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4 tips for designing digital marketing that delivers

Posted By Patrick Hunt, creative director at Burns Marketing, Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Your customers don’t need you to tell them what to buy. They have the Internet, social media, referral platforms, peer reviews, and so much more. There’s a 24/7 world of robust research right there for them whenever they need. They are more informed than ever about entire categories, companies, and competitors – right down to which solutions are perfect for their exact situations. In fact, your customers probably won’t call your sales representatives until the moment they’re ready to buy.

So while they’re making up their minds, what makes you think they’re going to open an email that talks about how awesome your solutions are? Or that they’ll visit your website and click a link that says something like, “We optimize your business intelligence for blah blah, blah blah…”

Hint: They won’t. You know why? Because everyone else is doing that, too. So when your customers are actually searching for unbiased information, they’re actually forced to wade through a ton of barely hidden sales pitches that all sound virtually identical. No wonder they avoid your business development until the last possible moment.

All that said, if you can leverage today’s technology to give them real, helpful ideas that can streamline their buying process, you can achieve a huge edge over your competitors. Here are a few things to consider as you attempt to locate your elusive customers and give them the help they’re looking for. 

Empower yourself as a digital marketing technologist 

1.       Are you different? No really. Truly, meaningfully different? Most often, the answer is probably not. Companies today are more likely to spout the same industry buzzwords than address real customer needs. Can you gain an undeniable advantage by being easier to recognize? Absolutely.

2.       Are you simple? Because here’s an unwelcome paradox that’s all too common among today’s businesses. Customers don’t want to feel like they’re unintelligent, so companies try to tell them everything they need to know about any given solution. But in doing so, companies are making customers feel like they don’t understand all those complexities. Take a step back and reconsider the information your customers actually need, and give it to them as simply as possible.

3.       Can you make your customers happy? Keep in mind that there’s a huge difference between customer satisfaction and customer happiness. has highly satisfied customers. Zappos has ecstatic, die-hard believers in their brand. Which one is a billion dollar company?

4.       Are you shaking things up? If you’re not, you’re probably not worth paying attention to.

Patrick Hunt is the creative director at Burns Marketing.

Tags:  marketing 

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C-Level @ A Mile High Bidder Profile: Shane Wiesjahn, Infinia Strategies

Posted By Amy Bierman, Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, February 25, 2015

As a business professional who has attended C-Level at Mile High, what was your experience with the event?
My experience was that the event was well ran. There were a lot of competitors so it made it a little tough to stand out. 

What were you looking to get out of the event?
We were looking to meet CEOs, CTOs, that were open to using vendors for staff augmentation.

Tell me about your experience with bidding and winning time with one of the celebrities.
We bid on Jim Franklin and won. We got to have dinner with him and talk about challenges in attracting IT talent here in Denver.

How has that relationship impacted your business? Are you still in touch with him today?
This was a few years ago. I do believe we won some business from the meeting. Jim is very approachable, so yes I have been in contact with him. He has since moved on to Sendgrid and now on to his next adventure. He has been very involved with CTA and its events.

What advice would you give to the 2015 attendees who are looking to make the most out of this event?
Do your homework; know who is going to be there. If you know someone who works at those companies give them a call and see what is on the horizon. When you get a chance to meet the Celebrities make sure you are prepared.


Get other tips on bidding at the event by registering for the Bidder Webinar on Wednesday, March 11th. 

Register for C-Level 2015 here.

Tags:  C-Level 

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Software Development Skills Survey

Posted By Wendy Nkomo, Colorado Technology Association (CTA), Thursday, February 26, 2015
As part of a collaborative effort to address workforce issues in the technology industry, TECNA, University of Phoenix and Apollo Education Group conducted a joint research study on software development talent acquisition, skills gaps, and educational requirements.

In In June 2014, 760 respondents from technology companies in more than 29 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces participated in a 22 question online survey. In October 2014, a virtual roundtable was held with 16 industry professionals who validated and augmented the survey findings. - See more at:

Tags:  software development  talent  workforce 

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The attributes that make a company great to work for

Posted By Aaron Mills, Thursday, February 26, 2015

On January 26th, 2015, EdgeLink Denver sponsored the Denver Visual Studio User Group and presented to almost 100 Software Engineers. The group is hosted monthly by Chris Wallace and held at Microsoft in the Denver Tech Center for developers who are utilizing the Microsoft stack.


