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  • Zyncro Blog 9:00 am on July 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , task management   

    GTD: Your Personal Productivity requires Control and Perspective 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    Editor’s note: At Zyncro we like to help people and organizations to increase their levels of personal productivity. Today we’d like to share with you an adaptation of this post by Miguel Bolívar on our Spanish blog.

    What marks the difference between people who are fairly unproductive and those that are highly productive? The difference lies in a process, actions that change the way you focus your attention.

    Some symptoms that you need greater levels of control and perspective are:

    – You’d like to reduce your stress levels
    – You get distracted more than seems normal
    – You lack the balance between different areas of your life
    – You miss having a higher level of energy and motivation
    – You feel you are not taking advantage of your entire potential
    – You seek greater clarity
    – You would like to manage your projects better, use time better and look after your relationship with other people
    – You want more freedom

    The requirements for achieving any of the previous results are simple: you need organization and focus. Their order doesn’t matter.

    (More …)

     
  • Juan Ignacio Barenys 9:00 am on May 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , task management, ,   

    The executive and correctly managing time 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    For any professional, correctly managing time is essential as from it comes, in almost all security, efficiency in all the tasks performed. For an executive even more so, as in executive positions, the pressure of the surroundings is high and tends to cause distortion in personal organization which, when frequent, causes a reduction in performance, a fatalist resignation, and undesired stress.

    As opposed to what is commonly thought, time management is not a natural skill that some people have and others don’t. We aren’t born with the ability to organize ourselves; it is learnt and thanks to it, significant improvements in performance are achieved in all tasks carried out. Nonetheless, we admit that some people possess a sense of order, a natural inclination that usually is shown at an early age.

    On the other hand, we must remember that time is a resource with three characteristics that make it unique:
    • It is available to anyone. Most resources have a “property”: money to invest, books to study, instruments of any type, etc. Time doesn’t; we all can have time.
    • Everyone has the same quantity of time. An hour, a day, a month… are exactly the same for everyone.
    • It is inevitably used. Whether we like it or not, in any task time will come into play, unlike other resources where their use is usually optional.

    As a result, managing time is no different to that of any other resources we have available.To do it correctly, you just need to combine good task management with the right management of the independence with which we can perform the task. And those are the skills in which in many cases can be improved with learning and training.

    Nothing better than to have a line-up of practical, short and concise advice, that when handled properly and subject to a strict discipline should result in the disappearance of the eternal “time problem”, captured in endless work hours, to-ing and fro-ing from work to home, “it’s Friday again”, etc. For executives, the need is two-fold. You are responsible for your own time and for others’.

    Tips for correctly managing time

    1. Stop interruptions, that come suddenly, without notice, or by rebound. Be a little selfish.
    2. Know your priorities. Know how to ask for them and do not take on tasks unless you have done it beforehand. Working blindly without priorities can generate subsequent errors and dissatisfaction.
    3. Be FIFO (first in first out). Don’t accumulate old tasks. Finish them off in order. Only change this natural order with the appearance of emergencies and, in some cases, with the change in the established priorities.
    4. Don’t be overconfident. Know your own limits and don’t exceed them. Doing it, generates barren exhaustion and detachment if it is directed at others.
    5. Handle five things at most at one time or homogenous time period.
    6. Don’t be a perfectionist. The best is usually the enemy of the reasonably good. From the point where the marginal benefit is zero, time becomes gold. Not before that.
    7. Know how to waste time every now and again. Releasing tension, resting, relaxing are activities that also have a place in our time resource.
    8. Be an owl. Watch, process, decide and act. If possible, without hesitation.

    Juan Ignacio Barenys de Lacha is Director at Odati and Eskpe Consulting. Member of AEDIPE, creator of the Odati Method for training executives and managers, ex-CEO of Olivetti Information Systems Spain and of Sligos Systems and chairman of the World Forum Congress in Washington in 1990.

