The success of a PMO or project manager depends on the success of the project. The success of the project is dependent on two key factors: Time and Money. Managing those two factors is what makes you a good PM. My entire career in fact is based on the money that I saved companies and if my project was delivered on time or early. Those are the same components that will make a hiring manager look at your resume again. I challenge anyone who manages a project budget to find ways to reduce project costs. If you don’t know how, take a look at these top 3 ways to reduce project cost.
Scope completes the triple constraint of project management. If you’re effective at managing teams, scope creep is likely the reason why your project will fail. Scope creep can cause the team to lose focus, the project to run longer, and the vendor to charge you more for an unexpected change. Our solution is to start with developing detailed requirements at the beginning of the project. Once those are created, they must be presented to all stakeholders and agreed upon.
During the project, do not allow changes to be made unless they fit into the guidelines of the scope. This will save you a lot of headache in the future. Even if the change is within the scope, take the time with the stakeholders to determine if it’s delivery critical or not. Many times, a stakeholder will work to sneak in a “nice-to-have” item that can be done after the project is completed. It’s okay to say no if the majority does not agree that this is mission critical.
When companies have with proper knowledge. Identify internal resources first before resorting to using external resources/consultants. In many cases vendors are overpriced and lack the business knowledge that many internal people have. Take advantage and the opportunity to understand the talent that you have in your company. In smaller businesses, people move roles quickly. If you don’t know what they do, you may miss out. Not only will this save money, it will also empower people to take on new responsibilities.
If you do have external resources, it pays heavily to do thorough vendor management. If your company allows you to, negotiate the contract. Vendors will negotiate labor cost if they really want your business. Those willing to negotiate are the people that you should want to work with. This tells you that they can be flexible with your needs. Many companies’ (that I’ve worked with) lack of negotiation has shown that they’re difficult to work with. I have almost been the victim of vendors trying to put additional hours on an invoice. Had I not had the proper management techniques to track what my vendors were doing and when, my company would have just paid the invoice with no other thought.
The proper way to mitigate risk is to identify as many as you can up front and put quality controls in place to monitor and reduce those risks. Even the ones that aren’t immediately known should be under the purview of quality controls. In order to have great quality control, you also need effective communication. A person should not be handling risk or issues in a silo. They have to be transparent with the team and allow them the opportunity to collaborate on resolution strategies.
If all else fails, take an agile approach. Scope out pieces of the project at a time. This will help reduce project cost. Allow the stakeholders to agree on what is in scope for the next couple of months and if they change direction, you’re flexible enough to modify the scope after those months are over. This sounds simple but it takes a lot of work and dedication if your company is not effectively working in agile teams. Many times there’s a learning curve but if everyone is bough in, success can be sweet.