How do you answer the question: “There are a lot of projects going on in our company. What do you think characterizes professional project management?”
If you were to set up a word racing list in the company, the “project” would probably be right at the top. Even more: Those who are not involved in any projects can ask themselves whether they may already have their professional future behind them. But with the term one does not yet have the thing. So when is a “project” really a project?
Three characteristics must be given: 1. Goal definition 2. Resources3. Time schedule.
Readers with experience of projects know that they have these characteristics. Finally, a high quality standard is linked to the project goal, which has to be realized with as little effort (costs) as possible.
Another critical factor is the timeline, especially if it is limited by a “deadline”. Anyone who has to organize a top-class customer loyalty event for day X will die in beauty if the letters of invitation are not sent on time.
Three Steps To Project Success
If you want to position yourself professionally, you have to be able to manage projects professionally. Success depends on how skillfully you do the following steps:
1. Project specification At the beginning, the project objective is defined, the framework is defined (scoping), the necessary resources are agreed and responsibilities are clarified.
2. Structure plan to clarify the “deliverables” What has to be delivered or produced by whom for the project and at what point in time? Anyone wanting to build a house needs, for example, a building permit, an energy supply and windows as “deliverables”.
3. Structure plan to clarify the tasks or work steps What must be done so that the “deliverables” (data, things, factors, etc.) are available at the defined time? In order to obtain a building permit, you have to prepare documents, submit an application, keep appointments with the building authorities and meet certain requirements.
The following rule of thumb applies to the practical procedure: The structure plan to clarify the deliverables consists of nouns, the structure plan to clarify the tasks or work steps consists of verbs.
For a customer event you need an interesting topic, a convincing speaker, an appropriate location, appropriate technical equipment and a successful mailing (nouns). The best way to develop these deliverables is by brainstorming. The key question is, “Have we really thought of everything?”
Only in the next step is the structure plan worked out to clarify the tasks: Define a topic, engage a speaker, check and book locations, formulate and send the invitation letter, provide the equipment (verbs). With this second structure plan, it is important to find a reasonable sequence of the individual work steps (“critical path”) and to realistically estimate the time required.
Since what can go wrong goes wrong, it is imperative that milestones (“checkpoints”) be set in order to be able to control the progress of the project. Project plans are like a road that you can drive. What you don’t see in advance are traffic jams, potholes and construction sites. For this reason it is essential to agree on an “escalation procedure” for an emergency with the client of the project (“sponsor”). In an emergency, the sponsor can use his positional power to remove obstacles and thus prevent the project from blessing at the deadline.