As Summer winds into Fall, Labor Day is coming up in the U.S. This is a day that celebrates the social and economic achievements of people who work, who get things done and make things happen. At Vertabase, we believe strongly in the unique contribution each person brings to a project. Vertabase software is there to help project teams and project managers do their best work.
The articles below highlight those themes, discussing the differences between planning and actually doing the work, the value a project manager brings to a project and a tip on how to manage expectations by managing issues on a project.
Wishing everyone a happy Labor Day.
Here’s to good projects,
Planning is Easy -Doing the Work is Hard
There are 20 management processes when planning a project and only 8 for doing the work (PMBOK Guide, 4th edition). Yet, an overwhelming percentage of total resources and dollars are spent in doing the work.
That tells you how well defined planning can be and how messy it can get to do the work.
But everything important that happens for the customer, the whole reason for the project, is the work itself. Get that right, and the project is a success.
The Project Manager’s Illusion
A corollary to “Planning is Easy.”
The difference between planning and executing a project is that the former can be done by one person.
The latter, doing the work, is done by a team. Each team member is an expert at their job and may not see the need for anybody else’s input on their work.
That’s why communication is important. If you want your planning to have value, a project manager needs to be a good communicator.
Without communication skills, planning is an illusion.
There is No Such Things as Autopilot
Projects don’t run themselves. Leadership takes active engagement with your team and stakeholders.
Anything else is usually rationalization or procrastination until you figure out a way to lead (or how to get off the project).
Don’t Let Customers Define Scope
Scope is a function of meeting requirements.
A project manager’s job is to gather the requirements and develop a solution whose scope meets all the requirements. Often, this is an iterative process.
It’s a mistake to have the customer define the scope of the project (or to believe that once defined, they are set in stone; further clarification/iteration is always needed -it’s a function of the imperfect nature of communication).
As a project manager, you should be the expert in bridging business needs with a solution developed by a team of subject matter experts. Anything less and you reduce your value to the customer.
Manage Expectations by Managing Issues
Manage expectations better by entering issues into an issue log (like the one in Vertabase project management software).
This will keep them from falling through the cracks.
You’ll be reminded of open issues by due date and be able to find issues by client before your next call with them.
Clients will feel better knowing that you are on top of issues affecting their projects -particularly issues that they may have brought up. You’ll know about them and be able to set expectations based on the latest status.
Even if the issues were mentioned verbally, in a meeting or in the hall, enter them into a centralized issue log. Though an issue can lay low, remaining unmentioned for weeks, it can come up and bite you sooner or later.