Estimated to have cost US$59 billion and rumored to be capable of changing the rotation of the Earth, the construction of the Three Gorges Dam in China is considered to be the largest engineering project in the country. Officially, the entire project lasted for 17 years with the construction phase occupying 12 years of its schedule, starting in 1994 and ending in 2006. However, the idea for the project was first discussed in the 1920s and detailed planning began in 1955. Given the magnitude and complexity of the project, it was delayed, paused, and stopped for about 40 years before the official start date. Today, the hydroelectric plant supplies power to nine provinces in China with an energy output of 84.7 terawatt-hours (TWh).
Evidently, not all projects need to follow the same magnitude, have originated in construction or have a tangible final product. On a much smaller scale, in 2016, Instagram redesigned its logo in-house (budget has not been reported). The project lasted 9 months and was carried in absolute secrecy. The company hired the consultant, Cole Rise, to assist on the redesign and give a modern appeal to the 5-year-old logo as well as update the user interface and consult on the user journey.
The above examples display two vastly different projects. However, what do they have in common? They are both unique temporary assignments with defined beginning and end, resources allocated and spent, and breadth of scope. And, according to the Project Management Institute (PMI), that’s exactly what projects are. Thus, according to PMI, project management is “the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements”. Essentially, project management relates to activities necessary for the successful completion of a project which most often is tied to the Triple Constraint Theory. The theory explains that the success of a project is drawn to the project manager’s ability to maintain the project within its scope, budget, and schedule which will directly impact the overall quality of the project.
Tools and techniques can help project managers in their conquest to deliver effective projects that fulfil the described constraints. In efforts to assist project managers to achieve success in their projects, in this article, we look to provide pragmatic knowledge on tools and practices that may help individuals to manage their projects and tasks more efficiently. Do notice that some organizations can benefit from creating Project Management Office (PMO), a department that defines, maintains, and refines standards associated with project management.
Please note that there are several tools available for project managers, this article intends to provide you with an example of possible tools, but it is up to you to select the tools that can work best for you and define a set toolkit that can be used effectively and efficiently to help manage your projects.
Although a project manager may not necessarily be responsible for managing people, in some cases, PMs are required to manage individuals directly and indirectly. That can be accomplished in a more indirect way by providing a tool for team organization such as Kanban, or in a more direct way by requiring Status Reports and other documents. To help facilitate said activity, GPetrium has listed multiple solutions that can help organization reach its goals, some of them can even be reshaped to fit one’s project management needs:
Many institutions such as HBR, Forbes, and the NY Times, have reported on how to curb and control information overload caused by excessive emailing in organizations. As 28% of a manager’s time is spent on email, building a structure to prioritize and support e-mail processing can lead to greater productivity. Below are a few areas that should be considered to better manage emails:
Given the complexity of project management and its nuances, there’s much more that can be said about the topic. The toolkit for a successful project manager is the starting point for individuals who wish to better manage their project by deepening their knowledge of certain techniques and tools. If you have any questions, requests or suggestions, please email us at [email protected].
The opinions in this article is of the authors and do not reflect clients or other’s views.