Managing Teams

Solid Planning is the Answer to the Brexit Uncertainty

Brexit-Planning-Paper

Companies worried about the future should instead turn their focus toward planning. Contingency planning has long been a core skill behind successful project management, and it’s a competency that organizations can turn to as the Brexit process moves forward. After reviewing the firm’s goals and where the changing environment might intersect (or interfere), project managers will be able to lay out several contingent paths that can guide the business through the uncertain years ahead, leaning toward one or another of these potential paths as information about the future becomes more clear.

Why Your Manufacturing Project Needs a Work Breakdown Structure

Elevated portrait of a proud team of carpenters in a cabinet shop

Teams tasked with executing manufacturing projects have a lot on their plates. To get things underway as soon as possible, it can be tempting to skip over the development of a work breakdown structure and go right to carrying out tasks. But any perceived time savings gained by avoiding this step will quickly come back to haunt PMs, often in the form of delays, critical activity conflicts, and tasks left uncompleted.

Become a Staff Realignment Master

Stocksy_txp7d839f27RvR100_Small_1159215

Project schedules are rarely static. Instead, they begin evolving as soon as the team gets to work. Status reports coming in from the field, issues such as material and equipment delivery timing, and labor availability will all impact the schedule throughout the project’s lifecycle.

Resource Management Enables Manpower Visibility

Stocksy_txp1fb4bddbiGR100_Small_1270904

Project managers essentially have two areas of focus when it comes to manpower support:

Knowing that they have enough of the right resources to execute the amount of work planned, ensuring they aren’t caught short-handed at a critical time.
Understanding when those resources are needed—and when they’re best used—so they don’t have expensive labor resources onsite without anything to do.

If the team isn’t adequately staffed with the right level of labor resources to complete the amount of work being scheduled, the activity durations will ultimately take longer. This often leads to some of the project’s scope being sacrificed toward the end of the project as the team runs out of time leading up to the target completion date.

Managing Projects with Multiple Critical Paths

Stocksy_txp9b1d83cfkOO000_Large_214714

Complex projects often have more than one critical path, and in order for the project to reach a successful completion, each of these paths must be carefully managed. Even if the primary path is achieved, a lack of progress on any of the follow-on paths could doom the project to failure in the long run.

Teams that execute these challenging projects need to be mindful of what it takes to manage multiple layers of requirements and actions. A strong awareness of all the paths that make up a project is critical if the PMO wants to ensure that nothing falls behind schedule or drops off the radar.

If your center of excellence is facing a can’t-fail project with multiple paths, it’s important to understand the risks that exists and where opportunities for success can be found.

Why Power Plant Projects need Real-Time Status Updates

Stocksy_txp31063dfbxy8100_Small_187292

Information is one of the core pillars underpinning every successful project. With the evolution of technology and more compute power available than ever before, there’s little reason centers of excellence should continue to rely on data that may be days or even weeks old when it comes to identifying potential issues, forecasting activity schedules, making strategic decisions, and pouncing on opportunities in the marketplace.

A robust project management methodology enables the team to access the kind of real-time status updates that are critical to success. If your PMO hasn’t yet prioritized the use of real-time data, consider how it could improve the landscape for team members, executives, and the other stakeholders involved in the effort.

Power Plant Projects Bring Unique Communication Challenges

Stocksy_txp61602e4dgZO100_Medium_545313

Strong communication skills are a must for any project manager. But when it comes to planning and executing projects in the highly demanding power plant environment, the ability to craft, plan for, and oversee communication efforts moves to the top of the priority ladder. Tackling these unique challenges requires experience and expertise.

Partnering with an External Consultancy: Facts & Fears

Stocksy_txp5fc3cce5umO100_Small_1049909

Executive groups and internal project team members are often unsure what it means to partner with an outside project management firm. There may be concerns about job stability for PMO staff or the potential for damage to the team’s reputation. Some people worry about the logistics of working with an external expert and how it might contribute to a difficult environment, where workloads, time pressures, and stress levels are already high.

These are reasonable concerns but they’re typically based on the unknown. They don’t reflect the reality of partnering with an experienced outside consultancy. We’ve compiled some of the most common fears we hear from potential clients and balanced them against the facts of how a relationship with an external expert functions in the real world.

If your organization is considering an external consultancy but fear is holding you back, see how a partnership with an outside project management expert really works.

Is Your Project Management Control process Really Working?

Stocksy_txpa2ed95d16mO100_Small_696702

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine how well your PMO’s project management control process is actually working. Is your team constantly occupied with too many tasks to manage and not enough people to get everything done? Do your projects come in late more often than they’re on time? Are you spending so much energy responding to last-minute problems that you aren’t able to focus on your current tasks? Has the team’s mood started to slip?

Project Management: Stress Vs. Panic

people motion on the street

Several strategies can be deployed to help PMOs avoid lapsing into panic when the pressure mounts, whether it’s because of an emergent problem or because there simply seems to be too much to do. Knowing where to draw the line is key when balancing stress levels.