What managers can learn from Dr. Sheldon Cooper

lessons to learn from Sheldon Cooper

So, you love TBBT! Who can blame you. The whole world is going gaga over this American sitcom, and for good reasons. I am a diehard fan too. And let me guess, you love it for the weird quirks and idiosyncrasies of Dr. Sheldon Cooper. Right? High-five! Me too!

I have to say the show is more than just a sitcom. There are so many lessons that we can take away about life as well as career from TBBT, especially from Dr. Cooper. Project managers in particular can learn a great deal of stuff from this great mind. Let me point out a few things about Sheldon Cooper that are sure to inspire all types of managers to perform better at workplace:

  • Sticking to the routine
    A translation for being disciplined, nobody knows the art of creating a routine and sticking to it religiously better than our favorite scientist, Mr. Cooper. He has a fixed schedule for everything; one night for playing Halo, one night for ordering Pizza, and so on. The interesting thing is, he is able to get everyone else also to stick to his routine as well. Project managers too can learn the art of creating a timeline and making everyone follow it just like he does. Although he is a little too rigid in terms of his weekly activities, managers can leave some scope to introduce changes in project timelines as and when needed. Discipline and routine-work are precious pearls for managing projects. To know how to be a natural at being disciplined, follow Mr. Cooper.
  • The importance of organizing
    Disorderliness – this is something that makes Sheldon sleepless, literally. That’s probably why he couldn’t sleep knowing that there was a disorganized closet (in Penny’s apartment) right next to his apartment. Dr. Cooper knows the art of organization like a pro.
    From labeling the bottom of containers, to straightening out neighbors’ closets, to even sorting out cereals based on fiber content; he is a stickler for organizing everything.Organizational skills are important in context of project management. It makes information easily retrievable. That’s why things like to-do lists for sorting tasks are integral to project managers. And, managers can get inspiration from Sheldon on how to organize things related to project activities, so that there is no confusion at any point of time.
  • Speaking your heart out
    Cooper once said, “I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t say to anyone’s face”. The guy is the farthest thing possible from political correctness. Although he ends-up driving a lot of people crazy in the process of being a little too honest, but that’s exactly why he is loved by everyone. Managers too can learn to speak their mind from Sheldon. In times of sharing feedback, this trait will help you say what really needs to be communicated. Managers often avoid saying certain things while sharing feedback, thinking that it might hurt the person. I am not saying that you go on bluntly insulting others (the way Sheldon often does; although his intentions are pure and he does not do it on purpose). The point is, if something needs to be shared with employees regarding their performance, do it, just as long as you don’t make anyone feel bad. Share feedback in a progressive manner to promote quality work and growth.
  • Being confident
    Dr. Cooper is always saying, “When I will get my Nobel Prize…”. There are no ifs; not even a trace of doubt in his mind. He knows he is going to win it. This is the kind of attitude that is needed at workplace. The fate of any project is dependent on how confident the manager is about its success. If the manager himself is doubtful, how can others be confident about project success? Project managers need to be confident that come what may, project will flourish.And, they can learn to be confident from Dr. Cooper as he is never doubtful of what he is going to achieve, which makes him such a great mind.
  • Staying focused
    Focus is Dr. Cooper’s middle name. When he is onto something, there is no stopping him. He would just immerse himself into it until that thing is done. Everything else becomes secondary. Project managers are constantly juggling with so much throughout the day. Focus is the only thing that can help them to handle a lot in a small time window. And, who better to learn the art of focus than Sheldon Cooper himself? He is a personification of the fact that nothing is impossible if you really set your mind to it. All you need to do is give things undivided attention. Whenever you find it hard to focus on your goals, recall this legendary character and think about how he would do it.
  • Appreciating others
    Despite the fact that Sheldon often acts like a know-it-all and easily dismisses everyone’s opinions, he is not hesitant to appreciate others. He often says, ‘Sometimes I don’t give you enough credit, Penny’. Whenever someone does something that deserves applaud, Sheldon is the first person you can expect to point it out and appreciate. And, project managers motivating people and getting the best out of them.

When you are ready to learn, everything becomes a teacher, even your favorite TV characters; especially a character like Dr. Cooper can teach you a lot more than you would have ever thought. 

What are your thoughts on it? Do share in comments section.

5 Hollywood movies every project manager should watch

Project Manager

There is more to movies than just entertainment. They are a reflection of our society and there is so much we can learn from them. Especially, when it comes to lessons on management and leadership, there is a lot to take away.

It should not come as a surprise that all the leading B-schools and the most successful conglomerates in the world use cinema as a way to teach management lessons and theories. Movies are a powerful learning aid for understanding group dynamics and team-handling.

Below is a list of a few popular Hollywood movies that demonstrate ways to handle the most common management issues such as staff procurement, employee motivation, retaining good professionals, and increasing engagement in workplace.

1. The Social Network
Thanks to this movie, we now know how Mark Zuckerberg – the founder of Facebook, reached where he is today. It shows how Mark, using his skills, hacked into Harvard’s student database to get pictures for his website Facemesh (first version of Facebook) – and ultimately paved his way towards becoming one of the richest men on earth.

What to take away
The idea is simple – hiring people who have real skills, not just college degrees. All corporate giants like Apple and Microsoft are looking for professionals with real talent and practical knowledge.

