Solid project and program management gives you the power to manage your business, rather than your business managing you. There are a myriad of benefits of proper project management, from managing complex numbers like budget and scheduling to supporting a team for the best possible outcome. Take a look at some other reasons project management is crucial to success:
- Stakeholder Coordination: There are often countless inputs and considerations across various stakeholders and organizations that must be accounted.
- Clear Responsibilities: Identifying who is in charge of what allows people to be assigned to the crucial elements of project management such as risks, issues, action items, and tasks.
- Enhanced Visibility: Project management provides increased visibility and awareness among your stakeholders, executive leadership, and project sponsor using things like status reports and formal, regularly recurring meetings.
- Schedule Control: With proper schedule management, you can identify when the project team is starting to slip before the entire project slips.
- Historical Records: Historical documentation can provide the impetus for de-escalation and common ground for moving forward.
- Cost Control: If you aren’t tracking your resources and hours with due diligence, your project will be over budget in no time. Actively tracking resources and hours can mitigate project risks of exceeding planned budgets.
- Lessons Learned: Maintaining an active record of lessons learned provides your future self with the knowledge necessary to improve upon your last project using recommendations for improvement and a list of things that went well.
- Compliance: When so much is at stake, you can’t afford to not comply with regulations; these will impact your project whether you like it or not. Review laws, policies, statutes, and regulations that may affect the project.
- Risks: A good project management plan will address the possible risks and consider how they relate to one another and how poor performance in one area will impact the performance in another area.
- Leaving it to Chance: A project can be very expensive, carry on for years, and require a massive amount of human resources. They can range into billions of dollars and carry on across a decade. With stakes this high, can you afford not to utilize project management in your organization?
Before we dive into the best practices of project management and the services netlogx offers, we need to define some terms:
- Project: A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result
- Program: A group of related projects, subsidiary programs, and program activities that are managed in a coordinated manner to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually
- Portfolio: A collection of projects, programs, subsidiary portfolios, and operations managed as a group to achieve strategic objectives
No matter the project, program, or portfolio, effective communication is essential. A strong communication management plan is a critical element of project success. Poor communication management within a project can quickly lead to a misunderstanding of roles and responsibilities, creating confusion and delays. This disconnect will cause the work of different stakeholder groups to become siloed and unable to blend harmoniously.
Strong communication skills underline everything we do at netlogx, and project management is no exception. Many of our netlogx consultants are Project Management Professionals (PMPs) certified by the Project Management Institute (PMI); thus, netlogx is no stranger to the Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide (PMBOK Guide) and the communication guidelines outlined in this methodology.
Most of our clients have many related projects going at the same time to further the goals of the whole organization. The projects may involve the same groups of stakeholders, subject matter experts, or resources. Learning how to communicate between each component is a necessity. Decisions made concerning one project can affect the others, so effective communication is the key for all the projects to find success. Some best practices for project communication are:
- Communicate early and often: As you identify items that may affect other projects, try to communicate in advance. Work to build good relationships with other project managers. You’ll find that you can resolve many things by working directly with them.
- Be proactive: Another vital aspect of project communication is setting aside time to proactively identify risks on the current project that may affect other projects in the organization. This will save you time and effort in the long run.
- Identify high-level risks with others: Work with project managers and staff from other projects to identify high-level risks that might affect the larger objectives. This approach can bring insight to multiple touchpoints with other projects that you may not have realized.
- Communicate the right things at the right time: For the interconnectedness of related projects to run smoothly, be aware of key deadlines for other projects and their “crunch times.” The related projects likely have different priorities than yours, so you’ll need to be aware and understand any situations where you may need to negotiate.
Know when to escalate: You need to know when to escalate issues to the program manager. If you come up against conflicts that cannot be resolved, including handling resources or scheduling, reach out. A program manager should also direct strategic-level decisions and program-level changes.
To effectively manage a program, we must first understand the focus and goals of a program. A program is focused on long-term business objectives. It has governance and oversight over multiple, related, short-term projects that complement and build off one another to achieve the program’s goals. The program should have well-defined goals and achievable objectives. These goals and objectives should be measurable, enabling the benefits and return on investment to be realized.
A successful program offers efficiency and effectiveness rather than chaos. netlogx utilizes methodology and tools to create consistency, organization, and transparency surrounding the following areas:
- Finances: Every program has a budget and expenditures that should be carefully monitored to ensure all budget areas are on track.
- Communications: Consistent status reports should be collected regularly from the project level to analyze and implement changes as needed. Status reports from the program level should be sent to stakeholders regularly to aid in transparency and assist in disseminating the same information to all involved in the program.
- Accountability: Every person and area involved in the program is accountable and responsible for the items assigned. Accountability affects the quality of the work performed, as well as timelines and deliverables.
- Flexibility: Flexibility is needed when unforeseen forces affect the program, for example, a change in regulations, system updates, or mechanical breakdowns.
- Structure: The structure of the organization and the program’s structure can impact the program’s success. The more complex the structure, the more places there are for the project to break down or have a bottleneck.
- Resources: Resources include people, equipment, and supplies. Resources can be shared between projects, both internal and external to the program. They need to be available at the right time and place.
- Business Process Consistency: Ensure the same tasks are being performed efficiently and consistently throughout the various projects within the program.
Successful organizations recognize that risk is ever-present, and they learn to master it. They take advantage of the opportunities which risk presents, and they mitigate its adverse effects. Risk management isn’t just part of project management; it is project management. It’s all about as few adverse outcomes as possible balanced against achieving desirable ones: the prevention of certain things happening but also the assurance that positive project risks are realized.
