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How PMOs can balance time, cost and quality

Moira Alexander | Sept. 2, 2015
‘Triple constraint’ is a term often heard in project management. But how does it translate into achieved or missed project and organizational objectives? Here are six questions project managers need to ask themselves.

Are the required stakeholders fully involved?

It’s essential to determine who in the organization should be involved, and why they’ve been chosen for specific roles within a project. Gain an understanding of their roles, required contributions and levels of involvement. Project managers need to ensure that full support for the project is received from C-suites, team members and other stakeholders from the initiation to close-out. They should keep in constant contact, quickly identifying and clearly communicating changes, providing direction and outlining responsibilities with all stakeholders. Without this, a significant amount of time can be spent trying to regain buy-in, causing a project to run into overtime and over budget while trying to resolve issues with communication errors, personality conflicts or conflicting priorities.

Are project details deliverables and objectives clearly defined?

Clear understanding and communication of objectives and detailed requirements have a trickle-down effect, so loss during translation can be an issue that can adversely affect time, cost or quality. Do the project team members and stakeholders understand what’s required of them and why? Much confusion, rework, misunderstandings, unmet deliverables or missed deadlines can be avoided if project objectives are clearly defined and communicated to all stakeholders.

In order to determine project deliverables or details – and before a project is initiated – the strategic objectives and direction are set at the executive level and conveyed through the EMPO. This starts with close collaboration between the C-suite and EMPO in the early stages of planning. The EMPO must possess a clear understanding of the project and how it fits with strategy in order to convey what is required from project managers, teams and stakeholders. Project managers need to have a crystal clear picture as to what they need to deliver on, when they need to deliver it and how this will be accomplished given time constraints and available resources. Absent this, a project manager cannot facilitate execution of a project effectively, communicate management needs nor guide the project team successfully.

Are resources being effectively assigned and scheduled?

Sometimes regardless of how well a project is planned and monitored, some of the best project managers have run into resource allocation issues from time to time. Obstacles can be anticipated at times, and this is where skilled resource scheduling can make a big difference, and save much frustration and time. Often throughout projects, project team members or stakeholders go on holidays, leave companies or simply get redeployed, causing resource shortages and missed deadlines. At times, this can be identified and addressed in advance through close communications and monitoring of resources. Project managers can consider building in buffers, and avoid over scheduling or over loading other resources. Project managers need to remember they are working with people who often times have other responsibilities. Be respectful: No one likes to be scheduled down to the minute without some breathing room, so plan for this where possible to avoid team burnout and subsequent delays in deliverables and deadlines. 

 

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