It’s about dependency relationships. We go back to 1896 when Karol Adamiecki invented the harmonogram.
No, it’s not an early greetings card…
… but, first published in Polish, which is why it took until about 1915 to emerge into the main stream as the developed work of Henry Gannt… the Gannt Chart.
In the days before computing, the idea of bars, drawn across graph paper, indicating the interrelationship of activities needed to deliver a project, was revolutionary.
They were clunky and had to be redrawn, to illustrate progress.
Later the bars were stuck-on (I remember that), then magnetic wall charts (wow!) and eventually they morphed into software applications and now shared over the web.
The important bit is the interrelationship between the components of the task. One bit can’t be done until the preceding bit is underway or completed. Hence Adamiecki’s ‘harmony’.
Today we take project management for granted. It is a skill, indeed a profession. PRINCE2 is a structured project management method that certificates practitioners and is recognised on a global basis.
Getting stuff done, in complex environments.
When I hear ‘we will leave the EU, deal-or-no-deal, by October 31st’ I’m sure I can also hear project managers, all over the NHS muttering, under their breath… ‘yer avin’ a larf’.
The new PM will be announced on 22nd July. One hundred days later, one way or another, we will be out of the EU. Really?
Project professionals think about ten things.
First; know the project. Know it inside out. The stakeholders, their needs and understand everyone’s expectations. Create the vision and share it.
Second; be clear about what it is you want to achieve and make sure you have the team to do it. Right skills, right place, right time.
Third; put a single accountable person in charge. Experienced and credible and able to develop people and teams. Someone who works through influence and not authority.
Forth; identify the critical milestones, make them achievable and in the context of all the other activity. Remember Adamiecki’s
Fifth; find and hire a top communications professional for internal and external messaging. The most important thing in corporate communication is hearing what’s not said.
Six; create a great team. Easier said than done. Expect to replace some people, do it sooner rather than later. Make the tough decisions early.
Seven; figure out what the risks are. Be brutally honest. Make a list. There is no ‘maybe’ column. It is or it isn’t. You may delay but time doesn’t.
Eight; use project management software that gives everyone access to the timeline. Make sure everyone knows what’s what. Be accessible and open to other people’s ideas and observations.
Nine; test suppliers and teams for deliverability. It’s a strength to look for weaknesses.
Ten; evaluate each phase and learn for the next. Those who plan do better than those who don’t, even when the plan goes wrong!
I’m guessing you’ll have run your eye down this list and said… so what…. it’s obvious.
You are right, it is. This is how to manage a project that is clearly defined, properly resourced.
However… there is a bit more.
Knowing the project also means understanding the purpose. If the project is to get a new operating suite up and running, with the first patients receiving treatment by the 35th of October… you know where you are.
Get a grip on reality. If there is huge pressure for the operating capacity to come online, to reduce waits and drive income… it’s easy to over promise.
The right people. An electrical contractor is not a plumber and plumbers are not the people who do balanced air-flow. Creating a team from individual components is a skill. The best plan; focus everyone on the objective. Patients operated on, home safely and well.
Momentum. If a segment falls out of schedule, what can you be doing in the meantime to keep momentum until you can recover. It requires thinking on your feet.
Project management is not to be confused with international rescue, or the fire-brigade.
It is planning in advance, clarity of purpose and avoiding the opportunity to begin again!
Leaving in a 100 days? Well Borimy Huntson, now you know how to be a project manager… over to you!
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Reproduced at TrainingPrimaryCare.com by kind permission of Roy Lilley.