PM4DEV Blog

Ideas, suggestions and general thoughts about project management for development.

Why you need email etiquette?

b2ap3_thumbnail_email-etiquette.pngAll your professional email communications needs to make an impression that you are someone that will be easy and a pleasure to work with and that you are a credible professional.  With email you only have one chance to make that first impression which will be invaluable to building trust and confidence. It’s very common that your first contact with other people will often be through email. In fact, while you may never actually meet them face to face, you might well end up having a productive ongoing email and professional relationship with them for years. 

These are three reasons why you need email etiquette

·         Avoid confusion, poorly worded emails can lead to misinterpretation or mistake

·         Efficiency: emails that get to the point are much more effective than long emails.

·         Professionalism: by using proper email language you will convey a professional image

Here are some simple rules of email etiquette you can follow in order to make sure your emails will be warmly and productively received.

  1. Check your organization’s email policy is. Many organizations have rules about the types of message that can be sent and also if your email is monitored or screened
  2. Make sure your e-mail includes a courteous greeting and closing. Helps to make your e-mail not seem demanding or terse.
  3. Address your contact with the appropriate level of formality and make sure you spelled their name correctly
  4. Spell check - emails with typos are simply not taken as seriously
  5. Read your email out loud to ensure the tone is that which you desire. Try to avoid relying on formatting for emphasis; rather choose the words that reflect your meaning instead
  6. Be sure you are including all relevant details or information necessary to understand your request or point of view
  7. Refrain from using the Reply to All feature to give your opinion to those who may not be interested. In most cases replying to the Sender alone is your best course of action
  8. Type in complete sentences. To type random phrases or cryptic thoughts does not lend to clear communication
  9. Always acknowledge emails from those you know in a timely manner
  10. Be sure the Subject: field accurately reflects the content of your email
  11. Keep emails brief and to the point
  12. Always end your emails with "Thank you," "Sincerely," "Best regards" 
  13. Avoid unnecessarily large file sizes. Digital photos especially, learn how to resize your digital photographs
  14. Don't type in CAPITALS as this is considered to be SHOUTING. This is one of the rudest things you can do.
  15. Use BCCs (Blind Carbon Copies) when addressing a message to a group of people who don't necessarily know each other
  16. Don't write anything you wouldn't say in public
  17. Be Professional, stay away from abbreviations and don't use emoticons (the little smiley faces).
  18. Ask Before You Send an Attachment: Because of large size attachments or computer viruses, many people won't open attachments unless they know the sender, ask the recipient first
  19. Think before you forward! Get the sender's permission first
  20. Don't send confidential or secret information through email. Email messages are more like postcards than sealed letters; they pass through many computers to get to their destination.

 

Remember, the content of an email includes the character of the person who wrote it, so try to make a good impression every time.

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The Roles of the Project Manager

b2ap3_thumbnail_roles.png

Development organizations appoint a project manager for the depth of his or her technical skills. It is not unusual to find a good engineer being promoted to project manager just for his or her technical competence. While it is true that one must have a good understanding of the technical aspects of the project, project managers are also required to have good management skills such as communicating; planning, negotiating, coaching, decision-making, and leadership. These skills are often overlooked at the time of hiring or appointing a project manager.

The job descriptions for a project manager need to be more explicit in defining the managerial skills and competencies required for the job. Organizations usually assign a project manager with the idea that all that is required is expertise in a technical area and often forget the need to have a project manager with the skills to lead a project team, coordinate the use of resources, communicate with stakeholders and manage the project constraints, all at the same time.

Organizations need to build a better understanding of the role of a project manager and understand that this role is not the same as a technical manager. The project manager role is one of integrator, communicator and facilitator; this role is of equal or more importance than the role of a technical manager.

There are three critical roles of the project manager:

  • Integrator; ensures all the project activities, strategies and approaches are an integrated effort.
  • Communicator; most of the work is spend here, communicating with all stakeholders and building the right support and relationships.
  • Leader; motivating and inspiring a team to deliver the project work by providing a vision and direction.

A key responsibility of the project manager is to ensure the proper integration of the project management processes and coordinate the project phases through the project management cycle. This responsibility is to ensure that all areas of the project come together to deliver the project to a successful conclusion. This is the main role of the project manager; it is not related to the technical responsibilities of the project, which in most cases are managed by the project staff. The role of integrator involves three specific areas of responsibility:

  • Develop the project management plans, which consists of the development of all project planning documents into a consistent, coherent project plan document.
  • Implement the project plan, which involves the execution of the project plan and ensuring all activities are performed by all the people involved.
  • Monitor and control the plan, which involves measuring the initial results against the intended objectives and coordinating all changes to the plans.

As communicator the project manager ensures that all stakeholders receive the right information at the right time. This is an important role. The project manager has a holistic view of the project and is in the best position to know the why, when, what and how the project is doing and communicate progress, changes and risks to the parties involved. Studies confirm that the project manager spends about 80% of his/her time communicating. Project managers in the role of communicators assume three functions:

  • Gathering information from project staff and other people involved with the project;
  • Analyzing the information and make sense of its implications; a
  • Distributing the information to the internal and external environments, such as the donor, beneficiaries, and the general public to gain support for the project.

As leader, the project manager must ensure the team and project stakeholders have an understanding of the project vision. A leader inspire others to achieve the project objectives, the leader encourages full participation from the project team, promotes mutual understanding with the beneficiaries and cultivates shared responsibility among all project stakeholders.

The leadership role implies the skills to:

  • Facilitate: To ease and assist the project team to do their work
  • Coordinate: To organize, direct and synchronize the efforts of all involved in the project
  • Motivate: To inspire, stimulate and encourage the team to achieve the project objectives

 These roles are integrated and cannot be treated as separate, and they are critical to the success of any project manager.

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