Essentials of Project Management

There are a few points that we believe that every project manager should remember. These are as follows:

Project Alignment – The PM should make sure that each project aligns with the organization. This is imperative to get support from company executives and other potential stake holders.

Proper Project Plan – The PM and the team need to spend considerable amount of time in requirement analysis and breaking down the work structure. Many projects fail because the plan is not laid out in a proper manner. (Source)

Improper Estimates – The PM needs to be truthful in estimating the completion time and resource requirement for each task and stage of the project. Poor estimation can drive a project to failure very quickly.

Work the Plan – When you have completed the requirement analysis and the the project plan, make sure that you stick to it until the project completion. The plan works only if you do!

Track Changes – Whenever there are changes to your plan, make sure to use a change management system to keep track to changes and then follow the new plan.

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Tips For Keeping Your HVAC Happy And Your Home Cool

With summer almost here, it is critical to keep your house relaxing and cool from the start of the season until the end of the humid and hot weather. The best option for achieving this is an HVAC system. Most people have this type of system installed in their homes already. A well maintained and dependable system will help to save you from the summer heat and the winter cold as well. However, to keep it operating smoothly during the summer and to avoid sweaty unpleasant days due to maintenance and service problems, follow these tips in order to keep your HVAC happy and your home cool all summer long.

1. Clean the air filters on a regular basis.

Cleaning the air filters helps to improve the HVAC heating and cooling performance. All of the foul air and humidity is thrown out by the vent system into the room and along with that dust is absorbed but there are air filters that block them getting inside of the system, while dust particles begin to accumulate on the filters’ surfaces. If you don’t clean the filters in a timely manner, then the blockage may make it difficult for cooling air to come through the vents.

The clogged filters also make your HVAC system have to work longer and hard and places a big load onto your cooling system in order to regular the room’s temperature. This result in heavy amounts of electricity being consumer and the life span of your HVAC system being reduced. Therefore, cleaning your outdoor and indoor filters and help to keep your home cool.

2. Check the system ahead of time

People have a tendency to put of having their HVAC system’s capabilities checked until summer has arrived. Frequently when you need to have your cooling system work properly during the summer, the cooling system ends up not working correctly. This situation is totally avoidable and the trick is to make sure that your HVAC system is checked before summer hits in order to avoid any unnecessary problems.

3. Schedule regular maintenance

It can be expensive to maintain an HVAC system, but replacing and repairing an entire HVAC system is a lot more expensive. It is essential to have a professional and trustworthy HVAC service provider to keep your HVAC system and home happy. It is essential to have your cooling system thoroughly examined two times per year. Scheduling two HVAC service visits at least every year can save you a lot on your repair costs and will increase your HVAC system’s performance and life.

4. Pay attention to warning signs

Whenever strange noises start coming out of the air conditioner or your thermostat starts malfunctioning, those are signs that there is some problem occurring in your cooling system’s functionality. Make sure you check into the problem. Your filter may need to be changed or ice may be built up inside of your system. However, if you are unable to find any problems on your own, give your local AC service provider a call as soon as you can before the problem grows worse and causes damage to your HVAC system.

5. Take good of your outdoor compressor

A cooling system’s outdoor compressor is as important as your indoor system is. All of the heat from the system and room is evacuated out by the outdoor compressor. It is very important that the system not be obstructed. Look out for any grown plants or shrubs around the compressor. If you make sure that the outdoor unit stays clear it will help to ensure that your cooling system works efficiently.

6. Seal the leakage

If your home isn’t cooling properly no matter what temperature your thermostat is set at, then you need to look for leaks inside of your HVAC system ducts. When the system is leaking cool air it is a major malfunction that can cost you a lot in terms of energy consumption. Check for leaks in the ducts and then seal them. That will improve the cooling inside of your home.

7. Place furniture away from your vents

Since cool air flows through the indoor vents and into your home, it is critical that your furniture, and other household items, be placed away from the vents. The area directly in front of your cooling vent will need to be clear so that the cooling area can spread properly throughout your home. This is an efficient way of spending less money on your electricity consumption.

The tips above can help to keep you HVAC happy and your home cool all summer long. By following these easy tips, you can ensure that your HVAC system is long lasting and cost-effective for a sweat free and happy summer.

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Future Of Affordable Urban Living In The Toronto

It is no secret that Toronto’s real estate industry has presented a consistent increase in their market pricing during the better part of this decade. Rather than the normal for real estate markets to aspire and see annual increases, Toronto has noticed a shift in their property prices faster than the majority of other markets.

The average property price of a Toronto detached home has increased by over 32 percent in October as compared to October from the previous year based on Toronto Real Estate Board statistics. Due to this, it has shifted the marketed properties from freehold properties such as semi-detached and detached homes.

