Wednesday 15 December 2021

How to be a perfect project manager

A competent project manager should have the following capabilities:

Be easy to communicate

In 2002, the author personally asked a project management expert in the United States - Dr. William Wells, a former program host for the Apollo moon landings in the United States, asked him what a project manager needed most. At that time, his answer was "three things that a project manager needs most, first, communication, second, communication, and third, communication".

Please recall what part of the project you spent most of your time on?

report work progress with the leadership, introduce products and explain the results of the work with the customer, confess to the project members, seek support from other personnel in the unit, coordinate and cooperate with the co-operatives... for project managers, most of the day is spent communicating with people.

communication can be simple or complex. for some people, anyway, communication is to express my opinion, what is the difficulty. but in the course of the project there are so many people related to the project, so to consider is not only to express the views, but "in what time, what way to use, what kind of information, to what kind of people."

many project managers are "passive project managers". it's like, "you say what project information you want first, and i think i can get that information out to you." therefore, the work of information collation is basically not included in the work control, can only see the recruitment, with the mentality to deal with the supply of information.

if you change to a more active point of view, the project manager first understand what each person related to the project wants to know, this information must have duplicates, and then this information to do a sorting classification, not waiting for you to open your mouth, i will first provide to you, so that you have no doubts about the project, passive to active. there is no "surprise" for the project manager that these sorting and classification actions are directly included in the control of the project manager's work.

It's simple to say, it's not hard to do, two hours can do a good communication plan, a few steps to master it:

(1) meet the project stakeholders
(2) analysis of the information needs of project stakeholders
(3) find out the type of information according to the information needs
(4) classify the types of information
(5) determines the cycle of information transmission
(6) determine how information is transmitted
(7) collect information
(8) pass the message
(9) review the effectiveness of information delivery

Think well

The project manager is a bit like a magician. consider performing those magic tricks beforehand, then prepare the props, work with the assistant, lighting and stage, simulate the drill several times, instruct each person how to interact, and think in advance what to do if something goes wrong; after confirming that there is no problem, start performing; when performing, we should control the atmosphere of the venue, so that the whole field has the feeling of high tide; if something goes wrong, be able to respond immediately so that the program can continue, rather than pausing; after the show, thank everyone for their cooperation, while reviewing the entire performance process needs to be improved, so that a performance is officially concluded.

It is the project manager's responsibility to take control of the whole scene and present the performance flawlessly. however, too difficult, the implementation of the project people know that first of all, customer needs are not easy to understand, the second plan time is not enough, and then the implementation of the problem, until the end can only be hasty.

Performance magic can be drilled in advance, find out the problem first solve, the implementation of the project can not be first over again. therefore, whether the project manager can not be enough to the next six months, a year or two how to implement and respond to the first "play" over, on the success of the project has a great impact. and that's up to the project manager to do the "plan" effort. planning is actually very annoying, i believe everyone has experience. must consider how much time, how to do, who can do, technical support, key technology can master, etc. , to do this step, i am afraid already full of sweat.

Do a small exercise: take a piece of white paper, on the top edge of the paper will first be handed over to the customer's products in a tree-like way to draw. then in the middle of the paper, how will the main work steps of this product (5-6 can be), in the form of a flowchart connected by arrows from left to right; parts that require the cooperation of suppliers or other units point to the main steps in a branched manner.

These steps are the basis of the whole plan. from the figure above, detailed work steps and time, human resources and budgetary requirements, procurement items and contractor requirements can be developed. how to develop these details is limited to length, and then talk about.

That's not enough. take another piece of white paper and list the problems that may arise from performing these work steps. this is a critical step, the more columns there are, the less the machine will deal with (imagine if 100 problems could occur during the project implementation, you can consider 99 in advance, you just have to worry about that suddenly appear 1; but if you only think about one in advance, the result is no longer there. these are the problems that you have to deal with up-to-date to reduce the time it takes to deal with unexpected situations.

Two sheets of paper, a planned framework will take shape. this is not enough to execute the project, but at least the project manager will first think about the entire project implementation process (as magicians do first rehearsals), but also to establish a detailed plan for the foundation. from the above exercises, it is not difficult to make plans, the focus is not to think, not to do.

Be able to predict results

A friend recently went to the united states, the plane was delayed, the airline did not announce how long it would be delayed, so at the airport sat for three hours. passengers on that flight, some people need to transfer, some people have relatives and friends at the destination airport pick-up, some people first visit the united states. seeing everyone at the airport at this point is an anxious look, and the reason for the anxiety is that they can't know how much time they're missing, so there's no way to control the trip. is the same true of your project?

The plan is "think" and the execution is "do". when you really do it, you have problems such as demand, ability, technology, management, manpower, etc., which affect the effectiveness of execution. "although it can all be done in the end, the project manager is like the passengers if it is impossible to speculate on the time, cost and output of the completion." therefore, in addition to planning, the project manager should be able to comprehensively study the situation and predict the project time, cost and output results.

In the case of a one-year project, the project manager is responsible for success or failure after the start, and all the pressure falls on the project manager. Every day the project manager wants, should not be just who's problem to solve, today's day how to live, but a year later today. 

Whether I can deliver what the customer wants on time, the company's project surplus target can be achieved, today can not be achieved, the rest of the time how I should deal with to achieve. So in general, the project manager has to do not only Micro Management, but also Mac Roe Management. The most basic way to achieve Macro Management is to predict the results of the project from a comprehensive perspective and adopt a variety of responses.

How do you predict the outcome?

Today's work delay, tomorrow will also be delayed, the day after tomorrow will also be delayed, in the future how to make up for it? traditional project managers have no concept at this point in time, and the result is that they are not on the job until the end of the project, and it is only then that they find that the money they spend has already eaten up the profits.

It is better to have a problem today, find out why, and assess how it can be solved. if there must be an increase in time and manpower, then suppose that today's work has to be extended by two weeks, according to the schedule to push down, all related work, including human resources, contractors, costs of the impact of why to find out; look further down to whether there will be delays in pushing the project to completion time (not all work delays have an impact on project completion times!); if there is an impact, think about how the follow-up work should be adjusted in advance to moderate the allocation of resources. 


To do these assessments, the easier way is to still rely on project management software. at present, project management software, whether domestic or foreign, can be able to plan functions, but also through the adjustment of the plan, to analyze the overall impact.

The project manager's job is actually very complicated. for a project manager who doesn't want to look at the big picture, all of these steps are unknowingly omitted. but for an enterprise, it is not just a play that is run by a project manager who has no skills to follow the show, the company's time, reputation, profitability and quality assurance.

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