At netlogx, we don’t just guide you through setting up a risk management process. We show you how to sustain it and make the most of it too. Here’s how our iterative risk management methodology works:
- Risk management planning: We look at who we need to get on board and when and how often to conduct risk management tasks.
- Risk identification: We analyze risks and opportunities across all your business’s risk categories.
- Quantitative risk analysis: We look subjectively at probability and impact and identify critical risks. It’s here where the initial decision is made about the potential severity of a risk to a project and the potential escalation to project leadership is needed.
- Qualitative risk analysis: We’ll work out which areas need time and resources to manage the risk. We’ll also answer a fundamental question: What is the overall risk versus the benefit of the project or program?
- Risk response planning: We determine what can be done to reduce the probability and impact of a risk. Additionally, we look into increasing the likelihood and gain from opportunities that may present themselves.
- Risk monitoring and control: We put the risk response plan into action and manage its progress and compliance. This includes refining plans as further risks are identified, more qualitative and quantitative analysis is carried out, and more risk responses are planned.
Risk Management has been a fundamental aspect of our work with the Neuro Diagnostic Institute (NDI) located on the campus of Community East Hospital in Indianapolis throughout the building design, physical construction, patient move planning, and process and policy implementation. Risks spanned across different categories such as patient safety, building infrastructure, staff performance and quality, and project schedule. Risk planning, response, and mitigation should occur throughout a project and be consistently monitored.
Crisis Project Management
It’s not uncommon for organizations to encounter unforeseen challenges during large scope projects. Many problems that accompany these projects require a level of detail that organizations cannot manage in-house. In times like these, it can be incredibly helpful to employ Crisis or Rescue Project Management professionals like those at netlogx. Our consultants can help find and fill gaps to keep a project moving forward.
Good crisis project management is always about minimizing losses rather than maximizing gains. If there are gains to be maximized, that will come as the follow-up corrective activity of turnaround project management. There are three basic courses of action in crisis project management:
- Recovery to get it back on track
- Salvage whatever is possible after the point of no return is passed
- Terminate and close the project
While it’s important to know how a project got off track so that we can take action to course-correct, we often see it’s not beneficial to spend time pointing fingers. Here’s what you can expect if your organization employs netlogx crisis project management:
- Troubleshooting: Our troubleshooters free your best and brightest people to focus on opportunities instead of problems. When confidence and credibility are strained, this is critical.
- Refocus: We’ll help you focus on the economic value of what you’ve got and help you learn to move beyond the crisis.
- Rapid Response: You’ll get a quick response and rapid results from netlogx. We’ll take control of the project, address its problems and do what’s needed to make it healthy again.
- Preventative Measures: We’ll also put in place preventative measures to keep it healthy—and we pledge to be on-site within 24 hours of an engagement agreement, with an emergency assessment and response plan following within 36 to 72 hours after that.
Project Closure and Completion Services
Closing a project down must be done carefully. It’s the stage of a project that’s as important as any other, and there are major challenges that can obstruct its completion:
- Staff may be needed for more pressing projects
- Staff may lack motivation if a project is canceled early
- Poor project management can lead to a lack of understanding of project closure activities
- Project documentation
These netlogx services are useful when clients want to transition project team members to other immediate work areas. We’ll assist your business in getting the right completion, product roll-out, start-up, and commissioning activities in place, together with the proper organizational ramp-up requirements.
We’ll independently review your project’s performance by looking at the current health of projects, lessons learned, and independent validation of projects and processes. We’ll look at the circumstances of your project before deciding whether closing it is for the best. This might apply to:
- Premature, perpetual, or failed projects
- Projects where priorities have changed
- Project closure process
When all factors have been considered, we might find ourselves in a situation where a project faces closure. We’ll make sure that you have everything you need after a project is declared complete, including:
- Producing validated “in-process” documentation
- Ensuring that project documentation is implemented
- The development of effective archiving practices
Our Approach to Project and Program Management
Long-term, sustained project success only happens with input, effort, and buy-in from everyone, top to bottom. Our consultants always keep in mind that projects are a team effort and that there wouldn’t be a project team if one person could do it all themselves.
netlogx’ servant leadership approach emphasizes the development of workers under the leader to better the team as a whole. We work with supporting roles like project coordinators and are always on the lookout for opportunities to give them more responsibilities and lead them toward more management duties. While there is still a structure to the way we manage projects and programs, a servant leader project manager is just as likely to take meeting minutes as a project coordinator. We operate under the maxim, “Don’t ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself”
netlogx approaches every project with a foundation of industry-accepted disciplines, standards, and our experience in delivering successful projects. The netlogx approach to project management is structured in alignment with the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). While the triple constraints (time, cost, and scope) are important to every project, success also hinges on quality, benefits, and risks. A project managed to time, cost, and scope can still fall short of organizational expectations if quality, benefits, and risks are not addressed and managed.
What sets netlogx project management methods apart from others is a focus on results, driven by continually improved processes that culminate in projects that are viewed as successful in the eyes of our stakeholders. netlogx can help map out a clear plan to ensure the outcome meets the goals of your project. Our experienced project managers guide organizations throughout the entire lifecycle of our clients’ projects.
Our range of specialists also includes:
- Technical project managers with specialist industry knowledge, whose services are utilized for time spans of a few days to a few months
- Highly-qualified project executives who serve either Chief Project Officers on corporate recovery teams, or who work with project directors or managers on an interim basis
- Services for the set-up, staffing, or assessment of the increasingly important Project Management Office (PMO) approach
We’re here to guide you through your business’s complex problems and drive continuous improvement. Your approach to programs will be more consistent and you will see greater visibility into how they work.
Our project and risk management services give you the power to manage your business, rather than your business managing you. Reach out to us today to see how netlogx can help your organization.