The lessons that managers can take from this movie are that sometimes great professionals can come from the most unexpected and unlikely places. For example, in the movie Mark was initially perceived as nothing more than a hacker meddling with university’s data, until everyone realized his true potential. Managers should bring innovation in the process of hiring in order to be able to identify and hire the creme de le creme of all the applicants. Do not judge a candidate solely based on an impressive CV or interview. Conduct procedures where candidates can demonstrate their real abilities and knowledge. Try to look beyond the obvious while hiring.

2. Invictus
Never underestimate the power of engagement when it comes to employee-retention. The moment we talk about engagement factor, Invictus is the movie that comes to mind. Based on the life of one of the most iconic personalities ever – Nelson Mandela, managers can learn the art of motivation and leadership from this movie.

What to take away
There is a lot to take away from Invictus, but what is really captivating about the movie is the way Mandela communicates with the people of South Africa. He uses Rugby – a sport to engage both blacks and whites who were feeling torn by racial discrimination. Mandela uses a sport to bridge the gap between blacks and whites. The same way managers can avoid disengagement by conducting simple yet interactive games and activities.

It is the responsibility of senior level authorities to make sure people don’t feel distant from the company and from each other. Movie hosting, parties, games, and conducting fun activities is an excellent way to bring people together in an office setting.

3. Outsourced and The internship
Both the movies share same ideologies and concepts. Talk about Equal Employment Opportunity and these two hollywood flicks are sure to be on top of the list. We can add one more to it – Schindler’s List. These movies capture cross-cultural amalgamation in workplace beautifully.

What to take away
Not just managers, but we all can learn how employees of different backgrounds, ethnicity, cultures, and skin colors have so much to teach each other. All three movies answer a lot of questions on cultural differences and the way people from various backgrounds interact in a group setting. When there is an element of cultural richness in workplace, everyone can learn a lot about team management and also get amazing cultural insights.

4. Up in the Air
Hiring people is very easy. It is when a company is faced with the difficult decision of downsizing, that problems begin. Firing employees always puts HR department and managers in an awkward position. This is exactly what is depicted in Up in the Air.

What to take away
Up in the Air, starring George Clooney, playing the part of a corporate downsizer, serves as a reminder to every organization that when it comes to firing people, it is not always the person being fired who is at loss. It is the organization also that loses something. Managers can learn how to value employees and understand their worth.

The lesson to learn from this movie is that, ‘people leave people, not organizations’. Although the primary agenda remains how to politely let employees go, but the undercurrent emphasizes on valuing good employees as well. That is exactly what managers can learn – the art of valuing those who truly deserve it.

5. The Wolf of Wall Street
The movie portrays Jordan Belfort and his real life story that made him one of the most influential stockbrokers of Wall Street. Beneath all the debauchery and decadence shown in the movie, there are so many key lessons that everyone including managers and employees can learn from Belfort’s success story.

What to take away
What was it that made Jordan Belfort and his partner Danny Porush such a great team? Well, it is the very fact that both of them were totally different. Let’s just say the two were poles apart! So, from this movie, managers can learn the art of diversifying competence of employees. For example, while Belfort couldn’t sleep, porush could sleep anywhere and everywhere irrespective of outer conditions. Belfort had strategic abilities while poush was brutal in enforcing rules.

Belfort always thought of long-term orientation while porush was short-sighted. They were so different in every aspect, but together they used their strengths and weaknesses for the best. The same way, managers should try to identify the best in employees and use it for the good of company as well as for their own growth.

These are the five movies I was able to think about off the top of my head. All of them are a must-watch for every manager and career-oriented professional. If you feel any other movie should have made the list, don’t forget to share it in the comments section.

How project managers can communicate more effectively?

project manager communication

We all know that communication is the cornerstone of project management. However, simply exchanging words is not enough to make communication effective. Every single message needs to be clear and precise, and the whole process should be effective. But, what do we really mean by ‘effective communication’? According to ‘A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®Guide)’ – Fifth Edition, ‘Effective communication means that the information is provided in the right format, at the right time, to the right audience, and with the right impact. Efficient communication means providing only the information that is needed.’

Effective communication is directly proportionate to the timely delivery of results and project success. So, what are the things that project managers should always remember, if they want to be effective communicators? I have tried to jot down some points. Have a look –

1. Take care of the 3 Ws

– Be clear for whom the piece of information is intended. Is it a team member, or a subordinate? Do you need to discuss certain issues with the senior management or stakeholders? Having this clarity should be the first step prior to devising the body of content. The tone of message, delivery method, and composition – all these things will be governed when you answer the ‘who’.

What – What is to be communicated? Does the message happen to be a weekly report? Is it a monthly performance review or some other simple information? Once you figure out what needs to be discussed, you then need to choose the right channel of communication. For example, you cannot discuss reports over the phone or chat. You would have to draft e-mails or discuss in person for that. Similarly, if the issue happens to be simple, there is no need to draft mails and waste time. It can be discussed in person or through chat support.

When – Create a timeline of when to discuss things. Stick to that timeline and follow it. Perhaps the stakeholders need weekly or monthly reports of project progress. Similarly, team members need to be communicated their tasks and responsibilities daily. If possible, try to make things automated. Auto-generate reports, and macros are perfect for automating the communication process. Decide when to share regular feedback with everyone.

2. Don’t beat around the bush

Clarity and conciseness – make sure you are able to preserve these two elements every time you need to communicate a piece of information. You could take an hour to say something, or you could summarize the same in a simple sentence as well. Take all the time in the world to discuss things if you can afford to do that. But, if the project is running short on time, try to be as short and simple as you possibly can. Stick to the concept of KISS (keep It Short and Simple).

