My Project Management Expert

How to Manage a Project

Knowing how to manage a project in the real world is a very different experience from that taught in textbooks. I discovered this whilst managing my first project Having read a few project management books I thought I knew it all. However I quickly discovered that successful project management is much, much more than simply estimating project costs or project risk management. Learning how to manage projects involves far more of the "softer skills" than you realise especially when managing project teams.

So beyond the project management basics knowing how to manage a project involves a great deal of clear project communications, leadership, problem solving, proactiveness, deilvery focus and the ability to get people to go the extra distance for you. None of these are easy, but there again if they were easy then those project manager's with a track record of delivery wouldn't be in such demand, even now.

From this list I'm going to concentrate on the 3 which I've certainly found the most useful in my career. These are leadership, delivery focus and proactiveness.

1.0 Leadership

Many project manager's do not like being told that they are ultimately responsible for the project delivery. They prefer to take a much lower profile and concentrate on the paperwork such as writing a project initiation document or project charter, or creating a project plan.

This means that the role of the business analyst grows and it is usually this individual who takes over the project and starts making all the decisions. This may not be a completely bad thing if you are new and your BA has all the requisite business analyst skills. But quite frankly the project is your responsibility, therefore you need to get stuck in, take control and demonstate you are a leader who your team can rely on.

2.0 Delivery Focus

It astonishes me that so many project manager's and in fact project teams have so little delivery focus. Often when faced with a slippage many project manager's will simply shrug their shoulders and scuttle off to update their project plan.

My mantra is very different. If I am given a delivery date, then the project will be delivered to that date no matter what. So for example on my current project a major press release had gone out to the media publicising the product I am delivering and naming a specific launch date. Do you think that not meeting this launch date is an option? No. And this is key in knowing how to manage a project. Focus on getting it delivered in the shortest time, for the least cost and the best project quality and you will be heading for a successful career like mine.

As an example just 4 weeks ago the business suddenly decided that they needed the already tight dates brought in even more to reduce the press release risk. This mean't we had to find 10 days reduction in the next 6 weeks of testing. There was only one alternative. All the test teams had to be beefed up resource wise and start double shifting every week day as well as working all the weekends. It wasn't nice and there were alot of moans. The project budget started soaring which the business has already agreed to, and it got the job done.

Now many project manager's would simply have thrown their hands in the air and given up. But that's why I get the given the high profile, tight deadline must deliver on time projects. I get things done and give project sponsors the confidence they require.

3.0 Proactivenes

I am what you would call a hands on technical project manager. That means I get involved in what is going on. I find this is vital in heading off potential problems, for the simple reason that I get visibility of them earlier. Remember that sitting there doing project resource management from afar, is no substitute for actually going and chatting with your team in person.

Being proactive means going out, finding the problems and fixing them. Not waiting for the problems to come to you, at which stage it is often too late.

How to Manage a Project - Tip

Remember communication and I don't mean your project communication plan in knowing how to manage projects. So spend time getting to know your team and in making their working lives easier. You will be repaid with quality work and a team willing to go that extra mile for you.

Sign Up for Our Free
The Fast Track to Project Success eZine
and get The mPME Top 10 Tips
of Successful Project Management Ebook!

The Top 10 Tips of Successful Project Management Ebook Email

Name

Then

Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
We promise to use it only to send you The Fast Track to Project Success.



follow MyPMExpert on Twitter


Sign Up for Our Free
The Fast Track to Project Success Ezine
and get Our
Top 10 Tips of
Successful Project Management Ebook!

The Top 10 Tips of Successful Project Management Ebook
Email

Name

Then

Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
We promise to use it only to send you The Fast Track to Project Success.

Site News

Please check out our new Project Management Methodologies section. It has loads of great info on concepts such as the PMMM and Critical Path.


Spare 2 Mins & Win an iPod Shuffle

We're running a survey to enable us to better focus our site and products. Please spare 2 minutes to answer our 6 questions and we'll enter you into a draw to win an iPod Shuffle. This way you help us to better help you. Go on, you know it makes sense!

Click here for the Survey.



XML RSS
What is this?
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Add to Google

Original Content Copyright © 2009 My-Project-Management-Expert.com
All other content is in the public domain or is copyright by the credited author.