Work from home employment opportunities are everywhere you turn. There are thousands of ads all across the internet claiming that you can make a lot of money working from home with very little working hours needed. Newspapers and billboards portray the same message and everyone seems to desire an opportunity such as this.Working from home has a great number of benefits that certainly make it worth while. You can be your own boss, set your own hours and possibly do something that you even enjoy doing. You can cut out the worries of paying a babysitter if you are a parent who works from home and you will even have the option to have more time for your family by working your own hours.There are the pitfalls to working at home as well. A great number of people who work from home find that they must work just as hard, if not harder, to make a decent income. There is typically no health benefits involved and certainly no paid vacation time. Depending on what type of work from home employment you seek there may be fees involved to start your business. All of these can factor in as major setbacks for anyone considering work from home employment.It is hard to find legitimate work from home opportunities with the numerous scams circulating around trying to draw in victims desperate enough to make a large amount of income. Anything that involves giving away bank account information as well as paying an upfront fee is typically a scam. Unless you are looking to start your own business such as an online eBay store, daycare or any other home business, you should never pay any fees to online job opportunities.The best job opportunities available are available for freelancers. You can market your skills, such as web design, and find someone who needs your services to pay you for your work. Writing articles has also become a popular freelance opportunity and there are enough companies who are willing to pay you legitimately as long as you are willing to invest the amount of time it takes to make a decent income from home. There are a few telemarketing companies which offer at home employment. Some of them may offer medical benefits and a good hourly pay but you have to be willing to pay the fees for the needed equipment.Work from home employment is a great way to go considering the benefits but you should always do your homework before accepting any offer. Research the company online to find out what others have to say about it and whether or not they really pay. Search the Better Business Bureau to find out if they are rated on there and whether or not they are rated as a good or bad company. With the right amount of time and research working from home may be the best opportunity for you.
How do you define “old”? Reaching a certain physical age does not mean you’re old, and growing old certainly does not mean you’re useless. Unfortunately, in our culture we get many signals that reinforce messages that aging is bad, and many middle-aged adults think this way.Most middle-aged adults need to pay more attention to their health than they did when they were younger. Research shows that most diseases that afflict women in their 50s involve health factors you have some control over, along with nutritional deficits. To promote a healthy lifestyle and reduce your risk of disease, make sure you are doing basic preventive care focusing on stabilizing your blood pressure, controlling your cholesterol levels and getting periodic diabetes screenings.Regular exercise in women over 50 years old helps to decrease menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, mood swings, sleep disorders and joint pain. Regular exercise also reduces the risk for cardiac illnesses, helps prevent osteoporosis and diabetes, and aids in weight control and maintenance.Here are some health and fitness tips for women over 50:Exercise. According to Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise, daily exercise by women over 50 helps the body function better. Active exercise helps to avoid or delay the natural process of the body’s systems becoming more inefficient as you age. An ideal fitness program for women over 50 should include aerobic, strength and stretching exercise routines.Keep Moving. According to research, there are many health benefits women realize from moving regularly, and a growing body of research shows the serious health implications of being sedentary, including complications such as diabetes. At a minimum, you should be able to conduct your daily living activities easily and pain-free. Something as simple as taking a few extra steps each day can help reduce the risk of illness, and you can easily track your steps using a pedometer.Increase Calcium Intake. It is common knowledge that calcium is a significant factor in the growth and development of the bones. Research shows that women over 50 years of age are prone to osteoporosis, a condition where there is a deficient level of calcium in the body, making the bones porous and weak. This can lead to an overall degradation of the skeletal system, including broken bones that can result in hospitalization and serious complications. To help prevent osteoporosis, increase your calcium intake, which can promote bone formation and help strengthen your bones.Increase Fiber Intake. Fiber-rich foods in your diet provide a feeling of fullness and can help prevent you from eating too much, which can help avoid weight gain and facilitate weight loss. According to research, the onset of obesity is common at 50 and beyond. Being overweight poses myriad health threats, especially to women. Complications related to obesity include diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis and hypertension. Fiber can also help to reduce cholesterol levels, and studies have shown that consuming at least 10 grams of fiber a day decreases the risk of having heart problems.Count Calories. As we age, every system in the body works less efficiently, and this can have an impact on the energy levels of women over 50 years of age. One significant issue of women at this age is not paying attention to their daily food intake. Many of us have the tendency to eat whatever food we feel like eating, and without paying attention to what we consume can lead to over-eating and weight gain. Research says that active women above 50 should limit their calorie intake to 1,900 kcal per day. This general guideline is designed to provide just enough calories to maintain a high energy level throughout the day.
