Project Management is the discipline of planning, organizing, and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives.
In layman’s terms, any endeavor that has a beginning and an end, requires resources and has a deliverable is a project.
In simplistic terms, any activity which requires time, money and people is a project.
I read somewhere that 80 % of all projects are mismanaged and if they finish – are over budget and delivered past their due dates. This is a very scary fact for leadership to know, considering the number of projects that are dealt with. I have always had a longstanding commitment, requiring everyone within IT to be familiar with project management philosophies and methodologies. Required attendance at classes, book readings and internal meetings to better understand and improve their skill sets is mandatory. It readies them to meet the challenges ahead.
In the beginning, before ideas are exchanged, people picked and dates agreed upon, there needs to be, written in stone, the project charter. It is the simplest way of insuring that your project starts off well and stays on track. Its importance will be felt by managers, project stakeholders and project managers as they all agree on the project details – mission and problem determination.
Here are some vital tips to get this right and start the process.
- Start by exploring whether the project is feasible
- Identify stakeholders
- Brainstorm the details
- Develop the mission statement
- Create those boundaries
- Implement the change control process
- Set those milestones
- Identify risks
- Identify ownership of project
- How does one track projects?
Historically, throughout an organization. Being dependent upon tribal knowledge to remember or searching through project documents can be messy. I like to use the portfolio method. Portfolio management has been a useful tool, helping me not only measure our success and failures but provide leadership and my peers with valuable information in the decision-making process.
Tracking projects past, current and future provide a great insight into how well your organization has done and where you are going. We can measure costs, deliverables and people productivity – providing the needed information to make diligent decisions. The system doesn’t need to be overly sophisticated – you just need to know beforehand what metrics you’ll want, and a spreadsheet will suffice.
Avoiding Murphy’s Law…
During any time, boom or bust, you must be able to take corrective action or pull the plug on a project before it wastes too many resources. So, I put together some quick and easy advice on the five early warnings signs that affect projects;
- Project management is MIA or senior management is inconsistent
- Political infighting between project team and business management
- Project team lacks a commitment to clearly articulated and commonly understood goals
- Project team fail to communicate internally
- Project team breaks into competing fiefdoms, displaying differences in direction
The key is to identify these early and act immediately. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Better to intervene and save both project and careers from swift execution.
It is critical, with today’s fast paced changes, that we not only ready our teams but ready other departments who are an integral part of the process. I will continue to write on this subject since its importance is paramount for organizations to be successful.