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Project management – time to keep it simple

Project management: it is not rocket science.

Something that I have noticed over the past 12 to 18 months is how uncomplicated projects are being made complicated by people.

It appears that somewhere along the road called ‘learning and developing’, the basics have either been forgotten or become ‘old hat’. It is time to go back to basics and and doing the basics well. Projects are simply a journey from one position to another and will often, at the core, have a simple process within that journey, for example:

  • Why are we doing this?
  • What are we delivering or changing?
  • When are we going to deliver it?
  • How are we going to deliver it?
  • How well are we delivering?
  • What did we learn on the journey?

How does this simple journey align against standard project management techniques?

  • Business Case – Why are we doing this?
  • Project Initiation Document – What are we delivering or changing?
  • Requirements Management – What are we delivering or changing?
  • Plan, Risks, Issues, Budget, Resources – When and how are we going to deliver it?
  • Reporting, Control and Communication – How well are we delivering?
  • Lessons Learnt – What did we learn on the journey?

If these basics are done well then relationships with the sponsor, stakeholders and overall project team will be positive. Even when problems and challenges arise, taking the simple approach is always going to be the best option, for example:

  • What is the problem?
  • What caused the problem?
  • What is the impact?
  • How do we resolve it?
  • How do we avoid this happening again?

What more would a sponsor want to review in order to make the right decision in the face of an issue or problem?

Going back to basics, doing them well and keeping it simple will help sponsors and organisations get what they want…a project that delivers

As a cricketer, I remember having to go back to basics after a bad season with the bat, in which I was out bowled in over 75% of my innings. Some of the basics that I went back to were simple targets such as not giving your wicket away, keeping your eye on the ball, keeping your head still, moving your feet well and staying well balanced. The output was that the next season I wasn’t out bowled in a single innings.

If you are a project manager, remember to do the basics well and keep it simple.

If you are a sponsor or stakeholder, make sure your project manager is keeping it simple.

As a project sponsor, if you are confused the project manager probably is as well but they just don’t want to admit it

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