Ruminate December 2012


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Ruminate December 2012

  1. 1. Ruminate The Best of Xamun Blog + ^ Updates + TipsNo. 2: The Project Management Issue December 2012 KEEP CALM AND GET THINGS DONEXamun Project: Xamun Task Xamun CEO: The most robust Boards: The Online Task Boardproject management Awesome threesome will set your project tool out there for task management free
  2. 2. Inside RuminateHeadlines of the Month Xamun Project: The Most Robust Project Management 1 Tool Out There The Incredible Power of the Online Task Board 6 Xamun Task Boards 11Xamun Updates 14Xamun Tips #4: Converting Subtasks into Task Cards 15 #5: Importing Tasks via Templates 17 #6: Using the Ticket Board 19More From 21 Ruminate December 2012 | i
  3. 3. From the Editor Breathe and use Xamun Project. This is the key message of the second issue of Ruminate. And that’s why the cover image wasinspired by Keep Calm and Carry On, a propaganda poster produced by the British government in1939 during the beginning of the Second World War. This poster was intended to lift the morale ofthe British public in the event of a Nazi invasion of the UK. Project management is at the center of Ruminate December 2012, which features articles on thetopic or on our project management app called Xamun Project. At times, managers who run projectsget overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done. With Xamun Project, you’re alwayson top of your project deliverables. And the great thing about Xamun Project is, you run your projectas a team. This collaborative type of work coincides with the principles of agile softwaredevelopment. It’s very challenging to run projects across a team of creative or knowledge workers, even more soif the team is distributed across various locations. Since Xamun Project is cloud-based, it also enables you to be at the helm of your project as if everyone’s in the same room. There are more dimensions to Xamun Project, which you will see in the next couple of pages. I invite you to read on and see how project management can be a breeze with Xamun Project. Happy reading! Burns Puzon G&A Manager, XamunPS: Also in this issue of Ruminate, we’re introducing a new section called “More”, which features even more articles from our blog. Find us on Ruminate December 2012 | ii
  4. 4. Headlines of the Month Xamun Project: The Most Robust Project Management Tool Out There P roject management is comprised of planning, organizing, securing, managing, leading, and controlling resources to achieve certain goals. It’s not as easy as it sounds, and it gets extremely challenging for distributed teams. Xamun Project was designed to help you manage your entire project in a single place – wherever you, your team or your clients are in the world. Xamun Project is integrated with the rest of the apps in Xamun, making your project delivery as tight-knit as possible and keeping project risks to a minimal. Xamun enables you to keep everyone in the team to stay on the same page, make them aware of project responsibilities, and encourage transparency and accountability. The following areas in project management are covered by Xamun Project: Ruminate December 2012 | 1
  5. 5. Xamun Project: The Most Robust PM Tool Out ThereTask Management Xamun Project has three types of work boards for managing tasks. The Task Board forgeneral types of projects, and the Scrum Board and Kanban Board for software developmentprojects. Each board has specific features that will cater to different types of projects.Time Tracking Time Tracking is as important as accomplishing a task. By monitoring your team’sproductivity, you will be able to track the progress of the task assigned to them. Inside Xamun,the time tracking app is called the Xamun Timesheet. As a timesheet approver, you are able toapprove timesheet entries or remind employees with unfiled timesheets with a simplemessaging feature that can be accessed anywhere as long as you are connected to the web. Ruminate December 2012 | 2
  6. 6. Xamun Project: The Most Robust PM Tool Out ThereIssue and Bug Management Working to improve tasks for a better project results is also part of project management.Xamun Helpdesk enables you to quickly address issues or bugs like what your support systemdoes. The catch is that you don’t have to exit your app then log in to another app for this tofunction. It also appears similarly like your Project Board making it easier to familiarize with. Social Collaboration Businesses are quickly becoming social, be it on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, having an online presence is considered an edge. With Xamun, you can turn your business social by using Xamun Community and Xamun Marketplace. Discuss your projects, post links, and attach files as easy as using Facebook or Twitter. Xamun will automatically create your groups when you post a project. All team members in that project will be able to throw ideas, post files, and update project status. Ruminate December 2012 | 3
  7. 7. Xamun Project: The Most Robust PM Tool Out ThereDaily Status Monitoring On your Xamun Project app, a Daily Status tab enables you to have a full view of whichproject tasks are done for a particular day. Eliminate the process of going to-and-fro teammembers to check status updates. In an Agile Setting, team leaders are able to perform dailystand up meetings where impediments are identified.Project Summary In Xamun Project, identifying your whole project health is possible. Get a quick overview ofyour project by using the Report tab. Report tab holds general project details such as the teammembers, as well as a pie chart summarizing all tasks’ status and the project plan. You canimport this to a PDF that you can send or print out for a client. Ruminate December 2012 | 4
