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Editor’s Score: 90/100
92/100Why Azuga Is Best for Improving Driving Standards
In the age of live video streaming and ubiquitous social media activity, examples of poor driver behavior can tarnish the reputation of any business. Even a brief live video of a vehicle bearing your firm’s branding being driven aggressively, erratically or inappropriately could create a public relations problem. Effective recruitment and regular refresher training go a long way toward optimizing driving standards, but Azuga offers features and services that help to reduce this burden using a series of rewards and incentives.
Chief among these features is a competitive table that scores drivers based on how safely they perform their duties. A scoreboard ranks drivers in a standards-based table and lets them see how their results compare with their colleagues’. The best performers are offered quarterly rewards from 15 retailers and brands — such as Domino’s, TGI Fridays and Amazon — adding a fiscal incentive to going easy on the brake pedal or meeting fuel efficiency goals, which can be set individually for each driver. These rewards-as-a-service gift cards can be sent directly to a high-performing driver’s smartphone. Meanwhile, the company offers courses and training, including knowledge checks and guidance on avoiding aggressive driving, for repeat offenders.
Azuga incentivizes drivers to optimize their behavior, using techniques that other GPS platforms don’t currently offer.
The Azuga dashboard can be accessed on computers and mobile devices. Source: AzugaPros
Drivers are incentivized to improve their behavior behind the wheel.
You can self-install Azuga’s plug-and-play devices within minutes.
Azuga offers a plethora of online resources and training.
The customer support team is helpful and easily accessible.Cons
Azuga contracts run for a minimum of two years.
The company is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau.Usability
There are several factors to consider when you’re looking for an easy-to-use GPS fleet tracking system. The hardware should be easy to install and learn, and it should be supported by flexible and scalable plans alongside a customer service team that is easily accessible and ready to help. Azuga checks all of those boxes, in addition to offering a robust set of fleet management features.
Location details refresh every two minutes by default, though this can be brought down to 30 seconds; Azuga can even reduce the refresh rate to 15 seconds for a small additional fee. The constantly updated fleet data visibility contrasts with some rival platforms that project where a vehicle will be at a given moment based on past movements, giving an unrealistic real-time picture of their precise locations.
Did You Know?
Drivers and fleet managers can message one another directly within the platform, thereby streamlining communications.
Azuga’s plug-and-play hardware can be installed within minutes. The dashboard is easy to navigate, doesn’t require lengthy training sessions, and can be accessed via a computer or mobile device. Following an update at the end of 2023, the latest v2.0 dashboard is cleaner and more responsive than its 10-year-old predecessor. It offers welcome new features, like the ability to overlay geofence boundaries, and Azuga also introduced the location-sharing feature that’s already offered by competitors such as Force by Mojio. A time-limited link can be sent to clients, allowing them to track a delivery or vehicle in real time, which is ideal for sensitive appointments or perishable goods.
It’s easy to grasp that vehicles shown in red on the Google Maps interface are committing harsh driving, orange vehicles are idling and green ones are proceeding normally. The ability to overlay live weather and traffic data is another new feature for 2023, and one that may explain delays or a lack of movement by specific vehicles. If there’s anything you’re not clear about, you can reach Azuga’s knowledgeable customer support representatives by phone, email, web chat or a ticketing system.
Azuga’s plans are customizable, allowing you to select the fleet management features you need. Alongside this welcome flexibility, we found the dashboard simple to navigate. You can access the dashboard via a computer or mobile app, allowing you to manage your fleet from anywhere.
Did You Know?
Azuga allows you to conduct vehicle inspection reports by using smartphone photos to report defects.
Azuga offers simple hardware, like plug-and-play vehicle trackers and dual-facing dashcams. Source: AzugaAzuga Features
Azuga plug-and-play tracking devices can be installed and activated within minutes.
Users can add personalized safety coaching and a feature that blocks mobile usage while someone is driving.
Maintenance and optimization
Users can access fuel card integration and Azuga FuelSaver, plus discounts on tires and maintenance.
Alerts and reporting
Users can view live, scheduled and customized reports.
Azuga has a feature-rich mobile app for drivers and admins.Tracking Hardware
Azuga offers plug-and-play fleet tracking devices that are easy to install via the vehicle’s OBD II ports, though you can also hardwire devices into place if you prefer. You can choose from a long-life asset tracker or a rechargeable tracker. We were impressed with the asset tracker’s five-year battery life; standard devices last six months on one charge.
Azuga’s trackers are easy to install, keeping you updated on where your vehicles and other assets are at all times. Even the OBD II devices are accurate to within 5 feet, which is useful in built-up areas where multiple deliveries might be scheduled for the same street. The front- and rear-facing dashcams record in high definition, with integrated microphones (which administrators can disable) and the ability to record 15-second clips. The AI technology recognizes eating and smoking, while a dedicated parking mode records break-ins. Footage is available for up to 12 months, but older clips may be accessible upon request. Dashcams are now chosen by 75 percent of Azuga customers.
