Can Simple SaaS Tools Help You Focus?
Situation: It's a New Year and you're looking to get things done.
A big selling point of simple, inexpensive SaaS tools is that they give you the functionality you need & nothing else. Tool vendors combine that with an interface that's easier to use and we assume that most of the ease of use is coming from the fact that there isn't much to do inside of the app. There is no complexity to simplify.
In our actual work lives, there is plenty of complexity built right in - which why we need tools in the first place. There is so much complexity, that even with tools we have trouble focusing our efforts.
So the trend I've noticed recently is that tools are helping you focus on tasks or chunks of information one at a time. They effectively bring your attention to what matters now and obscure the rest. That last bit is where I see a difference in these new tools versus older ones - they completely clear away non-essential information. Yet that task or bit of information you are working on is kept in context in subtle ways - ensuring you still grasp the big picture.
For example, Workflowy is a neat little tool you could use to organize anything from a To-Do list to your life. There are lots of tools that help you create hierarchies, some of them very cool (I've always loved MindManager). The issue with these is that they do not force focus and clear away detail effectively enough. You can still get lost in a dense hierarchy of information. Workflowy limits what you see to one focus area. With Workflowy, higher levels of the structure are rolled up into breadcrumbs at the top, giving you context without detail. So you really only see what you should be working on now.
Prezi has been all the rage lately as a new, flexible way of presenting dense information. The idea is that people can absorb detail, but only in appropriate chunks. With Prezi, you essentially replace your PowerPoint Deck with a huge virtual sheet of paper that puts everything in to context like an infographic does. Then you zoom in on very specific parts of the presentation in a way that helps you tell a story. Again, dealing with complex information by breaking it into chunks - providing just enough context to have it all make sense.
What are you doing these days to help you focus? Are the any particular software tools that help? Please share -
Situation: You're curious about how much your peers make...
Today, PMI released the results of their most recent research into how much Project Managers make. The median income globally was $92K and $105K in the US (both in USD). The full press release can be found below.
Want to Earn Six Figures? Become a Project Manager
New research from Project Management Institute reports that 71% of project managers
saw an increase in compensation over the last 12 months
NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA, 16 December 2011 — As employment continues to fluctuate, uncertainty about job stability and the economy is keeping people on high alert. Despite these uncertain times, there is a silver lining for those in one profession that continues to thrive. New research from the Project Management Institute confirms what businesses, job boards and the media have been proclaiming for the past two years: project management is one of the hottest professions out there. According to the PMI Project Management Salary Survey, Seventh Edition, the salaries of project managers around the world continue to climb, indicating not only that project management professionals are in strong demand, but also that organizations are increasingly recognizing the value of trained project managers to their overall business goals.
Location and certification increase salaries
This year, 30,000 project management practitioners in 29 countries responded to the survey. The data was reported across all roles and experience levels.
· The median annualized salary is US$92,000; in the U.S. it is US$105,000.
· 71% of respondents reported that their total compensation (including salary, bonus and other benefits) had increased over the previous 12 months.
· Nearly 33% reported increases of at least 5% of total compensation in the last year.
Countries including the United States, Germany and Australia posted average salaries well above the median, each exceeding US$100,000. The highest project management salaries in 2011 are reported from Switzerland, where respondents averaged more than US$160,000.
The 10 countries reporting the highest median salaries (reported below in US dollars) are:
· Switzerland, $160,409
· Australia, $139,497
· Germany, $110,347
· The Netherlands, $109,775
· Belgium, $108,750
· United States, $105,000
· Ireland, $101,635
· Canada, $98,517
· United Kingdom, $96,384
· New Zealand, $91,109
The survey shows that certification, as well as geography, positively affected salaries. Project Management Professional (PMP)®credential holders in the U.S. earned an average of 16% more (approximately US$14,500) than their non-credentialed peers in 2011.
Situation: A "story" would really help your cause, but you're not quite sure how to make it work.
A story can make a huge difference in your effectiveness as a Project Manager. While you don't want to over-think it or turn telling the story into a complex process, there are a few things that are good to consider - especially if it's important that you get the message across in a clear, motivational way. So here's some food for thought.
First establish a purpose...
Why are you telling a story? (a few possibilities)
Choosing a story to tell
Is this your story?
Is this their story?
Is this story right for now?
Will anyone care or remember it?
I think that the points above are critical when picking a story to tell and thinking it through. If you would like to go a bit deeper - tuning your story and rating your delivery of it, check out our new Project Management Story Telling Checklist.
Situation: You're curious about what your peers put at the top of the priority list.
Sometimes we post fill-in-the-blank questions to our facebook fan page. People have fun with them and sometimes the answers can be telling. A recent posting asked facebook fans to say what the most important part of their job is.
I thought it was interesting that 12 of the 38 responses directly mentioned communication as most important. Many of the other common management issues came through, but none quite so strongly. I wonder if that's because we really feel that way (and there is a lot of support for this) or whether communications is such a hot topic at the moment in our field.
Here are the results...
Situation: You want to know how you are measuring up these days.
Global Knowledge is conducting a salary survey that actually goes way beyond "how much do you make". It asks some pretty detailed questions about job satisfaction, training, certifications, and other things that you might like to know about your peers. As is typical with these things, you can get a copy of the results sent to you after completing the survey. So if you have about 3 minutes, check out the 2011 IT Salary and Skills Survey