Are you in control of the project?
… or desperately treading water.
For a quick overview of what a Project Manager actually does, Wikipedia defines it as:
The person responsible for accomplishing project objectives e.g. defining and communicating objectives, procuring information, materials and managing constraints such as cost/time/scope.
Still want the job?
A lot of people are shoehorned into being “PM’s” by virtue of the fact that they have a degree. This doesn’t make them a project manager. It simply means that they could study one subject for several years, and that subject wasn’t necessarily project management. In fact, to be a qualified project manager, a person would need to have passed a PRINCE2 or ITIL exam.
In order to be a good project manager, a candidate needs to have:
- Excellent communication skills – read: winning over the doubters.
- Project Planning – Gant charts and dependencies, Start and End dates. Pretty easy.
- Resource Allocation – getting the right people, with the right skill-set, to be available at the right time.
- Risk Management – identify and reduce them.
- Cost Management – stick to the budget.
Unfortunately on average, only 60% of projects meet their goals of being on time and on budget, with all benefits delivered. Here are some of the reasons why projects fail:
Only one third of companies always prepare a business case for new projects. 60% of companies don’t measure ROI on projects. 68% of projects don’t have an effective project sponsor to provide clear direction or help address problems. Organizations report that an average of 3 out of 5 projects are not aligned with business strategy.
figures courtesy of wrike.com
It seems that companies could avoid some (not all) of the pitfalls of a failed project by asking themselves:
- Is the project necessary?
- Exactly how will it meet business needs?
- Have we got the right person for the job?
- How will project outcomes be measured?
- Who’s commissioned the project? Is it someone with authority?
- Who’s running the project day-to-day? Is it someone with a project management qualification? Relevant experience?
- Has the scope of the project been fully identified?
- What’s the budget?
- Does this business have other in-house projects that can be studied for best practise?
- What will happen to the project if/when business objectives change?
- Will a final “lessons learned” meeting be conducted?
- What actions will be taken following the meeting?
In order to have a successful project to manage; a business needs to define the outcomes before the start. If this business has also found a project manager who is calm under pressure, manages their time effectively and solves problems – hold onto them for dear life.
They could save your business a lot of money.
Sam Horsey is a business journalist and copywriter. Contact her on 07549 031533 or email firstname.lastname@example.org