The Chinese have a saying that beginnings are dangerous times. They also have another saying that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Taken together, the wisdom here is that we must take care in the beginning with our steps or we won't end up where we wish to be. Like Bugs Bunny who finds himself lost and proclaiming that he “must have taken a wrong turn in Albuquerque” early mis-steps may have far reaching and long lasting ramifications.
In the beginning of a new undertaking, things are still changeable at a time when we are particularly vulnerable, since we don't yet have all the information we need. Indeed, it may not be until the project is over we truly know everything we need to know, but by then it’s too late. However, if one lets themselves be paralyzed by fear, one would never do anything. When NASA landed on the moon the first time, some thought the surface couldn’t support the lander and it would sink into lunar dust, but they weren’t going to find out by sitting on the beach in Florida.
Good project managers are good at what they do because they can minimize the risks even in the face of uncertainty, even the uncertainty of going to the moon. A recent poster in the online social media site Quora asked, “Why is Project Management Boring”? Project Manager Geoff Reiss responded by saying “You want projects to be boring. You don’t want surprises during your project, especially nasty ones. You want to see what is coming and the work to proceed smoothly on its way”. Good project managers keep things boring (Reiss, 2018).
The secret is really no secret at all, it’s careful planning. Project management is concerned with completing a project on time, within budget, and according to the project specifications (Anantatmula, 2010). The key to successful project management is always having a written plan and being able to adjust the plan (Russell, 2012). A good project plan provides for the following:
A communication plan is a critical but often overlooked part of the overall project charter. This should include such things as clearly stated objectives, a budget and other particulars about the project (Bowen, 2015).
As far as our project management communication is concerned, it is important to listen; identifying who the stakeholders are and then develop a plan for communicating with them. In this regard, ancient wisdom once again provides us with insight. Buddha said that “the biggest communication problem is that we do not listen to understand, we listen to respond”. The first step in developing our communication plan is to identify the specific stakeholders, the information they require and what they require in the frequency of communication. In other words, the first step in effective communication is to listen…………
Reiss, G. (2018, May 1) Why is project management so boring? [msg 3]. Message posted to: https://www.quora.com/Why-is-project-management-so-boring#MoreAnswers
Anantatmula, V. (2010). Project planning techniques for academic advising and learning. [Article]. MountainRise, 6(1), 1-18.
Russell, L. (2015). Project Management for Trainers. Alexandria, VA: Association For Talent Development.
Charvat, J. (2002, November, 13). Project management: a plan for getting your message across. [web log comment]. Retrieved from: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/project-communications-a-plan-for-getting-your-message-across/
Bowen, R. (2015, July 31). An example communication plan for the project manager. [web log comment. Retrieved from: https://www.brighthubpm.com/templates-forms/16931-an-example-communication-plan-for-the-project-manager/
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