This is the Lazy Leader’s take on the top 3 project management skills needed to keep projects under control. Read about the importance of stakeholder management, project controls, and risk management.
What’s more, these are the principal project management themes you are likely to read about at The Lazy Leader.
In short, this post covers stakeholder management, managing risks, and project planning and control. Why do I think these are the most important skills? To see why, we first need to understand why projects fail.
Business projects often fail as a consequence of the following causes:
- an inconsistent approach to project management leading to confusion over what the project achieves,
- immature project management maturity, resulting in a lack of direction or poor decision-making, and
- failing to employ appropriate expertise in projects, resulting in products that are not fit for purpose or incur additional expense to correct or replace.
A project doesn't fail to deliver the benefits simply because it is difficult and challenging. Rather, it’s because of a failure to apply project management best practice. When organizations utilize the following 3 essential project management skills, successful project delivery is more likely.
Who has a stake in your project? Let’s see, there’s your sponsor and other senior executives. Your immediate project delivery teams, colleagues from information technology, business analysts, accountants, procurement category managers, legal services and so on.
Then there’s those people affected by the change you are implementing. Directors, senior managers, middle managers, team leaders, customer service agents, administrators, subject-matter experts etc. And then there are the external suppliers, consultants, contractors, customers, retailers, communities, and agencies.
The project manager has to deal with many people who have a different take on your project and may or may not be hostile towards your goals. Most likely, they are indifferent or unaware of your plans. Or at least until you need them on side.
Without adequate and effective management of stakeholders, it’s impossible to successfully deliver a project. In essence, this means the project manager needs to understand both the importance and the needs of stakeholder groups and learn how to communicate in the most appropriate and effective way. This is why stakeholder management is one of the top 3 project management skills.
Managing Project Risks
Projects are complex things. Projects are one-off undertakings. They’re nothing like business-as-usual activities with predefined roles, responsibilities, and procedures.
More often than not, you won’t know what is needed or how to do it. Or perhaps the outcome is clear, but the business has never done anything like it before. Occasionally, it’s a matter of making it up as you go along. In other words, projects are rarely straightforward. To a greater or lesser extent, projects are a journey into the unknown, and this uncertainty creates risk.