Project management is a profession
- Posted by Tom Wijmans
- On 7 May 2020
Knocking on an open door?
Yes of course… but not for everybody it seems. During my career, I have seen many project managers who simply busied themselves with spreadsheets. They appeared to have little understanding of what they were actually doing and even less of an understanding of what they wanted to achieve.
Although many project management methodologies exist, none will work if the project manager is unable to identify with the team, the environment, the goals and the methodology within the organisation that he wishes or has to change. And let us not forget that project management is simply a way of facilitating change processes within organisations.
The best project managers I have worked with are those who are able to combine clear communication, with a focus on the goals and respect for the process.
Over the past 12 years, I have worked as a project or programme manager in many different environments. The majority of those projects, if not all, came to a successful end, with no major time and cost overruns, nor reductions in scope.
How to ensure success in so many different environments
I like the idea of Judo. I have never participated in any form of Judo, but I think I understand the concept. In Judo you learn to use the power of your opponent to become successful. I see ‘the organisation’ as a very powerful system and usually the system (i.e. the culture) doesn’t want to change. If you think about business process implementations, IT implementations, culture programmes, the list could go on, on the whole people are resistant to change. Instead of fighting this natural response to change, you have to earn trust. Identify the informal leaders, gain their trust and use their power to change the organisation. From the inside out.
This will require the investment of anyone involved, lots of communication, including listening and some patience, but you can achieve success by using the power of the organisation.
This is more important than Agile, RUP, SCRUM, Waterfall, Prince2, etc. None of these methodologies will work without the knowledge of how people work, communicate, think and follow.
If a service provider wants to serve different customers, it will have to adopt the working methods of the organisation it has been asked to support. BlueMonks is able to work in line with many different methodologies, but we have also developed our own methodology. Our way of working has been well-received by past project team members and does not use standard project management or workflow tools. We are accustomed to working in banking environments, where it is not always possible to implement something new, just because that is our personal preference.
We have created a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). This is an Excel-based tool which breaks down the main tasks into sub-tasks, with individual tracking and quick management reporting. This WBS is created in consultation with the client. It is flexible, allowing additional scope to be added over the course of a project. It allows status tracking and provides an immediate view of progress made to date in the project.
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