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Project management tips


IMAGENAMEProject management is the discipline of planning, organising, and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of project goals and objectives. The primary challenge has always been to deliver the required output within the specified constraints of time, cost and quality. With improvements in training and access to technology, project managers have never been better equipped to succeed. So why do so many projects continue fail to deliver or meet expectations? These tips, from Andy West, will help you or your project managers keep on track.

  1. Brief your sponsor/project board
    If you can agree on how you work together to deliver the project then you get support and commitment. Find out what decisions you can make, when they want to be involved and how much authority you need.
  2. Manage expectations
    Be realistic - is it really possible to deliver by the date specified? Is it technically possible and is it financially possible?
  3. Build a community of project managers
    You may not have done this sort of project before, but someone will have. Share experience, information and give support. Develop the network you need.
  4. Develop and agree standards and processes
    If the processes you follow – for example for risk management or configuration management - are organisationally agreed then all managers should be aware of these before they become your sponsor.
  5. Simplify the communications
    Face-to-face is always the most effective form of communication, but do confirm the key details needed. What do they need to know, and how should this be presented? Don't drown your sponsor in details. Provide sufficient information to allow understanding and control.
  6. Use audits as coaching opportunities
    If the auditor finds something they are not happy with, and they don't provide a suggestion on how to improve, ask for one.
  7. Don't value documentation by its weight
    The purpose of all documentation is to communicate so that you can obtain a decision, an approval or support. If the intended audience doesn’t read your documentation then it has failed. Keep it short and readable.
  8. Always define the outcome in the user's language
    You want approval of the final deliverable so that you can finish your project. Ensure the users have clearly and measurably defined their requirements. Use their measures to show completion.
  9. Use technology appropriately
    Technology can make the management task a lot easier, automating some of the day-to-day processes. However, don't be a slave to the machine, if it's not helping don’t use it.
  10. Andy West, Senior Training Consultant at ILX Group plc, has 10 years-worth of experience in the development and delivery of best practice project management training for project managers, sponsors and support staff. West has worked across a range of market sectors and organisations


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