Project Management

Six Lessons for Intelligent Project Management

Don’t Isolate Projects

Isolating projects (and project managers) from overall company goals is as short sighted as it is dangerous. Michael Krigsman explains how there are some elements that are well outside of a project manager’s control—such as executive support, success metrics and even the budget is often created without the project manager’s involvement or explicit agreement.

With this in mind, Krigsman lists six lessons for intelligent project management. They include: 

  • Having staff wait for work (rather than work waiting for staff)

  • Multitasking is more prevalent and more harmful than anyone thinks

  • Eliminate apple polishing

  • Don’t overdefine the tasks

  • Be aggressive about business improvement

  • Provide a holistic view for all team members

Think About Your Staff

Some of these tips seem to go against the standard practices of most companies (like having staff waiting around for work, which probably feels wrong to most managers), but in truth they are intelligent ways to avoid the stress and troubles that come with only having just enough staff or not having the right things going on in a project.

The first response that most companies have when they fear they do not have enough employees for projects is to push the employees they do have to multitask. Krigsman is adamantly opposed to this:

Companies that don't understand the importance of Lesson No. 1 [having staff waiting for work rather than work waiting for staff] inevitably attempt to maximize staff utilization. The problem is that most attempts to maximize staff utilization do more harm than good. Employees never multitask, of course. What the word actually means is having to switch from one task to another, unpredictably and often.

All of these lessons point to being prepared and enabling employees to do their best, affecting not only the outcome of the project but also the overall effort of the entire company. If a project manager loses sight of what good the project does for the company, it will surely struggle. Read the full article here:

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