Project Management… This activity filled with unexpected twists and surprises! If only this concept could only mean to manage a project and then execute the project plan. But, as you very well know, project management is a little bit more difficult. Primarily, this discipline implies managing a team – human beings all different from one another – mobilized around a common project. May the game begin!
Individually and collectively mobilize the members of your team to achieve success of the project is the mission that all project managers fervently pursue, if not without difficulty.
For a manager and his team, the most important thing to succeed in this mission is the ability to adapt to unforeseen situations and to align their strategies based on the targeted objectives from the start.
In this article, you will discover the three biggest challenges in project management based on our field analyses. All challenges begin… at the beginning:
- Project planning
- Selection of resources to form the project team
- Selection of appropriate manager
The attention that the PM will give to these 3 challenges is the key element that will lead to the success or the failure of your project, be it a small or large one.
The first challenge: Follow the traditional recipe while planning the project.
To use best practices and refer to past experiences are ways to ensure success. In the planning process of things, feedback on lessons learned is advised. At IN-RGY, based on our experience, it is always a good thing to do!
When we talk about project management, there are lessons to remember regarding project management strategies used. It is an added high-value activity that is essential in each and every phase of project planning.
Without avoiding redundant basic principles, we remind you of the ingredients of the magical recipe to manage your project well right from the start. Pay attention to all these components! They could be very indicative of some gaps in your ongoing projects:
- Scope planning – The exigences of the project scope are stipulated to facilitate work allocation and avoid incorrect time adjustments. It is also during this phase that the project assumptions are formulated.
- Preparation of the work breakdown structure – The project is segmented in distinct steps, tasks and sub-tasks.
- Project schedule development – The complete schedule of activities is created where the proper sequencing is detailed by establishing precise milestones for all deliverables.
- Resource planning – Which tasks, when they will be performed and, if necessary, what specific skills are required to perform project deliverables is indicated.
- Budget planning – The budgeted cost to be committed to finish the project is specified.
- Procurement planning – The vendors and subcontractors are identified.
- Risk management – The potential risks are identified, and prevention strategies and action plans are set up to address problematic situations. The usual risks include unrealistic costs and time estimates, client review cycle, budget cuts, changing requirements and lack of involved resources.
- Quality planning – Quality criteria to use during the project are evaluated.
- Communication planning – The communication strategy to communicate with all of the project’s stakeholders is conceptualized.
The second challenge: Pick the best players to create a winning team.
A project must have the required number of required resources and skills necessary to be implemented; otherwise, the execution strategy must be modified. Well, yeah!
- Integration projects involving new or complex solutions may demand specialized skills that are in heavy demand. Therefore, very experienced resources able to work in the implementation of a specific project can be a rare resource. A little advice: extend your search and take the time to choose the right assets.
- To build a better project team aligned with the strategic objectives, your technical experts must support each other during the whole project. Be on the look out for the dynamics within your team! You should be ready to perceive any work overload. This way, you could distribute business activities to other teams that are able to participate in the project, at the right time.
- Qualified experts and solution specialists, members of the integration team, must be able to guide, lead and suggest solutions that address the industry best practices and, in the end, final users. Including a solution architect who will make sure that the processes are designed and mapped, from end to end, is a must in a technological projets environment.
The ultimate challenge: Identify the leader that will lead you to success.
The project manager is the main person responsible for the project. Choose the right PM is vital to the success of the project! Choose wisely and you will greatly increase the chances that your project will be completed within the set deadlines and budget, and with the targeted results.
- The project manager must ensure that the objectives and the project plan are aligned with the company’s objectives. Of course, he must keep a permanent communication link with all the stakeholders and make sure that the project activities and commercial objectives, including change management activities, are synchronized, especially during large-scale complex projects. The duration of a project is significant when this risk increases.
- A good project manager will communicate the project vision, will inspire, and help the team. He will ensure that the team members are part of the decision-making process regarding the proposed solutions. He will also be problem-solving oriented by having a clear communication with all participants. The PM has to constantly manage the stakeholders’ expectations and stay aware of the project risks while keeping his team focused on the objective.
- Project management is not a question of technical ability but of depth of management ability during each phase of the project. Every project manager needs to be competent in higher organizational competencies in planning, evaluation, and budget planning. BUT, the essential skill of a PM for a successful project is his leadership! That requires energy and the ability to mobilize the personnel to achieve the objectives.
In short, the main qualities of a good project manager are Leadership, Communication, Flexibility, Determination and Patience!
Yes, your PM a global vision. But, has he been thorough in addressing these huge challenges? If nothing escapes him, your project will be a winner.