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Risk or Constraint – Project Management Processes

Risk or Constraint – Project Management Processes
By James Clements

Risk Management is now accepted as a key ingredient in any mature project management framework and one of the key project management processes that you need to get right to effectively manage bids, proposals and projects.

One small but important part of this process is that a lot of people mix up constraints and risks during the risk analysis process. You will probably find in your risk workshops many constraints will be identified as well as risks and they require a clear differentiation and distinctly different treatment, luckily they are easy to identify if you are conscious of the difference.

As we know, a risk is something that may happen and that is why risk management processes are developed to monitor the project environment to identify their potential occurrence and treat them when and if they do occur.

A constraint however is something that will happen and as such you need to remove it from the risk register. Read the Complete Article

Changing Industries in Your Project Management Career

Changing Industries in Your Project Management Career
By James Clements

Over the course of my project management career I have changed industry twice and have had many more minor changes of sectors inside those industries.

I want to recount some of the techniques I’ve learned to apply in these two major and several minor changes and at the end of this article I’ve outlined 7 Tips to help if you are considering doing just this.

I should note, that whilst I have changed “industry”, in both instances, the core or fundamental practices used to execute the projects stayed largely the same, ie. there was always a connection to ships/marine/heavy industry/construction and I think this is worth any would be industry hopper considering.

Changing both industry and the underlying technology that are utilized to execute the projects is a big ask and probably one that could possibly be looked upon negatively by recruiters. Read the Complete Article

Quality Objectives in Project Management – Beauty is in The Eye of the Beholder!

Quality Objectives in Project Management – Beauty is in The Eye of the Beholder!
By James Clements

I went to a Project Management group breakfast a couple of weeks ago and as part of the presentation, one of the speakers asked the group, “Who derives the benefit from a Project to build an Apartment Building?”

There were a few different answers, but his was unequivocally “The Tenant”. He advocated that as the end user of the apartments, the tenant should be the main focus for the Project Management Team and that ultimately, all project decisions should focus on this desired outcome.

I couldn’t help myself, I had to disagree, and in this blog post want to explore this a bit further.

Firstly, I do not disagree that the “The Tenant” does not derive benefit from the project, my problem with his answer is that it was too simplistic, and if he were the Project Manager for the Developer or the General Contractor sure to find himself under scrutiny. Read the Complete Article

Sub-Contractors – Part of the Project Management Team?

Sub-Contractors – Part of the Project Management Team?
By James Clements

During the development of Bids & Proposals and in the Planning phases of any Project you will undoubtedly be faced with decisions on the scope of work that will be undertaken in-house by your project management team and wider organization, and then, what scope of work will be outsourced to third party vendors and suppliers.

In its purest form, you will need to undertake make or buy decisions and this is a key project integration management process, particularly as you develop the roles, responsibilities and interfaces between your team, organization and the suppliers.

Conventional wisdom, whatever that is, tells us that everyone that interacts with and/or provides goods and services to a project, is part of the project management team in the broadest sense of the definition, but reality tells us there are varying levels of Project Team, like the layers of an onion. Read the Complete Article

Does the Project Manager that Starts the Project, Need to Finish the Project?

Does the Project Manager that Starts the Project, Need to Finish the Project?
By James Clements

I’ll declare my hand straight up. As a Project Manager, I prefer the start up phases of a project over the finishing.

I love the idea of taking an idea, defining an objective, scope of work, selling that to customers and sponsors and then mobilizing the project, establishing and motivating the team.

But beyond that point my interest and motivation starts to wane, which is probably why I became a Bid Manager after years as a Project Manager.

I dislike everything involved with closing out a project, the endless punch lists, paperwork, finalizing accounts and disbanding the team, although I do like the handover parties and most of all the sense of pride in the final product!

These feelings have caused me to ponder time and time again whether the seemingly habitual motivation to have the same Project Manager throughout the full project management life cycle of a project is absolutely necessary and is it really the best approach? Read the Complete Article

Integrated Project Management – Project Plan

Integrated Project Management – Project Plan
By James Clements

Integrated Project Management is not necessarily an obviously measurable project management discipline like, scope, time or quality, but it is a discipline (a mindset if you like) to be applied across the whole of the processes of planning (project plan), executing and delivering your project.

