Project Management Articles – Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com Wed, 10 May 2017 14:51:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Cyber Security: Yet Another Task for Project Managers? http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/default/cyber-security-task-project-managers/ http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/default/cyber-security-task-project-managers/#respond Tue, 18 Apr 2017 10:00:36 +0000 http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/?p=2329 Anyone who has worked as a project manager knows that the array of tasks that fall to the project manager is seemingly endless. Risk management, time management, people management, budgeting, motivational and diplomacy skills are just some of what a project manager needs to tackle in order to successfully manage a project. But, increasingly there…

The post Cyber Security: Yet Another Task for Project Managers? appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
Anyone who has worked as a project manager knows that the array of tasks that fall to the project manager is seemingly endless. Risk management, time management, people management, budgeting, motivational and diplomacy skills are just some of what a project manager needs to tackle in order to successfully manage a project. But, increasingly there is another area within project management that is arguably just as important, and that is cyber security. It is an area that a project manager cannot afford to overlook even if they are not directly involved in ensuring systems are secure. Clearly in IT projects there may be a more direct level of involvement but even in non-IT projects cyber security issues can affect the tools that the project team and stakeholders use, and the data they have access to so it pays to be aware of cyber threats and how to best deal with them.

40 per cent of all criminal incidents reports are cybercrime related and there are likely many more unreported incidents around security breaches. Some experts believe there will be even more security breaches than ever this year so it makes sense to educate yourself on basic cyber security principles and be on the look out for any security breaches.

Serious security breaches cost money to rectify but also can cause long-term damage to a company’s brand and reputation. Project managers, therefore, should be aware of the value of their project data, especially if it includes cutting edge technology or confidential information. They should ensure access to data is well-controlled and consider the implications of unauthorised access to the data as part of their risk management procedures.

If a project involves highly sensitive data such as health records or financial records, it is your responsibility to ensure that information is protected at all stages of the project including test phases. It is a serious mistake to assume someone else is responsible for cyber security; they may well be, but the project manager should make sure they know who exactly is responsible for securing data and access to it. And make sure that person knows it is their responsibility.

The cost of protecting project data needs to be discussed upfront and included in your project budget at the outset. It is most definitely not an optional add-on or something that can be dropped when the budget gets tight.

Whatever type of project you are responsible for cyber security is now a crucial element that cannot be left to chance. That is true even if the project is not handling confidential information because any security breach can affect a company’s reputation, the project’s reputation and ultimately your own personal reputation. So make analysis of cyber security issues a standard part of your formal project procedures – for every project you are involved in. That way, everyone working on the project will be made aware of potential security threats and be aware of what is expected of them when it comes to protecting project data.

Similar Posts:

The post Cyber Security: Yet Another Task for Project Managers? appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/default/cyber-security-task-project-managers/feed/ 0
Advancing Your Career in a New Profession http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/advancing-your-career-in-a-new-profession/ http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/advancing-your-career-in-a-new-profession/#respond Fri, 03 Mar 2017 10:27:05 +0000 http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/?p=2306 Almost all businesses and organisations are now project-centric and either have an in-house project management capability or use external project management consultants. Projects are a major part of all business environments as organisations strive to improve their products in the high-tech landscape and streamline processes for better cost-efficiency. And where projects tend to be complex,…

The post Advancing Your Career in a New Profession appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
Almost all businesses and organisations are now project-centric and either have an in-house project management capability or use external project management consultants. Projects are a major part of all business environments as organisations strive to improve their products in the high-tech landscape and streamline processes for better cost-efficiency. And where projects tend to be complex, organisations have learnt (often the hard way) that they need professional project managers with the right experience to deliver successful results through controlled and structured management of project tasks and best-practise processes.
And yet, still, a substantial proportion of projects fail to deliver on their promises and so skilled, experienced and well-qualified project managers are much in demand as companies seek to improve the success rate of their projects. Whilst some project managers may have simply migrated into that role without much thought and gained their experience on the job, increasing numbers are choosing PM as a specific career path (even at under-graduate level).

Professional Status

Because there has been a growth in the need for professionalism in project management during recent years many organisations are investing in training their own project managers in internationally recognised methodologies such as PRINCE2, APM or PMI. When employing new PMs many are insisting on professional qualifications in addition to relevant experience as research shows that training initiatives lead to improved project performance.

Consequently PMs are recognising that there are opportunities to build a lasting career in project management as it starts to become accepted as a new profession alongside the traditional professions of accountancy and law. The Association for Project Management (APM) offers a range of qualifications and accreditation for project management professionals from the basic Introductory Certificate to the Registered Project Professional (RPP) credential for which a candidate has to demonstrate previous experience delivering complex projects in commercial environments, competent leadership and a commitment to continuous professional development (CPD).

The RPP accreditation was established by the APM in it’s bid to have project management recognised with chartered status in the same way that more well-established professions such as engineering and accountancy have been for many years. In 2013 in the UK it was agreed that a Royal Charter would be granted although, following a challenge to this decision by the Project Management Institute (PMI), and various subsequent appeals the Royal Charter was not finally granted until December 2016.

With chartered status now available to project managers it is clear that project management has become a recognised profession with various levels of qualifications and continuous professional development opportunities. It is a skill that can be used in almost every industry and business field, both nationally and internationally, opening up a world of career opportunities to those dedicated to gaining the right skills and accreditation. There are also a number of universities that now offer PM under-graduate courses and also post-graduate courses for those with an existing degree in a different discipline.

The Benefits of Recognised Qualifications

Project management is a highly-regarded profession with a well-defined career path so if you are already carrying out the role of a project manager but have yet to embark on the route to professional certification why not talk to your employer about the correlation between training and improved project success rates. For those whose employers are unwilling to invest in a training programme many individuals are funding their own training courses in the Association for Project Management or Project Management Institute qualifications in order to boost their career prospects and their earning potential.

And for those unsure of which career to embark upon why not consider this newest of professions – project management is a skill very much in demand right now and looks set to continue that way for the foreseeable future as businesses continue to invest in projects in a bid to keep up with their customer’s appetite for innovative products and continual improvement.

 

Similar Posts:

The post Advancing Your Career in a New Profession appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/advancing-your-career-in-a-new-profession/feed/ 0
New Apprenticeship Levy Provides Route To Professional Project Management http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/project-management-apprenticeship/ http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/project-management-apprenticeship/#respond Tue, 31 Jan 2017 19:02:51 +0000 http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/?p=2310 Oh how times change! Young people today can embark on careers in areas that simply didn’t exist 20 years ago. Some roles today, especially in technology and the digital market, didn’t even exist a decade ago. And the world of work is still evolving. Schools are already working to teach and equip young people to…

The post New Apprenticeship Levy Provides Route To Professional Project Management appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
Oh how times change! Young people today can embark on careers in areas that simply didn’t exist 20 years ago. Some roles today, especially in technology and the digital market, didn’t even exist a decade ago. And the world of work is still evolving. Schools are already working to teach and equip young people to deal with the possibility that they may take up a career that doesn’t exist now while they are still in full-time education but might exist in the future. So we are increasingly aware that career choices cannot, necessarily, be made at a young age; future career paths are not so easily mapped out in advance as they were in previous generations. In addition to the typical academic subjects, schools and colleges are having to teach skills such as collaboration, teamwork, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving that will help young people in any future career whatever that may be.

