Project Manager – nice position, hard to be good at it


Why is it important to have good skills for project manager?

A project is a time-limited endeavor by an entrepreneur(project manager) to create a unique product, service, or result.

Every project must have a clearly defined beginning and end. The project ends when it becomes clear that the project objectives have been met or when it is determined that the project objectives cannot or will not be met.

A project may also end when the client (buyer, sponsor) wishes to discontinue the project. Regardless of whether they are short projects or projects that last for years, projects have their end.

There are activities that are called projects but are not, and there are also activities that are not perceived as projects but can be organized and managed as projects.


Why do projects fail?

Mostly because the project is not (properly) managed. In project management we usually apply the project management methodology standards defined by Project Management Institute (PMI), described in Project Management Body Guide and based on our long experience in managing and implementing complex IT and organizational projects.


Other common reasons why projects fail:

– Poor communication (28%)


– Inadequate resource planning (18%)

– Unrealistic schedule (13.2%)

– Poor project requirements (9.8%)

– Lack of supportive stakeholders (6.7%)

Projects are declared a failure if they are not completed within the agreed deadlines, do not deliver the agreed functionality and exceed the agreed budget.


Consequences of poor Project Management activities

-20% of projects fail at the beginning

– 50% of projects exceed the planned budget

– 70% of projects do not achieve the set goals (deadlines, costs, quality)

– Only 30% of the projects have a successful completion

Project Management processes

The standard Project Management divides all processes into 5 groups:

Initiation process: defines and authorizes the project.

Planning process: defines and supports the objectives, plans the activities necessary to achieve the goals and scope for which the project was started.

Execution process: integrates people and resources to implement the project management plan.

Supervision and Control process: measures and monitors the progress of execution, with the goal of identifying differences from the project management plan, in order to take corrective actions, if necessary, to achieve the project objectives.

Closure process: formalizes the acceptance of project deliverables and brings the project to the expected completion.

Project management involves identifying project requirements, stakeholder expectations, and balancing project constraints of scope, quality, schedule, budget, resources, and risks.

Because of this uniqueness, the project is developed incrementally, the project plan is constantly improved and detailed through a series of iterations, all based on the information gathered as the project becomes more detailed and the estimates become more accurate.

The project is completed when the Investor (or on behalf of the investor, the supervisory body) and the Supplier jointly determine that the objectives of the project have or cannot be met. The project is carried out by a temporary project team, which is disbanded upon completion of the project.

What does it mean to be a project manager?

– Establish a project organization

– Define the organization of the project

– Create the structure of the project team

– Assign roles, tasks and responsibilitiesproject-manager-invoice-crowd-03

– Define work breakdown structure (WBS)

– Define a feasible project plan with control points and phased deliveries

– Identify, quantify, plan, monitor, manage risks, time, cost, scope, resources, changes

– Systematic, continuous, documented reporting of project progress relative to the project plan

– Resolve deviations from the project plan

– Lead the change management process in the project

– Establish an effective and up-to-date communication system on the project.

– Deliverables

– Project Charter

– Scope of the project

– Project Management plan

– Continuous reporting on project progress

– Delivery log

– Change Management

Changes in the project

Any change in the project, especially in the scope of work, may affect the planned execution dates, planned costs, and planned quality of the desired product or service. The authorized Request for Change describes the change, the reason for the change, and the impact of the change on the Scope of Work. The committee deciding on the changes can accept or reject the Request for Change after studying it.

Clearly defined requirements, aligned stakeholder expectations, project plans, a realistic budget and schedule, the experience of the project manager, and effective communication all contribute significantly to successful project management. Defined processes and methods are critical to project success.

Advantages of formal management

– Better control of financial, physical and human resources

– Better customer relations (unique communication “interface” with the customer)

– Shorter project execution time


– Lower costs

– More quality and improved reliability

– Higher project profitability

– Higher productivity

– Improved internal coordination

– Improved morale


Poor steps in negotiating the project

– Bad preparation, i.e. unclear objectives, inflexibility and disregard for competition.

– Poor approach to negotiation, i.e. hard bargaining, unwillingness to make concessions, and not separating the problem from the person.

– Poor behavior in negotiations, i.e. impatience, ruthlessness and emotional instability.


Recommendations for a successful negotiation

– Gather as much information as possible about the other party / the issue.

– Determine negotiation tactics and strategies in advance

– Start negotiations in a positive tone

– Focus attention on issues and not on peopleproject-manager-invoice-crowd-04

– Do not respond to the other side’s emotional attacks

– Insist on the use of objective criteria

– Initial offers do not require much attention

– Emphasize the winner-winner solution

– Create an atmosphere of trust

– Accept third party help when needed


Additional 12 steps to a successful project

1. Agree with the client on success factors and key constraints – in writing
2. List tasks
3. Estimate time and cost for each task
4. Assess dependencies and draw a “critical path” – how long will the project take?
5. Consider important tasks that conflict or overlap
6. Prepare a Gantt chart for the project
7. Calculate required resources needed over time: adjust using auxiliary tasks
8. Assess risks and create action plans (Prevention and Contingency)
9. Track progress according to Gantt chart – pay particular attention to key tasks
10. Track cumulative costs
11. Make decisions about variances and communicate progress and changes
12. Audit – learn from each project

Knowledge is acquired not only through education but also through practice, through a series of successful and unsuccessful projects. We should not forget to learn from our (and others’) mistakes.