pnaybour

Paul Naybour is the Business Development Director of Parallel Project Training. He has been a project management consultant for 9 years and experience managing project management development programmes for many clients small and large. To get in touch contact paul via www.parallelprojecttraining.com or visit Paul's Google Profile

Sep 262014
 
Plan with Microsoft Project

Microsoft Project is almost an essential tool for project managers these days. Knowing how to use this tool is a given for any manager but using it well is something not everyone can achieve. Apart from the world of benefits of Microsoft Project, this tool is more than just for creating a basic project. It has advanced features and basic features, meant to cater to the project manager and teammates. In order to use this tool to its full potential, training from a competent source is extremely important. The following points explain the benefits of Microsoft Project Training –

  • Get Organized – When it comes to a project manager’s regular routine, there are many projects that are time sensitive. Any small delay can result in a lot of headaches and financial losses for the company. This is why Microsoft Project’s organization skills can be extremely important. Microsoft Project training teaches a manager how to use these organization tools to the team’s advantage. Static scheduling issues can be avoided and the manager can easily determine the impact that the smallest of delays will have on successive tasks. Microsoft Project training can make a manager a master of organization.
  • Get Results – Microsoft Project training allows the manager to establish a greater degree of control and flexibility over a project. Efficiency is improved because of the tools of Microsoft Project, but it would not be of any use if the manager is unaware of the various features (both basic and advanced) of Microsoft Project. Analyzing a program to locate problems and solve them can be easily managed with Microsoft Project and adhering to deadlines has become extremely easy for managers because of this feature. In order to manage expectations and estimate the delivery date of the project, project manager needs Microsoft Project training.
  • Win Jobs – Microsoft Project offers superior features that not only help a manager in day to day managing but also win them various jobs. As a simple example – submitting a tender response with a professional looking brochure that consists of information about the teams, projects, and company would win accolades. However, the thing that would really seal the deal is when this brochure is backed by a Gantt chart, showing that the manager can plan and organize effectively. As compared to this, a simple spreadsheet with color coded cells would fall flat. This is what Microsoft Project Planning can teach a project manager to do.
  • Master the Basics – The basics of Microsoft Project are pretty useful and every manager must be familiar with them. These include –

How to Use Templates

The basic components of every project start with ‘Inception’ and move on to ‘Elaboration’. Then you have ‘Construction’ and finally, ‘Transition’. The methodology might differ and this could change the terms but the basic idea would still remain the same with every project. If a manager is able to create certain basic templates for various projects because of Microsoft Project training, they could save time on fundamentals and duplication.

How to Estimate Timelines

It is common for project managers to sit in meetings and have their business partner ask them about project timeline of a project that was just conceived minutes ago. This is why it is common to take the laptop to meetings. With Microsoft Project training, the manager can take into account the level of effort (high, medium or low), make some basic assumptions about required work, and quickly deliver an estimated timeline for the project.

How to Evaluate What If Scenarios

If a manager is told by their boss that X weeks for completing a project is too long, without Microsoft Project training they would be stuck. However, thanks to Microsoft Project, the manager can evaluate what if scenarios and go back for criteria modification. It is easy to tweak the amount of resources, manpower required, level of work, and other parameters to check out different scenarios and come up with something that is more appealing to the boss.

Learn the Advanced Features

Every version of Microsoft Project comes up with some new features to make the life of a project manager easier. However, most of these features remain unused because managers never bother to get proper Microsoft Project training. Features like multiple and customizable ways of showing off project data, creating a new set of reports, et al are left unexplored because of this lack of training. With the new features of Microsoft Project, managers can talk to their teammates, trace task paths on the Gantt Chart, create Burndown reports, and do so many other things. They can also watch out for common pitfalls and mistakes made by project managers while using Microsoft Project like not updating their project plans and over committing project resources.

Because of the above reasons, Microsoft Project Training with Parallel Project Training can be extremely beneficial to Project managers and their teammates.