If you want drivers to be able to drink water on the move or ring clients with ETA updates, you can deactivate these actions from triggering alerts. That’s especially beneficial for long-distance drivers, and it’s another example of how adjustable Azuga’s settings are, even if it might take a while to get the software configured to your optimal preferences.
Azuga lets you track drivers’ performance with driver scorecards. Source: AzugaDriver Safety
Azuga provides excellent driver safety features, including driver scorecards, which are common in the fleet tracking industry. This is one of the few GPS fleet tracking services to share scorecard information, so both the administrator and the driver can see the driver’s performance. Additionally, users can view real-time alerts on hard-driving behaviors, like acceleration, harsh braking (which is usually a direct result of inattention), speeding and excessive idle time. It’s even possible to have reversing noted, which is ideal for businesses whose trucks aren’t allowed to reverse for safety reasons. Azuga also offers a unique add-on that lets you block drivers’ smartphone use when they are driving.
If driver safety is your top concern, you can add on Azuga Coach, a personalized video-based safety coaching feature. This can be sent to specific individuals, such as speeding drivers, through the platform’s admin portal.
Azuga will immediately flag any unplugged OBD II devices, in case drivers are trying to manipulate or cover up their telemetry data.
Azuga’s pricing is customizable. There is a one-time device fee, plus a recurring monthly service fee that depends on the features you want.Azuga Setup
Azuga offers plug-and-play devices that you can easily install yourself. You simply insert the device into the OBD II port of your vehicle, wait two minutes, turn on your vehicle and leave it to idle for a couple of minutes. When the LED starts flashing and changes color, the device is ready to track your vehicle and driver data.
Once the hardware is installed, it connects with the vehicle’s computer and GPS satellites to gather data on the vehicle and its location. That information can be accessed instantly via Azuga’s easy-to-use software. A software update late last year introduced unlimited usernames and passwords, thereby improving the platform’s flexibility.Azuga Customer Service
We found Azuga’s online resources quite helpful. The company’s website is filled with blogs, webinars, videos, documentation, success stories, open API documentation and an ROI calculator. If you still have questions about Azuga’s services, you can access product training resources.
If you’re looking for more personalized support, you can reach out to an Azuga customer support representative via phone, email, web chat or a ticketing system. When we posed as a small business owner and contacted Azuga to test its customer support, we were pleased with the promptness of the representatives and the assistance they provided. The visual pricing form on the website is highly intuitive, guiding people with limited industry knowledge through three screens to assemble a customized fleet pricing quote, though you must provide your contact details to receive the findings.Azuga Drawbacks
One potential downside of Azuga is that it requires a 36-month contract if you’re signing a dashcam contract, as most clients do nowadays. This length is relatively standard in the fleet tracking industry, but it does involve a substantial commitment. If you are looking for a fleet tracking solution with month-to-month terms, consider our review of Force by Mojio. Alternatively, you could shorten the commitment by signing up for a GPS-only contract, which has a minimum term of 24 months.
Another drawback of Azuga is that it isn’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau. While this isn’t a dealbreaker for us, we do like to see our best picks accredited. However, Azuga does have a positive reputation on other review sites.
Depending on your industry, you might be disappointed that Azuga only offers vehicle tracking devices. You can’t add them to containers as you can with FleetUp’s array of solar- and battery-powered tracking devices, which even include temperature sensors.Methodology
Finding the right GPS fleet tracking system can be tough, which is why we did some of the hard work for you. We spent hours researching and analyzing GPS fleet tracking systems to identify the top solutions on the market. We looked at hardware, features, pricing and contracts, usability, refresh times and customer support. We even got hands-on experience with demos and product videos when possible. When searching for the best GPS fleet tracking system for ease of use, we focused on features such as hardware installation, flexibility, scalability, software usability and customer support. For Azuga, we also paid attention to its driver incentivization schemes, which are unique in the industry.Azuga FAQs How do I use Azuga?
Azuga is simple to install and use. First, you plug the Azuga GPS tracking device into the OBD II port of your vehicle. The tracker instantly begins tracking and recording vehicle and driver data and integrates it with the Azuga platform. You can then use a computer or mobile device to view the recorded data.What is Azuga fleet management best for?
Azuga is an intuitive telematics solution designed for businesses that want a customizable and easy-to-use platform. It can serve businesses of all sizes and sectors, though marketing literature profiles it as being optimal for industries such as plumbing, telecom and trucking. Azuga reps describe the platform as being equally suitable for single-vehicle businesses and fleets of 10,000 vehicles.How easy is Azuga to set up?
Azuga offers plug-and-play tracking devices, so setting up your platform is simple. However, if you do need help with Azuga’s hardware or software, you can access the company’s comprehensive online resources and customer support.Is Azuga a big company?
