How to Study for CCENT ICND1 Exam in 10 Weeks

It’s difficult to ignore Cisco’s CCNA certification track in routing and switching if you’re just starting out in IT.
This certification was updated by Cisco in September 2016. Cisco retained approximately 95 percent of the exam content. This allowed test-takers to focus on newer technologies while removing outdated technologies.
Cisco CCENT/CCNA ICND1100-105 is the first of two exams you will need to earn your CCNA certification. It also grants you entry-level CCENT certification. We have the latest training right here.
Earning your CCNA
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You have two options for earning your CCNA: Start training You have two options to earn your CCNA: either the composite exam (200-125), OR you can take two separate exams (ICND1 or ICND2). The two-test option is more convenient for those who are new to the field. This is because of the large amount of information. If you have significant experience working in a Cisco environment, the composite might be a good choice.
This study plan prepares for your CCENT in approximately 10 weeks using Jeremy Cioara’s videos. However, it can also be used as a standalone study plan. Every SPOTO course is designed from the objectives of the certification exam. You can use this plan to guide you studying efforts even if your subscription is not yet active.
A quick note on terminology: Our videos are called Nuggets. This is why our name. SPOTO is a learning platform that includes everything you need to study to pass a certification exam. This includes in-video quizzes and virtual labs. You also have access to our Learner Community.
This is based upon the SPOTO ICND1 study plan.
Week 1: Network Fundamentals
Videos 1-9. The SPOTO Learning Experience is a key component. Trainer Jeremy Cioara begins the course with a Nugget about how to build a Cisco home lab. While you won’t use the lab this week, you will soon.
Even if your subscription is not active, you can still view how to build your CCNA Home Lab on the blog.
Week 2: IP Fundamentals
Nuggets 10-18 IP addresses are very important. This is so important that you will dedicate two weeks to IP addresses in this 10-week study program. Last week you learned the components. This week, you’ll be learning how they communicate and connect.
Week 3: Core Network Models and Practice Test
Nuggets 19 to 27. This week’s nuggets are 19-27. It turns out that it is not an easy question. Jeremy will help you understand the basics of the Cisco Three-Tier Hierarchy and then frame the hierarchy within the OSI or TCP/IP models. You can download Wireshark to get a better understanding of your network’s activities and take Keith Barker’s course*.
Practice test. To benchmark your progress, take your first CCENT practice exam this week.
*Note: This course uses outdated technology. This course is still valuable as a training resource.
Week 4: IOS Fundamentals
Nuggets 28-36. Are you ready to dive deep into the world of Cisco? If so, you can learn Cisco IOS (Interconnected Operating Systems). You can learn the operating system best by doing it yourself. So, get out your lab and start learning.
Before you can move on to the next week you must be able to use the most common IOS commands without your notes. It won’t take you long to achieve this goal, even if it takes you a few extra days.
Week 5: Switching Fundamentals & Virtual Labs
Nuggets 37 to 49. This course was designed by Jeremy to put topics in the order of most basic to most complex. You will first learn the components.

How to Study for CompTIA security+ in 10 Weeks

In the next five-years, there will be more cybersecurity jobs than qualified professionals. This is great news for security professionals but not for companies. CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 certification will allow you to enter this rapidly growing field.
SPOTO training and other resources will allow you to learn CompTIA material in just 10 weeks and be prepared to take the exam.
We have provided detailed instructions on how to do it here.
The Exam Nuts & Bolts
CompTIA Security+ certification is designed for learners who have the following core skills:
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Start training Identify security risks
Participate in risk mitigation activities
Infrastructure, application, information and operational security
Security controls are necessary to protect confidentiality, integrity, availability, and privacy.
Troubleshoot security incidents and events
Be aware of all applicable laws, policies, and regulations.