    At Zyncro, we care about correctly managing time and we believe that an Enterprise Social Network can help you and your team to improve productivity. If you still haven’t tried Zyncro, try it free now and be convinced. If you don’t believe us, you can download the whitepaper in which we give you practical case studies of companies that have 😉

     
  • Carlos Gonzalez Jardon 9:00 am on May 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , task management   

    Enterprise Social Networks and Project Management 

    Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

    Editor’s note: Today we would like to welcome a new author to our blog. The clarity of his first post has surprised us, and that has made us even more delighted about him joining our group of contributors. Carlos González Jardón (@cgjardon) is consultant and trainer in project management. With more than 18 years’ experience in the IT sector, his activities revolve around IT project management and quality standards such as CMMi. He holds a computer engineering degree from the Universidad de Vigo, an Executive Master’s from ICAI/ICADE and PMP certification from the Project Management Institute. He is currently consultant in Project Management at Tecnocom. Welcome and thanks!

    We live in a society where access to information is no longer the privilege of a few and has been democratized. Nowdays, in a single click, we can access a wide range of data from multiple sources: search engines, online newspapers, blogs, social networks… The technology revolution is causing a social and professional evolution, in how we relate to our environment. Information continues to be important, but how we access/acquire that information is gaining relevance.

    In this environment, an enterprise social network can become a vital tool that enables us to strengthen some key aspects in our work:

    • Speed. Quick decision-making.
    • Reliability. Quality of the data.
    • Collaboration: Share information.
    • Acccessibility: A single data source, multiple devices to access it.

    The subject is rather extensive, but we will look briefly at how an enterprise social network can help us in executing projects.

    Projects and Enterprise Social Networks

    In project management, communication is a critical factor. But what do we understand communication to be in a project?

    According to the PMBok® Guide (project management knowledge base), one of the leading references for any project leader, managing communication involves all processes required to ensure timely and appropriate generation, collection, distribution, storage, retrieval and ultimate disposition of project information.

    In other words, the project manager needs to ensure that all project stakeholders have or have access to, at the right moment, the information required using suitable and efficient means. This is extremely relevant as poor management of communication and information in a project could cause the time that the project manager devotes to communicate, distribute, share and access the information to sky-rocket, and even bring the project to the brink of disaster.

    In order for the project manager to have the right information at each stage, they need to interact with their team, the customers, suppliers, and the ‘closer’ they are to the task being done, the better the information. Basically, the project manager needs to beSOCIAL with all those stakeholders in the project. It is not enough to have social skills based on ‘face-to-face’ interaction. We need to seek support from the tools that enable us to manage online or virtually multi-disciplinary and multi-site teams.

    In this scenario, an enterprise social network can play a differential role. If we share aspects of our daily lives, why shouldn’t members of a project team share, through an enterprise social network, their problems, doubts, concerns regarding the activities being performed in the project? This activity is already being done in the corridors, on the phone, but it is difficult to have a document support with the conclusions reached. Using collaborative tools can help to flourish and document information that would be lost otherwise. In those project-focused organizations, an enterprise social network can provide major value by sharing and accessing data easily and quickly.

    Benefits of Enterprise Social Networks in Project Management

    Although I’m sure there are many more, these are some of the benefits they can provide:

    Quick access to one of the best sources of knowledge: the team’s experience.

    The senior profiles are an excellent source of knowledge and that knowledge can be used to resolve different situations that we face daily in a project. Coaching, mentoring, tutoring, training or resolving of doubts can be done dynamically through an enterprise social network.

    Repository of project information and documents.

    Although this point has already been solved by many other tools, an enterprise social network can be the main point of access to shared resources. It means converting the current static or one-directional intranet (always focused from the company to the employee) into a social and collaborative environment ‘company-employee’ and ‘employee-employee’ (beyond a simple question-response network).

    Reduce “meetingitis”.

    In many organizations, there are too many inefficient meetings. Often we finish the day with the feeling that we haven’t done anything “productive”. Simple meetings to exchange information and update everyone can be replaced by short virtual meetings (e-meetings): for example, the status of our project, clarification of doubts, etc. These e-meetings will not replace face-to-face meetings, rather they will complement them and reduce them to the essential ones, as the cost, both economically speaking and cost-opportunity (what I don’t get done) is very high.

