Now that we’re in the thick of the gift-giving season, it seems like a good time to put together a list of gifts every project management professional would love to receive. But rather than focusing on quantity like the holiday songs of yore, we opted instead for quality—gifts that would be truly valuable to PMPs. We hope you enjoy the 10 Days of Project Management (singing optional).
Day 1 – A clear set of achievables. Scope creep has the potential to waylay every good intention and every effective action. Progress often grinds to a halt when objectives are murky or when a project’s target is always shifting. Beginning a project with a clearly defined—and mutually supported—set of achievables would be a great gift to receive.
Day 2 – Several workable contingencies for each potential problem. It’s not enough to identify issues that may come up throughout a project. The team must also devise a strategy to address those concerns, preferably through proactive measures. And because problems are rarely easily tamed creatures, having more than one possible solution is always preferred.
Day 3 – Ideas to save money on every bid. When a vendor proposal comes in higher than anticipated or when unexpected material shortages drive up costs, alternate suppliers may not be able to do much better. It’s always good to have a few innovative strategies in reserve to keep things within budget.
Day 4 – Technology platforms that facilitate efficiency. Today’s PMOs have a lot on their plates and there are times it seems there just aren’t enough hours in the day or members on the team to accomplish everything. From e-mail platforms to budget spreadsheets, robust technology tools have the ability to tame task lists and enable PMPs to succeed even under very heavy workloads.
Day 5 – Ample opportunities for training. It can be difficult to set aside enough time and get adequate funding approved. But once those pieces are in place, the biggest relief often comes when a seat in a relevant training course taught by an experienced instructor becomes available.
Day 6 – Multiple layers of patience to deal with issues. It’s true, project management can sometimes test a PMP’s patience. Supply chains can break down, vendors can experience labor issues, stakeholders can change their minds (as well as have selective memories). Human nature being what it is—and coupled with the workload many PMOs carry—patience is something project teams can always use more of.
Day 7 – Seasoned mentors to lead the team. Regardless of the expertise that resides within a project office, it’s always nice to have someone available to answer questions and offer thoughtful insight. The presence of an experienced PMP is an especially welcome gift when junior-level team members need guidance and support.
Day 8 – Troops of engaged stakeholders. Any PMP will tell you that a project’s outcome is always better when stakeholders are involved in the process and committed to its success. They’re typically more realistic when it comes to establishing timeframes and expectations, and they’re more candid about providing constructive feedback.
Day 9 – A group of supportive executives. Problems sometimes crop up that are too big to be resolved within the PMO—staffing, funding, and strategic alliances are just a few. Having an interested and committed leadership team can be instrumental in overcoming significant project management obstacles.
Day 10 – Awesome team members. The combined expertise and skill set of a great project management team makes the whole of a PMO more capable than the sum of its parts. Working with competent team mates who take their roles seriously brings everyone’s performance to new levels.
Project management training tips provided by PMAlliance Inc.