Author - racheleverett

Leadership for Those Who Remain

After layoffs it’s difficult yet important for managers to maintain high morale anJoined handsd productivity for the  remaining. Their collective head is
spinning with fear and anxiety that you need to replace with confidence. It’s important to:

  • Stress the fact that the layoffs were not a reflection of the performance of the staff who were laid off.
  • Be open and available  assist with reprioritizing and rebalancing workloads among the remaining staff.
  • Focus on addressing relevant employee concerns and how the company will move forward.
  • Keep the programs and initiatives that serve to align employees and provide a return on investment. Examples include celebrating success and the achievement of milestones at a company and individual level.

Read “On the case: Go team! Pretty please?” for ideas on how to boost employee morale after a series of layoffs.

Typing a Business Letter in Full Block Format


Full block format is used for formal business letters. This format is
characterized by the fact that every line starts at the left margin. None of
the lines of type are centered, or on the right. The only exception is in the
case of a pre-printed company letterhead. Full block format would be a great
format to use if you were to write a letter of resignation, a professional
thank you letter, a letter of recommendation, or perhaps resume a cover

is an explanation of each line in the letter:

  1. Return Address:  If your stationery has a
    letterhead, skip this. Otherwise, type your name, address and optionally,
    phone number. These days, it’s common to also include an  email address.
  2. Date: Type the date of your letter two to six lines
    below the letterhead. Three are standard. If there is no letterhead, type
    it where shown.
  3. Reference Line: If the recipient specifically requests
    information, such as a  job reference or invoice number, type it on one or
    two lines, immediately below the Date (2). If you’re replying to a
    letter, refer to it here. For example,
  • Re: Job # 625-01
  • Re: Your letter dated 1/1/200x.
  1. Inside Address: 
    Type the name and address of the person and/or company to whom you’re
    sending the letter, three to eight lines below the last component you
    typed. Four lines are standard. If you type an Attention Line (7),
    skip the person’s name here. Do the same on the envelope.
  2. Attention Line: Type
    the name of the person to whom you’re sending the letter. If you type the
    person’s name in the Inside Address (6), skip this. Do the same on
    the envelope.
  3. Salutation: Type the
    recipient’s name here. Type Mr. or Ms. [Last Name] to show respect, but
    don’t guess spelling or gender. Some common salutations are

    • Ladies:
    • Gentlemen:
    • Dear Sir:
    • Dear Sir or Madam:
    • Dear [Full Name]:
    • To Whom it May Concern:
  4. Subject Line: Type the
    gist of your letter in all uppercase characters, either flush left or
    centered. Be concise on one line. If you type a Reference Line (3),
    consider if you really need this line. While it’s not really necessary for
    most employment-related letters, examples are below.

  5. Body: Type two spaces
    between sentences. Keep it brief and to the point.
  6. Complimentary Close:
    What you type here depends on the tone and degree of formality. For

    • Respectfully yours (very formal)
    • Sincerely (typical, less formal)
    • Very truly yours (polite, neutral)
    • Cordially yours (friendly, informal)
  7. Signature Block: Leave
    four blank lines after the Complimentary Close (11) to sign your
    name. Sign your name exactly as you type it below your signature. Title is
    optional depending on relevancy and degree of formality. Examples are

    • John Doe, Manager
    • P. Smith
      Director, Technical Support
    • R. T. Jones – Sr. Field Engineer


  • Readability
    of a business letter body depends on the chosen font. The generally
    accepted font is Times New Roman, size 12, although other fonts such as
    Arial may be used.
  • Try
    to keep your letters to one page, if your letter
    requires more than
    one page all of the salutation and signature items would go on the second
    page at the end of the letter.
  • How
    many blank lines you add between lines that require more than one, depends
    on how much space is available on the page
  • The
    same goes for margins. One and one-half inch (108 points) for short
    letters and one inch (72 points) for longer letters are standard. If there
    is a letterhead, its position determines the top margin on page 1.
  • If
    you do not type one of the more for
    mal components, do not leave
    space for them. For example, if you do not type the Reference Line (3),
    Special Mailing Notations (4)
    and On-Arrival Notations (5),
    type the Inside Address (6) four lines below the Date (2).


Business Letter Templates

Viderity offers a large collection of business letters
written by business professionals to help you achieve your desired message when
writing business letters. The letters will give you and your company a
professional image.  View
our Business
Letters Kit

4 Tips for Writing Effective Emails

Being able to write effective emails is a crucial skill for project managers. Here are four tips to girl typing emailhelp you write emails that get the results you seek.


  1. Ask for something. All business writing includes a call to action. Before you
    write your email, know what you’re asking of your audience.
  2. Say it up front. Don’t bury the purpose of your email in the last paragraph.
    Include important information in the subject line and opening sentence
  3. Explain. Don’t assume your reader knows anything. Provide all
    pertinent background information and avoid elusive references.
  4. Tell them what you think. Don’t use the dreaded “Your thoughts?” without
    explaining your own. Express your opinion before asking your reader to do the

About ProjectPerfect


ProjectPerfect is an online journal devoted to sharing insights on project management activities, tools, and deliverables. The information presented is aimed at helping professionals make better decisions for their projects and their careers. ProjectPerfect is a companion publication to and is authored by Viderity Inc.


