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52 Tips in Project Management – New to Projects? People or Process?

52 Tips to Break Into Project Management is a great idea by a dear friend and blogger, Geoff Crane @papercutpm – Geoff came up with the idea to ask 52 project people from around the world for their input into writing an ebook for his students. The ebook would collate the tips for his students to ‘break into Project Management’.

Geoff’s website has the book with all the tips from PM experts around the world

Below is the chapter from PMO Planet

Page 37 – It Ain’t Rocket Science

‘I went into Project Management because I was sick and tired of having a job, which was the same day in, and day out!’ –  It was Project Management that took me back to University, where I studied my degree in Project Management (Leeds Met Uni Rocks!).

So, after 3 years of studying vast amounts of project books, methods, approaches etc etc, I came out full of knowledge, and ready to manage projects – or so I thought!

Post University – the Wilderness years – compared to most people, I was the most technically trained Project Manager out there, and trying to apply all the knowledge I had to every project….just ‘p*ssed people off’.

After years of ‘annoying’ people, I came through to the other side and realized, that although the technical skills are important, the people skills are more important.

Projects are about people.

If it weren’t for the ‘customer*’ – there wouldn’t be a project.

(*and by customer I mean sponsor and people who want to use the cool stuff the project will deliver).

 People are needed to deliver the outputs for the project; how can you help make life easier for the people involved with projects?

I usually coach Project Managers to start with the fact that Projects are there to reduce risk; they are there to increase the certainty of delivering something for their customer.

Risk isn’t exciting, but getting answers to questions like ‘what could go wrong?’, ‘what is the probability of getting it delivered on time?’, or ‘what might stop us delivering for the customer?’, suddenly makes project life a lot more interesting, and also helps to form a plan.

The plan is the most important communication tool a Project Manager can use, and this helps reduce uncertainty; it reduces risks, increasing the likelihood of success.

A plan is not just a list of milestones and tasks; instead it tells everyone involved:

Why are we doing the project?

What are we going to deliver?

How are we going to deliver it?

Who is responsible for delivering tasks and stuff?

When will the stuff be delivered?

Capture all of this, get it written down, then define and agree the Time, Cost and Quality and you should be off to a great start.

After all – it’s not rocket science 😉


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