Effective Tips For Keeping Your Projects Under Control

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team discussionPoor inter-department communication, team members who aren’t sure what they need to do, and deadlines being missed beyond acceptable – these are a few problems project managers face on a regular basis.

So how do you keep your projects in control? Our pros at Copper Project put together a few important tips you can use:

Recruit the right project manager

Appoint project managers who know what they are doing.

They should be familiar and genuinely interested in the nature of the projects. Nothing can ruin your project faster than a manager who doesn’t know what he/she is doing. They should also be able to hold themselves together in face of pressure.

Assign the right team

Project managers need the right team to execute projects flawlessly. Allocate resources on the basis of capability, and not availability. Many times, team members are allocated just to fill a slot instead of matching skills with requirements. Each member must bring something new to the table. They should complement the team.

Explore the weaknesses and strength of your project team

Make sure you know your team members. You need to be able to identify who on your team works best under least supervision and who needs constant attention – manage them accordingly. This will help you streamline the project and make the job easier for the project manager.

Prioritize tasks

Most project managers are aware that multi-tasking can seriously hamper productivity; therefore, they should create a systematic flow where tasks are done according to importance. In addition to prioritizing tasks, it is also important to have a procedure in place for when conflicts arise.

Actively monitor projects

Project managers should always be aware of everything that is going on. It should be part of their daily routine to monitor project metrics vigilantly. They should also seek out state-of-the-art tools to help make the job easier.

Use project management software

Email is not a project management solution. The latest project management tools allow everyone – from decision makers to clients and programmers – to follow the progress conveniently.

Our state-of-the-art project management software features a number of different tools, all designed to make project management effective and easier. Check out the exceptional reviews our previous clients left us with.

Four Stages of Project Risk Removal

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riskAs a project evolves from merely an idea on a whiteboard to a plan and into a complete project management strategy, it also attracts a lot of risk.

A diverse variety of risks show up at practically every stage of the project.

In some cases, even the most responsible project managers can break trying to deal with risky situations.

However, the extent of the effect on the project is determined by how well the team controls risk. This process of ‘risk removal’ typically involves four stages:


Each and everyone involved in the project should be aware of the risks. Once identified, the project manager should determine if the risk is important enough to be dealt by the team.

While there always will be certain level of uncertainty from the starting of the project, it is your job to identify which ones should actually be dealt with and which ones are negligible. At the same time, risk management shouldn’t include worrying over every little thing. Instead, it should focus on coming up with mitigation strategies that would aid the overall project.


If the risk passes through the identification stage and stays, it must be evaluated.

This step involves bringing in people like stakeholders, matter experts, and other decision makers.

Once the analysis is complete and all the necessary information is available, it is time to decide if the risk is actually important enough for the team’s time or if it should be left as is.


After analysis, it is time to finally decide if the risk is to be eliminated or accepted as part of the project. If it is important enough, it should be mitigated and the project plan should be updated.


The last step here is the removal. Risk can be eliminated due to successful mitigation or as part of the procedures involved in the management plan. Removal also ensures that team members no longer need to spend time on it.

Even though there will always be threats, every time you remove one you get one step closer to your goal.

Are you a manager looking for web based project management software? Try out our free trial of Copper Project for smooth management of your projects!

Common Project Management Mistakes IT Departments Make

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project managerAccording to a research study conducted by The Standish Group, only 29 percent of IT projects are completed successfully. Many project management software developers and project managers say that IT departments make the same mistakes and don’t follow standard project procedures.

While many IT departments don’t invest the right staff in a project, others miss out on important risk assessments that could be the deciding factors for their projects.

In this blog post, our project management pros discuss common mistakes that IT departments make and how they can be avoided:

#1-Wrong Resources and Mismatching Skills

While staffing a project appropriately is clearly the most important aspect of the task, allocating the wrong resources tops the list of commonly made mistakes.

Most IT departments end up assigning the wrong individuals to projects and quickly realize that even days worth of planning cannot help overcome the inefficiency.

The easiest way to overcome this mistake is by providing IT professionals with all the information they need regarding skills and experience of consultants, outsourcers, and other individuals involved in the project. Once they know who can do what, allocating resources can be significantly easier.

#2-IT Departments Don’t Follow Standard Procedures

This is the second most common mistake that IT professionals make.

The dire lack of a solid methodology dramatically increases the risk of project failure, constant re-working, and deadlines going beyond the acceptable time.

Having a project management methodology or standard procedure helps you make your way through projects easily while keeping you aware of all activities involved.

team#3-They Lack Updated Data About Projects

IT departments that still rely on traditional PC applications like Microsoft Word and Excel are more likely to lag behind. They don’t have access to measurable results and can’t coordinate resources to changes in the scope.

The simplest way to avoid this is to use reliable project management software. Cloud based project management software allow you to keep track of all resources, have real time updates, and stay on the same page with the team at all times.

#4-IT Doesn’t Push For Deadlines

Many project managers complain that IT departments don’t push back on unreasonable deadlines. They fail to provide results on time and end up with a reputation for being unable to deliver.

The easiest way to overcome this mistake is by constantly staying in touch with the project manager and conveying the resources it would need to meet the deadline. The manager can then choose between the schedule and cost scope.

If you are looking for a single solution to all these problems, it is partnering with a top rated project management software.

At Copper Project, we offer a number of different features that help cut out the noise and streamline project management by keeping all members connected and updated at all times. Ready for a free trial?


How to Manage Your Small Business Using Software

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In the 21st Century, any business of any size can be made or broken by one simple factor: how well they use technology and the internet. A mom & pop convenience store, or even a café, will most likely not be able to compete for long unless it can wield technology to its advantage and establish an internet presence. So put down your pencil, reach for your keyboard, and let’s talk about how you can better manage your business using software.