So you’ve been asked to take the photos at your friend’s wedding. You’ve tried to persuade them to hire a professional, but they are happy with you. Don’t panic, they asked you because they like your style. Wedding digital photography is no different from other photography, but there a few things you need to consider when planning for the big day.Turn off the sound on camera – there is nothing worse than the sound of electronic beeping during a solemn moment.Take more photos. A perfect moment will only happen once so don’t stint on the number of photos you take, this is one occasion when less is definitely not more. And don’t automatically discard shot you don’t think is good enough. Judicial cropping or editing may capture a moment you didn’t expect. The blurred shot of the flower girl – maybe there is an artistic photo here. Stand back and objectively (or perhaps subjectively) evaluate each shot for its own merits.Be prepared! Make sure you have spare batteries and multiple memory cards. Know the wedding venues and times. Check out places where you will be able to stand during the ceremony. Think about the shots the bride and groom will want of their big occasion and how you can move between them during the proceedings. The same applies to the reception venue. It is important to know where the speeches will be given and where the dancing will take place. When checking for locations for posed shots think about the background and places you can get good group shots of the entire wedding party.Be comfortable with the operation of your camera. A wedding is a busy event and at times a quite stressful one. There will be little opportunity to repose or reshoot if you hesitate with a shot. One option to reduce stress on you the photographer is to have an assistant. This could be someone nominated from the happy couple or someone you organise yourself. This person can spend time rustling people into groups, setting up shots and generally keeping things moving. This will leave you free to concentrate on the wonderful and flexible shots that come from wedding digital photography.Think about using the continuous shooting mode that your digital camera has. This will allow you to capture a second shot after the main shot has been taken. Sometimes you can just guarantee everyone will have their eyes open and be smiling one second after the shot is taken – don’t miss that opportunity.Weddings are a celebration. Make sure you cover off the tips above and your contribution to the day will be priceless.
Riding a car is riskier than riding an airplane. An average of about 36,000 fatal car accidents recorded each year since 2000; this keeps the casualties of car accidents in high figures. The car’s vulnerability to be involved in accidents records about 100 cases of car accidents a day. This simple reason makes car insurance a requirement in each car or all kinds of vehicles.Car insurance is often mistakenly seen as a useless cost for unnecessary requirement. On the other hand, it is an investment for something that might happen unexpectedly. It covers unexpected accident damages to people, property, and for vehicles repairs and sometimes upgrades.Each car insurance company offers various auto insurance quotes depending on the vehicle type, purpose and risks to provide suitable service to different specific types of vehicles and drivers. There are car insurances specifically made for women, young drivers, senior citizens and high-risk drivers. In addition, there are also specialized car insurances such as truck insurance, motorcycle insurance, automobile insurance and other budget insurance quotes offered cheap and affordable.Insurance quotes are now also available in the internet. There are various auto insurance companies that offer online service and transactions for easier insurance purchasing. Plus, it is now easy to compare insurance rates from different companies.There are many cheap insurance quotes available over the internet. With many prices and services to compare and to choose from, information about insurance companies, and tips from reliable car insurance experts, you cannot go wrong in choosing the car insurance that is just right for you.Most people have apprehensions with cheap insurance due to many cases of fraud among insurance programs and companies. However, there are really cheap insurance offers from stable and reliable car insurance companies. Many auto insurance companies offer discounts to drivers with clean traffic violation records. The drivers driving attitude is a key factor in getting low cost auto insurance from dependable auto insurance companies. Other insurance companies also offer promos and or give off free auto insurance quotes.Auto insurance is an investment for a peaceful and worry-free driving anytime and anywhere. It gives the driver the peace of mind that whatever happens, everything will be taken cared of. Aside from the actual financial assistance for covering the damages in case of collision or accident, it also covers damages caused by theft and other circumstances depending on the insurance transactions.There are infinite reasons and benefits from auto insurances. Get one that suites you and your car.
