Requirements gathering & documentation – The Digital Project manager

This Members-only workshop features Kelly Suter, DPM Expert. She makes requirements documentation a surprisingly engaging and fun process. Kelly walks you through the good to haves and the essentials when gathering requirements. She also shows you how to create and use requirements documentation. She shares some of the tricks and tips she has learned over years as a technical PM.


Project Functional Requirements (Templates, Samples, & Checklists)


Remote working: Cloud experts share their top practices

For a long time, digital transformation has been a top priority for many businesses.
Recent events have forced many companies to virtualize their entire business virtually overnight.
The stakes of going digital have suddenly become too high. It’s not about being more efficient and competitive anymore. Many businesses now rely on the internet infrastructure to survive.
Implementing the right tools is only half of the battle.
If your business is one of those that suddenly finds itself operating with remote workers, you need to be sure that your staff have the skills to use these digital tools and that they are productive, engaged and connected in this new and challenging time.
We spoke with cloud experts and long-time workers-from-home to gain their insights on remote working.
In our white paper, you will find more AWS optimization tips and tricks from cloud experts
Hiro Nishimura, a technical writer, instructor, and founder of AWS Newbies, specializes in introducing Amazon Web Services for beginners. After working part-time remotely for many years, she recently went full WFH. She shared her top tips for looking after yourself as well as your team when you transition to remote work.
Many of the world’s workforce have begun to work remotely over the past few months.
Even people who have been told for years that it is impossible to do your job remotely are suddenly able work remotely.
Working from home has many benefits. You can save time, be more flexible, and have more money. By avoiding the commute, you might be able to cut down on work hours.
You might find it relaxing to be able to adjust your schedule to make time for laundry, walking, or even coffee breaks throughout the day. It’s possible to save $10 per day by making your own lunch instead of ordering takeout. It’s great to be free from the cubicle! It’s a dream come real!
There are a few issues that will undoubtedly impact those of you who work remotely, especially those who are new to it.
Truth be told, even though I have been working remotely for a while and fully remote for almost a year, I wasn’t prepared for the impact of “working through global pandemic” on me and my work.
“This will be easy!” “I’ve been working remotely for months and rarely travel anywhere else!” That was my belief a month ago. This sentiment turned out to be extremely naive. But there are things we can do to support our physical and mental health, as well as the teams who work remotely.
My personal view is that there are three key components to remote work as a team: communication and mental health.
1. Communication It is more difficult to communicate with remote teams than with onsite contacts. It can be difficult to communicate nuance and tone via text. We are also more inclined to use fewer words than we should, which may seem abrupt.
We all hate reading or sending emails and we sigh at the “unread” number in our inbox each morning. It is difficult to communicate effectively with your team remotely when you have so many people working remotely.
Communication within your team can improve by ensuring that each member is more attentive to how their messages are received by the recipient. We tend to put more effort into words during times of stress.
It is possible to avoid misunderstandings and frustration by rereading any message before you click “send”.

Remote project manager? Here are some tips to keep sane and manage your projects

The world has changed. Why is this happening? Smartsheet transforms your work.

