I’m often a project business owner, being the conduit between the Executive team and the project. My job is relatively simple compared to the heavy lifting of a project team. I consider a key part of my role is to filter out the noise to ensure the team can focus on delivery.
In my experience, there are five things that will stop your project kicking off effectively and /or will knock your project off its success trajectory:
- Experience: it is essential to know each project team member, their strengths and weaknesses, their skillset and experience working on projects. This is integral to the project’s success particularly if they are still working on business as usual tasks and project related initiatives. Understanding experience also has to do with also knowing whether the business can or has previously delivered projects while juggling cross-functional projects and daily business operations.
- Communication: the business and project teams need to know where to find project information (it should preferably all be in a single location). Clear, appropriate, and regular communications to the business will ensure business expectations are managed. It is also important for relevant teams to recognise and understand the difference between operational and strategic updates and when and how to communicate these.
- Scope: if the scope is too much, too little, or poorly defined or, if fails to have effective change control management you are certain to have sleepless nights. Consider launching smaller pieces of a project to reduce risk and to manage team morale. This is particularly important when delivering new technology projects that have never been attempted before.
- Accountability: a project can have ‘too many chefs.’’ Knowing and ensuring where business stakeholder accountability lies is important. Clearly defined roles and responsibilities tied to a timeline when decisions are required.
- Leadership: an executive has the power and prerogative to throw a curve ball for any project. They require ongoing active upward management and reporting. When they request a change of scope, move launch dates or reduce resourcing or budgets, the only thing to do here breathe in deeply, visualise your super power project management capabilities and using ONLY your internal voice, say…..aaarrrgghhh!!!!
A few years ago, in an earlier blog, I quoted a remarkable Project Manager who had the perfect response to a project change request. Suffice to say her response (which you can read here) still makes me laugh to this day. When facing a tough project, change in scope or if you are having a hard day – think of this scenario. I hope it makes you smile.
This PM was one of three PM’s, instrumental in improving my project management knowledge. Thank you to Sharon Doyle, Belinda O’Dea and Rachel Hollands for all your help, instruction and patience and it’s true, you can teach and old dog new tricks!