It’s bigger than that, it’s huge

So this is what a critical path is:

Establish a critical path

A big task can be overwhelming and you might not have any idea where to start on it. In cases like these, establish a critical path where the key aspects of the job are ascertained, along with the time that should be taken to complete them, any dependencies between them and their logical end points. Creating a Gantt chart is particularly effective here. One of the underrated aspects of this step is the fact that establishing a critical path will enable the job to be completed more quickly, so it is a skill well worth learning.

6 Advanced Project Management Tips for Team Productivity – Theresa Buckeridge, Todoist (7 November 2014)

Read the full piece for more on critical path analysis and five other tips for the very biggest projects.

Get 1Password and then get more out of it

You should be using 1Password. I don’t care if you’re on Mac, iOS, Android or Windows, you should be using it. I’m not a blind fan, I find fault with it, but it’s a password manager and you have to have passwords so you have to have a password manager. In my opinion, 1Password is the best of the lot. Plus, it’s free.

If you’re looking at me wondering what a password manager is and whether that’s a real job, think of the last time you bought something on Amazon. Or logged into your email. Or opened Evernote from a new machine. You have to have passwords and you can’t use “donaldduck123” any more. You also can’t use 7J8d7fdJK(** – if you use that same one for everywhere.

A password manager creates these strong passwords for you – and then it remembers them. All you have to do is click a button or press a key and it zooms you off to Amazon, say, and it logs you in.

But that’s not why I want to talk to you about it today.

By dint of what it does with passwords, 1Password is extremely useful in other ways. It’s great at being your bookmarking for websites; it is really good at filling in credit card details; and it actively helps you when you’re being good and making a note of your new software licence.

Go read all this at length on the tutorial I wrote about it for today.

Spread a little happiness – because it helps

This is a piece written for management and it’s about caring. I think I read it because I don’t connect those two words and I was curious. Also suspicious. Sure enough, it’s a bit fluffy bunny but it recognises that and says no, come on, this stuff works:

“Countless studies have found that social relationships are the best guarantee of heightened well-being and lowered stress,” [positive psychology expert Shawn] Achor told me, “and both are an antidote for depression and a prescription for high performance.”

While it’s all too common in business for bosses to spot a few employees chatting it up in the halls and instinctively conclude that they’re dodging work, the research proves that the better people feel about workplace relationships, the more effective they become.

When surveying employee engagement all over the world, Gallup routinely asks workers, “Do you have a supervisor or someone at work who cares about you?” While many CEOs have asked Gallup to remove this question with the belief that it’s inherently soft and un-useful, Gallup discovered that people who answered “yes” to it were more productive, contributed more to profits, and were significantly more likely to remain with the firm.

Three Uncommon Ways to Drive Happiness in the Workplace – Mark C Crowley, FastCompany (13 November 2014)

Read the full piece. It’s long and it’s detailed but it’s interesting.

Windows version of 1Password updated

You know PCs better than I do: does this sound good to you? Aside from the odd hiccup, I am very much a fan of 1Password so updates are automatically good. It’s just that I read this list of new features and I’m not exactly arrested:

I don’t get to pull ‘chock’ off the shelf very often, but this is a special occasion. 1Password 4.2 for Windows is here with all sorts of new goodies to help you work and play better.

You can use the View menu to hide the Wallet and Accounts groups from the sidebar
Wi-Fi Sync is now clearer about what it’s up to
The password strength meter is much strength-ier
We added Secure Desktop buttons to the Change Password window
The Auto-Save dialog now allows adding tags
We improved how we log into non-web-browser apps

1Password 4.2 for Windows is chock-full of perks and improvements – David Chartier, AgileBits(3 March 2015)

Read the full blog post for more.

What Microsoft can tell small startups

Not much, you’d think. And I still wonder. But ex-Microsoft guy Rakesh Malhotra says he learnt lessons there that have helped enormously in his jobs since, including:

Know your blind spots: Like a lot of companies, Microsoft conducts 360-degree reviews, where you solicit a review from everyone surrounding the employee: Manager, peer, reports, etc. There are many best practices as to how to conduct an effective 360-degree review, but the effect is usually the same — you learn your blind spots. A successful leader pays attention to weaknesses and finds a way to manage them. It really helps to be self-aware, especially at a startup, where every member has a lot of responsibility.

Lessons — From Microsoft! — On Being a Startup Leader – Rakesh Malhotra, Re/code (27 June 2014)

I didn’t put the exclamation mark in that article title. But I thought it.