December 17, 2015


At my home, we often share dreams we had the night before. This morning my son Zachary told me the he had dreamed about Poppy (my father) who passed away two years ago. In the dream, Dad told Zachary that I should say "No" to a decision.

This got me thinking about how many decisions I make in a day - which turns out be be a lot. So, I wondered which decision that might apply to.

Related to decisions, I saw this post on LinkedIn today about decisions, and you could say Expert Judgment. In the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), Expert Judgment is often a tool used for making decisions.

How do we know who is an expert? It's generally someone who has done the work before. And how do you become an expert...?

December 11, 2015


When it's a nice day and I am around, I walk with my 9-year old son, Zachary, the 25 minutes to his school. Yesterday we walked. It was a bit windy and, within a few minutes of leaving the house, Zachary said he was cold. I said for him to walk behind me so I could shelter him from the wind.

About two minutes later Zachary said his foot hurt. I said, "It will go away in a minute." We got to chatting and he seemed happy enough.

About ten minutes later we took our usual path, up the hill through the woods and over the guard rail, when Zachary bumped his leg and arm on the rail. He was a bit upset. Again, I told him it would go away in a minute. He cheered up after 30 seconds.

We crossed the street and Zachary said, "We all make our own choices." Then he went on to show me how he could choose to jump on one foot, run on the grass, or run zig-zagged.

I was thinking for the rest of the day, off and on, about Zachary's statement.

Yes, we make our own choices every minute. And how we look at life every minute is certainly a major choice. Thanks Zachary.

August 20, 2015

The Value of Not Working So Much

I saw this post on LinkedIn, and thought it was intriguing: Why Germans Work Fewer Hours but Produce More: A Study in Culture. After all, who doesn't want to work fewer hours yet produce more?

Then another article caught my eye: How the Supposedly Lazy French are More Productive Than Germans.

This article stated “According to OECD data from 2011, French worker productivity stands at $57.7 worth of output per hour, while German’s is $55.8 and the United Kingdom’s is $47.2.”

What I got from both articles is that these cultures work when they work, and keep their working time to reasonable limits.

Good advice for all of us, I think.

July 14, 2015

Get Control of Your Projects

Project management is about getting things done, and it’s not just for large organizations. We all want to find ways to reach our goals more quickly and efficiently.

When thinking of our work, we can think of it as a list of items we want to achieve - this can be the basis for our projects. For example, running a marketing campaign or organizing the accounts better. List each item and note when you want it done.

It might be a long list. That's okay. The next step is to prioritize your list. Rather than diving into what can be done quickly (although that has value), take a step back and determine which item will give you the most return.

Although some items might seem urgent, are they important? Here are some questions you can use for prioritizing your work:

    * Which projects will help the me or the organization grow? If we are a small business owner, they might be the same thing. (For example, what can we do to expand our skills or move into new markets - think longer term.)
    * Which projects must I do to meet regulatory or legal requirements? (Can't ignore these but you can figure out when they really need to be done. Also, do you need to do them or can you delegate much of the work?)
    * Which projects can be done quickly? (Don't rush into these - there can be satisfaction from clearing them off your plate but sometimes doing the small items can mean we never make room for things that take more thought.)
    * Which projects can I delegate? (For example, by using services from a colleague in bookkeeping or marketing.) This one is sometimes hardest to do, especially for small business owners, in terms of control and knowing it is worth paying others for doing what they are skilled in so we can focus on our own strengths and services.

You are using "project selection criteria" and "project ranking" here.

For me, breaking down the work and prioritizing means peace of mind - and isn't that the reason for a control system?

July 08, 2015

Kindness on the Road

Recently my husband, Dan, and son, Zachary, went to a Scout Camp in Terra Nova Park, Newfoundland. Dan drove up with our older Honda. After the Scout Camp, they decided to do some camping on their own.

Well, the car had a problem. As Dan was driving along the highway, about an hour and a half from St. John's, it started to die. Soon enough the car decided to stop working altogether and he pulled over to the side of the highway.

