A project manager with TK in his hands is not yet a sign of project management.

    - Hello! Well, how are you, who, where? - long time no see.
    - Yes, I am an IT project manager in a large company.
    - Oh, PRINCE, risks, extreme management, finance. Complicated!
    - Not at all. So, TK from the client to technicians and back I carry for money. Bullshit.

    Here is such a real dialogue. And, it seems, the dialogue is relevant for many companies, especially if they are not among the top ten largest vendors and integrators, where the processes are still streamlined and the projects look exactly like projects. It is clear why many small and medium-sized businesses are turning away from the very concept of “project” and working as a card will fall. In such conditions, the work of the project manager is more similar to the work of an overseer who comes to programmers and asks to quickly hook up the feature, then goes to the testers and calls for testing right now and without criticism, then goes with the timlids to deploy it on production and with purple face brings bugs from the client, and regardless of whether the minor bug or critical, the face is always the same purple, and the speech begins with the words: "Everything has fallen for the client." True, Does the situation seem unhealthy? Let's talk about it.

    A typical project manager who doesn't really understand what project management is.

    Non-random start

    In February 2007, a conference on project management was held in Nizhny Novgorod. Then it was a super cool and innovative topic. Several hundred representatives of big business, entrepreneurs, deputies, researchers and students discussed the existing at that time project management practices and mechanisms of business processes. Frankly, it all looked completely godless: foreign companies and domestic industrial giants talked about how they manage projects in their companies and urged them to learn from their experience. The confused representatives of small business were sitting in front of them and they understood that automation systems alone were worth millions of dollars, not to mention training, mentors, implementation. It seemed that the future was just around the corner. In that distant beginning of 2007, our RegionSoft CRMI was just starting my way, and the conference was attended by two future employees of ours, then students who had not heard anything about our company. And no one knew that in August 2018, the release of our RegionMoft CRM 7.0 CRM system will be released , and we will write to Habr (who was not a year old) an article that project management is available to everyone.

    Do not believe? In vain. In fact, in business everything is a process and everything is a project. It is worth only a little confusion.

    Caution! The article is written by professional developers and may contain a certain amount of sarcasm and dislike for RM.

    Actually no, we love them

    Why do we raise this topic?

    In any company, sooner or later the project starts. This may be the withdrawal of a new product or service, the creation of a New Year advertising campaign, the introduction of software, the launch of a new production line, etc. Then it is time to choose a project manager (coordinator) among the staff or hire a specialist and do everything in the best possible way. But the whole process looks far from rosy.

    • Business does not know what a project is. In fact, this is nothing complicated: goals, objectives, budget, risks, resource allocation, reporting. But some components are constantly ignored: either the budget goes beyond the scope (and this is a planning error), the tasks overlap, overlap and make the work of some employees unbearable, and others - freebies. Because of this, the whole project is under threat, which hits primarily the interests of the customer (internal or external - without a difference).
    • In the management of projects constantly forget about the risks. And they are always there, from the ordinary and easily predictable (lack of resources, suppliers' shoals, employee illness) to completely sudden ones that should always be taken into account (seasonality, economic situation in the world, work with currency, legislative risk). Of course, the occurrence of risk puts the whole project at risk. Therefore, risk assessment should be proactive, not reactive — that is, it must occur before the arctic fox has decided to visit you. If the project is long, the reassessment of risks should be carried out every 2-3 months of the project’s life.
    • Business is interested in methodology and forgets about the essence of the work, losing time on the formalities. Especially big companies and, oddly enough, startups are wrong with this. Moreover, they have different reasons: startups tend to conform to fashion and be sure to record the fact of management by PRINCE or PMBOK, and in large companies (especially those not working under ISO) there are always cats who are known to have nothing to do, eggs are licked by employees who need demonstrate their importance and adherence to standards. Often in the pursuit of proper organization of documentation, rallies, stages, etc. fast and high-quality work is lost.
    • Project managers (referred to as project managers) are a very uncertain category of workers. More or less good things are in IT, where most (but, alas, not all) projects grow from within, from among developers. But woe to an IT company, if a humanist or a graduate of Management becomes a technical project manager. No, these are not bad guys, and they probably read a lot of thick books (including numerous sources of “motivation”), but IT is too specific for the project to be managed by people without a technical background (they are sure that they will argue with us - and well if there are success stories). As for other areas, in them project managers take people without proper experience, but, for example, with relevant education or a resume in which you can lie with three boxes. In general, the selection should be more critical
    • When working with projects, only tasks and resources are taken into account. Any project has a holder (performer) and a customer who is waiting for the result of the project execution. Most often, the entire project is focused on the interests of the customer, which must be performed at any cost, less often - it comes solely from the resources of the contractor (internal projects). With proper project management, the interests of all participants should be taken into account, actions should be coordinated.
    • Fear of leadership drives the project into a crisis. Often, employees are afraid to report on the real state of affairs, to inform about the failure to meet deadlines or budget overruns. In the end, the project can be executed with low quality or plunge into a completely hopeless state. In turn, the manager in such a situation may not have a project monitoring and monitoring tool.
    • The work of the project manager is not measurable or poorly measurable, and he himself is trying with all his might to get out of the KPI (for example, claiming that the project is an exclusive work that cannot be measured) and move towards the awards according to the results (one-time). This approach reduces the manager’s responsibility for the project and “smears” it over other participants.
    • Projects often do not set boundaries - a vague understanding of the scale of a project can easily turn it into a long-term project.
    • Internal project problems and communication problems. Initially, the project manager is the leader and at the same time the conductor-communicator, whose task, among others, is to coordinate and direct the team. But it happens that the manager considers himself to be the one and only right, puts himself above the team and ignores proposals and even entire layers of work, engaging in micromanagement and trying to close all tasks. The team literally learns to keep quiet. Of course, project work, even led by the most brilliant manager, is not the case where there is a warrior in the field.