Yet there is also the continued need for all the traditional careers and job roles, be that as an accountant, a lawyer, engineer, doctor, nurse, plumber, carpenter, clothes designer or actor. All of these professions are still flourishing and haven’t been replaced by the new roles but the choice has just become ever wider. The digital field has perhaps been most affected by the technological advancements of the last two decades and has created many of the positions available.

Many digital jobs are driving our economy despite the fact that they are in their relative infancy.

It is also likely that any job you do now will be very different in another 10 or 20 years’ time so everyone has to be equipped to embrace change. Future jobs may not exist now – after all who’d have thought 20 years ago that you could make a living as a Blogger?

But this is nothing new – technological change has always affected the job landscape historically. Innovation has always resulted in new jobs being created while others are side-lined or disappear altogether. Thankfully, lifelong learning is something which is increasingly supported by both the Government and employers, with new, additional routes introduced to encourage people of all ages to continue with their education to keep ahead of this evolving landscape.

It’s nothing new that young people are increasingly seeking a professional career in either a traditional or indeed a new progressive industry, but there is a growing recognition that a university education is not right for everyone. The formation of University Technical Colleges (UTCs) is one area that has started to tackle the assumption that university is the right place for all young people. Certainly the increasing cost of self-funding a degree course and the resulting, inevitable debt is a factor but that aside, UTCs provide a sound education backed up by strong links with industry bodies and large, well-known employers in many sectors to better prepare young people for the workplace.

However, there are other avenues to an exciting career path that don’t require formal further education and these include apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are no longer seen as a “non-academic” route to a chosen career but rather a path to wider opportunities that can result in degree-level qualifications and higher accreditation such as chartered status.

An Evolving Profession

Amongst all these jobs where apprenticeships can provide the ideal route to a qualification,  there are some which aren’t so new, but which have evolved so rapidly this century that they are very different to how they were some 20 or 30 years ago. One such career is project management, which has been around since the 1960s but it is a role that has become increasingly important in our digital, project-focused business world and is shaping how businesses perform and succeed.

What we are seeing in project management is the growth and development of a new profession.

Yet the role of project manager may not, until now, have been familiar to people just starting out in their careers. However, since the granting of the Royal Charter to the Association for Project Management (APM) in December 2016 this is about to change. It means that there is a new, recognised profession for both young people just starting out and those who have been carrying out the role for some time.

In the 1960s project management was predominantly confined to the aerospace, construction and defence industries. While later that decade there was recognition of the need for professionalism in the role, it wasn’t until the 1980s that there were the first attempts to standardise project management procedures and approaches. In the same decade it first became possible to achieve certifications in project management and while the range and depth of those certifications and credentials has grown, variations of them still exist.

Project management has typically, until now, been the sort of role that many people just drifted in to – less of a definitive career choice than a chance encounter. Many people working in, say, IT, construction or engineering roles have in the past moved into project management at the request of their employer or in order to advance their career. Yet the profession has come a long way since the early pioneers first started to standardise PM processes.

Early versions of project management methodologies and certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), Association for Project Management (APM) and PRINCE (originally owned by what is now the OGC  – the UK Office of Government Commerce) started to appear in the late 1980’s and early 1990 but were initially confined to large corporations or government organisations. However, they increasingly spread to other companies who sought to improve their project outcomes and are now in widespread use.

Since those early years the APM has developed a progressive series of qualifications that take the novice project manager through basic training, building skills and knowledge of best practices right through to the Registered Project Professional accreditation which is soon to translate into Chartered Status.

No longer is project management being viewed as an accidental career choice but instead as a professional career of choice. It may not be as well-established as accountancy, say, or engineering but it is certainly now recognised worldwide as a profession with all the discipline and rigour of accountancy or engineering and, moreover, one that offers the qualified professional a whole range of opportunities in huge variety of businesses and industries that work on a project-centric model.

From construction, engineering and IT to banking, tourism and healthcare , these are just a few of the fields that require skilled project managers for a myriad of projects.  The new Apprenticeship Levy will provide employers in these sectors – and their workforce – with the opportunity to gain new skills or enhance the ones they’ve got to prepare them for this increasingly beneficial role.

Making the Project Management Profession an Accessible Career for All

 

Project management is used across a wide range of businesses and industries if not all businesses and industries. From developing the software that we use, to producing new technology products, from organising international sports events to building roads and bridges, from creating the next generation of energy efficient cars to developing advanced fabrics to survive in extreme climate conditions. There really is no area where project management is not used, whether to produce something entirely new or improve on something that already exists; it is at the heart of business today.

So it’s great news that the hard work and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of project managers is at last being rewarded with Chartered Status. But what of the young people who might benefit from a career in project management and, more importantly, who might excel in this field? And what about those people already working in a project environment but without the requisite academic qualifications to embark on the currently available training programmes?

Where a traditional project manager may have taken a degree in almost any subject and later trained to be a project manager there is now a much more direct route that will develop the skills, attitudes and behaviours required to be a successful project manager in any industry without the need for a degree qualification or a period working in one specific industry. It will teach the best practices that lead to the most successful outcomes and ultimately offer a professional qualification on the same standing as a chartered accountant or chartered engineer.

So just how has this opportunity come about?

The Apprenticeship Levy

The UK government is seeking to boost productivity within UK based companies by investing in human capital: they are committed to developing vocational skills, and to increasing the quantity and quality of apprenticeships available to young people. It plans to create an additional 3 million apprenticeships in England by 2020 and the way this will be implemented is through an Apprenticeship Levy to support quality training by employers.

The Apprenticeship Levy comes into force in April 2017 and is charged at a rate of 0.5% of an employer’s salary bill if in excess of £3 million. The levy will, therefore, be paid by less than 2% of UK employers but, given the salary bill threshold, the actual amount raised and available to train apprentices will be significant and is expected to reach £6 billion.

Large organisations who will be subject to this levy can offset the amount due by bearing the cost of training apprentices in their organisations. Employers who are committed to training will be able to get back more than they put in by training sufficient numbers of apprentices. So this new levy opens up opportunities for apprenticeship training leading to a project management qualification and ultimately to chartered status.

Embarking on a two year Level 4 Apprentice programme such as that run by Interserve Learning & Employment (ILE) in collaboration with Parallel Project Training will provide career opportunities to young people as an alternative to a degree course and develop their professional skills to help organisations deliver more projects, more successfully.

 

The Project Management Apprenticeship Programme

 

The apprenticeship programme aims to build competence through knowledge and practical experience and is directly aligned with the industry standard APM Competence Framework. This means the apprentice will benefit from industry best practices as will the employer with the apprentice putting his or her new competencies into practice in the work place.