This is the right article for you if you are a remote manager. This article will discuss how remote project managers can manage their lives and projects.
Remote work is becoming more common: 70% of employees worldwide said they work remotely at most once a week in a 2018 survey.
There are many resources that can help you to be productive when you work remotely. But this article is a little different because project managers are different. As a Project Manager, I will tell you what you need to do to keep your project manager job on the remote side.
5 Ways to Stay Safe as a Remote Project Manager
1. Organise your space
I know many project managers, including myself, who have a particular way they prefer to organize their work desks to maximize efficiency. Project managers have to manage multiple aspects of multiple projects, so this is often a bigger problem than for other roles. My last job had two huge whiteboards for visual problem solving and two large bulletin boards for hanging up documents. I had two monitors, a wireless keyboard, mouse, and two desk lamps that provided soft lighting. I had my overhead lights turned off by the facilities staff. It took me some time to get my space right. This is common for project managers who need well-organized, controlled spaces to do their work. It was difficult for me to concentrate when I found something out of place in my workspace. Project managers know what they need in order to feel organized.
Why is it that so many remote project managers and office project managers work from home, but have a small area of their house with a lamp and a few drawers? You must treat your office like a real office if you want to work remotely. If you are like me and don’t have a dedicated space for your office, it is important to treat your workspace as a workspace and not as an invisible “office area”. My workspace is located in my den. When I’m not working, I use the two whiteboards, large corkboards, multiple monitors, and desk lamps that I need to work efficiently. You shouldn’t reduce the space because it’s remote. Otherwise, you might feel disorganized and distracted.
2. Create boundaries
Remote workers need to be able to set boundaries that define work and personal life. Remote project managers are often worried that remote workers will be content to just watch Netflix on the couch all day. However, remote managers often find themselves working too many hours due to the fact that our work is available 24×7. To avoid burning out and blowing budgets, it is important to set boundaries.
These boundaries don’t need to be too formal or significant. They just have to work. My boundaries are shoes, lights, and a desk. Shoes are essential for me when I’m at work or at home. Shoes are a must for me to work. My desk lights go out when I’m done working. My desk lights are always on. Some people dress up as if they’re going into work, and then put on more comfortable clothes after their workday ends. Many people have dedicated office space right next to their doors. I think that project managers need multiple cues for stopping work, or we can find ourselves tempted to just check…one…more….email. This is not a topic that will be covered today. No matter what your boundary is, it should be second-nature and not something you have too much to think about.
3. Have some human interaction
The world has changed. Why?

Remote project management strategies

The world has changed. Why is this happening? Smartsheet transforms your work.

Remote project management is becoming more popular. But how can we make these projects a success? How can we empower our team to thrive even when we aren’t there? Although we’ve explored methods to make remote teams more efficient, how can we still keep the human touch and manage our teams better?
Project managers have it hard: we are responsible for the project but not the people; we are responsible for the output but not the work. Most project managers are familiar with how to manage their project team indirectly. Face-to-face interactions with project team members are a common way to get them to agree to your will. But what if you are unable to meet face-to-face? Remote project management is the answer to this dilemma.
Remote project management strategies
These are my top tips and tricks for remote project managers or those who are interested in remote project management. I also share how I adapt them for remote project management.
I have always believed that candy makes friends. I brought a large candy container with me to every job. I would stock it with a variety of treats. I started to get to know my coworkers and would start buying more of the things they liked. I was building a foundation to be The Person Who Always Haves Candy. You’d be amazed at the number of people who will gladly come to your desk if they have their favorite treats. I would ask my more difficult teammates what they ate often and take notes. If I had a tight deadline or knew that one of my teammates was working on competing priorities, I would take a few candies I knew they loved best and walk over to their desk. I would just leave the candy, and not say anything. I would send them an IM about an hour later to ask if they wanted to chat. They almost always did because they were so thankful for my thoughtfulness in delivering their favorite treat. You can do this with sodas, office supplies (yes really), and even grabbing items from the printer and delivering them to your recipient so they don’t have to get up.
[Tweet “Candy makes friends .””]
What strategy is there for remote project management? The bribe gets more complicated. I still get to know what they like and how they would appreciate it. I either send them something that I have packed myself or I check for something nearby to me and have it delivered. I don’t bribe as much as I used to when I was face-to-face, but the fact I go through so many difficulties makes my teammate feel great, and they never forget that you went out your way. This is usually done during a long stretch of programming for developers or at the beginning a design cycle for UX/UI teams. If the project is complex, I will send it at the beginning to QA or at the end if it is simpler.
Create a team atmosphere
Many project managers, including myself, try to get the team excited for the project at kickoff. Even though we have done 100 projects together, I have always tried my best to create a team atmosphere by naming my teammates and their roles on each project. I look at each person in the eyes and convey my welcome to the team. This creates a sense of ownership where each member of the team takes responsibility for their own part of the project. Although it may seem small, I have found that it is a great way to keep teammates engaged.
Most project managers celebrate the completion of a project in some way. This could be going out for lunch, ending work early, and enjoying food and drink.