You need at all times to be aware of the need for all of the project management functions, processes and interactions, plus those of your organization, your client and your suppliers to integrated together and be complimentary in order to achieve the best possible outcome.

Unless the project is primarily about organizational change or you are a start-up with no policy, procedure or processes in place, we do not want our project to ‘go it alone’ and reinvent the wheel by developing standalone policy, procedure and process.

We want our projects to utilize and benefit from the existing resources within the organization that can be made available to us to the maximum extent possible, we’ll have enough to deal with in our project without also taking on the burden of developing basic organizational processes. Read the Complete Article

Variations and Delays – Project Management Processes

Variations and Delays – Project Management Processes
By James Clements

I see a lot of discussions in the Project Management community about putting in place structured change processes and project management processes for claiming schedule delay or events of force majeure, but my experience is that in reality it is just not that simple and it takes experience in Project Management to navigate these politically charged waters.

Project success is very much predicated on the relationships within the project and especially the relationship between the project team, primarily the Project Manager and the client, and given that every change in scope, delay or increase in cost is potentially a source of conflict between these two parties, managing this change is so much more than a simple process to be followed.

What a lot of people fail to recognize is the pressure on a Project Manager to bring home the project on time, schedule and to the desired quality, to keep the client happy because of the promise of future projects, so it’s tough for the Project Manager that starts firing off claims for variations and delay, whether they are warranted or not. Read the Complete Article

How Do We Agree on “Finished” in Projects? – Project Management Life Cycle

How Do We Agree on “Finished” in Projects? – Project Management Life Cycle
By James Clements

When I worked as a Proposal Manager during my days in the defense industry, I remember when we’d do what was called a Gold Review, which was the final pricing review with the CEO prior to the submission of a bid. I would be pitching the bid and the Group Commercial Manager would always have the same question of me, and whilst I always knew it was coming and was prepared for it, I hated it because there were so many opportunities for me to get it wrong, as well as project’s to get it wrong in the project management life cycle.

He’d ask “What is the Acceptance Criteria?”, complete silence would fall over the room, here was a guy who’d bore the brunt of many projects that had been unnecessarily difficult to complete and if he didn’t give the CEO the nod, the bid would still be submitted, but would go in with a big fat contingency attached, we might as well not bid. Read the Complete Article

Project Management Objectives

Project Management Objectives
By James Clements

Project Management Objectives are not the same for every project or program, unlike Project Manager/Management Responsibilities which indeed you could generalize for all projects and I think some may confuse these two terms.

Project Management Objectives are the specific objectives that the project sets out to achieve. They are objectives that satisfy both the client needs and requirements and your organization/teams reason for doing the project. This latter point being very important because while we want to fully satisfy our client, projects are a vehicle for driving business strategy and these strategic objectives need to be defined, communicated and their achievement measured.

Each project should have Primary and Secondary objectives. Projects can only have one Primary Objective, usually where you address the client requirements, however there can been multiple secondary objectives and this is where you can state what you want to achieve from the project. Read the Complete Article

Role Clarity – Project Manager Responsibilities

Role Clarity – Project Manager Responsibilities
By James Clements

Poor role clarity is an issue many projects suffer and it directly affects the motivation and performance of project team members and particularly when it relates to project manager responsibilities.

Role clarity, or lack of it, is especially relevant in joint venture projects, integrated project teams and is most common in newly formed project teams. Lack of role clarity is where project team members are unsure of their day to day roles and responsibilities, the objectives of the project, their level of authority for spending or directing others and the formal reporting structures.

This results in confusion, overlapping effort by project team members and worse still gaps in responsibilities so work does not get completed where “I thought she was responsible for that” often occurs.

Worse still, poor role clarity can result in the errosion of project team members desire to be part of the team and exert above and beyond effort that is required in most projects. Read the Complete Article

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