Project Management has it’s roots in a few key sectors, defence, IT, construction, and capital intensive industries such as energy and oil and gas. If you look at the awards issued by the APM over the past few years then most of the award winners are from these key sectors. However as project management matures are we seeing a more diverse and global approach to project management. I noticed with interest that the theme for the Association for Project Management conference this year is new frontiers. This got me wondering we can see a more holistic approach to project management around the world, and what a much more diverse interpretation of project management many have for the traditional approaches to project management. Would project management have to adapt to these new sectors and cultures. How will they get on with the complexities of configuration management, programme management and fear to say earned value management.
Recently we have been working with a divers range of new sector clients. These include one of the worlds largest consumer electronics manufacturing organisations, a leading manufacturer of energy and sports drinks, the world’s largest manufacture of cleaning products and a niche manufacturer of nutritional supplements. These industries are consumer facing industries with lots of new product development and marketing projects. What is required is a way to coordinate multi-functional delivery in a flexible way in a limited timescale. In these fast moving environments are a million miles away from the traditional approaches can be perceived a tool slow and a barrier to delivery. On top of this these project are often multi-cultural with global project teams and global customers. The solution is not PRINCE2 or the PMI BoK approaches to project management, both of which are perceived as over complex, bureaucratic and a barrier to adoption of project management.
The solution is to get back to basics and keep it simple, strip the complexity
- Define your project, what are the success criteria and key roles and responsibilities. Make sure you have your stakeholders on-board with the project objectives. We should be able to fit this project definition on two pages.
- Hold a start up meeting to develop the project, including a clear definition of who is doing what and when, but keep it simple. What are the key activities, budgets and risks? Again can we try to limit this to two pages of text plus a couple of tables.
- Maintain a regular reporting process but use simple reporting process, a project progress report on one page.
- Maintain effective change control process throughout the project, using a one page form.
- Involve the users in defining the requirements and acceptance processes from the outset.
- Capture lessons learned, but not on paper a conversation will do.
This is my manifesto for a simple project management approach that will fit work around the world for the new sectors. Maybe it’s time to write another book. I would love to hear your views?