From Guest Writer, Simon Buehring of PRINCE2
Already 2010 is upon us, and project managers are facing the challenges of the new year. Obama, super-project-manager of the United States, has announced a new programme to overhaul airport security. The UK government has published controversial plans for a project to cut the budget deficit.
And meanwhile, project managers everywhere – public and private sector, big businesses, small organisations, arts, IT and finance – are struggling to achieve ever greater project goals on ever diminishing budgets. There has never been a more pressing need for excellent project management skills.
1. Define your needs
Too many projects fail because the project manager does not know what need the project must fulfill. Ensuring that you can describe in a single sentence or paragraph exactly why your project is necessary is crucial to project management success.
2. Be honest with your schedule
A certain amount of optimism is crucial for project management success. However, one of the most common causes of project failure is unrealistic estimation of how much time each project commitment needs. If the project runs over schedule, it should be because of unforeseen circumstances, not because the project manager has underestimated the amount of time that the project requires. Setting realistic goals is the key to avoiding unnecessary schedule complications and to ensuring project success.
3. Clearly identify who performs which role(s)
Many organisations will be running tighter ships in 2010. With fewer workers on the project team, it is doubly important to make sure that every project role has been assigned, and that everybody is clear about what responsibilities they have for the project.
4. Brainstorm groups of people to involve in risk identification. Considering formal risk management training
Risk identification and risk management are vital to the success of projects and the survival of organisations, particularly in a high-stakes, less-than-stable business world. Investment in careful risk identification – even simply to the extent of arranging risk workshops that involve representatives from every section of the project team – can pay dividends later on, and will often make the difference between project failure and project success.
5. Invest in training
Professional project management certification is not only an essential feature on any project manager’s CV; it also develops important project management skills and provides a common framework for understanding how a project works. This latter element is particularly pronounced in project management methodologies, such as PRINCE2. A shared pool of concepts and terminology can make the difference between a group of people coerced into a project, and truly coherent project management team.
(Knowledge Train offers PRINCE2 training every week from its training venue in central London.)
What do you think?
For more resources, see the Library topic Project Management.