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  • Companies are increasingly relying on project managers to not only manage projects but contribute to their organizational sustainability.

    Filling The Leadership Void With Project Managers

    Project manager acts as a leader on his team at work

    Where are the leaders?

    In the past 30 years, the project management profession has evolved from more of an operational function to that of a true business leadership role. This has been brought about by targeted efforts from the Project Management Institute (PMI), but also by those organizations who realized that their non-project-related business processes were not as effective as they thought. This, coupled with a leadership vacuum that continues to plague our society in almost every area, has elevated the importance of project management to fill this void.

    One of the key trends affecting companies’ ability to recruit, staff, and maintain leaders is the change in organizational design, not to mention the remote work reality. Managing an ever-changing organization is now increasingly dependent on leaders’ ability to adapt in an agile way to meet ever-growing client expectations and faster-evolving technologies.

    Companies can leverage their multi-disciplinary project managers to not only meet this challenge but also contribute to business strategies, over-arching risk management, and long-term sustainability, whether in a direct project management role or not.

    I myself have ping-ponged back and forth between commercial management, general management, and project management roles over my career, successfully utilizing proven project management techniques in each one. This allowed me to develop and grow at arguably a faster pace than I would have without this foundation.

    As an expat for more than 20 years, the project management skill set was also quite useful to help my employers navigate the complexities of working and leading teams in such challenging countries as Brazil and Saudi Arabia.

    This is why the profession continues to be one of the top transferable skill sets and why project managers are more in demand than ever. According to a recent study, there will be a worldwide shortage of project managers to the tune of roughly six million positions by 2030.

    Risk Management Is Essential For Long-Term Sustainability

    Risk management, project management concept

    It is true that managing risk is a fundamental pillar of project management; however, many companies fall short of exploring risk management techniques as well as applying the risk management process to their business models.

    In one instance, the company I worked for applied a simplistic heat map approach to managing risk which relied mainly on biased judgments from those whose inputs were based on historical data and their “gut feeling.” After all, as business leaders, they were paid to use their expertise and relationships to identify their risks and subsequent risk response strategies. They also only involved the project team once the project was awarded by the client.

    While this has merit, it is a limited and purely qualitative approach that does not actually evaluate the risks based on their likelihood to manifest, the corresponding consequences, and associated monetary values. It also does not consider the cost to mitigate these risks nor the other types of risk response strategies such as sharing, avoiding, or transferring them. Finally, it does not calculate the residual values of the risks as some cannot be fully eliminated by employing one of these strategies.

    On the same project, the company was very surprised that the sum of all of these values was almost double the amount of contingency that had been considered during the proposal phase.

    A key value-add for project management is to perform risk reviews as early as possible, even before the commercial or bidding stage of the project so as to detect any potential risks, from proposal to project close-out. Both risks and opportunities need to be captured in all functional areas, as well as with key suppliers and select customers. In this way, the same risk register is used during the complete cycle and then serves as a lessons-learned asset for future business.

    Keeping Your Company Focused By Using A WBS

    Project manager meets with his team

    I have worked for a number of companies with varying degrees of maturity in project management yet I am still amazed by those who struggle to define what work is actually required to manage a project. Aside from not adequately listing the tasks, deliverables, and time frames, they also sometimes misalign or intermingle project activities with operational activities. This obviously creates confusion and additional stress for everyone involved.

    Project management provides the work breakdown structure technique (or WBS) which covers 100% of the work and deliverables, but in a more manageable way, while also assigning resources and dates so that proper planning can occur. A project manager’s real worth is in developing and adapting the WBS to both the project requirements and organizational structure to cover the complete project cycle.

    The project managers are also challenged to define clear roles and responsibilities for each task (RACI) so as to align the stakeholders. This will not only drive accountability but also more effective project execution.

    While this sounds very easy and straightforward, the process can be a bit challenging when there is organizational misalignment, frequent client scope changes, and project teams scattered across locations, despite the remote team structures and technologies available.

    I have seen cases where even those companies with robust ERP systems such as SAP and ORACLE struggled as they depended on the systems to effectively manage and integrate all of the project and operational activities. Without a skilled project manager and effective proper project set-up (WBS), even the best systems will not miraculously manage the projects by themselves.

    As such, adaptability and the ability to quickly change courses (agile) are key skills the project manager should have to optimize project performance while maintaining strong leadership and client satisfaction.

    A Structured Technique For The Art Of Stakeholder Management

    Project manager uses project management software

    One area of project management where a project manager really shows his/her value is stakeholder management. It really is an art form that requires not only a structured technique but strong business psychology acumen.

    Since the project manager has a complete view of the project, they are in the best position to provide continuous leadership throughout the process so as to effectively align expectations, provide analyses, make more strategic decisions, and contribute to business continuity.

    The key to effective stakeholder management is to not only develop a complete list of the key stakeholders but also evaluate the levels of power, influence, and stake that each has in the process. This is where business acumen and, notably, psychology are crucial as reliance on organizational charts alone may not tell the complete story, despite the hierarchy.

    I have seen cases where the person at the highest level of an organizational chart had little or no influence at all on the project. The client’s technical subject matter expert was actually the one with the true power on the project; by ignoring or understating this fact, the project was blocked on a number of occasions.

    Project managers can really add value in the process by becoming involved at the early commercial phases so as to understand the business context, top people involved, as well as the negotiation strategies employed which will be very valuable during identification and processing of Management of Change (MOCs) events.

    Networking and interpersonal skills are crucial for a project manager’s success as they are usually the single point of contact that most will go to at any given point in time. This can provide invaluable opportunities to gauge real customer satisfaction and identify additional upselling opportunities as well as any potential risks or threats that may impact the project.

    The main challenge here is to target the key stakeholders as it is impractical to interface with every single stakeholder on the project. A focused risk and opportunity-based filter would then provide the guidance needed to effectively identify the target groups.

    Change Can Be A Good Thing For Project Managers

    Workers use project management tools

    As the old saying goes, change is a constant. Most project managers are particularly uncomfortable with change as it disrupts the great project plans they developed. This is where a mindset shift can really transform irritating project changes into business opportunities by removing the negative emotion and focusing on the real impacts of the changes.

    I worked on a project where a client changed the part number and schedule sequence on a large industrial valve order which was being manufactured by our plant in Italy. The project manager at the plant simply refused to process the change, then arbitrarily issued a 50% processing fee with a six-week schedule impact to dissuade the client from implementing the change, rather than take a level-headed approach to see what other opportunities this could have created for us.