RACI Chart Template for Project Managers + Example & Instructions

The world has changed. Why is this happening? Smartsheet transforms your work.

RACI is a term that makes you groan inwardly when you hear it. It is not the exciting acronym it sounds, but it can be a real headache to create. You have to figure out who should take what role for each task or deliverable.
The RACI diagram (also known as responsibility matrix matrix or RACI matrix/diagram) is designed to simplify your life as a Project Manager. However, it can also be the elephant in a room at the start of a project that no one wants or needs to review or use.
How can you make your RACI a valuable tool that can help your project and you?
This article will simplify the RACI process. I will show you how to use RACI charts the most effectively, give tips and provide a RACI matrix template for your project.
This article explains.
What is a RACI chart?
Advantages of the RACI Chart
When to Use A RACI Chart?
RACI On Agile Projects
How to Avoid Common RACI Mistakes
6 steps to create a RACI Chart
Alternatives to the RACI chart
A case study of the RACI
First, what is a RACI chart?
It is a tool that identifies roles, responsibilities and tasks within a project.
What does the acronym RACI stand for?
Be informed
The RACI maps tasks to deliverables and assigns responsibilities to each role. Let’s take a closer look at each term.
Responsible: Performing the Task
This person executes the task or delivers the deliverable. They are responsible for completing the task or making the final decision. Sometimes it can be more than one person but you should try to limit the number of people involved.
Can you have more than one Responsible within a RACI
As much as possible, you should have one person responsible for a task or deliverable in your responsibility matrix. Sometimes, however the Responsible person may need assistance from another person or someone to delegate to. You can designate more than one person Responsible in this instance.
Limit this as much as you can to ensure that the roles of multiple responsible people are clear to each individual.
Accountable: Taking on the Task
This role or person is responsible for the overall delivery of the task. They are not responsible for the actual work, but they will make sure it is done. To avoid confusion about who is responsible for the task, it is best to have one person accountable.
Consulted: Assisting
This person, this role, or this group will provide the information necessary to complete the task. There will be two-way communication between the responsible and those consulted. This person is often a subject matter specialist.
Keep informed: Staying Aware
These individuals or groups will be kept informed about the task or deliverable. This could be about progress or when the task/deliverable is complete. They will not be asked to provide feedback or reviews, but they can be affected or affected by the outcome of the task. These roles and groups should have one-way communication.
What is a RACI Model used for?
The RACI model should be used for planning roles and responsibilities ahead of time so that everyone knows who is responsible when it comes to completing a task or getting feedback on deliverables.
To keep track of who is responsible, accountable, consulting, and what tasks are being completed, a RACI chart should always be referenced and used throughout the project. The RACI chart example is useful throughout a project to help you keep track of the roles.
Why should I care? The Advantages of a RACI Chart
1. Streamlining Communication
A RACI can be useful for referring ba

What is a Project? What makes it different from other work efforts?

All projects are work but not all work.

I feel your pain. You have outgrown spreadsheets and are tired of trying to collaborate via email.
Google was your first stop for finding an automated tool that could help you. Instead of finding a solution, there were pages upon pages of product lists labelled project management software. Each product had a different price and functionality.
Are they all the same? How can you tell which tool is best for you? Understanding the difference between work and projects is key.
This knowledge will allow you to better assess your needs and enable you to evaluate products for the real thing, not what vendors sell them as.
This explanation will be covered in two parts. This article will explain the difference between work and projects, and show you when project management software is better than a work management tool.
Next, we will dive deeper into work management and show you how to choose the best work management solution for you.
Jump to:

What is a project? (And what about everything else?)
Projects are time-bound undertakings that have an end, produce a unique output/deliverable and are executed within agreed-upon constraints (e.g., scope, timelines, budget/resources).
Everything else is work, but it’s not a project. These efforts include:
Even though this isn’t routine work, it should still be managed.
Why is it important that you distinguish between projects and other work activities?
It is important to distinguish between work and projects for the following reasons:
Projects require more PM processes than small, low-effort units of work. This level of oversight and control can lead to unnecessary bottlenecks, long timelines, and strain on key resources.
You could end up paying for features that you don’t need or won’t use if you don’t know how to distinguish between project management and tools for work management.
38% of respondents to our 2019 PM software user survey said that they don’t use Gantt charts functionality (used for project management) within their PM software. This is a significant amount of users who are paying too much for PM software when they could have used a work management tool instead.
Here’s where it gets tricky: For lack of a better word, the term “project” is liberally applied to most work efforts, whether it’s a high-risk/high-return strategic business initiative or a low-key collaborative effort concurrent to day-to-day responsibilities.
This is problematic for several reasons:

What is the difference between project management and work management software?
When managing a project, you should use true PM software. This is because it can manage and control scope, budget, timeline, and resource constraints. These constraints must be monitored and reported to stakeholders. If the tool you are using is not capable of doing so, it will be difficult to do so accurately.
If you don’t need to monitor the three constraints, you’re not managing a project. You can use any type work management software that suits your needs, from personal to-do lists to shared task management tools to collaboration software.
These are three ways to distinguish between project management tools and work management tools.
It is important to remember that PM and work management tools often overlap in functionality. But if it doesn’t offer project planning–specifically around budget and resource management–then it’s not a formal PM solution and would fall into the work management category instead.


How can I find the right tools to meet my needs?
First, keep in mind that the project is not a simple one.

Three Reasons to Use Mobile Project Management Apps

You don’t know what your missing if you haven’t yet adopted mobile project management applications. It’s not too late.

In the 1980s, project managers could use their buzzing, whirling desktop computers to check the status of a project or the construction budget for a new aerobics center.
It’s a wonderful time to be alive.
Now is a better time to live. If you are still using desktop project management software, you are missing out and living in retrospect. You are also part of a growing minority.
Capterra surveyed 400 project management professionals in the United States and found that 60% of them use cloud-based PM software. These solutions are usually deployed via web browsers and mobile apps, while 40% use on-premise/desktop solutions.

What are you missing out if you’re among the 40% who still use a desktop tool for project management?
Three advantages of mobile project management applications
The mobile project management apps are a competitive advantage for teams that use them. They allow users to stay in the loop about project updates, communicate with one another wherever they may be, and receive the latest features faster and more easily.
Let’s take a closer view.
1. Mobile project management apps make it easier to keep track of your projects
THE SCENARIO – Your supervisor at the site of a $2 million office building goes to the location to check on her crew and receive a status report. She discovers that a critical shipment of building materials was partially damaged by heavy rains during transport, and that several welders are suffering from the flu.
Desktop project management software: Your supervisor takes photos of the damage and authorizes the hiring of two temporary workers to replace the sick welders. Then, he drives back to the office to update the information in the project management program. Unfortunately, the updates have already been entered into the system. This means that you will not be able to update the budget authorization for the temporary workers until tomorrow. This will delay construction and cost you a day of labor.
The mobile project management app benefit: Your site supervisor can instantly update that information in your resource management tool on her tablet. These changes are immediately reflected on your dashboard, so you can instantly check in with stakeholders.
2. Apps for managing projects mobile enhance team communication
THE SCENARIO: Your job is to manage an eCommerce website that sells organic knitting accessories and supplies. You attempt to show the site to your friend on Saturday at 10 p.m., but it is down for two hours. This has cost you hundreds of dollars in sales.
Your desktop project management program is useless when your computer is at work. You call your manager and they don’t answer the phone. You are determined to find a solution and you text your friend from the tech team. They eventually get back to you and tell you that they will email the rest of their team in the morning. After thousands of lost sales, someone finally gets the site up and running late Sunday night.
Mobile project management app advantages: Once you notice that the site has gone down, you can pull up your mobile app’s collaboration tool to notify all employees. Within an hour, a remote member from the tech team had fixed the problem and brought the site back online. This earned you praise and recognition from the CEO.
3. Mobile project management apps can be updated easily
THE SCENARIO: Project management software reveals a n