      Well, communication as the main driving force of the project should be transparent and informative: all participants should be in the know, know the latest status on tasks, risks and events.

    • Alas, as in any activity, there is almost always a place in the design work for the Pareto principle: 20% of the team actually performs 80% of the work. Of course, you can come to terms with this state of things, but it is better to stimulate work and get a more efficient team.

    As you can see, completely banal mistakes of project management, with which each of us at least once faced. The more negative factors converge, the harder it is to bring the project to the final and successfully close it. Therefore, in project management, it is better not to rely only on trusting relationships and project wizards - it is better to use automation tools that are clearer, more reliable, more transparent and faster.

    Project components and professional software

    There is a fairly common formula that is suitable for any project, regardless of the methodology and size of the company:

    project = time + cost + scope

    The whole point of project management is the ability to balance on three constraints, despite the intervention of top management.

    Thus, you need to meet deadlines, cost and not lose the boundaries of the project.

    Time - the period for which you need to implement the project, which is usually divided into separate time lags. However, performance on time is an indicator of team aerobatics, but not an end in itself: if a high-quality performance requires it, the time frame should be motivated to move. In order to meet the allotted period, you need to carefully plan the progress of work and available resources.

    Project cost (budget)- The most important parameter that requires special attention. The difficulty lies in the fact that the cost of the entire project must be calculated and announced in advance, and unforeseen circumstances and risks should not significantly change the cost. During the project implementation, it is necessary to carefully control the cash flow and record any expenses and receipts. The meticulous approach to the economy of the project removes most of the headaches and corporate fights.

    Project boundaries- this is not only an assessment of its scale, but also strict adherence to customer requirements and, of course, the technical specifications and the project passport. The technical task is actually the contractor’s armor, because you can always refer to the described scope of work and restrictions. In order for the TK to be successful, it is necessary to carefully assemble the requirements, break them down into project stages and agree on the terms of reference. It would be ideal if you negotiate and record not only what will be done, but what is done will not be.

    Another important question: what software is suitable for project management?

    Project management software helps throughout the life cycle: from setting goals and planning to resource management, cost control, and reporting. In addition, software creates transparency for stakeholders and team members.

    Surely, the majority of developers reading this article have already “flashed the Atlassian stack” in their heads. Let's leave this amazing fun to us, IT specialists, and talk about companies that are not so advanced as to dig into the mentioned software. Typically, a project management system refers to software that includes a Gantt chart and minimal customer and employee cards. But this is often not enough for full-fledged work with projects, so you have to integrate software with other software solutions, and this is not always seamless and always expensive.

    Another type of software is CRM, BPM and other software with built-in project management mechanisms. Therefore, we have integrated the project management module into the RegionSoft CRM Enterprise edition . In the course of development, we had additional restrictions (more precisely, on the contrary, requirements for expansion) - the project management module is located inside our RegionSoft CRM, which means there must be additional links. Do they interfere with project management tasks? No, of course - communication with customers and other entities will only benefit the user:

    • general section - information on the project timeline, responsible, significant facts, the degree of readiness (visual progress bar), the current stage of the project;
    • budget - the revenue and expenditure part of the project, including bills and payments;
    • participants - information about the earnings of the project participants and the labor participation rate (here it is, the measurable contribution of each and the struggle with the Pareto principle!);
    • documents - project documents in the form of attached files;
    • business processes - you can run instances of project-related processes or any company processes as needed;
    • events - logging of events within the project with an indication of the time, manager and holder of the event (monitoring and transparency);
    • tasks - a list of tasks for the project with maximum detail;
    • sales - if there are sales within the project (it can also be internal);
    • services - services rendered within the project;
    • description - free field for description, notes and anything.