It was raining. When the rain stopped, Dan and Zachary started hiking to the nearest store or garage. Dan had thought it was about a kilometer away. Luckily, a fellow in a truck stopped and picked them up. The nearest garage was ten kilometers away.

Dan called me from the garage and said he would be getting a taxi to the next town, which was Whitbourne. I called my brother in St. John's, asking if he could pick them up in Whitbourne after work. He said they would go out right away.

Later I learned Dan didn't get a taxi to Whitbourne - the garage owner's wife drove them. And the fellow who picked them up on the highway had actually seen them as he passed by, realized they might need help, and circled back at the next exit to pick them up.

No moral here - just wanted to share my first of several stories of the kindness of Newfoundlanders.

May 05, 2015

How can you learn about Project Management?

There are many ways, including learning from role models at work, from internet articles or books and, of course, through training classes. That’s where BrenDaniel comes in. We offer several types of learning opportunities in project management, including online, classroom-based and individual coaching.

We specialize in project management and project leadership training. We have helped thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations develop and implement their project management skills and processes.

If you're considering taking the next step to get your Project Management Professional (PMP) or Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification, we have several options to help you prepare.

March 26, 2015

Why Project Management?

Applying project management techniques and skills benefits both individuals and organizations.

If you know how to manage your projects well, you will gain many benefits, such as:
  • Career advancement
  • Competence in project delivery
  • Confidence in working with project stakeholders and applying management techniques
  • Greater opportunities for yourself and your organization
  • Improved results at work: less stress, better time efficiency, fewer sidetracked projects - all resulting in a better run organization.
Project Management is one of the most in-demand careers and methodologies today. Whether you are in the business of information technology, retail, construction, oil and gas, or other, you will find that using project management tools and methods will lead to greater success.

February 25, 2015

“Done” for Wealth and Project Success

Twice this week I have read how the word “done” can bring wealth and project success.

According to Brian de Haaff (The One Word That Will Make You Rich on LinkedIn), being rich is about achieving what you have dreamed of accomplishing, and using the word “done” can confirm you’ve achieved it.

Similarly, Glen B. Alleman in Performance-Based Project Management states that being able to define what “done” looks like is the basis for project success.

So, if getting things done brings happiness and success, and completing projects successfully is getting things done, who could be happier than the project managers of successful projects?!

Alleman gives advice on increasing the probability of project success through answering “Five Immutable Principles”:
  • What does “done” look like?
  • How are you going to reach “done”?
  • Do you have all the resources you need to reach “done”?
  • What impediments will you encounter along the way to “done”?
  • How are you going to measure progress towards “done” in units meaningful to the decision makers?
PMPs will recognize that these questions cover a lot of ground from the PMBOK. But even if you are not an official project manager, these questions can be helpful to achieving any goal.

And this article is... “done”!

January 27, 2015

Stress & Conflict Management

The Project Management Institute (PMI) says that project managers need to have good conflict management and stress management skills. When I mention this in class, there is usually one person who says, “I manage conflict all day long.”

No doubt how we see and handle conflict has to do with our personalities and other factors. And, of course, how we handle (or ignore!) conflict can give us more stress.

I have found two tools that have helped me with stress, and therefore conflict management.

About a year and a half ago I started meditating daily. Meditating has changed how I react to and see situations. I can’t quite explain it at this time, but I do know my world and stress level have changed dramatically for the good since I started meditating.

Another tool that I have found lately is tapping. I first heard about tapping (emotional freedom technique) a few years ago, and even bought a book on it which I promptly ignored. It just didn’t resonate with me at the time. But in the last few weeks I found another book (Tapping into Wealth by Margaret M. Lynch) that I dove into. Ms. Lynch explains why tapping works – it has to do with acupressure. She explains this fascinating concept very well. According to Lynch, “At a physiological level, it calms the sympathetic nervous system responsible for the stress response and turns on the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for the relaxation response.” Tapping has been used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and to remedy the fear of flying. You don’t need to have major fears to use it - it is good for even slight annoyances!

Meditation and tapping may or may not be for you at this time (or maybe any time!) but I have to say, they are good starting points for stress management.