How to take the best course of action in project management

How to take the best course of action in project management

As a good project manager, you should be able to quickly figure out how to react when a problem is thrown at you. You should also know when to make a change in operations that would make the company more efficient and effective. 

The first step to doing this is to keep your end goal for the project in mind at all times. Find out how you can train to be a good project manager by setting goals and applying those goals to decision making to determine the best course of action

1) Set mini goals along the way 

First things first, you need to start any project with an idea of what you ultimately want to achieve in mind. 

Eric Knight is a Senior Lecturer in Innovation and Management at Sydney University Business School, as well as an author and a director of a medical technology company. Knight shared his thoughts on what good management is with Harvard Business Review. 

Knight states that it's important to keep a close eye on your goal. For instance, if budget saving is what you're after, create lead indicators that gradually implement cost savings along the way. If staying on schedule is the goal, you'd create mini goals for doing just that. For example, make a mini goal for what stage your project should be at when you are a quarter of the way through. 

By tracking your progress in milestones, you can more efficiently and effectively get things done. x 0 0 0 14062884 800

2) Prepare for the worst

Focusing on the ultimate goal is also important for choosing the correct course of action when problems arise. And trust us, problems will arise. 

McKinsey and Co. states that for this reason, you need to make maintenance people part of your team from the very beginning.  While this may sound like it'd be a slower process, it could be the ultimate time saver later on. 

Even if things are sailing smoothly through the design and construction phases, you could still run into rough waters. It will take a lot more explaining later on if the people who know most of all how to create, operate and maintain an asset are shut out once the project is under design and construction. Oil and gas companies are adept at integrating maintenance teams, knowing that there are unforeseen risks involved with big capital projects. 

It sounds negative to prepare for the worst, but allowing for failures ironically leads to success.

It sounds negative to prepare for the worst, but allowing for failures ironically leads to success. Eric Knight cites the example of a government department he interviews. The department realised that employees were terrified of admitting failure for fear of losing their jobs. But once the managers made a concerted effort to train employees to tell managers when there was a failure, the problem was fixed before things escalated.

Having procedures for dealing with failure from the beginning is crucial to keeping your project on track. As CIO puts it, good project managers have the gift of foresight. 

3) Be innovative

If you're doing a project very similar to past ones, it can be too tempting to just stick with the routines that you know work. 

However, you should never stop learning and developing your operations to make them better. There's always room for improvements. You may think that trying something new would jeopardise delivering the project on time, but it can actually meet customer demand better. 

Diane Beck explains how to be innovative with project management in her book called "Project Management Secrets: Fortune 500 Project Manager Reveals How to Excel in the Corporate Trenches." She states that it's important to listen very closely to feedback from either the customers or employees then evaluate whether or not you think it is useful for achieving your goals. 

Know when to listen to feedback and make a well thought out change. x 0 0 0 14108841 800Know when to listen to feedback and make a well thought out change.

McKinsey and Co. mentions how one North American infrastructure agency determines whether a new course of action is potentially a good thing. The company weighs the costs and benefits of a nonstandard delivery model. For each option, it calculates total project cost so that they can compare costs and feel justified in trying the new way for a particular project. 

Contact Line Management Institute to learn about its Certificate IV in Project Management. This certificate will teach you these key skills of learning how to deal with unforeseen difficulties and being innovative, all while keeping the end-goal in mind. 

Published by: LMIT