Definition of a project:
“A unique process, consisting of a set of coordinated and controlled activities with start and finish dates, undertaken to achieve an objective conforming to specific requirements including constraints of time, cost and resources”
(Lockyer and Gordon, Four Phase Model, 1996)
All Projects should have:
- Project plan
- Time frame
- Product specification
- Statement of required quality
- Cost plan
- Identification of areas of uncertainty
- Risk evaluation and responses
To project manage is to initiate, plan and design, resource, execute, monitor and control and complete a project.
Responsibilities of the project manager include:
- Agreeing objectives
- Identifying and Managing risks
- Planning and scheduling
- Communicating plans to stakeholders
- Controlling and Monitoring
- Reviewing and Evaluating
Various tools are used to more efficiently deliver, record and implement activities at each stage. The following can be used as a guide or reference to appropriate tools at each stage.
|Agreeing objectives||Project Charter outlines project objectives, deliverables, main stakeholders|
|Managing risks||Risk Management Document which also contains a risk assessment matrix and enables the identification of risk and levels of impact.|
|Planning and scheduling||
o GANNT Chart outlining routines; tasks and resources; budgets; deadlines
|Communicating plans to stakeholders||
o Ongoing communication through Project Status Report
|Implementing||Direction of team member actions and outputs relayed at a Kick Off Meeting|
|Controlling and Monitoring||o Project Status Report – this is a working document lists progress; issues/concerns; changes to project plan (working document)
o Periodic team meeting to inform project status report which is then used to update stakeholders
|Reviewing and Evaluating||o Sign off document
o Stakeholders meeting to review the project and outline lessons learned to inform future projects
The following behaviours as outlined in the CIPD MAP are crucial for any project manager:
|Decisive Thinker||Demonstrates the ability to analyse and understand data and information quickly. Uses information, insights and knowledge in a structured way to identify options, make recommendations and make robust, defendable decisions.||A project manager is likely to be faced with a large amount of detailed information and the ability to break down this information quickly to identify options and make ongoing recommendations at each stage of the project is crucial to its progression and ultimate outcome and especially so when communicating with stakeholders, planning and implementing the project and at the control and monitoring stages.|
|Skilled Influencer||Demonstrates the ability to influence to gain the necessary commitment and support from diverse stakeholders in pursuit of organisation value.||When initially agreeing objectives with stakeholders and when driving the project towards success through the implementation of actions and management of the team, it is necessary for the project manager to have gained the necessary commitment, support and dedication to achieve a common value and success.|
|Personally credible||Builds and delivers professionalism through combining commercial and HR expertise to bring value to the organisation, stakeholders and peers||If personally credible a project manager commands the cooperation and respect of stakeholders as a trusted and reliable professional.|
|Collaborative||Work effectively and inclusively with a range of people, both within and outside the organization||As a project requires a high level of collaborative working, a project manager needs to be well-skilled in this area in order to communicate with internal and external stakeholders, plan and schedule the project with those involved and to effectively implement activities.|
|Driven to deliver||Demonstrates determination, resourcefulness and purpose to deliver the best results for the organisation.||Every project manager should be driven to deliver on the agreed objectives and possess the determination and means to do so. This should be evident in every stage of the project; when communicating to stakeholders, managing risks, monitoring progress and at project delivery and progress meetings.|
|Courage to challenge||Shows courage and confidence to speak up skilfully, challenging others even when confronted with resistance or unfamiliar circumstances.||The courage to challenge is pivotal to becoming a successful manager. Projects require courageous leadership to question the status quo amongst sponsors and team members and this requires confidence, decisiveness, and wisdom. The courage to challenge should be most evident when agreeing objectives, communicating with stakeholders, managing risks, controlling and monitoring and evaluating and reviewing.|
|Role model||Consistently leads by example. Acts with integrity, impartiality and independence, balancing personal, organisational and legal parameters||Acting as a good role model enables a project manager to gain the trust and respect of others. By being focused, enthusiastic, evaluative, resilient and open-minded, the project manager is leading by example behaviours which if emulated by team members can contribute to a successful collaboration through shared values and respect.|
Self-management is an invaluable skill for any employee and the following are a set of self-management skills required for effective productivity; self-management is a skill of particular relevance when directing a team towards the successful completion of a project.
Managing a project can be stressful and high levels of stress can lead to energy depletion and ineffective or ineffectual decision making. Emotional Intelligence is a much talked about subject at the moment; it is believed that by improving your emotional intelligence you can better manage and control stress, and it is becoming more popular as a way in which to train staff in becoming more resilient and task-focused.
As project manager it is important to possess strong cognitive ability in the areas of analysis and solution finding; this requires an individual who is able to think clearly and quickly in times of conflict or difficulty to avoid or rectify potentially damaging situations.
The skill of communication is an invaluable one as project manager as it demands high levels of interaction, negotiation, persuasion and motivation from you to keep the team working to the desired momentum and standards. Comprehensible instruction ensures there is a shared clarity amongst the team and stakeholders in understanding the aim of the project and their role within it.
Time is money. Poor time management though may not only be costly financially but can also create added pressure from stakeholders leading to stress, uncertainty and lack of confidence.
The ability to memorize important facts and information is useful as a project manager as there is not always to hand the required data. Memorizing relevant details gives an impression of efficiency and builds trust in your abilities.
Being fit and healthy is important as a Project Manager as it is imperative to be robust and reliable, having the constitution to see a project through to the end. Physical activity can support in sustaining a clear mind and physical capabilities.
Follow this guide and create an optimum environment for success while utilising strategies and tools to effectively manage your project while supporting and motivating your team.