  8. 8. Xamun Project: The Most Robust PM Tool Out ThereTime Off Management In doing a project, you can’t ignore the work-life-balance that you and your team membersneed. Manage your team’s time-off requests anywhere you are. Time-Off Manager, a Xamunapplet allows you to approve/deny leaves of your team members that will enable you to planyour project deliverables accordingly.Schedule Management Xamun My Day is your daily task scheduler in Xamun. You can schedule daily tasks andappointments, be it personal or project related, where you can set to share to other task assignees.My Day is now integrated with Google Calendar and Windows Live Calendar. Ruminate December 2012 | 5
  9. 9. Headlines of the Month Lean Common Sense Arup MaityThe incredible powerof the ONLINE TASK BOARD H ave you ever tried getting something done that requires a concerted effort from a bunch of people? Have you ever organized an event such as an alumni homecoming for your high school class, a New Year’s party for your club, or a fundraiser for your favorite cause? How about something in a more formal setting, such as leading a team for a project at work? It sure is difficult. The challenge doesn’t come from the tasks at hand; most of the time In my experience, in order to resolve this those are not the problem. You may even say it conflict, one must master the process of: would be so much easier if you did it all by yourself, right? However, doing it all by 1. Breaking down the entire project into ourselves is very inefficient, after all the concept smaller parts; of “division of labor” is supposed to be one of 2. Distributing these smaller parts among the greatest social achievements that helped members of the team; human beings progress. So what’s the cause of 3. Monitoring the progress on “who is this conflict? If it’s so easy for each member of supposed to do what” before you run out of a team to do things separately and it only time; and makes sense that a team would be more 4. Re-planning if some original assumptions efficient of you split a set of tasks among its change during the course of doing things. members, then why does it become harder to get things done when more people join a team? Ruminate December 2012 | 6
  10. 10. The Incredible Power of the ONLINE TASK BOARD These activities above, known to some as project management, are causes thedifficulty if not carried out properly. When we do it alone, those four activities are taken as awhole and are performed in our minds, but in a team this set of activities tends to be overlooked.Some people even think all those things above are actually a waste of time: they would rather get thework done immediately than plan and check it. The thinking is, “it’s all good until things get done”. If 4 (Doesn’t always mean you’re on the same page.)a team is doing similar things regularly and all members are familiar with the tasks at hand, risks arelowered from repetition. Then again, if someone slips due to some unforeseen reason, the wholeproject can be at risk. Do I mean to say most people don’t do this? No, not really. There usually is an effortamong project teams to meet and plan. It’s actually fun to do it, specially at the start of theproject. Nothing much gets done in these kickoff meetings (most of the time). Most people after akickoff meeting resort to emailing each other or making an Excel list and updating it – until somepoint in the process, things gets out of control and they simply drop all those activitiestogether and just ‘go with the flow. Ruminate December 2012 | 7
  11. 11. The Incredible Power of the ONLINE TASK BOARD By now you should be asking me, “What, So you may ask, how about then, is the solution?” What do I think makesgetting one of those project getting projects done easier, more fun and at a lower risk? If the team is sitting in the samemanagement software like room all day, perhaps all you need to do is takeMicrosoft Project and trying to a wall, divide it into three columns (To Do, In Progress, and Done), get a bunch of post-its,keep tabs on everything that’s write down what needs to be done, and eachgetting done. Sure, this is better person just picks up what they are going to do and update the wall. Maybe do a short 15than nothing, but the trouble is, minute meeting every day to collaborate andthis is a centralized command update each other, benefit from the collective wisdom and getting the project doneand control kind of thinking. successfully. This practice works, for sure. One person has to take this role and run aftereveryone in getting things done and finding out However, in a lot of projectsif they are doing what they are supposed to and today, you don’t spend the daywhat stage it’s in etc. This type of centralizedeffort is not very efficient for a number of together, you don’t even get toreasons: meet each other often. Heck,• The project manager becomes responsible for the success and failure of a project, thus team members may even be allowing team members to be less from a different city, country, responsible for the overall success• Reduces the benefit of collective wisdom that or continent. What do you do comes from collaboration and visibility now? Is there a liberator in• This still does not provide the communication and collaboration needed on sight? regular basis for project success Ruminate December 2012 | 8