The key to a successful apprenticeship programme is for both employer and apprentice to benefit. The employer benefits in a range of areas including the development of rigorous PM practices to help improve the delivery of projects, increased productivity as tasks are done right first time and the introduction of a culture of success within their organisation.

Equally, the apprentice benefits by gaining expert project management knowledge that they can put to practical use and which will lead to professional qualifications and accreditation. They also have the benefit of using the type of flexible, modern training methods such as webinars, podcasts and e-learning for which Parallel Project Training are renowned.

The apprenticeship programme comprises a predominantly remote course of study, although there is a one-day course initiation day and, of course, the exam day at the end. The advantage of this method of study is that it can be done from anywhere in the UK and there is no requirement for frequent attendance at a training centre.

The programme is supported by Interserve Learning & Employment (ILE) through one-to-one mentoring sessions and by the individual’s employer via ongoing progress reviews.

Upon successful completion of the course those with the desire and ability to progress further as a project manager have the option to continue working in a project environment and seeking chartered status following the required number of years’ experience (currently 7 years). Or embark on a further course of study with either the 2-year APM Project Professional Qualification (APM PPQ) or the APM Practitioner Qualification (APM PQ)

The project management apprenticeship programme run by Parallel and ILE is an 18-month programme to establish the foundations of a successful career in project management. It is suitable for young people straight out of school and also for those who already work in a project environment and wish to consolidate their existing knowledge.

Apprentices are taught by project management training experts from Parallel Project Training using a combination of theory and practical experience to develop full competence in the key areas of project management. They use engaging modern training methods such as webinars, podcasts and e-learning. There are also assessments at stages throughout the programme and each apprentice will have a mentor to support them in their learning and career development.

The knowledge, skills and behaviour required of a project manager are listed in the table below:

 

Knowledge Project governance Different types of organisational structures and responsibilities, functions and project phases on different types of project. How governance can control and manage the successful delivery of projects. The significance of the project management plan (PMP).
  Project stakeholder management Stakeholders: their perspectives, different interests and levels of influence upon project outcomes.
  Project communication Key contexts of a project communication plan, its effectiveness in managing different stakeholders. Factors which can affect communications such as cultural and physical barriers
  Project leadership The vision and values of the project and its links to objectives; the ways in which these can be effectively communicated and reinforced to team members and stakeholders. Leadership styles, qualities and the importance of motivation on team performance. Characteristics of the working environment which encourage and sustain high performance.
  Consolidated planning Purpose and formats for consolidated plans to support overall management, taking account of lessons learnt and how the plans balance fundamental components of scope, schedule, resources, budgets, risks and quality requirements.
  Budgeting and cost control Funding, estimating, overheads; direct costs, indirect costs, fixed costs, variable costs and an overall budget for a project; tracking systems for actual costs, accruals and committed costs; alternative cost breakdowns to provide for graphical representations, and performance management.
  Business case and benefits management Preparation and/or maintenance of business cases, including benefits management.
  Project scope Requirements management, and evaluation of alternative methods to learn from the past to improve delivery. Project scope change control, baseline change management, configuration management
  Project schedule Scheduling and estimating for project activities including how they can be quality assessed. Progress monitoring and metrics to assess work performed against the schedule. Schedule management methods to evaluate and revise activities to improve confidence in delivery.
  Resource management Resource analysis, resource allocation and resource acceptance.
  Project risk and issue management The need for and implementation of a risk management plan. Risk management methods and techniques to identify and prioritise threats or opportunities. Mitigation actions to minimise risk impacts and to optimise benefits by managing opportunities.
  Contract management and procurement The nature of contracts, and their implications for contracting organisations. Procurement processes. Legal and ethical means for managing contracts.
  Project quality Quality management processes, assurance and improvements. Outcomes of a quality management plan, metrics for processes and quality standards.
  Project context The different contexts in which projects can be delivered, including health, safety, and environment management. The interdependencies between project(s), programme(s) and portfolio management. Project phases and key review points, across project life cycles.
   
Skills

 

Project governance Project monitoring and reporting cycle to track, assess and interpret performance by the application of monitoring techniques to analyse status and manage information.

 

  Stakeholder and communications management Manage stakeholders, taking account of their levels of influence and particular interests. Manage conflicts and negotiations. Communicate to a variety of different audiences. Contribute to negotiations relating to project objectives.
  Budgeting and cost control Develop and agree project budgets, monitor forecast and actual costs against them and control changes. Support funding submissions. Tracking systems for actual costs, accruals and committed costs; structures for alternative cost breakdowns.
  Business case Contribute to the preparation or maintenance of a business case including achieving required outcomes.

 

  Scope management Determine, control and manage changes to the scope of a project, including assumptions, dependencies and constraints.
  Consolidated planning Consolidate and document the fundamental components of projects. Monitor progress against the consolidated plan and refine as appropriate, implementing the change control process where relevant.

 

  Schedule management Prepare and maintain schedules for activities aligned to project delivery.
  Risk and issue management

 

Identify and monitor project risk or opportunity, plan and implement responses to them, contribute to a risk management plan. Respond to and manage issues within a defined governance structure.
  Contract management and procurement Facilitate a procurement process, contribute to the definition of contractual agreements and contribute to managing a contract.

 

  Quality management Develop a quality management plan, manage project assurance, and contribute to peer reviews. Utilise an organisation’s continual improvement process including lessons learned.

 

  Resource management Develop resource management plans for project activities, acquire and manage resources including commitment acceptance, monitor progress against plans.

 

   
Behaviours

 

Collaboration and team work Understands and is effective as part of an integrated team.
  Leadership Communicates direction, and supports the vision for project delivery.
  Effective and appropriate communication Working effectively with and influencing others, taking account of diversity and equality. Influences and facilitates effective team performance.

 

  Drive for results Demonstrates clear commitment to achieving results, and improving performance.

 

  Integrity, ethics, compliance and professionalism Promotes the wider public good in all actions, acting in a morally, legally and socially appropriate manner. Promotes and models the highest standards of professional integrity, ethics, trust and continued development.

 

 

 

 

 

Take advantage of the levy

 

The UK government’s new Apprenticeship Levy has provided a marvellous opportunity for anyone to embark on a career in project management – the newest of the chartered professions – that underpins so much of our modern business world. It can ultimately lead to chartered status in a much sought-after profession and provide degree-equivalent qualifications without incurring any of the typically associated student debt.

The project management apprenticeship programme is delivered and supported by two highly experience organisations: Parallel Project Training and Interserve Learning & Employment.

So make your first project task today a commitment to find out more about an apprenticeship in Professional Project Management. Call us now on 0118 321 5030, or visit our project management apprenticeships page on our main website. 