Security+ certification can help you become a security analyst, security engineer or security consultant. Security+ certification will likely help you move laterally into security roles within your company. Security+ will give you a solid foundation if you decide to focus on security-focused careers.
CompTIA Security+ certification also meets requirements for DOD8750 and/or DOD8140 baseline certifications for IAT Level II and IAM Level I. Security+ certification is essential if you are interested in government jobs.
CompTIA Resources – Start Now
CompTIA’s website should be your first stop. The SY0-501 certification overview page will provide a comprehensive overview of the exam and a wealth of Security+ resources.
CompTIA Security+ Sy0-501 certification study guide contains everything you need to know in order to pass the exam. It contains review questions, a glossary and study content that is directly related to exam objectives.
CompTIA also offers classroom training to prepare for its certification exams. Be aware that not all classrooms are located in your area.
Learn Security+ Skills using SPOTO
SPOTO trainer Keith Barker has created training that is specifically tailored to the SY0-501 exam. Keith’s training consists of 110 videos and 23 hours. It covers all the skills and topics required to pass the exam.
SPOTO subscriptions include quiz questions, supplemental files and Kaplan(r), IT Training practice exams for the Security+ SY0-501 exam. These resources complement our video training and help you retain and reinforce information.
SPOTO is also a CompTIA approved training provider. You can earn 20 Continuing Education credits (CEUs) by completing Keith’s SY0-501 course. CompTIA certifications can be renewed with CEUs.
Your Study Plan
This PDF study plan is often recommended to learners who are interested in Security+ certification. We know that everyone studies differently and there is no one-size fits all solution to training. We highly recommend these tips if you are using SPOTO to study SY0-501.
Each Nugget in Security+ training is tied to a specific skill. The videos last no more than 10 minutes, which makes it easier to focus and retain information. Take notes and stop the video. To earn Validated Minutes, take the embedded quizzes. Pro tip: Watch at double speed for topics that you feel confident in.
We recommend adding additional resources to your video viewing experience, regardless of how you prefer it. These include practice exams, virtual labs, study guides, and books.
SPOTO subscriptions include Kaplan(r), IT Training practice exams. These practice exams allow you to feel the real exam format, as well as how it is structured.

How to Study for CompTIA’s Cloud Essentials

CompTIA Cloud Essentials was created for the non-technical professional. CompTIA Cloud Essentials is a great way to get started with the exam preparation. These tried-and-true methods can be used for all exams, even if your SPOTO subscription is not currently active.
These are some tips that will help you study Cloud Essentials with or without SPOTO.

Start with a realistic plan
A study plan is essential for every exam. Start with the date of your test and work backwards. Consider how much time you will need to cover the material. What length are the practice exams? Are there any holidays or vacations coming up? This will help you plan your study schedule. Once you have this figured out, you can schedule your exam so that you have a strict study deadline.
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Get started training. Now that you have a date, you can schedule training at a steady pace to avoid burnout. You should plan to study for a certain amount of time each weekend or day. It’s fine to not study on weeknights. Realistically, that’s part.
Anthony Sequeira’s Cloud Essentials course includes 22 videos that last between three and seventeen minutes. The course will take you nine days to complete if you study for just 15 minutes each day. We have recommended that you only study for 10 minutes per day in the past.
Make sure you are specific with your study plan. Each training session will have a predetermined number Cloud Essential training videos. Allow enough time for the in-video quizzes.

Create a training program
You need a schedule to keep you on track. Habits are a big topic.
A good routine should not only tie in with your study plan but also set the time and place for study time. First, determine if you are a night owl and an early riser. People retain information more well at certain times of the day. However, this varies from person-to-person. It is important to determine your ideal training time.
It is important to study at the same place every time. If you are studying at work, move away from your desk. Turn off your phone. You should avoid distractions.

Cloud Essentials emphasizes definitions
Cloud Essentials is an introductory course in cloud technologies that is non-technical and emphasizes definitions over technical concepts. Flashcards are a good way to learn definitions in context.
Anthony discusses cloud computing terms in one of the longest videos. To fully grasp these fundamental definitions, take your time. Make sure to take notes and then create flashcards based on those definitions.
It will also help to be familiar with commonly misunderstood terms such as elasticity versus scaleability, availability and reliability. These contextual markers will help to remember key terms and their function when it comes time to test day — and improve your understanding of cloud computing.

