Project Management

What’s happening in Q3?

From the The Money Files Blog
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A blog that looks at all aspects of project and program finances from budgets, estimating and accounting to getting a pay rise and managing contracts. Written by Elizabeth Harrin from RebelsGuideToPM.com.

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Quarter 3 of a calendar year is July, August and September. Your business year might not follow the same quarters, but wherever you are in your business year, it’s probably the right time to be looking ahead at what needs to come next. Here are 3 focus areas for Quarter 3.

3 focus areas for quarter 3

Forward planning

Begin strategising and planning for high-priority projects in the upcoming quarters. That might look like warming up stakeholders, seeing who is going to be available to work on upcoming projects, doing some light discovery work or pre-initiation investigation, especially on the areas that are likely to take the most time such as procurement and contract negotiations, or getting suppliers to submit security information and forms, or the RFP process. (Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything!)

Involving the team in these discussions can help maintain their focus on future goals and the bigger picture, while hopefully getting you a head start when you come to get those projects going in earnest.

Process optimisation

There’s never a right time to optimise processes, in my experience. The process is in use and it works, so often it feels better to sort out something that is broken, or that is strategically important. But those inefficient processes contribute to low staff morale and wasting time, month after month, so it’s worth scheduling some time to put some effort in. Each quarter, tackle one point or a couple of points, and soon you’ll build up a momentum and improvements.

So how do we do this? Analyse the project management processes and methodologies. Look for inefficiencies or bottlenecks in workflows that could be streamlined for better performance in busier times. I would look through the lessons learned from recent projects and see what’s highlighted there that could be improved.

Ideally, you’d do a full analysis of all possible problems and highlight one or two from the priority list, but in reality that’s a load of work before you see any improvements. A better option might be to just trust your team. If they are telling you that the change control process is a pain in the behind, just focus in on that for now. Improve what is causing people the most headaches, and trust me, they’ll have an opinion on what that is if you ask them.

Tool use

Do a quick review of who is still using the project management software tools you have. People move on so it might be time to claw back licences from users who are no longer in the business or who have changed roles. And other people might benefit from having the licences.

On the topic of forward planning for the quarter, look at what projects are coming up and whether your current licence package is adequate. You might need to add in more licences if you’ve got more projects or more stakeholders needing access to the tools.

If you foresee a need to add in more users, it might be worth scheduling the training for them now so they can hit the ground running when they get their own account.

What else would you be doing at this time to feel prepared for the upcoming months ahead? Let me know in the comments!

Posted on: June 11, 2024 08:00 AM | Permalink

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Kwiyuh Michael Wepngong Financial Management Specialist | US Peace Corps / Cameroon Yaounde, Centre, Cameroon
The aspect of forward planning quickened me.
Thanks Elizabeth

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Fucai Fan Xiamen, Fj, China
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Thank you

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