Back to basics: 3 fundamentals of Project Management
Everyone speaks about Agile methodologies, Lean Management and Management 3.0 as if adopting these trends were the key to success. Indeed, they are enablers but do not forget there is a project to drive.
Focusing on the implementation of a methodology instead of your project essentials is probably a mistake. Keep in mind that the methodology is only a tool and that it is the project that should be at the center of your attention. Here is a reminder of 3 fundamentals of project management.
To be a success, a project has to be delivered on time, on scope, within budget.
These 3 elements are key indicators as well as the main levers of action on the project. Before trying anything to solve the issues that you may encounter, ask yourself whether you can act on one of these leverages.
Time is, of course, an essential component of project management. It may be the simplest way to solve an issue just by saying that you are late. Recognizing it could save you and your team a lot of efforts to try to catch up with the original planning which is, most of the time, out of reach.
We are not used to think of the scope as an adjustment variable. Nevertheless, it is a really powerful leverage when you have strong constraints of delay. Focusing on the essential features may be the solution to meet the deadline.
Of course delivering within budget is essential. Monitoring it and having a clear view of the situation helps to prevent issues or having to ask for a budget increase. It is highly recommended to use dashboards that give real-time information to the project Manager on the budget KPIs such as budget estimate, project actual cost, project actual profit, cost of goods sold…
The job of the project manager is not to make impossible things happen, it is to do his project a success. After examining these 3 points, if your conclusion is that you cannot move anything and that there is no good solution, it is probably time for you to look for acceptable ones and to present the different options to the project’s sponsor. He may be upset that the original plan is not respected but he will be far more upset if the project is not delivered in the end.