5 Best Microsoft Visio Alternatives to Diagramming

What does it mean to be the best? These are the top-rated Microsoft Visio alternatives found in our diagram software directory.
Microsoft Visiois a popular flowchart and diagramming program that’s highly rated. Capterra’s software directory has over 1,400 reviews. It is the most reviewed diagram software and has a 4.5 star rating overall.
It is part of Microsoft Office and has a familiar interface. It can also be integrated with other products, making it a good choice for dedicated Microsoft customers.
However, just because a brand is well-known doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for everyone.
This article examines five highly-rated Microsoft Visio alternatives. What does “top-rated?” mean? This piece includes five tools that have an average overall user rating, compared to other products in its category. Our complete methodology can be found here. The products are listed alphabetically.
Jump to:

5 top-rated Microsoft Visio alternatives

1. Cacoo
Overall rating:4.5/5.0Reviews: 110+Cacoo is cloud-based data visualization software used to create and share flowcharts, diagrams, wireframes, organization charts, and process models. Collaboration, multi-user editing and dynamic charts are some of the key features. Also, pre-built templates and a library of icons are available.
Pricing and plans:
Cacoo is praised by reviewers for being simple to use and easy-to-learn. Reviewers also praise Cacoo’s icon library and templates. However, they do note some issues with icons styles and difficulty finding specific elements. Cacoo is highly rated by users.
Cacoo received 61% of its reviews from small businesses in the past year. 8% came from midsize businesses and 31% came from large businesses. It was highly rated in the internet, consumer service, and computer hardware industries. It was also highly rated by reviewers who held the following job titles: software consultant, owner/CEO, and student.
User dashboard in Cacoo (Source)

2. D3M
Overall rating:4.5/5.0Reviews: 30+D3M is a cloud-based network diagramming application designed to help project managers, engineers, technicians, and sales reps design network topology, rack diagrams, and floor plan diagrams. Autogenerating project inventory, quotes and proposals, documentation, live collaboration, and documentation are some of the key features.
Pricing and plans:
D3M’s ease-of-use, quality of training and documentation, and their icon library are all highly rated by users. D3M is highly rated by users.
D3M received 81% of its reviews from small businesses, while 19% came from large companies. It was highly rated by reviewers in the following industries: electrical/electronic manufacturing, wireless, and telecommunications. It was also highly rated by reviewers in the following job titles: general manager, sales director/executive, owner.
Prepare a quote using a D3M (Source), diagram

Overall rating:4.5/5.0Reviews: is free, open source, and cloud-based diagram software for making flowcharts, diagrams, organizational charts, and process models. The key features include drag-and-drop functionality and a template and icon collection. You can also track and restore changes and collaborate.
Pricing and plans:
Cons is praised by reviewers for being free and still providing many templates and an extensive icon collection. Many reviewers praise’s simplicity and intuitiveness. However, some do not like the import/export options. Who rates highly
60% of D3M’s sales have been made in the last year

How to match Work Management Software to User Needs

All projects are work but not all work (part 2)

We discussed the differences between “projects” versus nonroutine “work (e.g. daily tasks, collaboration with coworkers and low-risk ad-hoc requests, etc.) and noted that although this type of work does not require formal project management, it must still be managed.
Get work management software today!
You’re not the only one who heard crickets after the entrance. There is a lot of confusion about what work management software is, and how it differs to project management software. We can help.
This article will explain what work management software looks like and provide examples of how to use it. The goal? The goal?
Quick overview of Work Management Software
What is work management software?
Software for managing workflows and processes, organizing tasks and activities, and collaborating in a shared workspace. These tools can be used to capture and execute work, simplify communication, and provide status updates for different stakeholders.
You might have heard the term “work management” software referred to by different names such as:
You’ll see that there are some key themes repeated here: Collaboration and teams.
This is because work management software targets non-technical business professionals as well as knowledge workers. A key purpose of these tools is to facilitate collaboration between users.
These are the key features:
There are some similarities between project management software and work management software features. The key difference is that project managing tools include project planning, tracking, and are designed to manage the project’s triple constraints (scope and timeline, budget, and budget). This level of oversight is not offered by work management tools.

