Friday, November 18, 2011

That's the problem with Project Management

Today an executive in a nonprofit again told me about "the problem with Project Management".  This time "the problem" was defined as the requirement to meet stated goals within budget and on time.

Huh?  Being required to bring things in within budget, on time, and up to spec is a problem?

Well, no.  Further discussion of the project in question revealed the biggest problem was the requirement to meet totally unrealistic budgets and irrational schedules.  That is not a problem with Project Management.  In fact, the problem arose because Project Managers were largely left out of the development of the schedule and budgetary baselines.  Even more importantly, basic Project Management approaches were ignored.  Stakeholder assessments were not performed.  Neither were risk assessments.  And estimations from previous projects that were shown to be inaccurate during their previous implementations were applied almost verbatim to the project being discussed today.  So when stakeholders engaged in sabotage of the project, risks came to fruition and there were no contingency plans, and the budget & schedule were shown to be unrealistic to the point of being irrelevant, people were surprised?!

Only well performed estimates can be utilized if one desires cost and schedule baselines that are anywhere near accurate.  This is not a problem with Project Management.  It is a problem for those who choose to mis-apply Project Management tools and techniques.


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