What's Missing?

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When a project manager or team member is unsure of what to do, it's often because there's something lacking. And in my experience, it's usually lacking in all or some of these key areas: knowledge, experience and the project's intended benefit.

In an IT project, for example, let's say you are in charge of the rollout of new computers and rearranging the workstations. You would need to be clear on the requirements first, and you would have to assess if the budget is sufficient for all the required resources and activities you will need to execute. It's your project management knowledge and experience that will aid you in completing the required tasks correctly.  

You may have had experiences where you felt that you were clear on the goals and direction of the project. But depending on where you got the information, and if you don't understand how a particular organization operates, you might be going in the wrong direction.

No matter how much project management knowledge or experience you have, if you don't have knowledge of or experience with the stakeholder or project owner, you will end up failing or negatively impacting the business.

While this might seem like common sense, my experience shows that many people are struggling and looking for creative and advanced solutions to something that is simple. They spend countless amounts of energy and time to figure out a complex solution rather than just looking at the obvious.

In reality, they are missing something in their knowledge, experience or understanding of the project goal or direction.

Use examples from your life to validate this for yourself. Look at an area where you are actually having trouble or an area that is not working as well as you'd like it to. Something is likely missing in your knowledge, experience or project comprehension whether you want to admit it or not.

Have you ever been unsure of what to do in a project? Was it because you were missing something in one of these key areas?

Posted by Dmitri Ivanenko PMP ITIL on: October 04, 2012 11:02 AM | Permalink

Comments (3)

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Pallavi Bhise
Every kind experience is a stepping stone in future if that experience has been noted somewhere. Not necessarily in written format but when you deal with situations you need to keep track of similar things that caused your routine to halt for a while.

Also, when you get stuck on something for quite a long time and that particular task is critical, you should always seek help & guidance from your peers/managers/consultants. This may help resolve your problem quickly as the other person's way of looking at thing may catch the stopper quickly. Many a times, it has been observed that people hesitate to seek help which they think may spoil their image & fail to think the other way round.

Tobias Maier
Hi Dimitri Ivanenko, sure, You're right. I share this experience. However, we must think about how to cope with it. From your thesis we could derive consequences: - carefully watch the organization - watch other projects - informally talk to other PMs at coffee time - in meetings with your superiors place unbounded action proposals and watch reactions. Learn instantly from Thus: You need a large portion of social competence to master this challange.

Anjum Khurshid PMP
While I agree with you Dimitri on the aspects of knowledge, experience and it’s (project's) benefits which bring in a lot of ambiguity if not known in their totality. I however will not restrict the list to just this, trust me there is a huge list. What I feel is that the working organization is mainly responsible for success of any project, the nature of support that a PM requires from various ‘enabling functions’ to call project a success. I (or the project team member) might possesses the knowledge, have the experience and even a view to benefits, but the project will still fail if the team does not get due support from within the organisation. Somehow I feel that your article seems to suggest that it is sole responsibility of a PM to get the team to the finish line – this is not so; it is the entire team that gets the project not just to the finish line but also across the line in flying colors and preferably with all associated frills of success and sense of achievement of the desired objectives. You article has underestimated the skills of a PM – I understand that it might be a one of view and maybe even a personal experience – but there are far more bigger battles to fight rather than just thinking that projects fail mainly because of reasons that you have cited.

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