  12. 12. The Incredible Power of the ONLINE TASK BOARD (Introducing: The Incredible Online Task Board!) Welcome the world of web 2.0 and online Incredible Online Task Board togethercollaboration. There are many online solutions with a more social collaboration wall likeout there to choose from. Some thoughtful Facebook for free-flowing and easypeople came up with tools to make task lists communication, then you have what weonline that can be seen by all team members call a perfect combination.and be updated as required. This can work forrather simple projects, but it lacks the benefit of In fact, we made a version of The Incrediblecollaboration and overall visibility. Some teams Online Task Board and a collaboration walleven resort to using blogs where they can write after experiencing the above issues first hand indown the tasks and update each other in real dealing with projects both in-house and withtime. That can work, too, I guess. But nothing clients across the world. The nature of theseworks like The Incredible Online Task projects span from something as simple as a listBoard. of things to fix, to complicated multi-year It’s similar to the real-life or physical task projects building complicated products, to theboard using a blank wall, but this time implementation of a business process acrossdistributed teams can work seamlessly – as if different departments, to hiring a specializedthey’re in the same room. If you use The resources for an upcoming project. We’ve seen Ruminate December 2012 | 9
  13. 13. The Incredible Power of the ONLINE TASK BOARD (The Incredible Online Task Board is available in Xamun)it all, and after several months of using what we created, we are definitely seeing the benefits. What we created is called Xamun. It exists in two versions – Lite and Business. The former istailor-made for those users that need the task board and a collaboration wall, while the latter is arobust version that extends to other different functions and areas of management and allows you torun your entire business online. The power of The Incredible Online Task Board is at the heart of Xamun, and you can see it foryourself by visiting and taking a 30-day free trial.***This article originally appeared on Arup Maity’s blog, Lean Common Sense. Arup is the founding President/CEO of BlastAsia, Inc. Under his leadership, BlastAsia has grownfrom a modest four member organization to one of the largest .Net providers in its segment in thePhilippines, having more than a hundred technical staff in its pool. He is very much involved in everyaspect of the organization from business development to process improvement initiatives. Arup Maity, through his effective leadership, drives the organization towards the realization of itsstrategic goals and guides the company in implementing balanced corporate governance and qualityobjectives. Arup brings diverse experience in project management and general management practices invarious roles and industries. He started his career by managing projects in civil construction andconsulting. After taking up his MBA from the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in 1997, he joinedthe Business Consulting in the area of Real Estate as Director for Business Development heading theBusiness Planning Group of Landco Pacific Corporation, Inc. Arup then started LandExcel Consulting,Inc., a business consulting company focusing on real estate and retail. As a senior partner inLandExcel, the concentration of his experience has been in managing Market research, FeasibilityPlanning, Pricing and business strategy for top business houses in Philippines for the Green Field andproblem projects. As a member of the Project Management institute (PMI), Arup is a Certified Project ManagementProfessional (188635) and more recently, a Certified Scrum Master and member of the ScrumAlliance. He is also an adjunct faculty of Project Management and IT Strategy at AIM since 2002. Anactive member of the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA), Arup has served as a Directorfrom 2006 to 2008. Ruminate December 2012 | 10
  14. 14. Headlines of the Month Xamun Because almost anything can be turned into a project, Xamun Task introduces a new way of running different types of projects in one place. Boards T o kick start a project, it is important to accomplish smaller tasks to get the project on the right track. But even before working on a task, we usually like to list down all the things that needs to be done to see our working timeline and predict the outcome of the project. By accomplishing smaller tasks, you can already celebrate small successes, and the more intimidating tasks are easier hurdles to get over. Ultimately, task management is at the heart of managing a project. There are several task management tools to choose from: it can be a simple checklist or a more elaborate task board. A task board is a visual task management tool that shows tasks in columns or lanes – typically To Do, In Progress, and Done – in order to organize a project teams work. Xamun Project has three different types of boards. Xamun’s Task Board is perfect for general types of projects, while the Scrum Board and the Kanban Board are specially designed for agile software development projects. Task Kanban Scrum Board Board Board For general projects For software projects For software projects Ruminate December 2012 | 11
