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Project Management Principles
By Stephen S Alison

Good and successful Project Management requires the adoption of and strict compliance with best practice Project Management Principles. Essentially there are 12 Key Project Management Principles which for convenience can be listed in 3 distinct categories as follows:

Business Principles; People Principles;Control Principles;

Business Principles

Ensure that all projects support the business strategy- All projects should have clear objectives that will deliver real and identifiable benefits to the business. Adopt a formal and structured approach – Projects should be broken down into stages with a control and review checkpoint at the end of each phase to ensure that the project is still viable. Define the project at the outset – Time spent at the start of the project defining the business needs, the products required and planning how they are to be delivered, is always time well invested. Balance the project targets – The Project Manager should establish and manage a judicious balance between product, schedule and cost targets. Assess project risks – Identify all risks in the early stages of the project and actively manage them during the life of the project.

People Principles

Manage using a matrix organisation – Projects should operate under a matrix management in order to ensure that the project teams possess all the necessary skills. Encourage and engender commitment and teamwork – Teamwork is vital to the success of any project; it is the responsibility of the Project Manager to build and foster esprit de corps. Practise single point responsibility – Each divisible section of work should be the responsibility of a single named individual. Match authority and accountability – Team members should have the authority commensurate with and appropriate to their accountability.

Control Principles

Plan to ensure success – Thorough planning is a prerequisite for success; it should define and document what has to be done and how it will be achieved, and is the yardstick against which the project should be controlled. Monitor and control against the plan – Continuously monitor progress towards the objectives, to ensure that it is in accordance with the established plan; remedial action should be taken as appropriate. Manage change actively – Change is inevitable and unavoidable, but changes to the project scope during delivery must be restricted to those which are beneficial, and which keep the project viable.

Stephen S Alison is a retired “bean counter” who spent 26 years in middle management positions for major US financial institutions in Europe and a further 10 years as an adviser/consultant to a number of European financial institutions. He owns and operates a number of “hand built” niche websites including:

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