3. Don’t just talk, listen as well!

Communication is always two-sided. One-sided talk is just a lecture. Do you need to lecture everyone, or do you want everyone to participate? Accordingly, make sure to pause occasionally and give others a chance to speak and share their thoughts. Be good at listening. Try to remove the barriers that make it difficult to understand what the person is saying; be it a technical barrier, language barrier, absent-mindedness, or lack of trust in others.

4. Decide the medium of communication

How would you like to share ideas? Do you prefer meetings or are you more comfortable with online discussions? How many ways are there to communicate the same message? Which one serves best? To answer these, you would have to analyze the nature of content/information. If the message happens to be elaborate and lengthy, you might want to use PowerPoint presentation and explain it with the help of a projector. If you need to communicate some new guideline and change in the policy, then a meeting followed by an e-mail is likely the best option.

5. Decide the motive

So, you need to share something with others. But why? What is the motive? What is to be accomplished from it? When you have this clarity, you will be able to communicate in a way that the message serves a purpose. For example, what is the purpose for which you are conducting a meeting? Is it to resolve an issue? If yes, be sure you have a solution on hands before you wind up the meeting. Otherwise, the whole purpose of it will be defeated.

6. Make sure the message is understood

How do you know if your message has been understood by the receiver? Has the person understood what you actually wanted to say? Different people can interpret a common message in different ways. The manager may have said what was needed, but the process is still incomplete if the other person didn’t understand it. Make sure the other person interpreted the message in exactly the same context in which you devised it. Do confirm by asking if others have understood the message or not. Be proactive in answering any and every query that people may have.

7. Avoid using technical jargons wherever possible

Effective communication happens when the content is easy to understand. You cannot expect a first grader to understand quantum physics. I know it’s a little extreme example, but you know what I mean. Say what you have to say, but remember who is it for, and accordingly convey it in the right manner. If you are sending a report, make sure it is easy to decipher by the person on the other end. People already have a lot on their plate. Don’t bury them with the added responsibility of decoding the message. Using too many technical jargons can make a simple message unnecessarily complex. Go with the easiest style of getting your message across.

8. Make it interesting

Office reports and presentations can be boring. However,you can make them interesting by adding an element of intrigue and fun in the communication process. Try not to sound too serious in a meeting, all the time. Try to lighten up the atmosphere with occasional humour, but at the same time don’t overdo it either. It is common for people to feel lost when the meeting is boring. But, you can keep them attentive by making the atmosphere lighter.

9. Be sure to document everything

This one is a lifesaver! People tend to easily forget what was discussed in meeting or what the client said over the phone. Each one of us can relate to it. Missing out on even smallest of detail can cause unnecessary setbacks. So, do maintain documented records of all the crucial points, whether it is the minutes of meetings or stuff discussed over the phone. Jot all the important things down as soon as they are discussed. Share it with relevant people so everyone stays on the same page and don’t miss anything.

All these points are extremely simple and yet amazingly helpful in ensuring effective communication. Every single project manager can instantly boost-up the quality of project management by taking care of these little things during communication process.

The seven types of project managers

project manager
Are you a project manager? Or work with one? Either way, it is good to know about various types of project managers and their personalities. Because even though we are surrounded with gazillion management tools and software, the need of a Project Manager can never be underestimated.

Project Manager is the binding force that keeps every single thing related to project execution in harmony. A project manager is always a dominant factor in both success and failure of a project. In the absence of a project manager, it is very likely that coordination among departments will soon fade away and everything will descend into chaos. So, it pays to know a manager’s personality, traits, and skills, and how they directly impact everyone’s quality of work and overall output.

Some project managers are extremely detail-oriented who analyse things under a microscope. On the other hand, some like to add an element of fun and creativity in the project. Some managers like to guide people, while others are firm believers in delegating work and authority.

The types are many; but what type of project manager are you? Or, what type of personality does your manager have? Let’s help you figure that out – 

1. The Perfectionist

The name itself suggests what to expect from such type of managers. The perfectionist will have everything done in a very cut and dry manner. They like to closely analyze the progress and oversee each and every thing. Such a manager would possess amazing organizational skills. With this type of manager, you can expect every single tiniest of detail to be just the way it should be.

2. The Front-runner

This type of project manager will leave no stone unturned to achieve expected outcomes from the project. They will do whatever is needed to get the job done, and a lot more than that. They are always thinking of new and creative ways to boost the quality of work; constantly setting higher parameters for measuring success. Such managers always like to encourage others and achieve more.

3. The Prudent

We can say that the way such a manager works is inspired a lot by the game of chess. A prudent manager likes to think-through all the steps of a plan well in advance. If plan ‘A’ fails to deliver the expected outcome, the manager will have plan ‘B’ as backup. The prudent type of managers are excellent at working out contingency plans. They have each member’s role defined in the most precise and detailed manner. Also, anything and everything related to the project, they will have it on their fingertips to the very last step.

4. The Savior

Whether teams are facing too much pressure or project is going through downward spiral – the savior is always there to solve the crisis. Whatever crisis the project is going through and whatever troubles the team members are facing; these type of managers will always have a solution up their sleeves. Resourcefulness is the word that aptly describes such managers. They are very creative and solve problems with their out-of-the-box approach.

