Imagine a software project situation, where you have everything it takes to win- an extremely capable manager and team, excellent tracking, and finally all the important milestones and deliverables get completed on time and within budget. But the outcome is something totally unexpected- users are very unhappy about the product and as a result the project gets cancelled. Unlikely as it might seem, this scenario is not really such a rare event.
Project management requires setting up of clear goals- technical and business- as well as well marked development phases. It takes a systematic approach, regular and measurable progress and a system to address risk factors. The methods have to optimize the contributions of each of the team members to ensure proper quality and timely delivery. However things often go out of track because the project managers are more focused on the efficiency and not the effectiveness of the efforts.
Let us now examine the factors related to the effectiveness of project management.Effective Project Management
Many projects fail because the project managers are focused on solving the wrong problems. The right problems have always to do with the context of the project, the stakeholders, and the various functions of the project manager and other team members. Another important factor is the subjective abilities of the project manager. All of these factors are connected to the effectiveness of the management and not just efficiency.
Effectiveness is of such paramount importance, because it ensures that all involved understand and follow the spirit of the project rather than merely perform the correct mechanics. Outlined below are a few ideas that are key factors of project management effectiveness. Effectiveness metrics vary according to the nature of the particular project, but the ideas enlisted below are general, and come in handy for devising individual project metrics.Business Goals
The success of project management depends on the effectiveness with which the business goals are translated into a set of technical goals. This is a primary function of project management.Adapt to Changes in Business Goals
Business goals often change in today's fast paced business world, and it is more so for projects that have long development cycles. The project manager has to remain responsive to these changes and ensure that appropriate changes are made in the technical direction. Without this, the effectiveness of the project suffers even if every milestone and every deliverable is met in time and on budget.Facilitate Your Team
The project manager has to remove the roadblocks to the efforts of his team members. The effectiveness of the project manager in facilitating the team makes a huge difference to the overall performance.Consider Stakeholders
The project manager has to be aware that he is not an isolated entity. There are several stakeholders in the project he is entrusted with-the team members, the business sponsors, other project managers in his firm, and other divisions of the firm like sales, marketing and HR apart from the customers / end users. The project manager has to consider and manage the priorities of each of these.Facilitate Contractors
It is a common practice in huge projects to outsource parts of the development work to outside parties. This adds to the complexity of the project management, as the manager has to now deal with another organization with its own set of priorities. The manager has to develop and follow strategies to ensure that the contractor gets the best possible support.Show Leadership
The project manager has to consider himself/herself as a leader. Skills and qualities such as ability to motivate, ability to negotiate, communication, leadership and skill to resolve conflict are vital. The success rate of the project is directly linked to the extent to which the project manager has these skills.Resolve Problems Effectively
Resolving problems is a day to day activity in project management. The project manager has to take a proactive stand in problem solving. Quick action is also important to the smooth running of the project.People Skills
Effective project management has to do more with people than software tools and schedules. It helps when the project manager is highly diplomatic in handling people problems, whether among team members or among stakeholders.A Persistent Approach
This may be an often overlooked aspect, but persistence in tackling obstacles is an important contributing factor to the success of a project.
Project management is not just about meeting the deadlines and delivering on time- effectiveness just as important. There are many aspects that contribute to effective project management. Following these principles is vital to the success of a project, especially an outsourced project.
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