PROJECT MANAGEMENT: Do you have what it takes?



Companies are looking for a way to stay ahead of the pack in today’s competitive and aggressive global economy; thus, they are now turning to project management to consistently deliver business results.

So, you won a big deal. You celebrate. What’s next? Client-relationships and Client Bliss relies solely on Project deliverables and not on Sales. “The delivery of business out-comes is realized through the success of projects, and in essence that is the way that project management strategies drive organizational success,” says Adrian McKnight, PMP, program director at Suncorp-Metway Ltd.

ET Marlabs management trio – George Varghese, CEO, Sreekanth Keshava, Director & COO, and Praveen Louis, Chief Delivery Officer, ensure that the client’s voice is heard throughout the project phase, and that at the end of it, the client is smiling.

So what does it take ETians to deliver project after project with such commitment and exuberance each time?

Effective project management includes strategies, tactics, and tools for managing the design and construction of delivery processes. Excellence in Project Management is achieved through a structured process that includes multiple phases such as:

Every project starts with planning: Planning of resources, project timelines, modules to be completed in each phase /drop, etc. With a Project Plan in place, we achieve the level of granularity needed to manage the project on a day-to-day basis.

Ability to connect with the team
It is important to understand that not all resources are on the same or equivalent wavelength. The ability of a project manager lies in understanding the strengths of each team member and allocating tasks accordingly. Empathy and boosting the team’s morale also plays a significant role.

Knowing when to say “No”
“Customer is King” as someone once said, and at ET Marlabs we aptly believe so. While it is easy to nod your head to whatever is being dictated by the client, it is sometimes important to be able to say “NO” and suggest what you think is best for the project. Sometimes clients might not realize what they are asking for is not necessarily best for the project. In such a scenario, the Project Manager, has to transform into a Customer-Advocate to educate the customer about what is best for them.

Open and effective communication
Effective communication with customers is the key to a successful project. While you religiously update your customers about the progress of the project, it is also important to duly inform them of hiccups in the project or any problems that may occur in the future. It is also essential to have “hard talk” with your client if it is in the best interests of the client, and of course, the project. For instance, disagreements on what the project is expected to deliver should be sorted at the outset.

Daily stand-ups
The team meets everyday so as to bring everyone up-to-date on the information that is vital for coordination; each team members briefly describes any obstacles that stand in their way and update tasks that are completed. The daily meeting prevents a common failure mode of teams, where in the absence of an explicit occasion to share recent information, some critical knowledge may sometimes fall through the cracks.

Governance calls
A governance call is set-up with the customer and other key stakeholders, project manager, consultant (if need be) to discuss impending issues, provide direction on escalated issues, review project progress. This creates transparency and trust in the customer, thereby avoiding any future-possible escalations.

Timely project reviews with superiors
Project reviews are a useful and powerful way of adding a continuous improvement mechanism. Keeping the client updated on weekly progress helps understand the hurdles faced. If the project is struck in a particular phase or if there are delays due to the client (be it for data issues or inability to send required information by the client within the stipulated time), the project reports depict the delays in deliverables.

People skills
Ability to handle a difficult client tactfully and skillfully, and the ability to convince clients, is definitely an added advantage.

To conclude, a project can be successful only if there is a comfortable working relationship between all the team members involved. Also, there has to be a shared vision to deliver the project in the best possible way alongside effective communication with clients through the life of the project and beyond.

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