Project management receives great prominence in today’s business, methodologies and techniques are far more commonplace and at face values businesses appear much better equipped to deal with such initiatives. There is much more technology and software available to assist, training is more widely available and skilled project practitioners more plentiful.. Yet despite these advances, there are still many risks associated with running projects successfully.
1. Risk cannot be underestimated. Risk management is so integral to project management that it needs to underpin each and every activity, so there is a need to repeatedly undergo risk management, at every stage of a project.
2. Ensure that the management team have an understanding of the fundamentals of project management. When they do, then they are more ready to accept the advice of the project manager and perhaps more importantly, they are less willing to interfere and will simply rely on the project manager as opposed to trying to impose their own suggestions.
3. Understand the dependency of different tasks. This may sound basic, but it is often ignored. The dependency is important because it ensures that the project can flow. If task B is dependent on task A being completed, then B is obviously dependent on A. This inter-dependence needs to be highlighted and there has to be an understanding of the dependency if the project is to be successful.
4. Be aware of all the external influences or dependencies that may come into the picture. These can often drag a project down and have a negative impact. Being aware of these means that you can plan to take action if required. External dependencies cannot be ignored and need to be addressed.
5. Communication is key to project management. Communication is important to ensure that the project manager is aware of what tasks have successfully been completed and which are still ongoing. Without this being communicated throughout the team, risks are still not being managed effectively.
6. Software applications need to be used to ensure that time is managed effectively. Without using software applications time will be taken up doing lots of mundane tasks obtaining information. Often projects can get bogged down in the minutiae of detail, so use software to do the boring bits!
7. Know your schedule! Where are you, where should you be what problems do you have and how does that impact your project. The current reality may be very different from your plan and if so what actions need to take place (rescheduling, refinancing for example.)
8. Once the current reality has to be assessed then resources may well have to be re-allocated to ensure that any potential shortfalls are addressed. This may often be unpalatable, but is necessary to safeguard against problems arising in the future.
9. Take shortcuts at your peril. Sometimes it can be extremely tempting to take shortcuts, but these are not always successful in the longer term, so if shortcuts undermine the methodology that is being used, then they should be avoided or the project can run into unforeseen risks.
10. The final point with regard to better project manager is simply to ensure that enough time is devoted to the project. Lack of time is a risk that is often underestimated within the process, so it needs to be addressed and acknowledged. Ignoring the problem that time constraints can pose is a mistake that is made far too often when it comes to project management!
These steps will not ‘risk proof’ projects but will actually ensure that the project flows more easily and is less risky than if they are simply ignored or shoved under the carpet! Successful project management is always thorough project management.