Practical Project Management and Why It is Important
Over the last 15 years, I have seen amazing teams with skilled Project Managers (PM) fail at achieving their project goals. Research shows a variety of reasons why project goals may not be achieved, but in my experience, there are three reasons projects most often fail:
- Project Managers do not understand what their customer is saying both verbally and non-verbally.
- Project Managers do not consider the impact of the change on the users (change management).
- Project Managers use tools and methodologies that do not fit the needs of the project or the customer.
It’s the last scenario, tools, and methodologies, that I’d like to focus on – it’s what I think of as “Practical Project Management.”
Practical Project Management
First, it is important to understand there are numerous project management methodologies, just as there are various ways of developing software.
When determining the methodology, the question is not “which one does my company ascribe to?” Rather, I use a series of questions to help determine which makes sense based on my knowledge of my customer. I evaluate our options by asking the following questions:
- How large is their organization?
- Have they ever worked with a Project Manager or implemented Salesforce or similar enterprise tools?
- What is their level of tech savvy?
- What is the scope of work?
- What is the budget for this project – in particular, the project management budget?
- What level of configuration or software development is required?
These questions might yield a surprising result such as – this project does not require any formal project management oversight.
Choosing a Project Management Tool
Beyond the methodologies, there are dozens of Project Management Tools. It’s worth considering the following when selecting one:
- Is my customer familiar with or have a preference of project management tools?
- Do they require formal budget reporting? If so, what frequency and to what level of detail?
- In general, what are their expectations and needs concerning general project status reporting?
When it comes to project management methodologies and tools, I always aspire to do what is practical; I tend to agree with “less is more” and ultimately, do what is practical to meet the needs of my customer, and spend the rest of my time doing what is necessary to achieve project goals.
Julia is a Seasoned Project Manager with 15+ years of experience leading organizational transformation through comprehensive planning, effective communication, and innovative problem solving.