Following its 2023 takeover by Bridgestone, Azuga has expanded to become the fifth-largest GPS company worldwide, with 10,000 customers and 340,000 registered vehicles covering around 3 billion miles per year. Azuga is still smaller than competitors such as Samsara and Verizon, but its scale is reassuring in terms of its long-term commitment to the market.Overall Value
We recommend Azuga for …
Firms that want to use every possible mechanism to improve driving standards.
Companies that are looking for a fleet tracking solution that is easy to learn and use.
Businesses that want access to 24/7 customer support.
We don’t recommend Azuga for …
Businesses that need hardwired vehicle trackers.
Startups that are looking for short-term or month-to-month contracts.
Companies that require up-to-the-second tracking.
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A knowledge management system (KM) could be defined as any system that identifies, organizes, stores, and disseminates information within an organization to make it easily accessible and usable. Whether a single, purpose-designed tool or a collection of integrated systems, a knowledge management system can provide value to an organization in a wide variety of ways.
One common business use is to improve customer service. In this context, a knowledge management system makes it easy to provide relevant and personalized information to customers and the staff who support them. This article looks at specific ways a business can use knowledge management systems to improve their customer service.
A knowledge management system can help a business break down information silos that prevent different parts of the organization from having access to relevant information or being able to see more holistic views of customers and their interactions.
For example, information in the customer database is not available to the analytics system, or management collects sales data that is not made available to front line workers that spend their days contacting customers.
A knowledge management system implemented in a call center or customer service setting can eliminate these information silos using the following best practices:
Consolidate knowledge repositories. Implementing systems that make it possible to unify knowledge repositories and databases will help keep all relevant information in a single system accessible by all.
Adopt federated search. Consolidating data and providing federated search tools make it possible for front-line staff to search all data sources based on one query.
Design systems from the point of service backwards. A customer-first approach will help ensure all customer data is available at each stage of their interaction with the company.
The easier it is for staff to find customer information, the easier it will be for them to provide high quality call responses and overall customer service.
Call centers can no longer rely on a phone line for customer service. In this multi-channel world, customers looking for support expect online knowledge bases, social media access, chat tools, and more. This can pose challenges for organizations looking to provide consistent information that is optimized for viewing across all channels.
Businesses looking to implement knowledge management across multiple channels should:
Deliver consistent multi-channel data. Users don’t want to have to repeat themselves by reentering data or explaining their issue multiple times at each stage of their interaction with customer service.
Optimize content so it is viewable on any channel. Information might look different on a smartphone than on a web browser, and graphics-intensive sites might provide lousy user experience for low-bandwidth customers.
Integrate all channels. Customer service agents should be able to seamlessly move among the different channels to provide a more seamless, unified customer response.
Some people prefer to call, some want to email, others would rather chat or post on social media. A knowledge management system can make it easier to accommodate all customers, regardless of their preference.
Customer service often depends upon a rapid, user-friendly response. Knowledge management systems can facilitate this by making data available rapidly, on a single screen if possible, with drill-down features that make further information available when necessary.
Businesses looking to speed up customer response with knowledge management should:
Design systems to answer queries fast. Impatient customers won’t be forgiving of underpowered hardware or glitchy software.
Provide a single dashboard or screen. Identify the key information to help serve customers quickly and summarize key customer data on a single, easy-to-read dashboard for customer service representatives.
Include comprehensive drill-down features. When a representative needs more information about a customer or transaction, they should be able to get to it from the main screen without going into another system or location.
Prevent unnecessary delays. Any additional steps or unnecessary information can result in customer frustration, dropped calls, and customer churn.
Callers expect quick answers based on the correct data. Doing everything possible to provide them with those answers is essential.
Online knowledge bases may be giving way to artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots in some cases, but they are not going away—and many of them are poorly designed or outdated. A knowledge management system can be used to help overhaul a business’s online knowledge base with the following steps:
Enhance online search. Making it easy for users to find information quickly, without wading through endless documentation, will improve user experience and customer satisfaction.
Devise good systems of taxonomy. Identify the information customers want and how they search for it, and then make it easy for those keywords and search terms to provide relevant results.
Customers are comfortable and familiar with online searches, and delivering bite-sized answers in an easy format can help improve their experience.
When designing or implementing a knowledge management system for the specific use of customer service, there are a few things to consider that will help ensure a better result.
Organizations often focus their knowledge management efforts on the customer, but it must be a resource employees can use to better serve customers. When designing the system, incorporate training modules, use the knowledge base as a training aid during calls, and make it easy for representatives to find the data they need.
Without well-trained agents, any knowledge management system will flounder. Ensure the system serves both customers and agents, especially those learning the trade. Knowledgeable agents provide the best service.
One of the flaws of software design is that programmers don’t always understand or take the time to discover the needs of system users. When designing or implementing a knowledge management system, make sure that the system meets the needs of those front-line workers who will use it. Gain their input, let them try out the system at various stages in the build, and find metrics that align with their duties.
Knowledge management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), contact center and key sales or management systems should not be separate islands within the enterprise. Avoid systems that are difficult or costly to integrate in favor of platforms that can easily fit into existing infrastructure. A centralized knowledge hub should align fully and integrate well with all other key customer facing systems.