Aaron Mills, Denver Manager, made the presentation on ‘The attributes that make a company great to work for’ after gathering  6 weeks of current research from the Denver Market.


The team gathered information from both companies and employees about what makes their company great to work for and how to retain your talent.


The results were interesting to say the least! Denver companies are offering waffle breakfasts, bike sharing, dogs in the office, and free lunches. The participants in the study had plenty of information about why they love (or hate) the place they work!


The most commonly stated benefits were compensation, healthcare, 401k, stock options, and bonuses. Also listed high on the list were traits of great employers; trusting their people, making sure they have the tools and resources to do their jobs, and encouraging independent thought.


By doing these things…companies attract great people, and working with great people was one of the most important factors that employees look for. While all of these were deemed important, it seemed that the almighty dollar reigned supreme – with the most frequent responses relating to compensation.

Finally, the survey asked developers what they would like the leaders of Colorado companies to know about them:

1.       “We are good at what we do and expect to be treated well and paid well”

2.       “New technologies are more about what we can accomplish with them… then they are to just put on our resume”

3.       “Trust us, encourage and appreciate us, and give us the tools we need. In turn, we’ll accomplish some amazing things for you!”

The EdgeLink team provided empanadas for dinner and everyone had fun learning and sharing together.


Hiring Managers & CTO’s came away with a much greater understanding for what developers are looking for in the current market, and what really motivates them.

“The easiest way to understand the motivations of the people that work for you…is to flat out ask them!” said Aaron Mills, Denver Manager, EdgeLink.


The Denver Visual Studio User Group meets the last Monday of every month in the Microsoft office at 7595 Technology Way, Denver, CO 80237


For more information about the survey, or to find out more about the Colorado Technology Market, feel free to call EdgeLink at 303-953-4374, or visit

For more information about the EdgeLink team:

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C-Level 2015 Celebrity Profile: Sherri Hammons, CTO at IQNavigator

Posted By Brooke Carrillo, Recruiting Manager at Robert Half Technology, Wednesday, February 25, 2015

When did you first attend C-Level and why?

I first attended C-Level two years ago and it was because everybody in the industry was attending. I thought it was amazing. It was a really great experience to be in the room with so many of my peers. I have a blast at C-Level every year.


What are you looking forward to at this year's event on March 19th?

I am so excited to see the people in our industry that I never get to see because we are all so busy. I love meeting new people too. It is the place to be.


What does it mean to you to be a C-Level celebrity?

It means two things. First, it means I can give back to the technology community. As C-Level celebrities, we are donating our time to allow attendees to give to a wonderful organization, that being CTA. Second, it is simply an honor to be recognized as a technology leader in our community.


You've been at IQNavigator for more than a year now, how are things going in your role there?

It is going great. I love my new role. I love working with our CEO, Joe Juliano, and I am excited to be working in the private sector space. IQNavigator has really cool stuff going on and it is a lot of fun to be a part of disruptive technology.


You were previously the CTO for the Governor's Office, what excites you most about what is happening in the Colorado technology industry this year?

Our Governor is progressive and wants to make Colorado known as a tech hub. He is doing that, his efforts are bringing the right talent here and it is very exciting.


What would you tell another CTO who is growing their technology team in the Colorado market? Any advice on how to build the best technology team?

As a CTO or CIO you have to create an environment where people want to work for you. The companies need to look attractive. Being in Colorado gives us an upper hand because it is such a great place to live but it is our job to build great companies.


Colorado is often ranked as a top place to start a technology business in the national media. What do you think of how our startup community stacks up with other tech cities?

We have a great community- and a lot of incubators that really help our Colorado startups. We have foundational support for this ecosystem, VC money is growing and we have a good round of angel investors. Rally Software is a great success story.


You've won several awards, two of the most recent ones related to being a woman in the technology business. What advice do you have for women in the Colorado technology industry?

I've been on panels for this before and it is a great question. My advice is to not make gender a part of the conversation. I don’t think men would say that women are not as good technically. As women we have to own our skills. Gender is not a problem so talk about real issues.


Is there anything else you would like to share with CTA blog readers?

