The world of work is becoming more complex and unpredictable. Covid-19 has made the term ‘business-as-usual’ seem almost redundant.
So how do we begin to grapple with these complexities when leading a successful organisation in uncertain times? One of the most vital tools is effective project management.
Effective project management gives you the ability to shift from dealing with project crisis to focusing on enhancing project performance, and ultimately, delivering more value for the organisation. Effective project organisation and project management practices help you to plan, implement, and review throughout a project towards a pre-agreed outcome. It also means that you can learn and improve things for the next project. When project management is done well, everyone knows what role they play, the timeframes involved, how to mitigate risks, and what to do when things aren’t going according to plan.
Project management is a weakness in New Zealand organisations
While effective project management is a key professional skill, there is room for improvement in New Zealand. AskYourTeam has carried out research which shows managing projects from concept through to review is a critical weakness across all New Zealand business sectors..
Our findings show that both leaders and employees have recognised a lack of structure and discipline in project management, along with inadequate communication when projects change, or deadlines are shifted. Another area marked for improvement is reviewing projects to see how successful they were, and whether they achieved their desired outcomes. This means future projects are often unable to leverage what was learned previously, and organisations can easily fall into a cycle of underperformance.
A pathway for successful project management
When it comes to successful project management, there are three key phases to follow: planning, implementation and review. There are important factors to be considered in each phase that can help drive efficiency and deliver better quality and performance results.
Early planning and organising are essential to a project’s success. This phase of project management should consider the bigger picture (organisation and people) as well as the nuts and bolts of the project itself.
What impact will the project have on your organisation, including its culture? Do people understand the risks as well as the benefits, and how to mitigate them? Has it been researched effectively and does everyone involved understand what is expected of them and when?
Effective planning means complying with the policies and processes already followed by your organisation and having plans documented in way that are simple to understand and follow, including project costs, deadlines and roles. The more ambiguous your planning is, the more likely you’ll run into trouble during the implementation phase.