5 Tips On Running Meetings Effectively


Meetings are vital to any organisation. It can be the difference between being a well communicated business and complete discord and miscommunication. Here I will give you 5 tips on running meetings effectively. You should also check out my other post on the best ways start a new project for tips on kicking your project off in the right direction.

Stick To The Agenda

Before the meeting, create a topic driven agenda. It is important to make sure you cover all the topics during the meeting and ensure that you don’t stray off topic to discuss other points. If another point is raised, jot it down and place it in the following meetings agenda.

Keep Your Team In The Loop

The more your team knows about the project, they more they will feel involved. It will also help them realise their importance and keep them motivated. Let them know if you are on track, what the current issues are and any changes to the project.

Don’t Obsess Over A Point

If you find you are stuck on a topic too long, don’t stress about it. Put it aside and move onto the next topic. Getting stuck on a single topic will draw out the meeting and causes frustration and can lead to lack of interest and loss of focus from your team. Sometimes a difficult topic is worth throwing to the team to research or ponder over in their own time and then have them bring their research into the following meeting.

Make Sure Are You In Control

It is way too easy to stray off course. Be in control of (but not overpowering) the meeting and keep the your team’s focus on the points of the agenda. Allow everyone to have their say and be involved in the meeting however don’t let anyone overpower the meeting. A well heard meeting allows you to hear what your team has to say and allows you to pick up any issues your team may have. Let them know what their priorities are and what their focus should be on.

End Correctly

Meetings are incredibly important and the outcome of a meeting is one of the main reasons you have them. It lets everyone know where the project is at and what is still required. At the end of the meeting make sure that everyone knows what their responsibilities are, what their priorities are and that there are no uncertainties with their tasks. It will ensure that everyone can quickly proceed with their part of the project and will be working on the correct milestones.

5 Tips To Starting A New Project


Starting a new project with a client can be a daunting process. It will set the tone for your relationship with your clients so it is important to start our correctly and on the same page as your clients expectations. It is also vital to run your meetings effectively to ensure complete project success.

Understand Your Client Needs

Before you can deliver the project to a client, it is imperative that you understand what they need. Starting a new project on the right track can be the difference between a happy client and an irate client. Make sure that you listen carefully and document what they need from you and then tailor your solution to fit in with their needs not the other way around. In meetings, don’t be scared to take too many notes and draw small annotations to capture what your client is thinking. Miscommunication happens all too easy and can cause projects to derail off course

Review Their Needs

After meeting with your clients and listening to them closely, go through all your scribbled notes and build a project overview. It will allow you to see how much work is involved as well as letting you know if you have the ability to deliver exactly what they want.

Let The Know What They Are In For

You have now decided that you are able to deliver what they want so go through your project overview and get a ball park figure on what it will cost them and let them have it. There is no use wasting both you and your clients time going through all the steps only to have them pull out at the end when they see the cost.

Functional Spec

Now that you understand exactly what is needed, it is time for you to show your client exactly what they are getting and what they can expect from your. Flesh out all your notes and plan the project stage by stage. It will give your client a first glimpse of what they are getting and allows both you and your client to see anything that has been overlooked or perhaps misunderstood. Have your client approve the functional spec and move forward with the quote.

Quote With Deliverables

So both you and your client are on the same page and both agree on what you are to deilver, now it is time to give them the quote and deilverables. Deliverables are a step by step timeline of what each milestone will deliver to them and when it will be delivered. The quote is a list of the costs against each section of the project. It is important that your client understands how long it will be before they can expect to see more results. If a milestone is going to be delayed, let your client know as soon as you can. It will reduce a lot of the stress. A client that is left in the dark is can easily become an irritable, unhappy client.

Convert Unix Time Online Website


After discovering exactly what timestamps are and how much they can simplify storing dates and time, I often find myself using unix timestamps more often than not. If you are new to timestamps, take a look at this article and see what timestamps are and how they are useful.

Unix timestamps are great and I can’t live without them but the issue with timestamps is that a timestamp is simply a 10 digit number (e.g. 1307405403).

Convert Unix Time Online Website

I have created a website that allows me to quickly convert a unix timestamp online to an easy to read date as well as being able to convert a date back into a timestamp. It has helped me out tremendously which is why I have now made this tool available for the rest of the community to use and I hope that it makes other people’s life easier.

There are also article on that site which demonstrate Real World Usage Examples Of Timestamps as well as giving you Interesting Facts About Timestamps.

Read more…

Online DNS Dig Website


For those people who find themselves playing around with DNS setups from time to time will more than likely have worked with or at least heard of the command `DIG`.

For those who don’t know what DIG is or think of it as the necessary first step to hiding a body, will be surprised to know that DIG is a command that is used to directly query a DNS server to find out specific information about a domain name or sub domain. This can be useful when you are trying to setup a new domain or simply check if a sub domain already exists.

Further to this, you can check many types of records such as mail records (used in creating a mail server), CNAME records (points one domain name to another domain name) and most commonly is the A record (domain pointing to an IP address).

Online DNS Dig Website

Now there are times when I don’t have access to my Linux machine or perhaps to lazy to try remember 32 bit password i seem to create and couldn’t get access to the normal dig tool. Here is what lead me to create a website that would allow me to easily perform a dns look up and execute a web based dns dig online. Simply enter the domain you are querying, the type of record to look up and optionally enter the dns server and off you go.

Check Out The Online DNS Dig Tool

You too can use the site by clicking here. Please note that this site is still in it’s early release and may perform unexpectedly.

Read more…

The Richters Gallery – Online Photo Gallery

The Richters Gallery is a basic online photo gallery. It was originally developed as an online photo sharing facility allowing us (i.e. the Richter family) to show our geographically scattered family what we are up to.

First version of the website is up and running and is as basic as any website comes and can be viewed here.

I am currently redeveloping the entire site and putting in a large number of improvments from ratings to search features to social networking and much more.

View The Richters Gallery Here…