You know there are multiple areas of your business that require documentation. Understanding each unique area may take time but the process to document them is really simple.
Content has always been important, but with so many channels of presentation and distribution, how will your company prepare for what needs to be documented in 2020?
You need to convey what your products do and find the best ways for your users to navigate the products. In order to do that, you must have a user experience (UX) designer who understand you, your clients, and the product itself.
All trend reports for 2020 cite chatbots, voice assistants and artificial intelligence (AI) as the vital path to communicating with your clients and users. Having scripts written in human language conveying a conversational tone and a proper design flow will allow your company to provide superior service.
From the Project Charter to the Lessons Learned, project management documentation is important to every aspect of your company’s plan. With that, it’s very important that your professional writing delivers in every detail to complete the initiative quickly and within budget.
Explainer videos for products, services or business concepts are on the rise. According to HubSpot, 72% of customers would rather learn about a product through video. Even your Executive team would appreciate having company information presented in a video format, as opposed to text, per Wordstream. Video script writers who understand process, how to interview, what your clients need, and how best to explain concepts through video will be in demand in 2020.
A large amount of information used in training is being presented via video format; however, having a written script is vital to the final product. Professional writers will need to determine a learning objective, a sequencing plan (job task, chronological sequencing, etc.) and write any accompanying handouts or worksheets.
The entire world runs on software and someone needs to explain how it works. Technical writers are user advocates who speak the languages of software engineers as well as users and provide documentation to bridge these two worlds. As technology and platforms have become more complex, this has allowed Help files to be more individualized and user centered.
Have you had the conversation with your group about documentation? If not, you can always talk with someone who understands professional writing and how to help your team make the most of your products and services in the coming year.
Need help with your documentation in 2020?
Did that just fill you with fear? Self-loathing? And the question, “What did *I* do wrong?”
Well, you’re not alone. I know that doesn’t make it better because you’re still the one who has to bear the brunt of hearing that what you want has been denied. Be it a job, project or new client.
Countless articles talk about embracing failure and still more post about becoming resilient. In today’s social media, gotta-have-a-win-so-I-can-post-it-on-Instagram world, we’re not exactly taught coping skills. We are taught that winning is everything, you hear about the times Thomas Edison failed only after you learn about the one time he was exceptionally successful.
So where does this leave those of us who may or may invent the next iPhone or discover cold fusion, especially when the answer to our greatest desires (or landing a new account) may still be “no?”
See it from the nay-sayer’s perspective. How many decisions has the “decision-maker” had to make since their alarm went off that morning? They may not know if they want your product or service at this time because they’ve had to decide on the department’s budget by 9am, when to schedule employee review meetings that week or even what their child would need for lunch that day. It’s not personal to you. It may be hard not to think of it as personal but having empathy may be a way to ease hearing “no.” So, consider where the “no” is coming from and think about your options. Would another day/time be better? Could you help with anything more immediate?
Change your thinking. In sales, either you have been rejected or you will be rejected. Address this by going into a sales call with a different mindset: “If I’m rejected, I will…use this to improve my product…or have a better response next time…or not take it so seriously.”
Ask better questions. Find out what the client wants by asking good questions. It sounds easy but it may be the hardest part of your business – knowing your client. Doing homework is crucial, it not only helps you feel more confident about your pitch and your offerings, but it makes the client feel – what they are – important. You were prepared and didn’t waste their time. If they know understand them, this makes it more likely that they will turn a “no” into a “yes.” Querying possible clients with follow up questions to get to their deep pain points may be your way to closing a sale.
Keep going and don’t look back. Think of “NO” as Next Opportunity and move on to the next one. Maybe this is not your client. Maybe you need to re-evaluate where you’re getting leads and where those leads are leading. It’s not a failure to hear “no” from a perspective client if you will both lose time and energy pursuing something that’s not mutually beneficial.
Understand that NO isn’t fatal. In the end, you will survive hearing that what you have or want or need is denied. Hearing “no” will reinforce your resilience. Think of it as weight lifting. Think of how good you’ll feel when you’ve strengthened that particular muscle and you have the ability to bounce back when you hear “next opportunity” next time.
I wanted to take a minute and update this podcast post!! I still really enjoy listening to these and I’ve learned so much about what’s new in the field of Project Management over the last few months. With that I wanted to update a few of the One to check out sections (see below). If you’ve taken my recommendations (and earned some PDUs besides!), then you may have heard these updated ones. If not, here’s your chance to get caught up and still learn a lot from the latest podcasts.
In finalizing goals for 2017, I wanted to learn more about the things that will allow me to create business relationships. Part of that is learning to speak the language of management, project management.
I wanted to share a list of informative podcasts that I have added to my weekly roster of listens…
These podcasts certainly know their audiences since most provide episode lists in a spreadsheet format (We all love spreadsheets!) and offer PMI test prep, books, and allow you to earn PDU’s.
People and Projects Podcast – Managing projects and managing people takes a special kind of expertise, and this podcast shares how to resolve conflict, persuade a team, and engage stakeholders. Subscribe to get new episodes which are available every week or so. One to check out (January): The Most Important Lesson You Learned Last Year.
>>One to check out (March): But What If Their Bingeing on Netflix about managing remote teams. Emily Luijbregts is being interviewed and she sounds like a phenomenal leader. She explains how she tries to make everyone on her team feel included in the project by having them post family photos, doing video conferencing, and sharing cake recipes on Slack. Great take away: Trust is a 2-way street. PMs will back you up but you must be honest with them. (I always enjoy the energy of these podcasts, no matter who is being interviewed!)