    In this case, the change was clear; imagine situations where the change was not even detected by the project team and processed without any charge or schedule adjustment. This happened on another project I worked on where the company did not have a robust WBS nor clear scope to deliver. They preferred catering to the client’s needs rather than upsetting them by evaluating the change and determining any impact.

    Finally, I worked on a project where the company was extremely well organized and immediately flagged every change, submitting variation order requests to the client. We probably received more than 50 changes on the project and the client became quite irritated at receiving 50 change order requests, rather than grouping the requests together and negotiating fewer amendments.

    The MOC process is where a project manager can really shine as it does involve strategic negotiation skills which could impact the long-term relationship with key clients, not to mention operational planning and, frankly, the bottom line.

    When involving a project manager during the initial commercial phases, practical MOC language can be introduced to cover how changes will be processed, including agreed time periods and approvals to proceed. The project manager’s knowledge of the scope, client, business context, and organizational fit of the project should guide the strategy during execution.

    Managing Internal Projects, Process Improvement Initiatives

    Project management concept

    Everything is a project!

    This may seem contradictory to what I mentioned earlier about mixing project and operational activities; but it really means that any specific business endeavor, whether internal or external, can and should be treated as a project, as long as there is a specific deliverable and target date identified.

    Many companies have an internal project team or do consider initiatives such as plant expansions, asset pool management, and new office locations as projects that could be managed as projects. This can also be applied to process improvement initiatives which may target all or specific processes and parts of the organization; techniques such as Lean Six Sigma can be quite effective when working directly with the project teams to achieve the desired results.

    Personally, I have been involved in a number of internal projects and they have been just as rewarding an experience as client-facing projects. The biggest challenges to internal projects are to ensure that each has a sponsor, a charter is issued, and a dedicated project team is assembled to drive the initiative. Even with these controls in place, accountability always seems to be an issue, mostly due to conflicts with the business, as business continuity cannot suffer as a result of the project. There also may not be a firm budget or hard schedule from which to work, making it difficult to show real progress and evaluate project performance.

    In many cases, internal projects are also change management initiatives that require specific skills to successfully implement. Project managers have techniques and actual specific certifications which target organizational transformation and this is a trend that has picked up considerable speed since the COVID-19 pandemic. Forward-thinking organizations will and should rely on the project managers to thus manage these initiatives with these proven techniques while also challenging their top management to be accountable for these results.

    Project Managers In The Boardroom

    Project manager talks with executives in the boardroom

    As our profession continues to gain visibility and acceptance, the boardroom has now opened up for project managers and we have jumped right in to show our value to the organization!

    One of the most rewarding aspects of my career has been the opportunity to participate in boardroom discussions regarding medium and long-term business strategies. When companies have asked for my input, I have been more than willing to apply project management techniques as well as my experience to contribute to the strategy.

    As project managers, we have a natural tendency to walk people through a detailed process so as to gain buy-in, but also to show our level of competency to a certain degree. As natural communicators and, in an effort to ensure the entire situation is properly explained, we sometimes cannot see the forest from the trees.

    At the boardroom level, the challenge is to be analytical and strategic while driving our point home in 2-3 PowerPoint slides (the 3 Cs: crisp, clear, and concise). This requires targeted stakeholder management, but also a deep understanding of the intended business objectives. We need to apply the risk management lens, lessons learned techniques, and, yes, not be afraid to question strategies.

    We are quite effective at leading brainstorming workshops as we ensure there is a scope and time element to each one, along with the expected outputs (deliverables). The frustrating part can be the desire to get to the finish line in one or two sessions, whereas some initiatives may require several sessions to complete the roadmap.

    The other advantage to the board is that we are an external element, yet part of the same company, so we can provide a more objective assessment of the topic or strategic component. The key here is for the project manager to stay on topic yet include a parking lot for issues to be addressed in a different session.

    A recent trend is the creation of the chief project officer role which really ties all of this together, including the PMO, to the rest of the organization and those companies who have pursued this are reaping the full rewards!

    Value-add has never been more important for companies and project managers can fill many of the current leadership gaps while also leveraging their interdisciplinary skill sets to drive organizational performance and sustainable change.

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  • Stakeholders are people who have an interest or influence in your project, such as clients, sponsors, managers, team members, end users, etc. They can be a valuable source of feedback, support, and resources for your project, but they can also be a source of conflict, frustration, and risk if they are not managed well.

    Difficult stakeholders are those who have unrealistic expectations, conflicting opinions, unclear or changing requirements, poor communication skills, or negative attitudes toward your project. If mishandled, they can cause delays, scope creep, budget overruns, quality issues, or project failure.

    Managing Difficult Stakeholders: Tips For Success

    So how can you deal with difficult stakeholders effectively and maintain a positive relationship with them? Here are some tips to help you:

    Identify your stakeholders and their needs. The first step in dealing with difficult stakeholders is to identify who they are and their level of power and interest in your project. This will help you determine how much attention and communication each stakeholder needs and how best to engage them in your project. For example, stakeholders who have high power and high interest in your project are the ones you need to manage closely. They are usually the ones who can make or break your project, so you need to keep them satisfied and informed. On the opposite end, stakeholders who have low power and low interest in your project are the ones you need to monitor. They may not have much influence or involvement in your project, but you must keep them updated and aware of any changes.

    Communicate regularly and proactively. Communication is key to managing stakeholder expectations and building trust and rapport with them. Communicate with your stakeholders regularly and proactively throughout the project lifecycle, using the appropriate channels and methods for each stakeholder group. Provide clear and consistent information about the project status, progress, risks, issues, changes, and achievements. Seek feedback from your stakeholders and listen to their opinions and suggestions.

    Manage conflicts and disagreements. In any project that involves multiple stakeholders with diverse perspectives and interests, it’s inevitable to face conflicts and disagreements. However, it’s important not to shy away from or disregard them. Instead, it’s essential to approach them constructively and tactfully. Try to understand the root cause of the conflict and the underlying needs and emotions of each party. Use active listening skills and empathize with their point of view. Find a win-win solution that satisfies both parties or at least minimizes the negative impact on the project.

    Negotiate and compromise. Sometimes you may need to negotiate and compromise with your stakeholders to reach a mutually acceptable outcome. Prepare for the negotiation by identifying your goals, alternatives, and best/worst-case scenarios. Research the other party’s position, interests, and motivations. Use effective negotiation techniques such as asking open-ended questions, making concessions, finding common ground, and emphasizing benefits rather than features. Be respectful and courteous throughout the process and avoid personal attacks or emotional reactions.

