6 methods I’ve used: Programs and Projects

Programs and Projects are temporary endeavours created to satisfy a particular aim. This makes them a bit unstable by their nature, and typically the more important it is for them to succeed, the more complex, risky and time critical they can become.

My experience, and some of the recommendations from bodies such as PMI (Project Management International) seem to indicate the KISS principle should still be applied.

I’ve got some tips I’ve found help me to keep it all in perspective:

  1. Understand and engage stakeholders. It’s important to regularly meet stakeholders, listen, collaborate and provide open, honest reports.
  2. Scope, Cost and Time all need to be managed. Document and agree these and transparently track all three to completion.
  3. Build high performance teams. Culture matters. Build strong team capabilities. Involve people in decision making. Respect them: mostly they know more than you do.
  4. Clear planning and good governance provide strong delivery. Document and delegate tasks, resources, responsibilities and decision points. Regular rhythms of meetings and reports are very helpful to build momentum. Promote sound processes: these will add reliability.
  5. Risk and issue management can avoid surprises and focus any needed escalations. There are always things that have gone wrong (issues) and still might go wrong in the future (risks). Running through these and choosing which to action when is really helpful. Lists, prioritisation and regular attention lets you focus in on the most important items.
  6. Use the right method for the challenge at hand. Waterfall, Prince 2, Agile (Scrum) solve subtly difference project challenges. Don’t get involved in any holy wars on this – decide on the method that suits the problem you’re facing.

Where I’ve seen this work: “Premium” at WorkCover, “Unify” at Virgin Australia and CoalMIS at Shell were all extremely complex multi-million dollar Program’s able to be delivered on time, cost and to scope. These principles seemed to help keep the most important things in the frame; and ultimately achieve success in these ambitious ventures.

Please share your thoughts on what has worked in your experience!

Author: Martin McKern View Martin McKern's profile on LinkedIn     


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