By Dan Divinski with contributions from Will Cooper and Maelyn Wisch

Project Management: Utilizing a Proactive Methodology

As pointed out in our first article, “Project Management: Why Projects Fail,” 70% of projects crumble and are not successful due to a lack of stakeholder buy-in. Project managers build stakeholder buy-in through developing a strategic vision, encouraging effective communication, employing a proactive project management (Pro-PM) methodology, and building effective teams. Pro-PM methodology is successful because it mitigates risk, allocates resources effectively, and uses time efficiently.

Why Pro-PM Methodology is Effective

Risk Mitigation
The Pro-PM methodology identifies risks to the success of the project and mitigates those risks. Using a Pro-PM approach requires that the project manager take control of any adverse situation that could arise throughout the project, well before it happens. Think through what issues or scenarios could happen. Either plan to avoid that situation or plan to deal with the problem if it occurs. Doing this exercise with a complete project plan provides an excellent opportunity for all team members, regardless of their knowledge and experience, to continue to grow a project through analysis, planning, and execution.

Systematic Process for Resource Management
The Pro-PM methodology uses a systematic process that allocates resources where they are most needed and where they are most useful. Remember, no two projects or clients are alike. A systematic resource allocation process implements strategies that adapt to the unique conditions of each project.

Time Management
Pro-PM methodology develops and employs synchronization and tracking tools to keep the project on schedule and manage time competently. The two longest lead-time items for all projects are the resourcing of people and setting up development, testing, and production environments. A Pro-PM methodology keeps a team on their toes as well as enables the team to stay on schedule while developing and implementing solutions.

How to Build Stakeholder Buy-in Through Pro-PM Methodology

Develop a Strategic Vision

  • Name the executive business sponsor for the project. This role owns the business case.
  • Define the overall solution based on the completion of an options analysis. Create a ROM (rough order of magnitude) estimate.  Then carefully identify the top risks.

Encourage Effective Communication

  • Structure and plan the project for scope, cost, quality, and schedule. Base this on the best practices of either the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®), PRINCE2®, or Association for Project Managers Body of Knowledge (APMBOK®).  Using a best practices body of knowledge includes the full articulation, maintenance, and completion of each integration management process.
  • Use project management information systems as a way to remain accountable and active when evaluating the process of the project.
  • Perform frequent and consistent check-ins with the team to best monitor and manage the progress of tasks. From these results, create weekly and monthly status reports to inform the executive business sponsor and other leadership of updates.
  • Maintain stakeholder engagement with daily communication on project progress. Over-communicating to keep stakeholders actively involved works best.

Build Effective Teams

  • Identify the characteristics and skills of the most successful project manager needed for the initiative. Recruit and hire that project manager.
  • Implement a project management culture based on solid planning, financial skills, and resource leadership.
  • Identify the skills needed in other roles and recruit to fill those positions. Complete onboarding for each team member.  Begin in-depth mentoring to help build a foundation for retention.
  • Educate and train team members on stakeholder engagement and the change management process.
  • Identify which team members need to work toward competency certifications to support solutions for the project.


A Note from the Author

My professional goal is to improve the overall success rate of projects. Proactive project management (Pro-PM) results in successful projects by gaining stakeholder buy-in through strategic vision, effective communication, deliberate planning methodology, and building effective teams. With over 30 years of experience in the system integrations consulting industry, I have recovered failing projects for a multitude of clients ranging from manufacturing all the way to travel and hospitality. Currently, I work with Blackstone and Cullen (a local consultancy) that has a culture of “do it right, get it done.” My professional background includes working as a program manager for a big five consulting firm and as a major global system integrator.

Next in this series: In “Project Management: Utilizing a Reactive Methodology,” we describe when projects begin to fail with a trend of missing the end date. How do you respond? React with a mindset for recovery!

Authors


Dan Divinski
Principal at Blackstone+Cullen
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With contributions from Will Cooper and Maelyn Wisch.