May 022014
 

On April 29, 2014, Parallel Project Training announced the release of an updated version of their APM Project Management Qualification course. Being formerly referred to as the APMP, this course has highly successful ratings in this industry, and the new version is based on Parallel Project Training’s sixth edition of the Association for Project Management Body of Knowledge. This new course utilizes the popular and well-established blended learning system, offering significant benefits and developments that outweigh other approaches. These benefits include:

Podcasts to Cover Each Section

The sixth edition of this course provides 31 podcasts to cover each section of the syllabus, with these podcasts being downloaded more than 400,000 times since the 2009 launch. Proven to be highly popular among users, the latest versions had more than 4,500 downloads on the release date. Available as part of Parallel’s integrated e-learning course through Parallel Project Training’s website, these versions are also available through iTunes or an RSS feed on Android devices. Downloaders can listen to these podcasts on many of the podcast apps available on the market.

An Updated Study Guide

With the study guide becoming a de facto reference for those earning the APM Project Management Qualification, more than 4,500 individuals have utilized the study guide to prepare for the qualification exam. Users report that the study guide successfully portrays the exam syllabus and APM Body of Knowledge in clear, consistent language. This book utilizes more than 20 years of experience in APMP training, providing several case studies, sample exam questions, and exercises for students to work through. The updated study guide matches the latest syllabus, covering new sections on the Environmental and Employment legislation.

E-learning

Parallel Project Training has re-built e-learning from scratch to go hand-in-hand with the new courses. With a media-enriched and bite-size design, Parallel’s e-learning can be combined with the study guide to provide users with a punchy overview of Project Management Qualification’s various topics.

Exam Prep Study Group

Included with the distance learning package, the exam prep study group offers students an online group study option for exam preparation. With more than 450 people currently or previously connected, this group provides individuals who are undergoing distance learning, modular training, or blended courses with sample questions and on-line tutor support to help prepare them for the exam.

The updated version is not the only positive change that is taking place with the qualification program. The Association for Project Management is proud to announce the renaming of the qualification to APM Project Management Qualification. This name offers a clear understanding of what the qualification is all about, which is the first step for those embarking on a new career path to become professional project managers.

Our Transition Plans

All APMP distance learning and public courses that were released on April 29, 2014, are based on the sixth edition’s subject matter. Parallel Project Training will discuss the individual transition plans with corporate clients but does recommend transitioning to the latest material in a timely fashion.

Now referred to as the APM Foundation Qualification, the APM Introductory Certificate retains the original objectives of the fifth edition course. The only change that has occurred is a name change for the learning objectives, in which they are now known as assessment criteria. The APM is currently in the process of working on an updated version of the IC study guide. Once the latest study guide is available through the APM, Parallel Project Training will update this course to the sixth edition exam version.

Parallel plans on withdrawing the fifth edition qualification by December 31, 2014, with the fifth edition e-learning and podcasts being removed from the website at the same time. Project managers who have purchased the fifth edition material but have not completed their studies by this time can upgrade to the sixth edition material for £50 (plus VAT), which will help cover the cost of the new admin and book for the latest e-learning package.

In order to stay up-to-date with future parallel project managing, individuals should base all studies on the sixth edition subject matter. When doing otherwise, please inform us when you book your courses through Parallel Project Training.

Jan 162014
 
New Project Manager

People who are just starting out in project management have a lot to benefit from our project management courses. These project management training courses are designed in such a manner that they understand the difficulties of people who were previously in a technical role. The new skills that would be added to your resume and personality would provide benefits not just in your professional life but in your personal life as well. After all, project management improves your overall communication skills and gives you many other benefits, such as the ones mentioned in the following points – 

Planning With Accuracy and Practicality

Everyone knows how to plan little things but when you are a project manager, planning becomes an inherent part of your personality. You must have a plan for everything and you need to have a plan for the situation if your first plan is not working. This makes planning an inherent part of a project manager’s job. As a new project manager and after taking the project management courses offered by us, you will learn how to plan accurately. This means that the planning will take into account in avoidable and unavoidable factors. Not to mention that the plans you create and have your team follow would have practicality about them, so that your resources are not overworked or underworked at any instance.

