Boy, Was I Wrong!

Boy, Was I Wrong!

Misinterpretation of the true role held by a Project Manager is very common. I am one of the individuals who had a poor understanding of all the responsibilities and the impact a PM has on a given project. Working for a Fortune 500 company, I imagined that the level of exposure and understanding in that area of my interest will be extensive. Boy, was I wrong!

I have worked in the manufacturing industry providing product and process solutions to mostly manufacturers in automotive rubber components market. Our management was determined to look into other markets for potential opportunities. The goal was to research a new potential industry to penetrate. The project objectives were established by the management, as was the budget and the timeframe for project completion.  Our goal was to identify the sales potential, get feedback from the manufacturers using the product to determine their pain points, identify risks, familiarize ourselves with competition, identify future market growth, and identify any trends.

This was the first time I was involved in a project and I thought to myself “it is a Fortune 500 company, they must have a great PMO in place”. In the duration of the project, everything that could have been done wrong, was done wrong. As I read the following article, I was able to identify the areas the group’s PM failed to implement. Additionally, by identifying those practices, it allowed me to better understand the importance that a PM plays in group.

The article lists 10 best practices for a successful project management. Our group failed to follow several of those practices:

  1. Project Workplan – Oops! I think we forgot that step. There was no outlined project deliverables or any timeframe estimates.
  2. Define Project Management Procedures – This was not discussed. Assumptions was that we will communicate via e-mail, and concerns were addressed directly to the PM who would determine the significance of the issue.
  3. Manage Workplan, Monitor Schedule and Budget – The budget was not discussed with the group. The PM would determine where and how much should be spent. There was not progress schedule posted anywhere. The PM would check in on our progress and discussed during meetings. When we were lagging behind, the group was told by the PM.
  4. Managing Scope– Scope creep became an issue right away. We failed to clearly identify what our scope was and members of the group were focusing on items not relevant to the project.
  5. Assess Potential Risks – We found that it was very difficult securing any face-time with individuals necessary to answer our questions. It definitely impacted the data quantity and reliability.

It is clear that the PM was not a qualified candidate for the role. What was even clearer to me was that Project Management was a new concept for my company. Although my experience was poor, I learned how important having a qualified PM is to have on a project.

4 thoughts on “Boy, Was I Wrong!

  1. I believe that I have not given project management any weight until taking this course (no offense to all PM people out there!) Working in a family business the mindset has always been to just get the job done no matter how. It was do what needs to be done now and worry about what doesn’t need to be done until later. I think taking this course and reading some of my colleagues experiences I realize the importance of project management and the impact it can have on an organization.

  2. Izabela, thank you for sharing the project management pointers. I find that I tend to overlook the potential risks when assessing a project. When the risks are overlooked, it can be a fatal mistake for the project. When researching the risks for our class fundraiser, I found an article titled “How to Assess Risk in a Project” in order to better understand the potential negative outcomes of a project and how to avoid/prepare for them. The article states the following in the hopes of assessing project risks: identifying events that could adversely affect a project, transferring the risks to project stakeholders, prioritizing those risks, calculating the risk exposure, creating risk avoidance/mitigation strategies, and finally, creating contingency strategies (“How to Assess Risk in a Project”). These are all steps to consider when assessing the potential risks of a project. (“How to Assess Risk in a Project”, Hannah Wickford)

  3. This was a great post that dealt with how many individuals feel about Project Management. I admit, that I have in the past overlooked the value in a formalized project management plan. The thought for me used to be quite linear, work on something hard until it was done and then move on to the next project. In todays world, though, you need to be able to function in two or three different ares at the same time. In order to do that, there has to be an order to the work that you are doing. This is where the formalized project management comes in handy.

    Having a plan, benchmarks, rules for completing the tasks and scope and risk acknowledgement need to occur almost as second nature now for any employee. Taking this class has already helpedme to better formalize the steps that need to take place as I complete various projects for my company.

  4. I always took Project Management for granted. Assuming it was a simple task of managing people and a couple deadlines. Something anyone and everyone would be expected and able to complete when needed. This course has definitely shown how detailed and difficult project management can be. I definitely have a greater appreciate for those in these roles and those that are skilled in project management.

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