The week that was in Project Management (16-23 March 2014)

Three imperatives of good project manager:

Eric Knight in this HBR blog shared experiences of senior executive and experienced project leaders to ensure projects are managed effectively. Three tips are highlighted by experienced project managers interviewed by Eric.

  • First is to have focus on strategic activities rather than getting carried away with tactical ones. Focusing on strategic activities means dealing with trade-offs in most reasonable ways.
  • Second tip is to encourage culture among project team to highlight when project is going off the track. It is better to have clearer idea about project progress (and potential failure) than having false hunky-dory picture.
  • Third tip is to have leading and progressing indicators rather than lagging ones. Typically the progress indicators are to highlight when project is off-the track or over-budget, etc. Instead of such lagging indicators, it is useful to have milestones of the things which actually matter the most for project (e.g. cost saving on each stage, etc).


Shortage of skilled project managers is disadvantageous to businesses:

A recent survey & study on project manager salary and development by ESI international as narrated at states that there has been increase in complexity and size of projects but organizations are finding themselves understaffed and lesser-trained project management professionals.

Survey claims that of the reported understaffed project management professionals position in organizations it surveyed, more than 40 % positions are for senior-level project managers, and almost half of the respondents have said that it is really difficult to find experienced, senior project management professionals.


Project management needs essential tools

In this article author points out essential features of project management tool to effectively management projects. Here is a quick list

  1. Project resources management
  2. Task and milestone tracking
  3. Seamless communication
  4. Dependency management

Though author has suggested few options like MS Project, Basecamp, Sharepoint etc. Let me also suggest our own tool here : ZIlicusPM - project management software.


Recognising risk in project management

In this article, the author points out the typical way in which project managers handles project risks. He rightly noted that project managers miss key point in lifecycle of risks - The Trigger Point and he goes further to list out three points in the lifecycle of a risk where PMs can manage risks.

  1. Before it can happen
  2. As it is happening
  3. After it has happened

Though author mentions that there is no clear demarcation where one can say this is 'Trigger point' in future, but the best strategy is to tackle risk is at point number one (i.e. before it can happen). The next best time is when it is happening. However once it has happened, project team is left with limited options like Contingency or Mitigate route.

Risk highlighting and risk management can not be solely be done by project manager. It is a team effort and has to be considered in a holistic way of managing projects.


The Importance of Success Criteria in Project Management

In this interesting article at PMHut, author has emphasized the importance of defining success criterion and measuring success for project management. Let me list out few major points here

  1. Success criterion should be part of project requirement document
  2. Project manager along with project team should understand what project success means to project stakeholders and end-users. The focus of project team on 'final expected outcome' drives the higher chances of success of a project.
  3. Let project stakeholders define and evaluate project success. The stakeholders could be senior executives (within budget), end-users (desired functionality), vendors (saved time, collaboration), partners (saved time, collaboration), etc.