Category Archives: project solutions

project solutions

Four Responsibilities of Executives on Projects

An executive has administrative or supervisory authority in an organization. That authority is used in a number of ways on projects. An executive is typically responsible for the Business Case of a project, which is used to determine whether the project should even be started. Once the project is approved they can impact the success of your project in four key areas.

1. Sponsorship and Funding

Every project within a company starts with an idea. It’s hard for that idea to go much further without backing from the right person and some money to make it happen. An executive can provide the sponsorship and funding your project needs to get off the ground. They are responsible for signing off on the project charter, which describes the project, gives you the authority to manage and, most importantly, allocates the necessary funds to keep it alive.

2. Escalations and Resolution

The second role an executive plays in your projects is to be the go-to person when unresolved problems surface. An executive needs to be on the escalation path, and more importantly on the resolution path of your projects. There are going to be times when others are unresponsive to the project’s needs, or in a dispute about the best direction to take. An executive can use his position to break through these bottlenecks. Here’s a hint: shorten the escalation process as much as possible. Rather than go through a gradual escalation of layer after layer of management, take it to the highest level of management and get it resolved in a fraction of the time.

3. Monitor Projects

Executives sponsor and fund projects. They should also be interested in how the project progresses. They should be interested in ore than when the project starts and when it finishes. They should monitor the project. This includes reading and understanding status report, approving major deliverables and being involved in gate reviews. Of course, the projects that are of interest will vary based on the level of the executive. Senior managers should monitor the larger and more strategic projects. Middle managers monitor more tactical projects.

4. Coach Project Managers

Let’s face it: despite the stereotype, most executives are talented, skilled, and experienced people. Tap into their knowledge. You’re going to run into rough patches on your projects from time to time or will need to make decisions when answers are not so obvious. Sit down with a respected executive and bounce some ideas off of them. At the very least, they may validate that you are on the right path or give you the encouragement you need to keep going. More often than not, they will provide you with a fresh perspective to help make your project a success.

If you want to benefit from the value an executive brings to project management, it’s up to you as a project manager to optimize their role on your projects. View them as another resource you need to bring your project to closure. Who knows, with such a great track record of project success, you may end up sitting in the corner office yourself!

project solutions

Be Proactive Managing a Project with Unrealistic Budget

If you are a project manager dealing with what you perceive to be an unrealistic budget, the first thing you will want to do is discuss this with your sponsor to see if there are any factors that are driving the project budget. For instance, there may be budgetary restrictions. If you are a vendor, it is possible your sales people committed to a fixed price for the project. In some cases your manager or sponsor might set an arbitrary budget without much justification. It does not necessarily make your challenge any easier, but you may find that by better understanding the reason for the fixed budget, you may have an easier time getting yourself and your team members motivated to achieve it. When you have a full project management methodology you will have tools and techniques to respond to these concerns.  There are a number of responses to a project with unrealistic budgets.

  • Reduce scope. Talk to your sponsor about reducing the project scope. See if there are features and functionality that he can live without for now so that you can deliver the project within the budget specified.
  • Identify and manage the budget as a project risk. Utilizing risk management will help better manage expectations early in the project and also be a way to gather input and ideas for ways that you might be able to hit the budget.
  • Manage scope with zero tolerance. On many projects, you start with an aggressive budget and the situation gets worse because the project manager does not effectively manage scope. If you are on a project with an unrealistic budget to begin with, it is absolutely critical that you manage scope effectively and do not increase scope without an approved scope change request. Disciplined scope management will ensure that you only have to deliver what was originally promised, and that any approved changes are accompanied by a corresponding increase in budget and timeline.
  • Look for process improvement opportunities. Lastly, take an honest look at your budget and your approach for executing the project. Talk to your team, clients, and manager about any ideas they may have for executing the project at a cheaper cost. This will get everyone thinking about being part of a solution. For instance, perhaps you could buy used equipment that will still meet your needs instead of new equipment. Perhaps you can change the process for gathering requirements so that they are competed earlier. This may result in budget savings as well.

Although it appears that you are being held accountable for budgets that are not within your control, you do have control over the processes you use to manage the project. Look at all aspects of project management to see if the unrealistic budget can be achieved.

project solutions

Project Solutions

The number of project solutions for any particular problem will vary. It all depends on how much revenue you are willing to spend to solve your problem and the amount of resources you have available to you. Another factor in this equation is how serious is the problem and even if it is economically feasible to mitigate the problem or just choose another path.

To know what type of project solutions to utilize, you must first define your problem. If you have a communication problem, then the use of collaboration technology might be the perfect fit. This will help your staff to send messages and use virtual conferences to make sure the message being received is the same one that is being sent. This is a common problem in corporations. The content of the message changes as it is passed down the chain of command.

Another common project solutions utilized in today’s business world is the project management office program. There are many different tools that will help the project manager in multiple ways. There are solutions to help with the documentation processes along with monitoring programs. Each one has a specific purpose that can help an organization to become more efficient on how they use their time and resources while on the job.

One of the not so apparent of the project solutions that makes use of the monitoring programs is all the data these programs acquire in the execution phase of a project’s lifecycle. This makes it easier to analyze the results for a possible solution in helping your organization to being more efficient. It can also make a significant contribution in the assembling of the necessary reports for the project. With each one being used, the time required to complete a project will be reduced.

The use of project solutions in a business venture is how problems are solved. It also lays down a path for improvement of an organization’s systems so improvements can be made. This makes it possible to cut out the waste in a process and make your production facility more efficient so the profits of your revenue stream will increase.