Moreover, buyers are moving toward higher density housing, such as multi-level townhouses, and condominiums buildings.

While most city-dwellers have embraced the condominium lifestyle as a form of urban living within high density areas, individuals searching for more traditional homes find themselves needing to move further away from the city to find it. Furthermore, the homes are not always at a price they are able to afford.

What if there was a method of introducing freehold housing within the heart of the city that can accommodate approximately 100,000 people? Wouldn’t this be the solution that is literally in an urban backyard? Of course, this is if your backyard is along a laneway.

The laneway house is a concept introduced to the Toronto area in 2006. While it went nowhere during that year within Toronto, the concept inspired several like-minded cities (including Ottawa and Vancouver) to introduce policies embracing the laneway house. It is true that the concept of the laneway house from a decade ago was not without flaws, and contemplating a separate dwelling that is legally severed required new municipal services by digging up laneways. Nowadays, the laneway housing concept has differed dramatically with the greatest focus being placed on its new approach where structures are treated as secondary dwellings within an existing property.

What does this mean?

Well, it means that the garage at the rear of the property could be rebuilt by the owner to incorporate a second dwelling. It will be serviced via existing municipal service connections; thereby, restricting any neighborhood disruptions and creating an appropriately-sized housing unit ranging from between 700 and 1,500 square feet.

Could this form of housing represent an innovative housing solution to meet the need for housing in the city of Toronto? By including multi-general households where the owner can accommodate parents and children, as well as introduction of rental housing tock to help generate revenue from the property, the answer is a resounding yes!

The design concept of laneway houses is creation of a freehold house within major areas. The houses will be close to public transit, will utilize existing community amenities, and will do so with a reduced level of neighborhood disruption. However, as innovative as this would be it does require the willingness of the community to create the units including citizens, government, and the industry. Unfortunately, at this time, this could be difficult to obtain.

While there are no quick solutions to the problems facing the GTA regarding current housing issues; the approximate 300 kilometers of laneways within the city of Toronto promote the use of the laneway housing concept. The use of this concept could be a highly beneficial one and can be used as a stepping stone for other building ideas within Toronto.

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The Tips Marketing Agencies Need To Know For Project Management

An SEO marketing expert can be flat lined by poor project management. This is why marketing agencies need to look into project management tips that will help them stay on track. There are a number of tips that you can use for this and you need to know what they have.

Have The Right System

The right project management system will help keep everyone in the agency on the same page. There are a lot of different project management systems that you can use for this. However, you need to be careful with the software as it needs to make everything easier for you and not harder. Some systems may be too complex for your agency and this will make project management harder.

When you have one of these systems, everyone in your agency will be able to see what needs to be done. You will also be able to see what the progress of any project is at any time. You can also see if there are common bottlenecks for your projects which you can sort out and ensure that any future projects run smoothly. Common bottlenecks include the approval process that all projects have to go through.

Be Willing To Adapt To Changing Situations

Every industry changes rapidly and you need to be able to adapt to the situation. This is something that should be part of your project management strategy. If you are unable to move with the market flow, your Toronto online marketing agency will miss your target audiences and this is something that you want to avoid.

It is also important that you include a way of tracking changing trends related to projects that you have. This will ensure that any campaigns you create are working on the newest information possible. Successful agencies will generally incorporate this into their project management systems.

Keep The Lines Of Communication Open

You and the rest of your team should have a number of different methods of communication. This will ensure that everyone can be contacted when you need them and that there are no bottlenecks in your projects. You should look at communication methods that are mobile and available on different platforms to ensure that everyone can be on at any time.

There are some marketing agencies that find having a group chat for certain projects to be the best solution. This will ensure that everyone understands where the project is heading and that communication lines are always open. You also need to have open communication with your clients as part of your project management as they will be key stakeholders in any project that you have.

Stay Accountable

Good project management will have clear accountability and you need to incorporate this. If you are not held accountable for the projects that you are the leader of, you cannot expect this of your staff. You need to lead by example with this and always hold yourself accountable for the wins as well as the losses. Team members will follow your pace and the accountability that you show with every project.

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Call Center Software Helps With Scheduling Management

Managing a call center can be one of the most challenging positions that people can take on during their professional careers. Thankfully, as with many other jobs, having the right tools like call center software, can really help to relieve the burden of effectively and successfully running a call center. With the right software in place, the experience of being a call center manager can be very fun and rewarding.

Scheduling Is Crucial For Quality Call Center Software

Perhaps the greatest advantage of using a good call center software system like the CISCO’s Customer Journey Platform is that scheduling becomes a breeze. Scheduling can be one of the most challenging pieces of the puzzle when it comes to completing the duties of being a call center manager. Ensuring adequate scheduling can often be a nightmare for call center managers, and especially so if the manager is having to manually enter schedules.

