Great Truths of Project Management

Posted by Kevin Brady on Sun 22nd July 2007 at 11:45 PM, Filed in Project Management

The excellent IT project management site gantthead has a great article by Tom L. Barnett, PMP. In 10 Undeniable Truths of Project Management Barnett outlines 10 points gleaned from the history of IT project management and presents them for new and used project managers to reference.

Some great tips are included, some you’ve probably seen in other lists, books, posts, articles, etc., and a few that might surprise you (or not, if you’re a seasoned, battle scarred or veteran PM):

  1. Project Scope Is Not Defined On PowerPoint Slides

  2. Project Schedules Do Not a Project Plan Make

  3. Projects Are Not Managed From Behind a Spreadsheet

  Some project managers secretly want to be statisticians. They love to calculate all of the various metrics pertaining to their project such as the percentages of deliverables completed, tasks currently on schedule, tasks that should have started, of variance from budget, etc. These are all good to know. The problem is that they spend so much time summarizing and restating data in their spreadsheets, they never talk to the team members about how the project is going and what problems they are having. Without that connection with the team, they are not managing so much as they are reporting.

  4. No Task Longer Than 80 Hours and Not Shorter Than 40

  5. No More Than One Person Responsible For a Task

  6. Every Task Generates a Deliverable. No Work for Work’s Sake.

  7. Large projects should be broken down into sub-projects (if they have long timeframes)

  8. Plan for the Worst

  The old saying is “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”, and they do. Always think through your risk plans. Even if things are going well, a good PM has to ask “what if?” Remember that for each risk you can think of, come up with a way to reduce the likelihood of it happening (mitigation) and have a Plan B if it does (contingency).

  9. Make it Fun

  IT projects can be daunting events. Have you ever noticed that there are some project managers that people just don’t want to work for? The Project Tyrant that is always changing things, asking for things at the last minute and making demands of people is someone that is hard to support over the long haul of a project. There will be tense times on any project, but the lead comes from the top. When things are at their worst, if the PM can laugh at himself it will relieve the tension of the entire team.

  10. In the End it is People

  In the end, the key point to be mindful of is that all of the previous techniques exist for one purpose: to produce results with a team of people. All of the techniques in the world will not produce anything if they are not constantly tuned, adjusted and calibrated for the individuals on your team. People are different and they all respond differently in various situations. The most successful senior managers I have run across in my experience were the ones with a unique respect, passion, appreciation and understanding for people.

This entry has been viewed 1649 times.


I would just like to add communicate, communicate, communicate.

Posted by Terrie  on Thu 17th July 2008 at 05:48 PM | #

Totally agree smile

Posted by Kevin Brady  on Sun 27th July 2008 at 04:28 PM | #


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