    Manage changes and expectations. Changes are inevitable in any project due to various internal or external factors. However, changes can also cause confusion, frustration, or resistance among your stakeholders if they are not managed well. Ensure you have a clearly defined change management process defining how your project will identify, evaluate, approve, implement, communicate, and monitor changes. Involve your stakeholders in the change process and explain the rationale and impact of each change on the project scope, schedule, budget, quality, or deliverables. Manage stakeholder expectations by setting realistic and achievable goals and milestones for your project and communicating any deviations or issues as soon as possible.

    Appreciate and acknowledge. Finally, appreciate and acknowledge your stakeholders’ contribution to and support of your project. Recognize their efforts and achievements publicly or privately, depending on their preference. Express gratitude for the feedback, suggestions, or resources they provide for your project. Lastly, celebrate the project’s success with them and share the credit for the outcomes.

    Building Bridges With Difficult Stakeholders

    You can overcome the challenges of working with difficult stakeholders and turn them into allies. The key is communicating clearly, managing expectations, resolving conflicts, and building trust. These skills will help you create positive and productive stakeholder relationships that benefit everyone involved. By doing so, you can ensure that your project is successful and meets the needs and goals of all parties.

    If you found this article helpful, you may want to read about project management’s benefits, challenges, best practices, and tools for success.

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  • Project management skills are planning, executing, monitoring, and controlling projects of different sizes and scopes. They involve setting clear goals and objectives, defining roles and responsibilities, managing resources and risks, communicating effectively, and delivering quality results.

    If you have project management skills, you might think they are only helpful for managing projects. But that’s not true! Project management skills are valuable for project managers and anyone who works on projects or leads teams because these skills are transferable to other job roles and industries. In fact, they can give you an edge over other candidates and help you achieve your career goals.

    Let’s jump into what project management skills can help you plan, organize, execute, monitor, and control projects of any size and complexity.

    Project Management Skills: The Secret To Success

    Project management skills are necessary to successfully plan, manage, and execute projects. These skills include hard and soft skills to analyze project performance, manage resources, lead teams, and report progress and results.

    Some of the essential project management skills are:

    • Communication: Convey messages clearly and effectively to various stakeholders, such as clients, team members, suppliers, and senior management. Communication skills also involve listening, presenting, writing, and negotiating.
    • Leadership: Inspire, motivate, and guide team members toward a common goal. Leadership skills also involve setting expectations, delegating tasks, providing feedback, resolving conflicts, and managing change.
    • Organization: Prioritize tasks, manage time, document information, and keep track of details. Organizational skills also involve multitasking, planning, scheduling, and following processes.
    • Negotiation: Reach agreements that satisfy the interests of all parties involved. Negotiation skills also involve persuasion, compromise, collaboration, and problem-solving.
    • Team management: Coordinate and collaborate with diverse team members across different functions, locations, and cultures. Team management skills also involve building trust, fostering communication, encouraging participation, and resolving issues.
    • Time management: Complete tasks within deadlines and budget constraints. Time management skills also involve estimating effort, setting milestones, tracking progress, and managing risks.
    • Risk management: Identify, analyze, and mitigate potential threats and opportunities affecting the project outcome. Risk management skills also involve contingency planning, scenario analysis, and decision-making.
    • Problem-solving: Find solutions to complex and unexpected challenges that may arise during the project lifecycle. Problem-solving skills also involve creativity, logic, analysis, and evaluation.
    • Budget management: Estimate costs, allocate resources, monitor expenses, and control spending. Budget management skills also involve forecasting, reporting, and auditing.
    • Motivation: Maintain enthusiasm and commitment throughout the project duration. Motivation skills also involve self-discipline, resilience, optimism, and passion.
    • Technical writing: Produce clear, concise documents communicating project information to various audiences. Technical writing skills also involve formatting, editing, proofreading, and referencing.

    Project Management Skills: Benefits For You & Your Company

    Project management skills are essential because they can help you achieve your professional goals and deliver value to your organization. By applying project management skills to your work, you can:

    • Improve your efficiency and productivity by planning, organizing tasks, managing time, and avoiding rework.
    • Enhance your quality and performance by following standards, meeting requirements, solving problems, and managing risks.
    • Increase your satisfaction and engagement by setting clear objectives, aligning your work with your values, motivating yourself and others, and celebrating achievements.
    • Strengthen your relationships and reputation by communicating effectively, leading by example, collaborating with others, negotiating win-win outcomes, and delivering on your promises.

    Showcase Your Project Management Skills In Different Industries

    Project management skills are transferable and applicable to any job role or industry involving projects or tasks with specific goals, scope, time, and resources. Here are a few examples of how you can use these skills in multiple industries:

    • IT: IT projects involve developing or implementing software or hardware solutions that require technical expertise, innovation, and integration. Project management skills can help you manage requirements, design, development, testing, deployment, maintenance, and support.

    • Marketing: Marketing professionals often work on multiple projects simultaneously, such as launching campaigns, creating content, conducting research, and analyzing data. Project management skills can help them prioritize tasks, manage resources, coordinate with stakeholders, monitor progress, and measure results.

    • Finance: Finance professionals often work on budgets, forecasts, audits, reports, and analyses of financial data. Project management skills help finance professionals monitor and control tasks and ensure quality and compliance.

    • Healthcare: Healthcare professionals often provide care and services to patients or clients that involve multiple procedures, interventions, and follow-ups. Project management skills can help them assess needs, plan treatments, coordinate with other providers, document progress, and evaluate outcomes.

    • Automotive: Automotive professionals often work on complex and lengthy projects. Project management skills help manage project complexity, resource optimization, risk, and customer satisfaction.

    Project Management Skills: A Competitive Advantage In Any Industry

    As you can see, project management skills are versatile and valuable for any job role or industry. They can help you perform better in your current position, advance your career path, or enable you to switch careers altogether. So don’t limit yourself by thinking that project management skills are only for project managers. Instead, embrace them as an asset that can boost your professional growth. So, what are you waiting for? Start applying project management skills to your work today!

    Many helpful resources can guide you along the way. A great place to start is the Project Management Institute website, where you can find a wealth of information and tips.

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  • If you are confused about the differences between project and program management, don’t worry, you are not alone. Many people use these terms interchangeably, but they are two methods organizations use to oversee projects and achieve business objectives. Although project and program management are interrelated, each plays a unique role in handling projects and has different objectives. Let’s start by first defining what we mean by each term.

    Project management is the process of planning, executing, monitoring, and closing a specific project within a defined time frame, budget, and scope. A project is a temporary endeavor that produces a unique product, service, or result. Examples of projects are developing a new software application, launching a marketing campaign, or building a bridge.

    Program management coordinates and aligns multiple related projects with a common goal or benefit. A program is a group of projects that are interdependent or complementary to each other. Examples of programs are implementing a new business strategy, improving customer satisfaction, or expanding into new markets.