When call centers only have a few agents working, manual scheduling can work and work well. As call centers grow, the ability to ensure that agents have their requested shifts, attend training, ensure adequate coverage for higher anticipated call volumes, and ensure that proper key performance indicators (KPIs) are met can easily become far too much for manual scheduling to handle. This is when it is time to take advantage of call center software.

When applied to scheduling, call center software allows managers and supervisors the ability to schedule based on the needs of call centers as well as the budget of the center. The software can help to manage when agents log in and out, when they are scheduled to take a break, additional agents who may want to work a flexible shift, and what agents need to be on vacation during peak call center times when volume is often at its highest.

Call center software that can handle scheduling well can help to aid managers by producing a schedule that not only takes the factors listed above into consideration, but also makes certain that agents are happy by allowing them to attend mandatory training and coaching time while anticipating when the call center is going to be the busiest.

Managing Volume Changes Is Much Easier With Call Center Software

When trying to manage a call center that has more than 100 agents working, or when the center has multiple clients, then call volume is going to vary significantly almost every day. To make certain that the center is getting the highest revenue possible, is important to try to be busy all the time. Making agents be on the phone all the time however, is not typically conductive for them to be able to improve and grow in their positions.

With good call center software in place, you can make certain that all the phones are answered when volume is highest, while also giving your agents the ability to grow and advance during important activities while on the center’s downtime. For example, your agents will not be able to improve their individual performance while answering calls by simply continuing to do a poor process. If they are unable to understand the main things that need to happen when they’re interacting with customers, the issues need to be addressed and taken care of so that overall customer satisfaction can be improved.

Being able to schedule the time needed to address issues such as this will help call center agents improve their overall performance. This results in agents being able to use good feedback to create a better experience for customers while also being more engaged in their jobs. When call center software is properly utilized for scheduling based on the needs of call centers, the final results are sure to help move the center in a positive direction.

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Water Cutting Through Steel?

A waterjet is a metal cutting tool that uses a high-pressure stream of water. It may sound crazy, but an extremely powerful water jet has enough force to cut through metal.

You should imagine a waterjet as a device that spits out water at about 30 times the pressure of the pressure washer used at your local car wash. If you’ve ever used these services, you probably know that power washing can effectively remove dirt and grim from the surface of your car, as well as from its wheel rims and tires.

If you want water to cut through metal, you need to secure the coherence of the spray. Waterjets have the ability to cut because they channel the spray through an extremely narrow nozzle at unbelievably high pressure. This is how they manage to keep the spray coherent.

The biggest advantages of a water cutter over metal cutters is that it never gets dull and it doesn’t overheat in the cutting process.

The first low pressure waterjets were used in the gold mines in California, back in 1852. In the early 1900s, people discovered steam and hot waterjets and used them for cleaning purposes. During the 1960s, high pressure waterjets were used in the mining industry, but it’s only 10 years ago that waterjets started to be used for cutting purposes. Abrasive water jets were already known and used in industry around 1980.

In the past, it was only possible to cut one piece of metal at once, either with a saw or by using some other metal cutting equipment. These processes were laborious and extremely expensive. Today, computer-controlled waterjet and abrasivejet devices are used in most industries to cut a wide array of soft and hard materials. The water-based abrasive mixture passes through the nozzle at an impressive speed of almost 1,000 mph. The most advanced equipment can cut at jet speeds in the Mach 3 range.

Materials that can be cut with waterjets:

  • Marble, granite and other types of stone
  • Various types of metals, including stainless steel
  • Plastic
  • Wood

A water jet is able to cut a stack of different materials with a total thickness of up to four inches, or you could use any steel cutting band saw machinery. This dust-free, odorless and almost heat-free process can be used to cut a sheet of material as thin as a small fraction of an inch. In this situation, one single cut is everything that’s needed for obtaining the final finished surface. This process can save both material and machining costs.

Waterjets are suitable for cutting materials with lower hardness, while abrasive jets are more appropriate for materials with higher hardness values. Sometimes, the cutting occurs under water, in order to minimize splash and noise. Faster feed rates are effective in preventing the jet from, cutting all the way through.

The pressure of the water is usually between 20,000 and 55,000 PSI. The jet has to pass through a 0.010″ to 0.015″ in diameter hole in a jewel nozzle.

When adding SUPER-WATER (a soluble polymeric chemical developed by Berkeley Chemical Research), a waterjet can be used to remove the bark from trees. This can be an extremely effective solution to cut down roadside weeds.

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