Can process management and project management actually co-exist? Not only have I found that they co-exist, but that they actually drive one another’s success.Have you ever heard the phrase “the devil is in the details”? I always thought that this saying was a little strange…until I began to work in project management. The funny thing is that once I got into project management this phrase made so much sense. I can remember being on one project where the project manager was much too myopic. All she cared about was data storage requirements and virtually nothing else. For this project manager, the devil in the details was never thought about, outside of the confines of data storage anyway. On another project, the project manager was so sure of his own abilities to “do his job” that he completely ignored the details altogether. The latter project had some disastrous outcomes…including Social Security deposits being returned to the state that sent them, which in turn resulted in that state discontinuing those payments. In other words, major customer impacts occurred because people were overly confident in their own ability to adapt to a changing process.So what does this have to do with project management? Everything. If a project is creating something unique, then it stands to reason that there are variables that are known and some that are unknown. Think of throwing a rock into a lake. You know that the rock hitting the water will cause a rippling effect on the water’s surface. What you don’t know is how many ripples it will cause or how far the ripples will disperse beyond the initial impact. Process management is a way of taking into account all that may happen as a result of the ripples in the water.Let’s say that there is a project is to implement new processing software into an existing data processing center. On the surface, this looks fairly easy. The processing center already exists and the technology is already in place. So other than information technology and/or information systems installing the new software and some training on how to use it, this is a fairly easy undertaking. This is equivalent to throwing the rock into the water. We have a rock, we have water, and we know that the rock hitting the water will create a rippling effect. Problem solved, right? What happens if all of the users of the new software are not physically located in the same processing center? What if there are individuals that send work to the processing center, via courier, because they are remotely located and therefore not able to use the technology that is available to others? Maybe this seems farfetched to you since we live in the 21st century, but I can assure you that it’s not.Here’s the crux of the problem. It’s human nature to make assumptions based on limited knowledge and/or lack of information…especially when dealing with a project. This is why in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), which is one of the standards for project management, process improvement is included in its Project Quality Management section. Process improvement, whether you call it process management, process design, or process engineering, is critical to ensuring that your project is implemented according to scope. If the project is designed according to scope, but fails when put into production, the project is a failure and its scope was never met. A basic assumption of a project is that it will work once fully implemented.Let’s look at process improvement from more of an organic standpoint. I use the term organic because we rarely think of process management and project management together. Like project management, process management has evolved into its own discipline. At its roots though, process management is simply a series of shapes and arrows used to illustrate a process. This is the intrinsic value of process management. It allows you to illustrate the process before it is even in place. Put another way, you can lay out the process before the project is even close to being completed.I stated that at its roots, process management is simply a series of shapes and arrows used to illustrate a process. You can map a process (also called a flowchart) using as little as three shapes, an oval, a rectangle, and a diamond. Each shape represents a specific part of the process. An oval represents the beginning or end of a process…the first or last step. A rectangle illustrates an activity. If you place a rectangular box under another box, the second box identifies a task. A diamond is a call out for a decision. It demonstrates that there is a yes or no question within the process that has to be answered. Interestingly enough, this simple shape often is one of the most powerful in identifying gaps (one or more breaks in a process that can cause rework, customer impact, failure, or any other number of issues) within a project and/or process. The arrows are used to direct the “flow” of the process from one point to another.As an example of the win-win of using process management during a project, I was recently on a project where data was being converted from one system to another. The process for this is often referred to as data mapping. You map the data and the fields in the system where they currently reside and map them to where they will reside in the new system. When this was process mapped, the diamond shape was used to ask if the data from our department had been mapped to the new system. The answer was yes. The next activity was to determine how that data would be identified in the new system, to which no one knew the answer. This was a huge gap. If the data had been mapped, then someone should have been able to tell us what that data would look like in the new system. We quickly found out that no one could validate that our area had been included in the original data mapping. What would the impact had been if after the project no one could find the data in the new system? Once again process mapping paid for itself, as it usually does.Another benefit of process mapping is the ability to flowchart the conceptualized process. Let’s say that there are a number of activities that you know need to happen and how they will be done. What you may not know is who will do all of the actual work. Think of a loan being originated. Someone is going to take the loan application; someone is going to process the loan application; someone is going to underwrite the loan; and someone is going to close the loan. But who is going to file the documents and will they be scanned into an imaging application? This is an unknown. By flowcharting the process you are able to take the activities you know will happen and then the activities you “think” will happen and create a picture of the process. By using the same shapes, but changing the color or texture of the “conceptual” ones, you are able to illustrate the know activities from the “how we think it will be” activities. This allows others to opine on the process before there is a conflict, such as incorrect procedures being written or worse yet, that part of the process being totally neglected.Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of process mapping, within the context of project management, is that it allows you to better control the work of the project. When the core processes are placed in flowcharts, it is much easier to identify control gaps within the process itself. Control gaps are, in and of themselves, risks within the project. Let’s use the above example of a loan being originated. A decision point (diamond shape) in the process is validating that the loan has been underwritten correctly. What happens if no one validates the underwriting? Or, what if the one validating the underwriting is the same person that underwrote the loan in the first place? Segregation of duties has to be a part of the process in order to protect the integrity of the process itself. A flowchart would show if this control has been sufficiently setup or if there is potential for a control failure.Finally, the use of swim lanes is another value added dimension of process mapping. Swim lanes are used to track a process through all of the areas that need to be a part of it, in order for the process to be completed. Think of an Olympic pool. You automatically picture a pool with swim lanes, each one belonging to a different swimmer. Again, let’s use the loan origination example. In most cases the origination of a loan takes several areas (called cross-functional areas) working together for a loan to be completely processed. This could entail various areas such as sales, loan application processing, underwriting, closing, and file management. While no single area owns the entire process, they all work a part of the process to ultimately complete a single loan. By employing swim lanes, you segregate each area in the process into its own lane. Then, using the shapes already discussed, you track the process moving from one swim lane to another. This not only illustrates the areas responsible for the entire process, but also the decision points, controls, and ultimately the interdependencies. Getting the process map validated by all of the areas involved seals the deal. Once all agree on the process, a responsibility matrix can be developed and the project is in a better state of control because of it.
The 2 Most Deadly Sins of B2B Marketing
There are two major reasons why marketing is failing at your small- or medium-sized B2B firm:You view marketing as business triage. Your company applies a collection of tactics (often labeled as a “marketing campaign”) only in response to a problem; typically involving the loss of a key client, or decline in revenue. When business is good, little or no time is invested in marketing. When business (inevitably) takes a dip, only then does marketing becomes a priority.You expect marketing to deliver immediate results. Either because your company always views marketing on a “cause & effect” tactical basis, or because marketing triage must be applied quickly to revive an ailing company, the marketing function is given insufficient time to produce tangible results. It’s no surprise that marketing professionals have the shortest tenure of any corporate function in the asset management business.The hard truth is that very few B2B business owners either understand the marketing function, or have the discipline to design, implement, measure and adhere to a consistent marketing approach that builds brand equity and market engagement over a sustained period.To establish the infrastructure and internal culture necessary for the marketing discipline to succeed, we offer the following simple path:
Create a Written Marketing Plan. This need not be in a 3-inch binder; a two-page document is often sufficient. Include goals, strategies, responsibilities, timelines, budgets and ways to measure results. Without a Marketing Plan you’ll waste lots of time and money. And unless it’s a written document, you won’t have commitment or accountability.
Gain Senior Level Commitment. The honcho in corner office (which might be you) must understand, endorse and support the Marketing Plan. This involves more than lip service. If your Plan isn’t properly staffed and funded at the outset, there’s no real commitment to marketing.
Do a Few Things Very Well.Your marketing success will be based on the quality and effectiveness of a limited number of strategies / tactics. Firms sometimes go overboard, thinking there’s a correlation between the size of its marketing investment and business results. But less is usually more, in terms of marketing ROI.
Build and Nurture your Database.Direct and easy access to your company’s clients, prospects, referral sources and opinion leaders is essential. Without an email pipeline, the marketing value of the content you create is close to zero. If your firm’s thought leadership simply sits on its website or social media, you’re missing the opportunity to build relationships with people in your target audiences.
Create Meaningful Content. Self-serving, long-winded white papers and research reports have very limited appeal. Generate content that validates your company’s intellectual capital, that’s easy to read, and focuses on timely topics that people have a genuine interest in.
Drive Top-of-Mind Awareness. To be included on the short list of candidates for an assignment or sale, you need to build awareness with key decision-makers. To accomplish that goal, share your content directly with target audiences on a quarterly basis. (More frequently than that, and you may be viewed as a pest.)
Most importantly – with apologies to Glengarry Glen Ross – B2B firms must commit to:A… AlwaysB… BeM… Marketing… for the discipline to be effective. Otherwise, the traditional short-term, hair-on-fire approach to business development will keep your company from ever reaching its full potential, regardless of its quality or reputation.
How Can Digital Marketing Work for Your Business?
There is no question that we live in the digital world and from this perspective; it is significant that your business has magnificent presence in the digital space. Internet marketing or digital marketing is the marketing future across the world with full of advantages as compared to traditional marketing. Here are the few reasons why digital marketing is important for every business:
Provides equal opportunity to all kinds of businesses.