Application of biometrics in the automobile industry is not recent news; it has been in use for the past few years. However, with the advent of technological developments, the automobile industry has been quite busy in experimenting with automotive biometrics. Biometrics system in vehicles provides accurate and maximum protection to every vehicle owner against hacking or theft. This technology employs multi-factor authentication. In most cases, the two-factor authentication system is implemented. Moreover, the focus is primarily placed on the accessibility of the vehicle, immobilizer, health monitoring, and switch ignition via fingerprints.The automobile industry is quite upbeat in embracing innovative technologies which are convenient and user-friendly to provide the feel of luxury to their customers. Strengthening a vehicle’s security while ensuring customers’ safety is one of the main concerns of the automakers. Automakers, especially the leading ones in the market have been incorporating automotive biometrics technology in their auto-parts. No wonder the automotive biometrics market is growing at a fast rate and the trend seems like it will stay strong in the foreseeable future.Automotive Biometrics growth driversThere are several factors influencing the growth of this market. Immobilizer may be considered to be a major growth driver boosting the market. Another trend which drives the market is the installation of connected devices required for autonomous driving. Moreover, the stringent government regulations regarding the concern for vehicles security further propel this technology market. As per the recent market research reports the Automotive End-Point Authentication Market is poised towards a major growth phase. Geographically, the Automotive Biometrics Market is divided into global regions like Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, LATAM, and Africa. Amongst all these regions, the European region has seen the highest growth.Know more about the Automotive End-Point Authentication MarketThe Automotive End-Point Authentication is a new technology gaining prominence in the automobile sector. It protects the user against damage and theft of their vehicles, along with a vast array of benefits such as navigation, and door lock status. The recent Automotive End-Point Authentication Market informs us about the market growth due to the robust demand for electric and hybrid vehicles. Furthermore, with the foray into smartphones, the market sees a huge growth in the requirement for assistance featured cars.Key players in the Automotive End-Point Authentication MarketSome of the major industry players in this market include companies like Continental AG, Fujitsu, Garmin Ltd., Hitachi Ltd., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Symantec Corporation, Synoptics Incorporated, and others.
The vast majority of us in the United States were educated as children and young adults so that we could succeed both as citizens sustaining our democratic way of life and as productive workers able to sustain ourselves and our families economically. For the most part the combination of public and private K-12 schools and higher education universities and colleges have served us quite well. We are by and large a well educated and constructive populace.But can we rely on the old-school methodologies to sustain us for a world of work that will be characterized as mercurial and erratic calling for agility, adaptability, and rapid evolution? There is reason to think not. An economy that is experiencing increased speed and transformation will not be well served by an educational structure and model designed to prepare students for a relatively static and predictable work world.Let’s examine the existing paradigm that traditionally and currently defines most American high schools and colleges. There are two patterns at play based on the concepts of liberal education and career-focused education. By the time a student reaches high school they select or have selected for them one of these persuasions or the other.Liberal (or liberal arts) education refers to an approach that encourages a broad and diverse exposure to fundamental and diverse subject matter with the goal being to educate a student for a complex world requiring a variety of perspectives, skills, and areas of knowledge. When and if college is reached the student fits into this mix a concentrated focus in one or more disciplines.A career-focused or vocational path on the other hand focuses much more on preparing the student for a relevant job that is in demand in the workforce. Breadth gives way to depth in that a craft or skill set demonstrably employable is chosen, studied, and eventually mastered by the student.To be clear I am not suggesting that there is anything fundamentally wrong with these models. My concern is in the traditional modes of delivery of them. We are still under the assumption that a high school diploma and / or college degree program that terminates upon graduation is enough to provide a student for a lifetime career. It used to be, but projections are that it won’t be enough going forward.The workplace and its career needs are becoming increasingly digitized and globalized, resulting in an urgency for malleable, resilient, and entrepreneurial workers to address the ever vibrant economic demands across the planet. To maintain these attributes workers will need to accept and embrace continuous lifelong learning, upskilling, and training to keep up and stay ahead. Schooling will never end. In fact it will become an integral and ongoing part of any advantageous job worth having for most.We will likely see a time when liberal and career-focused methods become more of an as-needed hybrid with a greater proliferation of skill and knowledge-based certification and training programs not necessarily tied to slow moving traditional education settings. Students, employees, and educators will begin migrating more intentionally into online, virtual, and yes, brick & mortar learning facilities that offer the highest quality, data driven, short and long-term instruction essential to the requirements of the emerging economy.As an educator myself with 31 years in public schools and 5 years as a part time college adjunct I can say with some certainty that this industry will not on its own move in this direction without a lot of resistance. There are many entrenched interests compelled to resist such changes. A more responsive and pragmatic instructional delivery will likely arise from a combination of innovative educators and demanding students and employees requiring relevant reactive instruction.However we can all begin by getting our heads around the concept of lifelong learning. I predict it will be far more energizing than draining.
