Project Management: Who Does What By When

I was talking to someone about a job opening recently and he said there was a lot of project management involved.  No problem, I said, as I started queueing up examples of past successes in my head.

Then the guy started throwing around a bunch of “project management phrases,” for lack of a better term.  No, I had to tell him.  I don’t use Gantt Charts, Risk Impact/Probability Tables, Influence Maps, or Critical Path Analysis.  Silly me.  My approach to project management is far simpler:

Bulldog Simplicity project management is Who Does What By When.  When everyone focuses on that simple principle, reporting is easier and everyone understands his or her role. Layer on the constant reminder that People Are the Engine of Project Success and you’re pretty much there.  My job as a project manager is to see the threats to project completion when things are going well and make the appropriate adjustments, and to eliminate any barriers to the job getting done the rest of the time. 

Make sure everyone does their job and leaves enough time for the next person to do theirs.   Recognize people throughout, especially when they make it easier for someone else to succeed.

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4 thoughts on “Project Management: Who Does What By When

  1. Thanks for the common sense (and validating what I think about project management). So many things we do are complex projects with lots of variables, people, and moving parts, and we can succeed whether we have the Gantt chart or not.

  2. This is common sense, but probably only works for very small companies. Still, Project Management is about organization and if a certain level of organization is not found in the Project Manager then whatever methodology s/he’s using, failure is imminent. The Project Manager should have the skills required to do the job, communication and organization are, IMO, the most important.

  3. I disagree that this approach works only for very small companies — or even very small projects. As someone who has worked for two companies with more than 20k employees, I found that we often spent so much time updating the tools and responding to queries related to those tools and not enough time focusing on getting the job done. Sometimes, a simple Excel spreadsheet and a meeting with a written agenda does wonders for moving things along.

    I think it was Tom Peters who talked about “skunkworks,” where small bands of committed people created real change by avoiding the trappings of project management. Maybe we need a bit more of that.

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