Budgeting To The Best Of Your Ability

The budget is never unlimited. On the contrary, in most instances, it is restrictive. This means that being a project manager comes with budgeting responsibilities. These include ensuring that the expenses stay within limits and the budget is created in such a way that all the important needs are met. There are some resources that the team would need at all times and these resources cannot be put in the next budget. As a project manager, you will have to decide which expenses can be stalled for a while and which requirements require your undivided attention. By teaching good budgeting skills, a project manager solves half their problems. The results of good budgeting are great as well, because the teammates are happy and so are the superiors.

Effectively Negotiating With Customers

Communication is an art, they say. You don’t learn to communicate effectively overnight but it is something most people have to work on. Even after years and years of expensive communication courses, many people still find it hard to communicate effectively. However, with project management, because communication is such an important part of the job description, it comes naturally. As a new project manager, there might be some roadblocks but because of effective planning, negotiating with customers becomes effortless. In fact, many project managers find this to be the best thing that project management courses have taught them. It helps them in other areas of their life as well.

Leading A Team Efficiently

A leader defines a team. When a team goes out, the leader is representative of its team’s best and worst image. If a team has a good leader, then most other things fall into place because it’s the leader that holds the team together. A project manager leads the team through all projects, good or bad. It is not always that workings are smooth and there are sometimes road bumps to face. But our project management training courses teach all new project managers how to face those problems and emerge as true leaders. Being the leader of a team is not always the job of a hero, sometimes you have to be the bad guy and this is what you learn as a project manager.

Managing Contracts Effectively

Contract management is another thing to learn from project management. Even during project management courses, you’ll come across many tips and tricks to manage contracts effectively but it is only when you actually become a project manager that you will realize the true meaning of this. Managing contracts effectively means maintaining good relationships with suppliers, so that the project is finished without any hassles and problems. Also, it means having excellent planning and communication skills. Negotiation with suppliers and clients also comes in handy during contract management. Overall, this section of your job description makes you exercise everything you have learnt as a project manager.

Managing Risks Properly

Every project comes with its own set of risks, some avoidable and others unavoidable. The best way to deal with the risks that must be taken care of is to manage them in advance. This means taking measures and creating plans for proper management of major risks that could target the project in the future. Even after all this, some of the unavoidable risks would inadvertently plague the project in the future. But as a project manager, you will learn that when such risks happen, you will have to find a way out for them. In most cases though, planning for the risks in advance is enough and having other plans of action helps immensely.

Effective Reporting

Effective reporting is the lesson that ties all the above benefits and lessons together. It involves reporting the results effectively and includes work summaries, reports of things not yet reported, an overview of the project budget, and many other important reporting obligations. In essence, it is another part of the communication that a project manager has to be adept at.

Using Motivational Techniques

Since, as a project manager, you would be working with your team and other people all the time, you will also learn how to use motivation as a tool for achieving the best results. A motivated team always works better than an unmotivated one. When your teammates are motivated to do their jobs, the working and flow of the project is smoother and the results are quicker and better.

The project management training courses offered by Parallel Project Training in London, UK, understand the practical requirement of project management and try to merge them in a theoretical framework for effective results.

Nov 252013
 
Ten benefits of project management

Project management not only benefits the manager who controls the project but also the production team who works on the project and the client who waits anxiously for the finished product. At the very core of project management are the basic organization skills that demonstrate optimal efficiency, ingenuity, and cost savings for successfully guiding a project through tough situations and completing the project on time.

Various benefits come with effective project management, allowing the manager to institute the necessary strategies to ensure the project successfully reaches fruition. Effective project management provides the following benefits for managers of any size business:

1. Greater Efficiency with Delivering Services

Project management offers a basic “road map” that the manager can easily follow, leading to the successful completion of the project within the designated time frame. Once you understand where time-hindering problems can appear during the process, you can apply smarter work habits to avoid potential issues that can cripple your project’s completion.

2. Increased Effectiveness for Delivering Services

Successfully completing a project will help prepare you for new projects that come your way, providing you with the necessary strategies and skills to get the job done in a timely manner.