    Project Management: The Benefits, Challenges, Best Practices, & Tools for Success

    Project management concept

    Ok, now that we have defined each term, let’s compare and contrast each of these disciplines in terms of their benefits, challenges, best practices, and tools. We’ll begin with project management.

    Benefits of project management:

    • Improved efficiency and effectiveness in delivering project outcomes.
    • Enhanced communication and collaboration among project team members and stakeholders.
    • Reduced risks and uncertainties associated with project execution.
    • Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

    Challenges of project management:

    • Managing multiple tasks and dependencies within a project.
    • Balancing competing demands for scope, time, cost, and quality.
    • Dealing with changes and issues that arise during project execution.
    • Ensuring alignment of project objectives with organizational strategy.

    Best practices for project management:

    • Defining clear and realistic project goals and scope.
    • Developing a detailed project plan that covers all aspects of project delivery.
    • Establishing a robust governance structure that defines roles, responsibilities, and decision-making authority.
    • Monitoring and controlling project performance using appropriate metrics and tools.
    • Closing the project by ensuring all deliverables are accepted, and lessons learned are documented.

    Tools for project management:

    • Project charter: A document that formally authorizes a project and defines its objectives, scope, stakeholders, assumptions, and constraints.
    • Work breakdown structure (WBS): A hierarchical decomposition of the project scope into manageable deliverables.
    • Gantt chart: A graphical representation of the project schedule that shows the start and finish dates of each activity.
    • Risk register: A log that identifies potential risks that may affect the project outcomes along with their probability, impact, and mitigation strategies.

    Program Management: The Benefits, Challenges, Best Practices, & Tools For Success

    Program management concept

    Let’s now go through the benefits, challenges, best practices, and tools for program management. You will now see the similarities and differences between project and program management.

    Benefits of program management:

    • Provides a holistic view of the program’s progress, performance, and outcomes.
    • Enables better decision-making based on real-time data and insights.
    • Facilitates communication and collaboration across project teams and stakeholders.
    • Simplifies resource allocation and prioritization across projects.
    • Enhances quality assurance and risk mitigation at the program level.

    Challenges of program management:

    • Requires a high level of leadership skills and stakeholder engagement.
    • Involves managing multiple scopes, schedules, budgets, and deliverables simultaneously.
    • Demands a flexible and adaptive approach to deal with changes and uncertainties.
    • Entails a more significant amount of documentation and compliance requirements.

    Best practices of program management:

    • Define a clear vision and scope for the program that aligns with the organizational strategy.
    • Establish a robust governance structure that defines the program’s roles, responsibilities, processes, and standards.
    • Develop a comprehensive program plan that covers all aspects of the program lifecycle: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closure.
    • Implement effective communication strategies that keep all stakeholders informed and engaged throughout the program.
    • Monitor and control the program’s performance using key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics that measure progress, quality, and value.

    Tools of program management are:

    • Online program management software that can help coordinate the management of multiple projects in real time, such as Wrike or Asana. These tools allow program managers to create program governance groups, assign and schedule work for project teams, track and visualize project interdependencies, and generate reports and dashboards for analysis.
    • Gantt charts can help break down programs into phases and drill into their project components to the task level. These tools allow program managers to use real-time data as input for their decision-making process, which is a program management best practice.

    Project Management vs. Program Management: Which Is Right For You And Your Organization?

    Program management vs. project management concept

    Project management and program management are different but related processes that help organizations achieve their desired outcomes through the effective initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closure of various initiatives.

    Each process has its benefits, challenges, best practices, and tools that require different skills, knowledge, and competencies from the managers involved.

    Improving organizational performance requires professionals to understand the differences between these processes and apply them appropriately relative to the nature, scale, and complexity of the company’s strategic initiatives.

    For detailed information about project and program management, please visit the Project Management Institute website to learn how to become a certified practitioner in these areas, join a local chapter, and much more.

    P.S. If you like this article, check out this previous article in the series that explains the difference between digital transformation and change management.

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  • At Work It Daily, we call our members “Workplace Renegades.” A Workplace Renegade is a person who believes in themselves and joins our community to finally take control of their career. They believe in working to live, NOT living to work. Bharat Kirthivasan is a top member in our community who exemplifies these qualities.

    Below, Bharat Kirthivasan answers some questions about his career field and explains why he joined (and continues to participate in) the Work It Daily community.

    Why I #WorkItDaily

    @workitdaily Thank you Fatima for being the first to join our @tiktok social media campaign♥️♥️♥️@fatimalhusseiny We can’t wait to share your story with the world! Check out our campaign to learn more! @workitdaily #workitdaily #WhyIWorkItDaily #careertiktok #careertok #jobtok #edutok #mywhy #purpose #passion #worktolive #live #life #love ♬ Epic Music(863502) – Draganov89

    I am proud to be a part of the biopharmaceutical realm. We help protect people and improve their quality of life. All our decisions are made with the patient in mind.

    In the future, I want to cross-functionally manage every aspect of a product from initiation to commercial output. Using these skills, I would like to intelligently discuss the value of successful projects and the company as a whole.

    Work It Daily provides an understanding of how to apply for positions, how best to present yourself in interviews, and how to communicate your insights on interviews and during your career. I have observed another dimension of the hiring process.

    Benefits Of Being A Program Manager

    Work meeting with multiple departments and the program/project manager

    A program manager works on some or all stages of drug design, initial clinical trials, drug development, and commercialization. Often, multiple projects are being managed in parallel. You get a bird’s eye view of scenario planning, staying within budget, ensuring departmental collaboration, monitoring progress, and succinct communication with upper management.

    The major benefit for me would be an interaction between multiple departments and functions that are all working toward a common goal. I particularly like it because I enjoy working with people, critical thinking, and finding effective solutions to problems.

    Work-Life Balance For Program Managers

    Calendar on computer for program or project manager

    There is no formula per se. It is important to remember that life comes first and that an unhappy life makes it harder to thrive at work. When a project ends, do a quick retrospective: how good were your initial estimates on time, success metrics, other resources, etc.? Usually, a mad dash to the deadline negatively affects work-life balance; so, plan your work as much as possible (easier said than done).

    Reasons To Work In The Pharma/Biotech Industry

    Pharmaceutical/biotech industry concept

    You contribute to people’s health and quality of life. Also, this field blends biology, chemistry, engineering, numbers, and critical problem-solving. Deadlines are tight and people pull together to meet them.

    Advice For Program Managers

    Teamwork, collaboration, pharmaceutical, biotech, creativity, brainstorming, skills concept

    You should strengthen your people skills, patience, attention to detail, and grit.