  15. 15. Xamun Task Boards Task Board If you have general projects lined up, Xamun Task Board is recommended. Track the progress of your project and update the tasks assigned to your team in real time. The task cards on the board carry your task information and you can drag and drop these cards based on their progress status. You can also use the drag and drop function when assigning a task to a team mate by dragging and dropping their photos into a task card. Kanban Board Kanban is a specialized project management methodology so if you’re doing projects that are leaning towards this methodology, you can choose to set your Board type to Kanban. Carry out the Kanban software development process easily where you can limit work-in- progress, manage workflows, implement feedback loops, and improve team collaboration. Ruminate December 2012 | 12
  16. 16. Xamun Task Boards Scrum Board Alternately, you can also choose the Xamun Scrum Board if you have projects that needed to be implemented on this methodology. Product owners can track, monitor, and virtually manage scrum projects together with a distributed team. The Scrum Board also enables your team to perform release management and sprint planning, as well as conduct virtual daily standup meetings. Like the general task board, you can also size estimations, add subtasks, post on discussion feeds, attach files, and categorize tasks. Xamun created these three board type to fit your task management needs, and we’rejust getting started. They’re all available in Xamun Project, one of the six onlineapps in Xamun Productivity for Business accounts. For just $12/month per user, get everything you need to manage projects, people,and clients. Ruminate December 2012 | 13
  17. 17. Xamun Updates Xamun introduces Pipeline To make Xamun a more complete solution, we’ve created Xamun Pipeline, an online sales management app that includes its own Deal Board, Deal Cards, Resource and Product License Allocators, and Progress lanes. With Xamun Pipeline, can now efficiently manage your upcoming projects and enable your sales team to drive your companys growth. Xamun unveils Helpdesk Another new addition Xamuns Productivity apps is Xamun Helpdesk, designed for issue or bug management. With it, you can now create support tickets for certain issues raised by customers and other stakeholders, assign them, and address them right away. Xamun Helpdesk is fully integrated with Xamun Project, where tickets automatically appear on the task board as soon as you assign them. Tickets can be assigned to individuals, project teams, or departments to better serve both external and internal clients. . Xamun launches integrations We know how important your current apps are, so we’ve integrated Xamun with third- party appps. Chat, call, and set-up face-to-face meetings through Skype on Xamun Project. Sync your schedule with Google or Windows Live Calendar and Xamun My Day. Import your contacts on LinkedIn and Facebook to Xamun Community. The great thing is, we’re only getting started! Ruminate December 2012 | 14
  18. 18. Xamun Tips # 4: Converting Subtasks into Task Cards Xamun Project is mainly made up of task cards that swim across lanes on the task board. In these task cards, you can write subtasks to break down major tasks. Sometimes, these subtasks are still quite complex and heavy. What you can do in Xamun Project is to convert these subtasks into task cards. On the task card, you can see the subtask list which is found below the Task Description. If it’s missing, it’s most likely hidden. To show your subtask list, go to Other Options panel found on the right side of the task card and click on Subtask. To hide your subtask list, all you have to do is click on it again. (Note: if you hide/show the subtask list on one task card, it will apply to all your other task cards.) Ruminate December 2012 | 15
  19. 19. Converting Subtasks into task cards After converting, your new task cards will look like this: Your subtasks are now task cards of their own. Converted subtasks will appear as yellow task cards.When you click on a converted subtask, you can set various details like in a regular task card. Thegreen tab above these converted task cards is the parent task. To learn more, you can watch our Xamun Video Tutorial on Converting Subtasks to Task Cards. Ruminate December 2012 | 16
  20. 20. Xamun Tips # 5: Importing Tasks via Templates One of the most tasking duties of starting a new project is filling out tasks. Templates are very useful when you are working on similar types of projects under different clients. Save time by importing similar tasks to your new project so you could focus on other activities at work. Access project templates by clicking on the Template Icon found at the right side of the Masterlist header. You can also find the template icon when you click on the Project Name. Ruminate December 2012 | 17
  21. 21. Importing Tasks via Templates Upon clicking the Template icon, the templates window will pop up. It will look like this:Choose the project that containsthe tasks that you want to import.You can choose from yourexisting projects, companytemplates (if you are in acorporate setting), and publictemplates. Once the importing is done, the tasks will load on the Masterlist lane where you can edit it likeyour regular task cards. To learn more, you can watch our Xamun Video Tutorial on Using Templates to Get Started. Ruminate December 2012 | 18
