Do You Know the Difference Between Strategic Sourcing & Category Management?  Project Management Skills or Not – Part III.?  

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Over the last month I have been preaching the need for strong Project Management skills.  There is not a single professional career that would not benefit from the structure and discipline associated with being a capable project manager.  In fact, it is estimated that 22 million project management jobs will be added to the workforce by 2027—a nearly 33 percent growth for the industry.

While a proper launch is critical for the success of your project in addition to a strong project plan, please don’t waste your time unless you are going to use the outputs from the launch in monitoring your project. 

So, what is project monitoring?  Monitoring is observing and checking the plan progress, quality, or other attributes over a period of time.  It is also a “system” that provides sensing, comparison to standards (analysis) and reporting.  Monitoring is essential!!  Imagine driving a car that has no monitoring system:

No Real-Time Information

  • Are you compliant? (speed)
  • How many miles on the car? (odometer)
  • Dangerous conditions? (traction control)
  • Danger to others? (brights /low beams)
  • Diagnostics? (error codes)

 

No Preventive Assistance

  • Do you need maintenance? (minder)
  • Low Fluids? (warnings)

 

In other words, without Monitoring you are operating BLIND – YIKES!  Monitoring helps identify any problems early in the process and early identification helps you stick to your timeline.   Monitoring activities need to be decided in advance.   Here are some key questions to consider:

  • What information do I need?
  • How are you going to get that information from your team?
  • What monitoring burden is assumed on me or my team?
  • What tools might I use?
  • How are you going to track this over time?
  • What needs to be done to transform the data received into information?
  • How to I assess the accuracy of the information received?
  • Where am I going to put the data?
  • What standards do I have to maintain?
  • How can I maintain consistency if there are multiple inputs?

 

Ideally these questions and issues are settled before the kickoff.  The role of cadence is also important.  Consider:

 You must settle on an interval that fits your needs and the project timeline and then communicate those expectations.  In addition to monitoring the realization of your Stakeholder Value Drivers, there are five areas to monitor:

  1. Project Deliverables – Measures the Team’s Output
    • Having Formal Stakeholder signoffs creates engagement and ensures Value Drivers are met
  2. Schedule – Measures Time Spent to Create Deliverables
    • We often use a Gantt Chart to visually show milestones in the context of the Project timeline
  3. Cost / Budgets – Measures the Resources Consumed to Create Deliverables
    • Typically increases in Cost are viewed as “Bad” while decreases are “Good”
  4. Changes / Scope – Measures the Difficulty and Alterations to Deliverables
    • A good Project Manager can determine if additional tasks
      can be done while keeping Milestone commitments
  5. Quality – Measures if the Deliverables Perform as Expected
    • It Is vital that Quality Checks are built Into the Project Plan

Each of these is monitored against the original project baseline.   As you are delving into developing a monitoring system consider the following questions:

  • How much time can I devote to monitoring?
  • How can I assure quality information?
  • What lags do I anticipate in data gathering and reporting?
  • Have I had experience with this team?
  • Do I trust my team?
  • Tasks
    • Is the task on a critical path?
    • Is the task on a path that’s close to being critical?
    • Is the activity risk high? For example has this been done before?
    • Have you already encountered problems with this activity?
  • Schedule
    • How tight is the project schedule? How much slack?
    • Are close are you to the planned completion date?

 

Project Management Skills or Not? Please don’t ask me that question again 😊!

Let us know what you think and join in the conversation . . . . . . .

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Anne has been leading consulting and financial management organizations for over 25 years. She has extensive expertise in Strategic Sourcing, change management, contracting & contract management (both the buy side and sell side) organizational design and supply chain management. Anne has a passion for collaborating and educating her clients while helping them to uncover hidden value in their organizations. In addition, Anne has been named by Supply & Demand Chain Executive as a “Top 100 Provider Pro to Know” every year since 2007 and a 2013 Top Female Supply Chain executive.
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