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Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Making the Most of MoSCoW: Advice for New Project Managers

It’s vital that any project delivers the outcome the customer is looking for, and project managers are accountable for control of the project scope. In many cases, new requirements add complexity and delay without adding value, so it’s vital that project managers can apply a robust method to prioritise these requests.

MoSCoW is a popular way to prioritise requirements based on the importance each item has for the end customer. Find out how to use MoSCow effectively, and learn how this tool allows project managers to keep a project on track.

Definition of MoSCoW

The MoSCoW model gets its name from the way it categorises new requirements based on the importance of the expected outcome. For each request, the project team should decide if the customer or end user:

  • Must have this requirement
  • Should have this requirement (but the project can launch without it)
  • Could have this requirement (but the project has no dependency on this work)
  • Would like to have this requirement (but the work is a low priority)

WIth MoSCoW, project managers can prioritise single or multiple requirements.

The benefits of MoSCoW

MoSCoW is effective because this method of prioritisation is simple. Even if a discussion goes off-track or becomes confused, it’s easy for the project manager to focus everyone’s attention back on the four states. A group discussion makes it easy to challenge decisions. For example, if somebody decides that a requirement is essential, it’s easy for the group to challenge the statement, and to ask people to explain or describe why a requirement is essential.

Other prioritisation methods are often more complex. For example, project team members may need to apply a score or weighting, or find a way to rank the various items in a list. MoSCoW essentially puts the requirements in simple categories. The project team can then decide if they available time and budget to deliver those categories, and, if necessary, focus solely on the essential requirements.

How MoSCoW can go wrong

New project managers should understand that MoSCoW is a simple approach, but it’s still easy to make mistakes.

It’s important to ask the right people to define the status of each requirement. A conversation with the wrong people will quickly derail the conversation. For example, when you develop a new customer service process, you need to consider the user and the customer because they each have different perspectives. Without the right input, you may end up with the wrong MoSCoW definitions.

Some stakeholders may not agree on the definition of essential. For example, a new business process may yield unexpected IT development work. A manual, interim process may help you avoid those IT costs, but some people may argue that the system solution is essential. Project managers need to help project team members consider other ways of working that can help you meet time, quality and cost targets. The MoSCoW outcome is unlikely to make everyone happy.

Some requirements are automatically essential. For example, if you work in a heavily regulated business environment, some work is always essential because your client is breaking the law without it. Many requirements that focus on the law or regulatory compliance will fit into the ‘must’ category, so don’t waste time debating things outside the project team’s control.

MoSCow is a simple, effective prioritisation method that can avoid unnecessary delay and cost. Project managers must carefully steer project teams through the process, to help people focus on the truly critical requirements. Learn more about this process and how to apply it by talking to professional consultants such as Plenty Training.

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Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Types Of Building Inspectors And Their Duties

Although many people think that the job title of ‘building inspector’ is a catch all description, there are actually several kinds of specialized building inspectors that operate under this job title. Each inspector has a different remit, and is bound by different codes and regulations pertaining to their own specific field. The purpose of this article is to give information regarding the different fields that building inspectors operate in when carrying out their inspection duties. Building inspectors, like those at Buy Safe, have the power to stop any work on new or existing properties that violate state codes and regulations. In these cases, a notice is usually given, with a time limit in which to correct the problem. If the problem is still not resolved, monetary penalties may be enforced. Let’s take a look at the different types of building inspectors, and their duties.

Building Inspector

Building inspectors, with regard to new structures such as commercial builds, are involved from the planning process onwards. Their duties include ensuring that the materials used to make the new build are compliant with local codes and regulations, and that the new building is elevated, leveled and aligned in the correct manner. They keep abreast of any new developments regarding environmental codes which are implicated in new structures. Detailed and up to date documentation and records are made and kept by the inspector in case any violations are incurred.

Home Inspector

These inspectors are generally involved in residential houses, new or existing. They inspect the quality of the build – including all wall structures, roofing structure and ensure general integrity of the home. They may give advice regarding any issues they find. Many people will hire a home building inspector before putting their home up for sale, to give a potential buyer confidence regarding the overall condition of the property.

Fire Inspectors

It is vitally important to ensure that a building can meet regulations regarding fire hazards. This is because neighboring buildings (and their occupants) could be endangered if the building has a poor standard regarding fire risk, as well as the people living in the property itself.  A fire inspector – who is considered a building inspector – will ensure that a building meets the standards with regard to fire prevention and safety.

Public Work

This type of inspector is responsible for checking and confirming that public works – carried out by state authorities – are compliant with codes and regulations, and will refer to relevant contracts to ensure that any work carried out is not done out-with any conditions in the contract. They will inspect a variety of different public works, such as motorways, bridges, swear systems and streets.

Inspectors of these types all combine to make sure that buildings and homes – as well as features used by the general public – are safe for use, and as such they carry out a very important job.

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Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

4 Signs That An Environmental Management System Is Functional

Many organizations have environmental management systems (EMS) for different reasons, such as the law where they operate compelling them to have these systems in place. This article discusses four signs that show whether an EMS is functional or not so that environmental consultants can advise companies that hire them on how to improve.

Management Is Committed To And Accountable For The EMS

As an environmental consultant, you can tell how functional the EMS of an organization you are evaluating is based on how much attention it gets from management. If management merely pays lip service to matters of environmental management, lower level staff that is passionate about environmental concerns, such as waste treatment, will be fighting a losing battle.