    We hope you enjoyed hearing from Bharat about his career and experiences inside the Work It Daily community.

    Do you want to become a Workplace Renegade?

    Join our community to learn how to UNLEASH your true potential to get what you want from work!

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  • Like most professions in the post-pandemic world, project management has undergone yet another conceptual transformation while also redefining how the projects of the future will be managed with the release of the 2022 PMI Talent Triangle.

    Keeping up with these new trends will be crucial for a project manager’s success while also sounding a warning bell for companies who wish to attract top talent to manage their increasingly complex projects in a hyper-competitive landscape.

    What’s New: The 2022 PMI Talent Triangle

    Project management concept

    Let’s face it: managing projects has never been an easy task and many of us have oftentimes felt frustrated with the limited roles yet high levels of responsibilities placed on project managers. The American comedian, Rodney Dangerfield, so eloquently coined the expression, “I can’t get no respect!” and I am quite sure that many PMs can identify very well with this statement in our misunderstood profession.

    Since the advent of the project management profession in the late 1960s, the general expectation has been that project managers are everything to everyone on a project, even though the role was often considered a purely operational one (basically managing the “schedule”), with the relevant activities starting once the project award was received from the customer.

    Despite this limited official level of official responsibility, the very success of the project always rested on the PM’s shoulders, hence a significant source of frustration and misalignment.

    In May 2022, the Project Management Institute (PMI) finally confirmed what many of us had been preaching since the late 1990s in their release of the updated PMI Talent Triangle:

    Project Managers are, in fact, business owners who need to adapt ways of working and strong business acumen to manage their projects in our increasingly complex, changing world.

    This is definitely a game-changing initiative, but also a much-needed one to set companies up for better success on their customer-facing and also internal projects. It also now forces PMs to develop crisper, more well-rounded skills to be able to achieve these lofty aspirations.

    PMI Talent Triangle Update | PMI

    Applying The 2022 PMI Talent Triangle: Ways Of Working

    Project manager attends a team meeting

    The previous traditional and agile schools of thought have now evolved into a very extensive toolbox that allows PMs more flexibility when managing their projects.

    It also now creates the expectation that project managers must “master as many ways of working as they can—so they can apply the right technique at the right time, delivering winning results.”

    This is both exciting and challenging to apply in larger companies that must possess (or develop) a greater degree of organizational ambidexterity to survive in the long term.

    Among these new tools are design thinking, transformation, data modeling, and performance management, just to name a few. These tools complement the PMBoK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) and now offer an incredibly diverse array of techniques that PMs can use to manage their projects.

    Too many choices? Information overload?

    So how can PMs determine the best working method for each project when there is so little time between the commercial phase and project award? For me, this is one of the primary reasons that project managers MUST be engaged even prior to the bid preparation so as to analyze the full scope and strategic importance of each project.

    In this way, the work breakdown structure, or WBS (i.e., the nucleus of the project), can be customized to cover only what needs to be bid and executed. This also allows for better identification and alignment of organizational assets to be used on the project.

    This is why strategic meetings with the key decision-makers and stakeholders must be held as early as possible, even at the prospect identification phase. The adept PM will develop a questionnaire to steer the conversation and arrive at the “best way” to structure both the commercial proposal and execution plan.

    Applying The 2022 PMI Talent Triangle: Power Skills

    Project management concept

    As I have mentioned in previous articles, communication is THE most important skill for a project manager and this new pillar emphasizes an increasingly collaborative approach to leadership, to foster innovation, empathy, and ownership.

    In this way, The PM empowers their team with the aim of more effective stakeholder management, now at all levels of the project, to drive change and meet project goals.

    By using techniques such as neuroscience, business psychology, emotional intelligence, and brainstorming sessions, PMs of the future will be able to develop a more empathetic, humanistic approach to understanding the challenges of managing their projects as well as the needs of the ever-wider range of stakeholders to be managed.

    Let’s not forget that projects are still managed by people, so understanding the human psyche, cultural differences, intergenerational preferences, and historical perspectives are major inputs that affect team performance.

    We also cannot ignore global trends such as diversity and inclusion, climate change, and other geopolitical events which shape our behaviors, policies, and actions. They also challenge the PM to be an extremely adaptable, active listener.

    These techniques should be on every PM’s mind while conducting meetings, planning work, and interfacing with stakeholders. I find this to be very powerful in fostering creative, innovative approaches to solving problems, one of the project manager’s main functions.

    As an example, I promote a cultural minute at the onset of select meetings to give team members an opportunity to share specific topics of interest. These can then be woven into the main topic of the meeting, or even specific parts of the project to enhance team engagement.

    Finally, I believe this increased interpersonal skillset is quite effective in driving coaching, mentoring, and training across the project management spectrum for we all know the current challenges of retaining and attracting top talent!

    Applying The 2022 PMI Talent Triangle: Business Acumen

    Project management software on a laptop

    From a purely operational focus to a new business owner mentality, PMs now need to understand the “macro and micro influences in their organization and industry and have the function-specific or domain-specific knowledge to make good decisions.”

    I particularly love this pillar of the new PMI Talent Triangle because it really elevates the standing of the PM within an organization, while challenging the functional managers to up their games to support the key projects and initiatives of the company.

    It does challenge the PM to now do their homework so that they really understand:

    • The business context of the project (organizational goals, strategy)
    • The key market drivers (regulatory, currency, geopolitical)
    • The competitive landscape (important during execution as well)
    • What success looks like (sustainability, corporate image)
    • Potential gaps to execute the work (CAPEX, OPEX, skills)

    Instead of only being involved after project award, this now means early involvement of the PM during the commercial, pre-award phases of the project in order to develop better relationships with customers (and other key stakeholders), while evaluating project requirements to ensure that the project team will be able to actually execute what is being promised.

    The value that a project manager brings to an organization can truly be leveraged as organizations are now seeing just how much influence a PM has throughout the project.

    For example, during the execution of a project, the adept PM who applies business development or customer service techniques can gauge not only the level of customer satisfaction at any given point in time (rather than only at the end) but can also find out about competitors’ performance, opportunities to upsell by becoming aware of new project scope, other customer projects, as well as a whole host of opportunities that could arise, including innovation to respond to future trends/needs.

    It also better prepares the PM during management of change (MOC) or variation order negotiations as they will have a much clearer understanding of how the original scope of the project was negotiated, thus providing important insight as to customer psychology, main decision-makers, etc. This then leads to a more consistent customer experience not to mention more sales!


