- A Project Manager (PM) Must Envision What Needs To Get Done And When
- Uses Tools Like Gantt Chart Software, CAD/CAM, Spreadsheets, Email & Messaging
- Determines Who Is Best Suited To Accomplish Needed Tasks and Deliverables
- Obtains Needed Permissions, Funding, Documentation, Resources and Personnel
- Assigns Appropriate Responsibilities and Authorities And Monitors Their Actions
- Envisions What Can Go Wrong - Similar To An FMEA (Failure Modes Effects Analysis)
- Develops Contingencies To Deal With Unexpected and Possible Concerns
You need to live from a mobile office, but it must remain mobile so you
can serve client needs at anytime, despite basing in the snow belt. The
property you will rent had a house two years prior which burned down.
You can re-do everything, but it makes far better sense to use the prior
plumbing and underground electric service. You will need a fixed utilities base,
but the RV must be able to roll immediately. And freezing is a BIG concern...
And, Oh, BTW - The original owner did NOT meet applicable codes before, and you
also need internet for your VoIP, but wired hi-speed is unavailable in the rural area.
Oh - And can YOU do all the wiring, plumbing, construction etc. to save costs?
- (S)He Must Recognize What IS and IS NOT Known About The Problems Anticipated
- Are There Issues Which Can Slow Or Stop Progress?
- Can Plans For Those Be Setup As Contingencies To Implement In Those Cases?
- Do Those Contingencies Potentially Affect Other Actions and Has Time Been Factored In?
- Is There Any Critical "Drop Dead" Issue Which Can Prevent The Project Entirely?
- What Is The Soonest Such Issues Can Be Known and At What Cost?
- Since You Can Never Know What You Don't Know, Has Slack Time Been Allocated?
Eg - You have shown TRW that there is a problem with their RKE Transmitters, so
they have tasked you with a warranty recall program. If the dealer replaces the
transmitters, it will cost $120 per. There are 1.5MM indistinguishable transmitters,
and the only knowledge of their individual codes is by the actual vehicle itself.
And you have promised Ford you will return each to the rightful owner within three
days of first touching any individual's transmitter. You must also include an
explanation of what you did (replacing the internal electronics) and address
that letter to the proper owner, but not delay the process. Can YOU do it for
HALF the budgeted $21MM and still exceed all promises to Ford, despite having to
use an offsite facility because TRW is at capacity right now?
- Are There Forces Who Specifically Hope To Interfere With or Prevent Progress?
- Requires Experience - Very Few of the Best PMs Have No Grey Hair
- They Factor In Environment, Objectives, Marketplace, Variation, Quality and Feedback
- A PM Needs To Accomplish Through Others, So How Can They Best Be Motivated?
Eg - Personal Experience suggests one of the best ways is to learn what
their needs and problems are, and try to find ways to help them resolve
those even as you work on your own issues. That builds loyalty,
which can be a powerful force, especially during implementation phase.
- The Best PMs Usually Seem Unfazed By Changes - They Expected Most Of Them Anyway
- The Old 6P Adage - Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance - Applies At All Times
- Action Figures Are Always in Action, But Thinkers Are Not - Which is Better? Why?
- Measure Three Times And Cut Once Is Far Less Costly Than The Reverse
- Thinking Through A Problem Will Usually Indicate Pitfalls A PM Can Think Through Also
- Thinking About Success Is As Easy As Daydreaming - Planning For Problems Takes Wisdom
- The World Is Full Of Data - What Of It Is Useful? Useless? Essential?
- Data Driven Means Choosing The Right Data To Consider - That's The Hard Part
- And Thinking Through Even During A Crisis ALWAYS Beats Acting First Without Thinking
- Leaders Are Neither Born Nor Made - They Learned To Lead Through Practice
- And Practice Never Made Perfect - Practice Doing Things Wrong And Get What?