5. The Dictator

‘Discipline’ is the middle name of project managers with this personality type. They need everything executed in a certain manner, as well as on time. A manager with the dictator personality type is likely to stick to the convention. This type of manager will have a strong and influential personality. Often a great leader, this manager would know the art of motivating people to get things done without any room for chaos or unnecessary delays.

6. The Advisor

Such a manager would be a powerhouse of knowledge! The advisor managers would know how to maintain their calm and patience under all sorts of situations. They proactively seek to answer team members’ questions and doubts. They like to guide people for the greater good, and are always there to advise people on all issues whether they happen to be project related or not. With their amazing leadership qualities, they can make people collaborate with a sense of togetherness.

7. The Delegator

The Delegator is always entrusting of the team members. Such managers love to involve senior level management as well as the team in every major and minor decision. They are a firm believer in helping people expand their horizons, and let everyone explore their untapped potential by letting them handle more than what they think they are capable of. Managers with this personality are great at bringing out the best in people.

Those were a few personality types of project managers that you will find in most organizations.

Can you think of any other personality type that has not been mentioned in the post? Which type were you able to relate to the most? Share your views through comments!

96% of the users recommend ProofHub to others. ProofHub survey, 2015

Key Findings of the survey

  • Nearly 95% of the respondents said they were unable to deliver projects on time before using ProofHub.
  • 8 out of 10 organizations said lack of communication was the biggest reason for project failures.
  • 96% of the clients said they would recommend ProofHub to others.


Almost every organization fails to cope up with the pressure of completing projects on time, and loses a big part of their revenue as the project success percentage is quite low. ProofHub decided to conduct an e-survey to know how enterprises were managing their projects, what were the challenges they faced and how implementing ProofHub at work helped to meet those challenges. In the survey, it was found that ProofHub helped organizations solve their problems as they started getting better results after using the tool, and delivered more number of projects successfully. In fact, 96% of the organizations, which had used our tool for a period of 6 months or more said they would recommend it to others without giving a second thought.

Here’s a look at the highlights of this survey:

A. Common causes of project failure

One of the objectives of this survey was to identify the factors that led to project failure. To our surprise, most of the organizations were facing the same challenges, be it SMEs, mid sized organizations or the larger ones. The graph below shows major contributing factors toward project failures –

  • 80% – Poor Communication
  • 51% – Lack of project plan
  • 29% – Poor handling
  • 13% – Unrealistic timeframes
  • 9% – Undefined objectives
  • 3% – Others

causes of project failure


Poor communication came out to be the number one contributing factor for project failures with 80% of the respondents reporting that they fail to complete projects successfully because of poor communication. Lack of project planning came second while poor handling was the third biggest contributing factor.

B. Challenges faced – Before and After using ProofHub

The data below shows the challenges faced in projects before the implementation of ProofHub at work –

  • 56% – Failed to collaborate
  • 79% – Missed deadlines
  • 71% – Poor organization
  • 54% – Poor planning
  • 69% – Project failure  

Most of the enterprise owners were of the view that ProofHub helped them to better organize their projects and end the troubles they were facing in handling and managing them. The data below shows the changes that the enterprises saw after using ProofHub at work –

  • 6% -Failed to collaborate
  • 9% – Missed deadlines
  • 3% – Poor organization
  • 14% – Poor planning
  • 2% – Project failure

Before vs After

It is evident that implementation of ProofHub changed the success rate quite significantly.

C. Why they prefer ProofHub?

As part of the survey we asked the clients about various factors that made ProofHub their go to tool for project management and collaboration. And, the results were overwhelming –

1. Provides great work satisfaction

“ProofHub scores 96% in overall work satisfaction”

One of the first responses that we received from our clients was “ProofHub delivers on its promise”, i.e. it makes it easy for them to plan, collaborate, organize and deliver projects on time. In terms of percentage work satisfaction, the results were –

  • Excellent – 61%
  • Very Good – 29%
  • Good – 6%
  • Average – 1%
  • Below Average – 3%

Work satisfaction2. Reduces workload

“9 out of 10 users said that ProofHub helped to reduce their workload to a large extent”

In an overwhelmingly wonderful way, most of our clients responded that their projects were getting delivered on time, and the workload was reduced to quite a large extent.

  • Reduced workload up to 75% – 49%
  • Reduced workload up to 50% – 41%
  • Reduced workload up to 30% – 4%
  • Reduced workload up to 20% or less – 6%

Reduces workload

3. Offers great value for money

“92% think that ProofHub is a value for money resource”

In response to the question whether ProofHub was worth the money spent on its paid membership, almost all of our clients said that ProofHub is worth every penny they spent. Here is a look at the results –

  • Offers value for money – 92%
  • Needs improvement – 5%
  • Does not offer value for money – 3%

Value for money4. Has an exceptional support team

“97% of customers got resolution for their query in less than 24hrs”

Support is the backbone for any organization, and we are excited to tell you that majority of our clients were more than happy with the timely support they had received from ProofHub.

  • Query resolution in < 2hrs. – 76%
  • Query resolution in < 8 hrs. – 10%
  • Query resolution in < 12 hrs. – 6%
  • Query resolution in < 24hrs – 5%
  • Query resolution in 24 hrs or more – 3%

Query resolution

From the graph we can see that 97% of the queries were resolved in less than 24 hours.

