Project Management

Romeu Gaspar's picture
Recommendations on how to structure and write proposals, reports, and other business documents.
Romeu Gaspar
It is arguably easier to find good advice on presenting than on writing, although most of us write more often than we present. Good business content – whether a proposal, a report, a paper or other type of deliverable – is clear, concise and factual: this article suggests 10 rules to write such content. As for our recommendations on problem-solving and project management, these guidelines are based on our own experience and mistakes, so you will find both good and bad examples illustrating them.
 Exhibit 1 – Breakdown of the time we spent preparing the last 20 X&Y blog articles
Exhibit 2 – The initial steps of drafting this article
Exhibit 3 – An example of how to apply the Minto Pyramid Principle to communicate findings
Exhibit 4 – An example of how to apply the Minto Pyramid Principle to structure a report
Exhibit 5 – Suggestions on how to design an effective chart
Exhibit 6 – An example of how visual representations can also be used to highlight qualitative information
Exhibit 7 – Examples on how to eliminate superfluous adjectives, industry lingo, buzzwords and acronyms
Exhibit 8 – A template and attention to detail will transform untidy diagrams (top row) in professional looking visual aids (bottom row)
Romeu Gaspar's picture
Suggestions on how to structure, plan, analyze and present complex issues
Romeu Gaspar
Problem solving has been coined as a buzzword, perhaps undeservedly so: whether alone or in teams, for academic or professional purposes, most of us are frequently required to solve problems. Some of them are part of our daily routine and can be dealt with fairly quickly; others are less orthodox and require more thought. This article suggests 8 rules to deal with the latter type, based on our own experience. As part of this learning process we have broken these rules many times (and still do, on occasion), so you will find both good and bad examples illustrating these guidelines.
Exhibit 1 – The Situation-Complication-Question framework, a structuring and communication technique from the Minto Pyramid Principle
Exhibit 2 – An example of a visual representation of a problem solving approach
Exhibit 3 – An example of a problem solving outcome that combines different information sources and techniques
Exhibit 4 – An example of inference-observation confusion - Using only the last 15 years of temperature data to infer that global warming has stopped
Exhibit 5 – A graphical representation of Brook’s Law, originally created for software development but applied today in many fields
Exhibit 6 – An example of what happens when the analysis framework assumes more importance than the analysis itself (on the left), and how this can be solved (on the right)
Exhibit 7 – Example of how a visual representation can make the problem solving outcome easier to understand and remember
Cátia Carias's picture
Seven tips to facilitate the management of geographically dispersed teams
Cátia Carias
The last decades have been fertile in producing an increasingly globalized world. Our network of friends is spread all over the globe. Facebook, Skype, Youtube, and countless other tools help us to stay connected. The work environment is no different: If you work for a large organization, you probably find yourself dealing with colleagues from other countries on a daily basis. If you work for a smaller local company, chances are that at some point you will end up working together with remote business partners. As economic activity becomes more and more dispersed (Exhibit 1), working with geographically dispersed teams becomes more and more commonplace. In this article we share seven suggestions to facilitate the management of these virtual teams.
Exhibit 1 – Evolution of the world GDP distribution for the 1960-2010 period, showing an increased dispersion
Exhibit 2 – The Mehrabian equation provides insights on the weight that verbal, vocal and facial elements have on communication
Exhibit 3 – Graphical representation of my professional LinkedIn network. Lines are connections and the different colors highlight different networks (e.g., university, companies where I worked before, friends)
Exhibit 4 – Collaborative tools such as Google Docs, Skype and Dropbox, together with the venerable email, are becoming increasingly more popular
Exhibit 5 – Percentage of English speakers by country
Exhibit 6 – The Meyers-Briggs Type (MBTI) is an indicator of how people perceive the world and make decisions