Since April 2009 Google has been serving local listings in its search engine results pages. Although the layout has changed a bit and the number of business listings it provides has varied, what has remained consistent is a local Google map and listing of local businesses that are relevant to the keywords entered by the individual searching on Google.For local small businesses this has been a tremendous boost when it comes to competing with large national franchises since it gives precedent to the small business in local markets. And the price is right, too! Google provides a business listing to small businesses for absolutely no charge. However it is important that the small business know a few key points so that it leverages its business listing to the fullest.Choosing the right categories for your Google business listingOne of the most important factors to a successful business listing is choosing the right categories for which your business appears in the local search results. To date, Google allows businesses to choose five (5) categories. One of the categories must be a current Google category, and the other four (4) can be categories that you choose for your listing.The categories typically correspond to keyword phrases that an individual searching for your type of business would enter as a search term. For instance, if you are a plumber, typical keywords that someone searching for your business might use would be “plumber” or “plumbing.” To determine the existing Google category all you need to do is start typing the keyword in the Category section of the Google Business Listing (called Google Places) and Google will automatically suggest keyword terms that are relevant to your business. Just pick the one that suits your business best. That satisfies their requirement for using one of their existing categories. Now the other four (4) are up to you…and it’s important that you get this right as it can mean the difference between receiving multiple leads for your small business…or none at all.Choose Popular Keywords as CategoriesAs mentioned before, you want to use keywords and keyword phrases as your categories, but which ones do you choose? You’ll want to choose the ones that people search for the most, of course. Those most popular keywords will put your business in front of the most prospective customers and give your business the most visibility. And, guess what? Good ‘ol Google helps you with that, too. Just go to the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, enter a keyword in the “Word or phrase” box that describes your business, enter the letters displayed by the “captcha” security code and hit the “Search” button to get the list of keywords Google suggests. Pick the keywords with the most monthly searches that are also relevant to your business.But don’t stop there…Unfortunately for many (but fortunate for you), many businesses pick the four most popular keywords that are relevant to their business from the Google Keyword Tool, use those as their remaining categories and stop there…but that’s where they make a critical mistake because not all of those keywords result in a local search.Now this is a very important point so let’s be very clear. The key to identifying optimum categories is to make sure that the keywords that you pick are popular plus they must also produce a local search, too. Let’s look at an example -Let’s say you are a piano teacher, and you use the Google Keyword Tool to find the most popular keywords associated with your business. Google suggests the following keywords as popular keywords – “piano lessons”, “play piano,” “lessons piano,” and “how to play piano.” That sounds reasonable enough, but it isn’t until you check Google Search that you find some very important information. Only two of the keyword phrases produce a local search – “lessons piano” and “piano lessons.” The other two keyword phrases do not. Interesting!Keyword Lessons LearnedSo the lesson to be learned to get the most visibility for your local business is to choose popular keywords that are relevant to your business but also make sure that those keywords deliver local search results. If they don’t, you are wasting opportunities for your business listing to be shown and not fully utilizing the the visibility that Google wants to give you and your local business.
