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A Project Management Christmas Carol

By ILX Team | 19 December 2016

In the spirit of Christmas, we at the ILX Group were inspired by the classic tale A Christmas Carol for our latest blog. As many of you will know, in the story Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet-to-Come, to warn him of a miserable fate if he refuses to change his ways. With the risk of exaggerating, all project managers consider the failure of a project to be quite a similar fate. Fortunately, you can strive for project success through assessing past performances and present resources, in line with those all-important business objectives.

Ghost of Projects Past – Lessons Logs via PRINCE2

All projects come with an element of risk, and it’s safe to assume that mistakes will be made. Hindsight cannot undo past mistakes but project managers can commit to learning from them.

PRINCE2’s Lessons Log helps managers to record mistakes from their most recent project. Ask your colleagues and stakeholders for their opinion on what went well, and what could be improved on. The Lessons Log can be tailored to your individual project needs, as long as the information within it is accessible to everyone in your team. Remember that successful project teamwork is sharing individual experiences and skills for the benefit of everyone.

Ghost of Projects Present – How PMP helps you retain control over your project scope

Successful project management is about making decisions in the present, based on past results and future objectives. The project management plan should clearly define the scope of your project based on your business’s resources. However, it is often that the scope of a project is forced to expand in unforeseen circumstances, and you must adjust your resources accordingly. PMP calls this ‘scope creep.’

If your project is susceptible to scope creep, and you are concerned you are deviating from your expected project trajectory, you can seize control by doing a variance analysis. This article on preparing for the PMP Certification Exam describes a variance analysis as ‘discover[ing] the degree of variance as well as the root cause,’ in order to put preventative measures in place.

Ghost of Projects to Come – Ensure your projected future with MSP’s Transformational Flow

Just as Scrooge lost control over his bitterness and greed, a lack of continual assessment means you can lose control over attaining your project goals. MSP’s concept of Transformational Flow, ensures that the intended outcome is still feasible.

To guarantee project success, the Transformational Flow provides requisite questions: “Are we still on track? Are the benefits still achievable? Is the Business Case still valid and relevant?”  If your project has been broken down successfully into manageable stages, there should be frequent opportunities to ask these questions.

Upon project completion, managers review whether predetermined objectives have been fulfilled, informing projects to come. Adhering to the Transformational Flow means that preventative measures are put in place when a variance is identified, the results of these measures subject to review when the project is closed.

Haunted by ghosts of project management past? Hopefully we’ve provided guidance for you to take action in the present so you can attain the results you’re looking for, and to optimise best practice on projects to come. From all of us at the ILX Group, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and look forward to providing all your project management solutions in 2017!

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