Contextualize your business knowledge for your company
Although you may not be required to migrate an app to the cloud for your job, it is important to understand the business implications. CompTIA created this course to help you understand the business implications of migration.
The cloud definitions are the foundation of the exam. However, you must also understand what the cloud can do to your business. Find case studies and examples from your company that demonstrate cloud features, legal implications, cost savings, or other benefits.

You are ready for the test day
Although it takes time to fully grasp the technical details of the Cloud Essentials CompTIA exam, with determination and good study habits, even the most non-technical people can pass the exam.
Once you have passed the exam, you can go on to more diff

How to become an AWS Cloud Practitioner

It is well-known that AWS’s complexity is the most daunting aspect. Although it is true that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, it is also true to say that the first step can be the most difficult. Amazon has made it easy to take your first steps into the cloud by offering a valuable entry-level certification called AWS Cloud Practitioner.
The AWS Cloud Practitioner exam can be taken by anyone. You can find the right place whether you are a developer, a manager, or an enthusiast interested in learning more about cloud computing. There are many AWS certification courses available for those who are ready to take the leap into AWS.
AWS Cloud Practitioner certification can be earned by anyone, but it is most commonly earned by those who work in the business end of IT, such as product owners, managers, and the like. These people are likely to invest a lot of money, time, and resources in the cloud. This certification will show that they are knowledgeable about its core services as well as their pricing models.
Cloud Practitioner certification is the only AWS certification required by business people who work with the cloud. However, it is the first certification for those who will be developing cloud services. Let’s take a look how to prepare for the exam so you can increase your chances of getting certified.
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Preparing for the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam
There is a common saying in military: You don’t rise to any situation, you sink to your level of training. This logic is also applicable to earning certifications. You have two options: you can either do it yourself, which is not recommended as AWS exams can be difficult. Or, you can invest in training such as SPOTO offers and make a plan.
First, ensure you are familiar with the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam. This includes topics covered and exam format. The exam is composed of 60 multiple-choice and answer questions. These questions cover topics such as pricing, security, and general cloud concepts and technologies. The exam costs $100 USD and takes 90 minutes.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the Cloud Practitioner exam can be difficult. It is important that you and your team are well-equipped with practice exams, virtual labs and quizzes. All of these are included in a SPOTO subscription.
Whitepapers
We recommend that you review the whitepaper for any AWS certification you’re interested in. This whitepaper can provide detailed information about the technologies and practices that your exam covers. Many of the questions in the exam are actually lifted directly from whitepapers.
Amazon recommends that potential practitioners read the following documents:
Overview of Amazon Services
AWS Best Practices: Architecting for Cloud:
How AWS Pricing Works

These whitepapers should be read slowly. Be patient. Take notes and read 10 to 15 pages per day. It is best to read the whitepapers after you have completed your training. This will make the whitepapers seem less abstract and you’ll be able to tie them to real-life examples that you have learned during training.
Once you have completed the whitepapers you can transcribe the most important portions of your notes onto flashcards. Then, have a friend quizze you.
Register for an AWS account
Many people recall being told in school about the three types of learners. Learn by doing. Kinetic learners are those who learn through doing. It is the most practical and practical approach to IT. Although reading and listening are great learning tools, doing it yourself will make you more knowledgeable.
It is important to get an AWS account before you start learning about Cloud Practitioner.