Some call centers use automated voice response systems to reduce call volume, but automation can also be used to deliver better customer service. Implementing response chat systems that provide easy call turnovers to customer representatives can prevent long wait times and boost caller satisfaction. Implement chat systems that provide useful answers rapidly, ensure the system knows when to refer the customer to an agent, and provide a call-back option within a specified time.
AI systems like ChatGPT can be introduced into customer service to forward the mission of enhancing overall customer experience. For example, Natural Language Processing (NLP) AI can help interpret user intent rather than expecting users to know the right keywords to get the answer they need. NLP even takes into account industry-specific terminology, different languages, and special content like product names. Self-learning search engines continuously learn from every interaction to deliver increasingly accurate and targeted results.
The modern customer is far different from those of even a decade ago. Knowledge management systems must be adjusted to cope with current needs by providing integrated, multi-channel systems that serve data in the format needed by agents and customers. Considering both customer and customer service representative needs when designing and implementing a system can help improve customer service and customer satisfaction while making staff more efficient and more effective.
Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller recommends using original photos when publishing product reviews in order to benefit from the algorithm update that rewards in-depth research.
This is stated during the Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout recorded on February 4.
A website owner joins the livestream to ask Mueller about best practices for using images in product reviews.
He asks if editing existing photos found elsewhere on the web would be enough for Google to consider them unique content.
Or would it be better for the site owner to use original photos he’s taken himself?
Here’s Mueller’s response.Google’s Recommendations For Images In Product Reviews
Google rolled out an algorithm update last year that’s designed to reward product reviews with in-depth, first-hand research.
To benefit from the algorithm update, Google recommends providing unique content beyond what is available from the manufacturer.
So the question is whether editing existing photos are enough to make them unique, or if Google wants to see original photos.
Mueller says “unique” refers to photos you’ve taken yourself, not artificially enhanced photos.
While Google’s algorithm can’t automatically distinguish between original and edited photos, this is something Google’s Quality Rater team will look for when doing a manual review.
“I think the guidelines that we have for reviews, or the recommendations that we have, should really be focused on unique photos that you create of these products, so not artificial review photos.
I don’t think our systems would automatically recognize that, but but it’s probably something that we would look at, at least on a manual basis, from time to time.
So looking at the recommendations that we have, with regards to reviews, it feels like it’s not really in line with what we’re trying to do there, where we’re trying to really bubble up reviews, where we can tell that someone is actually testing this product in real life.”
For clarification, the website owner follows up by asking if the best option is to go with original studio photos.
“I think that would be ideal.”
The overarching goal of Google’s product review algorithm update is to boost content written by people who have personally tested what they’re reviewing.
One way an author can prove they’ve personally tested a product is to take their own photos of it.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to rank with stock photos.
In fact, since Google’s algorithm can’t tell the difference between original and edited photos, you may come across sites ranking quite well with images from the product manufacturer.
However, that doesn’t mean you should follow their lead.
When Google’s Quality Rater team, which consists of real people, goes in and evaluates product review search results they’ll notice which websites use their own photos.
Before long youmay not see the sites with stock photos ranking in the same positions they used to, while the websites with original photos get a boost.
Hear Mueller’s full response in the video below:
Featured Image: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock
The Nutrisystem diet plan has been around for about 5 decades now, and people still resort to it courtesy of its convenience and effectiveness in achieving their weight-loss goals.What is the Nutrisystem Diet?
The Nutrisystem Diet Plan was first launched in 1972 and its weight loss plans have undergone several iterations. At present, the company provides home-delivered meals, researched and formulated to promote weight loss. Their meal plans are based on a balanced diet of 25% protein, 55% carbs, and 20% fat and are portion controlled to ensure a calorie intake of only 1200-1500 a day, thus placing you in a deficit. The diet focuses on low glycaemic index (GI) foods and non-starchy vegetables and the non-perishable or flash-frozen meals/snacks are easy and quick to prepare.
To evaluate how good this system is, let’s dive into its reviews.Advantages of the Nutrisystem Plan Seamless System
Nutrisystem ordering and delivery is so easy and smooth – it takes a load off. During sign up you can choose from a pre-selected “chef’s choice” menu, or curate your own from a choice of 100 menu items (140 and 160 in the Uniquely Yours and Uniquely Yours Plus plans). It saves you the hassle of planning the composition and calories of every single meal of the week and adds variety. This works for people who hate calorie counting and prefer the imposed discipline of portion control. Not only does Nutrisystem take care of 80% of your food needs, but assistance is also available for the other 20% in terms of “flex” days (usually weekends). The plan requires you to supplement their meals with non-starchy vegetables, the list of which is accessible on the grocery guides and the NuMi app, along with a list of other compliant foods and snacks. The NuMi app even lists out restaurant meals that adhere to the diet plan, so you can eat out without guilt and the grocery guides help you prepare meals that adhere to the macros.Variety
Nutrisystem has a whole range of options for you to choose from for every meal. Some options are unhealthy admittedly, but the entire premise of this diet is to allow indulgence and restrict portions for people who struggle with self-control. This helps you stave off cravings and boredom – two of the main culprits behind diets derailing. The same variety extends to plans as well with about 4 main plans, and others created for special needs like diabetes, separate calorie-based diets for women and men, and vegetarian plans.NuMi App and Coaching
The NuMi app helps you stay on track by reminding you to log your meals, exercise, and water intake (at least 64 ounces/8 cups of water). There are also tons of healthy recipes and nutritional information to help you make healthy food as per the diet on “flex” days.
