Project Management Fundamentals

“Trying to manage a project without project management is like trying to play a football game without a game plan.” K. Tate

Project Management is the acquired knowledge and skills applied using a formal set of tools and techniques to initiate, plan, execute, monitor, control and close projects.

In today’s economy, almost all business lines have incorporated project management as an integral part of their operational practices. Unfortunately, general managers are often asked to perform project management and while the two disciplines are similar, project management requires special knowledge and skills.

Many projects are cancelled before they are completed. Many are completed late and cost well over their original estimates. Of the rare few which are completed, on-time and within budget, many do not meet the needs of the project stakeholders.

It is essential that effective project managers develop the organisational and interpersonal skills needed to manage a project from the strategic stage through to completion:

Understand and define the project goals and objectives – be sure that the project addresses the appropriate business requirements, specifying tasks or how goals will be achieved.

Design a Project Management plan – plan, plan and then plan some more! Implement the project plan with strict controls – adhere to the ‘critical path’, to ensure the project is being managed ‘according to plan’.

“A project without a critical path is like
a ship without a rudder.”
D. Meyer

Identify what resources are needed – associating budgets and timelines for completion.

Create and maintain a set of procedures and guidelines – support project management efforts with a clear project framework for achieving project specific goals and business goals.

Strictly manage finance – one of the biggest problems experienced is the lack of financial controls in project management. Many contracts are overseen by technical staff, who often have little understanding of the accounting side of the project – empower them with knowledge and skills!

Communicate regularly and effectively – share the right information with the right people in a timely manner including key audiences and team members.

Fix problems as they arise – bring your project back on track promptly and understand what caused the problem.

Monitor project performance against the project plan – put emphasis on phased development with regular and measurable progress.

Encourage open, honest communication – create aclimate of support and trust. Whilst being supportive, flexible and open, it is important to remain firm and in control.

Create and sustain focused and motivated teams – reward your project team and underscore your appreciation for hard work. Recognise people’s achievements and acknowledge people’s contributions.

Incorporate quality assurance within the project life cycle – thus producing quality outputs.

Keep people informed – share achievements, problems, and future plans with your project’s audiences. Report on project activities to upper management.

Review the results through post-project evaluation – lay the ground work for repeating good practices and experiences and avoiding the same mistakes in the future.

Capitalise on the successful delivery of your project – put together a ‘go-live’ launch that suitably impresses your intended audience. Don’t forget to communicate project successes – loudly!

“Project managers function as bandleaders who pull together their players – each a specialist with individual score and internal rhythm. Under the leader’s direction, they all respond to the same beat.” L. Sayles

Kwelanga Training has offices based in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth and presents public training courses at corporate venues in:

  • Johannesburg – Southern Sun Hotel, Katherine Street, Sandton
  • Pretoria – Southern Sun Hotel, Arcadia, Pretoria
  • Cape Town: Southern Sun Hotel, Newlands
  • Durban: Hilton Hotel, North Beach
  • Port Elizabeth: Cherry Place, Walmer

On-site training can be presented at any location in Southern Africa, our facilitators will train at your premises

For further information contact:
Julie Shoobridge
Tel: +27 11 704 0720


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