In other words
What Is a Project?
A project can be broadly defined as a “temporary, short-term endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.” Projects are distinguished from operations and from programs. In short, the overall running of a business or a department can be viewed as a series of projects carried out within and alongside the general framework.
Unlike repetitive or ongoing operations, for instance teaching students, projects have a clear beginning and end. While your business or work-environment may often produce similar deliverables, each effort is unique, with its own leadership challenges, e.g. starting your business site.
What Is Project Management?
In essence, project management is a set of principles, techniques and practices applied to a range of activities to meet the requirements of a specific effort. “Project management is the process of the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements.”i As shown in figure 1 below:
That is, project management is an interrelated group of processes that enables the project team to achieve a successful result. These processes manage inputs to and produce outputs from specific activities; the progression from input to output is the nucleus of project management and requires integration and repetition. For example, a feasibility report could be an input to a design phase; the output of a design phase could be a set of plans and specifications. This progression requires project management acumen, expertise, tools and techniques, including risk management, contingency development, and change control.
What Is Project Success?
A standard must be established by which to define and measure project success. Fundamentally, project success is the delivery of the required product, service, or result, on time and within budget. To meet these objectives is to deliver a quality project. These factors are interrelated and if any one changes, at least one other will be affected.
Tips and tricks
There are specific ways to leading and motivating the people you manage within a project team.
1. TARGET MOTIVATION
Find out what drives people who report to you. Find out what they are most proud of about their work. Find out what they find challenging and what specific challenges they enjoy. In reverse order, find out what frustrates them and what they find uncomfortable. Find out what facilitates and what hinders their productivity and creativity. Address these issues at the offset to guarantee a smooth workflow.
2. TARGET TALENT
Select and keep people who have the necessary skills and knowledge for the task at hand. Take your time to assign roles and responsibilities. Consider individuals as well as the team as a whole. Careful selection will avoid resentment and frustration among group members. Act proactively, rather than retroactively. The guiding rule should be “who is best qualified” rather than “who is available”.
3. TARGET SIGNIFICANCE
Get people working on what is important. Prioritize goals and explain meticulously why they are significant. Make certain that project members are relieved from distractions and time wasters. Always stress the greater picture and how each individual contribution promotes the project goals. Review the clarity of goals and assignments constantly. If the rationale behind a task is not obvious, the task may no longer be necessary.
4. TARGET DEVELOPMENT
Plan ahead and then explain and train. Assess what skills are required and what actions need to be taken to guarantee top performance from all those involve. It could be a matter of basic training and /or refresher courses. Consider time and budgetary constraints. Use training opportunities as an incentive to increase engagement and involvement.
5. TARGET CREATIVITY
Let people work. Monitor but do not restrict. Allow people to take risks. You would not want the project members to steer off course. Yet, you would want them to experiment and, even, think outside the box. Foster responsibility and initiative. The aim is to get them to work efficiently by having them map their own path. Your role is to guide not to spoon-feed them.
6. TARGET PRAISE
Be generous with praise and recognition during every step of the way. People need to feel good about themselves. They need to feel appreciated. Acknowledge their effort and give credit to as many members of your team as possible. In addition, make it meaningful, surprising and fun. Catch them when they are doing something right, not when they are doing something wrong.
7. TARGET EXCELLENCE
Participation in a worthy endeavor can be a great motivator. Expect excellence and explain why this particular project they are involved in is world-class. Expect the members of your team to succeed. Explain why mediocrity is not an option both at
an individual as well as at a group level. Air any complaints and vent any worries from the outset.
8. TARGET EMPATHY
Care about people and what they think. Make yourself available to listen to everybody. All your team members are important. No opinion is to be discarded. There may be underlying worries or concerns that go beyond the immediate tasks at hand. When they are talking to you, listen actively, regardless of the content of the conversation. When you care for them, they will care for the work they are doing.
Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: PMBOK Guide, 3rd edition, 2004