More cost effective as compared to traditional Marketing.
Delivers more conversions.
Helps in generating more Revenues.
Facilitates interaction with targeted audience.
Also caters to mobile customers.
It helps in earning people trusts
All these reasons show that digital marketing or digital modes of communication are quicker, result driven and more adaptable. To optimize your business and drive conversions, it is essential to know about all the digital marketing elements, which are as follows:SEO (Search Engine Optimization)In the layman’s terms, SEO is a marketing discipline, which focuses on organic (non-paid) visibility on search engines. SEO is not only related to making your website or online presence better for search engines but also about making it better for people. To provide relevant results to its audience, Google regularly updates its algorithms. Because of this regular updates by Google, many experts say that their effort is futile but their results or SEO is dead. However the truth is that Google tries to filter the websites that don’t deserve to be on the top of search Engine Result Pages (SERP’s).SEO is one of the most cost-effective strategies that will bring organic traffic to your website. So, there is no doubt in investing in SEO work.SEM (Search Engine Marketing)It is the most effective and comprehensive strategy to grow your business and drive more traffic to your website in an increasingly competitive market. With lots of business presence on digital platform and all of them keeping their eyes on the same, it is significant to advertise online, and SEM is one of the best ways to promote or advertise your business. It is done primarily through paid effort, which is why it is also called as Paid Search Marketing.The SEM domain is diverse and complicated, so on the basis of the structure of your business, you may choose PPC (Pay per Click) or CPM (Cost Per-Thousand Impressions) or CPC (Cost per Click). Google AdWords (Google) and Bing ads (Yahoo) are the most popular platforms for SEM.Content CreationContent creation is an effective marketing method and even after the changes in Google’s algorithms like Penguin, Panda or Humming bird update, content is still the most significant metric while measuring the search results. Content can be presented in many ways, such as blogs, e-books, case studies, how to guides, question & answer articles, banners, infographics, images, news updates, videos or content for social media sites.You can create content on any topic related to your business (if you are creative), and then skillfully link it to your business indirectly. The content should be professional and search engine optimized. It is always better to leave certain things in hands of professionals to achieve success in your business. There are many Content Writing as well as Content Marketing agencies which not only write the content in the professional way but also promote it on digital media to create brand awareness and bring traffic, which in turn convert to your customers.SMM (Social Media Marketing)Social Media Marketing uses social networking sites (like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest etc.) as a tool of promoting websites and bringing traffic towards your business.The basic goal of SMM is to engage or communicate with the users, increase brand visibility and reach more customers. Having an active Social Media Presence (engage on daily basis) has become an invaluable part to expand your reach, which as a result will build your own reputation and brand.Mobile MarketingThe consistent use of smartphones in daily life has brought this technique of marketing. This technique would definitely give more exposure to your business as mobile has become an integral part of our life. Mobile marketing can be done in various ways. Some of them are as:
In-Game Mobile Marketing
Mobile Search Ads
Mobile Image ads
Email MarketingEmailing is one of the easiest and inexpensive ways to advertise your business and products or services as compared to all other digital marketing strategies. Below are some of the reasons how email marketing can help in growth of your business:
Email has wider reach
Email delivers your communication
Email drives conversions
Email results in higher ROI(Return on Investment)
It is an open platform and will remain there forever
All the above reasons, shows that email marketing is the most effective marketing channel that can help you to connect with audience and drive sales and revenue for your business.ConclusionAs a marketer, you have many channels and strategies to promote your business online and reach your audience. It is important to choose different marketing strategies for your business to succeed online. However, the truth is the combination of different strategies can only serve your objectives better. A digital marketing agency offers all online solutions that can help you in achieving a high ROI. These agencies consult, strategize and execute to deliver the best. So, it is highly recommended to opt for professional digital marketing services to achieve online business success.
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Computer science papers are part of the diverse types of assignments that students will encounter in their academic endeavor. Student undertaking engineering and computer science course will write computer science papers before they complete their course. It is important that student familiarize themselves with the right skills needed to complete such papers. The first vital skill in writing any academic paper is practice. Student should practice how to write different computer science papers. Some of the academic papers that students may encounter include computer essays, term papers, research papers, thesis and dissertation. It is vital for the student to practice the writing process depending on his academic level. Unfortunately, not all students have the ideal skills to complete an academic paper. Some students may have the right ideas regarding the completion of the paper, but they lack the skills to out the ideas into a sensible computer science paper. Such students risk failure if they persist to present poorly written papers.
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