    I for one am extremely motivated by the release of the 2022 PMI Talent Triangle as I feel like it has finally given project managers validation in our mission to show just how much value we bring to an organization. It also keeps us relevant by responding to megatrends while providing us with a very complete toolbox to adapt our project management techniques so that we do not overkill or underkill our projects. It does challenge us to redefine what it means to be a project manager while also giving us that ever-so-important seat at the executive table.

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  • As an educator together with administrator, I enjoy assisting young adults as nicely as adult learners along with their academic journey. Inside my role, I oversee guidelines and procedures that assist support student learning and additionally success. Therefore, I apply multiple innovation projects to back up students and meet all of them where they are.

    Monday. apresentando Is good for Managing Projects

    Monday. por meio de, task management management platform

    The solution is Monday. contendo. The Work OS function management platform helps our team manage projects not to mention workflows more efficiently. The particular project management includes this scope, time, and spending budget.

    What My partner and i like about Monday. junto de is that is a new very simple and intuitive helpful work platform that utilizes apps and integrations to be able to create a custom work flow for the project. The versatility helps me (as well as my team) keep on track and the integrations with apps such since Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Googlemail, and Excel, permit me to very easily continue working with the best tools from within often the platform.

    Wednesday. com Capabilities

    Project manager purpose project management software

    Since My spouse and i work on several tasks, Monday. com software allows me assign tasks and also prioritize what’s most essential for the team for you to execute. To do this particular, I break down your components by color as well as timeline. For example, our own digital badge project any short implementation timeline, breakthrough, and deliverables. The software allowed me to control the entire workload almost all in one space.


    Man uses anxiety attack software during a yanks meeting

    ​My biggest takeaway: the exact platform fosters creative effort with my team and then other departments. More significantly, the collaboration is smooth and supplies visibility into the very progress of our own work. This saves time. You might want to give this a try!

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  • I have spent many man-years serving as a project manager both formally and informally. I confess—I do not like project management. Project managers often have all responsibility with minimal authority. PMs are the face of problems to the customer and take many hits for actions outside of their control. PMs often do the “dirty work” in the project while others receive the glory. However, being a PM is necessary for organizational success.

    I may not like it; however, I respect being a PM. PM actions are necessary and difficult. These activities can be rewarding if executed well. PMs must be able to respond quickly, and these ideas are some of the lessons I learned the hard way.

    What Is Being A PM Anyway?

    Project management/manager concept

    Being a project manager, you are the coordination between many factions all working together to accomplish a larger task. You are the glue to hold projects together, and you are the central node to the spider web network among the team members.

    Project managers absorb information from all the stakeholders and consolidate these inputs into a unified plan of action. This plan defines the course for completing the project. Schedules, action item lists, documentation, and meetings originate with the PM for dissemination. PMs should be the first to know about problems, and they often work to mitigate risks to the overall project.

    How Do You Be A Good PM?

    Project manager talks during a work meeting

    Being a good PM takes some effort. You cannot passively manage a project and expect positive results. You need to act.

    My recommendations have developed over years of experience. I have made mistakes, and I have learned to incorporate strategies to avoid my previous transgressions. Although I am not saying these are the “be all/end all” list of actions, I think these strategies can plant the seeds for your own activities.

    Communicate, Communicate, And When You Think You Are Done, Communicate More

    Project manager communicates with her stakeholders

    Regardless of the size of the team or the complexity of a project, I believe you cannot over-communicate. The team must be aware of the project status and decisions made to ensure success.

    Shying away from problems without sharing them with the team is a common mistake. PMs must communicate the good, the bad, and the very ugly. Failure to share these details drives mistrust. Rumors begin, and stories unfold. Communicating the truth builds trust and unity among stakeholders.

    Frequency is a balance, and PMs do not want to burden the team (or themselves) with unnecessary details. Too little, people on the team are left to their own devices; too much, the PM may appear to be crying wolf. Experience will be a guide, and a common approach is a minimum of once a week connecting with each stakeholder or group. When in doubt, err on communicating more than necessary ensuring you have delivered your message.

    Keep Charts, Reports, Minutes, And Updates Simple… Complexity Breeds Confusion

    Project manager organizes information using project management tools for his stakeholders

    Everyone talks about MS Project®, Primavera®, or any myriad of tools to manage a project. When required, use them—simply. When not required, use the most effective tool possible, even Excel®.

    With the volume of emails everyone receives in a professional setting, the challenge is reading and digesting volumes of information every day. The more complex your message as a PM, the less likely the stakeholders will comprehend it. Simple charts, tables, and bullets summarize ideas and use subsequent details to reinforce the message.

    The more complicated PMs make the process, the more unmanageable the project may become. Even the most complex multi-year project can be simplified. Work to make your updates as clear as possible. Your audience will appreciate the brevity.

    “RAIL” Lists Can Be Your Best Ally…

    I learned to use a very simple “running item action list (RAIL)” for capturing information. Utilizing this tool in meetings keeps things very simple and easy to communicate. I have included a typical format above.

    Sequentially add action items to the list by date. Describe the task to complete briefly. Add due date and responsibility. Status percentage updates each time you discuss an item and only 100% when completely closed. Notes is an open field to capture information each time an item is discussed.

    By capturing these action items, PMs have a record of questions, concerns, and details discussed throughout the project. Sharing the file with the team during review meetings or as an attachment within messages keeps people informed. Open items are easily searched, and completed items are for reference.

    Each time the file is modified, the PM can save a copy by date/revision and maintain a working record of all discussions throughout a project. In the event of a discrepancy, cross-reference older files as an item of record.

    Communicating “Bad” News Or Problems

    Project manager communicates with a stakeholder

    Every project will face issues to address. In our current world, supply chain delays are prevalent in nearly every industry. Design setbacks and failed tests can delay a project unmeasurably. You will have problems—trust me!

    So what do you do? Keep it to yourself and deal with it? Limit the discussion to a small team? What and how do you tell the customer?

    In my experience, you first identify the problem and discuss it within the internal team. What went wrong? How did this happen? Identify some alternative solutions and measure feasibility.

    Before having 100% of the answers, I engage my customer. I explain the situation, and I define some of the alternatives listing potential solutions. I gauge the impact on the project timing. Then, I ask for their suggestions.

    Involve your customer in problems. Many customers appreciate the candor and the opportunity to participate in the process. They may not be happy; however, they have a stake in the solution. I have discovered my customers often have ideas we had not considered when presented with the issue.

    My biggest takeaway is NEVER hide anything. Yes, you will make people angry. Yes, stakeholders will be disappointed. Yes, you may get in trouble. Deceiving the team that “everything is all right” to find out later you were covering up only creates distrust and fear. Be honest and sincere, and you will see improved results when dealing with problems.

    Final Advice

    Happy business people during a project management meeting

    Project management is often a thankless, difficult job. Everyone has managed a project at one time—whether professionally or simply around the house. PM work is challenging.

