Project Management – Not Just for Builders and Engineers

A beginners introduction to project management, whatever your industry or sector.

There was a time when project management was a technique, used almost uniquely for the engineering world.  However in recent years more and more organisations have recognised the value of project management in their operation regardless of their industry/sector/specialism, and increasingly they are adopting a Project Management Way of Working, or as we call it PMWoW.
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There are realistically 3 main types of project, described below.  To many organisations all three have their place, and to others maybe just one or two.

Type One – New Product Development Projects

Traditionally project management techniques were applied to the first type of project – new products.  Those “products” might have been as diverse as bridges, buildings, new computer systems or cars.

Type Two – Customer / Service Delivery Projects

This was followed by the general realisation that the techniques and discipline could be expanded to the second type of project which we describe as “customer projects”.  Again, initially rooted in the engineering world, this sees the scope expanded beyond development to manufacturing, test, site deployment, acceptance, and broader service provision.

Type Three – Organisational Change

As the project management techniques and systems matured, they became increasingly used in the controlled delivery of organisational and strategic change.

Industry Shifts

The general project types are largely unchanged in the 21st century, but we have seen 3 major industry shifts in the last few decades:

1) Methodologies & Frameworks

As project management usage grew, so did the available methods.  From the original “waterfall” methods we have seen the steady addition of options including:
as well as a whole host of niche and bespoke methods.  Some of these methods are generally applicable, whereas others are only suitable in certain applications.
Some care should be taken when considering the latest “new” way of managing projects.  As with the world of diets, various fads come and go as people look for that easy fix.  However it is worth remembering that the core project management techniques are flexible, and if applied consistently can produce excellent success rates.

2) Technology

There has been a huge proliferation of project management tools with varying degrees of complexity and suitability for certain project environments.  I am aware of well over 250 software tools which can be broadly categorised as:
  • Productivity Tools which typically focus on individual or group task management,
  • Project Collaboration Tools which typically add messaging, file sharing, project calendars and maybe some bells and whistles,
  • All-in-one Tools (often referred to as P3), which add layers of complexity typically including planning, resourcing, RAID management and even portfolio/program dimensions, and finally
  • Specialist Tools which deal with specific needs such as risk management, mind-mapping, and so on.

3) Broader Industry Adoption

In the last few years, project management has become increasingly adopted across most industries and sectors.  Typically, this has initially filtered from new product development and strategic / change projects into service delivery with noticeable recent adoption in the worlds of service, marketing, human resources, digital marketing and legal to name but a few.

Where Do Budding Project Managers Go For Advice?

There are lots of resources around, but as in many walks of life you need to know where to look.  Some great starting points include:
At ProjExc we recognised that finding good, honest, independent advice, especially those entering project management, can be quite challenging.  We noticed though that everyone seems to be selling their training courses, their qualifications, their books, their tools.  We have structured our advice and services into 2 distinct but closely linked independent offerings, both of which are applicable regardless of your industry or sector:
PM Advisor – advice and resources for individual project managers, and
ProjExc – guidance, advice and support for organisations wanting to set-up or improve their project management capability.
About the Author:
John Williams is a project management professional with 25 years experience across most industries and most types of project, portfolio and programs.  He is founder of ProjExc and PM Advisor, an active author, presenter, and consultant on the subject of project management, as well as an occasional interim project manager.  John is a proud member of the APM and also serves in their volunteer community.  If you would like John to present his talk “Why Projects Fail and What YOU Can Do About It” to your team or group either in person or as an online seminar get in touch.

Project Management News Digest from PM Advisor

News Digest

Here are some more news articles which have caught the PM Advisor team over the last week or two.  If we’re missing something in these popular posts which you would find useful leave a comment or get in touch – we’re always looking for ways to make PM Advisor more helpful for you the project manager.
 
PM Competence

Quarterly Recruitment Trends Report

Wellingtone have released their quarterly report, providing a snapshot of current recruitment trends in the UK PM market.

16 Project Management Terms You Should Know

Aimed at PMs in SMBs, the highlighted terms are: Purpose, Goals, Capabilities, Resources, Decisions, Debate, Exploration, Transparency, Accountability, Target Date, Priorities, Red Flags and Critical Path.  What do you think might be missing?
PM Tools
projectplace-logo

Agile Gantt from ProjectPlace

This new “tool” combines the functionality of Gantt charts and Kanban boards.  It is available to all ProjectPlace users, and as an add-on to ToDo.

Clarizen raised $35m

The project management/collaboration tools space continues to see significant investments.

Clarizen Poisitioned in the Visionaries Quadrant

Clarizen have announced that they have been positioned by Gartner into their report which presents a global view of Gartner’s opinion of software vendors that should be considered by organizations seeking to use IT project and portfolio management solutions.

