5 Principles of Successful Project Management
Like sales and accounting are inherent part of doing any business, these days project management has become must-practice ingredient of any business, be it about new product launches, new product development, internal process improvement or technology implementation, plant setup, construction, external marketing activity, sales drive or recruitment drive/hiring activities. Over the years, organizations have realized the importance of doing things in right manner, and the right manner is about repeatable process with predictable outcome. Having repeatable process with predictable outcome is about project management.
As organizations realized importance of doing-things-right, they have started investing in project management. And once a business invests in anything, it carefully evaluate return on investment (RoI). It is only sound and effective project management that can deliver return on investment, consistently for an organization: thereby delivering things on time using limited resources and of desired quality.
So how to achieve such respectable project management process? Let’s look at five principles of successful project management.
Be Agile (Not Necessary to Fail-SUPER-Fast or Always-Keep-Experimenting)
Doing Business in 2016
Doing business in year 2016 is all about being proactive and not reactive. If you wait for time to understand the change and then respond, you will be left out and possibly see business going south. Just look at Nokia, it failed to understand the market, it failed to adapt and respond on time. Once undisputed market leader, Nokia’s future is now blurred and is in somebody else’s hand.
What Business Disruptions Means to Project Leadership
Business disruptions are forcing market leaders to change the way they have been doing things for decades. It is a time to be agile. It is a time to be proactive. If business is taking old, traditional project management route with 5 years project plan will possibly find its project plan becoming obsolete in next two year.
Being Lean and Adaptive
The broad business goal is now broken down to limited scopedsmaller projects. These projects are managed using project management tool and tracked for optimal results in shorter cycles. Project team members are shared across project, their contribution from one to another project is flowing even on a daily basis as per business need. Hence effective project management in 2016 requires transparently collaborative team environment with lean approach. But being lean does not mean that you have to fail-super-fast or keep on experimenting, what I mean is taking a disciplined approach in being adaptive to the changing business dynamics.
Help Project Team to Learn | Give Them Ways to Balance Work-Life
Unlike in the past, the new generation of project managers, project teams are hungry for knowledge. For them, “there is sea of knowledge out there”. As a business leader, you will have to help them to learn more and more, be nimble to technological changes, process changes.
Striking the Balance
There will always be projects which are routine activities like Business-As-Usual, and there will be activities involving new learning, new challenges. Business leader offers right balance of such routine activities and challenging work to project teams. Some organizations requires its employee to go through different roles, giving them exposure to various aspects of doing business, on a rotation basis. This approach ensures routine project receives experienced drivers as well as challenging projects receives fresh minds and energies.
Learning opportunities and ways to balance work-life are the most sought after things by employees. If you as business leader can provide these to your project teams, you will have a platoon of capable and loyal employees.
Groom Project Analyst for Project Management Roles
Project Management Office (PMO)
Businesses are striving for more agility, at the same time they cannot sideline a focus on larger business goals. What it means is, having smaller projects with shorter duration can be favorable and can work great, businesses cannot afford to miss the larger picture. Hence, organizations would like to see their project management processes are evolving under the capable hands like project management office (PMO). Project management office has started playing really crucial role in century old organizations as well as new organizations to streamline projects across various departments.
What PMO Means for Business
The changing dynamics of doing business should reflect in the way projects are managed and delivered in the organization. A PMO team can drive various project initiatives consistently across department. PMO teams are mandated to create building blocks for current as well as future projects that can be deliver projects consistently with limited resources and under cost constraints and extreme time pressure.
Identifying Next-Gen Project Managers
Generally PMO teams are small and have limited power over other business project teams. If PMO team has to set PMO processes that will ensure “right” projects are done with “right” approach, it needs champions from each project team. These champions are not necessarily project managers but preferably representing junior positions. Hence it is important for PMO teams and in general for an organization to groom project analysts for project management roles. They will not only guide project teams for right processes but who can be seamlessly moved to PMO roles or project management roles when needed.
Preparing Next-Gen Project Managers
We are talking about preparing next level of project manager who can work flawlessly under pressing timeline conditions, extreme pressure from stakeholders; who will also have sound business acumen. So that when a situation warrants, theses project analysts will be ready to make challenging decisions under extremely pressuring conditions.
Embrace Project Management Software | Technology Streamlines Things
Technology Is Great Enabler
There is no doubt that technology is great enabler. We have seen this in the past and in foreseeable future, technology will continue to help greater developments for human kind. It is difficult to imagine all-time-great-projects like NASA missions without using technology. Though there are projects delivered when there was no availability of technology and modern tools. But speaking of today’s projects especially mammoth project-undertaking, these cannot be planned, monitored or delivered without using technology or tools.
Project Portfolio Management Software (PPM Software)
There is no way one can expect unstructured delivery getting successful every other time. In order to expect predictable project delivery organizations need consistent, repeatable and proven project delivery processes set by PMO team. It is not to deny that projects work will be delivered by people but project portfolio management software (PPM tool) brings collaboration, transparency for stakeholders. To drive programs through lean project management approach and attain desired project quality and to meet program timeline mean stakeholder will need access and visibility to projects, portfolios, issues, risks, meetings, documents and so on.Most importantly, PPM tool provides as-is picture of multiple projects across portfolios, which executives can use to make decision backed by data.
Review, Improve, Review Improve
What Gets Measured Gets Done
The way I see it, project management is absolutely essential for scalable high-growth business. But merely having project management for namesake will not help at all. For successful project management one need to keep in mind that “what gets measured gets done”. That’s precisely what project management tool help with — measure outcome, compare with expected result.
What Gets Measured, Gets Improved
Ultimately what gets measured gets improved. As project team find the difference between expected result and current result, team will obviously try to meeting the desired outcome on time, within budget. If there are lapses in delivering project, those will get highlighted only when you measure project progress, project delivery against project scope and project objectives. Hence it is recommended to review projects regularly with project team and ask how project team would like to implement the improvement.