The art of managing and delivering a successful project within budget and on-time is not everybody’s cup of tea. There are a lot of moving parts that do not conform to the patterns of past experiences but usually take a huge time and effort from a project manager in anticipating the risks that emerge from those moving parts and mitigating them. Project Management has become more complex these days and often you hear about project time over-run by several months and cost over-run by several millions, in both private and public industries.
If a project is termed as success on these important parameters and is also of good quality then the Project Manager or Project Director is considered as a Diva, a darling of the team. The new age project manager considers the changing environment outside and the challenging environment within the project as critical success factors and works on how to anticipate them upfront and put counter measures in place to face them. There are a few factors that a PM would like to work on as the most important – Critical Thinking, Creativity and Emotional Intelligence – that are within the realms of a chosen project team. These have also become the essential aspects of Project Management Training.
Critical Thinking – There are always assumptions, biases that are based on past experiences in any project. When dealing with a new problem or problems, these assumptions and biases need deep deliberations, employing a systematic and logical approach to problem solving. Asking probing questions and seeking answers help to foster not only the approach to a right solution but also help with a healthy environment within the project. It becomes then easier for the project manager to track the business or operational risks, assess their impact on the project and resolve them successfully. It is in this facilitation process a project manager can bring in value and realise the benefit of critical thinking process. A Project manager who uses this way of thinking and facilitates deliberations for a meaningful outcome is sure to resolve potential risk threats more quickly and develop better solutions.
Creativity – it is the process of thinking alternate or innovative methods to decipher and solve a problem statement and implementing the best suited one. Every member of the project team can contribute to this process and it is not an one time effort but a continuous one as it repeatedly gets refined. A person in any sphere of life can develop this creative mind set through practice. Design thinking and technology support help in this process. Design thinking is an iterative process that the team members use to understand and think from a user’s perspective about a problem or redefining it and then creating an innovative idea that is piloted as a prototype and tested for deployment. Every project is not similar and also the problems that require unique solutions. Project Management works on them, considering the characteristics of the project and organisational environment that is being managed to deliver a quality and acceptable project to the end user. Tech support in the form of AI and ML help through this process with data to analyse and decide.
Emotional Intelligence – Typically a project is perceived, expressed and managed through emotions of individual members of that project and how well the Project Manager manages these emotions to produce a desired result is important. The mental and social behaviour of each of them are best managed by a deep understanding of their emotions. A herd of cattle is manageable, a herd of ducks is manageable but a herd of cats is most difficult to manage, as people say. Emotions are like cats that wander. Directing and controlling them is a huge challenge. The best definition would be – ” Emotional intelligence is the ultimate soft skill, encompassing everything from the way we listen, communicate and resolve conflict to how our teams work together and stay motivated”.
Disruptions in technology, Changing external environment, diversity in people and varying cultural tendencies of people involved are new challenges today for a Project Manager and for the organisation. Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Cloud Solutions or 5G Internet are the new tools available in the project portfolio of the Project Manager to support an increased automation, increased productivity, better features in products and better decision making.
Credits: Praxis Framework, Project Management Institute’s ‘Maximizing the Benefits of Disruptive Technologies on Projects’ , Gartner’s “The Future of Work and Talent: Culture, Diversity, Technology”
#projectmanagement #criticalthinking #creativity #emotionalintelligence #digitaldisruption
One thought on “Project Management Today”
Excellent insights. A great read!