3. Improved and Increased Customer Satisfaction

Striving to get a project completed within the set time frame and budget will make sure each client leaves satisfied with your services. Satisfied clients will reuse your services and refer you to more clientele, helping to grow the business. Effective project management comes with the tools to continue a successful client-manager relationship.

4. Secure Standing with a Competitive Edge

Project management benefits those in the workplace and on the market. Word travels quickly, and referrals provide optimal job security in the marketplace, setting you apart from the competition.

5. Greater Flexibility

Among the top benefits that come with project management is greater flexibility. With the proper project management skills, you can plan the right strategies to complete the project, allowing you to choose a smarter direction when needed. Flexibility is especially essential to both small and mid-size businesses trying to grow in a competitive marketplace.

6. Additional Opportunities for Service Expansion

The right standing in the market will increase your opportunities for expanding your services, giving you a unique edge among your competition. Potential clients hire businesses with greater performance ratings, especially if you can get the project completed below budget.

7. Improved Team Development and Growth

Positive feedback and project results tend to command your team’s respect and inspire them to continually search for new ways to improve their performance and growth, helping them to increase in efficiency and profitability.

8. Enhanced Risk Assessment

When you stick to the right strategy and your team is in place, potential risks should easily stand out, allowing you to fix any problems before they occur. Project management is designed to send out red flags at the right time, minimizing time-hindering issues.

9. Increase in Project Quantity

The more projects you complete and the more clients who leave satisfied will increase the number of projects you receive from new and returning clientele. Make sure that your team performs to their fullest through each phase of the project, and your clients will be more than happy to send you additional projects.

10. Increase in Service Quality

Working hand-in-hand with greater efficiency, an increase in service quality will make your business stand out to potential clients. Service quality will ensure each project is completed within the client’s preferred time frame and budget, ensuring they leave satisfied with each finished project.

In the end, clients benefit greatly from effective project management because they can provide feedback, knowing their feedback means something to the project manager. By implementing the fundamental skills, knowledge, techniques, and skills needed for successful project managing, managers ultimately meet and exceed the stakeholders’ expectations and desires on every project. To learn more about project management training then visit Parallel Project Training

Nov 062013
 

Training your project managers helps them deal with change – management change. The change can be construction, information and technology or a change of working practices. Training your project manager can be beneficial to the organization, as it helps the manager approach the changes systematically. Here are some reasons why you should train your project managers –

• Develops Confidence By Improving Skills – Training your project manager will improve the management skills of the trainee. This helps improve performance. It has been observed that most project managers are unable to meet profit and budget objectives. Yet, they are rewarded similarly to those who meet their objectives. The management managing project managers fail to differentiate between the unsuccessful and successful. This results in loss of money.

Developing the skills of the project managers through training helps them to cope with the changes that are occurring everyday. This also develops confidence in the individuals. The result of improved confidence and skills is the ability to handle projects better and deliver a quality project completed within time and budget.

• Improves Company Profitability – One of the key components for earning profits is the project manager’s competence. If you look back and examine the projects that ended in loss, you will observe that the same manager handled those projects. Again, the fault does not lie with the manager. It lies with the company that did not equip him to deal with change.

If you want to get to root cause of the failure, then take a look at the management that manages the project managers. The project team may have been strong but the project manager was not given performance management training.

This is one of the most important factors that are often overlooked. The company needs to coach managers for improving their performance. This will help them give you a quality performance that will be visible in the projects. The result of the quality performance will be enhanced profits for the company.

• Organization’s Capacity to Deliver Successful Projects Consistently – Most multinational companies set benchmarks as they invest more in the workforce. But, good management and workforce skills are associated with the ability for developing and delivering high quality management practices. Bringing about flexibility in the management, decentralizing the process of decision making and fostering an environment of self management unlocks the workforce’s creative potential.

The workforce has an enhanced sense of self-accountability and these results in a more productive culture at the workplace. Since the project managers are accountable to themselves first, they strive to deliver successful projects consistently.

