Friday, February 18, 2005

Three Principles of Superior Project Management

The mandate is clear: organizations must do more with less. Clients demand better and faster service. Leaders urge agencies to deliver responsive solutions. Funding for resources is tighter than ever. Neither waste nor project failure is tolerated. Every initiative must deliver results–on time and within budget. To succeed in this climate, leaders need to change the way they manage projects. Three guiding principles can help achieve the goals desired:
1. Project management skills
2. Collaboration
3. Solving real problems
Successful projects always combine these three.
Principle 1: Project management skills
According to a recent study conducted by Software Productivity Research LLC, only 10 percent of the 250 large-scale software projects in their analysis were successful. The others either exceed their budgets, miss critical deadlines or fall short of achieving intended objectives.
To achieve success, forward-thinking agencies appoint strong leaders to manage change initiatives and these leaders share several important characteristics:
· Skilled in managing complex environments and promoting collaboration
· Innovative thinkers, and
· Adept in applying practices to control project scope, time, and cost
Experience shows that applying practices that best increase total operating efficiencies and workforce productivity, the particular project will meet quality objectives and manage the risk of failure.
Principle 2: Collaboration
Needs have grown more complex. Leaders need to draw upon multiple resources with different types of expertise. The resources may exist within a single agency or across several agencies. To maximize the potential for collaboration across their organizations, leading personnel develop networked solutions that deliver optimal results by:
· Involving key people in all aspects of an important initiative;
· Integrating processes;
· Sharing information; and
· Working together to achieve higher levels of efficiency, productivity, and performance.
Recent IT advances make collaboration easier than ever. The Internet, which can act as a communications backbone for any type of project, plays a particularly important role. Hundreds of Internet-based collaboration tolls revolutionize networking, including online whiteboards, bulletin boards, instant messaging, knowledge management tools, distance learning programs, and document-sharing tools. By using systems that offer advanced functionality, agencies can increase effectiveness and organize and track tasks and resources.
Principle 3: Solving real problems
Agencies cannot lose sight of the goals for their projects. IT projects should always focus on delivering solutions for real problems. Once problems are identified, agencies must determine whether they have the people, processes, and tools to solve them.
· People. Emotion, uncertainty, and excitement are displayed in moving toward a new solution or approach.
· Processes. The need for change must clearly be articulated and project leaders must take logical and actionable steps to help team members achieve results. Process expertise can ensure future projects run smoothly.
· Tools. Projects that leverage technologies stand a better chance of success. Know and use the keys that increase process efficiencies and workforce productivity.
Once an agency identifies the right people, processes, and tools, it can develop the correct configuration to achieve the desired results.
Follow the Three Principles for Success.
Agencies will continue to face mounting demands for better and more efficient services. Those that embrace project management and collaboration practices, and maintain a steady focus on solving real problems, will achieve the desired results for success.

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