Spending time socializing with “managers” (the ones spending their time “teaching” others) you often hear artistic expressions like: “project management is not a profession, is an art”, “you’re born manager…” and “project management is witchcraft…”. All is good, as long as your audience is packed with naive software team leaders (a.k.a: the geeks) eager to pledge theirselves to the teachings of the dark force.
But be honest. PM is not art, you’re not born with a divine gift sent from the heavens and certainly you’re not a wizard. When asked, what is project management I often reply: “PM is the organization and execution of tasks and/or groups of tasks in while eliminating the underlined risk in order to achieve a predefined goal that is defined by time, cost and quality”. Who is the best project manager? That’s easy: A single mom of two kids! Want to be a good project manager? Observe the lady!
So first thinks first, in the PM class you start by comprehending the following elementary project terms:
You should have a purpose. Purpose sets clear goals and gets your team motivated.
You have to set clear goals. Goals are the tools helping you to design the roadmap to your project’s objectives. Remember that goals should be S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based)
Only a small group of people in strict hierarchy should have the right to take decisions
You should identify your project's resources. These may include people, budget, equipment, infrastructure etc. Resources are not limitless and thus they define the project’s boundaries in terms of what can be accomplished
Capabilities – Capacities
You should carefully select your project’s human resources based on their competencies, experiences and capacity. Always bear in mind that a human resource can be ideal for project A but not for project B. Thus, the evaluation of human resources and collaboration should be project –wise.
Group tasks into work packages and assign a responsible person (team leader) to each one of those while keeping track of their productivity. She or he should have the freedom to organize the work and assign it to team members, while always a project management app can help. She or he alone should be accountable if things go sideways.
Try to answer the following questions:
- What are the risks?
- What if the risks happen?
- How can risks be identified with live project tracking, analyzed and documented?
- How can the possibility of risk be reduced?
- What project management tools can support us in managing risk and monitor it throughout the project?
That is the longest pathway to achieving the project results. This is the alpha and the omega of any project planning and can be easily identified with a gantt chart.
At any given time you (the project manager) should always be aware of what has been achieved and what not based on the initial planning. A good solid way to obtain this information is through Kanban boards and Business Intelligence tools.
Androklis Mavridis is an expert in Project Management, Software Quality Assurance, Real Options and decision making in S/W investments