• Tapping Potential for Enhanced Productivity – With rapid technological changes occurring every moment and with fewer skilled workers, management practices require changes too. A good management practice is associated with enhanced output and productivity.

Companies are realizing the significance of training project managers and tapping their potential for enhanced productivity. The managers are able to meet the challenges of change as given below –

 There is an understanding of the relationship between productivity and management and other performance attributes;
 It shows the regions where the company is lagging behind and can work on those areas;

• Continuity of Approach – Training the project managers ensures that the project moves ahead through all the important phases, right from the beginning to the completion stage without any problems. In case there are problems, the project mangers are capable of handling them. They are taught to be flexible in their approach by having alternate work strategies. If one strategy does not work, they will have other methods of approaching the problem and continuing with the project. This will ensure proper review of the project at all levels from the initiation to the final acceptance level.

The training helps project managers have a challenging but realistic approach to the project. They stick to the budget and the time-frame for the successful completion of the project.

The result of training project managers is not just acceptance of change and flexibility but also profitability to the company. Completing a project successfully ensures that the customer is satisfied and returns with more projects.

Companies can refer to the Parallel Management Training Course deliver real benefits for project managers. The course is not just beneficial to the manager but also to the company. It improves profitability.

Oct 172013
 

Corporate clients often use the Parallel Project Academy to help companies complete projects successful in a reasonable time frame. Experts recommend this company because they are capable of teaching companies how to deliver the most complex projects to customers according to the specifications established during the contract. If you’re interested in improving the success of your projects, here is what you need to know about the impressive products and services that Parallel Project Academy offers:

Our Company Offers Exceptional Services

Parallel Project Academy offers an APM accredited project management training program. The professionals offering the program usually have their APM and APMP certification. The company also has blended training courses to help people learn better project management skills. The program is accredited by the UK Association for Project Management and the Project Management Institute in America.

This innovative company provides study guides, podcasts, workshops, and e-learning tools. These tools are often integrated into a blended course. e-Learning is one of the most convenient forms of learning how to become a better project manager. In addition to the podcasts, printed study materials, classroom courses, it also helps to have online study groups. e-Learning may involve interactive quizzes, puzzles, and opportunities for reflection on the type of work completed. The e-learning modules can be customized to address the type of project management you need to do.

If you have corporate clients, Parallel Project Academy can transform your company project management processes and procedures into customized e-learning packages. SCORM is one of the methods used to accomplish this goal, and it works well with your in-house learning management system.

The focus of Parallel Project Academy’s project management training is management of change. Change can occur in a physical or virtual sense. A physical change may occur on something similar to a construction site. A virtual change may occur in the IT system. Working practices may can precipitate change in an organisation.

Effective project management can be achieved through a systemic approach. Each professional learns how to proceed effectively through essential phases to ensure the projects will be accepted by the clients upon completion. When employees know how to define clear roles and responsibilities of every person in the group, projects are more successfully completed.

After the training, students will have mastered setting timescales and budgets to projects. The program is designed to help students master setting project scope and objectives. Project managers who know how to reduce costs and develop a good reputation with customers are more likely to have a successful project that will result in repeat business.

Why Choose Parallel Project Management Training Courses

Every student must learn the skills, behaviours, attitude, and knowledge to excel in this field. Project management can be easy with the proper skills. The company offers on-going podcasts to help people improve their project management skills and manage other areas of their jobs. If you’re seeking to improve your skills, Parallel Project Management is a good option. This company can help your business become more profitable and productive.

Sep 092013
 

 

A project manager is an individual who is well organized; these individuals are passionate about his or her projects they receive, and are goal-oriented. Project managers are individuals who help organizations become successful. Project managers enjoy an adrenaline rush when he or she gets a new project; they enjoy a nice challenge, along with acquiring the responsibility of helping a business. Project managers are individuals who can work under a lot of pressure, they are use to and comfortable with dynamic environments.

