Managing projects in today’s rapidly changing business environment has proven to be more challenging than most project managers would like to admit. This is evidenced by the alarming number of projects that fail to complete within budget, on time, with the right scope, with the appropriate level of quality, and a highly satisfied customer. These are the success attributes of a project.
There are some project managers that declare victory if they met any one of the success attributes. I define success as meeting all success attributes. The reality is that neither definition is truly correct. A truly successful project appropriately manages key stakeholder expectations and results in a highly satisfied customer. I have been on projects where we met all success attributes and the customer declared the project a failure and refused to use the product. I have also been on projects where we missed all success attributes and the customer considered the project a roaring success. Never underestimate the power of your key stakeholders.
Although some may argue that project management is more of an art than a science, the truth of the matter is that it is both. The planning, estimating, scheduling, metrics, measurement and control are absolutely necessary for project success. In addition, the soft skills such as communicating, building relationships, managing the political environment, nurturing, coaching and mentoring are equally important. A successful project has a good dose of both art and science.
Most projects have a degree of complexity that requires focused management in order to keep the project moving toward its desired goal in an expeditious manner. The degree of complexity varies from project to project, but is significant enough to hold the fate of your project in its hand. Managing through this complexity is usually the primary determinant of whether the project will be a success or a failure. In short – the reason for this book.
The objective of this book is to share best practices enabling project and program managers to make better decisions and be more successful. This book contains the most critical aspects of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing out a project. The chapters are laid out in a logical sequence and the information is structured in a way that it can be followed like a cookbook recipe. Each chapter includes the following sections: Overview, Why is this important, Who is involved, When should someone use this process, Initial set-up, Execution, Summary & Conclusion, Appendix and Bibliography. This book provides an extensive electronic appendix (companion website) at www.pmcompaniontools.com containing tools, processes, and templates that may be used immediately to complete any size project or program.
This book was written for experienced project management professionals and executives who find themselves in front of a difficult project and want to be successful. As much as I would like to, I cannot guarantee that following these processes will ensure that your project will complete on time, within budget and fully satisfy the requirements of your stakeholders. After all, if it was that easy, they would not have asked for you to do it. My experience tells me, however, that your chances of success will improve considerably if you adopt these best practices for your project or program. Best of luck with your next big project and enjoy the reading.