Latest Stimulus Bill | IT Project Management Tips | Today’s COVID-19 Updates
So there is a new stimulus bill in the works and I just saw this article about it.
Latest Corona Virus Stimulus Bill
I found this especially interesting:
“On ending the additional $600 in unemployment benefits the federal government was supplying, Kudlow argued that the extra money was hurting small businesses from hiring workers. “We have had a flood of inquiries and phone calls and complaints that small stores and businesses, restaurants can’t hire people back,” he said. “They went too far. Maybe last March, it was necessary for that, but, really, there are consequences of people not returning to work.” Mnuchin earlier in the day on “Fox News Sunday” said it a little more bluntly: “I think workers and Americans understand the concept that you shouldn’t be paid more to stay home than to work.” Mnuchin said the new bill will provide additional unemployment benefits, but noted that it will be less than the payments issued under the CARES Act. He said some workers were collecting more than they earned on the job. As a result, when businesses were reopening some employees did not have an incentive to return to work.”
At CK we tried to hire someone several weeks back that said “naa, I am making more (than the job paid) sitting at home”. I get that when all this went down they were moving fast and perhaps overlooked the possibility of these scenarios, but I am certainly glad they are fixing them. You could call it an ethical issue for someone to turn down a job because the unemployment check is more than what they could earn – but we just shouldn’t put people in the position to have to choose. That’s like laying $100 bills all over the office and having hidden cameras so you can fire anyone that touches one. Anyway, I am glad they are fixing it.
I am also glad that there was money available for people during the beginning of all this when places like restaurants were closed completely. I am also VERY grateful that in our business almost everyone was able to work from home. Many businesses did not have that luxury. I remember when all this first started some restaurants trying to hang on by doing take out. I was going to every restaurant around my house daily trying to do my little part to keep them going, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough. For those reasons I am glad that this unemployment was available when it was. Most people were not working not out of their own choice, but because there just was no work to do. But now we must start reeling this back in.
Your thoughts? How has this been a blessing to you or someone you know during this time?
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Project Management Tips from Cris – IT and Dev Manager
Here are some tips that I’ve learned while managing projects. Most, if not all, of these tips came by learning the hard way (by doing the wrong things). I hope you guys can learn from my mistakes and be successful in any project that you undertake!
- Sometimes overlooked and sometimes seen as a potential time-sink – planning is a very important step in project management. As Stephen Covey says, “begin with the end in mind” (this not only happens to apply to habits, but in the project planning process as well). Why are you doing this project (what is the goal?) Who are the stakeholders? Who is responsible for the work? What’s the schedule? These are just a few of the critical questions that you need to ask during planning. The end-result of answering these questions should lead to a plan with clear accountability, action items, milestones, budget, and timeline.
- Overcommunicating is better than under-communicating. I’ve never had a colleague or employee come up to me and say, “You know what, I don’t appreciate you overcommunicating!” Usually they are upset when they aren’t receiving communication. Leaders are repeaters. Be transparent and set clear expectations. If it’s an important piece of communication that needs to be conveyed, try meeting in person (or on video chat if in person is not possible). Email or other written forms of communication can often be overlooked, be vague, or even taken the wrong way (how do you convey tone and emotion through email, without using half a dozen emojis and without sounding like a 6th grader?).
- Create touch points at regular intervals to meet with your team to make sure things are going smoothly. I love the concept of having a daily scrum – a fifteen-minute time-boxed meeting where each of your team members answers three questions – What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? Do you have any blockers (or impediments in your way)? One of your jobs as a Project Manager is to remove those blockers or find someone who can remove those blockers.
- Build a relationship with your team. This will help with alignment and buy-in of the project. This goes hand in hand with overcommunicating and creating touch points. One of our core values at CK is “Make It About Relationship” and to be an effective Project Manager you must have great relationship with your team, your stakeholders, and everyone you interact with. A little gratitude and encouragement go a long way. Learn your team’s strengths and weaknesses (nobody is perfect) – if possible, pair teammates up that complement each other’s skills. Appreciate those you work with and really care about their success. Their successes lead to your success.
