Best Practices

Project management best practices

Best Practice, Continuous Improvement and Progress in Project Management

I am really interested in the development of our discipline, and how we can continue to make it better. With this in mind, I want to talk about three, possibly seemingly unrelated, project management topics: best practice, continuous improvement and the adoption of new project management practices.

The Culture of Delivery

As project managers we do not deliver on our own. We deliver as part of a larger organisation. Typically, only a small part of the organisation is involved in the project we are running. What the organisation does share is a culture – or at least a series of broadly consistent behaviours and beliefs. Our ability to deliver successfully is impacted significantly by the culture of the organisation. Some organisations have cultures which seem to facilitate or encourage delivery. Unfortunately, other organisations seem to have developed cultures which are almost perfectly evolved to obstruct delivery at every point.

In this article I identify a few characteristics which I think help or hinder delivery. I hope these ring a bell for you. I’m most interested to use this article to generate a discussion about the culture of delivery. So... let’s start.

Measuring Projects and Change Outcomes

All business projects result in an outcome in the form of a change. In business it is important to be able to measure these outcomes. How should you approach this?
The following article is extracted from a book I published recently, The Financial Times Briefing: Change Management, and provides some thoughts on measuring change.

A Quick Route to Better Project Management

How do you become a better project manager? It is bold to promise to answer this question in a short article. But my experience tells me it is promise I can keep, at least for some readers. There is one simple truth for project managers - and for that matter any manager. All successful managers apply this lesson. It is this: start every activity by thinking, briefly, why you are doing it. Never start by thinking what do you need to do, or how should you do it. That should always be the second step.

The Role of the Project Sponsor

I recently wrote an article on helping your sponsor to be a better project sponsor. I wanted to follow this up by giving my views on the role of the project sponsor. I will argue in this article that the role of the sponsor depends on the situation and the people involved and am really curios to get to know your opinion. So do click on read more and let’s have a conversation.

Helping your Project Sponsor to be a Good Sponsor

As project managers we want the perfect project sponsor. We want a sponsor who gives us space, but who is there immediately when we need them to be. We like decisive sponsors who ensure important authorisations are given without delay. We like a sponsor who is explicit in praising our work. Well, that’s the idea, except there are many terrible sponsors. Micro-managing sponsors who want too much detail, sponsors who are so difficult to get hold off that there are constant delays, indecisive sponsors who never give us useful answers, and sponsors who seem to think everything we do is poor.

In the vast majority of cases the choice of sponsor is not ours. What can we do about this?

How to Manage Management Consultants

Management consultants have a mixed reputation, but irrespective of your personal feelings, consultants are part of modern business. Organisations call on management consultancies frequently. With ever tighter budgets and leaner businesses, when something unusual arises external support is required. That support regularly comes in the form of consultants. For project managers, the inclusion of management consultants in a project team can be a mixed blessing. Consultants can bring skills and techniques which reduce risk, speed delivery, and provide innovative solutions to problems. But reality does not always match the expectations. Consultants are not straightforward to manage, their fees can decimate a constrained project budget, and you may sometimes wonder if they are there to help you or not.

If you are a project manager - how can you get the best from management consultants working on your project?

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