Having a business for sale can mean a lot of things – more than people might think. How does one business value compare to another, and how to arrive at that value? Because there are many types of businesses that exist for many different industries, it stands to reason there are numerous ways of approaching the process to find the value.There are the three main approaches to value, which are the income approach, the market approach, and the asset approach. There are variations of these approaches, and combinations of them, and things which must be looked at because each and every business will have variations of what gives the business worth, and some of these differences are substantial.First we must identify the type of sale: stock sale or asset sale. A stock sale is the sale of the company stock; the buyer is buying the company based upon the value of its stock, which represents everything in the business: earning power, equipment, goodwill, liabilities, etc. In an asset sale, the buyer is buying the company assets and capital which enable the company to make profits, but is not necessarily assuming any liabilities with the purchase. Most small businesses for sale are sold as an “asset sale”.Our question, when selling a business or buying a business, is this: what are the assets considered to arrive at an accurate value? Here we will look at some of the most common.1. FF and E: This abbreviation stands for furniture, fixtures, and equipment. These are the tangible assets used by the business to operate and make money. All businesses (with a few exceptions) will have some amount of FF&E. The value of these can vary greatly, but in most cases the value is included in the value as determined by the income.2. Leaseholds: the leasehold is the lease agreement between the owner of the property and the business that rents the property. The agreed upon leased space typically goes with the sale of the business. This can be a significant value, especially if there is an under market rate currently charged and the lessor is obligated to continue with the current terms.3. Contract rights: many businesses do business based on ongoing contracts, agreements with other entities to do certain things for certain periods of time. There can be immense value in these agreements, and when someone buys a business he or she is buying the rights to these agreements.4. Licenses: in certain business sales, licenses do not apply; in others, there can be no business without them. Building contracting is one of them. So is accounting. For a buyer to buy a business, his purchase includes either buying the license to the company or the license to the individual. Often times, the buyer will require the access or availability of the license as a contingent element of the sale.5. Goodwill: Goodwill is the earnings of a business above and beyond the fair market return of its net tangible assets. In other words, whatever the business makes in excess of its identifiable assets is considered “goodwill” income, where there exists a synergy of all of the assets together. This one can be tricky. Most business owners assume they have goodwill in their business, but goodwill is not always positive; there is such things as “negative” goodwill. If the business makes less than the sum total of its identifiable assets, there exists negative goodwill.6. Trade secrets: some businesses are all about secrets. The reason the business is in operation may be because of a trade secret, some aspect of a product or service that sets it apart and gives it a market. In a business purchase, these secrets have value and go with the sale.7. Trade names, telephone numbers, websites, and domain names: some businesses generate business simply because of its name and identifiable aspects. If those were to change, so would the profits. So in buying a business, the buyer will have need of those names and numbers to continue on in business. Of course, in some cases these things would not matter at all, and that is why each one must be approached individually.8. Works in progress: a construction company may have a multi-million dollar job going on at the time of the sale, which can take months to complete. In case such as this, the buyer would have need of continuing on in the particular job the company was engaged in; for money and for reputation. This is considered a work in progress and has value and therefore is considered an asset and made part of the sale.9. Business records: the history of a business detailed in documents and spreadsheets must necessarily become part of the business sale. The new owner can make use of records in identifying progress, tracking increased or decreased sales, adjusting expenditures and depreciation rates, etc. When someone purchases a business, they are buying the current operation and all the details that led to it.10. Real estate: the seller-owned property on which the business does its business is inherent to the operation and therefore the value. There are times when the new buyer needs to move the business to purchase it, but more often the real estate is viewed as a major aspect of the business value, especially if there is equipment attached to the property and buildings suited specifically to the business.When a business for sale is valued by a professional appraiser, a business broker, or a business owner, more than just the income is considered. Assets, economic values used by the business to produce revenue and profits, are weighed heavily to determine the worth of the business. And they must be considered to understand what a “business for sale” really means to a buyer.
