Any project is only as successful as the management principles upon which it has been founded. This includes legal compliance, social responsibility, and a basic moral obligation by all pertinent members and stakeholders of the project to proceed along an ethical and steadfast path in all matters related to the project throughout the duration of its completion time. There are a myriad of dilemmas that present themselves to project managers on a routine basis, poor actions and decisions of any members on the project, an acceptance of business practices that are not in legal compliance with certain standards and laws, and a failure in providing truthful assessments and updates of costs and timing of the project are just some examples of a lack of ethical commitment on the part of management. These can pose significant risks to the project and while some might find these issues to be minor or a matter of fact of doing business, they can ultimately be more harmful than helpful to the success of the project and the people who are a part of it. These issues can be avoided through a strong mapping out of the project charter and agreed upon by all parties that are involved.
The purpose of a project charter is to close the project initiation or planning phase, thereby authorizing the commencement of work on the project and endowing the project manager with the proper authority with which to perform his or her duties on the job. The project manager is not responsible for preparing the charter, that task is left to someone who is not a direct part of the project team. It is often a member of senior level management with access to necessary resources, a direct line to major stakeholders associated with the project, and authority over the team who is responsible for issuing the charter
Once the charter has been established and the project manager given the go ahead to take the project forward, there are a number of issues that can, and often will, arise. The first of which is often simple logistics. Team members and stakeholders can be spread out around the country or even throughout the world and finding a way to collaborate among multiple time zones can be a major challenge. Implementing a real-time, online, mobile collaboration interface can be an invaluable tool for getting everyone to work together more efficiently and effectively. Additional factors such as cultural and language barriers might also exist and a translator may need to be brought in for easier communication between all parties. This is where a project manager must show his or her strength in being able to wrangle so many key components on a regular basis.
Strength comes in many forms and a good project manager elicits firm control over every aspect of the project. The PM must show strong foresight, always be a step or five ahead. In the planning stage the PM is expected to keep all parties involved, project team members, stakeholders, sponsors, everyone, fully engaged, focused, and made aware of every step of the process. A strong PM can weather the myriad of changes and changed minds that come with planning and one could argue this is the most crucial stage of the project where the project manager really displays his or her prowess. Confident leadership will convince all of the participants that the project manager knows what he or she is doing and they will naturally follow that person’s authority. The PM is the one responsible for ensuring that every facet of the job is completed at each stage. In the instance of a construction-based project, the PM must facilitate acquisition of all essential resources and will rely on his or her personnel to do their due diligence on locating the best people and equipment. This might require project leaders to refer to websites like Straight Kerfs so they may find the best tools to complete the job. It also means the PM must successfully see the project through to completion, often without final scrutiny or a determining audit at the time of completion. This can result in a PM and the organization being at odds with each other.
The reason most organizations don’t review their projects is due to any number of factors, some of which are in service of keeping an advantage in the marketplace. Staying focused on any project for too long allows competitors the chance to step in with a similar product that might prove more popular. Sometimes project managers are juggling many products at the same time, others feel that if the development and implementation processes are proving successful then everything is going smoothly. Unfortunately, a firm can lose that ground they’re looking to covet in the marketplace if and when they discover a hitch in the implementation process. A firm such as a medical center, where attention to detail is of utmost importance and can sometimes be the difference between life and death, has a very stringent and thorough review process which sets specific guidelines and expectations while also defining the roles and responsibilities of every member of their personnel. Those that have little or no process reviews may find themselves at a disadvantage because they aren’t able to identify critical problems in the company’s management or the product itself.
The completion of any project requires a comprehensive review process including a gap analysis, a breakdown of whether or not all the project goals were achieved, a cost benefit analysis and any findings, recommendations, or lessons that were learned during the process, so they can be implemented or avoided on the next project. A final sign-off on the finished project as well as any deliverables that need to be transferred should also be addressed. Doing all of these will ensure the efficiency and success of any future projects and help the team work more cogently with one another on the next opportunity.