In Project Management, we often talk about driving successful delivery by “getting the basics right”. Sure, that makes sense. Athletes, creatives, speakers – they all spend hours developing their core, basic skills – over and over. Here’s where it gets tricky.
To apply this approach in Project Management, we need to define what “the basics” are. Problem is, ask 100 PMs and get 100 different answers. So, what can we use as a set of accepted basics that PMs can focus on developing?
In today’s chat, we discussed 7 perspectives on Project Management “basics”, as outlined in the Office of Government Commerce’s PPM Maturity Model. These give us a good starting point to define the basic, foundational mastery areas for successful PM delivery.
Each of today’s questions focussed on an OGC Maturity Model perspective and asked us to consider what we should focus on to get it right. There were no right or wrong answers – just a bunch of “basics” that we can take away and add to our own practice.
As usual, I’ve added my replies in italics – please feel free to join the conversation and add your thoughts at any time!
A1. My focuses are on
- Making sure that the right Sponsor is in place
- Getting a Project Board up and running quickly
- Agreeing on governance roles, responsibilities and mandates
- Making sure all impacted user groups have a voice
I want to make sure we have the right people involved, that they have ownership and a mandate, and that we have a clear, undisputed, accountable Sponsor
Q2. Management Control – What do we need to do to get the right management controls and support in place? What do the “right management controls” mean to your project environment? What works and what doesn’t, in your experience?
A2. I want to get the right PMIS in place from the begining so that I can produce the right management reporting and information – quickly, efficiently and in a targeted manner.
To make the right decisions, get the right information, as quickly and simply as possible
Q3. Benefits Management – Why should we spend time getting Benefits Management right? Don’t we just guild the Project and move on? Should we care about putting the right benefits management framework in place?
A3. Benefits are the foundation of the Business Case. They matter because they have a financial impact on the client. Successful projects must deliver value for money, the target value is reflected in the Business Case – ignore it at your peril
Q4. Financial Management – We all know that Project costs are critical. So what are your top tips, lessons or words of wisdom about what the “right” Financial Management framework looks? What are the things that matter most?
A4. Know your WBS costs & baseline => know how much your people cost, and how this rolls into their deliverables. A high-level budget is not enough to track against – you need to have a clear understanding of your costs down to a WBS activity level
A5. My Day 1 activity is to meet my key stakeholders and understand
- Their priorities
- Their Pain Points
- How I can improve the way they run their business
These help me ensure that my project and communication focus in on the areas that matter most to them
Q6. Risk Management – How do you approach project risk management? Are you proactive or reactive? What is your objective when planning your risk management? What do you hope to achieve with your risk responses?
A6. To me, Risk Management is an active, positive opportunity – a chance to get on the front foot and prepare in advance. Don’t wait until it’s too late and don’t guess. Start early and gather your information so you can make considered robust decisions. I am a big believer in using Risk Management to raise the profile of things that matter – to call out potential problems early, do the groundwork and use my Project Sponsor/Board to influence the discussion or decisions that I need.
Q7. Resource Management – How do you influence resource planning and management in your project environment? Do you have any say in what skills you need and who joins your team? How do you plan and track resource requirements, cost and delivery?
A7. Tricky. As a freelancer, I never have any say in who joins my team. What I do though, is clearly state my Project Resource Profile – what skills are needed across the lifecycle, how much they will cost & what they will produce (detailed activity-based costing). It also helps to tie the resource requirements back to cost/schedule/quality impacts => “I need skillset ABC so that I can deliver this product on time and on budget”
As always, you are welcome to join the chat – look for the #PMChat hashtag on Twitter. Remember our new time – Tuesday 1500 PT, 1800 ET, 2300 GMT / Wednesday 0100 SAST, 0800 AEST, 1000 NZST.