5. Is highly recommended

“More than 96% of our clients recommend ProofHub to other businesses”

To sum up the survey, we asked the clients whether they would recommend others to try ProofHub or not. And, 96% of all the customers’ response was in affirmation. recommendation

However, all this won’t lead to any complacency from our side. Rather it will continue to inspire us to strive even harder towards achieving a 100% satisfaction rate. We assure that achieving this target is our first priority, and we will continue to work like a trojan to better the tool as well as our service.


For quick and straightforward responses, we used survey methodology for data collection. This involved sending a questionnaire to the organizations that were using ProofHub and reviewing their responses. The survey was conducted over the course of 30 days. The managerial level respondents were chosen to answer the questionnaire, which contained 15 questions on the challenges in handling projects, major causes of project failure and their experience in Project Management before and after using ProofHub. The entire survey was performed and funded independently by ProofHub. 66% of the clients that we contacted, responded back with the answers.

10 best digital marketing tools for 2015

Digital marketing tools

Online tools make it easy for you to handle all your digital marketing endeavors in the simplest possible manner. However, there are so many tools out there on the web that it can be quite difficult to select which one is worth the effort and which one is not.

To help you in this cause, I have come up with this list of some great online options that can help you accomplish more in digital marketing. So, without further ado let’s get going with the list –

1. Raven toolscomprehensive reporting, robust SEO research tools and steadfast social media monitoring. Combine all these features in one and you get Raven. Not to forget the constant additions and upgrades made in the tool from time to time that will help you stay updated with the industry. This go to software for all things associated with online marketing comes at a modest price of $99/month. And, the best thing is that you can try it for free during the 30 day trial period.

2. Visual Website Optimizer (VWO)what works best on your website? Which header fits perfectly? Which design is just the right one for your portal? Visual Website Optimizer has an answer to all these questions. Try multiple variants with customers visiting your website in real time to see what works and what does not. With features like experimentation, professional feedback, revenue analysis, user suggestions, segmentation reports, personalized targeting and many more, VWO is the best help for your online marketing gimmicks. And that too at a meager cost of $9/month for testing up to 2000 users.

3. Person Appcreate targeted marketing campaigns, visualize your target customers and even share your customer personas with the team in one go. Person App is the framework that lets you do all this in an effortless manner. To create customer personas in the tool, all you have to do is input statistics like gender, likes, behaviors and goals in a simple-to-read layout, and that’s it.

4. BuzzSumoGoogle has always said that content is the king, and a digital marketing campaign can never survive without good content. But how to know what type of content does the audience really want? Well, this is where BuzzSumo comes into the picture. Being a content marketing tool, it helps you to research the content, and shows you how similar content has performed in the past. With a free basic plan, and the Pro plan at just $99/month, BuzzSumo is definitely worth giving a shot.

5. Sprout Socialview audience demographics, conversion histories, track mentions, check engagement patterns, plan content calendars, network with other marketers and lots more. The list of things that Sprout Social lets you do is never ending. And, this is the reason why it has been the favorite tool for internet marketers for the past quite some time now. After a free 30 day trial, you can avail the deluxe plan that starts just at $59 for a month. Must say, quite low price considering the features that you get.

6. SocedoSocedo helps you to automatically favorite tweets, follow prospects, send direct messages, and lots of other stuff related to social media. You can simply find the prospects by typing a keyword, hashtag or any other criterion which according to you will help in the search. You can leverage social media to discover and qualify leads via automated engagement using Socedo. Free trial for 30 days, and the basic plan that promises to fetch 50 new targeted leads per day at a price of just $100/month make it a worthy investment.

7. FullContactthe tool is designed to help you reach to your customers with all the information that’s needed to build a lasting relationship. You instantly get the real name, photo and social-profile links to anyone who signs up on your website using FullContact. A great thing about the tool is that it lets you store more than 25000 contacts in under $10/month. And, to make the deal more lucrative FullContact offers to store first 5000 contacts for free.

8. SidekickSidekick from Hubspot let’s you see your contact’s professional history, latest tweets and company information. Not just that, you can schedule your future emails, and also get to know who’s opening your emails how many times as well. With so many things to offer, Sidekick changes the way email marketing has been carried out in the past. The free version gives you unlimited profile views and 200 email open notifications per month. And, if you want to avail the email scheduling benefits along with this, then you can get that by paying $10/user/month.

9. Autosendbeing an email marketing tool that helps you to send personalized, targeted emails and text messages, Autosend is an innovative way to reach out personally to your customers. Whether a visitor is making purchase or has just scrolled through the pages on your website, Autosend sends messages automatically to them, based on their behavior. And, you can track up to 1,000 users by paying a sum of just $39.

10. Picreelnot all the people visiting your site convert into business. In fact 96% of the traffic doesn’t even return. This is where a tool like Picreel can come to the rescue. As a typical conversion optimization tool, Picreel helps you to retain customers on the website by making customizable exit offers. The exit intent technology used in the tool is a sure-shot way to capture visitors on your site before they leave. Picreel packages start from $16/month with which you can capture up to 3000 users.

Have some more names to add to this list? Post in the comments below to share the tools you have been using successfully for your digital marketing efforts.

Image Credit: David Joyce/ My Work Desk on Flickr

ProofHub turns 4

ProofHub Birthday

Did you hear the buzz? It’s ProofHub’s birthday!

As we complete another successful year, the whole team is excited and plans to paint the whole town red. The brainchild of Sandeep Kashyap, the CEO & Founder of ProofHub; has grown up to become a flamboyant tool used and loved by people from all over the world. With more than 75,000 business from all across the globe using the tool till date, we take pride in being one of the finest project management tools in the business today.