- Humans Make Mistakes - Losers Look To Blame, Leaders Look For Solutions
- Leaders Try To Explore All Possibilities And Eliminate Them By Their Own Merits
- Leaders Treat All With Equal Respect, Pay Attention To Them, And Mentor Wherever Possible
- Leaders Reduce Conflict & Motivate
- They Use Team Building And Concensus To Set Realistic Objectives
- But Leaders Never Allow "Design By Committee" To Constrain The Possible
- They Steer Ideas To Become Seeds For Better Ideas, And Try To Involve Everybody
Eg - "Even a broken clock is nonetheless right twice a day" is a favorite saying.
But Leaders know the distinction between analog and digital clocks.
Think about that the next time someone makes that statement.
There may genuinely be team members who have no frame of reference for
the concept of "clockwise". Leaders make certain everybody understands.
- Leaders Maintain Focus On Quality, Cost, Results And Optimism; It's Contageous
- When You Think About It, Who Really Gets More Done; Leaders or Followers? Why?
- What Are The Characteristics Of Good Leaders? Bad Leaders? Which Would You Prefer?
- Ever Thought About WHY People Follow Leaders? Can That Help You?
Eg - What is it about good leaders which makes others want to follow them?
An example; Always bring donuts or similar to meetings, because many of
the attendees rarely get such "perks", a low-cost benefit which helps
people to become friendly - who can eat a donut and be angry? And that
also builds loyalty - they remember who thought of them.
- People Rarely Follow "Bosses" Because They Want To - Leaders Are Different
- And Loyalty Is The MOST Powerful Motivator You Will Ever Find
- Leadership Is Invested From Below, Not Appointed From On High - Remember Why
- Cost Control
- A Project Manager Must Know Finance And Be Good With Numbers - Especially Money
- They Must Understand What Things Cost, What Things Are Really Worth, And Scarcity Vs Abundance
- Do Current Maintenance People Use Certain Brand Components? Can You Avoid Different Inventory?
- Recognize That Small Early Cost Added For Versatility Can Add Greatly To The Bottom Line
- Can Creative Process Get Lower Costs? Eg - Can Bulk Mail Arrive As Fast As Premium? How?
- Can Tooling Be Sourced For Prototypes, But Be Scalable For Production? And Can Design Lower Cost?
- Can Materials Be Substituted For Reliability Or Cost To Lower TOTAL Net Costs?
- Is There A Better Place, Process Or Personnel To Make The Product With Equal Quality?
- Will Existing Capacity Be Underutilized With New Process? Can Older Equipment Do The Job?
- Maintain Continuous Cost Review And Track Technology Utilization To Cut Costs
- Not Just Different; BETTER. Use Networking To Broaden Input And Prompt Action
- Has Technology Advanced To Change Best Practice? Does PM Knowledge Continuously Improve?
- Use Email, E-commerce And Websites For Info Exchange, Speed, And Avoid Phone Charges
- Replace Manual Document Control With Linked Construct - Better For ISO Compliance Also
- Are Personnel Provided Education Resources (Time And Cost Assist) To Assure Best Practices?
- Is THEIR Knowledge Base Tapped For The Value That Can Present?
- A Word On Certification Like PMP And Advanced Degrees
- Before You Obsess About Certs, Did Nothing Get Done Before PMI? PE? PhD?
- Do You Realize A PMP Cert Requires No Prior Project Actually Ever Be Managed?
- What REAL BENEFIT Do You Derive From A Cert, And Do You Needlessly Limit YOUR Choices?
- Demonstrated Handling Of Adversity, And Still Meeting Objectives, Should Be Your Best Choice
- And NEW Eyes And OTHER Experience Often Trumps "Same Industry Or Product" Expertise
- How Many New Technologies Came From Existing Market "Experts"? How About From Garages?
- Strong Application of SPC, Cp & CpK Analyses, Numerical Models, Six Sigma Principles
- Document Prep And Control For ISO9000 & QS9000, PFMEA, Control Plans, Etc.