How to start using PowerShell: A Guide

“Yeah, I do know a little PowerShell.” – Any random system administrator
Many statements are not as understated as they are overstated. Although they may not know much about PowerShell, some people who claim this are quite humble. Others think that knowing PowerShell is equivalent to knowing how to use it.
It can be daunting to consider where to begin with PowerShell for those who don’t know how it works, which is a large segment of the engineering and systems support community. You’ve heard many technical talks, read many articles, and had many conversations with your peers about the benefits of PowerShell.
The mountain is growing up in front of you. All you can do is look at the peak. The first step is right in front of your at the bottom. Let’s all take that first step together.
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Start trainingKnow nothing about PowerShell? That’s Okay.
First things first. It’s fine if you don’t have PowerShell. It’s fine if you are familiar with PowerShell. It’s okay to admit that you haven’t used the tool. PowerShell can be integrated into your CV to help you get an edge in peer discussions.
Microsoft Docs states that PowerShell is a cross platform task automation solution. It includes a command-line shell and a scripting language as well as a configuration management framework. PowerShell is compatible with Windows, Linux, and macOS. This post will focus on PowerShell’s Shell component. It is a very basic focus. You will see the other aspects more clearly if you have more experience with PowerShell’s shell section.
Microsoft created PowerShell and it is constantly being developed and improved to interact with Windows desktop operating system, Windows Server operating system, Office 365 resources and Azure cloud resources. It will be an integral part almost all Microsoft products, it is obvious. It allows engineers and support personnel to more efficiently manage their respective responsibilities by allowing bulk creation or modification of resources such files, folders and settings.
It is best known for its unique and user-friendly verb-noun nomenclature, cmdlets (pronounced as ‘commands’). Cmdlets are PowerShell’s actual commands. Some cmdlets can run as-is without any defining parameters. Just type them in and hit the enter key. The console will display the output. PowerShell will be easy to use if you are familiar with Windows’ ever-faithful command prompt. Many of the commands you would normally use in a command prompt can actually be run inside a PowerShell Console. Give it a try the next time you use the command prompt. You’ll be amazed at how it does the same thing inside the PowerShell console.
The GUI: Peeling back the veil
People love their GUI. They can see all they need and get that warm fuzzy feeling when they click Apply, then OK. Some people like to live on edge and skip pressing Apply completely. As you become more proficient at managing servers, desktops and Exchange, you will soon find yourself clicking incessantly when you have to make a change that requires 360 users to be added into 20 Active Directory security groups. Are you ready for the clicking nightmare?
PowerShell is a great tool for removing the veil of the beloved GUI. PowerShell makes it possible to perform that task of puttingti.

The Feedback Imperative [Book Review]

(This post contains affiliate hyperlinks. Please read my full disclosure.
I have received a lot of feedback just today. An online purchase gave me an indication of how far I was in the process. My Kindle app used my reading speed to calculate how long it would take me to finish the book. My solicitor sent me a letter asking me to fill out a feedback form regarding a transaction they had just completed for me. Feedback is everywhere.
Managers prefer to fire or manage people who aren’t able to be ‘fixed’ by feedback. Many of your younger team members expect feedback more often than their older counterparts. It’s one of Millennial’s defining traits. However, I don’t like stereotyping a whole generation. She overlooks the best feedback methods for older team members. I guess they have to accept the change in management style from one that is feedback-heavy, even if it isn’t their thing.
It’s still a great read. The Feedback Imperative is a book that explains why talking leads to better results. It is a coaching model that shows how to give feedback to staff without annoying them.
Feedback: A definition
Anna Carroll writes that feedback is information from past actions that is used to guide future actions. “The movement from past to future information is called a feedback loop.” Anna Carroll continues, “The usefulness and utility of feedback are dependent on the accuracy of the information collected.”
Hence, why not give it?
Feedback can be difficult
I am not the best at giving feedback. It’s even more difficult in virtual teams because some messages are better when you’re face-to-face. Carroll’s observation that managers in all areas don’t give enough feedback is true. She cites several reasons for this.
We have lost sight of the value of feedback.
We are too busy
It’s not something we’re taught to do and it doesn’t come easily.
We are afraid to say something wrong and end up in court
We believe that our amazing employees are self-directed and take responsibility for their own learning so they don’t need it.