You can avail yourself of the Nutrisystem coaching services by addressing your queries to their coaches via phone, email, or their live chat box.Pricing
The diet plan is pricey, make no mistake. The monthly expense will amount to much more than your budget for home-cooked meals (for the specific cost breakdown, refer to the Cost section).Extra Grocery Costs
You also have to shell out extra money for vegetables and fruits, increasing your monthly expenses further. Shopping for groceries and still ordering meals is very costly, especially when you could save a ton of money making your meals.Type of Food, Portions, and Taste
Since all the food is processed and dehydrated, it is unlikely you will feel nourished after eating it for a month. Mostly the diet makes you sluggish and tired because the food has considerable amounts of hydrogenated oils, sodium, sugar alcohols, and high fructose corn syrup – none of which are healthy. Just because you’re losing weight, doesn’t mean it’s in a balanced, healthy way using fresh, natural food.
The small portion sizes may leave you feeling hungry, and people often start eating more, often unhealthier options to compensate, which defeats the purpose of the diet.
When it comes to taste, some people enjoy the Nutrisystem menu, while others liken many items to sawdust as they are bland. This depends on your palate and preferences.Sustainability
The Nutrisystem diet may be unsustainable because you could revert to old eating patterns and reverse the weight loss you achieved. Nutrisystem tries to minimize this eventuality by weaning you off its meals through the weeks and giving you more “flex” days to prepare “normal, home-cooked” meals with their grocery guide. By training you to cook healthy while on the diet, they hope to make the lifestyle and weight loss sustained post-diet.Fewer Alternative Options
There are options for diabetics and vegetarians, but Nutrisystem doesn’t cater to any allergies like soy, nuts, and dairy. It also doesn’t have a vegan menu either, though vegan and lactose-free options are available.Overall Cost of the Nutrisystem
On average the Nutrisystem plan cost ranges from $200-$350. There is the Basic, Uniquely Yours, and Uniquely Yours Max Plus Plans which cost $280, $330, and $370 per month respectively (this is the average of all the separate women’s and men’s plans). Choosing the auto-ship option saves you about $150 a month as compared to the one-time shipment, and opting for the 6-month Complete Plan halves your expenditure. The Partner Plans, A La Carte options, and customizations will have different pricing, based on specific variations. First-time subscribers have a money-back guarantee, but for recurring customers, it is only valid if you cancel before 14 days.Food Options in Nutrisystem Plans
The first week of this diet plan includes 3 meals, a snack, and a protein shake for 5 days to prepare your body for weight loss (Unique Plus which provides meals 7 days a week). Subsequent weeks have 3 meals and 3 snacks 5 days a week.
The choices are limitless. There are 100 -160 menu options to choose from based on your plan. Breakfasts could include pancakes, waffles, sandwiches, oatmeal, muffins, and granola bars. Lunch could be grain bowls, burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and pizzas. You could get stuffed chicken breast, pasta, comforting soups like mushroom and parmesan, amongst many other offerings.
Difference Between Traditional vs Dynamic Project Management
Project management has captivated our professional lives in such a way that it’s now become a norm in every single business and office/organization. This phase of systematically conducting your work and organizing the bits and pieces of a project to achieve a common company goal or objective was what governed successful projects and innovative, state-of-the-art changes and change management systems. With project management techniques evolved project management approaches, and these approaches kept evolving and growing to the ever-changing aspects of global businesses.
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Project scheduling and management, project management software & others
As industrialization grew exponentially there came about a divide in the way we looked at project management approaches and how it would affect the business. The work needed to get faster and better and more accurate than ever. That’s what came about to us as the new side of project management. The older approaches, or more legacy systems, came to be called Traditional Project Management and the new, vibrant and more intuitive approach came to be known by the name of Dynamic Project Management.Traditional Project Management
When we speak about traditional management, we’re looking at a very confined and rigid form of a project management approach. This approach was the start of project management on planet earth and assumed that the scope and objectives of the project stayed constant throughout the life cycle of the project. The initiating and planning were then designed as per this thought process. Allocations were made and the product was envisioned in a two-dimensional setup without any variation or even the possibility of a variation considered.
