The Decline of Project Management

I have often wondered if it was just me or has the quality of project management declined considerable?

Just recently on a business  trip, I was  talking to two other people over dinner. During the conversation, I learned that one individual was a project manager for a very large engineering firm and the other individual was the president of a social media company that hired full and part time project managers.   You guessed it, when I asked them their opinion about project management the flood gates opened up.   Yes, good project managers are very hard to find!

We all agreed that the basics attributes alone were very often missing, let alone the more “advanced attributes.” Given this confirmation, I decided to list  the fundamentals of project management and why they are so important.  While these may seem obvious, it is amazing how many project managers do not do any of these basic tasks correctly.

First, Agendas for meetings

With no agenda a number of things happen. One, you are insulting members of the team who wonder, “why are we having a meeting?” and “my time is not of any value”.  Second, how can anyone be prepared or review what is to be discussed, thus wasted time, confusion, repeat discussions that probably some members thought tasks had  either been resolved or even completed.   This all leads to a waste of time, lack of communication and from the client’s point of view, major incompetency and waste of money (no value added here).  Remember, agendas should be distributed before any meeting.

Second, Defined tasks

I cannot think of any project/program that does not have tasks to be performed.  Given this, tasks need to be defined, have some sort of schedule and a priority given to the tasks.  Without this process, how can anyone know what is going on, if there is any progress, and do those tasks that lead to/support  the overall goal or objective?

Third, Assigned members to the tasks (accountability)

With no one assigned to tasks, no one is held responsible to doing a task(s), thus tasks either get delayed or worst do not even get done.  With no one  being held accountable, this leads to complete inefficiencies. Members get frustrated/ disillusioned/ morale declines and worst of all the client suffers.

Fourth,  Status updates

It is not good enough to have tasks assigned, there have to be regular updates as to the progress of each tasks.  The reasons for this are: some indication of where we are towards completion, the ability to flag potential issues and thus deal with them and obvious as it seems, know when tasks are actually completed.

In summary, as I stated, these are the very fundamentals of project management and as straight forward as they may seem, it is amazing how many projects lack some, if not all of these attributes.

Many sport coaches when asked why they have a winning record, state that their players execute the basics to perfection and that is why they win.  So take a page out of the sports play book and manage the project’s basics to perfection and meet the goal or objectives with professionalism.

RHL 5/12/2015

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