are shouldered by the corporation and are not reimbursement items by the Government.

6. Be the company that is easy to do business with.
Give them what they ask for and more. The company that wins is the company that makes the evaluation easy, presents the data (technical and cost) in an organized trackable fashion, and presents the data in both written and electronic formats. Even if the RFP doesn’t ask for electronic format, give it to the Government that way anyway. Retain all formulas so that the evaluator can easily follow your thought processes. Remember, the firm that gives them the written and electronic version they can trail through, will likely make unscored points with the evaluators.

7. Be cost competitive and get creative about it.
This step is the easiest (really) if you have satisfied all the remaining steps before this one. This means you sharpen your pencil and your mind about labor rates, staff greening, de-escalation, competitive fee structures, competitive and new indirect rates, bidding direct whenever possible, and company investments.

All those details aside, there needs to exist a visible unity of purpose and thought among all of the elements of the proposal. Simply put, you can’t describe something in the technical or management proposal that isn’t identified in cost. Many (maybe most) proposals are very hard to trace from one volume to another. Brash as it might sound, there should always be an identifiable link between the elements, even if you have to create it for yourself.

Most projects or products, either implicit or explicitly have a work breakdown structure. For projects it’s usually something like the structure of the statement of work. For products it might look a lot like the specification. However it happens and as difficult as it might be to get agreement on it’s specifics, such a breakdown exists. It’s this breakdown that is the most viable contender for linking the various volumes.

Absent specific direction in the solicitation, this breakdown would make a sensible, easy to explain and important link between the technical and cost proposals. “But the customer didn’t ask us to do that.”, you say. Yeah, you might be right, but you do want to win don’t you. Customers want to buy from companies that are easy to do business with. A great way to start to cement that impression might just be by making your proposal easier to understand than the competition’s. “But it’s too much work to do the pricing that way.”, you might say. You do want to win?

Top 10 Benefits of IT Project Outsourcing

Outsourcing IT projects can be a great idea if it is done correctly. Therefore, here are the ten benefits of outsourcing IT projects.

1. Control IT Costs

Outsourcing converts fixed IT costs into variable costs and allows you budget effectively. In other words, only pay for what you use when you need it.

2. Reduce Labor Costs

Hiring and training an IT staff can be very expensive, and temporary employees don’t always live up to your expectations. Outsourcing lets you focus your human resources where you need them most.

3. Trained, Experienced, Qualified, Certified.

If you’re not IT trained, how do you assure an employee is qualified? Certifications like Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) are important, but so is experience.

4. Qualified doesn’t Equal Experienced

Few problems are new for leading IT service companies, which see related problems multiple times. An in-house IT employee leads an isolated existence no matter how much they train. We’d all rather an experienced doctor; the same is true for IT.

5. Increase Efficiency and Competitiveness

Organizations that try to do all IT Services in-house themselves can have much higher research, development, and implementation time, all of which increase costs and are ultimately passed on to customers.

6. Quickly Implement New Technology

A quality outsourced IT service organization will have the resources to start new projects right away. Handling the same project in-house might involve weeks or months to hire the right people, train them, and provide the support they need. For most implementations, quality IT companies will bring years of experience in the beginning saving time and money.

7. Stay Focused on Your Core Business

Businesses have limited resources, and every manager has limited time and attention. Outsourcing can help your business stay focused on your core business and not get distracted by complex IT decisions.

8. Reduce risk

Every business investment carries a certain amount of risk. Markets, competition, government regulations, financial conditions, and technologies all change very quickly. Outsourcing providers assume and manage much of this risk for you, with specific industry knowledge, especially security and compliance issues. They generally are much better at deciding how to avoid risk in their areas of expertise.

9. Level the Playing Field

Most small businesses can’t afford to match the in-house support services that larger companies maintain. Outsourcing can help small companies act “big” by giving them access to the similar technology, and expertise that large companies enjoy. An independent third party managed cost structure and economy of scale can give your company a competitive advantage.

10. Compliance and Security

Is your firewall up to date? Do you have a DMZ installed? Do you audit your Workstations and Servers? Has your company implemented PCI security standards and work to maintain those standards? For example, Businesses have more ways than ever to prosper by taking many forms of payments such as Credit and Debit Cards, Gift Certificates, E-Checks, Wire Transfers to name a few, but with these forms of transacting also comes the need for due diligence. By outsourcing a qualified Manages Services company who is familiar with PCI Compliance standards

Now, where should a company look for IT outsourcer?

Many companies are looking for outsourced IT services in India and the Philippines, however, in the last few years great former Soviet Union counties has joined this market.

For customers in Europe and in the USA, working with a company in Eastern Europe has additional benefits such as similar business culture, less time difference and better organizational structure of the company providing the services.