    All projects are logged in a special section in which you can use sorting and filters - the desired project is searched in seconds.

    In projects within RegionSoft CRM it is conveniently considered and the project budget is monitored - by entering all the necessary data, you will not lose a single ruble. One glance at the budget panel is enough to understand how things are going. The budget part of the project takes into account the revenue and expenditure parts, on the basis of which the planned and actual profitability of the project as a whole, as well as the remuneration of its participants, can be calculated later.

    Revenues and expenses are divided into planned and actual. This allows you to manage long-term projects, the implementation of which is stretched over time for months or even years, planning the financial performance of the project at the preparation stage, as well as taking into account the compliance of the actually achieved indicators with the planned ones.

    For complete clarity, you can unload the project card entirely in print form - a convenient tool for meetings and reporting.

    The main problem of small and medium-sized businesses is that they give up on project management in the same way that they refuse to automate business processes, considering it a privilege of big business. Of course, this is a fundamentally wrong approach: well-functioning project management greatly simplifies relations within the company and relationships with customers. Is it bad to work within the agreed framework, with planned deadlines and an exact budget? Kaif same!

    So how to manage projects?

    Of course, we are not going to cover the topic of project management with one review article - there will be more detailed materials, in particular, on project managers, on methodologies and on certain aspects of management. But I do not want to delay the problem. Therefore, we have formulated several project management rules that are available and addressed primarily to small and medium-sized businesses - that is, precisely those for whom RegionSoft develops and whose pains he knows like no other.


    • Observe the main triad of restrictions in the scope of project management: time, cost, boundaries. Thus, the business (and the team!) Will be managed more efficiently and transparently. Even purely psychologically, the march in the form of a project is perceived more positively than the eternal routine: when you know the dates and see the light at the end of the tunnel, well, that is, the end of the task, it is not easier to work as an example.
    • Do not be afraid to start several projects at the same time - a competent distribution of tasks and resources will give you a gain in time and in the end the company will be able to work faster and with high quality.
    • The horse is dead - down. If the project falls apart, the boundaries and deadlines are broken for a long time, do not pull it on yourself and do not try to jump further, analyze the causes and problems and restart the tasks. It happens that all the problems lie in such things as, for example, a too cumbersome project - it is enough to break it into several small and parallel subprojects and it will fly away.
    • Collect reports, conduct retrospectives and analyze problems, achievements and frank packs. This way you can avoid problems in the future. If the decision was successful, do not leave it alone as a reason for team-eating pizza with beer, sort out the reasons for success and safely embed the findings into life.
    • Do not miss with the project manager (most often all the troubles come from this). The project manager is not a person with any educational requirements (such as “Management”, a red diploma) and not a good presenter, but a person who understands the subject of the project and has to organize a system in which everything is debugged, in other words, each process gives the output that serves as the input to the next process. In this, of course, lies both communication, and delegation, and the ability to work in a team.
    • Manage changes - if something new appears in the project, be sure to handle the event, do not step back and do not refuse changes. Again, all within the framework of the triad: cost, time, boundaries.
    • The project must be real - for the tasks that it solves, and for execution. If you have 200 thousand rubles and there are no additional sources of financing, it’s foolish to start building a ten-story house - not even enough for the foundation pit. Be sure to evaluate the compliance of the resources available to the project objectives
    • Determine how cost effective and / or feasible the project is. That's where the cemetery of dead startups - precisely in the inability to calculate the effectiveness. You can start the production of an electric car made of wood or an application for counting dead mosquitoes, but this will be a project for the project, there is no question of economics. Assess the real customer or future market size before starting the project. By the way, this also concerns non-commersants - for example, charity and patronage of arts may also be useless, but a lot of resources can be seen.
    • Plan your download with a specific horizon - so you can understand who does what and what resources are already used and will be used in the future. For example, for these tasks, you can use group planners built into the project management system or CRM (well, or Gantt chart).
    • Manage the documentation - all project documents must be gathered together and contain comprehensive information about each stage, payment, requirements, etc.
    • Do not drown in the methodology (for example, you think that only the waterfall model or only Agile has the right to exist), but rather choose the best, combine and make the methodology be your tool, and not you its slave and hostage.
    • Do not forget to close the project. The advice seems ridiculous, but only for those who have not worked with projects. Do not allow partially unfinished projects, long-term construction and stops one step from the final. However, closing a project is really difficult.

    A project in a company is not a feature, not a gimmick, not a way to occupy a manager and not a tool for self-realization. This is a block of work and the life of the whole team, the success of the implementation depends on the coherence and professionalism, which means revenue and bonuses, and the company's credibility in the market. Building a company on project management is profitable, convenient and promising, especially since there are excellent methodologies and practices. The main thing is not to turn work with the project into a pretext for formalization, endless meetings and imitation of vigorous activity.

    You do not want to get a salary imitation of money?

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