Posts Tagged Project management

Stop Wasting Time and You’ll Make More Money

Stop Wasting Time and You’ll Make More Money

We all do it – waste time that is. There are a variety of tools, software, and ‘systems’ available geared towards helping people (and companies) become far more efficient with time management. Unfortunately, not every employee or client has great time management skills and it doesn’t appear to be something heavily focused on at any level of education. So, what that means is there is greater pressure on you as the Managed Service Provider (MSP) to keep your act together.

Time wasted by MSPs means you’re missing out on potential revenue from new and existing sources. What can you do? Well, a number of things actually. Let’s take a look at the ways in which you, as the MSP, can become better at time management and make more money.

Better Project Management

Short of telling you to simply stop wasting your time, one such way of wasting less time is becoming a better project manager. It is absolutely critical projects go off without a hitch and clients understand the timeline put in place is what will be followed. It wouldn’t hurt to look into project management resources, such as what SPC International offers, but you still have to actually follow the steps. Better project management allows you to stick to firm deadlines, impress clients with how on top of things you are, and be able to move seamlessly from one project to the next because everything has been properly planned out.

How Do We Waste Time at Work?:

  • 48% surfing the web
  • 33% socializing with co-workers
  • 30% conducting personal business
  • 19% making personal calls
  • 15% taking long lunch breaks
*Source: Time Doctor

Create and Follow an Effective Managed Services Marketing Plan

We’re sure you’ve heard this from others, as we have many times ourselves, but for some reason some MSPs seem to believe marketing is easy. Hate to break it to you, but it’s not. For starters, you are going to waste a lot of time cold calling and sending out emails without much success because you likely haven’t properly identified your target audience – the people who are most likely to be interested in your services as an MSP. Then of course there’s figuring out what type of marketing you should be doing (direct response should probably be at the top of your marketing to-do list). Needless to say, it isn’t as easy as it may seem.

Creating a successful Managed Services marketing plan is the first step in producing consistent, dependable leads that can lead to consistent business growth. No more cold-calling, no more wasted efforts on activities that cost you more in time and money than what it gives back.

Take a Break…Seriously

It may seem counter-productive, but taking a break every once in a while is actually a good thing. As an MSP, it can be easy to get caught up in the mountains of things you believe you have to do or accomplish in any given 24-hour period. Instead of getting caught up in a vicious cycle of exhausting all mental and physical energies each and every day, force yourself to only work on one thing at a time, and to actually stand up and walk away for 5-10 minutes every once in a while so you don’t burn out.

Countless studies on productivity have concluded that we are far less efficient workers when we’re taking on too many things at once. Instead of focusing on doing one thing really well at a time, we end up doing a mediocre job on three or four different projects because we’re jumping from one to the other before really completing anything.

So there you have it. If you want to become a more productive MSP and make more money as a result of wasting less valuable time, this is a good place to start.

 

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Posted in: Secrets to improving an I.T. Services Practice

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MSPU The Project Management Process

One of the 3 Service Delivery areas a Solution Provider can become very profitable in; or tremendously unprofitable, is in Project Management. This post will provide effective tips to help you improve your Project Management outcomes.

If the Solution Provider’s IT Project Management processes are solid and delivered effectively, their project outcomes will have the best chance to meet their established criteria for success. If; however, the Provider’s Project Management processes are weak or non-existent, it will be very difficult to manage timelines, schedules and resources along with change and communications. This will effectively erode customer satisfaction, profitability and the opportunity for additional services.

As the person responsible for overall project success, the Project Manager participates in the Solution Provider’s professional service delivery process, and creates project plans that include activities, phases and timelines, and schedules and assigns resources to deliver all project-based services. In addition, the Project Manager manages every aspect of project delivery from the project kick-off meeting through provisioning, implementation, go-live and sign-off.

Project Planning

Once a prospect or customer has agreed to the Project Proposal and its Terms, the Project Manager can begin the process of planning for Project Implementation. Project Planning is the first component of Project Management, which is defined as the effective organization and management of resources to insure a Project’s completion within its defined scope, timeline and budget. Project Planning includes the following:

  • Definition of the Project Scope
  • Methods to be utilized during Project Implementation
  • The Identification of all tasks to be completed duringProject Implementation
  • The creation of a timeline and expected duration for each task’s completion
  • The estimation and allocation of resources for each task’s completion
  • Managing Risk, Change and the Communications and Status Reporting processes
  • Determining the criteria for success of each phase and the overall Project
  • Incorporating Phase and overall Project Review
  • Managing individual Phase and overall Project Acceptance

Project Objectives

The overall Project objectives that the Project Plan must insure are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

The evaluation of the Project’s success at meeting these objectives occurs at the Project closure; however, effective Project Management increases the potential for their attainment.

Once the Project Plan has been created, it is presented to the customer in order to:

  • Receive approval of the overall Project Plan
  • Verify the Project Schedule against the customer’s calendar
  • Identify and allocate customer resources required for Project Implementation
  • Agree to Roles, Responsibilities and Task Assignment between all parties
  • Agree upon the Risk Management Plan
  • Agree upon the Change Control process
  • Agree upon the Communication and Status Reporting process
  • Agree to the criteria for success of individual phases and the overall Project
  • Agree to final Acceptance Criteria

In order to move to the implementation phase of the Project, it is important that the customer approve the overall Project Plan, which includes the Project Scope, the methods utilized during Project Implementation and the Project timeline and schedule. In addition, customer resources such as staff and vendors may be required as assets during Project Implementation, and their involvement must also be approved by the customer.

An effective Risk Management Plan will support Project Implementation as a contingency strategy should the need to roll back during any phase of the Project becomes necessary, and a Change Control process is required, should additional tasks or services outside of the agreed-upon Project Plan and Proposal need to be authorized by the customer to insure Project completion.

A solid communication and status reporting process must be agreed to by all parties in order to keep all affected resources including the customer apprised of Project status at all times and facilitate effective decision-making throughout the lifecycle of the Project.

Accountability to tasks and their timely completion can only be enforced once all resources have agreed to their roles and responsibilities, as well as to Project milestones and timelines.

For more Managed Services Training visit MSP University at http://www.mspu.us.

Posted in: Service Delivery

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