- Eliminate small problems – small problems (infrequent or one-off issues) that are not addressed become big problems further down the road as well as when things scale. Learn to recognize potentially problematic issues and eliminate them before they balloon out of control and threaten the success of the project.
- Sometimes speed comes at the cost of quality and if you are not careful you can run into something that I absolutely dread, technical debt (a concept borrowed from the software development world). Technical debt originally applied to software development teams that rushed to push code live which later needed to be refactored because the code was sloppy and lead to bugs and other issues. We can apply this concept to any facet of project management from planning, to budgeting, to risk management, etc… It’s like that old saying “don’t waste time doing it twice”. Avoid technical debt whenever possible. It may seem like you are getting things done quicker, but it will hurt when you find out you must do the work again.
- Be vigilant in controlling or curtailing scope creep. Your stakeholder (often an executive or even your boss) may tell you that they must add something to the project that you’ve meticulously planned and that is being completed on schedule. The answer to your stakeholder’s request isn’t “no”, or “that’s impossible”, or “how could you?!” The answer is never “no”. The answer is “Absolutely! We’ll definitely make it a priority in the next phase of the project after we finish the first phase.” Or sometimes it’s “Yes let’s do that, I’ll need x amount of dollars so that we can ensure the project gets completed on schedule”. Find creative ways to say “Yes” – nobody likes to be told “no”, but at the same time keep your job is to keep the project on pace for completion.
- Set backs will happen. These are the best opportunities to learn and grow. Don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go according to plan or something happens to derail things. Recognize your emotions, but always look at set-backs from an objective perspective (This is easier said than done). Ask yourself – What can I do better in the future? What actually went wrong (what was the root cause of the issue)? Were there any early warning signs I missed? Could this issue have been prevented, or was it inevitable? You’ll find key insights when looking into these issues. Also don’t pretend the issues or setbacks don’t exist. Take ownership of the issue and make sure that everyone working on the project understands where things went wrong. If possible, look for an alternative solution or another way forward.
Thanks Cris! I have always appreciated your PM skills and especially your growth along the way! Thanks for sharing! -Craig
Please let me know how I can be of service to you. If you need assistance with something, advice, or even if you just need someone to pray for you, I am here and listening.
Craig – CEO
P.S. Don’t forget to go follow us on Facebook here: CK Facebook Page.
COVID-19 / Business News for Today:
- Over 10,264,000 people worldwide have recovered and over 2,137,000 people in the US have recovered! The death toll in the US stands at 150,400.
- Senate Republicans have unveiled their proposal for a new $1 trillion coronavirus relief bill, setting the stage for a showdown with congressional Democrats in the coming days. The legislation would temporarily reduce emergency unemployment benefits from $600 to $200 a week to encourage people to get back to work, while also authorizing a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks.
- Two potential coronavirus vaccines are moving into the last phase of testing with 30,000-person trials. Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s leading infectious-disease expert, said Monday that he was “cautiously optimistic” about the candidate developed by Moderna in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health.
- Robert C. O’Brien, President Trump’s national security adviser, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, becoming the highest-ranking Trump administration official to do so.
- Belgium will hit pause on its coronavirus reopening plans, the country’s prime minister said Monday, as a climbing number of infections in the northern province of Antwerp threatens to undo its progress in containing the pandemic. For four weeks, every household will be allowed to interact with only five people, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said in announcing a restriction that echoes the country’s response during the peak of the pandemic.
- Google won’t bring its 200,000 employees back to the office until July 2021, pushing past its January timeline as coronavirus cases surge across the country and a vaccine remains months away.
- The outbreak among members of the Miami Marlins — with 11 players and two coaches testing positive by Monday, according to an official familiar with the testing — has not brought down the entire MLB season, and MLB officials hoped the outbreak would be limited to the Marlins, allowing the season to go forward.
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