Learn how project management differs from work management

Use cases in work management software
Gartner says that work management tools are useful in situations where work cannot be planned or ordered precisely (full report available for Gartner clients).
This type of work is more common than others in certain industries and roles. It requires creative problem-solving, not strict instructions, and is often more common in some roles.
These are some of the use cases for work management tools:
There are 4 types of work management software
Here’s how Gartner breaks up the different types of work management software (full Gartner report available to Gartner client):
1. Personal to-do list
An online version of a to do list that is specific to an individual. Examples include:, Todoist, Wunderlist.
Pros Cons2. Management of shared tasks/work
Acts as a centralized workspace; designed for teams; allows users to assign tasks, track work efforts, and collaborate/communicate around these efforts. Examples include Trello, Basecamp, Asana.
Pros Cons3. Collaboration tools
This shared platform allows multiple users to communicate and coordinate through file sharing, video calling and messaging. Examples include Yammer, Confluence, and Slack.
Pros Cons4. Agile tools
This workspace is designed for software development teams and provides a collaborative space for tracking and executing tasks at every stage of the development process. Examples include Leankit and Pivotal Tracker.
Pros and consHow to choose the right work management software
Now that you know how different tools can be used for different purposes, here’s what you need to do next:
Follow our blog for more information on how to maximize your software investment’s return.
Are you looking for Project Management software? Check out Capterra’s List

How to Avoid Common Project Collaboration Problems

These are some of the most common pitfalls in project collaboration. This will help you improve client satisfaction and team effectiveness.

Project collaboration, at its most basic, is when two or more people collaborate to achieve a common goal. It seems so simple, right?
It is theoretically possible, but in practice it is almost impossible. But why is this? After years of working together at school and work, you would think that we would all be great at collaboration. What’s the deal?
We are not as good at collaboration as we think. We assume that someone understands what we are talking about, or we get too excited and forget to check.
We don’t always have the right tools and we spend too much time “making do.”
We only have a few days to deal with collaboration problems. Worst, they can lead to budget or schedule overruns which may result in project cancellations, which may affect client satisfaction and team effectiveness.
Let’s take a look at three common collaboration problems people face when working on projects. We will also discuss solutions to these challenges.
How to overcome three common challenges in project collaboration
We researched common pitfalls in collaboration and reached out to project leaders for their best practices.
1. Poor communication
Miscommunication, misinterpretation, and misunderstanding: When we collaborate with another person, there is the potential for one or more mishaps.
Here’s why: Much like how we underestimate our ability to work together effectively, we also tend to be overconfident with our communication skills.
We assume everyone is on the same page so we don’t take the time and check for understanding. Or, we assume that everyone has the same perspective or knowledge as we do. We leave out context details. Or, perhaps (but not likely), we see communication as one-sided and don’t seek buy-in form stakeholders.
Our research has shown that poor or inadequate communication is the number one challenge facing project teams. Project teams face the number one challenge. Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace Report found that only 13% of employees agree that leadership communicates effectively to the rest of the organization.
Engaging in two-way communication can help you to verify understanding. Communication includes listening, adjusting, and telling.
Communication breakdowns almost always result from the sender believing that the message was received correctly and failing to seek feedback. The receiver is responsible for asking questions if they aren’t clear or have concerns about the message.
Gartner recommends these steps for effective communication at work. Gartner clients can access the full report.

Case Study: Prioritizing communication between clients
Dary Merckens is Gunner Technology’s CTO. He shares his story of poor communication and how Gunner Technology overcame this challenge in project collaboration.
“In the past, we lost a lot of time because clients didn’t communicate clearly or we didn’t understand what they wanted, or both.
This was overcome by prioritizing clear and fast communication. This includes responding quickly to any questions or requests and checking for understanding so everyone is on the exact same page.
We started to track everything. A good project management software is essential. You must capture all relevant information in the tool (we use Redmine for this purpose). All information that is important should be recorded in the software. Human memory is too fragile.”
2. Inadequate planning
Every work effort, no matter how large or small, must be planned.