Selling your business is an arduous and very demanding task; it is time consuming, stressful and often emotionally draining. Naturally the sale will dominate the owners thoughts and resources during this period and it is very easy for an owner to take their eye of the ball. The key to a successful sale is planning and preparation. Founders should build an exit strategy into their initial business plans, and this strategy should contain information on how the business will be advertised and marketed once the time has come for it to be sold.Owners who have not been through the process of selling a business before often underestimate how important it is to market, and package their business so that it appears attractive to potential buyers.As with all things pre-sale, the marketing must be thoroughly planned and executed perfectly. The aim of the marketing period is to drum up enough interest among qualified and motivated buyers to increase the chances of you business being sold for a premium. As many owners, business brokers and intermediaries will testify this is easier said than done.When attempting to market your business the first place you should start as an owner is your own market or industry. You will know your market better than any business broker or intermediary, and as a result you will know which individuals, companies or organizations will deem your business to be an attractive proposition. If you have decided to market and sell your business without the use of a professional you will have to find the balance between reaching the widest audience possible and keeping the fact you are selling away from those who do not need to know. Marketing your business is a delicate task, if you do not reach enough buyers you risk entering negotiations at a disadvantage, however if you market to aggressively you may end up alerting vendors, creditors, customers and key members of staff. The fact you are selling, may, in their eyes be an indication that something is wrong, and your business may turn south at the worst possible time. Therefore the marketing of your business must be carried out with the least possible disruption to the day to day running of the business. Once you have identified a list of suitable candidates you would be interested in speaking to you need to draw up a non-disclosure agreement, and following that the chief marketing tool which is the sales memorandum.There are hundreds of businesses for sale at any given time. To make your business stand out, you need to provide potential buyers with information that will help them to make an informed decision. A descriptive and well-organized sales memorandum will help in the sale process. The sales memorandum is a document which is used to present your company in the best possible light and motivate prospective buyers into making a solid enquiry. The sales memorandum can be prepared by a business broker, an accountant or by the owner of the company. This document will highlight all the positive things about the business and will help whet the appetite of potential buyers.The sales memorandum contains information on areas of possible growth and expansions, information on the unique value proposition of the business, its current assets, and key financial figures such as profit, cash flow, and total debt.This document should be tailored to the individual or group you are in negotiations with as different aspects of your business will appeal to different types of buyers. If you are talking to a company that offers a similar product, or serves a similar customer base as your own, your marketing efforts should be tailored to present your company as one which has a large and loyal customer base, in doing so you will increase the appeal of your company in the eyes of the buyer, and this will help you achieve a better deal during negotiations. If the buyer is part of a large conglomerate which is more interested in acquiring the skills of your workforce or the technology your business runs on, then these are the things which will need to be stressed within any marketing material you produce and put before them.During the sale process sellers must make sure that the business’ physical state is in good condition. The premises should be clean, the inventory current, and the equipment in good working order. It is very easy to overlook this during the marketing process, so you should ensure that your office, factory or shop is well kept, as a neglected workspace is often a red flag to many buyers. It is important to sell or dispose of any unused or outdated stock, apply a lick of paint to the premises, and check that all machinery and equipment is up to date and working, as many buyers will factor the cost of replacing or fixing damaged machinery into their offers. Doing this will create the impression of a well organized business and this inspires confidence in prospective buyers.Many owner managers do little, if any marketing once they have decided to put their business up for sale and as a result they can end up leaving money on the table when they eventually sell their business. Marketing, when done effectively can increase the amount the owner finally receives as there is nothing which drives up the price of a business then a room full of motivated buyers bidding on the business.
Organizations are in desperate need of creating predictable outcomes and managing the risk inherent in almost all of their project management initiatives. This is true whether they are designing products, performing services for clients, managing technology, implementing a government initiative, or any of a number of different projects. The purpose of this white paper is to identify five lessons (there are many more) that project management can learn from the aviation field to accomplish this objective of predictable outcomes and managed risk.Why Aviation?
Aviation is a rich source of information because it has already gone through the pain and consequences of not having predictable outcomes and has largely come through the other side. That is not to say that aviation is perfect, but aviation has done a stellar job of taking an inherently risky activity (flying) and creating safe, predictable outcomes. It has learned what is necessary.Project management does not pursue predictable outcomes to the same degree as aviation has pursued them. This may be due to the fact that the consequences of a failure in aviation are far higher than the consequences of a failure in the typical project that we manage.This idea of consequences is we target aviation as a good source. Aviation has been forced to develop methods of dealing with risk and creating predictable outcomes. Many of these same lessons that aviation has already been forced to learn can be applied directly to project management.Implement Predictable and Standardized Processes
When you fly, you cannot do things on a whim. There are specific procedures that you must follow. When an airliner comes in to land, there are certain things you do at certain times – when the flaps come down, when the landing gear comes down, the specific route to fly for a specific airport. If there is an emergency, there is a procedure for it. Pilots do not wonder what to do. They have been trained to follow certain procedures.Aviation has recognized the great importance of creating these predictable processes where risk is involved. For example, when approaching a major airport, there are documented, published procedures that every pilot must follow called Standard Terminal Arrivals (or STARs). A pilot will review these procedures even before they take off. When they are assigned by air traffic control what the currently used STAR procedure is, they know exactly what they will do and how they will fly. There is no “I wonder how we should fly into Atlanta today?” Project management cannot create predictable outcomes if it does not similarly implement predictable and standardized processes to deal with normal operations as well as contingencies.Here are some of the specific guidelines we can learn from aviation as to the implementation of these processes:The processes must be well documented and accessible.
