A Recap of Basic Project Management Concepts

/* Posted December 15th, 2012 at 10:17am    */
/* Filed under Project Management    */

The most important areas to keep track of for a project manager are time, scope, quality, and cost.  It is also important to align a project with the needs of the stakeholder.  Project managers should treat stakeholders individually but serve them collectively.

The project management office portfolio deals with strategy. The program deals with the roadmap and tactics. The project deals with the task.  A project manager’s job is to help task managers see the vision of the portfolio managers.

Project managers should keep objectives relevant, communication short and concise. The key to good requirements also applies to the key to good objectives: they need to be specific, measurable,  achievable, relevant, and time boxed.

The number one successful practice is the standard practice. Number two is a mature portfolio of good practices. Our processes help us avoid some of the most common errors in project management.

Project culture also plays an important factor in the quality of a project. It may be weak if one of these occur in a project team’s culture: inward focus, moral problems, fragmentation, inconsistency, ingrown subculture, warfare among subcultures subculture elitism.

Going back to communication, here are some key things to remember regarding good communication.  Do not assume. Seek first to understand, not to be understood. Until the deliverable is in the customer’s hand, communication is the project manager’s job. A good communicator has a clear understanding of the needs of the audience. He also has a good awareness of how the communication was received.  Talk to stakeholders early on, set communication schedule, be clear, concise, and complete. Use simple words, set a good cadence.

Ideal qualities for a good project manager are a shared vision, good communication, integrity, enthusiasm, empathy, competence, ability to delegate, keep cool under pressure, team building skills, and have good problem solving skills.

Here are tips on running meetings. Since planning is very important, prepping for a meeting is very important. There should be a good reason for having the meeting. At a meeting an agenda should be distribute. Keep the attendance limited. The meeting should have at least a one day notice, and specific start and end time.  Participation should be encouraged with visual aids. Most importantly, there should be follow up after the meeting.

Much of project management deals with change to an existing organization. Employees resist change because of lack of communication. There is a lack of inertia which comes from a misunderstanding of a lack of skills, and lack of training.  Forcing issues can create anger and passive resistance. There is usually a lack of trust to the newcomers.  Promises of better future means nothing unless there is trust in the manager

Further barriers to change result from a fear of failure.  Personality conflicts, poor timing, lack of tact, a threat to job security, a           breakup of work group, and competing commitments also contribute to a resistance to change.

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