Viderity’s website offers project management templates that can help you work more efficiently and effectively. Viderity’s easy-to-use, fill-in-the-blank template format streamlines the creation of project documents and works with Word and Excel. With over 60 professionally designed templates based on proven industry best practices, Viderity offers the most comprehensive project management templates on the web.



Viderity Inc.

Viderity, headquartered in Washington, DC, U.S.A. is a leading e-media agency that focuses on the strategic application of information technology to successfully complete projects. As part of our practice, we create and sell electronic products including our premier project management templates that save professionals time and money and improve their results.


White House 2.0

Geeks U.S. President Barack Obama is placing IT and technology on the national stage. He relied heavily on the use of the Internet and social media tools like Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, and text messaging throughout his campaign.  And now he plans to appoint the country’s first chief technology officer (CTO), a cabinet-level position aimed directly on bringing technology in the public sector up to par with private industries.

There is a lot of speculation centered on who will fill the progressive position. Names supposedly on the shortlist include Shane Robinson of HP and Edward Felten of Princeton University.  Never has a U.S. president recognized the importance of IT and technological innovation like Obama. This is certain to be good for IT industry projects down the road. In fact, two of Obama’s three technology pillars on his website indicate increased project activity.

1. Barack Obama will protect the openness of the Internet:
Obama and Biden strongly support the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet.

2. Deploy a modern communications infrastructure:
Obama and Biden believe we can get true broadband to every community in America.

3. Improve America’s competitiveness:
Obama and Biden will ensure our goods and services are treated fairly in foreign markets, invest in the sciences, and will provide new research grants to the most outstanding early career researchers in the country.

Iterative vs. Fixed-priced Projects


For those of you familiar with a traditional project management process, you’re probably familiar with a usual project life cycle- plan, budget, design, develop, test and release, A.K.A. waterfall. This style of management can typically be found in fixed-price projects. You may be less familiar with the percentage of projects that utilize this management process, yet fail to stay within the project’s intended time line, budget and scope.

According to the “Chaos Report”, a project management research study on software development companies:

…35 percent of software projects started in 2006 can be categorized as successful, meaning they were completed on time, on budget and met user requirements. This is a marked improvement from the first, groundbreaking report in 1994 that labeled only 16.2 percent of projects as successful…

35 percent! Almost two out of every three software development or integration projects fail.

My experience with 2 project life cycles:

While there are 4 project life cycles adopted for software and web development, Viderity primarily works within the Waterfall (also known as Serial) and Iterative cycles. While all project life cycles have advantages and disadvantages, these two have been widely accepted and adopted by software, IT, and web companies.

Both were developed to manage project risks, but one is probably more suited than the other depending on the amount and type of risk involved in your project. To explain, let’s start by providing a brief overview of the Waterfall and Iterative life cycles.

The Waterfall Life Cycle

Using the Waterfall life cycle, your team is supposed to be able to first obtain every possible requirement (Project Planning and Strategy). Based on those requirements the team moves into design. Once everyone agrees on the “big picture”, the team starts developing or building. All pieces are developed, completed and integrated before testing begins.

Waterfall life cycles take longer because the team is tasked with predicting how much a project costs, how long it will take to implement features, and how quickly defects can be fixed – things that are inherently unpredictable.

Many business stakeholders prefer waterfall life cycles and fixed-price projects up front with a very high-level overview of features and services. It’s very reassuring to know exactly how much a project will cost before you spend any money on it. Small projects (e.g., basic websites that include static, brochure-type pages) flourish from this type of development process because there are less complex programming requirements. However, if your project is more complex (e.g., a website with advanced functionality such as e-commerce integration), I recommend using an iterative, incremental, life cycle. A waterfall approach on these types of projects may result in failure.

The Iterative Life Cycle

Viderity uses an iterative life cycle for projects that require more complex planning and development. The iterative life cycle looks a bit like the waterfall approach at the beginning of the project for the requirements and analysis phase, but uses monthly “sprints” through the remainder of the project. Sprints align and manage expectations by permitting the customer and project team to see working prototypes as they are created. Early review allows greater flexibility for development and testing so that the customer gets exactly what they want.

Instead of spending 2-3 months in low-level requirements gathering, and then building out all features and testing them before release, we recommend spending 2-4 weeks defining the feature sets, determining which features are most important to the customer, then developing, testing and releasing features in monthly sprints.

While the project’s time frame and price are not fixed at the start of the project, the intrinsic nature of developing this way has proven to reduce cost and increase the potential for success.

How iterative processes reduce risk

    • Product features are continuously analyzed and negotiated based on need, price, and timeline.
    • Project estimates are based on very small chunks
    • Business requirements are not written in stone and can be changed
    • There are rapid development and feedback cycles early in the project life cycle