Project managers like to pay attention to what is going on, but never stops to consider what not happening. In the project of welfare reform the project manager on previous case did not pay much attention to what individuals did not have, they mainly focused on everything that was going well, such as getting food assistance and health care for low income families. The project manager did not stop to consider other assistance they may need. Basically in previous projects the projects were not well assembled, this is why it is important to get a well organized and a highly skilled project. A well organized and highly skilled project manager, who has superior people skills, can put a project together such as, welfare reform without having mistakes occur.

When pertaining to project managers, they are good at their job; they know the ropes and can handle difficult situations. However, there are not enough project managers to go around, meaning there will need to be training to help a newly project manager develop. Training can expensive, and when a company needs to make budget cuts the company will cut training employees. When a company makes a budget cut, projects get put on the back burner. If an individual who wants to be a project manager gets all of the requirements before taking on a job, budget cuts will not affect his or her career or projects. Another part that normally gets cut is traveling, when an individual is training for a certain job, he or she normally has to travel to get to the meetings. When traveling gets cut, the project manager is not getting the training he or she needs, along with the updates in his or her job field

There are 10 important reasons an individual should become a project manager.

  1. The first reason is they get to deal with change. As a project manager you will have an increase of competition, the sector will grow, along with having a high-demand for project managers, meaning there will always be a job for you.
  2. The second reason is that project managers deliver tangible value, meaning they demonstrate efficiencies, along with expanding customers, and giving their self a boost for profitability.
  3. The third reason to become a project manager is that you will provide companies with decision making, along with communications for the company and be able to engage with the staff more frequent.
  4. The fourth reason is that as a project manager you will control the scheduling along with the cost, you will be able to change that only 20 % of IT projects get finished in a timely manner, along with being 27 % over budget.
  5. The fifth reason is that the project manager gets to manage change and control the system, meaning they handle shifting the customer requirements, along with redirecting customers to available resources. As a project manager you will get to minimize
  6. The sixth six; you get to create formal plans that are detailed stating how work will perform before it even starts, which will eliminate the need to do everything over.
  7. Reason number seven is a reason that most individuals enjoy, which is making more money. As a project manager you can earn more than $100,000.
  8. If you want a more secure job you should listen to reason number eight, which is being a project manager means you have a secure job.
  9. The ninth reason is that a project manager is more marketable, as a manager you will be able to have a leadership value.
  10. Last but least reason number 10 on why an individual should become a project manager is that it will help his or her company profile soar, meaning the project manager will; update executives concerning milestones that have been accomplished, budgets that were spent, timetables, along with any other important key points.
Aug 072013
 
Change Control

When running a business, it is important to be able to evolve and adapt to the situation, depending on what is taking place and what the current situation is. However, changing and controlling change inside a project when it is already in mid-production can be a challenge, as it requires direct communication and the ability to alter information and production quickly, all while ensuring everyone is on the same page. If not, some individuals are going to continue to work with the former instructions while others will work with the new instructions. The ability to control change in projects is necessary for any strong project manager, and it is something you need to harness.

There are two aspects when it comes to controlling change in projects. The first is you want to make sure all unplanned and unnecessary changes are avoided and do not harm your services. It is necessary to prevent anything from out of the ordinary happening, otherwise you can risk issues and faults with your production and projects. However, on the other hand, if you want to implement change, you need to control how these changes are integrated into production and how team members receive the information and are able to react to it. Without this kind of service and availability, it is going to be very difficult for the new changes to work properly, and if not, it can end up being just as bad, if not worse, as unexpected changes.

With your project, you are going to have a strict line of command and a production order. Each team member is going to have a designated job associated with the task which they need to do. When it comes to you controlling change as the project manager, you need to have the proper understanding, education and know-how to fully comprehend how to go about issuing these changes and bringing the information to your employees. Most project managers do not simply have this kind of information readily available to them, nor do they know how to go about integrating the change, or simply controlling the change, in the project. This is exactly why specific training is so important, as a professional, high end project manager who is able to delegate these issues, is going to be extremely valuable to any business, no matter the products or services provided by the company. An experienced project manager is going to know how to manage any product or service, regardless of what it is, all thanks to appropriate training.