Similar Posts:

The post New Apprenticeship Levy Provides Route To Professional Project Management appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/project-management-apprenticeship/feed/ 0
How To Create The Perfect Project Manager CV http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/create-perfect-project-manager-cv/ http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/create-perfect-project-manager-cv/#respond Wed, 18 Jan 2017 11:24:54 +0000 http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/?p=2301 We often talk about the importance of project management training, naturally we would being a PM training company. We like to emphasise the importance of training – it will help you personally and your organisation better execute your important projects; make them more successful. Training will also lead to better career prospects and a higher…

The post How To Create The Perfect Project Manager CV appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
We often talk about the importance of project management training, naturally we would being a PM training company. We like to emphasise the importance of training – it will help you personally and your organisation better execute your important projects; make them more successful. Training will also lead to better career prospects and a higher salary as the APM’s salary survey shows. But we rarely talk about how to get that better job and higher salary once you have achieved your project management qualifications so this post will hopefully go some way to remedying that.

As a project manager your CV is likely to be the first thing any new, potential employer sees about you, and, make no mistake, bad CVs will be discarded in the bin so make sure yours isn’t one of them with the perfect project manager CV. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Emphasise Your Strengths

Always play to your strengths – there is no point trying to come across as someone different to who you really are so don’t try and second guess what the company is looking for or what constitutes a perfect PM. It could be you – just as you are – so focus on what you can do well and emphasise that on the CV. Mention all the successful projects you have run and you are sure to get that interview.

 

Tailor Your CV

A big mistake is to believe you can simply send out a generic CV to a whole range of potential employers. It is important to tailor your CV to match every potential role. Find out as much as you can about the company and the roles available and make that show on the CV. Going that extra mile could secure you your dream job.

 

Be Enthusiastic

It is important to show enthusiasm for project management especially if you started you career in a different role you will want to make sure it comes across that you chose project management as a career and didn’t just “end up” as a PM. Make that clear on the CV with appropriate wording. And because project managers need to be able to motivate a team, enthusiasm is an essential trait for the day-to-day running of a project so let you enthusiasm shine through – it will help you stand out from the crowd.

Highlight Your Leadership Traits

Good project managers are good leaders so don’t neglect to make it clear that you are a successful project manager and a successful leader. Clearly indicate specific leadership traits that you can offer such as guiding teams, mentoring individuals, liaising with stakeholders and clients. Focus on the leadership skills you have just as much as on the technical skills you can bring.

Project Management Qualifications

Last but not least list your professional PM qualifications to distinguish yourself from others who may have the same experience but not the thorough understanding of project management strategies, techniques, and approaches that you will have gained by studying for an exam.

Similar Posts:

The post How To Create The Perfect Project Manager CV appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/create-perfect-project-manager-cv/feed/ 0
Essential Elements in a Quality Management Process http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/essential-elements-quality-management-process/ http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/essential-elements-quality-management-process/#comments Fri, 18 Nov 2016 13:58:07 +0000 http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/?p=2284 We all know that a good quality project is one in which the final outcome or deliverable meets the needs of the stakeholders and is “fit for purpose”. So a Quality Management Process aims to ensure the final deliverable does just that by focusing on quality throughout the project lifecycle; by incorporating it into the…

The post Essential Elements in a Quality Management Process appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
We all know that a good quality project is one in which the final outcome or deliverable meets the needs of the stakeholders and is “fit for purpose”. So a Quality Management Process aims to ensure the final deliverable does just that by focusing on quality throughout the project lifecycle; by incorporating it into the planning process and ensuring that what we think of as “good quality” is, in fact definable and measureable. If it cannot be defined then it cannot be measured and if it cannot be measured then how can anyone know that the project was of an acceptable quality?

 

Just as with any other part of a project a Quality Management Plan should be created as early as possible in the project lifecycle but will be modified throughout the lifecycle as it becomes clearer to all concerned what is required from the project.

 

Quality At All Times

 

Right from the earliest stages of the project we should be thinking about quality – it is not a final check or add-on to be done once the project is almost complete. A Quality Plan should cover all of the following as a minimum:

  • Stakeholder expectations in terms of project quality.
  • Defined Success criteria with acceptable tolerances.
  • External and/or internal Standards to be adhered to.
  • Who is responsible for ensuring quality on the project.
  • How will quality be checked/tested and reviewed.
  • How quality can be improved if it doesn’t meet the expected standards.

 

Quality Assurance

This part of the process is intended to provide reassurance that the project is meeting the expected definition of quality so, naturally, a quality review is an essential tool for doing this. It needs to measure the quality level against the definition of acceptable quality that was put in place at the start of the projects and, most likely, improved at stages during the lifecycle. As with so many parts of a project it is important to capture lessons learned so that future phases of a project do not make the same mistakes with respect to quality; and also so that opportunities can be identified where quality can be improved in a cost-effective way.

 

Quality Assurance is an ongoing process throughout the whole project lifecycle and is best managed via regular quality reviews and independent audits to ensure all tasks are being done in accordance with defined standards of quality.

 

 

Quality Control

 

Quality control s concerned with testing and measuring various aspects of a project to ensure project deliverables meet the pre-defined specification and the stakeholder’s requirements. Because projects vary so widely in type and complexity the forms of testing and measuring quality also vary widely depending on the nature of the project and milestone deliverables. Some projects are creating physical products which may need to be checked against industry standards; other projects may be improving a business process, which needs to be testing using a pilot process.

 

 

 

Quality Improvement

 

On many projects there will be the chance to improve aspects of quality – or if there aren’t there will be chances to improve the process so that future projects can benefit from the knowledge gleaned on the current project. By seeking to learn lessons from each project to benefit future projects a process of continuous quality improvement can be implemented within an organisation. Some of these may be part of existing industry standards such as ISO 9000, which is a set of international standards that can be applied to any industry and to projects of any size.

Similar Posts:

The post Essential Elements in a Quality Management Process appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/essential-elements-quality-management-process/feed/ 1
New Professional Recognition for Project Managers http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/new-professional-recognition-project-managers/ http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/new-professional-recognition-project-managers/#respond Sat, 15 Oct 2016 12:16:05 +0000 http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/?p=2278 In my last post I discussed the skills and qualities that project managers need to develop to be successful because they have such a varied role it can sometimes be difficult to know what skills are the most important. A good project manager will be able to engage just as effectively with senior management as…

The post New Professional Recognition for Project Managers appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
In my last post I discussed the skills and qualities that project managers need to develop to be successful because they have such a varied role it can sometimes be difficult to know what skills are the most important. A good project manager will be able to engage just as effectively with senior management as with a technical department or the most junior team members; both in writing and via verbal communication.  They also need time management skills and budgeting skills, not to mention being able to manage change and mitigate risks. What’s more to be truly successful in a PM role you need to be able to do more than just follow processes and procedures because when the pressure is on (as it often will be) a PM also needs to be able to deal with conflict and put on a creative problem solving hat too.

So it’s pretty clear that a good project manager has to be adept at many things aside from what might be seen as the “standard” project management skills. Luckily PM courses these days do focus on skills, behaviours and attitudes, in addition to the methods and processes and there have been a range of professional project management qualifications around for several years to help develop skills and career opportunities.

