The Smarter Project Manager - a project management podcast
#11: Tips for Working from Home

#11: Tips for Working from Home

March 18, 2020

Many people will now be working from home for the first time which, if you are used to 5 days working in the office, can be a culture shock. We look at what you need to create a productive working environment that fits in with your home life.


  • Broadband - plus your backup
  • Recommended kit
  • Working environment - separate from your home area
  • Take breaks and get fresh air
  • Daily routine
  • Use meetings effectively in multiple ways
  • Set clear targets and communicate these
  • Tools you can use
  • Addressing social isolation
  • Use the phone instead of email
  • Activities/opportunities outside work


View out the window.....Fawlty Towers :-). 0:50 sec onwards

Tools be updated soon...



Thanks for listening.

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#10: Coronavirus business readiness

#10: Coronavirus business readiness

March 13, 2020

In this episode we outline a straightforward process and approach which orgnaisations can use to help prepare for restrictions imposed due to the Coronavirus / Covid19 pandemic. In particular when you have no access to your premises.


Approach / Project Phases

1. Analysis - what systems have I got, and how critical are they? How to ask the right questions to determine this.

2. Requirements - what do we need to do, in detail?

3. Delivery - implementation, what are the tasks, who is doing them and by when?

4. Test - make sure everything works as expected.


Remote control software tools


Chrome Remote (free)

GoToMyPC ($$ paid)

Teamviewer ($$$ paid)


Trello Board - Coronavirus Business Preparation (reusable template)


Other tools worth considering..


Online backup services

Backblaze (paid - I use this) -


Password Store

Make sure you keep a record of all critical system user accounts and passwords. Give at least 2 people the master password. Keep a copy of the password store offsite. Keepass V2 is great - I personally use this and have worked at organisations that use it.


Video conferencing /screen sharing

Zoom meetings



IP Telephony (instead of landlines)

Search for 'hosted VOIP'


Thanks for listening!

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Visit for more project management information.


#9: Will AI take my PM job?

#9: Will AI take my PM job?

February 15, 2020

In this episode we consider if AI could perform the Project Manager's role and ultimately put you out of a job. Let's hope not!


Technical links referred to




#8: The two most important words in delivering Projects

#8: The two most important words in delivering Projects

January 6, 2020

What are the two most important words in delivering projects?

This podcast is my view on some behaviours and words/phrases which may improve team working, and therefore help to deliver your projects. In no specific order or priority….

1. Admit your weaknesses - don’t be afraid to ask for help.

2. Deal with unresponsive people - walk and talk rather than mail and wail!

3. Foster a team ethos - remember as a PM you’re not doing the actual work!

4. Ask for clarifications… “I understand that..” or “my understanding is….”

5. Share problems and solve these collaboratively.

6. Acknowledge when you make a mistake - take accountability and be authentic.

7. Share information with colleagues and co-workers.

8. Show your gratitude. Frequently…

Thank You for listening!

Please note: sorry about the long interval between this episode and the last one - this podcast will now be a monthly gig.

#7: Running effective project meetings

#7: Running effective project meetings

July 10, 2019

In this podcast we’re covering meetings, both from an organiser but also from an attendee perspective. We cover some basic dos and don’ts to avoid meetings becoming inefficient and a time-drain. And we talk about biscuits :-)

• Keep meetings an efficient length. 30-45 mins works for most meetings. (Almost all the 3 hour meetings I’ve been to could have been run in half that time or less)
• Be ruthless about attendees - only invite who really needs to be there
• Be clear about the meeting objective
• Issue an agenda and stick to it. Bullet points are fine.
• Issue minutes ideally within 1 working day. 10 mins before the next meeting is too late!
• In the minutes clearly separate discussion/information points from actions
• Send an email reminder about the actions well before the next meeting
• Use a weekly project meeting as a key tool to keep project momentum, assist with team bonding and to help remove blockers
• If the project meeting only needs to be 10min that’s fine.
• At the first meeting set out the meeting etiquette (start promptly, phones on silent, step out to make calls etc)

Remote/virtual meetings
• Open conference call bridges at least 1 min before the meeting start time
• Show some information on the screen to keep attendee focus
• Record the meeting so that people have a chance to revisit
• Use webcams if you can

• Read (or at least scan) any supporting documents.
• If there’s 6 people plus you attending and the organiser has to spend 10mins explaining some basic information, thats 6 x 10min (1hr) of project effort wasted. So contact the organiser individually if you need specific or introductory information.
• Respect the meeting etiquette and your colleagues’ time. Turn up promptly and step out if you need to make a call.
• If you feel that much of the meeting is not relevant to you, discuss with the organiser in advance so you can make your contribution in an agreed slot

Types of meeting
• Decisions - project board or steering group - few people - key information - decision makers
• Collaboration - projects - key group of people (use the 1 pizza rule) - share progress - remove blockers - drive & keep momentum.
• Communication - one-way info share - as many people as you like

#6: Change Management - a straightforward structured approach

#6: Change Management - a straightforward structured approach

May 14, 2019

Change Management is one of those subjects which is often regarded as a 'dark art' and shrouded in mystery. But it's not that difficult provided you take a structured approach and watch out for a few gotchas.

In this podcast we cover one approach (other approaches are available :-) and cover these in some detail. Clearly in a 20min slot we're not going to cover everything you ever wanted to know about managing change, but hopefully you'll take away some items of value.

The stages are:
1. Analyse
2. Stakeholder Engagement
3. Communications
4. Training
5. Implement
6. Monitor and Optimise

Download the FREE supporting powerpoint from

#5: PM toolkit essentials: The Decision Log

#5: PM toolkit essentials: The Decision Log

April 29, 2019

There are some items that every project manager should have in their toolkit - one of these is the Decision Log.

We explain what it is, how to use it and an example of where it helped me out on a real project!

Download your free Decision Log template from

#4: How does Agile deliver value in an organisation?

#4: How does Agile deliver value in an organisation?

April 16, 2019

In this episode we explore some of the key ways in which an Agile approach can add or deliver value, particularly when compared to a waterfall methodology. We're very much focussing on the business value rather than a technical or methodology discussion.

We'll explore the benefits of early and frequent delivery, talk about feedback opportunities and also cover how business adoption can often be a barrier. Use this to help explain the benefits of agile in your organisation.

#3: How to effectively communicate with senior stakeholders

#3: How to effectively communicate with senior stakeholders

April 10, 2019

How to effectively communicate with senior stakeholders on your projects.  A simple and practical approach that works!

#2: What are the qualities of a good project manager?

#2: What are the qualities of a good project manager?

April 8, 2019

In this episode we're covering the topic "What are the qualities of a good PM?".

Here's our list below.

1. Communications - different types, and lots of it!
2. Persistence - having a 'can-do' attitude and not taking no for an answer
3. Organised - managing lots of actions in the face of a torrent of email and project documents
4. Being into the detail - enough so you can ask the right questions
5. Team building - having the right behaviours and sharing the credit
6. Problem solving (& anticipating problems)

We also challenge some information that you may have seen on PM blogs on this subject.