Manage This – The Project Management Podcast – This podcast includes sessions with catchy titles like “Thor, the Norse God of Project Management” and “Papergate.” The information in each episode ranges from general project management to specific methodologies like Six Sigma and Agile in a discussion/interview format. Velociteach, the host’s company, offers online courses and other Project Management resources. The podcast is a little over a year old and is available the first and third Tuesday of the month. One to check out (January) : Alpha Project Managers
>>One to check out (March): Are You Too Soft? explores the concept that not enough project managers (or team members) take the initiative and own a project. A great quote, “You almost always have the authority. The problem is that you don’t take it.” Great take away: Exceed your authority and see what happens.
PMPodcast – The host has produced over 300 episodes and shares up-to-date information for beginners and experts alike. This podcast often combines PM and Agile. One to check out (January): Get Unstuck in Your Project (and join Projectmanagement.com to be part of a PMI community!)
>>One to check out (March): Guest hosts from Scope of Success podcast and they speak with the founder of PMI Long Island chapter and discuss interviewing. Great take away: Make sure your PMP is up-to-date before you interview, know the difference between a risk and an issue, and what are the top 3 things you do after you start in a new company as a PM. (Fun podcast!)
So that leads us into the episodes specific to Agile.
Agile is the latest project management trend and here are two podcasts to keep you better informed and more able to pivot gracefully.
SPaM Cast – The Software Process and Measurement (SPaM) podcast explores process improvement in information technology for the last ten years. Hosts discuss the latest information on methodologies and business areas such as analysis, risk and usability. One to check out: Round Table, Quality, Agile and Security
Marketing Project Management
Marketing is a very important to companies – there are Chief Marketing Officers now! So here’s a good listen from Aptera Software.
>>Check out: Scrum Marketing where they discuss users stories from a PM perspective and talk about new PM software, ). Very interesting learning how traditional PM is working in a digital marketing arena.
Projects always need documentation – even in an Agile environment – so if you need help with your project, contact me! Check out my other blog posts and work.
It is finally over – the crazy year that was 2016! What did we learn? And what key ideas and plans do we have going forward to make 2017 a success?
Wow! I’ve heard 2016 referred to most eloquently as “a dumpster fire” but I’m trying to be positive here. Like most everyone, I experienced a lot of the tumult both personally and professionally. And like everyone else, I have been reading blogs and listening to podcasts about what was achieved; all the hits and misses (yeah, you know what those were!) of that Year that Shall Not be Named.
So after I shook off the confetti and sat down to write about the future of my business, I started to think about what I had learned from such a dramatic year and what I wanted to accomplish going forward. In a show of transparency and accountability, I want to share these with you.
Three words for 2017
This specifically refers to learning. I was pondering the question, “What have you learned in the past year?” and my answers varied between ‘learning to research and write blog posts’ to ‘learning how to network’ to ‘understanding HTML and the latest content management systems.’ So mostly, I learned how to start working on a business and how to BE in business – Accounting, Billing, Taxes, Connections, Proposals, Apps, etc. – and with that I have fallen behind a bit in the updating skills department. I heard a quote recently, thought it was brilliant and felt that it defined where I wanted to go this year by choosing to progress in my career.
“In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” (Eric Hoffer)
I was a fearless learner when I started out as a technical writer, I’d go anywhere and do anything to study something new and absorb vast amounts of knowledge and I’m going to rekindle that fire. I think surviving 2016 and now moving forward in 2017, these are definitely times of change(!)and I want to be a learnER as opposed to the learnED!
Everyone from the most famous CEO to the owner of the local burger joint seems to be meditating these days. I cannot seem to find the most comfortable position or the quietest spot – which according to meditation law, is supposed to be inside my own mind – to practice. The Fitbit I got for Christmas has a 2-minute breathing session programmed in but I usually tap out of it.
This year, however, I will strive to be present. I mean, not be thinking of the first 10 things I will do when I arrive at my destination when I haven’t even turned the key in the car to get there. I want to experience the moment I’m living in.
Being a solopreneur requires that you think of the past (finished project) and the future (new business) and rarely allows you the luxury of living in the present. Running crazy doesn’t count as living in the present moment (but I have been thinking of it as such). So this year will have a crossed-off-has-been-completed list of projects and a future to-list and the present will take care of itself. I might even mediate for 2 minutes at a time; the Fitbit may convince me yet.
Another saying that caught my attention this past year was something to the effect of, “what are you saying no to so you can say yes to something else.” When I was setting goals for 2017, this put a lot of things in perspective. There are only so many hours in the day (even if you don’t sleep!) and in business you need to decide what is best for clients, prospective clients, and for you – the only company employee who keeps things running!
I know that last paragraph seemed counter-intuitive to my intention, but stay with me. If I am open to opportunities that make me better in my work, improve my health (stay out of this, Fitbit!) and recharge me spiritually so I can be the best I can be, then the goals of 2017 will be attainable. With that, my intention is to be open to volunteering more, taking on different types of projects, and forming lasting relationships.
Now that I’ve gotten over the 2016 hangover and swept out the confetti, I think it’s going to be a great year…and if these resolutions don’t keep me on the straight and narrow, I know the new Fitbit will. #hyperwriterbeinghyper