  22. 22. Xamun Tips # 6: Using the Ticket Board The newly implemented tab on your Project Sidebar is called the Ticket Board. The Ticket Board is where you create tickets for tasks that are related to customer support or product/ service enhancement. You will also land on the Ticket Board when you access it via the Helpdesk app. Xamun integrated the Ticket Board inside Xamun Project so it will be accessible in just one click. Noted on the left side of the Ticket Board tab is the number of tickets that you need to attend to. Ruminate December 2012 | 19
  23. 23. Using the Ticket Board Your Ticket Board looks like your typical Xamun Board. It also has customizable swim lanes whereyou can monitor your ticket progress. Creating a ticket is easy, too. Use the provided form, fill out the details, and click OK. After that, itwill appear on the New lane then you can assign it to your team members by dragging and droppingtheir photo on the ticket card. Assigning a task to someone will enable the ticket card to appear on that person’s Task Board inXamun Project. It will be converted into a task but it will carry a special Ticket icon so your teammember knows which to prioritize first. To learn more about the Tip, you can watch our Xamun Video Tutorial on Using the Ticket Board. Ruminate December 2012 | 20
  24. 24. More from Why Use Time Tracking For Creatives? Yes, yes we know. Creative types want their freedom and independence when doing the work that they do. Tracking time would be stifling and detrimental to the creative process. Or would it? W hen would tracking time be beneficial to a creative agency and its staff? Why do some design labs and creative houses use time tracking tools such as those in Xamun to resounding success? Here are some convincing reasons why time tracking for creatives can be a good thing: Time tracking lets you know how much Time tracking allows you to charge time you spend on a project clients appropriately Why is it important to know how much time Once you know how much time you put into you spend on a project? Having a tool to track each of your projects, then you can bill your the time you put into each project gives you the clients properly. The project that takes the clarity to temper your creative activities with longest time to do and eats up the most hours practicality. It also gives you a concrete and should, logically, be the ones that pay you measurable basis for analyzing past projects as more. This is only fair for you, your clients, and well as to plan for future ones. your staff. Time tracking allows creatives to manage In short, time tracking is a great tool for their time wisely creatives Creatives are notorious for haphazard time Time tracking need not be the enemy of management. If this is the case in your creativity that it is usually made out to be. company, then it is up to the agency to instill a When productivity and the completion of a system that allows the artistic staff to be able to project is the end goal, then having a system of work productively within reasonable limits. time management could even be beneficial to This kind of planning ensures that time is not each one of your creative staff and to the wasted on unnecessary things and that there company as a whole. will always be enough time to do the creative Source: FunctionPoint work that must be done. Ruminate December 2012 | 21
  25. 25. More from Top 5 Problems of Remote Workers Today and How To Solve Them Now that we our lives are global, more and more businesses are seeing the benefits of having a virtual office: reduced operations cost, happier staff, and increased production to name a few. On the flip side, there are a few problems that arise from working remotely. R emote workers face problems that are not usually seen in a traditional workplace. So if you want to make the most out of your business and motivate your remote workers to their fullest, watch out and prepare for these trouble spots: 1 Training is tricky If your remote workers have recently transitioned from in-office to a remote working place, you better brace yourself for difficult training sessions ahead. It will take more effort on your part, as well as patience, because the only form of communication that you’ll have with your employees will be thru emails and IMs. To clear up any misunderstandings and issues faster, assign knowledgeable support staff that could provide guidance with your new remote employees. This way, they will feel that they have a mentor whom they can always call for help. 2 Issues on hardware and software compatibility Not all people are technologically inclined and having a remote work setup can be frustrating, especially when issues on hardware and software arise. Without any IT support staff nearby, productivity time will be drastically affected. It’s best to practice being proactive and provide your employees with guidelines for fixing issues. You can also provide tutorials and FAQs on how to properly use the tools that you will provide. This way you’ll save your remote workers downtime and the hassle of dealing with hardware and software incompatibility. Ruminate December 2012 | 22
