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Being a project manager has never been more difficult than it is today. The work environment moves at a faster pace, and it demands more from everyone. Additionally, the technological tools change constantly, the customers demand higher quality of output, information requirements mushroom, and processes must be continuously refined and redesigned to improve performance and develop innovative solutions.

To aggravate the situation, you have only so much time, finance, skills, knowledge, power, and miracles to survive in this seemingly crazy environment. It would be nice to have some handy compendium of tools and tips readily available as a reference for helping you respond efficiently and effectively.

And you now have in your hands such a compendium. This book provides a list of common, and not so common, tools and tips to help project managers deal with eight categories of challenges that stretch their knowledge, abilities, and skills. For most project managers, the challenges they face daily fall within one of these categories. The eight categories, and their descriptions, are as follows.

  1. Creativity—developing innovative solutions.

  2. Information—converting data into a meaningful format.

  3. Meetings—assembling people to achieve a specific goal.

  4. Methods/processes—applying ways of doing business to transform input to output.

  5. Organization—taking a structured approach for handling a host of situations.

  6. People—addressing the human side of managing projects.

  7. Planning—defining the whos, whats, wheres, whens, and whys of projects.

  8. Time—making more of something that is becoming less available.

The TnTs in this book are arranged alphabetically. In the interest of helping you maximize the use of this book, however, each TnT is bucketed into one or more categories in the Appendix. To illustrate, if you need to handle a large volume of data, you can look in the Appendix under the information category to identify a TnT to help you. Perhaps you will select the affinity diagram or a statistical calculation like the mean.

If you need additional or more in-depth information on a topic, you can refer to the Bibliography for suggestions. It is divided into the eight categories and includes an additional general section; it also provides a listing of books that cover multiple topics.

Keep this book handy. It will provide you with the TnTs to work smarter, not harder. Although some of the TnTs appear to be commonsense, do not let overconfidence fool you. Many project managers could have done a better, smarter job if they had followed some of the simple steps suggested in this book. We have seen many project managers go down in flames because they did not construct a good outline. On the other hand, we have witnessed many project managers (including ourselves) who have applied the steps in this book and gained rich rewards as a result.

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