Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Are Your Decisions Timely?

Time is of the essence of an effective decision.

If your team manages the time aspect of decision making it is more likely to converge rapidly on a robust resolution and implement in a timely manner.

Because of this, MetaTeam takes its time management capabilities a step further in the area of collaborative decision making.

Let's have a look at how to track decision time frames, when to track which dates, and why.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Altova welcomes PMI Mass Bay's new North Shore Roundtable

This week Altova's US office is pleased to host PMI Mass Bay's first meeting of the North Shore Roundtable.

PMI Mass Bay is the Massachusetts chapter of the Project Management Institute.  It is the largest chapter in New England and one of the largest and oldest worldwide.

Every month eight roundtables meet around Greater Boston.  The roundtables are part of PMI Mass Bay's professional development program.

Each meeting is like a mini version of the monthly Chapter meeting.  A speaker from the community presents on a topic of interest to project managers and leads a discussion.  PMP's receive a PDU for attending and up to two more PDUs for presenting.

The North Shore Roundtable is a new group meeting in Beverly, a few miles north of Boston.  Beverly happens to be where Altova's US office is located, so we offered to host the meetings, and they accepted the offer. 

The first meeting is Tuesday, 1 April at 7:30 AM.  The address is: 900 Cummings Center 314T, Beverly MA.

We're excited to have the opportunity to extend Altova's participation in the local project management community!

If you are a project manager in the Greater Boston area, why not drop by one of the roundtables to try it out?  They are a great way to get to know PMI Mass Bay, network, and deepen your knowledge of project management. 
You can get more information from PMI Mass Bay's website.

Hope you can join us! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Relational PMP Study Aid, Part 3

Studying for PMI's PMP exam is hard!  We want to help make it a little bit easier.

In the first two installments of this thread (here and here) we created a free relational database that modeled the interrelated concepts in PMI's PMBOK.

The database is a free study tool for the PMP exam.  But it can also serve as an illustratration of how many of the concepts you see in MetaTeam are linked together in the same way.

(And in addition we wanted to show off Altova's DatabaseSpy product in action).

Several people contacted us to say, in essence, cool idea, but what can I do with the database? 

So to wrap up the series with this post, we just want to point out a simple free webapp for studying for the PMP exam created using the PMP study database. 

You can find the webapp at http://standardmethod.net.  It is also available as an iPhone app.

The webapp is no big deal.  Really.

But it does show how you could use the database yourself.  And the flashcards and browsable structure may be a real help as you study for the exam. 

Naturally we also added some pointers to how MetaTeam can help your team with PMBOK concepts in the real world.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

XBRL webinar video available, along with an XBRL solution page on MetaTeam.net

Yesterday Alexander Falk, CEO of Altova and XBRL expert, presented an XBRL.us webinar:

       How To Download and Process SEC XBRL Data Directly from EDGAR

As you may already know, Altova is the maker of the RaptorXML Server, perhaps the world's fastest XBRL processor and validator.  In addition, several of Altova's other tools provide rich XBRL feature sets for data integration, reporting and more. 

XBRL.us put the webinar on YouTube and Alexander's slides are on Slideshare.

XBRL is one of the most important XML standards for the financial services.  With regulators around the world mandating public company reporting be in XBRL, there is a huge need for robust tools and techniques, and for XBRL expertise.

Alexander's overview, and then his practical and hands-on tutorial, is a terrific jump start.

MetaTeam is also very relevant to XBRL implementations!

Rolling out XBRL-based processes requires careful teamwork across many areas of a company. From IT, to Compliance, to Finance, to external contributors — XBRL isn't a one-day job!  And that's exactly the kind of cross-functional organization MetaTeam specializes in.

To say a bit more about why we think XBRL implementation teams, including XBRL consultants, should take a closer look at MetaTeam we put up an XBRL solution page on metateam.net.

The page talks about how MetaTeam can facilitate the collaborative teamwork required for XBRL process development, even as RaptorXML and Altova's other XBRL products deliver the robust tooling needed to make those processes a reality.

In fact, take a second look at the whole MetaTeam Solutions area of metateam.net.  We posted a bunch of new content on some excellent uses for MetaTeam.  If you get inspired, sign up for a free trial MetaTeam account and see for yourself.

And definitely check out Alexander's webinar.  Let us know what you think!    

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Who wants dumb goals? Go SMART!