As we look forward to another year filled with excitement, we would love to share the highlights of the past year. So before we indulge completely into the festivities, here’s a flashback at what we’ve accomplished in the last 12 months –

The launch of ProofHub mobile app

  • In the most anticipated update of the year, we successfully launched ProofHub mobile, the Android app that lets you carry your work wherever you go. So, now you can manage your projects even when you are on the run.

Lots of exciting new features

  • The past year also saw addition of quite a number of new major features in the tool. The features that we have added include logs, project templates, ‘All Time’ tab, estimated hours, email in, notebook, file approval, in app notifications and project overview.

An enhanced user experience

  • With features like Dashboard, task detail window and ‘Me’ view, ProofHub made it a point to keep all the critical project information within your reach.
  • Also, we successfully achieved a 3 times faster app speed than before.

For both the managers and team members

  • With the option to assign manager to individual projects, ProofHub lets you  maintain hierarchy in projects.
  • We also added the option of custom roles to the app. So, you can now specify roles to individual team members, make them accountable for the project process and let them contribute more towards success.
  • To make sure that the teams stay updated with the the tasks and milestones that are scheduled for today, we launched the feature Daily agenda email’. So, ProofHub ensures that none of the deadlines are missed now.
  • Email notifications for project managers came as our much anticipated feature to help you stay updated on all the project activities using emails and take actions when you don’t have access to the tool.

Killing monotony at work

  • The all new Emoji support in chat has received wide acclaim from the users, as it has helped to make those boring office chats quite interesting and bring their emotions to life.
  • We also gave you the option to white label your ProofHub account. With more than 16 new colors to select from, using ProofHub now becomes lot more exciting.

Breaking the language barriers

  • Adding to the list of languages that included English, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and French, we integrated German language within the tool as well. So, if you are a native german speaker, then you don’t have to face trouble in using the tool.

3rd Party integrations

  • In another exciting update, we integrated Freshbooks app in ProofHub. So, now it becomes easy to prepare invoice and bill your clients.

Apart from all these major updates, lots of small changes have been made in the tool throughout the year. You can take a look at them in our updates section.

Plans for the future

That’s not all folks! The upcoming year is going to be filled with many more exhilarating updates. We have plenty of stuff lurking around behind the curtain waiting to pleasantly surprise you. Here is a sneak-peek at some of the major updates that you can expect from us in the coming time, –

  • ProofHub Bolt
  • Native iOS app
  • Timer
  • QuickBooks integration
  • Integration with Box, OneDrive and QuickBooks
  • Import tasks from CSV
  • Introduction of new languages – Norwegian, Russian
  • Enhanced reports and gantt charts
  • Workflow
  • Recurring task

And, this is just a small peep at our future updates. There’s plenty of other stuff being carried out as well.

So, until next time it’s adios amigos from me.


Image Credit: Pedro Serapio/The Cake on Flickr

11 ways to excel at Project management

Grand Master

Project Management is no Rocket Science! You don’t have to be an erudite to become successful at Project Management. Although, there is much brouhaha about this term in corporate culture, but you will be amazed to see how in our daily life we all perform the activities that make us project managers in our own right.

For instance let me break down this simple scenario of looking for a new apartment into steps and then see how it goes –

  • Step 1 – Knowing what your requirements are and what is the outcome of the search (Initiation)
  • Step 2 – Understanding those requirements, setting priorities and then jotting down the options that you are going to do during your search (Planning)
  • Step 3 – Performing activities as planned i.e. calling brokers, searching on the internet, set up visits (Execution)
  • Step 4 – Unable to find an apartment that fits within your needs? So you reconsider your requirements and then begin the search again (Monitoring and Controlling)
  • Step 5 – You end up finding an apartment to move in (Closing)

With a closer look, we can see that the steps are same as you would need to make a project successful. The question that arises now is when almost all of us can perform these tasks without any hassle, then why there is always so much fuss about project management? While it is easy to say that we handle the responsibilities of a project manager in our day to day activities, but reality is otherwise, simply because the job of a project manager is at a much larger scale as compared to the house job (besides the fact that  there is always a boss shouting out loud on them to deliver the projects). Multiply the difficulties that you face while performing these tasks to a thousand times (or even more), and that’s what a project manager has to do on daily basis. Our daily activities can lay the foundation for developing a successful project manager’s brain, but it requires great skill to improve these abilities and come out on top and avoid the mistakes that can lead to failure of the projects.

Before we delve deep into the chronicles of successful Project Management, you must remember that ‘There are no new reasons for project failures, they go wrong for the same reasons all the time. And, the biggest sin in project management is to not learn the lessons of past failures.’

Well, let me share my list of 11 ways that can help you avoid these mistakes and excel at Project Management –

1. Lead like Leonidas
What was the biggest reason that the 300 spartans who fought in the battle of Thermopylae against 300,000 soldiers of the Persian army were able to create history? Well, it was the non-deterrent leader Leonidas, who gave chilblains to Xerxes and his men even with his meager army. A brave and a smart leader who knows how to bring the best out of his team can win battles, no matter how difficult they seem. This clearly explains the importance of leadership in successful completion of a project. So, being an able leader is the first thing in the list to become better at project management.

