There was a great tongue-in-cheek guide to project management I saw recently entitled “6 phases of a project” which said the six phases were:
- Search for the guilty
- Punishment of the innocent
- Praise and honours for the non-participants
Now, this is a somewhat jaundiced view of the process but it’s one many people will recognise and empathise with!
It shows the need to approach project management with as much emphasis on cultural, psychological and political issues as on processes and procedures.
In other words, McKinsey’s “Seven S” model which looks at the hard (strategy, structure, systems) and soft (Shared Values, Skills, Style, Staff) elements of an organisation is just as relevant in successful project management as it is for successful organisations.
Every project goes through an “S” curve from initial enthusiasm to panic and eventually to a (hopefully) successful conclusion.
It is the project manager’s role to manage this process, motivate the team, deal with the expectations and pressures from stakeholders and pace the project to avoid burn-out.
And when things go wrong – as they always do – to avoid blame culture and foster a positive approach to learning from mistakes to rectify and improve the process.
Of course, praise and honours for the non-participants comes with the territory, but that’s the price you pay for delivering successful projects!