Change to any project usually doesn’t just happen by chance. There is a specific design from the owners, board of directors or other individuals in the company. The individuals in charge typically have a reason as to why they have a desired change to a project, whether it is to push the service towards a different demographic or financials need to be altered, but regardless of what it is, the owners and board of directors do not always know how difficult it is to take charge of these changes and implement it into the company. This is where the project manager comes in. No matter what the owners want, it is up to the project manager to be able to insert these changes into the project and figure out a way to inform the other employees and keep everything working well and keep it organized.

A project manager is very important to the well being and production of any company. It doesn’t matter what kind of products the company sells or the services it provides, if it employees a poor project manager who is not able to properly control change required by the business, the company is simply going to drop in production and not see the kinds of sales or return on investments it is looking for. This is exactly why it is so important for a project manager to receive the necessary training required for the business. If it does not receive this kind of specialized training, it is going to prove difficult to know how to control changes and challenges, all while integrating it into a specific project and make sure it is going to work the very best it possibly can. Sometimes the demands of an owner or board of directors can be difficult and a larger challenge, but most anything is possible, and change is often necessary, which is why the top of the line project manager is going to be their worth their weight in gold. All of this is available through Parallel Project Training

courses for highly engaging project managers looking to improve their stock and take advantage of the next aspects of the business and so they can always be in charge and capable of inserting change into the given projects they are assigned.

Jul 102013
 

A project is any endeavor involving cooperative group effort to accomplish its specific goals. It utilizes certain principles which includes planning, organizing, motivating, instructing and allocation of finances to achieve the desired purpose. A project is usually well defined with measurable goals and a set time limit for its completion.

The scope of the project and all it entails including funding and other resources pose various challenges to a project. As noble as it may seem to begin such a venture, being prepared to meet the challenges ahead will facilitate the overall process of the project from outset to its final stages. Below are seven of the challenges most often experienced in project management.

Seven Top Challenges of Project Management

1. Insufficient Manpower. During the initial phase of many projects, large numbers of interested parties will want to become involved, however without the right motivation, interest quickly wane as new interests arise. Also some may be assigned tasks beyond their expertise and may opt to abdicate leaving a vital position with insufficient manpower.

2. Competency of Project Managers. Often good managers do not have all the know- how it takes to complete a project out of their scope. They may have great interpersonal skills but are lacking in management principles for the task at hand. It may be to the management teams advantage to invest in project manager training for this employee, to ensure adequate competency to fill the position and fulfill the mission.

3. Changing the Plan: Challenges are created when changes are demanded in the plan by an entity or stakeholder. This can either narrow the scope or broaden it depending on what is suggested. Things to take into consideration before adjusting a plan is the nature of the change, how it will affect the projected outcome of the plan and the budget. Can its cost be accommodated in the budget without offsetting other more important features.

4. Diversion of Funds and Resources: One of the most frustrating things in project management is depleted funds and an incomplete project. To prevent this, it is important that the planning committee determine the source of all resources and the dependability before project is initiated. Available funds and resources including people and material must be available to see the initiative through to its completion. Priority funding and resources must be ascertained by project management team, to prevent diversion of funds or workers to other interests causing abandonment of the proposed project.

5. Poor Communication Between Team Members: Communication between managers and team players is vital in all work situations. Where there is a time constraint as in the completion of a project, this is mandatory. Lack of proper lines of communication will result in needless delays and incomplete tasks. A workable line of communication must be established whether in the form of written weekly reports or daily goals. In this age of technology this can be easily accomplished via the internet. Management should devise a tool and educate the team on what is expected in each report or goal setting plan and the time frame this should be submitted.

6. Unattainable Deadlines Completing a project on time is a challenge faced by many managers. However, by assessing the timeline and the obstacles involved and utilizing the skill and expertise learned in project manager training, a workable solution can be devised to meet the proposed deadline. Sometimes it may take reviewing the project, the deadline set, the obstacles and how realistic it was to begin with, then with the management team and stakeholders working together a more appropriate deadline can be set.

