Delivering projects successfully is about more than the application of tightly controlled project management systems by professional project managers, as useful as they are. Most projects don’t unfold quite as predicted at the outset. As a result, the key skill of good project management is the ability to adapt creatively in pursuit of the project objective as circumstances change and new challenges come to light. This requires the ability to make good decisions on the job.
The challenge is that most management tools are only as good as the relevance of the data entered into them, and the judgements made from them. For a system to be relevant to the successful delivery of a project it must contribute to the immediate issues at hand. To do this it must be both flexible and adaptable. The problem is that very few systems are efficiently adapted ‘live’. Most being updated to describe what has already happened. The most effective project management tool is therefore a creative human mind. A creative and dicisive project manager, supported by a talented project team, is the most effective way of moving a project towards success.
The question then is what makes a good project manager. To make good decisions you have to be deeply involved. This takes more than the competence and confidence to make decisions on the job, it also requires commitment.
A reliance on project management systems is no substitute for commitment to and engagement in the project. The successful projects are always those that are fully owned by the team delivering them. In our experience it is competence combined with commitment that leads to success. That is why we are excited about the new Integrated Project Insurance model. This will create a framework for greater commitment between team members.
What matters above all is that a project is delivered successfully and success is defined by the client. That definition will adapt and change as the project evolves and as the client and project team refine their understanding of the project. To do this requires a deep engagement in the clients objectives and the current status of the project. The team responsible for the delivery of the project must be as committed and deeply involved in it’s success as the client is. That is not easy.
It is those who know the project inside out and are deeply committed to its success who are best placed to deliver success. There is no doubt that a good architect is one of the most deeply involved and committed members of a good project team.