A guide to a holistic approach to Project Management


Is project management just a fancy word for getting a job done? A project could be anything from complex to simple.

The complex ones are complicated. There are a lot of components to be integrated that require sound technical skills, there are plans, assumptions and risks. There are people to be managed. The deliverables could be single or multiple. Other drivers such as time frames and schedule, resources, budgets and the overall scope of the project need to be dealt with. As for the simple projects, they could be from arranging the office move, organizing a workshop, painting your house or planning your wedding. It’s all about tasks, tasks and more tasks fitting into each other in sequence to produce the desired outcome. Projects could be stressful affairs, but not if a holistic approach is taken right at the start using a few tested guidelines and borrowing the rest from technology.

Suppose you won a project, that itself is an achievement in a dog- eat- dog world and it would signify your already established strength. Nevertheless, times change, practices change, technology evolves constantly and there is absolutely no room for complacency. Thankfully, basics don’t change. Core components generally remain the same, for example, the project rationale and the time frame, the estimated resources and the quality of the deliverables. A market research would be done, the clients business, corresponding businesses, the competitive environment and international trends would be studied. The client would be presented with a business case that covers the key elements that justify the investment. Funding would be agreed upon, agreements signed.

The project is ready for its first foothold. The challenge begins with developing the project and establishing lines of project management.

Controlling the project – defining of project activities calls for fine-tuning the minor details as well in relation to how they would fit to larger tasks as well as timing how long each task would take in relation to mini deadline built along the project route. What happens when the inevitable setback occur? These mini deadlines illustrate the current progress against the big picture and allow tweaks in the project direction without significantly impacting the quality, costing or the deadline thus maintaining a balanced control of the whole project.

Controlling the team could be tricky. This is all about managing and motivating people towards one goal that has a myriad components set in different locations. This is the point where communication lines should be strong and clearly demarcated between the project delivery teams and the stakeholders. This is the execution point and is easily conquered. Read further….

How would one do it? The only successful approach to managing and controlling a project is a tailored process that sets out the ground rules for those who manage the project, the functional managers and the operational staff under one transparent, established system that follows the same approaches and is based on the same metrics that measure the performance of the project in progress uniformly. In a nutshell, the system would reduce the level of unnecessary and confusing features, information, structure and other elements that detract from the primary information that adds true value to the project and its stakeholders. The system would work as a partnership with the project team and the client where client investment is protected and its fullest value extracted. Furthermore, such a system is one that the clients themselves could use for future projects as its base structure is geared for successful outcomes over and over again.

Controlling the project budgets requires that the initial analysis is absolutely sound which calls for good business research and a corresponding data analysis. The data from the client should be relevant, applicable and appropriate to ensure it is not misleading and leaves no room for ambiguity. With good pre-planning taking all areas into account, and the use of appropriate project management packages, the project budget would fit with the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the initial stages of discussion with the client during which all questions would have been addressed and answered. Your client gets what they wanted in fullest measure.

Created : January 25th, 2016


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