Author: Sarah Chandrasekar
Hopefully everyone knows the triple constraint - Scope, Cost and Time. Given below is a short synopsis of each and tips for best practices
Scope - This is where you determine clear objectives for the work that needs to be completed. As conversations progress you might have that sixth sense for where the scope creep could happen. Good Project managers usually account for these in their cost, as this will prevent change orders which most sponsors/stakeholders are always reluctant to approve.
Cost - This is where few of the project managers inherit the estimate and sometimes fail to prepare their own cost projections. Though the sponsors and stakeholders might hint that you need to come up with smaller numbers, you need to stand firm on the realistic numbers developed by yourself. Coming up with reasonable cost projections that might be higher than expected is always better than running the project over-budget (which is usually not easily forgiven)
We seem to have a good number of project managers, but unfortunately only few leave a legacy behind. Here are some of the key characteristics of Successful Project Managers
Exceptional People Skills - This is not to be confused with social skills, though related, its a skill where they meet targets through people. They motivate and integrate different expertise, personalities into one project team. Most often on projects, pockets of professionals tend to focus on their specific scope of work and unintentionally fail to understand how their work impacts the schedule/cost.
So how does one going about successfully integrating a team? They spend ample time with every one of the team members and try to understand their work habits eg: detail oriented vs big picture inclination, etc. They then examine the tasks at hand (external to the personnel's domain of technical knowledge / scope of work) and look of opportunities to leverage their strengths. They help them realize the important role they play in the success of the project as opposed to being focused on their small area of expertise. It also gets team members to take ownership of their role in the project.
It takes all hands on deck to make Projects successful. A good Project Manager makes the team feel comfortable letting him/her aware of potential road blocks ahead of time. It has been noticed that when a team enjoys working for the manager, they take the initiative to work alongside the Project Manager to cover setbacks on the project.
Unfortunately, while the above sounds simple and easy, this is where most Project Managers get stuck. Sometimes, it's because they think they are running a military squad and feel people should jump when they tell them to. Unfortunately that kind of mindset is not tolerated among the "Y-generation". This upcoming workforce wants to use their intelligence and hard work to make an impact on the bottom line
Meeting Milestones - Good Project managers usually set conservative time schedule. Thus, when last minute surprises happen there is still enough contingency to meet the promised deadline. They are also the ones that exhaust every venue possible to get the job done. They get a little extra worried when smaller seemingly unimportant deadlines are not met. This is because they can forecast the ripple effect of the small failure on to the big picture.
Forecasting potential issues- This very simply means when the price for copper goes up, or contractor does not deliver the goods on time, a good Project Manager has accounted for this back when he prepared the estimate and schedule. Frankly most often the Project Manager is not surprised. But if you are new to Project Management and this happens to you, It's still preferable you do not pass the buck, simply acknowledge your oversight/mistake to upper management. Management is more forgiving when one takes responsibility as opposed to someone who is pointing fingers.
For the most part if you can get the areas raised above perfected, your chances of executing the project as per expectations will be higher
About the Author
She enjoys working on projects and delivering exceptional results.The qualities that make her stand out from the norm are the ones that enable her to motivate and tie in a diverse project team to deliver results on time and under budget. When project work is awarded, external contractors are usually excited and look forward to working under her leadership.