Carroll says that managers are reluctant to tell the truth to their employees.
I’d also add the unique role of project managers: As we don’t generally have line management responsibility over our team members, it doesn’t feel like it’s our responsibility to provide feedback.
How feedback can impact your project’s success
Carroll reports that more than 65% of people said that their performance review feedback contained unexpected findings. Surprises are bad, regardless of whether the review is done by you or their manager. Your sponsor wouldn’t be surprised because it would likely cause them panic. It happens to team members who get unexpected feedback at their appraisals: it upsets them.
Carroll states that this is part of the reason people leave their jobs. If you are at a critical stage in your project, then people leaving is not good. Your team doesn’t want to be left guessing if they are doing a great job. They want to know. She writes:
Managers must help employees make sense of and prioritize all information they receive and answer the burning question, “How am I doing at work and what can I do to improve?”
Get ready for every day feedback
This book is a large part of how to prepare for everyday feedback. It’s the kind of comment that you make to someone after a meeting, when they have presented well. This book is not about performance reviews and formal feedback sessions that are restricted by policies or processes. This is the type of feedback project managers should give their team frequently.
“Everyday feedback is more powerful than performance reviews because you can tap into the motivation people have for their work.”

Project Contingency: The Ultimate Guide

(This post contains affiliate hyperlinks. Please read my full disclosure.
Your project was approved for funding. This is an enormous step. It is amazing to see how many project managers struggle to get their budget approved.
Without funding, you can’t accomplish much on a project.
But before you celebrate too soon, there are details to be aware of.
What was the approval? What are the limits and constraints on how much you can spend? There will be many questions. Not least, is it enough? Is the funding inclusive of contingency? (Because I put some in the request.)
You’ve come to the right place if you want to know what budget contingency means. This article will explain what project contingency is, how to calculate it, and how to manage them within the scope of your projects.
This article:
What is project contingency?
Why is contingency important? Why risk matters

How to calculate contingency4 Common methods of calculating contingency

How to manage contingency money

How do I access contingency funds
What is a contingency strategy?
Quick questionsWhat contingency should an project have?
How is project contingency calculated
What is a contingency example?

Next steps

What is project contingency?
Project contingency refers to the extra resources that are set aside to address any potential risk or uncertainty in a project.
Two types of contingency are commonly used in projects:
Budget contingency: Additional funding to address problems and realized risks related to a particular event
Schedule contingency: A buffer for extra time in the event of schedule delays (not to be confused with your estimates).

In a project contingency planning, the amount of each will be listed. In practice, this could be a paragraph or two in your risk management plan or project plan. These figures will be included in the budget or schedule management plan.
Why is contingency important
According to PMI’s 2021 figures, 62% of projects are completed within their original budget. No organization wants to see their budget go up in cost. Regardless of how hard you try, it is impossible to predict the future or anticipate every problem.
As you can see, contingency allows us present final budget estimates in a range.
Calculating the Anticipated Final cost and confidence range. Image source: IPA Cost Estimating Guide, 2021, Figure 11. Reproduced under the Open Government Licence 3.0. Take the cost baseline and add the mitigation costs to deal with ‘general’ and residual risks. This will give you the final project cost. The IPA Guidance is only for construction budgets, but the general premise can be used as a best practice for all types of projects.
Understanding contingency is crucial to understanding risk: this is the first step.
Next: 14 Common Project Risks. Perhaps some of these will help you to improve your contingency plan.
Why is risk important
It is impossible to list all possible problems that could occur on a project. As project managers, we know that the unexpected will happen.
You may have an idea of what is likely to happen based on your past experience. Even if you have a general idea of what is likely to happen, you still need to have a plan and options for dealing with it when it does.
Project contingency is where it comes in. It is the promise of additional resources (typically money and time) to a project to address potential risks and uncertainties. This is done to increase the likelihood that the project will be completed within the budget.
Schedule contingency could be in the form of extra time or a buffer in a project’s schedule. We might add several days or even weeks to a project to account for unforeseen delays.

Lean, Six Sigma, and Project Management are all combined

Recently, I attended my first PMI UK Chapter Meeting. The topic was Lean Six Sigma Project Management: A Marriage Made in Heaven.
I don’t know what marriage has to do with it but the presenter, Ishai Pelman, PMP(r), Master Black Belt, and a senior managing consultant at Pcubed, clearly pointed out the similarities between the approaches. I had my Six Sigma training many years ago, but it all started to come back as Ishai spoke.
He said that value engineering is a holistic approach to strategic transformations of large organisations. “You ask customers where they want their future to be.”
Professional resources
Six Sigma and Lean principles;
A PMO provides project management structures and governance.