    You can plan now on how to make the project run efficiently. You can prepare your communication methods defining them with the team. You can develop your templates to keep communication simple. You can agree with stakeholders on how problems are presented to the team.

    With some planning, PMs can create simple strategies to make the process flow well. Knowing how to manage the project’s intangibles will allow you to focus on where to add value.

    Finally… execute! The stakeholder is looking to you to succeed. Show them you can deliver, and make your project a success! Good luck, and know that I appreciate your efforts because I walk in your shoes.

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  • Are you really managing change, transforming your organization, or following a project management process? Project management skills are very effective in all instances.

    Change Management As A Transformation Agent

    change management and project management concept

    ​Throughout my career, I have been a part of several change management initiatives (or projects) whereby companies have made a conscious effort to implement specific strategic plans which had some impact on the organization.

    In some instances, the changes were well defined, and the intent was clear; however, the problem was in the implementation and, most importantly, the sustainability of the change.

    In other instances, the companies chose not to implement structural changes but chose to focus on improving existing processes in an effort to improve operational performance. The issues here were recognizing and again implementing the desired changes.

    For example, one of the companies decided to implement a new work-from-home policy across their global locations. The initial idea was to apply the policy in a uniform manner across locations; however, this soon turned out to be inviable due to major differences in labor laws, the unionized segment of the workforce, and the availability of dependable, high-speed internet connections, just to name a few.

    The change project turned out to be a massive endeavor with a significant degree of customization. It also took far much longer to implement, not only for cultural reasons but also for intergenerational reasons as the baby boomers and Gen X tended to prefer as much in‐person work as possible.

    The change identified was a specific change to the HR policy yet, due to the nature of the change, it was actually a complete organizational transformation.

    In today’s increasingly unstable world, change management has been elevated with many companies assigning specific change management or organizational transformation teams to tackle many issues such as:

    • Social inequality/inclusion
    • Climate change; geopolitical instability
    • Technologies (AI)
    • Intergenerational and intercultural factors, work‐life balance

    Whatever the case may be, change is the new normal and successful companies must have a clear, forward‐looking strategy for long‐term survival.

    Managing Change Initiatives As Projects

    change management concept

    When implementing change initiatives, there are many moving parts that need to be managed, considered, and accepted. This also entails a full understanding of the business context of the desired change, the people that will need to adopt the change, as well as the economic impact of the change.

    If it sounds familiar, these elements align closely with scope, stakeholder management, and cost control which are three of the knowledge areas of the project management profession.

    This is why I believe that change management initiatives be:

    • Considered as a project
    • Managed by a project team (dedicated when possible)
    • Supported by top stakeholders

    In this way, the main areas that will affect the success of the implementation will be managed by a team that already uses these skills in their daily work: scope, risk, cost control, communications, quality, procurement, etc.

    In today’s climate, I cannot stress enough the importance of managing THE most important corporate resource: the PEOPLE!

    Successful implementations are mindful of:

    • Employee satisfaction/risk of turnover (brain drain)
    • Maintaining business continuity
    • Protecting corporate image
    • Sustainability of the change

    Just because the project crossed the “Go Live” stage does not mean the change is fully implemented! Sometimes the training, acceptance, and desired productivity can take years to fully achieve across the organization so ensure a sustainability team remains “on call” for as long as it takes.

    This is why it is super important to determine if the rollout will be top‐down or bottom‐up (communications and stakeholder management!).

    Change initiatives can really be highly successful when you really manage all of these moving parts!

    Management Of Change (MOC) Is Not Change Management

    change management concept

    Recently, I worked with a company that frequently used the term “managing a change” to apply to virtually any change that they encountered on a daily basis. I heard the term applied when an operational issue did not go according to plan, when an employee did not follow a specific safety procedure, and when the finance department moved a specific cost to a new account on the ledger.

    While one could argue that having to process such situations would be a sort of management of change, the term itself is actually a project management concept that applies to variances between budgeted or baseline tasks versus modifications that are proposed either by internal departments external customers and third parties.

    Lack of compliance with company procedures is not management of change; it is definitely something to be investigated and should be part of an employee’s performance evaluation.

    So, what is management of change then?

    In the energy sector, equipment suppliers manufacture products such as valves, pipes, fittings, or other industrial items that are subject to customer inspection. During the bid phase, the scope of the inspection activities will be set and agreed upon prior to contract signature. After contract signature, if the customer decides to change the inspection criteria by requiring more rigid specifications be followed, or even the ability to stop manufacturing activities in-process when this was not agreed, then this would constitute a management of change (MOC) event.

    MOCs are every project manager’s nightmare or OPPORTUNITY!

    Management of change is one of those tricky, disruptive subjects that requires:

    • A solid work breakdown structure (WBS) and detailed schedule
    • A level-headed strategy
    • Incorporation of the project risks
    • Alignment with sales and the key stakeholders

    Some would say that it is its own knowledge area…

    Whatever the case may be, following a robust MOC process will greatly increase the project’s chances of success, including a better bottom line.

    Is This Change Management Or Management Of Change?

    change management concept

    When demystifying the change management vs. management of change conundrum, we can ask ourselves a number of questions to determine not only which one applies, but also how to manage each.

    1. What is the nature of the change? It is a process, an initiative, project‐related scope element?
    2. Why the change? Is it philosophical, economically driven, a regulatory requirement?
    3. When does the change need to be implemented?
    4. Who will be affected by the change?
    5. Where will the change be executed? Across departments, divisions, locations, etc.?
    6. How will the change be managed? Top‐down, bottom‐up, inside‐out, outside‐in?

    Although many of these questions seem quite obvious, you would be surprised by the number of companies that do not actually ask these specific questions.

    As a general rule, I have found that these questions and the ensuing actions are best covered by issuing a formal project charter whereby the main stakeholders apply their individual signatures as a show of commitment but also to demonstrate full understanding of the change project.

    Upon approval of the project charter, key results and objectives (OKRs) or KPIs are formally issued and, once again, signed off by the same stakeholders that validated the project charter.

    The project execution plan is then issued with the corresponding tasks to be completed with the agreed baseline dates established in the charter. Any deviation to these tasks would then generate a management of change or MOC event, in classic project management terms.

    For short-term or small scope changes, these tools can be scaled or even reduced to checklists so that an agile mindset prevails, thus avoiding a heavy, bureaucratic process that will not be well received.

    Project management and change management, therefore, are intrinsically linked but use different strategies and techniques to achieve their goals. Using project teams to manage both is a very effective way to increase the organization’s chances of success.

