My first task today is to give a presentation about the project management training programme I’m running, to all of the managers in the bank. They are very supportive and I answer a few questions about assessment and how co-workers can apply for the programme. Some managers are on leave or have other commitments today, so I make a mental note to follow up with them, so that everyone knows what’s happening and when. First rule of project management – only 3 things ever go wrong on projects: communication, communication and communication! It’s vital that end-users buy into the product or service that a project delivers – if you end up trying to ‘sell’ it, that’s a sign that you haven’t listened well enough to what users want or need.
The rest of my morning is spent pulling together the completed materials for the project management training programme, as they arrive in my inbox. Our external consultant has supplied a complete manual for all of the training facilitators to follow when running the course. This is great as it’ll enable me to step away from the training once everything is rolled out. Second rule of project management – make sure you as the project manager have an exit strategy! You’ll never be able to hand over a product or piece of equipment if you’re the only person who knows how it works …
In the afternoon I start work on a new project: deciding if we need a new supplier for a set of services that the bank currently buys in. For some reason I’ve always found managing procurement exercises to be quite straightforward and fun to do. Perhaps the process is particularly well suited to a PhD skill-set? You need to collect and assess evidence after all – ask each supplier to describe how they’ll supply the service you want, for how much – and then work out which company is the best fit for your requirements. On the other hand my dad was a buyer for an engineering company, so maybe it’s in the genes!
My first step is to gather example documents from previous procurement exercises. Third rule of project management – don’t reinvent the wheel! As far as possible use a template as the basis for new project documents, and refer to examples to see what worked well or not on previous projects. A fishing email to colleagues lands me a nice catch of example documents that I can refer to, and I get hold of the corporate procurement template too. A good afternoon’s work.
Fourth rule of project management – go home on time. You need to maintain your work-life balance if you’re to stay fresh and face the challenges of tomorrow. So I do.