Gantt charts are the foundation of everything. Gantt Charts were your first experience in project management. You had to spend hours on tasks and understand the interdependencies between them. Then you showed the Gantt Charts to your customer and senior executives with all the progress lines, percents of completion and all the numbers down to those 62% and 47% numbers. Your team was amazed.
Even now, when you mention project management to an outsider in business, they’ll often respond, “Oh yes, you’re that guy who creates all the Gantt charts, right?” ” Sigh. Yes, we do make all those Gantt Charts. But project management is,Ai, and always has been,Ai more than just Gantt Charts.
It’s about:
Project management involves team leadership, customer leadership, and making good decisions for the project as well as for all those involved. Project managers who are good at managing teams must be able to make tough decisions quickly, often with little information, and they must also have the courage to stand behind their decisions.
Status reporting.
What happened last week. What’s happening now. What’s coming up next week. These are the current project issues being worked on. Status updates and risk management. Change orders. Forecasting and resource usage. All of this information can,Ai and should be included in the project status report. It is easier for project managers to make one status report. This is because there won’t be seven different status reports that will satisfy seven different groups of stakeholders. This is often made easier by creating a dashboard for the status reports that shows project health in key areas via a green, yellow, or red approach, and possibly percentages (like % over or under budget). This gives your company’s executives something to look at and lets them stop tapping you on your shoulder. It also gives the customer sponsor something to show his management so they can satisfy their need for proof that their money is making things work.
Project management is about facilitating productive and efficient meetings. It’s about getting people in the right seats every week, so you have the right people available. It’s also about sharing information so good decisions can be made. Meeting success is dependent on the ability of project managers to plan, prepare, and facilitate great meetings. Don’t forget to send notes after each meeting to ensure everyone is on the exact same page. If you have a great meeting, but key attendees leave with different ideas about next steps, you’ve still failed. Don’t allow that to happen.
Customer engagement.
Customer engagement is the most important aspect of project management. My motto is “You are only as successful your last customer thinks that you are… ” So to me, the customer means everything. It is crucial to keep customers engaged in the project. This will allow them to get the right information at the right time, be available for key decisions, and keep them informed and happy throughout.
Communication is the number one job of a project manager. Yes, even more than Gantt charts and status reporting, Ai, although it is part the status reporting process. A project manager is the point of contact for all stakeholders. This communication must be efficient and effective.