Everyone must follow the processes.
Everyone must be continuously trained on the processes.
The processes must be continuously evaluated and improved over time.There are several advantages to implementing this in our project management practices. These advantages include:Eliminating confusion (everyone knows the proper steps and activities).
Providing a clear plan for how to produce a desired outcome.
Communicating the desired outcome.
Reducing workload by eliminating needless communications, decision making, and activities that should be routine.Just like aviation has created standard procedures to create the predictable outcome of landing at a major airport (thus making it safe and routine), project management needs standard procedures to create the predictable outcome of a new product, a customer implementation, a new service, or whatever your desired outcome happens to be.Defining Clear Roles and Responsibilities
Clear roles and responsibilities are critical in aviation. Each pilot knows their responsibility for each phase in flight and for every contingency. For example, when an airliner takes off, one pilot is the flying pilot and is focused on flying the airplane. The other pilot is the supporting pilot and does almost everything else such as talking with air traffic control, calling out airspeeds, and raising the landing gear and flaps at the appropriate times.In the Hudson River incident for US Airways flight 1549 was ditched in the Hudson River, there was a brief but interesting exchange on the cockpit voice recorder transcript. First Officer Skiles was the flying pilot, but after the incident with the birds, Captain “Sully” Sullenberger said “My Aircraft.” No additional explanation or instruction was given, but both pilots knew that their role had just changed. Captain Sully was now the flying pilot and First Officer Skiles focus shifted to getting out the emergency engine out checklists.The reason for these clear roles and responsibilities is because of the repercussions when they do not exist. In a lesser known event during the Apollo space program, Gene Cernan and John Young found their Apollo 10 lunar module (the one before the moon landing) spinning out of control. They were able to correct the situation, but the root cause was a simple misplaced switch. One pilot put the switch in one position. The other pilot inadvertently put the switch in the other position, not realizing what the first pilot had done. There was not a crystal clear distinction on who would throw the switch.How many times in project management has there been a lot of unneeded activity, lack of decision making, duplicate effort, or competing initiatives simply because roles and responsibilities have not been clearly defined? Aviation’s experience would offer valuable lessons to implement in project management including:Documenting roles and responsibilities (as opposed to assuming).
Setting roles and responsibilities for every project.
Setting roles and responsibilities for every process (that may be used across multiple projects).
Routinely communicating roles and responsibilities (instead of assuming everyone knows and understands them).
Continuously reviewing and updating responsibilities as needed.
Making sure that someone has the authority to make a decision.There are several tools and methodologies for accomplishing this, including creating a RACI (responsible / accountable / consulted / informed) matrix.A common argument is that people do not have the time for such definition. However, that is one of the benefits of doing so: to eliminate all of the time wasted because people do not understand everyone’s role. Additional benefits include:Understanding who has the authority to make a decision.
Preventing competing activities.
Knowing who to keep informed.
Implementing proper accountability.If your projects seem to be slowly spinning out of control, defining roles and responsibilities may be a good place to start.Implementing Accountability
Aviation does not assume that everyone is following the standardized processes and maintaining their responsibility. It implements accountability measures to ensure that this is the case.Pilots are required to attend training regularly where they learn new procedures, but they are also evaluated to ensure they are following proper procedures and have maintained a proper skill level. It doesn’t stop there. New pilots initially fly with an instructor pilot to ensure they are following what their training taught them. All pilots must occasionally fly with a check airman who evaluates the pilot’s performance in real-world operations. Captains hold First Officers accountable for following proper procedures.When procedures are not properly followed, there is a clear course of action. That may be as serious as action from the FAA, or dismissal, or perhaps a visit to the airline’s chief pilot’s office.Accountability is sometimes a bad word in project management but it is equally important. If people are not held accountable for following standardized procedures, how valuable are the procedures? Not very. If you are trying to implement predictable outcomes, how can you predict the outcome of a series of activities where people are not accountable to perform those activities in any sort of predictable fashion? You cannot.Accountability provides many benefits to project management as it does to aviation:It provides a clear view of what is expected of everyone.
