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Dos and Don'ts Of Project Management

Managing

Dos

Don'ts

Project Management Processes

· Depending on organization's business fit, bring-in processes to streamline project delivery process and make it less risky, more predictable and repeatable

· Understand that there will be resistance to new processes or change to existing processes. You need to build right set of utilities and champions to make it work.

· Always have a mindset and activities to improve these processes, making it better to manage, lesser risky

· Do not enforce processes for the sake of having it.

· Understand the purpose and long run benefit of having sound processes for your organization.

· Don't start on wrong feet, choose your early adopter and champions' list judiciously

Project Planning

· Always have a project plan, detailed one

· Involve Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) as well as team members as appropriate to gauge planning quantum

· Get consensus and agreement from required stakeholders for iterative versions of project scope and project plan

· Project planning isn't just about project scheduling (or creating Gantt chart), it is a holistic process of planning schedule, risks, resources, communication, financial, etc i.e define a project scope

· Don't take it lightly, any small error in planning can potentially bring severe cost in future

Project Communication

· Be transparent and frequent in communicating right set of information depending on kind of stakeholder

· Team members should know if project delivery schedule is tight;

· Project sponsor/ customer should be aware of any major road-block or delay in delivery

· Don't share all information with everyone - it can create confusion and waste others time.

· Don't hide information that should be shared with stakeholders. Suppressing such information will only make the matter worse for tomorrow.

Project Monitoring

· Perform continuous monitoring of project progress in terms of schedule, cost, resource, quality aspects

· Use a central project management software like ZilicusPM to track project progress indicators

· Schedule regular review conversation with project delivery team

· Don't schedule ad hoc meetings or calls to gather project status from colleagues

· People will be fine if you can keep them informed well in advance about such meetings

· There cannot be project progress monitor without right indicators, so define set of metrics to track progress

Project Risk Management

· Practice risk planning right from beginning

· Create environment in your team to easily and quickly highlight risks

· Be proactive risk reviewer and manager,

· Any organization and typical project require some or other form of risk management but don't consider your risk management strategy limited to maintaining risk register spreadsheet

· Risk management is not one time activity, you will have to keep it on your agenda for frequent review

Resource Planning and Assignment

· Perform resource planning, meticulously - in phased manner.

· Typically project planner does not know exactly which resource will be working on a given activity

· Use generic resources, place holder resources to assess duration, dependency, cost elements of project schedule

· Once you are able to acquire resources from pool, perform actual activities assignment

· Don't make no-breather plan. Have reasonable buffer time in schedule, things can go wrong

· Don't squeeze resources for the sake of cutting down cost, it will only drag timeline and ultimately affect cost

· Also consider individuals team member's aspirations and align those with overall objectives of project/ organization

Change Management

· Change management is always a stressful activity for organization, especially for project team

· Clearly identify change management process and approval mechanism and communicate it to stakeholders

· Project scope is supposed to be sacrosanct, don't allow frequent changes to it

· If change is inevitable, don't do it randomly or on ad hoc basis, have a right process for accepting and committing changes

Project Management Software

· Use right project management software like ZilicusPM so that everyone can refer to single copy of project plan, issues, risks, reports and dashboard

· If you have a choice, use single tool to manage plan, track progress, resources, issues, risks, documents instead of having data scattered across different tools

· Incentivize and ensure that people use project management tool regularly so that they will stay on top of their activities and you will get right visibility

· Regularly track, review project progress indicators through project dashboard and reports

· Don’t make the mistake of We-Can-Do-It-With-Spreadsheet unless your projects are very basic: To Do list and simple collaboration

· Don't use the tool that does not keep up with the proficiency (or lack of) project management professionals and team members.

· Don't push the tool to team members, that they are finding difficulty to use, or requires extensive training. You are creating barrier for them to use PM too. Go for simple, useful tools.

Team's Work Environment

· Appraise team member for their good work openly and publicly. Recognize them, reward them.

· Ask for their opinion, make a point to make them realize that you are listening to them

· Aptly use your coercive power (like leave approval, timesheet approval) to retain the sense of authority towards you.

· Don’t ignore their concerns or sideline their suggestion. If you can’t accept it, tell them what is missing and present a larger picture.

· Don’t criticize, yell or attack them if something goes wrong or even if you don’t like something/anything about them

· Don’t find a scape goat or culprit. Remember, ultimately the issue is team’s responsibility, your responsibility




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