Now after a long wait  it seems imminent that there will be the ultimate professional recognition for project managers that will, at last, give them much deserved recognition for the skills and training required in this role.

The APM (Association for Project Management) has been working hard to obtain chartered status for the project management profession in the UK over the past 8 years (can it really be 8 years since the formal application was first submitted?). It looked like it was going to be granted back in 2013 when the Privy Council unanimously recommended that a Royal Charter be granted to APM.

But, this decision was then challenged by the Project Management Institute (PMI) who sought permission for a Judicial Review of the decision. By July 2014 the review had been carried out and PMI’s claim was dismissed. Nevertheless the PMI appealed against the decision; this was refused by the judge handling the Judicial Review but PMI subsequently appealed to the Court of Appeal.

Eventually in November 2015 the Court of Appeal met to hear PMI’s appeal against the decision of the Government to award a Charter to APM. The appeal was rejected and PMI were refused permission to appeal further to the Supreme Court.

And just this month (October 2016) the final process has been triggered that will result in the association at long last being awarded a Charter.

The upshot of all this will be that the APM will become a chartered body in 2017, providing the opportunity for project managers to gain coveted chartered status. It is likely that there will be a straightforward transition to chartered status and professional recognition for project managers who already hold the APM Registered Project Professional (APM RPP) accreditation.

For those who don’t there is now a strong impetus to progress to chartered status and achieve more widely recognised accreditation of the professional status of a project manager.

Chartered status will confer global recognition on a par with the accountancy profession as project management transitions from just a job to a modern profession.

Similar Posts:

The post New Professional Recognition for Project Managers appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/new-professional-recognition-project-managers/feed/ 0
The Politically Astute Project Manager http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/politically-astute-project-manager/ http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/politically-astute-project-manager/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2016 16:24:47 +0000 http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/?p=2247 In this post, we return to the topic of politics in projects. Politics has a bit of a dirty name. It’s associated with false promises, backstabbing, alliances and manipulating others. The worst weakness of Politics is its failure to deliver on its promises. Time and time again we see public politicians or business leaders failing to deliver the…

The post The Politically Astute Project Manager appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
Politically Astute Project ManagerIn this post, we return to the topic of politics in projects. Politics has a bit of a dirty name. It’s associated with false promises, backstabbing, alliances and manipulating others. The worst weakness of Politics is its failure to deliver on its promises. Time and time again we see public politicians or business leaders failing to deliver the change they promise. Yet, as project managers everything we do involves change. Be it change in the physical environment (such as building new houses), in the processes and systems organisations use (such as introducing new IT systems) or in the behaviours in a culture (such as improving customer service).

Inevitably people have expectations and views on these planned changes. Some may be advocates, some may be vehemently opposed, some may not have formed an opinion yet. These views and attitudes have a significant impact on the success of a project. Delivering a project in the face of strong opposition is almost impossible, and even the smallest project (such are re-arranging where people sit in an office) can stir up strong emotions.

Delivering a project in the face of strong opposition is almost impossible and even the smallest project (such are re-arranging where people sit in an office) can stir up strong emotions.

The challenges don’t just come from outside the project; often a project brings together different teams or organisations, each with different objectives. These teams can have very diverse cultures and attitudes. For example, a operations team may see change as a threat to the way they currently work or they may be overloaded with day-to-day demands which mean the project is  a distraction from the real work of the department or function. External suppliers too may have very different motives. They may want to maximise short term profits, or they may have over-committed their resources to too many contracts.

These internal and external attitudes and mixed expectations are very powerful forces, which can destroy the collaboration and cooperation needed to deliver a successful project. This is why most people agree that managing people and developing teamwork are the most important part of a successful project.

The Politically Astute Project Manager?

Many people would argue that projects and project managers should ignore politics and focus on getting the job done. They say that project management is a set of processes to produce deliverables that enable change, and the project manager should not get involved in internal or external politics. However, if you ask the same people why projects fail they typically give the following reasons:

  1. The project lacked senior management support.
  2. The project was under-resourced.
  3. The project brief (or design) is not developed early enough.
  4. There were too many uncontrolled changes.
  5. The users didn’t use the products in the way expected (if at all).
  6. The project was not planned properly.
  7. The budget was insufficient to meet the expectations.

Why do these things go wrong with projects?

If senior management are not convinced about the priority of a project, they are reluctant to commit the necessary resources.

If the project fails to inspire users, they don’t engage with the project early.

If functional managers perceive the projects as a low priority, they are reluctant to support the project with sufficient resources or time.

If the senior management in the customer and supplier organisations don’t understand each other’s objectives, they don’t work together, which makes commercial issues more difficult to resolve.

All these issues relate to the degree of support for the project, within the individual and organisations involved. To be successful a politically astute project manager will manage these issues by developing a simple uniting project rationale, working hard to win the support of senior management, building alliances and coalitions with users, functional managers and suppliers and uniting the project team around a common purpose. This does not mean we can forget everything else we have learned about project management we just need to view it from a political perspective.

To be successful a politically astute project manager will manage these issues that by developing a simple uniting project rationale, working hard to win the support of senior management, building alliances and coalitions with users, functional managers and suppliers and uniting the project team around a common purpose.

Effective Governance and Sponsorship

At the start of a project, most teams are keen to get the ball rolling and get going as soon as possible. All too often we don’t take the time to think about the governance and sponsorship arrangements. For many these seem like theoretical and challenging concepts that have little relevance to the reality of project delivery. Then part way through the project, reality strikes and we realise that the project budget and timescales are insufficient to meet the expectations of the users. The expectations for the project often exceeded the resources to deliver or the capacity to change in the organisation. At this stage we really do need the support of senior managers to take some critical decisions, typically these include:

  1. Which parts and elements of this project are vital for the organisation’s strategy and which parts, if any, are optional?
  2. Who is ultimately responsible for the decisions associated with the project, who has authority to prioritise the expected benefits and modify the scope?
  3. Who in senior management will act as an advocate for the project and influence senior stakeholders during the decision-making process?
  4. How important is this project in the overall portfolio? Can we divert resources from other projects or operations to support this project?
  5. Who will ensure that the project team has the right levels of competence and capability to deliver the project?

These are all critical decisions that need to be taken by senior management as part of the governance and sponsorship process.

The Role of Governance in Project Motivation

Have you ever worked on a project in which critical decisions were not taken promptly or even worse change after the fact? Then you will know how demotivating this can be. The motivation of a project team is challenging at the best of times, but when there is a lack of direction or leadership, then motivation suffers.

Governance and sponsorship has a vital role in this decision-making process, but as we can see in figure 1, we have to establish the governance framework early in the project. Most projects start with a reasonable level of motivation; we have either been awarded a contract or funding has been approved and the project we have been working on for months (even years) is suddenly a reality.

