project process success

What existing process can get in the way of project success?

In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield. – Warren Buffett


f you’ve ever worked on a project, chances are you’ve been presented with at least one workflow diagram or ‘innovative’ operational process. If you’re a project manager, it’s likely that you’ve had to draw one up yourself. Process methods and key frameworks are a dominant part of many projects – but are they the most efficient way to get things done?
More and more, the answer seems to be no. While a crucial communication strategy, the insistence of many businesses in adhering to rigid guidelines, especially when a project looks to be failing, tends to do more harm than good.
Colin Ellis of CIO affirms that project success most often comes from simple frameworks, supported by a strong leader who can build up his team and assess issues as they arise. Complexity should be for the project itself, not the process strategy.

So what should be the focus of project success?

The ability to observe internal processes is not a skill many industry veterans would list on their ‘ideal project manager attributes’ list. More important is a manager’s ability to communicate with his team. This in itself will need to take many forms.
First and foremost, an effective leader needs to ensure the aims of the project are clear, simple and easily available. Additionally, team building should include an element of more informal communication, so that individuals feel enabled to approach their supervisors with any concerns. Project managers are certainly not infallible, and it may only be the keen eye of one person that stops a small issue becoming a big problem down the track.

How should project managers prevent themselves from becoming too rigid?

Firmness is often praised as an ideal leadership skill, and indeed a good project manager should always be decisive, for issues often need to be resolved quickly. However, every manager knows that even the most researched projects often go awry. When this happens (and it will happen), it is crucial to ensure you do not become bogged down in ‘what should have been’. You must be able to examine your project, and your own leadership, as objectively as possible. We all fall down sometimes. Those who get up and finish by delivering the project are those who can examine the issues and identify what mistakes were made – even if they are your own.
Flexibility in the face of a challenge, as well as the ability to adapt and learn from your mistakes will prevent you from becoming too rigid of a leader. Learning to bend internal frameworks to the needs of your team will serve you much better than following them at the expense of time, money or team morale.

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An online course can help you expand your project management skills in a flexible environment. If you’d like to push yourself to do better, consider a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in Project Management with RMIT Online. The credits you earn can be put towards a Masters in the future too.

RMIT University

One of Australia’s original tertiary institutions, RMIT University has earned an international reputation for creating exceptional, employable and highly-skilled graduates who want more out of their careers.
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Learn more about RMIT University’s online study options.


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