Effective project management is much more than just theory…

Winning project management protects your resources: time, money, equipment, and PEOPLE.

There are undoubtedly theoretical aspects to project management; they are, in fact, often unavoidable. However, too many project management trainers and training focus almost exclusively on forced memorization techniques for ridiculous theories.  

We then wonder why project managers routinely lose the fight after learning and being certified in these theories. They have to adjust from the paradigm of learning ITTOs, Knowledge Areas, and Process Groups to start winning within their project environments.

Sadly, many of you have been set up for failure within an industry solely intent on making you memorize material.  

Again, there is a time and place to learn theory. There is also a time and place to focus on winning: protecting the organizational resources and achieving the desired outcomes.

Here are three tips to help you out.

1: Focus on doing the right project the right way.

Doing the RIGHT project means ensuring the project should have been undertaken in the first place. Too many projects start from little more than a good idea.  

There is little to no effort spent determining the project’s validity or how it aligns with organizational strategy. Project Managers must understand that not all ideas (despite how great they are) must commence immediately.  

Time spent on projects that should have never started wastes time you will never get back.

You’d do well to look at how you spend your days and see which projects you are a part of that should never have started and are little more than a time-suck.  

Too many projects are doomed from the start as they are born through nothing more complex than a shower thought.

2: Understand the constraints within your project.

Seasoned project managers understand all projects have constraints. Identifying these constraints correctly and optimizing their approach (due to them) is a massive indicator of project success.  

Weak project managers tend to think all projects contain the same constraints and necessitate the same approach.

I also can’t stress the importance of effective stakeholder communication throughout the project. We often incorrectly think communication is free-flowing and effective when the reality is far different. 

Project managers who win do so through their ability to communicate and OVER communicate to ALL project stakeholders.  

3: Be proactive and deliberate.

Project management is a complex endeavor (on a good day). Project managers must be proactive in problem-solving, communication, conflict resolution, risk identification, procurement necessities, team development, and more.  

Winning in projects takes effort. Those adept at controlling their calendars will be infinitely saner throughout the project as change and issues occur.  

Schedule time to write the status reports needed to satiate stakeholder concerns.  

Schedule time to sync with the team members who need encouragement or support.

Say no to unnecessary meetings.  

Schedule time to get done the things that only you can do.  

Forced reactiveness to problems derails too many of us each day. Start controlling your time instead of wondering where it went.