2. Document like a scientist
Do you know the best thing about scientists? Before they actually start working on how things happen, they first define what’s happening. And, this is something that applies to project management as well. Going haywire with the project straightway is one of the major causes that lead to failure. A clearly documented project scope, explaining the objectives, can set the tone right and put things in place for successful completion. Don’t forget, ‘What’ always comes before ‘How’ when we are looking to achieve something. Therefore, as soon as the project arrives you must go all guns blazing at preparing a scope document explaining the objectives of the project first, and then start working on how to achieve those objectives.

3. Plan like a grandmaster
Have you ever seen a grandmaster playing chess? He plans every move on the checkerboard in a meticulous manner so as to minimize the chances of a mistake. This creates a roadmap for winning the game. Being a project manager, you need to inculcate these grandmaster like abilities to plan each and every move that you are going to make in order to achieve success with the project. As Winston Churchill once said, ‘Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.’ So, as a project manager planning should be the most important thing for you.

4. Define like an artist
Planning a project is one thing, but making the team members understand that plan is entirely different. This is where defining the objectives of the project come into the picture. In order for everyone to understand the intricacies involved in the project, there must be well defined objectives with each and every detail laid out in front of the people who are going to be involved in it. This is something that you can definitely learn from an artist, in the way they portray the minutest details of their imagination while defining their thoughts.

5. Risk it to get the biscuit (but, be sure to assess the risk first)
Risks are associated with every aspect of the project, and continue to change over the course of time. However, you need to learn the art to assess those risks beforehand so as to keep things under control. Remember, effective risk management can be the difference between success and failure of a project. The best way to do it – prioritise the objectives, be prepared with the preventive actions (in case of adversities) and track the updates. As they say, you need to risk it to get the biscuit!

6. Who’s the quarterback and who’s the placekicker?
No, I am not asking you to get out in the football field to identify the positions. All I am saying here is that you need to define the roles and responsibilities to individual team members so that every person gets to know his/her accountability for a particular task. This will not just help in achieving the objectives in a better way, but at the same time will also help in building better leaders out of all employees for the future.

7. Adorn the Coaches’ hat
What does a sports coach do? He monitors the team and communicates with them just to make sure that they have a clear mind about what needs to be achieved. The job of a project manager is no different. A team is a team, no matter if it is out on a football field or working in a corporate office, and it is the responsibility of the coach to keep them aligned towards the objective of winning the championship (which in our case is the successful completion of the project). So, adorn the hat of a coach and continue to monitor and communicate with the team members about what they are doing good and where they need to do better.

8. Test it before it’s too late
Sculpt this quote in the back of your mind ‘the later you leave the testing in the development cycle, the more it costs to fix’. This is the reason why you must not leave testing to the end moment. Testing lifecycle encompasses Test plan, Test specification, Code tests, Validate test, and Run tests. One of the major reasons why teams fail to deliver projects as per specifications is simply because they employ an ad hoc technique for testing. Plan your testing before it gets too late, and see how smoothly things turn out to be.

9. Apply the thumb rule
Wondering what’s that? The thumb rule that holds true for project of any shape or size is that there is always room for improvement. However, that can be figured out only when you review the product before delivering it finally. The timing of the review holds the key here. You would not want to leave it for too late to have no time left for making the final changes. Being in the position where it is your responsibility to ensure that the product is customer ready before the final delivery, you must always perform a post implementation review.

10. Delivery is not the final destination
Opinions may vary from person to person in this regard, but it has been proven time and again that believing a project to be complete once it is delivered is a big mistake. A large number of projects declared as successful initially, never deliver the planned results simply because the results are not reviewed in the longer run. The biggest mistake that project managers make in this scenario is to disband the team as soon as the project is delivered. You must not mark the project as complete unless the desired results are obtained. In fact, realising those benefits by conducting a post implementation review (within 3-6 months of the delivery of the project) is something that can help you to sustain in the longer run.

11. Don’t let history repeat itself
As stated in the beginning, projects go wrong for the same reasons all the time. In order to avoid the history from repeating itself you need to learn from the mistakes made in the past. Failing to learn the lessons from mistakes made in one project and moving straight away to the next one is going to land you even deeper in trouble with the next project. Remember, lessons apply to everyone. So, devote a big chunk of your time to evaluate the project that you have finished and document the mistakes that you need to avoid with the next project.

And, once you have managed to successfully complete all this, it’s time to party!!!

After all, spending some time with your team to appreciate their efforts and success of the project is really worth it.

Like what you’ve read? Share your thoughts in the comments section to help us know what you think of this post.

Until next time, happy reading… :)

Image Credit: Jotam Trejo/ Front Line on Flickr

5 Tips to make enterprise collaboration tools work for your business

Enterprise Collaboration

“There’s too much work to do and too less time. Let’s collaborate.’

This is a common scenario in almost all offices. And, this has been mantra of success for almost all the big names out there that you find in the market. Collaboration within the enterprise has become the lifeline for finishing off complex projects, with organizations looking to do things in a faster, smarter and better manner. All this has led to the rise of a never ending list of enterprise collaboration tools that can help you to achieve more with limited resources.

While these tools allow easy capturing of knowledge and finishing off tasks in no time, the journey to collaboration tool adoption in an enterprise is still a complicated one. In fact, the headache of deploying a collaboration platform festers well beyond the technical hurdles.