How to make a simple Switch to a PM Application

GetApp offer 4 great tips for choosing the right tool:
  1. Project Management is still project management,
  2. Cloud based project management offers new possibilities,
  3. Avoid the common mistakes, and
  4. Compare several apps before buying.
Beware though the assertion that they have a complete list of current PM Apps – we have a few more on our database!  Take a look at the PM Tools Section here on PM Advisor.

What is the Best Free Online PM Software

Dmitry Davydov lists:
  • Bitrix24
  • Freedcamp
  • Asana,
  • Trello, and
  • GanttProject.
Productive
PM Methods

A Temporal Approach to Project Issue Management

Guy Wilmington develops project issue management and interestingly applies some time management techniques.
PMO

How to Create High-Performing Project Management Teams

This article looks at what high-performing (IT) project teams have in common and why some teams consistently deliver innovative products successfully.

Conflict Resolution

Lynda Bourne considers that Most points of difference can be resolved through negotiation, discussion or input from a third party. But other times, circumstances quickly descend into acrimony…

Lean, Mean PMO Machine

Mario Trentim looks at how to keep the PMO focused, effective and providing value.
This subject is also explored in

Does the PMO Create Value or Overhead?

 
 
Other News

Major Projects Authority report shows PM Improvements

The UK government has published the Major Projects Authority (MPA’s) second annual report into the performance of 199 major projects with a forecast lifetime cost of £488 billion.

You Can’t Delegate Change Management

We’re not big fans of “can’t” in any context, but this interesting article exemplifies how you really shouldn’t try to abdicate responsibility for change as it just won’t work.

Project Management for Agencies – Putting your People First

Laura Miller brings some ‘top tips’ for using people management to get project success:
  • Get interested in psychology,
  • Be self-aware,
  • You are not the expert – your teams are,
  • Manage conflict with consensus building,
  • Develop listening skills,
  • The answers are often in the grey bits,
  • Be clear with your expectations,
  • Say ‘thanks’, and
  • Leave it in the office.

20 PM Guru’s to Follow on Twitter

Don’t forget if you’re looking for something in particular the “search this website” bar on the top right hand side of every page will help save you time and effort, and if you want to say something to us, send us a tweet @ProjExc

Project Management News Digest

Again we offer another popular roundup of the latest news and interesting articles from the world of project management.

News Digest

4 Key Skills of a Project Manager

ProjectManager
Rajiv Mathur has an interesting view on the 4 key skills of a PM:

  1. Discipline
  2. Planning
  3. Risk Analysis
  4. Control – quality, risk, schedule

We see a few core competences missing, but were particularly surprised to see communication missing.

Stepsie: Project Management in Digestible Chunks

TheNextWeb

Stepsie

Stepsie wants to help you manage projects by breaking them down into digestible chunks, writes Paul Sawers.

Stepsie is a new basic collaboration tool which breaks a project down into steps, each of which then have their own discussions, files and tasks. A big bonus for many businesses is the ability to add appropriate privacy to certain steps.

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A Time of Change for Project Management

ESI

Peter Taylor interviews J. LeRoy Ward, and discussed the pressures to do project management better, including:

  • Progression,
  • Drive to adopt lean/agile methods,
  • Value of self-organising teams,
  • Pervasion of collaboration tools, and
  • Rising importance of project management.

He concludes that “times are changing, and will bring about a new generation of project capability and competence”.

Project Management Benchmark Report 2014

Arras People have launched their ninth Project Management Benchmark Report, with the usual valuable insight. At a high level it reminds us that as a profession we have more to do to provide project managers of the future a career path, that project professionals are getting older and see increases in remuneration in the coming year. Download the report for more information.

The Matrix, Project Management Edition

Young Upstarts

Russell Harley provides a useful insight into some of the pitfalls of using matrix managed resources in projects.

10 Best Free Project Management Tools

SaveDelete

On a tight budget, but need a PM Tool – take a look through this post with some suggestions:

  1. OpenProj
  2. GanttProject
  3. DotProject
  4. TaskJuggler
  5. PHProjekt
  6. ConsultComm
  7. ProjectPier
  8. OpenGoo
  9. Collabtive
  10. Redmine
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Why Project Management Software Is A Lot Like Joining A Health Club

WorkZone

Rick Mosenkis provides a thought provoking insight in choosing and using PM Software.

How To Tackle The Project Management Assault Course

BusinessBecause
Jenny Beswick provides an interesting view that project management is like an assault course. She suggests that to reach the finish line in record time you will need to

  • Know the route,
  • Surmount the communication hurdle,
  • Beat the clock, and
  • Expect the unexpected.
  • Overall quite sound advice – can you stay the course?
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Frame Your Next Project for Success

Medium

Gary Coover posted a very interesting article, with a 6 question cheat sheet based on “ODARPT”:

  • Objectives
  • Deliverables
  • Audience/Stakeholders
  • Resources
  • Prior Work
  • Timeline

If you have any project management news you’d like us to share with the growing PM Advisor Community, drop a line to us so that we can consider it for the next update.