Project management: doing things right or doing the right things?

Project management: doing things right or doing the right things?

Fact is a project has either a result or even an implemented result that already generates impact. But where do projects start? In our practice my colleagues and I rarely meet with project managers that start from an idea. Most often the project result has already been defined, thus turning their projects into so called realisation projects. Realisation projects are limited to work planning, execution and control.

If your organisation is dealing with large projects, then it might be that each of the phases of project management is more or less a project in itself. For instance, a civil-engineering product might result from four projects:

  1. pre-study (initiation and definition),
  2. design (plan),
  3. contract (preparation),
  4. construction (execution and control, closure).

If you are the chosen project manager for the construction phase, you then logically start from the predefined result.

It could also be that the first stages have been executed by other people. That means these people are responsible for the development of business cases supporting their ideas, for a future study defining the functional specifications, and, based on that, for the analysis of the issues (causes) to be addressed and finally for the choice of a viable and sustainable solution. It is then that our project managers are allowed to take over, halfway into the planning stage, to plan the work and produce the result. Doing things right!

These people that do the intellectual and creative preparatory work, they tend to not overly communicate with their project managers, or so we have been told. We hardly ever see them participate in our courses. So what about the assurance that we do the right things ….?


This blog has originally been published February 15th, 2010




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