It provides a clear understanding of what happens when the expectation is not met.
It ensures that activities are performed in a predictable fashion, thus contributing to a predictable outcome.Employ Effective Training
Most people assume that the pilots that are flying their airliner have been properly trained, but they do not give it any more thought. The fact is that training is a huge part of the aviation paradigm and for good reason. Who wants to go on a flight with their family and put their lives in the hands of poorly trained pilots? There are a couple of key facets of aviation training that stand out:
Training is continuous.
Training is comprehensive and diverse.We often view training as a one time event in project management. We train on a new system or to get a certain certification or learn a certain methodology. In aviation, training is a continuous part of the culture to create a safe, predictable outcome.Pilots go through weeks of training when they first hire on with an airline. After that initial intense training, they perform additional training through on the job supervision and one on one training. It does not stop there. At least once a year, pilots are required to attend extensive classroom and simulator training.The continuous training they undergo is also comprehensive and diverse in scope. It is not focused on a single area, such as technology or how to fly an airplane. Training includes at a minimum the following aspects:
Training on policies.
Training on standardized procedures.
Training on rules and regulations.
Training on roles and responsibilities.
Training on cockpit resource management (how to work better together).
Training on how to fly the airplane (skills).
Training on how to utilize the technology in the cockpit.
Training on the aircraft systems of the aircraft they will fly.
Training on contingencies.Our training in project management is often a single event or is focused on technology instead of on ensuring that everyone has the knowledge and skills to create a predictable outcome for the organization.Applying the experience of aviation, our project management training should turn into a continuous program. That does not mean it needs to always be formal training, but it does not to be continuously intentional.Training also needs to cover the following essential areas:
Training on the organization’s standardized processes and how to follow them.
Training on roles and responsibilities.
Training on skills (how to be a good project manager or team member).
Training on the technology that will be used to accomplish the processes and predictable outcomes.You cannot expect a predictable outcome if you do not regularly train people to create that predictable outcome.Utilize Proper Tools and Technology
There was an article in a recent aviation periodical that referred to a newer generation airliner as a “650,000 pound laptop.” This referred to the fact that there is a lot of technology in today’s airline cockpits. In fact, when a pilot moves to a new airplane, much of the training is not on how to fly the airplane but on the technology and aircraft systems that need to be mastered.Aviation uses technology to perform a number of support roles such as providing situational awareness during each phase in flight, and performing routine tasks that can be automated.If we take this lesson in the perspective of what we have learned so far, it should also be recognized that utilizing tools and technology is an important but balanced part of the predictability of aviation. This simply means that:Technology is not put off as not important to the overall goal of predictable outcomes.
Technology is also not overly emphasized over other aspects such as creating standardized processes.There are clear lessons to learn in project management. Too often in project management we either focus too much on the tools and not the processes, or we focus on the processes but use poor tools such as spreadsheets. Either way, it is hard to create an environment of predictable outcomes.Specifically in project management we need to use the right tools that:Support our standardized processes.
Provide situational awareness.
Provide up to date information that the organization needs.
Provides insight into problems.
Automates things that can easily be automated.
Provides data from which to learn and improve processes.Technology in the right context and usage provides another pillar from which to create those predictable outcomes.ConclusionAviation has already learned through much experience (some good and some not so good) the important lessons of how to create predictable outcomes and manage inherent risk. It provides a good source of information that can be applied to our project management practices. Specifically, project management needs to:Implement predictable and standardized processes
Define roles and responsibilities
Employ effective training
Utilize Proper Tools and TechnologyWhile certainly not an extensive list of the lessons that can be learned, these provide a good starting point to create the predictable processes in project management that our organizations today desperately need.