  26. 26. Top 5 Problems of Remote Workers Today and How To Solve Them3No social life The office is one big social space for manypeople and the transition from on-site toremotely working can be a shock to newbies.Having a new work environment all to yourselfwill be a new experience, plus it takes sometime to accept the fact that they’ve lost thesocial aspect they’ve always been used to. To save your staff from the loneliness ofworking alone, organize regular staff event sothat they’ll get the chance to know the other 5people they’re working with in the cyber office. Promotion can take a long time Working remotely can be a big challenge for4Rewards are somewhat intangible Most remote workers feel their worth being those who want to climb up the ladder of the workforce. With the work distribution, they will feel more often than not more like a tool to getdisregarded and their efforts unnoticed because the job done without their abilities beingof the cyber barrier in remote workplaces. As a noticed. This is especially true when companiessupervisor, make them feel valued by giving also employ on-site staff.them positive feedback to increase their morale. As the employer, it is your responsibility toWhile a tap on the back and a verbal praise is make it clear that promotions are performancenext to impossible in a remote working place, based, so that remote staff will feel they are asspending time to make a customized short visible and valuable as on site on their job well done will suffice. While remote working provides numerous benefits, there are also problems that need to be dealtwith. This way, the distribution of workload will be easier and your work staff will be happier andmore productive and satisfied with how you handle the business.Source: GigaOm Ruminate December 2012 | 23
  27. 27. More from Motivate Employees With a BIG CAR What do employees really want? Their paychecks plus the benefits would be your instant answer, but there’s more to that. Although a good salary is important, it’s only a part of what they love about their jobs. What they really want is simply, a BIG CAR. T hat’s right. Having a BIG CAR not only makes your workers feel satisfied, it also helps keep them motivated. But this doesn’t mean you’ll have to give each of them a Hummer (we know that’s too much). BIG CAR is simply an acronym, and we’ll tackle what each letter means below. Belongingness Belongingness is a human need for the mind and soul and it greatly affects how someone functions, especially socially and mentally. Remember your employees are human beings too and the sense of belonging in the workplace is what keeps them stay and motivated. Make your employees learn about you and each other better through fun side activities like parties or sports. Simple chit-chats over coffee or even free company shirt giveaways can make them feel a part of a big family. Involvement Employees are always eager to apply their skills and knowledge to their jobs. They have a lot to suggest in fact so let them be free to share these ideas during work. No one wants to be a robot who just takes orders. Let everyone involved by sharing your ideas, listen to theirs and even have a healthy argument to prove each other’s points. With these, your employees would feel important, be more interested and gladly accept challenges. Growth Learning doesn’t stop after studying. It’s a continuous experience and should definitely be available to your employees. Fewer learning activities create less motivated employees and thus lead to less productivity. Ruminate December 2012 | 24
  28. 28. Motivate Employees With a BIG CAR Prevent having stagnant employees and give them a reason to be excited with new challenges andresponsibilities by offering learning opportunities both in and out of the office. More than acquiringnew knowledge, training your employees lets them renew their energy and creativity, driving them toperform better.Connection “How are you?” A simple yet meaningful question that shows that somehow in your tight scheduleyou still have the time to show your employees that you care. Short personal whats-ups, asking for what they need, or just a “Hello” with a sincere smileconnects you to your people, even if you’re just passing by their cubicles. Easy but it could be a daymaker.Achievement There’s no point in doing something if you don’t have a goal. You and your employees must have aclear line of sight on what should be done and where you want to go. Share to your employees the company’s goal and assign them their missions that should beaccomplished for a certain time. This will tell them where they’re heading and push more to reach thegoal. In the end, they’ll feel better knowing that they were a part of creating something big andsuccessful.Recognition Getting noticed and feeling appreciated are what your employees want the most. After long days ofhard work to finish something, the best thing they can hear from you is that they did a good job andyou fully appreciated it. Saying “You did well!”, rewarding certificates of recognition, or giving better incentives to thosewho deserve it will create happy and fully engaged employees. These will also drive other workers towork better. Start having that BIG CAR in your company, make sure it’s working fine and nothing’s missing tohave a productive and happy ‘road trip’ with your workers.Source: MindFlash, Ruminate December 2012 | 25
