~ By Barry De Boer
The key to being a smart project manager is to remember how you are going to manage your project, to know what to do if it does not work, and to win and keep the support of all of the project stakeholders.
Remembering the following key points should ensure a successful project:
Manage the expectations of the customer, the users and the project board. Know your assumptions for the project and include them in your PID.
Having said all of the above, mistakes and problems will occasionally happen, despite all of your best efforts as project manager. If this is the case, the important thing to do is to rely on your project methodology:
If you are a smart project manager, you will have established:
There may be other stakeholders that you need to be aware of and work with during the course of the project. These could include senior corporate management, external suppliers, trade associations, trade unions, future recruits or government departments, depending on the organisation and the nature of the project.
If you are unsure as to who are the most important stakeholders in the project, it may be worth using a tool such as a stakeholder influence and interest matrix which cross-references the interest and influence of each person. Individual stakeholders can be placed in the grid based on your assessment of their influence on and interest in the project. An outline of this matrix is provided in my Project Skills eBook. Building these relationships, especially with the project board, project executive and customers, puts you in a position to get the rules changed in your favour.
There are a number of important steps that should be carried out in order to close a project in the right way:
Whether you are a smart project manager or just an average one, you will carry the can for problems, whatever the cause! Accept that this will happen, welcome it and even play to it. You will gain respect and support from all of your stakeholders and colleagues.
Barry De Boer is a leading project management consultant with over thirty years of industry and government experience in the UK, Europe and worldwide. Barry is a member of the Association for Project Management, and has lectured widely on project management techniques to government, military and commercial organisations, and has frequently been employed in project "rescue" roles.