- Design For Manufacturability & Automation Including Tolerancing & Capability Analyses
- Managing Teams In 24/7 Environment For Real-World Survivability Prediction & Project Success
- Build Math Models For Analysis To Predict Reliability & Durability In Real-Time
- Use Error Prevention Via Auto-ID Technologies, Sequential Controls, Peel-Out Labels, Etc.
- DFM & DFA Expertise, Including Scaling From Prototypes, GD&T, Broad Spectrum
- Eliminate Varience Effects Within Multi-Tools For Process To Assure Assembly Reliability
- Use Knowledge Of Materials, Tooling & Processing For Lowest Total Cost
Eg - Like Patented Undercut Seal/Camlok Ring In Bi-Part Mold To Fit Commercial PVC Tube
Without Trim, Materials Match For Patent Protection Of Previously Commercial Consumables,
And Add Finger Tab To Patented Molded Pull Ring To Move Knit Line To Prevent Brittleness
- Modeling And Review Of Objectives, As Well As Implications, From Changes
- Projects Completed On-Time, In-Budget, For Maximum Client Benefit, Like:
- Ford So Impressed, Awarded TRW Q1 Status (Top Tier Supplier); Unheard Of During A Recall
- Prototype Then Production Retrofit Adaptive Packaging Allowed Multiple Types At Lowest Cost
- Testing Showed Fatal Problem With Transmitters, But High Reliability For Corrective Action
- Various Market Segments Opened Via Product Modifications With Cost & Design Enhancements
Eg - Consumables require Patented Drag Disks, so protect Gaylord Se-Lin market for 17 years
- Multiple Repeat Projects For Clients, Confidence In Deliverables On Time - In Budget
- Hands-On & Through Others, Along With Contracts Admin & Controls Development
- Personal Testimonials And Thanks For Helping From Most Affected Employees At Clients
- Team Members Mentored To Stretch And Build Their Personal Skillsets, Add To Client Benefit
- Bases For Future Improvements To Packages, Products, Etc. Due To Initial Versatility Planning
- Client Benefit Never Less Than 100 Times Compensation Cost For PM
- What A PM Does Mostly Is Plan, Then Verify Things Get Done, And Adjust Where Needed To Meet Plan
- Direct Benefits For Clients
- Verified That Performance For Promised Timing and $$ Were Still Worth The Effort
- Assured Benefits Accrued To Client As Expected, Or Be Prepared To Stop Expenditures If Not
- Explored Ways To Improve Even Plan As Exists
Eg - Ford budget for Recall assumed need for 2nd day air shipments, but
innovative rural USPS and Bulk Mail process allowed equal arrival at a tenth the cost.
- Auto-ID Technologies Assured Minimal Errors So Best Control, Leading To Lowest Net Cost
- Innovative Technology Application And Mentoring Of Vendors And Personnel Maximized ROI
- Indirect Benefits For Clients
- Client Confidence To Progress With Projects Because Of Verified Perfomances
Eg - Duracell on-time launch of Ultra free-stand packaging from existing machinery
despite vendor misgivings and reluctance to participate in plan, because PM proved process
was viable and timeline achievable, precisely because no new plant or lines were needed.
Instead, making tooling universal assured lowest cost changeover between package styles
in both captive and contract packaging houses for existing lines, and machine selection for
conversion was most flexible possible to least interfere with production schedules.
- Data-Driven Decisions And Absolute Personal Integrity Give Clients Maximum Confidence
Eg - TRW confidence that revision vs redesign was adequate to fix transmitter problems,
because real-time transmitter RF signal quality analysis allowed for predictive life expectancy
- But PM Must Never Fear Being Decisive - A Moving Target Is Always Harder To Hit Anyway
- In Summary: The Best PMs Exceed Expectations To ASSURE Clients Reap More Value Than They Expect.