There is no single recipe for how to best manage a project.
Culture (organization & team) and enterprise environmental factors all influence how a project gets managed but personal style and approach also plays a critical role. Within the constraints of the previous factors a project might be managed successfully but the degree of efficiency can vary widely between project managers.
It might not be advisable to invest a lot of effort in analyzing how we are adapting and executing each of the 47 PMBOK processes, but we can lean (pun fully intended) on process excellence to help us identify common sources of project management waste.
- Waiting: While we might complain frequently about how long they have to wait for others to approve deliverables, make decisions or complete in scope activities, how many times have we introduced unnecessary delays by avoiding conflict with a team member, procrastinating on having a difficult conversation with a key stakeholder or escalating an action or issue that was impeding our team’s progress? Do you always start and end your meetings on time?
- Over-production: Do you print out copies of reference materials for all team members prior to team meetings? How many of these copies actually get referred to? How about reports for executive presentations? Are team members having to produce different status reports for you and their own functional managers?
- Rework: Do you encourage your team members to ensure they are balancing quality with speed or is the message they are receiving that you are only interested in having deliverables out on time? Are you giving yourself sufficient time when updating forecasts or putting together proposals so that refinement is minimized?
- Motion: Do you encourage virtual participation to avoid unnecessary travel when physical presence is not required to achieve a meeting’s objectives? Are you or your team members printing unnecessary materials and losing time in going back and forth from the printer?
- (Over) Processing: How often are you guilty of staring at an e-mail message, presentation or report and tweaking it over and over again. Communication does consume most of a project manager’s day, but are you gold-plating your communications?
- (Waste of) Intellect: Are you getting the best out of your team members (and yourself) or do you bog them down with low-value, soul-draining administrative tasks?
- Inventory: Is your work breakdown structure decomposed sufficiently that work-in-progress is minimized? Have you leveraged tools such as Kanban boards to visually identify task inventory backlogs?
- Transportation: Have you assessed the end-to-end flow of activities from requirements through to completed deliverables to ensure that time isn’t lost in unnecessary transportation? Do you still insist on “wet” signatures when e-mail approvals might suffice?
Is your approach to managing projects as efficient as it could be, or are you stuck in a WORMPIIT?