Now is the time to establish the governance arrangements, we need to get the project board (or steering group) appointed and taking ownership of the key decisions while things are going well. This is because the good times generally won’t last, it will soon emerge that the project is more complex, challenging and difficult than we envisaged. Unexpected difficulties will arise, resources that we expected may not be available, and the uses may not be clear what they want. There are good reasons why this happens rooted in the fact that we need to minimise the costs, and a competitive bidding process is biased towards the lowest price and our inherent optimism.

At this point, the project team enters the valley of despair, and we have two options; teamwork or the blame game. We can either take some hard decisions and have tough conversations with the users because they may not get everything they imagined or hoped for, in which case the project may be united to achieve a positive result. Alternatively, the team enters a blame game, in which everyone subconsciously accepts that the project will fail and tries to limit the damage to themselves (personally and commercially) by working in their individual interests.

Clearly, teamwork and a successful result is preferred, but these decisions need the support and teamwork from senior management. Compromise will be required from:

  • Users because they may not get their full requirements
  • Funders because the may have to find some more cash
  • The project team because they may need to compromise on the perfect solution
  • Suppliers because they may have to carry some of the pain and inconvenience

 

Governance and sponsorship are vital here, to re-focus everyone on the benefits and the strategy. Why are we here and what is this project ultimately trying to achieve? What baggage can we jettison to achieve the ultimate goal?

Politically astute project managers spent time establishing this governance and sponsorship framework at the very start of the project, so that the senior management is inculcated in the decisions along the way; otherwise they may get interested just as the project hits the valley of despair and start looking for people to blame.

This is the valley of despair and at this stage we have two options, team working or the blame game.

political project manager

Figure 1 The role of Governance in Project Motivation

Practical Hint’s and Tips on Governance and Sponsorship

A politically astute project manager recognises the criticality of effective governance and sponsorship to project success and will take the following steps:

Names are very important; for example a project board sounds more like an effective decision taking body than a project steering group.

Decide and establish governance arrangements early in the project

At the beginning of the project, the politically astute project manager determines the most appropriate governance arrangements. Names are paramount; for example, a project board sounds like a more effective decision-making body than a project steering group. However, they may need to work within the constraints of the organisation’s framework and naming conventions; with the aim of getting the best possible arrangements.  A politically astute project manager does not leave the governance arrangements to chance, they proactively engage with the governance arrangements of the organisation to make sure the project board has the time to commit to the project, has enough authority to take the necessary decisions and has active communication channels to senior management.

Who Should be on the Project Board

The chair of the project board needs careful consideration. It is often tempting to ask the most senior managers to act as the project sponsor and chair of the project board. However for all but the most mission-critical projects it is unlikely they will have the time necessary to dedicate to the project. So it may be prudent to ask the senior managers to delegates responsibility to a trusted individual who can act on their behalf. Some organisations call this a sponsor’s agent. The are trusted by the senior management to take the necessary actions and consult with senior management when critical decisions are required. A politically astute project manager will always seek to secure the most active sponsor for the project.

Likewise, the politically astute PM will often want input from users and suppliers into the decision taking process and governance. The select users who have the ability and time to understand how the products produced by the project (be it a building, IT system or piece of infrastructure) will be used in the future. This can be difficult if the users also have a day job, especially in organisations operating at capacity or with 24/7 operations with shift patterns or agencies that are building new assets that don’t have an operational team yet. An example of this might be a new school, railway or power station, where the operations staff may not be in post until the end of the project. The politically astute PM goes out of their way to get user input into the project. Options include back-filling operations positions with temporary staff to release the necessary user resources or to establish a shadow operations team for a new asset. This is because they know that operational user knowledge of the project deliverables is vital to a successful project.

Good suppliers with the right competence and attitudes are vital to the success of many projects. The politically astute project manager knows that conflict will occur between the needs of the supplier to make a decent profit and the needs of the project, especially in the depths of the valley of despair. They will establish communication and escalation mechanisms early on so they can address potential issues as and when they arise. They predict the needs of suppliers and stay ahead of potential contractual issues. They will build bridges with the senior management in the supplier organisation, providing an escalation route to resolve contractual issues without recourse to the courts.

Establish Links to Corporate Governance

Project do not happen in isolation, they often involve several organisations, each of which has its own internal politics.  This conflict of internal politics of different organisations presents many challenges for the naïve project manager. The politically astute project manager will have recognised internal politics and set out to use the internal governance arrangements to manage the communications and expectations of the senior management team. They will work with senior managers to establish the reporting requirements and who needs to take what decisions. For example who needs to approve the funding for the project? Who can approve changes? What reports are required by senior management? As you can see in figure 2 below the project board acts as the bridge between the project management team and the senior managers in the organisation.

project goverence

Figure 2 The interface between project and corporate governance

Talk the Language of the C-suite

Political project managers know that when working at an executive level (CEO or COO) they need to operate at a strategic level. Language is very important in the way they communicate. They avoid project management jargon and use language which has meaning to the audience. For example, the time to market; not the project schedule,  return on investment; not costs, return on investment; not benefits. (for more on this see my interview with Mark A. Langley, President and CEO of Project Management Institute.

Planning Strategic Decisions

The political project manager knows that organising project board meetings in response to issues is just impossible. Senior people’s diaries are booked out weeks if not months in advance. Therefore, they plan ahead putting the key meetings in the diaries in advance. They may even provide the project board with a schedule of key decisions they will be required to make during the project, for example they may say to the board “in the January meeting I will expect you to approve the funding” and “in July I will expect you to approve the selection of the contractor“, “at the meeting in August I will be expecting you to decide on which parts of the requirements you are willing to compromise in order to fit within the project constraints” etc. This pre-positions senior managers so that know what is expected, reinforcing their role in the key project decisions and also helps to keep the project on time.

Compelling Business Case

The business case is not just important for the authorisation of the project; it’s also an important way of distilling and communicating the purpose of the project. We all know the story of JFK and the man at NASA cleaning the toilet.

During a visit to the NASA space centre in 1962, President John F. Kennedy noticed a janitor carrying a broom. He interrupted his tour, walked over to the man and said, “Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?”

“Well, Mr. President,” the janitor responded, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.”

The lesson is: to get the best out of people they need a sense of purpose, it’s not inspiring to go to work to deliver the project to time, cost and quality, but it is inspiring to go to work to improve the education of children, or improving people’s journey to work or providing homes for people with growing families. The political project manager sees developing the business case not as a bureaucratic document, but as a mechanism to build a clear and compelling purpose for the project. Take for example the mission for Crossrail which is the biggest construction project in Europe. It has a simple vision of

Moving London Forward

A simple yet ambitious message unites a highly complex supply chain. For example, the client team of 1,200 people come from nine different employers, and they oversee delivery from twenty principal contractors, each with their own supply chain (total workforce peaks at around 14,000 later this year).  The political project manager knows that to be successful, the business case has to survive the elevator pitch (or even the Dragons Den). They know that benefits expressed in a simple and effective way are highly motivational for the project team and key stakeholders. Muddled, confused or poorly communicated aims leave people lost and unsure why the project is important.

