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Monday, December 22, 2008

Project Management Success - Where's the Evidence?!

You may have heard the old saying, "Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan". Ironic and appropriate that the source of this piece of wisdom is unknown.

The best Project Managers are the unsung heroes of their agencies. I'm not knocking creatives or account management, but you know as well as I who gets the awards and the accolades, and if something is late or wrong, where the attention goes.

Precious few within an agency truly understand Project Management's value. Without PM's on-time/on-budget/on-spec/high-quality is a long-shot. One of my favorite illustrations of this point is from the film, Wag the Dog. Dustin Hoffman, playing Stanley Motts, the self-absorbed producer (feature film's version of a Project Manager) is hilarious. Check out this clip from Wag the Dog on YouTube (starts about 55 seconds in)

Motts again on the same topic:

MOTTS: It's all, you know ... thinking ahead. Thinking Ahead. That's what producing is. (PAUSE) It's like being a plumber.

BREAN: Mmm...

MOTTS: You do your job right, nobody should notice.

I'm not in love with the plumber association. As long as we don't get known for "PM's crack", I suppose I can live with it.

Issue detection and avoidance, arguably Project Managers' greatest contributions, don't leave much physical evidence. Right, Stanely? "You do your job right, nobody should notice." I'm not suggesting Project Managers run around the agency shouting, "Look at me.". However, it's in your and your teams' best interests to "market" yourselves internally and externally whenever possible. One thing I have my team leaders do is submit a Project Management status report. This is generally a good business practice that gives quick reference for accomplishments and aides in the above mentioned risk detection/avoidance. I also ask my leads to send accolades they and their staff receive, which I pass up the food chain whenever I get the chance.

This was one recent note of appreciation from a particularly tuned-in Group Account Director:

"Thank you both for all of your time and attention on the XYZ scope. We know it always takes more back-and-forth than anyone expects but please know that none of your tireless efforts are lost on us." bless her heart.

This from an Executive Creative Director, while both his feet were firmly on the ground:

"I just wanted to drop you both a note to let you know how impressed I am with XXXX. She has performed exceptionally well on a very complex project, YYYYY. She has had to coordinate and schedule 3 separate offices and has done it with aplomb. Everyone has been really impressed with her performance and friendly, yet, professional demeanor. Thanks for putting her on this project, she's been a real asset to the team."

Project Management doesn't always get the credit it deserves, but it deserves far more credit than it gets. Keep it up. Try to get some attention. You deserve it!


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    1. Tag: PM200A56. Let me share all of you about #5 Tips for Project Management Success,, I hope you enjoy it

      1. Plan your day using time management techniques

      As a project manager, time management skills are essential because you are dealing with a wide range of tasks that demand a quick turnaround time. Planning your day will go a long way in keeping you organized and increasing your productivity. Assist your task planning by using project management software which helps you track the work of you and your team.

      If you are not very tech savvy, a simple to-do list can also be a great organizational tool. Prioritize your most important tasks by putting them at the top of the list and less important ones at the bottom. Having a visual plan of your daily tasks helps to keep you on track and aware of time.

      Related post: Free ebook 104 secrets to become a great project manager

      2. Include stakeholders in important project conversations

      While you will have plenty of responsibilities regarding the project, don’t neglect your clients.

      Good communication is essential is keeping both parties informed of project progression, curtailing scope creep, and apprised of changing requirements. Some clients may have different expectations when it comes to communication, so make sure to establish the frequency and type of communication (like emails, phone calls, and face-to-face conversations) at the beginning of your project.

      Establishing communication expectations early helps alleviate stakeholder uncertainty about communication frequency and delivery.

      3. Regularly communicate with your team

      Daily team communication helps keep misunderstandings and unclear requirements under control. Keeping your team informed in every step of the project is essential to project management success.

      For example, a study published by Procedia Technology found that good communication skills were the cornerstone of project management. The study examined over 300 “construction project managers, architects, construction managers, engineers and quantity surveyors” and their successes and failures on various construction projects.

      4. Anticipate project setbacks

      Even the best-laid plans often go awry.

      Remember that even with a high amount of planning and attention to detail, your project may still encounter some challenges. Pay attention to complaints from stakeholders or colleagues, and other warning signs, like a missed deadline or cost overrun, that there may be a problem.

      Preventing a crisis will keep your project running smoothly, save you a lot of time, and keep you, your team, and your stakeholders confident in progressing with the project.

      Unfortunately not every complication can be avoided. Crisis management skills are essential for dealing with the unexpected. Project managers need to be flexible and pragmatic. Improvise and make sharp decisions when needed.

      Related post: 92 free project management templates

      5. Stay focused on the details

      A common problem project managers encounter is having the project aims not aligned with the organization’s objectives. A great project manager will strategize a plan for the project to lead back to the overall success of the business.

      Know your project’s scope by heart and avoid wandering outside of the project’s requirements. It’s too easy to get lost in minor details and forget what your focus is, so a well-planned project scope is essential for success.

      And final, you should use KPI to measure effectiveness of the project, here are full list: 76 project management KPIs

    Project Management USA

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