Lessons on project management

Organizations seek an effective and efficient implementation of their strategy in order to achieve a competitive advantage and maximum financial performance. The Project Management Institute® (PMI), in its study “Pulse of the Profession® Success in Disruptive Times”, identifies that organizations waste 9.9 cents of every dollar due to poor project management performance (PMI, Pulse of the Profession 2018). The causes are attributed, among others, to:

  • failures to close the gap between the designed strategy and its implementation and;

  • executives do not recognize that the strategy is implemented through the execution of projects.

In this article I want to share with you the areas of improvement, based on my experience, necessary to attack to achieve effective project management. Finally, every organization, whether or not it is for profit, is interested in generating the highest return on its investments.

The first proposal is to give greater importance to the design of projects. In great part the failures or deviations that I have been able to feel are derived from rushing, without sufficient preliminary studies or without the analysis of professionals in the matter. It may sound familiar to you that an area of organizational planning asks for proposals for initiatives for the operational plan or strategic plan with only four or, at best, eight weeks before review with the board of directors and without any methodological accompaniment. To this end, I propose that the project design should be done earlier, depending on its complexity, in addition to incorporating in this task experts in: project design methodology (logical framework for example), procurement, finance, human resources and technical specialists.

The second proposal is professional risk management. There is a paradigm that one of my students once gave me as feedback in a workshop that I facilitated on this topic: it is believed that risk management is complex and involves data analysis (probabilities, regressions, among others). In addition, I have perceived on several occasions that team members minimize the importance of this task and consider it a waste of time. For this I propose to create a risk management plan according to the environment in which your project is carried out, demonstrate the benefits of its management to the directors and work team, carry out the qualitative analysis that is no more than prioritizing risks, create a response plan naming a risk owner and owner of the planned action, communicate the state at least once a month in written form and generate discipline in the monitoring and updating of the information. These components are sufficient to ensure that the project is executed without major deviations.

The third point I propose is to train your sponsor and management team in project management. In this regard, in these years of professional practice I have found very few executives who have solid foundations in this area and give it the priority it deserves. It would be very interesting for Project Management to reach the same rank as Law and Business Administration. In the past I have heard statements, with considerable conviction, that are summarized in “the triple constraint does not exist” and unless managers are unable to understand the value of Project Management, we will continue to hear such nonsense. For this scenario I suggest generating a workshop of no more than three hours at the beginning of the project, to explain the benefits of project management, its processes and areas of knowledge. After this, generate remembrance and this can be by creating a chat group or sending information by email along with the progress report or allocating about five minutes in meetings with your sponsor and managers.

I’m sure that the points recommended here will provide the results that are so needed in organizations to fulfill their organizational strategy without exaggerated waste of money and time.



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