7. Lack of Proper Risk Management plan: Every job carries a certain amount of risks and where people are involved in a project, casualties can occur. There should be a clear and written guideline for how to handle on- the- job accidents . Education for accident prevention and maintaining a safe environment should be provided for workers.

Challenges will occur in the completion of any project whatever its size or degree of complexity, but by going in prepared with the above information, what could have caused instant disaster will be handled by the expert project management team with greater of ease due to intelligent fore planning. To learn more visit Parallel Project Training to learn more about our project management courses

Jul 092013
 

Question

“To be an effective project manager it is essential to have knowledge of the project topic i.e. only Software engineers can manage software projects.”

Yes

Do Project Managers need to have specialist technical knowledge? I would argue that they do. That is not to say that they need to understand the minutiae of the detail but a good solid background experience and a broad knowledge of the technical products will turn a so-so project manager into an excellent one. I have spent thirty years running projects of various shapes and sizes but mainly in the software and services industries. Should I be appointed to a similar sized construction project? I will be able to do it, eventually, but it will probably cost more, be riskier and a lot more stressful for all concerned. A project manager with experience and knowledge of the job in hand will be able to

  • Hit the ground running, they will be able to formulate plans, build a delivery coalition and be able to understand how efficiencies and excellence can best be achieved
  • Have credibility amongst the team and other stakeholders. This may exist in someone new to the discipline but it would be a brave client who commissioned a new nuclear power plant from a firm whose project managers were excellent at software projects and nothing else
  • Converse sensibly with contractors and others about the problems that they face and help to convert these into a sensible contractual solution
  • Identify and predict major risk areas with far more effectiveness than someone without these attributes, this will save time, money and too many ‘blind alleys’.

 

There are dangers of course, the primary one being that of the PM who simply has to get involved in all the detail, slowing things down, duplicating effort and not extracting the best for the team. There are also grave dangers where too much experience and knowledge mean that we keep re-inventing the problems of old and get ‘stuck in a rut’. Like most things it is a balance, whilst some knowledge is useful for the reasons identified above, too much knowledge can get in the way,

No

 

So now I’m intrigued. Was the manager of the T5 project an expert in luggage conveyance systems or an expert in modern building methods. Or thinking on, perhaps they were an expert in aviation transport logistics or even retail outlets. For that matter, expertise in restaurant management or even anti-terrorism security may be of the essence.

The answer, of course, is that it doesn’t matter.

Only the simplest of projects involve just one technical discipline or topic. By far the majority of projects have a myriad of such specialisms and to imagine that the only person who can manage such projects is someone with recognisable expertise in all of them is clearly ridiculous. Apart from any other considerations, which project could afford anyone with this many qualifications?

Project managers manage projects. They do not manage departments, or teams of individuals, sharing the same expertise. If they did then they would be “Functional Managers” and as students of organizational theory can explain, these resemble “Project Managers” in the same way that chalk resembles cheese.

The management of projects is about the management of the overall objective. It is about delivering the big picture by bringing together all the pieces that make up that picture. By necessity the role requires a broad perspective, sometimes referred to as a “helicopter view”, of the overall endeavour. The management of individual specialisms relates only to how these individual “pieces” fit together and involves defining their input, asking after and supplying the necessary support and interfaces they need, and then verifying that they have completed the work satisfactorily. The minutiae of how individual specialists achieve their objectives is something the project manager is drawn into at her or his peril. Not only is it an impossibly big task for all but the simplest of projects but it involves “landing your helicopter” and all the narrowing of perspective that this entails.

In fact, such a scenario is a common cause of strife within projects when the technically expert Project Manager concentrates only on those project elements that coincide with their own technical discipline. It ensures some project elements are neglected whilst upsetting the specialists in question who resent being micromanaged.

The full story of T5 is yet to be written but it does seem that the teething problems were not due to technical failures within any discipline mentioned above. The failure seems be associated with a failure to recognize the need for training of staff. There was a piece of the jigsaw missing: the sort of thing that stands out only when viewed from above. And while you are in your helicopter, “any sign of my suitcase from up there”?

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