With absolutely no margin left to accommodate variance and changes to project plans and schedules, the success margins were bleak and not very encouraging. Traditional project management would identify the timelines and resources with the assumption that nothing will change during the project and the plan will be adhered to at all times. The project life cycle looked like this:
Project Monitoring and Control
The project life cycle would be followed in a sequential order and one stage would follow another, that is, only once project planning is complete will the entire project shift to project execution.
Changes in Plan
As mentioned above, traditional project management has a very rigid outlook on the entire project management space we create to conduct a change or movement towards a set objective. With the assumption that everything will stay just as it is, there’s no flexibility in the plan that is drafted after the project is initiated.
With less room for any changes, even a slight change faced by the project in the execution phase or in the plan designing phase itself, it will be necessary that the project manager redraft the entire plan from scratch bearing in mind the change that has occurred.
As we now know that within the working of a project, there is a possibility of many changes. Redrafting and redesigning the entire plan would not be scalable and would cost the organization time, resource, inflation of budget, and efforts.
Roles and Responsibilities
In traditional project management, we are looking at a central figure that takes care of the entire functioning of the project. That individual is the project manager (PM). The PM looks through all the stages that the project goes through and is responsible for its smooth functioning.
With the dynamism that is offered by the project, the responsibility of updating the plan also falls in the hands of the PM, thus, overburdening a single individual with the task of steering and pushing the project on track. This can be quite a task to manage.
Productivity and Performance
There’s a lot of focus on adherence to schedule and timelines as there now lays a harsh punishment for the PM if there’s even a slight change in the project plan. This one-sided affection for project schedules disrupts the workflow of the project and the work lags back anyhow.
With minds off the actual work that takes place, there have also been many cases where quality was compromised with the view to remain on time. There was always a hush-push when it comes to timelines and not a moment to breathe and think about the work project team members are doing.
Though the bulk of the concentration of the team and the project manager is on timelines, with inadequate attention to risk management and anticipation of risks, the team would be reacting to risk rather than responding to them.
When there’s a reaction to risks taking place, you know you aren’t paying attention to risks at all, as you assume that change wouldn’t take place and the project will flow as per timelines. But, with firefighting taking place during the project, you are forced to go off-track and then, the cycle of redrafting the plan takes place once again.
Work prioritization can take a serious hit during project proceedings, and with the framework of traditional project management, where the authority is centralized, there’s a possibility that the team members aren’t aware of the correct priority of work. This can cause them to work on the wrong things at the wrong time.
With weak timelines, traditional project management was at its most vulnerable end and it is now that we know why this rudimentary setup of processes was just a predecessor of the dynamic form of project management.
There’s a lot of external influence on the timelines and deadlines when it comes to traditional project management. With customers and clients dictating the deadlines, there’s no practical look-through on the estimation of work and the time needed for that work.Dynamic Project Management
In stark contrast to traditional project management, the environment created by dynamic project management addresses all the concerns raised by the former environment. The dynamic nature of projects is perfectly handled by this type of project management as it provides for a flexible framework that encompasses the ever-changing seasons of the project plans and objectives. The approach used here, in a dynamic project management environment, is that of dividing the project into self-sustainable units that don’t have a lot of dependent factors tied to it.
Considering a software development project, you have varied requirements that are extremely volatile and are subject to massive or minor changes with every step taken. Mostly, these plans are based on hypothesis that may or may not conform to the actual happenings within the project. It’s very impractical to follow the traditional project management approach in such scenarios and hence, project management experts came up with the need for a new and flexible approach.
Dynamic project management or Agile project management happened to be just the approach needed to break the jinx in unsuccessful projects, which were caused due to the rigidity in the traditional project management approach. Being highly iterative for a project management approach, dynamic project management went the incremental way. With all good things there are aspects of the project that need to be carefully looked into to get the ball rolling. They are:
Value rendered by the project should be clear
There should be active participation by the customers to check the proceedings of the project
Visual and graphical documentation should be allowed and encouraged
Team collaboration should be the authoritative figure in the project execution
The development cycles are building blocks that allow for constant evaluation of the project and the framework allows for constant feedback and improvement on the spot to be taken up. With continuous improvement as its backbone, dynamic project management is surely the way to go ahead. Planning becomes more agile and takes place with a lot of consideration and anticipation on board.
Changes in Plan
With the latest technologies taking over the dynamic project management approach, PMs rely on project management software tools to help them go about with the different changes in plans and the different introductions in the project design and execution phases. These tools conform to the dynamic project management approach in a way so as to push a very little amount of stress on the PM when it comes to changes in the plan.
These tools enable PMs to automatically incorporate changes in the plan as there already are the various situations considered and contingency plans agreed upon for any changes that might come about. The tool immediately takes the change and reshuffles the plan in a way so as to not shift the entire plan but accommodate the anomaly that has struck.
Roles and Responsibilities
It would only be possible if the hands that contributed to the project are extremely skilled and can work brilliantly in a team. Team collaboration is extremely important in a dynamic project management space and it forms a key component that drives this dynamic framework to higher possibilities of success.