Everyone should attend C-Level. It is for a great cause. Open up your pocket books if your company is able to do so because CTA is a great organization that supports our technology community.


Thanks for your time Sherri! C-Level attendees are looking forward to you meeting you on March 19th!

View Sherri's C-Level celebrity profile here


Sherri Hammons joined IQNavigator from Colorado Governor Hickenlooper’s administration where she was the state’s chief technology officer in the Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT). In her role as CTO at IQNavigator, Hammons is responsible for driving continued innovation in the company’s solutions for non-employee workforce management and services procurement.

Tags:  C-Level 

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1 Million Cups: An Introduction to New Companies in the Colorado Market!

Posted By Corrine Long, Edgelink, Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Attending my first 1 Million Cups event last June, I had no idea what I was signing up for. But, inspired by their tradition of asking every single presenter, “what can we do to help you,” I knew I needed to be a part of it.

1 Million Cups started in 2011 in Kansas City, MO by the Kauffman Foundation with the premise that they wanted to build a local entrepreneurial community. They decided that it would take (at least) 1 Million Cups of coffee to do that. Less than two years later they are now in 65+ cities!

Think Shark Tank, but without the pitch for money and the shrewdness of Mr. Wonderful. Each week, each city hosts two local entrepreneurs who prepare a six-minute presentation for the audience and then open it up for a twenty-minute Q&A session. The entrepreneurs get immediate, candid feedback and gain real connections (much more than just a LinkedIn acceptance). The presenters are founders of start-ups that are ideally under 3 years old, post revenue and/or funding.

Since stepping in as an organizer this past summer, I’ve taken on the role of Recruiter (imagine that) where I am responsible for finding and scheduling local start-ups. Thankfully, we live in a city (Go Broncos!) that is filled with incredibly brave and crazy entrepreneurs that are changing technology and software. While there are many ways to meet people, 1 Million Cups is unique. We happen over coffee, not cocktails. Yes, I know a nice Pinot Grigio in your hand can calm your nerves, but our format doesn’t force you to mingle and awkwardly approach someone with your own elevator pitch. We foster an educational environment where you can passively listen or actively engage

Last summer, I introduced an idea called “Super Star Start-up” – a chance to hear from Denver based start-ups that have already achieved great success, but are still early enough to vividly recall the feelings and emotions of their story.

In August, I was able to secure one of the co-founders of Craftsy, Josh Scott. Craftsy launched in May 2011 and offers hundreds of classes in quilting, sewing, knitting, cake decorating, cooking and more through online video lessons. And get this: it was founded by 4 guys in their late 30s who didn’t have any interest in crafts (in fact, they tried wine tasting and economics classes first)!

A few key takeaways from what Josh shared? 1) It is OK if you are not your customer. But even if you are your customer, 2) get to know your customer; listen and be humble in learning from them. 3) When hiring, be proactive! Don’t hire for your current pain, but for the long term.

Just this week, we had another “Super Star Star-up”, and welcomed co-founder Luke Swanson from Ibotta. Founded three years ago this March, and launched in December 2012, Ibotta is a free mobile app where you can unlock cash back rewards on great products; simply scan your receipt and get real, actual, spendable, cash deposited back in your account. Points are cute but cash buys coffee. Sweet, glorious, coffee. They now have over 6 million users and are one of the most frequently used apps (running stats comparable to the giants like Twitter, Instagram & Facebook).

Some things we learned from Luke are: 1) Don’t Assume! Early on, they were concerned users would be unwilling to take a picture of their receipt to save money; so they tested it. They set up a table outside of Coors Field, and asked people to try it. Gathering feedback showed them that this could work! 2) Technology is awesome: Ibotta founders built their app knowing what technology is capable of, rather than just trying to get a newspaper coupon on a phone like some of their competitors. They also added gamification to increase engagement. 3) Step out of your comfort zone: Luke left two well-paying, stable jobs for careers in start-ups. With risk comes tremendous reward.

While we are currently booked through March, there will certainly be times we have to scramble when a last minute opportunity fills up an entrepreneur’s calendar. Our presenters have given us a lot of feedback and believe 1 Million Cups provides meaningful connections and insightful feedback. You never know when that advice could help them raise that next funding round, connect with a business partner or acquire a new customer that could launch them into Super Star status. 

