While project management best practices vary between different project managers, projects and organisations they basically consist of 4 elements:
- Identifying those approaches, processes and tools that, when applied correctly, always lead to positive outcomes.
- Building a PM team that has the skills and ability to apply company best practices to actual projects, not in theory but in reality.
- On-going project management training that covers best practices and potential risks.
- Reinforcing training theories and concepts by applying them to real projects.
The IT world is no stranger to projects that go down in flames. In fact, anyone who has had the unenviable pleasure of participating in a failed IT effort likely sensed its demise well before the go-live date. That sixth sense is invaluable in a competitive field like IT — but only if it is acted on promptly and professionally.
Striving for perfection in many ways is a good trait to possess but the pace of progress in businesses is now so rapid that to seek perfection on a project can mean to lose out on business opportunities. Consider pretty much any type of technology gadget – any manufacturer who seeks perfection before going to market with a new product is likely to be left behind in the race.
What’s that you say – Experienced PMs don’t always worry too much about the schedule because they accept the unpredictable nature of project variables? So much of being a project manager is dealing with the unknown, juggling people, resources, and tasks, that the little amount of time they have left can’t be spent agonizing over arbitrary due dates. More than that, projects that escape deadlines don’t simply vanish. They still have to be completed, and finding your team at the mercy of budgets, restricted assets, and absent or unresponsive people are typical frustrations that can leave due dates in the dust. So what if we just skipped them altogether?
Projects are made up of people and require creative problem solving. And since people aren’t perfect and creativity is often a complex exercise, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that projects are therefore full of imperfections. While many of us come to this realization eventually, we need to do so more quickly. Actively embracing project management as an imperfect science will help us be better at it. As the saying goes, “perfect is the enemy of good.”
New research by Sydney consultancy Caravel Group and the Melbourne Business School has found major project Governance Teams are dysfunctional, lack the skills and experience to govern major projects, exhibit poor corporate behaviour, are conflict-ridden and rarely have their performance measured or reviewed.
Another insightful read by Lynda Bourne
As a project manager, you’re a leader by default. And as a leader, your job is to inspire your team to achieve a shared vision. That means you create an “inspiring vision” of the future and then build the expectation that the vision is achievable.
An “inspiring vision” is not simply finishing your project, either. A great example of this was one put forth by London’s Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) responsible for building the facilities for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The ODA set a much-publicized “zero harm” goal.