May 182011

When your project is in execution phase (Executing Process Group as per PMBOK), following tricks can make the difference between successful and failed project.

  1. Plan
    • Infrastructure first: Arrange for basic infrastructure such as mobile phone, laptop, data card, software, stationary, visa, travel tickets etc. earlier in the project.
  2. Delegate (but do not promote multi-level delegation)
    • Delegate most tasks: A Project Manager should only set and show direction. Thereafter, let the team pave way and move forward. The reasons for more delegation 
      1. One person cannot perform all tasks because soon that one person will become bottleneck
      2. People like to perform and give them the opportunity to perform
      3. You are there to add value and not create the draft
      4. PM needs to manage all tasks and not just the most difficult or most important task

      Delegation also requires that you set clear expectation, show a demo or prepare/refine a document/template.

    • Appoint Role PlayersJust as in Toastmasters Club, role players should be defined for every activity such as Learning Lead, Process Lead, Infrastructure Lead, Improvement Lead etc. Appointing Role Players sets importance for certain tasks and keeps the team focused. Appointing Role Players is also motivating for team.
    • Those who find the problem, can find the solution: When a team member approaches with a problem, ask questions related to the problem and initiate a brainstorming session to find a possible solution. Initiate a culture that if a person informs a problem then that person should also suggest a possible solution.
  3. Establish communication
    • How am I affected: Inform team well in advance the shift plan, expected work load, its colleagues, its customer, communication protocol, seating arrangement, perks etc. Similarly, keep sponsors and other stakeholders informed of progress or a potential road block. Communicating early helps because
      1. People are not shocked at the last moment
      2. If you can define a problem early then you can define it better over the time
      3. If you can define problem well then you can find a solution or work around
    • Communication web:

      Star to web communication. Click for higher resolution image

      Initiate team members to communicate using channel that promotes both verbal and non-verbal communication (Best to worst communication channels – Face to face conversation, phone call, instant messaging/SMS, email, relay message). Web communication (see Figure Star to web communication) is especially very important for global projects because 

      1. If PM becomes the star in the communication network then soon he will have all the dependency, he will be overwhelmed and he will become a bottleneck
      2. Less communication will trigger conflicts
      3. Many tasks require close coordination
    • Ask for help, say NO if required: If you are short of resources or if you are facing obstacles then ask help from team members, sponsor, stakeholders, friends or anyone. If a task, however small, cannot be done within constraints or it should not be done then say “NO”. It is better to look bad in front of that important stakeholder then ruin the project (and your career along).
    • Produce Management report: The sponsors own the project you are managing. Sponsors must be apprised of the progress. The decisions that sponsors make with visibility on progress of project can only help succeed the project.
    • Appreciate work and celebrate milestones: If a team member performs well then appreciate that person in front of the team and publish the success to your supervisors. Announcing appreciation and celebrating success keeps management apprised of success and brings enthusiasm in team to perform better. Celebrations also open channels for further collaboration.
  4. Persist
    • Never lose sight of milestone and sign-off criteria: Go/No-Go decision depends upon end result. No matter how big or small milestone or sign-off criteria is, you have to achieve it to complete the project.

The mentioned tricks cover all the processes of Executing Process Group and these points have worked very well for me. My style of leading/managing may not match yours and you may need to adjust a few parameters based on your style. However, most of the tricks will work most of the time.

Now it’s your turn. Did I cover all the basic tricks? Do you agree to these tricks or do you use some others?

  2 Responses to “Basic Tricks to successfully execute a project”

  1. [...] addthis_product = 'wpp-257'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true};In my previous post Basic Tricks to successfully execute a project, I recommended web communication instead of star communication in the team. The web communication [...]

  2. [...] Basic Tricks to successfully execute a project Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post.   Leave a comment [...]

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