Project Control is an important part of our discipline as Project Managers. But it carries within it a paradox…
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Anyone who has been to any of my live events will know that I have a few project management ‘catch phrases’ that I sometimes repeat within a talk, seminar, or training program.
I hope these sum up fundamental project principles, which I want my audience to really remember and embed in your understanding and practice.
One of those ‘rules’ is:
‘The one thing that project managers crave, above all else, is control.’
Arguably that’s what project management is all about: exerting control over uncertain events, to create the conditions needed to deliver something new and demanding.
But sometimes we get ourselves so focused on controlling each element of our project, that we start to lose control of it.
Every snag, every hitch, every setback has a solution; if only we can find it. And we’re good at that; it’s what we do. But we are so focused on the monitor and control cycle of assessing progress and intervening to fix problems, that we lose sight of the bigger picture.
And that’s how we end up in the death spiral of a failing project where, day-to-day, we seem to be holding on.
Sometimes, you have to stop trying to control the details and step back to look at the whole situation. Sometimes we need to create a new strategy and re-plan.
Because, if you aren’t in control of how your whole project fits into the current context, there’s no value in being in control of the individual objectives, deliverables, or relationships.
Carefully curated video recommendations for you:
I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own.
Note that the links are affiliated.
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Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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