Project Management Concepts – Most Important Resource

I’ve been giving some thought recently as to what lies behind the work we do as project managers. Too often we get caught up in the tools and techniques, the how of what we do, without looking at the concepts and ideas behind it, the why of what we do.

Today, I want to look at what is controlled, the resources that we can use to carry out the work of the project, and particularly the most important resource. The concept I am looking at today is: The project team is a project’s most important resource. Guard them well, to allow them to get on with their tasks.

We already know that we can, within limits, control time taken, money spent, and scope fulfilled. But how are they controlled? Essentially, we are looking at how we can control these three resources. A project manager will have a certain amount of time and money to achieve a certain amount of scope.

But the key resource, the one which effects all of the project, is, of course, the team of people who are actually doing the work. In them, the three areas of control are combined.

Each of the team members has only a limited amount of time they can work on the project. Each of the team members will need to be paid for. And each of the team members will have different skills, and different abilities. Project management, then, needs to be able to guide the work of the team in the right way. We must allocate the work to the right individuals, giving guidance as to how long to spend on it, what quality is needed, and, if expenditure other than that on the team member’s salary is needed, how much can be spent.

So, we need control of the resources allocated to the project, and that includes the team. But, unlike money and time, team members can easily be distracted and pulled off to work on something else. But a project manager needs to retain control.

This leads us to a project management concept: The project team is a project’s most important resource. Guard them well, to allow them to get on with their tasks.

Project Management Concepts – Only Assigned Work

I’ve been giving some thought recently as to what lies behind the work we do as project managers. Too often we get caught up in the tools and techniques, the how of what we do, without looking at the concepts and ideas behind it, the why of what we do.

Today, I want to look at one of the fundamental ways we maintain control on a project. As we already know, control is impossible without awareness. So we’ll also look at one of the ways that we can gain that awareness. The concept I am looking at today is: Only work a project team member is doing on something assigned by the project manager is project work.

We know we need both awareness and control of the project. One of the clearest and simplest ways for us to gain awareness is to make sure that only we assign work that project team members do on the project. Indeed, this is one of the purposes of the our role – to allocate the work sensibly, without having to do it all him- or herself.

But by assigning the work, we are also taking control. By doing this, we are demonstrating to the project team that only work assigned like this is work that should be being done on the project. Thus, assigning work gives us more than just awareness, it is also giving us control.

That means that making sure you, as the manager of the project, are the only one handing out the work, and the one making sure that that work is being done, is vital. Only the work that you have assigned should be being done by your team members.

And that gives us our project management concept: Only work a project team member is doing on something assigned by the project manager is project work

Project Management Concepts – Awareness and Control

I’ve been giving some thought recently as to what lies behind the work we do as project managers. Too often we get caught up in the tools and techniques, the how of what we do, without looking at the concepts and ideas behind it, the why of what we do.

Today, I want to look at what we are trying to achieve when managing a project. What do we actually want to get from project management?

The project management concept I want to look at today is: Project management needs both awareness and control of the project. Control is impossible without awareness.

We already know that project management is about bringing change into a business, in a limited fashion. In other words, we attempt to control change, to stop it being chaos.

But to be able to do that, to have that element of control, we also need to understand what is actually happening with the project. We need to have an awareness of what is going on.

Without that awareness, control becomes impossible. You simply cannot know what direction you need to steer the project in if you don’t know what direction it is currently going in! You can’t know if your attempts at control are working unless you can see what is happening.

So, we need to be aware of what is happening in the project, so that we can then try to control what is happening in the project. And that brings us to a project management concept: Project management needs both awareness and control of the project. Control is impossible without awareness.