Fundamentals Of Project Management

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Unformatted text preview: project. Once the destination has been reached, the project is finished, but there is a final step that should be taken. Some people call it an audit, others a postmortem. Whatever you call it, the point is to learn something from what you just did. Note the way the questions are phrased: What was done well? What should be improved? What else did we learn? We can always improve on what we have done. However, asking “What did we do wrong?” is likely to make people a bit defensive, so the focus should be on improvement, not on placing blame. THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM In order to manage projects successfully, it is necessary to have a system. A full project management system consists of seven components, shown in Figure 1-3. If any one of the seven components is not in place or does not function satisfactorily, then you will have some difficulty managing projects. In fact, most organizations have problems with one or more of the components. Each component is called a subsystem, as it is part of the overall system. Human Factors The pyramid is underpinned by the human subsystem to show that all other subsystems are dependent on this component for support. A project manager must be able to deal effectively with all of the parts of this subsystem in order to be successful. These include: • Leadership • Negotiation • Team building • Motivation • Communication • Decision making If there is a deficiency in any of these areas, I suggest that you try to get training in that area. While some people seem to be born leaders, most individuals can improve their leadership skills through training and practice. Similarly, negotiation is a must-have set of skills for project managers. It is almost universally true that project managers have significant responsibility but little authority. Being able to negotiate with clients for contract terms is sometimes necessary, and you almost always have to negotiate within your organization for scarce resources. In fact, the ability to influence others and the ability to negotiate may well be the two assets that differentiate between effective project managers and poor or mediocre ones. Figure 1-3 The components of a project management system. Knowing how to turn a group into a team is also essential. Teams don’t just happen—they’re built! This is especially true when the members of your team have been assigned temporarily to your project but continue to report to their own managers. They have more loyalty to their managers than to your project, and if you are to gain their commitment and support of your project, you have to know how to influence them and turn them into a team. (For a full treatment of building project teams, see my AMACOM book How to Build and Manage a Winning Project Team.) While managers cannot actually provide team members with motivation, they must know how to establish working conditions that draw on whatever motivations a person has. Perhaps more important, they m...
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This document was uploaded on 09/27/2013.

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