Productivity and Performance
The plan and the timelines for the plan are all now automatically handled by the project management tool and need not have dedicated eyes following them. With that, the team and the PM can solely concentrate on the work to be completed and the iterations to be looked after. More time allows for more creativity and innovation and helps the team members to always think out of the box for any hurdle found along the way.
Unlike traditional project management, where there was more of a reaction to the risks encountered, in dynamic project management you are looking at ways to respond to the risks that have come your way. During the project planning stage, risk management is conducted and risks are anticipated and foreseen. With these forecasting conducted, action plans were also designated to each risk, which was anticipated. These action plans are incorporated in the project plan, and if there should be risks encountered, a proactive method will already go as deployed.
If the risks are averted, the project and its team members can use the remainder time as an opportunity to pull the project schedule ahead.
Here, everyone on the project team knows what needs to be done and the priorities are already sorted. With transparency in the system and clarity in the prioritization process, it takes care of changes in plans or task priority. These immediately reflect in the project plans.
With reliable scheduling and a flexible approach, the timeline and the project end date or milestone dates aren’t set in stone at the start of the project but are rather evolving as the project evolves with time. If dynamic project management is conducted effectively, there’s a great chance for success and savings when it comes to budget, time, and effort.
This would imply that with an evolving plan, your deadlines will always be accurate and your project end date will be based on actual rather than forecasts made way early in time.Conclusion
The traditional project management was the very start of project management and its contribution to how we manage projects nowadays will always be applauded. Not that this article makes traditional project management an obsolete project management approach, it rather just pits the traditional with the new age dynamic. Traditional project management is still used in some industries that have a fixed timeframes for everything and for linear processing of work.
The comparison surely and evidently puts dynamic project management on the lead in this race and with times changing and reforming continuously in the industrial sector, we will surely get better at what we do and progress even further for humankind.Recommended Articles
This has been a guide to Traditional vs Dynamic Project Management. Here we have discussed a brief overview with 6 individual differences between two terms. You can go through the following articles to learn more –
Difference Between Strategic planning vs Strategic management
The task of strategic planning is only difficult to look at, but it is quite an easy task to do once you get to it and moreover it is of utmost importance to all kinds of business as it critically analyses the current situation of the company, looks at what things are best for the company and focuses on the things that should be done and paves a clear path for the end result. Strategic management in the simplest terms would mean planning for the known as well as the unknown contingencies of the business. Strategic management is a step ahead of strategic planning. It helps in defining if the strategies that are implemented and worked upon properly. In this article will see the difference between Strategic Planning vs Strategic Management.Strategic Planning
The process of predicting the future of the company and defining it into the goals and objectives in order to be able to fulfill the future envisioned is broadly categorized in strategic planning vs strategic management. Unlike the conventional way of long-term planning, the strategic planning works it’s way backward i.e., first defining the end result and then chalking the strategic planning steps to be undertaken in order to achieve the end result. For example, at the time of long-term planning, the planner plans out the steps to reach the next level but in case of strategic planning, the planner reaches the stage and then thinks what must be done to reach here. In other words, long-term planning is a prospective planning and strategic planning is a retrospective planning process.
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For example, a company has developed software that helps the users to store and listen to music at their own comfort. But at the same time, Apple Company, looking at the popularity of the software, created an iPod, which made listening to music all the more easy for the customers. Now in such a situation, if the company did not have a strategic plan in place, then it would have suffered great loss because they would have only focused on the day to day operations of the company and hence would have rendered the software obsolete. And in turn, they would not have been able to compete with their competitors in the market.This is the five steps of Strategic Planning
Once we have understood what exactly strategic planning includes in strategic planning vs strategic management, the next step is to understand the strategic planning steps. It is an understood fact that if you want things done quickly and smoothly then it is important to build a plan as to how things are to be done, or else you will just end up in a mess.
Here are five steps that you should follow in order to be able to chalk the best possible strategic plan for your company:1. Determine where you are
Understand the position of your company, understand the market that you work in and the environment of the market. Do not get stuck in the maze of the way you see the company and the actual position where the company stands. Conduct an internal and external audit to best understand your company’s footing and understand how competitive your company can be.2. Identify what’s important
Once the analysis of your company’s footing is undertaken, the next step is to define as to what is important for your company’s growth, to set the direction for your company and define the missions and the vision that you want your company to fulfill. A strategic plan should focus on the issues that are recognized as the more important issues than the other in the in-depth analysis of the company’s position.3. Define what you must achieve
Set the objectives for your company as to what should the company achieve in order to properly address the grave issues. This is to make sure that the company is moving in the right direction and has some objective set for themselves.4. Determine who is accountable
By determining who is accountable for what, you are indirectly allocating the human resource, the time resource and the money resource that you have and make sure that all the plans, strategies and budgets are properly fulfilled and all the priority issues are properly addressed so that the company can fulfill the objectives set.5. Review the work done
Once all the plans have been made and implemented and all the resources have been allocated and the ball has been set rolling, the next step is to ensure that the plans are properly followed and the tasks are being performed as planned. For this, you need to review the process and make necessary changes in the plan. And this should be done at least every quarter just so to ensure that there are no discrepancies.