Proactive User Engagement

The political project manager knows that they need to develop and maintain a strong relationship with the users. They also recognise that this might be difficult if users have on-going operational roles to fulfil. Despite this difficulty, they take proactive actions to get the users involved in defining and developing the project requirements and making sure they fit with the long-term operation needs of the user. This is especially important if the users are working different shift patterns, are based in different locations or are overworked keeping the existing systems running at capacity whilst the new are developed. They take proactive actions to engage with users, such as funding temporary staff so that operations staff can find the time to support the project, facilitating user requirements workshops to help users think through how they are going to use the outputs of the product or a shadow operations team for a new asset. Without this engagement, it is always too easy for the users to be disappointed that the project fails to meet all their hopes and dreams for the project. This disappointment can lead to delays accepting the output of the project and an extended handover process, with the associated extra costs and delay.

Collaborative approaches to planning

The political project manager knows that most project delays occur because of interfaces between one team and another. To address this, they pay particular attention to scheduling dependencies between different teams and contractors and they avoid micro-planning activities within a team. They also know that it’s important to get work package leaders involved in planning so that they develop a shared understanding of the cross-functional dependencies. For example pulling the design team, contractor and the client together in a meeting to agree on the key dependencies within the project. They avoid over-complex plans, which become difficult to update and maintain. They let the work package managers plan and manage the day-to-day detail, leaving the political manager free to maintain the overall view of the project dependencies and timescales.

Relay Runner Work Ethic

Ask yourself how much time is wasted on the critical path activities in the slow lane, especially early in the project lifecycle.  The relay runner work ethic describes a culture in which the critical path deliverables are passed on to the next person as soon as possible. As in a relay race, we make sure the next person in the team has a good hold of the baton before we let go. So in a project context, this means confirming that the next person has started work on the critical path before we let go. This can just be a phone call or brief conversation to confirm that the work has been received and understood before we close out the activity.

Simple but Effective Project Controls

Regular and routine project controls provide a good self-discipline for every project but at some stage, they become too complex and bureaucratic to add value. Plan the work; work the plan is one of the oldest and truest phases in project management. But the political project manager knows that they also have to keep it simple stupid. So the more complex a project control system; the less value it adds to the project. The focus on the minimum number of key performance indicators required to get the job done. They challenge every bit of information collected by asking “what decisions will be taken on the basis of this information”. However they are rigours about applying the project control cycle, progress reports no matter how simple must be completed on time, at a regular and planned interval.

Project Control Cycle

Figure 3 Project Control Cycle

Rigours Change Control

Uncontrolled scope change destroys progress and undermines team morale faster than anything else. It causes doubt confusion and uncertainty in the project team. No one is sure what is going on and which is the correct information. The political project managers proactively manage changes with the senior people from the start, establishing effective decision-making processes to consider and review changes from the outset. This might include a change control board, who have the authority and incentives to take decisions. Too often delay in reaching a decision over change will result in increased cost and further delay to the project. Establishing these decision processes early improved the chances of changes being managed in an effective way.

User Engagement in Handover

All too often the users are not involved in planning handover and acceptance early in the process. This can cause real problems if the project has had to adapt to changes and constraints during the project lifecycle. The political project manager goes to extreme lengths to keep the users engaged in the project and especially in the run up to handover. They make sure that they agree to any compromises and use the authority of the sponsor if necessary to take the hard decision. Avoiding user involvement in these key decisions can seem like it may be saving time during delivery, but will cause extended delays during the handover process.

Similar Posts:

The post The Politically Astute Project Manager appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/politically-astute-project-manager/feed/ 2 Politically Astute Project Manager political project manager project goverence Project Control Cycle Figure 3 Project Control Cycle
The Qualities and Skills Project Managers Need to Develop http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/skills-project-managers-need/ http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/skills-project-managers-need/#respond Thu, 15 Sep 2016 15:35:48 +0000 http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/?p=2266 We all know that to secure the best project management roles, especially if coming new into an organisation, requires some sort of formal PM qualification. Even the introductory PM courses such as APM Introductory Certificate show a level of commitment to developing within your chosen career. But assuming you have at least a basic level…

The post The Qualities and Skills Project Managers Need to Develop appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
We all know that to secure the best project management roles, especially if coming new into an organisation, requires some sort of formal PM qualification. Even the introductory PM courses such as APM Introductory Certificate show a level of commitment to developing within your chosen career. But assuming you have at least a basic level of professional project management qualification – what else? What are the skills and qualities project managers need to secure that great role and, more importantly, to succeed managing projects?

Project managers wear many hats, they interact with senior management, team members and end users in all sorts of departments; they produce written communications and reports on a regular basis, they manage the budget and schedule, they manage and try to mitigate risk, manage wide-ranging changes within an organisation. The list of tasks really is endless – but these are the day-to-day tasks that every project manager has to do – I want to consider the qualities and skills project managers need to carry out these tasks well and to do that intuitively (eventually) not merely by following a process to the letter.

It would be easy to rattle off a list of skills such as: good communication, good decision making and problem-solving skills but what does that mean in practise “to be an effective communicator” or “be good at decision making”. These abilities require basic skills and qualities that transcend your project management capabilities and require just as much attention and development as your ability to plan, organise and prioritise tasks or create a risk management register.

So let’s take a closer look at these skills – they are all obvious but worth reminding ourselves about:

Communication Skills

The project manager is the main point of contact during a project for stakeholders, senior executives, clients and customers. Being able to communicate effectively with all these groups means understanding what each group needs, and wants, to know about the project and providing that information in an easy to understand way. So it doesn’t mean just churning out a standard report that nobody reads or understands – to produce reports that are meaningful you need to talk to those the report is aimed at and listen to what they are saying. Communication skills are both verbal and written and both are necessary in a project manager.

Organisational Skills

Obvious really but if you are the sort of person who crumbles under pressure or when others are demanding action and forgets about the process and procedures then you need to work on being more organised and focused.

Good Time Management

Project managers create and monitor schedules of work for their teams and deal with scheduling conflicts and interdependencies but don’t forget that you also have to manage your own time well – making sure the schedule has adequate time factored in for the actual managing of the project.

Interpersonal skills

It’s no good having the most advanced PM qualifications if you don’t have the good basic skills project managers need like inter-personal skills Your project could succeed or failed based on your relationship-building skills. If you have none, you are at risk of failing. PMs have to be able to work well with people in their team, be able to motivate the team, impart both good and bad news diplomatically. It’s the people that make projects succeed so focus on the people involved and build solid relationships with them all.

Problem-Solving Abilities

Project managers will always encounter problems on every project so they have to be able to think under pressure, remain calm and stay focused while they evaluate each problem and, if necessary and project priorities warrant it, to come up with possible solutions.

Leadership Qualities

Can you influence and persuade others to your way of thinking or when a tough decision needs to be taken. Can you persuade people to stay focused on the tasks at hand when they have received bad news such as the project budget being cut. Many projects are beset by problems and that is where strong leadership can make all the difference to keep people on-side even when the project isn’t going to plan.

