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Effective Project Management: Some Principles

As we grow more experienced and rise through the management ranks, we tend to do less execution work. We do more “big picture” work, such as strategy formulation and planning, leaving execution or simply project management to others. Managing projects successfully can be hard. It is where the rubber hits the proverbial road and a multitude of things can go wrong – and they often do! Here are a few time-tested principles: Clarity – this includes defining the scope of a project and its key objectives. Never assume! Ask questions when not sure and by all means double and triple check! Success lies in the detail. This involves breaking down what needs to be done into manageable tasks and setting priorities. Anticipation – this involves forward thinking (contextual as well as experiential) and may involve formal modeling and scenario development. Again, don’t simply assume. Communication – communicating throughout the project life-cycle goes without saying. Regular meetings, status updates all address the need to keep things on track and take any action required if they don’t. Typically we need to consider what we need to communicate, to whom and how. Organization – How we organize a project is another vital consideration, and overlaps with all of the above, given that any project’s success depends on who does what by when.

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