This last point is what’s missing in traditional Six Sigma or Lean methodologies.
Lean is a method of reviewing processes and eliminating non-value-adding activities. Six Sigma reduces variability to deliver a better quality result. Ishai explained that when you combine the two, you can achieve a higher quality result quicker. First, you eliminate the non-value-adding tasks. Then you can focus on the important tasks, but it’s still inefficient. Six Sigma is a way to increase efficiency. This makes the process faster, more cost-effective, higher quality, and less risk. He said, “Every time you do anything, there’s an chance to make it wrong.” “If you do more, there’s less chance to make it wrong.”
Ishai explained that there are certain pitfalls in process improvement projects, and they are almost the same as other types. If you don’t:
You don’t have a sponsor or a team committed to your cause.
Set a goal of reducing the headcount arbitrary.
Poor input from the wrong people.
Spend too much time analysing and not enough on delivering change.
Do not send mixed messages or have poor communication plans.
Expect to find a solution to all your problems.
Don’t plan.

His discussion on why you shouldn’t cut heads was fascinating to me. He suggested that people should be moved around rather than fired. The stronger manager should have more employees, while the weaker one should have fewer. Optimizing the process often means moving people around and not getting rid of them all.
I switched off during the explanation of Six Sigma because my feet were hurting from wearing ridiculous shoes all day, and then having to walk from a tube stop that was farther away than I expected.
I hadn’t considered the role of project management in Six Sigma process improvement projects. Before I learned the Six Sigma approach, I was a PRINCE2(r), and project management professional. Six Sigma projects were what I did when I was running them. However, they were projects. I didn’t realize that Six Sigma people might be having difficulty implementing change. The method doesn’t really cover how to do it. It helps you understand the problem. I can recall spending hours learning Minitab and then getting excited when I saw the statistical results of my tests. They are useful in their own right, but not very useful for ‘doing’ the improvement.
Ishai explained that Six Sigma practitioners often struggle with the ‘doing’. He said that it was difficult for Six Sigma practitioners to translate an idea into practice. Six Sigma and Lean don’t have the answers to managing complexity. Projects managed using these toolkits are often done in PowerPoint or on spreadsheets. Adding professional project management to the equation gives the change an extra chance of success. It also provides a governance framework that is not available in other approaches. If you want to be able to manage projects effectively, you will need to have a solid understanding of project management.

Part 2: Managing in a Matrix Structure: Dealing With the Challenges

In my last post on project management in a matrix structure, I shared 4 challenges. These are the challenges that I want to discuss this week.
This was the topic Shilpa Arora (PMP) spoke about at a Women in Technology event. These were the 4 challenges she talked about:
Authority lacking
For you and your team, confusion and ambiguity
Feeling out of control
Time pressure

