Wednesday 2 February 2022

What does the working day of the project manager take?

Sometimes managers may have a question: "Where is the time of the project manager spent?". Why can't a project manager run five or ten projects at a time? In this post, I will try to answer this question.

First of all, I would like to indicate that in this article we will talk about projects for the implementation of IT systems critical for business, for example, enterprise management systems. If the IT system is not critical for the business, then you can simply reduce the amount of time spent on the list items below, but the list itself will remain approximately the same.

1. Work with mail.

It is in the first place in terms of the frequency of use in work. Includes reading, thinking, clarifying by phone (+ searching for an employee), searching for answers to questions asked (including calls with employees who know these answers), making decisions, answering questions. The main problem on this point is that it is not always possible to immediately respond to letters. Often you need to find an employee, call him, clarify something, etc., and this takes time.

2. Meetings.

If the project affects more than one department, then it is more correct and faster to solve problems at meetings, because you can immediately gather all interested parties and give them the opportunity to come to a single solution. From this item follows the preparation of the agenda of meetings and minutes of meetings. The main problem in this case is the periodic inability to agree on the participants of the meeting. In this case, the problem and the subject of discussion are brought to a higher level, or some other solution is found (which will also take time).

3. Project planning.

Includes the definition of requirements for the product (performed by an analyst, but the project manager at this stage is actively involved, because already at this stage he needs to link the timing, money and functionality / quality of the product into a single whole). The main problem in planning is, as a rule, a low level of understanding of the project framework. They are still being established and need to be balanced between all stakeholders. Negotiation, persuasion, all this takes time.

4. Control over the progress of the project.

The project never goes according to plan itself. It is necessary to intervene in a timely manner and monitor all deviations from the plan, and if necessary, change the plan. Hence, all changes are coordinated, including an assessment of their impact, explanatory work on why these changes are needed, what they carry and what consequences will arise. This can also include working with risks and project stakeholders, as risks need to be identified, a decision must be made for each decision, and then monitor risk response and response (if necessary). Most ignore risk management or do it formally. In my practice, there were several cases when, if it were not for the work with loss risks, it would be much higher and one case when working with risks simply covered the entire project team. When working with stakeholders, time is also wasted, because a) if you do not work closely with them, they forget about the project and decisions on it, and the project has a chance to start "stalling" b) sometimes there is a change of stakeholders on the project and then the requirements for the project may change. In any case, you need to track the changes of stakeholders on the project and, if they occur, work with them, which also takes time.

5. Procedures for maintaining document flow.

Although they do not take as much time as, for example, to monitor the progress of the project, but still significantly. This includes the time spent on the coordination and signing of paper versions of documents, on their transfer by various departments. A simple example would be the registration of an intangible asset in a system implementation project. In this case, you may need a large number of different documents drawn up in accordance with the rules of the company, so that the accounting department can accept IA for accounting. It may take a significant amount of time to process documents in accordance with the requirements of the law, or the policies in force in the company.

6. Solving problems with the project team.

In the case when several people from different departments work on the project, conflicts and situations of blurred responsibility for work are already possible. When the number of people is measured in dozens, the time spent by the project manager to solve problems related to the team becomes very significant. Also, the amount of time spent on communication increases significantly.

7. Acceptance of "someone else's" work, and sometimes gold plating.

There is a situation when, looking at how the employee does not cope, the project manager consciously takes on additional work to ensure the safety of the project. This happens when the project manager helps the analyst deal with the requirements or when the project manager informally tries to help one or more line managers organize the work of their experts (who are not part of the project team) and in other cases. The reason may be both the approach "if you want it to be done well - do it yourself", and, for example, friendly, informal relations with an employee who is helped by the project manager. Such actions are not just time-consuming, they are not taken into account and are difficult to justify.

This list does not purport to be complete. Of course, there are other users of the project manager's time. However, in my opinion, there is enough information in it to make it obvious that the more complex and large the project, the more time the project manager spends on it, and also that a decrease in the time spent by the project manager on the project clearly results in a decrease in the quality of the project itself, and sometimes the product.

No comments:

Post a Comment