As the festive season gets closer, thoughts turn to gifts. As project managers, you probably already have a list, and may even have started buying presents. If you are slightly less organised in your personal life than in your work life, here are some gadget ideas that you could ask your loved ones to buy for you – or buy them for the other project managers in your life.
There are lots of tablets available. Different manufacturers make different applications available, so you would want to choose one that has a range of apps available for you to use. This is especially important if you use online project management software, or want to access your software on the go. For example, mind mapping tool DropMind has an iPad application and this would suit you if you wanted to use your iPad to prepare or review mind maps while travelling. Other products may or may not have access via an app or may look a bit odd when you try to access them through a site designed for the mobile web.
You’ll also want to choose a tablet that has either 3G or wifi (or both) depending on where you think you’ll be using it. Try to test out a couple of models before committing to one as they are relatively expensive so once you make the investment you’ll be stuck with it.
A smart phone is one that does more than just calls and text message. It enables you to get your emails, surf the web and interact with Twitter and Facebook as well as other services. Many smart phones have cameras, which is great for getting candid shots of the project team at work to illustrate project newsletters or your monthly reports. Getting a smart phone was a great step for me and it increased my productivity. Now there are so many available the best thing to do is ask around for recommendations.
You’ll also want to consider the cost of data and phone calls, especially if your company is not paying towards these. Choose a network with good coverage. Look into the battery life of the product as well as there is nothing worse than wanting to make an important phone call and finding out that you haven’t got enough battery left to last the duration.
Does anyone actually have one of these gadgets anymore? I wouldn’t bother – there are plenty of other good products on the market.
If you travel a lot, or just prefer to read heavy books without having to carry them around, an eReader is a great gadget. You can use it for your copy of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) — Fourth Edition, or an electronic copy of your PRINCE2 manual. Alternatively, why not load it up with some other professional development books, like Social Media for Project Managers or Overcoming Imposter Syndrome (both written by yours truly).
You could combine this with your phone or tablet, but some people will prefer to have a gadget dedicated to music and audio files. For professional development purposes, and MP3 is great as it gives you on the go access to any number of project management podcasts. You can listen to them in the car or on the commute, or at the gym. Some podcasts also offer you the opportunity to earn PDUs so this can be a convenient way to stock up on some PDU credit either free or at low cost, and relatively easily.
I also used mine when I changed industries as it was a convenient way to learn more about the industry I was joining while I was commuting – particularly good if you are moving to an industry with a whole new set of jargon to learn. There are podcasts on every subject and on every industry, so search online or in a podcast directory until you find something that suits you.
Alternatively, load up your MP3 player with some relaxing music or an audio book to listen to after a difficult day at the office!