Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.
Seemingly great projects sometimes come crashing to earth in swirling clouds of acrimony while giant sloppy beads of sweat trickle off the end of your nose. This washes away the remaining tendrils of your career quickly. The project postmortems focus on the unbearable complexity of theories used in past projects. Those filthy client files and fifty-year-old data dictionaries polluted with addresses scooped out of a random letter generator.
They also sometimes focus attention on the general recalcitrance of end-users to recognize the value in any idea they didn’t think of themselves twenty years ago. Most of us have been wired to believe that only the sacred cow project management skills and tools are needed to succeed in project management. It’s not that the devices are unimportant or that the systems don’t work, but the sacred cow project management mentality is not always true. However, the methods and the software only make the job easier; they aren’t the only elements of success.
Skills Of Top Project Managers
Attention To Project Goals
It’s easy to get caught up in the specifics and the technologies in many types of projects, particularly technology projects, and lose sight of the business goals. The sacred cow project management team and project emphasis turn away from solving the business problem and toward a technology target, such as developing an XYZ device.
When this occurs, the resulting device will not fulfill all of the company’s requirements. The project manager and the team need to clearly understand the business goals before detailed planning and work. Then, the project manager needs to remind his squad regularly about the goals and how the project work relates to those goals.
Delegate Duties Appropriately
It’s no surprise that attention to detail is the most frequently mentioned project management skill. Hundreds of thousands of tiny pieces must be attended to at the right time and in the proper manner in the course of any project of any scale. As a result, senior managers should not be in charge of programs. They’re supposed to concentrate on the larger picture rather than the details.
The project manager must remind or challenge the team about the details of the projects they are working on, not to handle every detail. The general belief of a sacred cow project management skill confuses a lot of project managers. They always want to do it all alone while on a project rather than delegate responsibilities.
Team Communication and Coordination
The project is planned and executed in the day-to-day, week-to-week grunt work of the team. And the project manager is in charge of making it all happen by working closely with the team; a few of the sacred cow project management skills are communication. And the arrangement of their tasks, their interdependencies, the time required to complete the activities, problems that must be addressed, and so on. The project’s management relies heavily on daily contact and planning. It necessitates good planning, as well as interpersonal and verbal communication skills.
Make A Regular Report on Progress
Since challenges and barricades must be dealt with regularly, significant problem solving is an essential sacred cow project management skill. In most business ventures, this typically entails identifying the individuals outside of the team. The project manager or team must collaborate and take the necessary steps to bring them on board. All available resources must be drafted to communicate and make a regular report to the organization’s management.
This skill set often entails reporting to management daily on the project’s progress and any problems affecting work performance, schedule, or budget, among other things. It necessitates outstanding interpersonal and verbal communication skills, as well as good written communication skills.
Customer Relationship Management
In business projects, the project manager must maintain a good working relationship with the customer, whether external or internal. Managing customer demand is an integral part of this – not in a misleading way, but in a straightforward and accessible manner. The customer needs to know what is realistic in developing the product and what is not. The customers always like to be kept informed about how the project is going and whether you, as the project manager, are responding to issues in the most effective way.
Communicating with management about project problems and whether the client is satisfied and quiet or frustrated and likely to worsen is an integral part of managing the customer relationship. This area of performance, like many other skills, negates the sacred cow project management mentality. It entails monitoring consumer complaints, and they must be managed to the customer’s satisfaction.
Bottom-Line: There are many skills a project manager must have, but if they do these five well, their probability of success with most projects will be very high. Intending project managers should not come with a sacred cow project management skill mindset to reach the summit in the field.
Modern Day Businesses Can’t Survive Without Project Management.
“In teamwork, silence isn’t golden; it is simply deadly….”
Project Management is one of the essential skills required in business today. The reality of business is that the environment, requirements, and customer demands are constantly changing. The business structures, processes, and organizational designs are not built for change; they are made for stability.
The focus is on repeatability and predictability, doing the same thing over and over, meeting service level agreements, and managing risk. This works well when dealing with day-to-day operations but not so well for implementing new technology. Meeting the requirements of new legislation or developing an entirely new product requires extra effort. This is where the sacred cow project management must be eschewed, while the typical organizational structure is built for stable projects designed for change.
Project management processes may be a regular thing for you, and each project must still be treated as unique as possible from start to finish. Only the expertise end experience touch will make the difference on final delivery.
The following are some of the most critical elements of project management:
Defining The End State Or Deliverable
If you don’t know where you are going, getting there will be nearly impossible. A clear goal must be set for each project. This should include a detailed map of how the organization will work till the project is completed. The expected results and tangible differences are expected. Projects are never executed from any sacred cow project management skills.
Understanding Resources Requirements
Projects are an investment; staff, facilities, and financial support will be required to make them happen. For a decision to be made, the total cost of the project must be considered. This must also include factors such as additional costs and opportunity costs.
Projects by definition will often have an impact across an organization. How things are done will change, but they can also affect the day-to-day business during implementation. For a project to be successful, approval and buy-in are critical. A clear statement of the impact is an essential consideration in obtaining authorization. No sacred cow project management belief will be accepted except following the standard protocols.
Detailed Scheduling and Planning
“No plan withstands the first contact with the enemy” is a well-known quote attributed to Helmuth von Moltke, a famous Prussian military strategist. But contrary to popular belief, the selection is not ‘anti-planning.’ It is, in fact, pro-planning. The point von Moltke was making was that planning was essential but that events do not happen as predicted in reality. Still, it is the planning that creates the ability to anticipate and react to situations as they occur. In a sacred cow project management world, detailed scheduling and planning are never critical and essential. The idea that a plan is only a possibility and constantly assessing and re-planning is a fact of everyday life.
Getting The Work Done
This is where the magic happens. Ideas, budgets, schedules, and people come together to make things happen. Work is allocated and teams formed, detailed budgets and estimates are agreed upon. Then, reality hits, tasks take longer and cost more, team members and stakeholders have different opinions. They argue and blame each other, unexpected events occur, and minds get changed. Work organization, communication, risk management, and problem-solving are the critical skills required here to believe in the sacred cow project management theories.
“Trying to manage a project without project management skills is like playing a football match without a game plan….”
Like the proverbial sacred cow, project management has some basic skills required to achieve success in your project management journey. In addition to these skills, several tools are scattered around the world on how to achieve absolute success in project management. However, one must not be dogmatic in the utilization of these skills and tools. No matter how prepared and ready you may seem before any project; you still need to face the reality of executing the project before you can pride yourself on the experience therein.
Do not get the logic wrong; you must plan for every project like they are equally essential but be prepared to meet new challenges and be opened to everyday learning on your way to becoming one of the most sought-after project managers of all time. Change is unavoidable at times. What needs to be kept in mind is that the modifications do not have unintended effects. Since everything is connected, all the products and improvements required in project documents and plans should be modified in systemic ways.
A change management framework that is incorporated can ensure this systematic change on all the documents/plans. Document changes are made only when a review board approves the change requests with sufficient authority.