  29. 29. More from How To Get Pricing Right For Your Business H ave you ever wondered why a lot of people are willing to pay a lot of money for products with low quality? Or have you ever looked around shops and wondered why so many items have prices ending in the amount .99? Well, it’s really a pretty basic concept in marketing: the way you price your product affects what your customers think about it. Here’s something every marketer should know: every customer has her own preconceptions regarding any product or service they will be buying. In other words, everyone has a price range; it’s simple psychology. When you quote a price that’s outside their price range, whether it’s too high or too low, you better be able to justify it or say goodbye to your sale. Here are some pricing tips to help you close more deals: Bundle your products There are two ways that businesses get Bundling your service is all about giving the pricing wrong today: the first is when they client an idea of the value of the product bunch all their services together into one without itemizing every bit with a cost estimate. generic and vague offer: something like “IT People today are task-oriented, so every service Solutions: $3,500.” People are likely to shy should be broken down into tasks, not away from this because they have no idea what timetables. Make sure that the client knows the value of the product is. Similarly, you should what he or she is getting and that every element also avoid pricing each item individually, as this of your service bundle is essential to the whole. lead customers to question the value of each element. Ruminate December 2012 | 26
  30. 30. How To Get Pricing Right For Your BusinessCharge for value, not cost. A sure way to get yourself stuck workingwithout making any real income is thinking Options, options and optionsthat value is the same as cost. When you price Avoid backing the potential into a corneryour items, don’t price them by thinking about where he or she has to say yes or no to yourwhat they cost you and then add a bit of price. Make sure you offer options. This actuallymarkup. That’s transactional thinking and quite puts your potential customer into a state offrankly, it won’t get you either income or mind where they’re already decided on gettingcustomer loyalty. your service, and only just have to decide on Think about what a specific customer would customizing their personal willing to pay for what you have to offer. Thekey here is to get patronage, not a singletransaction. Remember that repeat business iswhat every enterprise thrives on. Use discounts for the right reasons When you do offer discounts, do it to encourage right customer behavior. Don’t offer discounts just to get customers, it devalues yourDon’t blink: reduce value, not just price business. Offer discounts for paying up front, or Some customers like to play a bit of ‘business for paying with cash, not credit card. Usechicken’. Cite a price and they’ll haggle, asking discounts to make things more convenient foryou to lower the price or threaten to walk away. you, not to get customers.Whatever you do, do not give a discount. This The right pricing strategy will not just givewill get them thinking that the service you offer you better income, it will also get customers inis at a lesser value than they thought. If you the right mindset about your business. Tryreally want to work with that specific client, these strategies out and tell us which of thesetake a look at the items on the bundled price pricing techniques work for quoted and ask them which services orelements they would be willing to forego in Source: MindFlash, Work.comorder to pay less. Ruminate December 2012 | 27
  31. 31. More from Get Inspired By Copying The Best G reat ideas are often inspired, be it from nature, existing tools, and other great ideas. Think about it: if the apple hadn’t fall from the tree, Isaac Newton wouldn’t have thought about that universal force that pulls everything to the Earth’s surface we all now know as gravity. A new concept will always attribute itself to an older concept. We get ideas from other ideas, and we really can’t do without inspiration. In the workplace, inspiration is one of the driving forces behind creativity. Sometimes, though, expressing an idea, no matter how great, can be difficult. It’s hard to tell others exactly what you want, so you have to give them something they can base their work on. That’s where the “peg” comes in. “Peg” is ad-speak for “inspiration” or “basis.” It’s what you show your team to give them an idea for the kind of look or feel you’d like for a certain product. For every project, it’s important to give your team a peg so they can see a more concrete concept of what you want, and work within reasonable limitations. Here’s an example: you want a neat, magazine-type website where you can introduce your company, boast of your previous achievements, show your products and services, while connecting with your clients. You can explain all these to your team, but for additional inspiration, you can give a peg, such as they can follow. Ruminate December 2012 | 28
  32. 32. Get Inspired By Copying The Best Pegs can definitely make you and your team’s life easier. With good reference, you can:- create clearer communication lines between you and your team.- whip up better ideas, products, and executions by revolutionizing previously effective concepts- save time by doing away with back-and-forth paper and email work due to revisions. Now, you might ask yourself: “I’m getting all these really neat ideas from other people and usingthem as pegs — does that mean that I’m plagiarizing them?” Don’t worry, you’re not. Gettinginspiration from great pegs isn’t idea stealing — as long as you don’t copy it pixel by pixel. Many greatwriters, artists, and photographers all have their own sources of inspiration. What they did was totake an old idea and transform it into something wholly new and relevant, and call it their own. So the next time you brief your team about a new assignment, give them something to work with.Inspire them with an old concept, let them build on it, and watch them create something bigger andbetter. Ruminate December 2012 | 29
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