Once management does not feel accountable for enforcing the EMS, then that document is as good as absent since it will simply gather dust on a bookshelf. As an environmental consultant, you are duty-bound to bring to the attention of management how important it is to enforce the EMS.

Existence Of Risk Assessment Mechanisms

You can also judge how functional the EMS of an organization is basing on the risk assessment mechanisms that are in place. If it is an industry for instance, they should routinely test the waste water before it is released into the sewerage system. If such mechanisms are lacking, that organisation lacks a functional EMS and you the consultant should advise them on how to improve.

Immediate Solutions To Problems

The purpose of an EMS is to prevent or quickly rectify environmental problems when they arise. If effluent is not being properly processed before its release into sewerage mains, there should be protocols in place to handle such a situation, such as reviewing treatment systems that are being used so that better systems are instituted. If this robust approach is lacking, let management know that they need to improve in that area.

Effective Flow Of Communication

For an EMS to be functional, there has to be effective communication at all levels. Staff charged with overseeing environmental concerns (such as contaminant levels in effluent) should have clear channels of communication right up to the top of the organisation where major decisions are made. If this full-circle communication is lacking, chances are high that the EMS is not being fully implemented. Observance of environmental protection requires constant adjusting of goals and strategies so if information is not moving to every concerned person then gaps in implementation will inevitably crop up.

If the four elements above are lacking, look at that particular organisation as one that is not paying as much attention to matters of the environment as it should. Appropriate action, such as giving management timelines within which to adjust, should be taken before an environmental disaster occurs.

If you work for a business trying to implement or access an EMS, you can get more information by contacting a company like Geotech Testing Pty Ltd.

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Posted by on Dec 2, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Commonly Asked Questions About Termite Control

When you suspect the presence of termites in your home because of telltale signs such as baseboards that appear chewed up and hollow drywall, you will need to call in a pest control technician to perform a full inspection. Once it’s been confirmed that you have termites, there are several control methods that are used depending on the level of infestation. To help you understand what may occur with the termite process, here are some commonly asked questions.

Are There Ways To Prevent Termite Infestations? — Yes. You should immediately repair all cracks or holes in your drywall inside your home, especially in places such as attics in where moisture may also be present, as termites are drawn to wet areas. This is also why you should take care of all leaks as soon as you notice them, as not only is the water an attractant, but the leak itself is an access point through which termites can enter your house.

What Are the Common Termite Control Treatments? — Termite control employed by pest control experts typically falls into two categories: chemical control and non-chemical control. Chemical control treatments involve the use of some kind of termiticide that’s designed to kill termites on contact. The termiticide is typically sprayed  in areas where termites are likely to hide. Pest control technicians also use termite baits, which contain a slow-acting insecticide. Baits are not made to kill on contact but are designed so that termites take the bait back to a colony and infect a number of other termites.

Non chemical control methods include the construction of steel mesh barriers to prevent more termites from invading your home. Non chemical methods are typically used as a maintenance measure after the application of termite baits and termiticide, as they are not effective at dealing with an existing termite infestation in your house.

How Do Termites Operate — Termites consume wood because it contains cellulose, an ingredient found in wood and other material such as boxes and wallpaper. Worker termites are the ones who forage for food and bring it back to the colony. They are active all day and night and are the only termites in a colony who can consume wood and regurgitate it so that the soldier termites, the queen and the king can eat. Because worker termites are constantly replaced, there is no slackening of wood consumption, which is why termites can cause such rapid destruction if left untended.

For more information, contact a business such as Jeffrey Hills and Associates.

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Posted by on Dec 2, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

How Employees Can Get the Best Out Of Their Hard Hats

One important piece of PPE (personal protective equipment) is the hard hat that construction workers wear while they are at work. It is useful in all places where the risks of injuries to the head are high. This article discusses how employees can get maximum benefit from their hard hats.

Proper Storage

Safety equipment suppliers stress how important storage is in the preservation of the condition of PPE. The same wisdom holds true for hard hats. These hats should be stored in a place that has sufficient room for each hard hat to be placed on its rim so that nothing causes the dome to become scratched or to crack. If they are stored well, hard hats will protect employees from blows to the head.

Proper Cleaning

Hard hats also get dirty and must be cleaned regularly. Otherwise employees may get infections such as skin infections stemming from accumulated dirt in the hard hats. It isn’t helpful if a worker is saved from a blow to the head, only to undergo lengthy hospitalisation from an allergic reaction to bedbugs in a hard hat.

Warm water and soap should be used to clean the sweatband. The hard hat should then be left to dry in the sun before it is used again.

Avoid Misusing The Hard Hats

Hard hats should only be worn on the head when workers are on the job site. They should never use the hats for any other purpose such as using it as a hammer, sitting on it or using it as a bucket to scoop water to douse over their heads. Such misuse will affect the structural integrity of the hat and when it is most needed to protect your head from a falling object, the hat will crack over your head. Hard hats should only be used for their primary role—that is, being worn on the head.

Keep The Hats On

This sounds like a redundant admonition, but you would be surprised to realise that many employees take their hard hats off at some point during the workday even when they are still at the site. What they don’t realise is that they could need the hard hat at that very moment when they momentarily take it off, only for an object (such as a brick) to come flying down from the hoist bucket above.

Safety equipment suppliers emphasise that employees have to be educated on the proper use and maintenance of any PPE they are given. The four tips above go a long way in helping employees to understand how to use hard hats for their own protection. For more information, contact a company like Star Safety.

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