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Seven Steps to Profitable Project Management,
Many Projects at a Time — Part Two

Part One

5) Chose proven projects technology, deploy it properly

Seven Steps to Projects Management Success PDF

Click on the image to download the Seven Steps to Profitable Project Management PDF

Technology  for projects management and collaboration should be field-proven. This sounds obvious. Yet many of us learn the hard way the importance of avoiding unproven technology with 1.0 serial numbers. 

Teams with few projects of experience often overemphasize technology. Seeing some application as a primary driver of their solution, they lose focus of the primary purpose of the technology: improving project delivery and completion.

Selecting projects management tools by technological parameters instead of functionality is a mistake. Remember that advanced features are seldom used. You want stable technology that improves, not hinders, your work.

Make sure you also request sufficient training and implementation services at start-up. Typically the biggest investment in application deployment is staff time. Good installation and proper training accelerate the learning curve.

6) Monitor real-time costs

Many project managers are flying blind on project costs. Perhaps they don’t see it as part of the job. Perhaps the accounting system doesn’t produce reports until month- or project-end when it is too late to make adjustments. Perhaps they have a latent desire to change careers!

You’ll want to avoid surprises. Put in place a project management system that lets you see individual project costs at any time. Move cost-tracking responsibility into project team rather than leaving it up to accounting. This is easily done with the right system and speeds up overall project execution.

Let all project members see and understand project costs to help you work within budget. A system that allows you and the team to track project costs in real-time keeps more projects on track.

Remember the old adage “Time is Money” rings true.

7) Manage the client as much as the project

You get hired as the expert. This is good and bad.

The good news? The client wants you to take a leadership position. The bad news? The client wants you to take responsibility when the project goes awry. The client’s perspective can include:

  • The project team can figure out what needs to be done.

  • Anything that needs to get done was part of the IMPLIED scope.

  • “My project is the most important, if not the only project you’re organization is working on.”

  • “If I change my mind, the project team MUST accommodate the change in my time frame”

  • "If the project is running over budget, I expect my partner to share the cost.”

  • The client never remembers the voyage; just the destination.

  • Perception always wins over reality and good intentions.

Make sure you learn what the client perceives to be the scope of the project. Then double-check progress on a regular basis. Communicate.

Conclusion: record, record, record, record

As implied in each of the seven steps, to effectively exchange information, you will need to record it in easily shareable format. When your information is real-time “in-flight” data, you can:

  • Quickly show the client each change order he or his team acknowledged and approved.

  • Move key people in and out projects without a loss of momentum.

  • Review ongoing projects to more accurately price and staff new ones.

You can do all that and more if with a project knowledge base. Ad hoc systems break down: E-mails get lost, overlooked, deleted or eaten by Spam filters. You need to automatically capture project correspondence, contracts, drawings and other documents in one secure location.

A project library or knowledge base can be available for reference by all approved new team members and client staff. With the right system, you’ll have an audit trail of the entire project which could be handy for a variety of reasons, including pricing disputes. The right system will even allow you to see who changed a milestone, when and why.

Brilliant execution of short-term assignments can sacrifice the project mission. Regularly review the major goals. Communicate. Record and exchange information. And enjoy project success.

About Tom Dormo

Tom Dormo has managed client projects of all sizes for The RoviSys Company. He has also managed internal initiatives, including the development and marketing of the GrandView projects management and business solution. He can be reached at 330-562-8600 or tom_dormo@rovisys.com.