Most anything can be done on computers, and perhaps should be done there. Have you ever had a server forget your order? If he or she had been using a computer instead of a notepad to enter it in, he or she probably wouldn’t have forgotten it. With the help of a computer, he or she would have been more efficient and perhaps ended up with happier customers. Computers are tools that allow humans to work far more efficiently and accurately, and if you’re trying to make your business more efficient or cost effective, there is a software program to help you do so.

First you need to examine what your costs are and ask yourself how you can manage them or make them smaller. Here are some common costs of small businesses:

  • Labor or payroll
  • Government fees and permits
  • Loan payments
  • Utilities and real estate expenses

Time Management

Now let’s talk about how software will help you manage these costs, and save you time and money. You can manage your labor and payroll by using timesheet software, such as Harvest, or Studiometry (a desktop application). These will help you keep tabs on the time that you are paying your employees to work, and keep you and your employees free of conflict (you always want to avoid conflict or deal with it quickly because it will cost you time and/or money). These programs often have PDFs which explain how to use them, or video tutorials that can be found with a simple search on YouTube or Google.

Project Management

Nowadays, “collaboration” is more than just a buzzword. The days of email-only replies, messy file folders spread across multiple servers, and trying to figure out just which version of the spreadsheet Mike–or was it Sally?–was working on. Fortunately, with the right project management software, you’ll never have to worry about collaboration again. Many of these platforms include chat software with tagging features so that you don’t have to sift through email-reply chains looking for info relevant to you, as well as file sharing features so that nothing gets “lost in space” so to speak.

Social Media

These days, growing a successful small business no longer depends only on how well you keep track of money, time, and resources, but rather on your outreach and internet presence. Blogging tools, such as WordPress, will allow you to keep a blog for your business that readers can comment and get involved in. You want to have as many fans as possible for your business so that you will be more visible on the web, which means that you have to interact with them on a regular basis.


Finally, accounting software programs, such as Moneyworks, can also help you find and keep track of the money that you have to pay for the permits and government fees to run your business, as well as the money that you owe for labor, and utilities, the interest you’ve accrued on loans, and other fixed expenses. Some programs, such as Free Agent, combine several different tools, such as a timesheet and an accounting program, and may be something you’d like to consider. Assess your particular needs and resources, and then decide which software program will best suit your business. Good luck!



From L.A. to Tokyo: Tips for Successful International Project Management

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The past century has shown the world just how quickly and expansive globalization can grow. As much as it is true for the growth in international politics between nations, it is also true for the businesses that operate between them. But managing a business that operates outside its own country’s borders, and more importantly managing the projects that arise in those businesses can pose quite a challenge if ill prepared or ill informed. While most businesses that have been operating internationally for a decent amount of time have undoubtedly discovered and experienced these problems first hand, many of them, in addition to businesses looking to break into the global market may not know what problems to expect or how to solve them.

The most important problems that every business should foresee when dealing with any sort of international collaborations are all so minute that often times, they get overlooked. For these examples, we will look at a hypothetical company that is headquartered in Los Angeles but frequently works partners in Tokyo, Japan.


The most important aspect of international dealings is one party having to adapt to use the language of the other. A language difference in itself is rarely forgotten about, but its subtleties are. A company wishing to engage in projects with teams overseas should be aware of their counterpart’s cultural norms. For example, the improper use of a post-name salutation in Japanese can inspire a feeling of rudeness that can cause major troubles in the subsequent dealings. However, most of the time a team member in another country will not be speaking in their native language, so it is best to be courteous and considerate to them by speaking and writing clearly with minimal slang or technical jargon, and to allow forgiveness in errors of language when able.

Cultural Difference

Directly related to language differences are the cultural differences. The importance of understanding the differences between the two party’s cultures can mean the difference between success and failure when it comes to completing a project. While most things will not cause catastrophic damage to the integrity of the team, it may cause small hiccoughs in the process, which can delay projects and lower productivity. For instance, not understanding that it is customary to constantly take notes during business meetings in Japan can cause an American who is unaware of this and is meeting with a Japanese person, can get distracted and think that the Japanese person is not paying attention, or being otherwise disrespectful. The same is true for the opposite, if an American does not take notes for a meeting, a Japanese person can think they are underperforming or the American is rude. Research the cultural business practices for whatever place you are seeking to engage in an international project with.

Time Difference

A hugely important issue in dealing with international locations that are thousands of miles apart is the time difference. It is crucial to understand that there is a 14 hour time difference when dealing with say L.A. and Tokyo. It is one thing to have an emergency meeting scheduled either really late or really early for one part of a team, but scheduling all meetings during inconvenient times for one side is generally a bad idea for productivity aside from being just plain rude. Also in regard to punctuality, understand that not everyone values it the same, while keeping a scheduled meeting waiting for 5-10 minutes may be acceptable here in the United States, it is generally unheard of in places like Japan. Make sure to keep your scheduling promises since in other countries, that is exactly how they are seen, as promises.

Titles and Responsibilities

While titles generally hold the same weight and respect with most of the more advanced countries in the world, sometimes team members in other locations will not have the same value for titles like ‘team manager’ etc. It is best to give some leeway in cases when working with teams who wish to just get the job done rather than delegate arbitrary jobs and responsibilities. As for responsibilities, it is a good idea to go over every team members’ job so that everyone explicitly know what is expected from them rather than letting them imply what is needed. For example, most Japanese workers like to know what exactly is expected from them, and because of their culture, may not inquire about it if they are unsure, so it may fall on the manager to make sure they completely understand all parts of the goal.


Remembering to follow these tips, as well as adopting applicable project management software, will ensure that you’re ready for whatever challenge managing an international project might throw at you.