1. “Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan.” – Winston Churchil
Good project management means good project planning and part of that planning is recognising that things aren’t going to go 100% to plan.
Planning is essential. In fact, it could well be the most essential part of project management. A robust plan will help guide stakeholders, team members, sponsors, investors and anyone else involved in the project through the key phases. It will identify goals, reduce risks, avoid missed deadlines and blown-out budgets, in addition to a whole lot of unnecessary stress.
Importantly though, it will recognise that some things will go wrong. It will allow for contingencies and mechanisms to manage change, whether this is planned or unplanned.
Equally, a great project manager will be flexible, forward-thinking and quick and efficient problem-solver so that when things do go a little sideways, as they inevitably will, he or she is on-hand to help refocus the team while using the right processes and procedures developed during the planning stage to bring work back on track.
“Operations keeps the lights on, strategy provides a light at the end of the tunnel, but project management is the train engine that moves the organisation forward.” – Joy Gumz
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! By developing a PM approach that really works for your organisation and its culture you will be one step closer to project success and to thereby achieving your wider organisational goals. Project management is the glue that holds it all together.
“Get the right people. Then no matter what all else you might do wrong after that, the people will save you. That’s what management is all about.” – Tom DeMarco
According to our director Christos, the absolute number-one most important factor contributing to project success is having the right team in place. Your people are everything. Before putting together a project team, you should assess what different abilities, skills and personalities are ideally required to get the job done to the highest standard. Then, recruit your team based on that. Remember – sometimes ‘soft’ skills (personality, passion) can be much more valuable than ‘hard’ ones (years’ of experience, qualifications).
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
There is a tendency among many teams we’ve worked with to want to somewhat falsify project results by painting them a little too, let’s say, optimistically. That sort of culture will get an organisation nowhere.
Even the most ‘successful’ project must be scrutinised for future learnings. There are always elements you could do better next time.
Celebrate the wins sure, but be critical and thorough in your analysis too.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Job
There is no getting around this one. Passion is everything. We’d much rather hire a project manager who is truly passionate about what they do with a little less of the desired experience than someone with decades of experience who couldn’t really care less.
When working with public sector, third sector and other similar organisations such as health techs, we believe that team members must have a genuine interest in ‘social good’. You will, after all, be working on projects of great societal importance than could well impact tens of thousands of residents, many of whom may be vulnerable. Caring about the cause is crucial.