It is common wisdom that teamwork should be driven by SMART goals. Meaning that the goals should be:

    Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant & Time-sensitive

The SMART concept is not controversial.  And it's great practice that can save your team lots of time and aggravation.

The SMART attributes can be used a couple of ways. They can help
  • Prioritize which goals get worked on 
  • Communicate clearly about goals
  • Make progress easier to measure
For any of that to work well, you need to capture information SMARTly.  And MetaTeam can help you there!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Check out this Enterprise Risk Management how-to

Organizing risk management teams is a great use case for MetaTeam.  We've talked about Enterprise Risk Management on this blog before.

Now there is a much more in-depth source of information on using MetaTeam for ERM.   Take a look at:     


This new website gives definitions, tips, links to standards and MetaTeam templates for your Enterprise Risk Management and Stakeholder Management teams.  Lots of screenshots, examples, document outlines, and tons of great ideas.

We hope this is a useful reference and how-to for your risk or audit team.  Please let us know what you think, and good luck with your ERM efforts!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

MetaTeam Exits Beta

This morning MetaTeam enters the world of commercial software.

That's right, our Beta is over.  MetaTeam has graduated!  It's a brand new day.

Over the past year and a half our Beta users helped us learn a lot.  We made many changes in response to their excellent feedback, and it has made MetaTeam a more excellent product.

If you haven't tried MetaTeam, or if you haven't seen it in a while, we invite you sign up, sign in and see what we've been up to.  Your trial is still free for 30 days and no credit card is required.


We're sure you'll appreciate all the new features and the core capabilities.  Take a look at the relaunched MetaTeam website for more information about them, as well as support options, prices, and more.  There is lots to see and even more coming soon!

As always, we want to hear from you.  And especially your ideas for how we can make MetaTeam even better.  There are lots of ways to talk with us:
We're looking forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How Do You Define Work Packages in MetaTeam?

What is a “work package”, and if it’s not from Amazon why should I care?

To answer that, let’s get technical.

According to the PMBOK, a project’s planned work is “contained within the lowest level WBS components, which are called work packages.”

Ok, but what is a WBS?  

A WBS is a work breakdown structure. It is a tree structure of decomposed deliverables.  Basically a WBS is a straightforward way of splitting up deliverables into manageable packages. Work packages.  

Here's a quick example. Say your deliverable is a fully setup copy of XMLSpy.  You can break that work down to four work packages:

  1. The computer, 
  2. The installer, 
  3. The license, and 
  4. The installed application. 
Obviously it’s a trivial example, but you get the idea.

Notice that I said package one is “the computer”, not “go ask IT for a computer”.

Why is that?  Well, the PMBOK goes on to say: “A work package… refers to work products or deliverables that are the result of effort and not to the effort itself.”

By now you’re probably asking yourself, what does this have to do with MetaTeam?

I’m glad you asked.  Read on for the low-down and a handy work packages cheat sheet!

http://xkcd.com/576/ + http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Work_View_of_the_Architecture.jpg

Monday, March 25, 2013

New Project Management Features

This week we are introducing a slate of new project management features.

Now you can define work more tightly, track progress more quickly, and make your project team into high performance rock stars.

This post breaks out the greatest hits, including: 
  • A interactive Gantt chart
  • Microsoft Project integration
  • Completion criteria
  • Improved work package definition

These features have been the most requested over the past 6 months.  Read on to see how MetaTeam integrates familiar project tools into a complete project information solution.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rolling Your Own Team Roles

Roles are a huge part of work life.  They come under more than a few headings, including: 
  • Security roles (mainly for networks and key cards)
  • Process roles (e.g. specified by ITIL, Scrum, Lean or Prince2)
  • And especially, general business roles
Examples of common roles include:

Unfortunately, however, there is no real standard for defining roles.  And the many processes that specify roles typically leave the details up to the reader.  

Even methodologies like Scrum and Prince2 that rely heavily on very specific business roles don’t say much about how to implement and organize them.

Unlike other tools, MetaTeam makes a focus of using business roles as a scaffolding for more effective team organization. 

MetaTeam gives you a way to manage the information, assignments and interrelationships that help make roles valuable. And rather than adding overhead, we think MetaTeam does all that with a light touch.

How does MetaTeam pull this off?  And how can you?

Read on for screenshots and a PDF cheat sheet!