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During a conversation with Métier's CEO, Douglas Clark, I was lucky enough to get some information about project management - from the eyes of a top project management software creator. Métier is known for its consultancy practices and training as well as for its software program, Worklenz. Below, you will find answers to some of the most pressing project management questions new project managers may have.
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Why Should Companies Look at Project Management as Being the Wave of the Future?
Companies should be well aware that 80 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) is service-based. Doug Clark gives the example of Google. Google has assets in the millions, and the company is successful based upon how it produces end results.
How does it produce end results? Simply put, successful end results are produced by careful project management. The most efficient way of doing things (managing projects) will produce the most efficient results. Historically, the most efficient way of getting things done was the assembly line. In our contemporary era, the most efficient means of production is the project.
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What Is the Biggest Stumbling Block to Successful Project Management?
Knowing where to start can be a huge stumbling block for new project managers. Doug Clark recommends that everyone start with the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK). Clark recommends starting there, rather than going to a consultancy so that you can develop a standard vocabulary. The PMBOK is available to order through the PMI (Project Management Institute). On this page, you'll find information about certification - but more importantly you'll find the best practices articles and other wealth of project management information that PMI has to offer.
The PMBOK guide breaks project management down into various process areas and tells you each process you would use if you were to run a perfect project management campaign. At the basis, Clark says, you want to do scheduling, time management, and resource management. The other benefit of consulting the PMBOK first is to have a set level of information and a common language when you do decide to hire a consultant.
For more information on the PMBOK guide you may wish to view other articles on Bright Hub PM written on this subject including: "What is the Value of PMBOK?" and "A Summary of PMBOK Practices - Project Integration" both by this writer.
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What Can a Project Manager Do if the Project Falls Behind?
According to Doug Clark, there are three facets of project management: Scope, cost, and schedule. Project managers can't have all three; it's a trade-off. A project manager has to prioritize - if cost is the priority, then scope and schedule are going to be affected. If the schedule is the most important facet of the project, then cost and scope will be affected. If the project falls behind schedule, Clark says there are two ways to solve it: Change the scope or change the cost.
For more information on saving projects that are falling behind you may wish to read Joe Taylor Jr.'s article "Getting Real with Project Constraints."
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Two Final Tips For Project Managers
In order to successfully plan a project, scope and schedule need to be thought of as independent steps in the project management process. The work breakdown structure, Clark says, is vital. It is noun-based, and it brings the project down to manageable steps. All of the deliverables will be thought of during this process. Once the work breakdown structure is created (WBS), then the project manager can start scheduling the project.
The final tip given by Metier's Doug Clark has to do with the way project managers are viewed. Currently, the project management process is looked at like a plan. Instead, Clark advises, the schedule should be looked at as a model that has been networked. The dialog over the schedule should be over a forecast, not a plan, thus alleviating the project manager from being at fault. This method, Clark believes, will help everyone to be open and frank at status meetings.