Project management is becoming an increasingly competitive sphere, and for those who want to take their career seriously and achieve their long term goals, getting qualified in project management is a ‘must do’ task. The APM PMQ qualification is a holistic project management qualification, which has been engineered to give you the skills and knowledge you need to make a big difference in the world of project management.
Undertaking one of the project management courses that will lead to the APM PMQ qualification (previously known as the APMP) will give you a strategic framework that can be used to work with any project. Focusing on areas such as risk management, change management, planning, monitoring and evaluation will give you a set of common skills that you will find highly advantageous both in your professional and your personal life. Most importantly the APM PMQ will give you the tools to ensure every project you undertake, whether large or small, has the same successful and measurable outcome.
Tips for a successful project
- Define the project: Before anything can happen, you need to know what it is you’ll be doing and how it all fits together, and so it helps to develop a project definition document. This document will need to cover key areas such as:
- Overview (what and why)
- Objectives (ultimate goals)
- Assumptions and risks
- Roles and organisational information
- Estimates of effort, cost and duration
Of course you may not be able to wholly define each one of these key areas, but by making a start, and by making this a working document, this can become your ‘project bible’ over time, containing everything you need to successfully complete your task.
- Plan the project: Different project managers have different techniques for doing this, so whether you like to move around coloured post-it’s, lay it all out on a spreadsheet or create doodles on flip charts, the ultimate goal will be to plan out who, what and when for the immediate future. Once you reach a point where you can no longer plan in detail, you have reached the ‘planning horizon’, and from here you will only be able to sketch out details and ideas for time beyond this point. The horizon will move as you progress through the project.
- Define procedures: If you have common procedures for your organisation, ensure everyone knows about them and is briefed to use them.
- Manage the work plan: Managing does not mean adhering to the plan blindly. Any experienced project manager will already know that no project goes exactly how you planned it, but your work plan will give you a point of reference and a guide to measure your performance and tasks by. The work plan should have a budget plan running alongside it, and there should be some milestones, targets or a schedule attached to it so you can effectively evaluate how things are going. If you start to fall behind, or are not able to complete the things you thought you would, simply make adjustments to all three to compensate for the changes.
- Listen, listen, listen: A poor project manager will often be so head down into his work that he won’t hear the train coming until it hits him. Keep your eyes and ears open at all times, and always make time to listen to the genuine concerns of your team if you want to avoid a catastrophe. After all, these are the people on the ground who know best what is going on, and if you choose to ignore their concerns you’re really placing yourself on the train tracks with your headphones on.