    Simplify management in multi-site environments.

    In environments where the team is located at different sites in the company or in the client (or even in teleworking situations), the social network will help us enormously with that task of “sharing”, reducing, or even eliminating problems resulting from not all being in the one place.

    Neglected management.

    On many occasions, we experience many short interruptions that break our usual work rate. Enterprise Social Networks mean that those short interruptions can be channelled through it to be answered at a later stage; or even they could be resolved by other members of the team collaboratively, leaving evidence of their resolution in the “social environment” itself.

    Our value lies not in what we know, rather how quickly we can “update” (learn what we don’t know, acquire knowledge) and how we share it with our co-workers.

    In this scenario, an enterprise social network can become a perfect work environment where different stakeholders in our project can interact according to their role, regardless of their physical location and time zone.

    The work environment is a clearly social activity in most cases, so why not use enterprise social networks? This way sharing knowledge among the project team can be more agile, although to achieve it, a cultural change is required in organizations.

     

     
  • Ignasi Alcalde 9:35 am on June 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , multi-disciplinary, , , task management,   

    Collaboration myths and dynamics 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    Thesedays it is usually hard to find socially useful activities that can be carried out strictly on an individual basis.  Collaboration and collaborative work usually offer great strengths: as they integrate individual efforts, maximise the diverse capabilities of each member, share out the work according to specific functions in order to achieve a combined result.

    This is how things really are but lately and due to the great burst of multiple collaborative tools, there is much talk as to the benefits of collaborative work which incidentally has many myths that should be clarified.

    According to the Gartner consultancy, the five most common myths (positive and negative) are:

    1. We will be collaborative with the right tools.
    2. Collaboration is a good thing on its own.
    3. Collaboration implies having extra time available.
    4. People do or do not collaborate as comes naturally.
    5. People know how to collaborate instinctively.

    In my opinion, the first and fifth are the most relevant points.  Collaboration tools have been in existence for various years and the idea of using computer networks as a base for online collaboration is fairly old.

    Having good collaborative tools that facilitate collaboration is very important but people have been collaborating for a lot longer than these tools have been around and some groups of people do not collaborate even when new collaborative tools are available.  Ironically though, sometimes the most powerful collaboration can take place by simply using paper or a whiteboard.

    Putting aside the adecuate tools for the place we collaborate in and whether it is a whiteboard, company microblogging or a telework system, collaboration does not necessarily take place “by chance”, and overall in ways that can benefit the company’s common objectives.

    In order to put together a good dynamic collaboration let us say that there are four basic key elements: transparency, authenticity, collaboration, trust.

    When we begin a collaborative project and depending on its components, there are some expectations and objectives but these many a time get stuck along the way and do not end in success.  The key for me lies within knowing how to work in a team.

    Although collaborative work and teamwork may seem the same, the truth is that collaborative work takes place within teamwork and in addition, it can be found not only in teamwork but can also help achieve the goals set right at the beginning of the work.

    When we find ourselves with conflicting situations that can lead us to a crisis, we “should” work as a team and I suggest that when tasks and agreements do not move forward, it is because whatever it is that we are doing would work better if we could work as a team.

    In order to achieve teamwork, one must go through a learning curve and go against old and more traditional approaches to working which emphasised “solo-working” and individual responsibility in order for us to really be able to have a way into a world that is crying out for the integration and coordination of capabilities.

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Follow our collaborative working expert @ignasialcalde on Twitter!

     

     
  • Didac Lee 10:45 am on March 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , task management   

    Integration is the key 

    Can you imagine working in a synchronized manner using the applications you most use: calendar, instant messaging, CRM…?

    Would you like to discover software that that unites all of these tools with the simplicity of a social network, the ease of use of a document manager and the high functionality of a tasks manager?

    Integration is the key and Zyncro has prepared a great package of surprises for the next few days.

    To be continued…

     
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