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  • When projects are green-lighted, one of THE most important things to do is to hold a kickoff meeting.

    Higher overall project success and, more importantly, improvements to the bottom line are among the many benefits of holding an effective kickoff meeting.

    What Is A Kickoff Meeting And Why Is It Important?

    Employees have a project kickoff meeting

    A kickoff meeting is basically a meeting held between the buyer and seller to officially initiate the project once the contracts have been signed.

    In this meeting, the key stakeholders on both sides are present, as well as other interested parties that have a stake in the project. The aim of the meeting is to cover the main contractual parts of the project and ensure understanding from both sides and alignment on how the project will be executed.

    There is also an internal project kickoff meeting which is held after the external meeting and the aim of this meeting is to ensure that the company has understood the minutes issued as well as any impact on the strategies or procedures considered during the bid phase.

    These meetings are extremely important as they will, in effect, summarize the activities to be performed during execution while providing important context to the project teams.

    1. Meet The Key Stakeholders In Each Functional Area

    Team members have a project kickoff meeting

    There is nothing more powerful to increase engagement on a project than a face-to-face (or virtual!) meeting with the person with whom you will be interfacing on a project. Sometimes certain project positions do not have this opportunity due to travel constraints or other issues which are generally concentrated on the project manager or project coordinator’s shoulders.

    When project expeditors, schedulers, and cost control, quality, and finance team members have the opportunity to bond with their counterparts in this way, many of the doubts regarding operational tasks which may not make the main screen can be aired out or even taken offline much easier once personal contact has been established.

    It is also a great way to network and elevate the visibility of the entire project team.

    2. Cover The Project Procedures To Be Followed During Execution

    Project manager uses sticky notes to plan a project

    There are many procedures to be followed on most projects and the kickoff meeting provides an avenue to read through the main highlights of each one while ensuring understanding and alignment.

    Among some of the main procedures that need to be covered are:

    A) Communication Interface – the stakeholders are listed in a matrix format which lists with whom and how they will interface on the project, as well as their roles and responsibilities.

    B) Reporting – most project teams love to issue reports and this will set the guidelines regarding which reports will be required, along with the specific formats, frequencies, and distribution requirements.

    C) Quality – this procedure will cover the quality requirements which will include the documentation, inspection procedures, and corresponding approvals required for each document.

    D) Logistics – an often contentious, volatile, and misunderstood segment, the logistics portion of most international projects is very complex and requires very detailed alignment in order to avoid costly delays, additional charges, taxes, and other potentially political consequences.

    E) Finance – processing of project billing can be a very tricky endeavor as supporting documentation and the customer payment processes are not always clear. This is an extremely important topic to align during the kickoff meeting as it will have a direct impact on cash flow as well as the bottom line.

    F) Management of Change – this process is also important to address as it will establish an agreed-upon way to manage any changes on a project, both customer and supplier-driven changes.

    3. Clarify Any Points In The Project Documentation Received From The Customer

    Project manager presents during a project kickoff meeting

    Projects can have so many documents and procedures to consider that it is really easy to get lost in the sea of paper that needs to be digested. As a good practice, I advocate that the documents be divided up amongst the team members, usually by functional area, so that the ones who will have to process each document will be intimately familiar with the requirements before the kickoff meeting.

    There are some definite overlaps in documents so the teams need to be aware of this and highlight those portions which the other members will need to consider before execution begins. The project manager needs to read ALL of the documents so that he/she can properly delegate tasks as needed as well as identify any areas that may compromise the team’s ability to execute. This should ideally be brought up during the bid phase and prior to contract signature; however, this is not always possible and the PM needs to be on high alert so as to address these points during the kickoff meeting.

    4. Establish Rules Of Engagement For Both Sides, Including The Third-Party Providers

    Project manager talks during a project kickoff meeting

    The absence of rules is chaos!

    This could not be more true in the world of project management as customers, third parties, or even internal stakeholders can create mayhem on the project by not following a structured execution process.

    During the kickoff meeting, these procedures, rules of conduct, and communication methods need to be clearly addressed so that the teams know the course of action in case of a conflict or contractual dispute. The project hierarchy, roles, and responsibilities of each stakeholder as well as scaled, governance-based decision-making are the keys to keeping the project on course.

    5. Identify And Address Project Priorities As Well As The Main Risks

    Project manager works on a project

    When project documentation is analyzed, priorities have generally not been set and they can also evolve over time. For this reason, it is a good practice to ask if any priorities have been set by the time of the kickoff meeting and also include the expected impacts on the agreed-upon baseline schedule. If anything changes and work needs to be re-prioritized at any point, both sides must come to a mutual agreement so that the baseline schedule is revised.

    The top risks identified at the bid phase should also be included as a topic of interest to be debated during the meeting as risks can and will evolve over time. Sharing risk registers is a very good way to improve the alignment of both parties while also actually improving the mitigation strategies. This, in turn, leads to the release of fewer contingency sums and a better bottom line!

    6. Define And Streamline The Management Of Change (MOC) Process To Be Applied On The Project

    Project manager documents information during a project kickoff meeting

    Project teams (and most people for that matter!) HATE change.

    Change is always disruptive and causes unwelcomed re-work for all those involved in the process.

    If both parties take a reasonable approach to this process, then the Management of Change (MOC) process can be streamlined so that neither side change orders the other side to death. While changes will inevitably occur, the way in which they are processed and make their way into the contract is definitely something that both sides can and should negotiate during the kickoff meeting.

    Some customers prefer that changes be grouped into a MOC register which is then revisited periodically, usually monthly, so that a determination of GO or NO GO can be made, along with the required changes to the contract pricing, delivery, and scope sections. I think this is the best strategy to reduce disruption while also minimizing the strain on the relationships with the stakeholders.

    What Happens At The End Of The Kickoff Meeting?

    Project kickoff meeting at work

    Kickoff meetings can last several days or even weeks, depending on the number of stakeholders, sites, and time zones to consider.

    Once the meeting(s) wrap up, the project manager needs to issue the Minutes of Meeting (MOM) to cover all of the points addressed during the meeting, while being sure to list ALL of the people who participated.

    Despite everyone’s best efforts, not all of the issues will be addressed or fully resolved; as such, there should be a section to include the punch list, or all of these open items to be addressed and target dates for each one to be resolved, along with the responsible party(ies).

    It is absolutely critical that ALL participants sign the minutes and initial every page so that a clear agreement is reached among the parties. This document will then become an integral part of the project contractual documents so it is very important to be as clear and thorough as possible when issuing this document.

    The minutes is one of the main documents the project team will then refer to, along with the project execution plan (PEP), so streamlining its appearance will encourage the team to refer back to it!

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