Last week I spent half a day running the revised training session on time, project and campaign management for young marketers in the professions. We covered a lot of material! As usual, at the end of the session I asked the delegates to let me know what they had found most useful and interesting and this is what they said:
Project management triangle
Whilst it is obvious (when you think about it), the triangle which shows the relationship between a project being on time, on budget and of the right quality was mentioned by three delegates. Often there are reasons why time, money or project criteria are changed and it is important to always consider the impact on the other two elements when this happens.
Rocks, stones and pebbles
In the time management element of the session we looked at a number of simple but effective ways to plan your day. The favourite was rocks, stones and pebbles: identify the one or two biggest tasks that need to be done (rocks) and place them in your day “glass” first. Then place the next largest tasks (the stones) into the glass before allowing the smallest tasks, requests and interruptions (the pebbles) to fill the spaces.
Traffic light monitoring
Whilst detailed project management reporting is a requirement for the project manager and his or her team, others need less detail. The traffic light approach – green for good, amber for pretty much on track and red for a problem – provides an excellent overview approach.
Whilst most people understand the need to break a project down into smaller component modules and tasks, the way that they are integrated into a network diagram so that you can see which can run concurrently and which sequentially was considered useful.
Whilst dealing with day to day detail and the occasional crisis, it is hard to keep in mind the “big picture” of a complex project. The use of one page diagrams and summaries was appreciated and a number were considered. For example, there was a particular fondness for a chart showing the resources required from different team members at the various stages of a major web site development project.
Personally, my favourite elements of project management is not so much the tools and techniques such as workflow planning or PRINCE2 but the elements focusing on how to get the best out of people – stakeholder management and team building techniques.