Projects are set in a highly complex and challenging environment. Effective projects require the best of technical and people skills from project managers, a supportive organisational structure, teams which can perform with a minimum of conflict, consideration of project risks and clearly defined criteria of success. These key factors as discussed in this series offer an insight into the many challenges that must be overcome and managed by today's project managers. If it is accepted that in project management, “no project ever goes 100% according to plan” (Randolph & Posner, 1994, as cited in Clarke, 1999, p. 141) this can be considered and appropriate steps can be taken when beginning new projects.read full post
Viewing entries tagged with 'project management'
The last key factor to be discussed in this series is whether or not well defined and measurable criteria of project success exist and have been agreed upon by both internal and external stakeholders at the beginning of the project (Jugdev & Müller, 2005). The different stakeholders involved in a project, such as project managers, project team, functional management and external clients may all have different perspectives as to the goals and requirements of the project being carried out (Jugdev & Müller, 2005). With this in mind there is a need to establish more objective measures of exactly when the project can be considered successful.read full post
The majority of decisions made by project managers are conducted under conditions of uncertainty and risk. This is especially true during the initiation phase of the project life-cycle, where uncertainty is at its highest (Meredith & Mantel, 2006). All projects are predisposed to risk due to complexity and many factors that are outside the control of the project manager. However, a common factor of projects that are successful is that the project manager usually considered, and planned to some degree, the possible risks they were likely to face (Pinto, 2007).read full post
It is important that an appropriate project manager with the right balance of skills is put in place to ensure a successful project. It is said that a good project manager must act like a “mini-CEO” (Pinto, 2007, p. 119) and must be proficient in both the technical skills of a manager balanced with the people skills of a leader.read full post
Another challenging key factor for project management is the process of creating high performing project teams.
Due to projects being considered temporary organisations, that is, they exist for a finite time period; teams are often created from different functional departments to match the criteria of the project. This can create pressure and potential conflict (Huemanna et al., 2007).
In order for teams to achieve a high level of performance there are several stages of the team development process that must be progressed through in order to establish trust and build productive team norms (Pinto, 2007).
These stages consist of forming, storming, norming and performing.
Carrying on looking at some of the challenging factors to effective project management today we look at the particular organisational structure that project style work is set in and how that impacts on the project.
The organisational structure the project is expected to operate in can adversely affect the outcome of a project. Traditional functional structured organisations attempting to respond to the increasingly complex business environment are introducing formal project methodologies and forming what is known as Matrix structures. Thirty & Deguire (2007, p. 655) supports this by suggesting that there is a tendency for organisations to try to “force-fit” the ideas of project management to existing structures in lieu of “looking for ways to adapt the organisation to the project-based approach”.
Over the next few weeks I thought I would discuss and post some blog post into some of the challenges in effectively managing projects. While in particular I myself work in managing IT and Web related projects but many of the ideas I would like to bring up I think apply across the board for project management in many sectors.
I am finding myself filling the role of project manager with my clients more and more, and the following blog posts come from a study of project management through Massey University I completed last year.
Each blog post (of which there will be 7 including this one) will outline, discuss and provide references to further reading.