So, you’re the Project Manager?

 

Your reply depends on whether you’re in control of your 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:

  1. Excellent communication skills – read: winning over the doubters.
  2. Project Planning – Gant charts and dependencies, Start and End dates. Pretty easy.
  3. Resource Allocation – getting the right people, with the right skill-set, to be available at the right time.
  4. Risk Management – identify and reduce them.
  5. Cost Management – stick to the budget.

Got those?

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:

  1. Is the project necessary?
  2. Exactly how will it meet business needs?
  3. Have we got the right person for the job?
  4. How will project outcomes be measured?
  5. Who’s commissioned the project? Is it someone with authority?
  6. Who’s running the project day-to-day? Is it someone with a project management qualification? Relevant experience?
  7. Has the scope of the project been fully identified?
  8. What’s the budget?
  9. Does this business have other in-house projects that can be studied for best practise?
  10. What will happen to the project if/when business objectives change?
  11. Will a final “lessons learned” meeting be conducted?
  12. 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.