If you have also been unable to make enterprise collaboration work for your business, then here are some tried and tested tips that can prove to be of good help –

  1. Define the motive of collaboration
    Are you targeting product innovation? Or looking for better staff retention options? Or, are in dire needs of process improvements? No matter what the scenario is, enterprise collaboration can come to your rescue and bail you out of trouble. However before you bring in a collaboration tool, you need to have a set goal first. The collaboration tool adoption in an enterprise can be a long journey, and it is always the best idea to have a roadmap as to where you want to reach at the end of this journey.
  2. Get personally invested in the tool selection process
    As the leader of the enterprise it becomes your responsibility to select a tool that seems appealing to the employees. According to Brian Lozada, director and CISO at the IT firm Abacus Group, “When employees are empowered, they are more likely to use and generate excitement for new collaboration tools internally.” A good way to achieve this is to get insights into the tools they are already using. And, this can play a pivotal role in determining the success of most collaboration efforts, with employees ultimately contributing to the adoption process.
  3. Build workflows and processes into technology, not the other way around
    An important thing to keep in mind when selecting collaboration tool for an enterprise is to not get seduced by the looks of a platform. Collaboration tools must be selected with the sole target of creating experiences that your employees can recognize as the superior means to achieve the results, rather than anything else. Embrace technology to demonstrate how these tools can change the way they work, rather than anything else.
  4. Invite all the devil’s advocates
    Collaboration allows the employees to capture each other’s fund of collective intelligence. And the meaning of collaboration itself defines the importance of bringing people together. So, why not begin by bringing the team together and let them pick holes in your assumptions and choices for the tool. By having the entire team share their views, both good as well as bad, about collaboration endeavors you can definitely get some great ideas about what they think of the various tools that are available out there, and which one would fit within the company’s culture.
  5. Start small and scale up
    The key to successful implementation of collaboration software lies in applying the right scale to social collaboration initiatives. Begin with the installation in a single team and scale up gradually. After all, you would not like all systems installed with the update, but no one participating. This is where setting the expectations right for the entire enterprise becomes so vital. Give your team the time frame for feedback, and for making adjustments to the new way of doing things, so that they don’t feel left out in the decision making process.

Now that concludes the key points that can help you in enterprise collaboration and to bring your entire team together. Have some more ideas to add to this list? Feel free to share those ideas in the comments section below.

Image CreditMichael Coghlan on Flickr

Still using paper to manage your projects? There is a better way…

Pen and Paper

Pyramids of Giza, the Great Wall of China, Taj Mahal. The whole world looks at these monuments as man-made marvels, but there’s lot more to them just great creation. These are examples of projects completed with great planning, execution and control. If we scroll through the history books, we can find countless examples of successful amazing project management and implementation. There is not much evidence about how these massive projects were executed in the past, but one thing’s for sure that our ancestors were damn good at project management.

With the passage of time, as organizational structure continued to evolve with human evolution, trends in project management also continued to evolve. We don’t have to go too far in the history books to look for these changes. For instance, 80’s and 90’s were the decades when organizations focused more on quality and globalization, while with the rise of 21st century, project management became more about adding velocity to everything that was being done within the projects. Thus, bringing forward the need of tools to speed up the tasks.

Talking about tools, technology has brought forward the useful option of project management software that can be used to complete tasks and manage things harmonically. Not just speeding up the tasks, but these tools have brought together different facets of project management to club them all at one place to ensure minimum chances of failing to deliver.

If you are still stuck with the old school methods of project management to jot down each and every requirement on paper with a pen, then it is high time to move on with and adorn technology.

Here is a look at the reasons that will compel you to switch to these tools for project management needs –

  • The nucleus of information
    A project management software serves the purpose as the common place where all the information about a project can be stored. You don’t have to worry about being lost in the heaps of documents and data scattered all over the local hard drives of your team members. In the form of a project management software you get a centralized hub for storing and sharing information that is easy to access and could be operated from anywhere with the help of internet.
  • Seamless collaboration
    When it comes to project management, the most difficult task that lurks around is to bring people together from different areas of expertise for collaboration. From assigning tasks and sharing documents to tracking progress and status updates, everything can prove to be a nuisance. However, a project management software can save you from all this trouble and take care of all these tasks. With the help of a project management software all these activities could be completed in the blink of an eye. And, that’s where the real beauty of these tools lies. And, the best part is that these software make it easy for a newbie to come and be part of the time at any stage.
  • Standardization of processes
    This is where things go wrong for majority of the organizations. Not having standardized processes can lead to the situation where improper information gathering and sharing could emerge as a common scenario. And, this can create confusion and roadblocks that can lead to project failures. However, a project management software can help to standardize the processes where everyone will filling the same required information, creating documents that look and feel the same and be consistent with the documentation.
  • Time tracking
    There can be quite a number of factors that can stand between you and meeting deadline for the projects. A project management software eliminates these factors to ensure that you never miss the deadlines and always stay on schedule. You can set a start and end date, break the task down to sub-tasks, each with specified deadlines and notify the team members about the same. In short, keep the team members on their heels by keeping them notified about the timely delivery of tasks all the time.
  • Effective communication
    What is the biggest factor that contributes to project failure? Ask any of the project managers this question and majority of them would come up with poor communication as the answer. Missed chats, late replies and unanswered emails all these contribute towards project failure. This is where a project management software can fit in. Being the central hub for all your project information as well as communication, a project management software can solve the problem of ineffective communication to ensure that the team is always in sync, never misses a deadline and communicates effectively.

This is just an overview of what you can expect to get with project management software. Once you start using them, you can explore the countless number of benefits that these tools can bring along.

If you have not explored this option of project management software, then it is high time you try them to see how they transform every project into a success story.

Image CreditDaria / epicantus on Flickr