Let’s take a look at each one individually.
Authority lacking
In a matrix structure, the project manager does not have authority over the team members. How can you handle this?
Shilpa stated, “This is about talking with other people about your project and telling them how important you think your projects are.” Substitute authority for influence. “Coffees, lunches, and meetings are work if you make them so.”
Establish relationships with people in the extended team, including suppliers and functional heads. It takes a lot of work,” she said. “Relationships don’t get built overnight.”
To build your influence, use carrots such as recognition and compensation. Many project managers feel they don’t have anything to offer, but you can always find something. Negotiate overtime, especially for junior staff. Share your success and say thanks.
And do favours. You’ll need to do a favor one day.
For you and your team, confusion and ambiguity
Team members often feel confused in matrixed environments. Who are they working for? What are their priorities?
Clarify the roles and responsibilities for each member of the project team. For each workstream, create a terms-of-reference document for the Project Board.
You can clarify the steps for conflict resolution so that if something goes wrong (and it will), you know who to escalate to.
Stakeholder management is a great way to remove ambiguity. You will be able to communicate with your stakeholders better if you get to know them.
Shilpa stated that project managers often focus on the issues. She suggested that project publicity should be a priority and that milestones should be highlighted. “Make sure they don’t forget what you’ve done.”
Feeling out of control
Do you feel like everything is falling apart? Feel like you don’t know what is happening? That is something you can manage.
First, be confident even if you’re not. It is possible to control your nerves. I know this because I do it every time I speak in public. Despite feeling nervous, people tell me that it doesn’t show.
Shilpa stated, “It doesn’t matter how difficult your problem is,” and that “if you look out-of-control the team will too.”
Second, talk. Second, talk. Talk to a mentor or coach, or a trusted colleague. It is best to find someone who understands your situation but not someone who works on the exact same project.
Third, prioritise ruthlessly. “Is the world going stop if I don’t do this?” Shilpa asked. Do only what is absolutely necessary until you get back on your feet.
Time pressure
Projects, whether they are matrixed or not can be under constant pressure to complete tasks on time. It can be even worse in a matrix structure due to competing priorities and the need to meet deadlines with limited management support. Here are some ways to deal with it.
We are good at challenging estimates of others, but very poor at our own. Shilpa stated, “Add 10% if you are ambitious and know it.”
Ask for help. Shilpa spoke about the possibility of a secondee, a graduate student working on the project, or an MBA student looking to find a placement for their dissertation. Although it might not be beneficial in the short-term, there are overheads that could make this a viable strategy for some projects, particularly if you have substantial work.

How to determine if your project goals are realistic

Jordan MelsonThis guest post is by Jordan Melson, Technology Advice.
Everyone has a pretty good mental image of how the workplace looks when an important project is canceled. There are a lot of people running around, notes everywhere, phones ringing and people rushing to and fro between cubicles and offices.
Perhaps your company is experiencing something similar right now. Have you seen your business grow significantly in the last twelve months? If so, it is possible that you are struggling to meet your project goals. This can lead to chaos on a daily level. One of two things could be causing this.
Perhaps you aren’t organized enough to manage the increased responsibility. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be organized. It just means that you have some work ahead of you.
This second possibility is more difficult to fix. There’s a good chance that you’ve eaten more than you can chew right now. Research shows that only 2.5 percent companies complete 100 percent in a given year. You’re not the only one. It’s not easy, fun, nor easy to retake your word. If this is the problem and it is causing chaos in your office, you need to find a solution quickly.
Organization vs. Transparency
Take a look at the current process. Are you able to identify the location of each project? Can you quickly and succinctly identify each stage, who is responsible for the tasks, and where the project will take place tomorrow?
Transparency in project management is essential. The project manager should know the current stage of each project and who is responsible for it. Managers involved in the project also need to be informed. Hidden files, secret passwords, and “he said/she told” won’t cut the mustard. Read some reviews on project management software to find the best solution for you. Watch your workdays return to normal.
If you feel that you are falling behind despite all the above information, it could be because you have set goals that are simply impossible to achieve.
A Methodical Approach
It’s a very difficult thing to discover that your company has taken on more work than it can handle. How can you disappoint clients by exceeding deliverable dates? Who will understand if you miss deadlines? You may have to scale back at times or your entire company will be in chaos. If you are behind on one project, all the others will follow.
If you have a project management system in place, it’s time to dive into your software and see how easy it might be to reorganize assignments. If a few dates can be changed for one team to solve the problem, congratulations and keep working hard to avoid it in the future.
However, if you find that it is difficult for everyone to meet deadlines, you might need to rethink the strategy. Could your teams be broken up into smaller groups? Maybe two people can complete the tasks as quickly as four. If this is the case, you can create a second team, seperate the projects and then rework the deadlines so that all tasks are completed simultaneously. Although employees may not have the support and assistance of other team members, they still have the same amount time to complete tasks.
You can’t create new teams if you don’t have enough manpower. Although change is difficult, it is possible to succeed. Prioritize your projects, and leave the most important for last. This could be clients who don’t give feedback in a timely fashion, clients who are always late with information, or assignments that have low return on investment.
Communication Is Key
Great communication is the only way to reduce costs without compromising the final result. If you don’t communicate with the other person about stopping, you will end up with mixed results.