As part of the Kauffman tradition, I will eventually pass the reigns of co-organizer to another bright-eyed audience member who has no idea what they’re getting into. Until then, I will continue my hunt for courageous entrepreneurs willing to share their story. I am so thankful for the inspiration, connections and friendships that the 1 Million Cups community has offered me. Huge shout out to our current team of organizers that make this happen every week- it takes all of us: Breahna Beecher (Lead- entrepreneur, Revive Design Studios), Brent Cutcliffe (entrepreneur, Qwinix), Antoine Valot (entrepreneur), and Martha Brown (entrepreneur, Brown Bear Social). Thank you!

We hope you will join us next week, February 25th for Cheddar Up and Equipment Village!

1 Million Cups is just one way I strive to fulfill the EdgeLink mission “to make a positive impact on the lives and people that we touch”. 

Tags:  startups 

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C-Level Sponsor Profile: Commvault

Posted By Karen Sutherland, Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Colorado Technology Association has many great sponsors this year for its famous C-Level event on March 19th. We are lucky to have Commvault as one of our Title Sponsors. Below, we hear from Krischel Crawley of Commvault, Enterprise Sales Director, on her experience with this spectacular event.


Why is Commvault a Title Sponsor of this event?

Seven years ago Commvault became an active member of CTA . We found that the C-Level  event was a terrific venue for both vendors and executives to connect and engage, especially since we all have little time to meet. We see old friends, meet new ones and appreciate the great networking and business ecosystem that CTA provides. 


What overall value does Commvault get from being part of CTA?

The opportunity to build relationships with organizations is invaluable. Our sponsorship has paid off in dividends. We bid on a CIO a few years ago and not only did business together, but now we’re good friends. Being ‘bid’ on as a celebrity can be a different experience, but if you go into it with a good attitude you’ll make meaningful connections both professionally and personally.

We also appreciate what CTA does for the business community. They are a huge advocate for Colorado businesses. This event raises funds for CTA so it’s really a win-win.


What other types of CTA programs is Commvault involved with?

We’ve sponsored the APEX Awards event which provides us a wonderful insight into the Colorado business community – from start-ups to mid-range to the enterprise. And we always sponsor a table at the Women in Technology Conference.  Last year we heard from a woman who climbed Mt. Everest. She was so amazing and motivational, I asked her to speak at our Sales Conference.


Any highlights from last year’s C-Level event?

We’ve learned to be smart about our bidding. We typically target about 2-3 CXOs and last year the bids got too high, so we got creative and asked one of our partners to split the investment with us.  A benefit of being a Title Sponsor is being on the committee to target the celebrities. We also get a good number of tickets that we offer our employee, partners and sales team. C-Level is the premier event in Colorado – an event not to miss!


Tags:  C-Level Sponsors 

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LifeSpan Receives OSHA SHARP Award in Denver

Posted By Katrina Bramhall, Tuesday, February 24, 2015

LifeSpan Receives OSHA SHARP Award in Denver

Second Location to Receive this Health & Safety Recognition

February 24, 2015. Denver, CO. LifeSpan, a leading provider of IT Asset Disposal (ITAD) services, announced that its Denver, Colorado plant has been recognized by OSHA (the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration) with the SHARP award. Last December, LifeSpan’s Tampa, FL facility received the same award. The Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program award is given to small and medium-sized employers who run excellent health and safety operations.

OSHA Safety Consultant Casey Barnes, and OSHA Health Consultant Layne Sargent were on hand to present LifeSpan’s Denver team with the award. OSHA presented the team with a Company plaque and an Employee Recognition plaque. The SHARP website will be publishing a photo of the achievement:

“The group of companies who receive the SHARP award are few and elite,” said Barnes. Approximately 300 companies apply and are audited for the award each year in Colorado, but only about 40 have received the honor. In addition to LifeSpan being a part of this select group in Colorado, it is also one of approximately 50 small-to-mid-sized companies in Florida to have been recognized with the SHARP award.

 “All corporate safety managers want this award, but without employee commitment, it just isn’t achievable,” said Sargent as she presented the Employee Recognition plaque.

