Tips for successful project management from our professional services team
There are about 40 years of project management experience between the Vizibl Professional Services team, and numerous qualifications and accreditations. We all have our favourite parts of project management and parts we find the most challenging.
The part that we all find most important to support our customers in, we’re all aligned on.
Whether you’re a Prince2, PMI, AgilePM or common sense evangelist, the goal of a project is to deliver something. The value of that something to your business is why you embark on your project’s journey and why you continue with the project; it is quite literally the Prize you need to keep your Eyes on.
Different project management approaches will articulate it in different ways, but the end goal of any project is to contribute a benefit to the strategic goals of an organisation. The strength of good project management is the ability to express the goal or business benefits clearly, and to break down that goal in SMART, deliverable goals.
Therefore, it is important to articulate clearly what the project outcomes or deliverables will be, the raison d’etre and the reason why people will actually put energy into the project.
Another important element regarding the deliverables is to articulate accountability. A project won’t be a success if the project team isn’t committed to deliver on its goals.
Our Product team did a great job digitising these elements in such a way that makes a PM’s life easier.
1. Define the project’s outcomes:
Outcomes, deliverables, project products, there are many words for your project result. Whether it is a piece of software, a go-no go decision, a certification or the implementation of change management, you want the outcome to be articulated clearly, and obviously, to make it SMART.
This doesn’t mean that a project’s outcomes have to be static: the fantastic beasts that are projects, especially agile ones, make a continued business justification necessary, and the meaning of continued business justification is simple: will this project still deliver value, even if some of the outcomes – or the goal posts – shift a little?
It may also be the case that not all outcomes are defined at the start of a project. It makes the actual project management work more challenging, but a good project manager is used to managing these dependencies.
2. Determine accountability:
The ‘what are we doing’ is covered in the outcome. At least as important is who will be responsible for delivering the outcome.
By assigning an explicit outcome owner, and making the commitment explicit, the Vizibl platform actually supports the achievement of accountability, which is often one of the most challenging balancing acts a Project Manager needs to carry out. Testament to this are the many tools, such as RASCI matrices and escalation and change control processes used in projects.
Having clearly defined outcome owners not only helps accountability, but allows a project manager to keep track of resource allocation as well.
3. Plan, follow up & focus:
We seem to repeat ourselves here at Vizibl Professional Services, but planning is at least half the success of a project, and by defining the outcomes of your project in a SMART way, you actually know exactly what to plan for.
Planning, as we already said in part 1 of our blog series, is getting to the how and the when, after you’ve fine-tuned the what and the who, by defining deliverables and the person accountable for them. Successful project management is keeping momentum going by following up on the progress and by keeping focused on the deliverables and the benefits.
Article authored by Zeyneb Ibnou Cheikh. Video by William Poucher. Published October 2020.