Similar Posts:

The post The Qualities and Skills Project Managers Need to Develop appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/skills-project-managers-need/feed/ 0
The Importance of the People in Projects http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/importance-people-projects/ http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/importance-people-projects/#respond Tue, 16 Aug 2016 15:38:47 +0000 http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/?p=2252 Pure project management is about planning, communicating, monitoring, controlling, reporting etc etc but it is also about risk management and change management because few, if any, projects are without risks and change. But it can sometimes seem that change management, in particular, is an afterthought or only concerned with changes to the project plan, business…

The post The Importance of the People in Projects appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
Pure project management is about planning, communicating, monitoring, controlling, reporting etc etc but it is also about risk management and change management because few, if any, projects are without risks and change. But it can sometimes seem that change management, in particular, is an afterthought or only concerned with changes to the project plan, business requirements or objectives. Too often there is not enough emphasis on the broader changes that affect real people in projects as a consequence of major project implementations.

 

This is particularly true if you use a formal PM methodology such as PRINCE2 or PMI, which are very effective for the planning, controlling and so on but less effective when it comes to how a project manager deals with, say, resistance to change from people affected by the project.

 

Humans are often resistant to change if it involves changing their behaviour or patterns of work and few embrace change. Managing change such as this may not initially seem to be a project manager’s responsibility but, like so many other things on projects, it affects the success of the project so a PM should be involved and influential in this area too.

 

A project led by a competent project manager using a tried and trusted methodology can still fail if the people in projects, those affected by the project, are not committed to its success.

 

But, practically speaking, how can you change the behaviours of a group of people, overcome their resistance to change and use the minority who might embrace the change as ambassadors for the new project?

 

First, you need to demonstrate why the change is required and what the benefits are at a personal level; this could be very different to the business benefits and the personal benefits may be different for different groups of people. With everything else a project manager has to contend with motivating those not directly involved with the project may come a long way down your list of priorities but it is essential to encourage people to embrace the new project. This is where you could employ ambassadors from amongst the rank and file to spread the good news.

 

 

The ambassadors could be senior executives but if they have not fully communicated the project vision to employees it may be more successful to use an employee.

 

If no employees seem committed to the success of the project then carefully select someone who has the trust of the rest and work with them to get them involved at a deeper level.

 

They can then help with motivating and involving others. It is often when change is imposed on people with little or no consultation that there is resistance so get people involved – it may be too late to change the project plans but it is never too late to ask people’s opinions and try to implement suggestions. The people working at the coal face can often give practical tips that could improve the final outcome of the project and by involving them more closely, listening to their concerns and suggestions you will be starting to break down the barriers to change.

 

Be aware that reluctance to change is closely associated with anxieties about losing their job or not being able to cope with a different role or responsibilities so make sure the project plan includes appropriate training sessions for all employees. The training sessions are also a good place to promote the personal benefits of the changes being implemented.

 

As a project manager you may feel you yourself lack the skills necessary to motivate and build commitment in others so don’t neglect training or professional development for yourself and for the project team. Training part way through a project can reinvigorate yourself and the team and help see a way forward in a complex, lengthy project. It can also help you to communicate the project vision and get people to buy into it – again maybe not in your job description but it is definitely a contributor to project success if you can help people to understand where you are heading with the project and what the future holds for them personally.

 

You may not have to do all these things yourself but you can facilitate them and encourage business ambassadors or people from the project team to take certain responsibilities.

Similar Posts:

The post The Importance of the People in Projects appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/importance-people-projects/feed/ 0
Saving a Failing Project Doesn’t Always Mean Extra Resources http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/saving-failing-project/ http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/saving-failing-project/#comments Fri, 15 Jul 2016 07:17:10 +0000 http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/?p=2246 As project managers we all know the value of extra resources – if only we had that extra time in the schedule, an extra member of the project team or additional budget we would be bound to complete our project successfully. Wouldn’t we? Well that certainly can be true sometimes and on some well-managed projects…

The post Saving a Failing Project Doesn’t Always Mean Extra Resources appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
As project managers we all know the value of extra resources – if only we had that extra time in the schedule, an extra member of the project team or additional budget we would be bound to complete our project successfully. Wouldn’t we? Well that certainly can be true sometimes and on some well-managed projects extra resources can make all the difference. But on poorly managed projects extra resources may merely be throwing good money after bad, and there are other ways of saving a failing project.

 

It’s true that far too many projects start with an overly optimistic budget and timeframe but, in many ways that is the nature of projects. Many projects that do start in this situation do deliver a successful result and if the project was deferred until the time or money was available to do it then it would probably never get started. So optimism in itself is not a bad thing – it does get projects started.

But it’s when such projects get into trouble (as they inevitably do) that PMs start looking for more people, time or money. But what if these extra resources are not available? How then can you rescue your project?

The first thing is to review the structure and controls in place. Does the project have an effective communication strategy and controls to prevent scope creep, for instance? Is there a risk management strategy and a change management plan? A lack of resources can be alleviated by going back to basics and making sure you have these processes in place and that you are actually using them. They are not tick box exercises but solutions to managing project issues so make sure you are using them.

Look for ways to save time or costs – particularly if the project is inundated with change requests and the deadline for completion cannot be changed. Manage them efficiently and ruthlessly if you want a successful outcome. Harsh decisions will have to be made and the project manager is often the one to either make or communicate those decisions so you can’t avoid them or the project will fail.

And remember that even if additional resources were available this can cause additional problems:

  • If you bring new people on board part way through a project they need some time to get up to speed – time that is taken from someone else’s schedule. How much do you really stand to gain?
  • If a project is being managed badly and change management is out of control then additional funding will just exacerbate this situation and soon you will be back where you started.

Larger projects with more people and bigger budgets become more complex and harder to manage so don’t assume more resources are the panacea for all the problems on the project.

Instead try and make efficiency savings:

  • Review the scope – start back with the original business objectives and planned business benefits. What do you really need in order to meet those? What have you already completed?
  • Can the project team work more efficiently? For instance, are there delays being caused between dependent tasks. If some tasks are taking much longer why not re-assign project team members to minimise delays.
  • Can the stakeholders be more responsive? Are vital decisions slow to be made because stakeholders are not prioritising your project? Are stakeholders unable to come to agreements quickly on issues that affect your project?

These, and all the other potential problems and inefficiencies that can arise in a project, can be resolved by reviewing progress, status and risks regularly and acting upon the issues. It is the project manager who is key to saving a failing project; who can ensure everyone involved is focused on making the project a success by ensuring resources are efficiently allocated and those with authority to make critical decisions are making them.

Similar Posts:

The post Saving a Failing Project Doesn’t Always Mean Extra Resources appeared first on Parallel Project Training Blog | APM Project Management Articles, Information and News from ParallelProjectTraining.com.

]]>
http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/saving-failing-project/feed/ 1