To receive the award, OSHA requires companies to pass several key components: complete a health and safety visit by a regional OSHA consultant, satisfactorily complete checklists of specific safety and health measures, and identify hazards to an onsite OSHA consultant. SHARP recipients must also create and uphold a safety and health management system. OSHA also factors in the Days Away, Restricted Time (DART) Rate and Total Recordable Case rate (TRC), all of which must fall below the US average for the industry of the company.

LifeSpan adheres to its industry certification standards, like e-Stewards and ISO14001, and OSHA credits the company with surpassing those requirements. Health and safety standards have long been a priority for LifeSpan. Today, LifeSpan continues to encourage its employees at all locations to attend safety meetings and voice matters of concern in order to keep incidences at a minimum, and to maintain the highest possible level of employee health and safety.

“All LifeSpan facilities have gone without an accident since June 2013,” said Matt Hansen, LifeSpan Director of Operations. “This speaks to the workplace culture and you working safely. I’m proud of everyone here,” said Hansen to his team of employees.

“It’s great for our employees to get this recognition from OSHA for their commitment to a safe workplace,” said Dag Adamson, President of LifeSpan. “This award also highlights that we provide a great place to work.”

About LifeSpan

Founded in 2002, LifeSpan is a full service IT asset disposal (“ITAD”) provider.  The company provides electronic asset retirement including end-of-life data security and data destruction, asset remarketing and electronics recycling services to enterprises, lease companies, and government and non-profit organizations across North American and internationally. LifeSpan offers organizations the flexibility of handling large quantities of equipment or many locations with a customized program. LifeSpan maintains the highest standards and certifications for data security, environmental protection and ethical business practices. LifeSpan holds industry certifications including NAID AAA, ISO 14001, and e-Stewards. LifeSpan is a wholly owned subsidiary of CDI Corporation. Learn more at



Cindy Miller


(303) 832-7076


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C-Level @ A Mile High Volunteer Profile

Posted By Daniel Seatvet, Strategic Account Manager at Softmart, Monday, February 9, 2015

Every year the Colorado Technology Association is fortunate enough to amass so many incredible volunteers to help out with the C-level @ A Mile High event. This is one of CTA’s premier events of the year and nothing could happen with it if it weren’t for the volunteers. We asked 10 year volunteer veteran George Tyler, Chief Alliance Officer at 3rd Eagle about his experience.

How did you first hear about CTA’s C-level event?
I believe that I went to the first one, which was about 5-6 months after I started to attend and volunteer for events. The DEMOGala was the first major event that I just attended. I did attend one event in Colorado Springs where I drove from Arizona to attend the event. I figured that I need to be involved and therefore I was included on all announcements.

Why do you volunteer every year?
This is a way to give back to the tech community and the Colorado community. I believe that the two always need help and I will do what I can to make them grow. I want to stay in Colorado, and I want others to have the opportunities to stay here.

What do you get out of it for you and your company?
I get to meet great people and wonderful companies. CTA events attract people that do not attend other events in the area. I would guess that 70-80% of the attendees do not attend other events, and I wouldn’t meet them any other way. CTA is the organization required for anyone in technology in Colorado.

Why should other CTA members volunteer?
Where else can you meet the movers and shakers of technology? Here is an opportunity to get to know others in supporting the local businesses. As a volunteer, you get to know people on a more personable level. You make great friends, and it is fun.


Interested in learning more about CTA volunteer opportunities? Contact Lizz McGehee at


Tags:  C-Level Events  Networking 

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Simplify the Way You Work

Posted By Robin Visser, QuantumPM, Thursday, February 5, 2015

Simplify the Way You Work

QuantumPM blog Simplify the way you work

Simplify the way you work.  This has been QuantumPM’s tag line for many years and we absolutely believe in it. Our Project Management consultants want to offer you a better way to start 2015.  Here are some ideas on how to get a fresh start on your projects and everything else you do at work?

 Laurie’s thoughts: Organizing your work life

Whew! The craziness and fun of the holiday season is over and now it’s time to get organized and ready for the year at hand.  I have a lot of cleaning up to do – sorting, tossing, organizing and all the other things we all do at this time of the year.  But, I don’t want to just de-clutter my “stuff”, I also want to focus on ways I can simplify my work life (and personal life) so I can find more time to enjoy the things I love and learn something new.  There are many approaches to this; here are my top strategies for getting it done.  It’s time for a fresh start so let’s get going!


