SmartDraw.com Lists Top Ten Project Management Tips

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SmartDraw.com, makers of SmartDraw, the first program to automate the process of creating business graphics, today released its list of "Top Ten Project Management Tips." SmartDraw is widely used by project managers to quickly create project charts, Gantt charts, bar graphs and pie charts, schedules, and forms. SmartDraw's helpful list, created by project management specialists, is designed to help business professionals get their projects off to a quick and successful start.

SmartDraw.com, makers of SmartDraw, the first program to automate the process of creating business graphics, today released its list of "Top Ten Project Management Tips." SmartDraw is widely used by project managers to quickly create project charts, Gantt charts, bar graphs and pie charts, schedules and forms. SmartDraw's helpful list, created by project management specialists, is designed to help business professionals get their projects off to a quick and successful start.

1. Planning List. When beginning a new project, make a list of all departments within your organization and what you may need from them. This will give you a step-by-step checklist of how to begin nailing down the specifics of your project plan.
2. Know Your Enemies. Prepare a list of the possible risks to the successful completion of the project plan. Have a meeting and get input from others on what potential risks might be. Risks are the enemy, so know them and keep them close.
3. Documentation. Document all aspects of a requested change to a project plan (no matter how small), including who is requesting the change and where it falls as a priority. If it changes other priorities, write a detailed explanation of the change itself, and note who is authorizing the change. This not only gives you a clear picture of what you will need to do next, it serves as personal protection in the case of any miscommunication among others in the organization.
4. Priorities Change. This is a fact and a course of life. Yes, it makes project planning more difficult, but an effective project manager will let changes roll off their back and re-prioritize.
5. In the Loop. Project managers need to make themselves known to all of the departments involved in their project. If a department loses an employee, this may affect the project timeline, so it's important to be in the loop for any changes. Request that you be added to relevant departmental e-mail groups -- the sooner you get information, the sooner you can revise your plan.
6. Urgency & Momentum. Convey a sense of urgency during the course of a project in order to keep the momentum going. Once you let your guard down, those around you who you need to help you meet your milestones, may start to feel relaxed too. As the PM, communicating an impending deadline in a productive manner is your key to keeping staff motivated.
7. Give Away the Keys. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Giving ownership to others on the team keeps them close and involved in the project, and they realize that the success or failure of the project is tied directly to them.
8. Training. Keep in mind any training that may be necessary for people on your team. This training time will need to be included in any timetable you create, as training can happen before and during a project life cycle.
9. Revisions. Your project plan will most likely go through many revisions. When communicating with others, make sure you are all referring to and working from the most current revision.
10. Audience. When communicating your project progress, keep in mind which audience you are addressing. Your supervisor may have different priorities than the client, so try and stay specific. Spending too much time talking about an area not directly related to your audience may give the impression that their aspect of the project is not being given the proper attention.

SmartDraw, which offers a free trial on its website, offers hundreds of project management templates that users can modify to quickly create the graphic they need. In fact, SmartDraw eliminates the need to do any drawing whatsoever to create a project chart. Users simply type in each task, date, or duration, and SmartDraw creates the graphic for you. In addition, users can change the scale of a project chart in a single click -- changing the format from weeks to months, quarters or years.

In addition, SmartDraw allows users to begin projects as a visual outline -- or mind map -- to easily plan out everything that needs to get done. Once the project is mapped out, users can view as a project chart with one click of a mouse, toggling between the mind map and project chart view anytime. Changes made in one view will be reflected in another.

Unlike other graphics programs that provide you with a blank screen and expect you to draw, like Visio, with SmartDraw you start with a template that is specifically designed to create the type of illustration you need. You enter the information and SmartDraw does the rest: building the graphic automatically using built-in rules and professional design themes to guarantee polished, presentation-quality results in just a few minutes. It draws for you! And, in the rare case that users need extra help, SmartDraw offers free customer support to all users.

Readers can check out a complete list of new features in SmartDraw 2008 at: http://www.smartdraw.com/product/upgrade/index.htm. In addition, users can download a free trial of SmartDraw from the company's website (http://www.smartdraw.com), and may also purchase online. Individual licenses start at $297. The company also provides variety of options for multiple-seat licenses, including an annual subscription agreement for company-wide usage starting at $2,995.

About SmartDraw.com
SmartDraw.com is the creator of SmartDraw, the world's most popular business graphics software and the first program that makes it possible for ordinary computer users to create presentation-quality business graphics in minutes. Each year more than two million people install and use SmartDraw and the company counts more than half of the members of the Fortune 500 as loyal customers.

Founded in 1994, SmartDraw.com is privately-held and based in San Diego, CA. In addition to SmartDraw 2008 for general business and home use, the company also offers SmartDraw Healthcare and SmartDraw Legal editions which include graphics and applications unique to their respective fields. For more information on the company or to download a free trial of SmartDraw, please visit http://www.smartdraw.com.

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Christine Van Tuyl
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