It is not only helpful for the big business houses to keep things on track but it is also important for the small business units for the growth of their business as the strategic plan will give you a much better idea about what you should do next.Strategic Management
In the planning phase, you chalk out all the plans for the company but in the management phase, the strategies so formulated are identified and are described so that the managers are able to do their job in the best possible manner and so as to achieve a competitive edge over their competitors.
The kind of planning would be applicable for both the small-scale firms and the large-scale firms because irrespective of the size of the firm, it important for the firm to be ready for the competition that they face in order to keep themselves afloat and gain a competitive edge. Strategic management helps in defining the course the company is going to follow by deciding upon the goals that the company wants to attain,
Strategic management is not a one-time process but instead, it is a continuous process. It requires a constant evaluation of the company and its competitive edge and reevaluates the strategies panned out in order to compensate for the changing environment.
In strategic planning vs strategic management, it also has another aspect in which the process helps the employees in understanding their job profile and how their job helps in the accomplishment of the overall objective of the company. The employees work better if they know their exact role in the organization and know what they have to do in order to be able to reach that goal. Strategic management can also be seen as a means to manage the employees of the organization so that the employees are able to work to their maximum potential. The management technique also helps the employees to understand the various changes brought about in the organization and understand how these changes are going to affect their job, hence are able to better face the changes being brought about in the organization. They help the employees to be effective as well as efficient as both qualities are equally valued in an organization.
Hence the strategic management has to play a dual role in strategic planning vs strategic management, one is to incorporate all the functional areas of the organization into one thing and to make sure that functional area so incorporated work well with each other. And the second role is to keep checking if the goals and objectives of the organization are properly followed and fulfilled.
One of the main functions of strategic management in strategic planning vs strategic management is to properly analyze the various cross-functional business decisions before implementing them. Strategic management also involves various other functions:
Proper analysis of the various internal and external strengths and weaknesses of the company.
Formulation of the action plans to be implemented.
After formulation, the execution of action plans is also included.
Reviewing the success of the action plans that are executed and making the changes as and when necessary.
Strategic management enables strategic planning which tells about the organizational ability to take the necessary action plan so as to be able to fulfill the goal set by the planners.There are five stages in the process of strategic management
They are as follows:1. Goal setting
Goal setting, as the name suggests is the process of setting a vision for the company as to where they want the company to reach. This process can be further divided into three-point process; first is to define the short term and long term goals for the organization, second is to identify the process and the action plan that needs to be undertaken in order to fulfill the objectives set and third is to customize the process according to the capabilities of the staff so that they are able to better work towards the goal fulfillment process.
But during the process of goal setting in strategic planning and strategic management, you should keep in mind that the goal should be detailed, realistic and it should be in sync with the vision set for the organization. In the end, your plan should be detailed enough to communicate your goals and vision to the shareholders and the employees of the organization properly.2. Analysis
This stage involves in-depth analysis of the strength and weaknesses of the company. Proper analysis of the company is of utmost importance as it helps in the next steps of strategic management. In strategic planning and strategic management the sustainability of the business, the direction in which organization wants to go and the opportunities towards which the organization should be working are the key elements and areas that the analysis should focus on. The external and internal factors affecting the working of the organization are also included in the analysis. A proper detailed SWOT analysis should be undertaken by the business organization.3. Strategy formation
For formulating the strategy of strategic planning and strategic management in the organization, the planners should take into account the information gathered from the analysis. They should identify the goals and the objectives to be achieved and should also know which problems need to be prioritized according to their importance towards goal achieving. Also, the external help needed by the company in any area should also be identified. Also, the planners should also have a backup plan for each step.4. Strategy implementation
In strategic planning and strategic management, a successful implementation of the strategy is very important to any business organization as it will define if the organization will be able to achieve the goals set. It is important to understand if the strategy implemented is in sync with the business structure. The roles and responsibility of the people in the organization should be clearly spelled out so that there is no confusion on the part of the employees and they are work with a concentrated approach towards the fulfillment of the goals. Also if there is a need for any financial help, then that help should also be secured at this stage.5. Evaluation and control
The proper evaluation of the strategy implemented in strategic planning and strategic management should be undertaken and should be made sure that the strategies are followed properly and there is no discrepancy in the implementation. Also if there is any discrepancy then corrective steps should be taken in order to be able to achieve maximum results. Evaluate your actual results to the standards set by you. Internal and external issues affecting the organization should also be taken into consideration and should also keep in mind when formulating the future strategies.
Strategic planning and strategic management are both important for the organization as they help in formulating the goals to be achieved and help in a more concentrated approach towards the fulfillment of that goal.Recommended Articles
This has been a guide that strategic planning vs strategic management is a retrospective planning process. It is only difficult to look at, but it is quite an easy task to do. These are the following external link related to strategic planning vs strategic management.
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