I had the good fortune of attending a very insightful workshop on Project Management, recently. The trainer was someone with over 25 years of experience in the field. A civil engineer by profession, he had jumped into the field of Project Management quite by accident. Consequently, the workshop was a curious mix of practical know-how from various domains and theoretical inputs from PM methodologies, making the exercise well worth the time spent.
For me, the most intriguing part of the program was the fact that the trainer’s basic premise was : Most of what we need to do to be good project managers, we already know as children!
Here are some examples of “best practices” of Project Management :
1. Make the project scope clear
Remember, when we send a child to the grocery store to make any purchase, we make the child repeat the entire list to make sure he’s got it right?
2. Paint the BIG picture
Remember, how our parents show us an aeroplane and tell us when we grow up, if we become a pilot, we will get to fly that plane?
3. Adopt a common vocabulary
Remember, as adults, when we need to talk to a child, we talk to them in a simple language, often by squatting down to ground level?
4. Focus on the success criteria
Remember, how a child is always clear of the reward he’s going to get if he performs well in his exams?
5. Review “% completed”, not “% remaining”
Remember, how we always ask how much homework is remaining, instead of how many hours have been put-in already?
Home truths, if you please. How inherently simple… yet profound!