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Project Managers going it alone – a recipe for disaster!

Author: Mark Langham

The goal of every project manager is to deliver quality projects on time and within budget. The complexity of any project makes this difficult to accomplish, and that no doubt has contributed to the countless books and articles which have attempted to provide solutions or frameworks for success. With this multitude of literature and project methodologies, from traditional waterfall types such as Prince2 through to the iterative approaches of Agile, it would be reasonable to expect the majority of projects to be completed on time and within budget. However, regardless of the project methodology used, there are a myriad of issues that are waiting to push project controls beyond their tolerances.

Independent academic research conducted by an Integral consultant proved that the success of a project is dependent on both the skill set of the project manager and the management support of the client organisation. If project overruns can cannot be completely eliminated, they can be better managed through good project management practices and developing managerial support through the application of considered stakeholder management.

The project manager may not always be to blame when projects go bad but they are responsible for building and maintaining relationships with project stakeholders, be they C-suite executives or project team members. Project overruns are a symptom of not one but multiple factors and can be attributed to a failing of not just technical or academic knowledge, but also soft skills. The development of a project manager’s tool kit should include everything they need, not to just mechanically follow the doctrine of the methodology but build trusting relationships with others.