  1. Clarify what you’re doing and why.  Are your goals for the year clear?  Do you know your part in the bigger picture and how you can make an impact on your job and the organization?  If yes, congratulations!  Now write it down and review it periodically to stay on track.  If not, now would be a good time to have a discussion with your boss and teammates to clarify those goals.  Once defined, break them into actionable steps and communicate them with your teammates so everyone has the same vision.  Focusing an organization to move in the same direction, with the same goals, takes effort.  But if you communicate clearly and help people understand their place in the plan, you may actually get there!


  1. Review company processes and figure out what’s working and what’s not. If it’s working, leave it alone. But if there are issues with processes you’ve been using and people seem confused, it’s probably time to re-evaluate and refresh them.  It’s a huge waste of time and energy to keep doing the same thing, in the same way, just because it’s always been done that way.  Take time to rethink common processes to make them more efficient and easier to follow and then communicate the changes to your team.  It’s a great feeling and relief when your ship is sailing smoothly and people are on board with what they need to do!  Solid processes will make that a reality.


  1. Look ahead at what’s coming to help avoid problems.  What does the year ahead have in store for you?  None of us have crystal balls but we can anticipate things on the horizon that could affect our workload.  Don’t wait to the last minute. Evaluate upcoming issues now and set up some preliminary plans on how to address them.  It might be a new customer, a teammate going on leave, or a company certification that needs to be completed.  Whatever it is, analyze the potential impacts and work with your teammates to identify how you can mitigate the situation.  Planning ahead is a great way to relieve stress and save time!


The common threads in all of these strategies is to communicate and work with your team.  Don’t try to solve issues in a bubble.  We each have our own unique perspectives and when we collaborate and bring those perspectives together, a lot of valuable ideas and solutions can be realized.  Make this a year where you get organized ahead of the game and stay there!


Rose’s thoughts: Simplification isn’t simple

As usual, Laurie put some great ideas together about getting organized in the New Year. The same techniques can be used for your projects but I’d add an emphasis on team communication.  It’s critical and key to keeping your projects organized and on track.  As Project Management consultants, when we look at projects, communication is the one factor that is usually done poorly and can derail the entire project.  But that’s just one area to improve on. Here are some things you can do to keep your projects moving forward in a positive way in the New Year.


  1. Talk about your project – People are often much more receptive to hearing about changes at the beginning of a new year. Since every project is going to change the way things work for someone, there is no better time to let people know what’s happening on your project than now. A very wise person once told me that major changes need to be communicated seven times in seven different ways. The bottom line is that all of us are very busy and messages can easily be missed, ignored, or misinterpreted. So start talking about your project now and then keep sharing information!  Communication needs to be interesting, engaging, and delivered in a variety of ways so that it is actually heard and understood as intended. Take advantage of the New Year as one more reason to let people know what’s going on.


  1. Project scope – The beginning of a new year is a great time to refresh this message. People have been enjoying the holidays and they probably haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about the project. When you communicate, make sure that the message you send is crystal clear: what’s in scope, what’s not in scope, and what’s changed.


  1. Clarity of roles – It’s a new year, is it time to organize a bit differently? Often the start of a year brings new budgets, changes in roles, and other opportunities for a fresh start. Take a look at your team with a critical eye. Is it time to organize things in a new way? Do you have the right skill sets working in the right roles? Is there a way to change things up and possibly be more effective?


  1. Make the most of every day – Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions for your project? Perhaps it is time to start some new habits. For example, agile projects often start each day with a quick meeting to discuss each person’s plan for the day and make sure everyone is on target. Would that work for your team? If not, is there something else that would?


  1. Manage conflict – The beginning of a year is a great time to make sure that any disagreements or serious conflicts have been resolved. People really are more receptive to change at this time of you so take advantage of the opportunity. Don’t let it slip away!

To simplify the way you work, take a fresh look at your projects, communication techniques and operational work. The beginning of a year is a perfect time to start fresh. The changes don’t need to be big to have a big impact.  For helpful tips on managing your resources read Managing Resources without Losing Your Mind.

QuantumPM is a Microsoft Gold Partner specializing in project, program, and portfolio management products and services

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