In order to secure funding for your project, deal with policy conflicts or conflicts of interest and viewpoints among stakeholders, and generally ensure the success of a project, good project management is important. It is also important for a project manager to include certain key personnel in the Project Definition Charter document and keep them informed of what is going on during the course of the project.
Overview of Project Management
Project Management is an essential pre-project activity that involves planning and organizing, allocating resources, controlling procedures, protocols etc. to help achieve the goals of a project.
At the time of drawing out the formal Project Definition Charter it is important for the project manager to decide who to include on a project. Early into the project management process, a formal organization structure should be identified and ideally represented in the form of a chart or graphical form. Roles should be given titles and assigned to personnel who will be involved directly in the project. The project organization structure should also factor in the channels of communication that would link to decision making forums involving the project and the suppliers.
Who to Include On a Project
Generally, a project will involve “significant contributors” who play a significant role in the development and execution of the project, some key personnel who are also significant contributors but with a bigger role, consultants and other external bodies or people involved indirectly in the project.
Key personnel are the individuals who contribute to the execution or the scientific development of the project. Their contribution should also be measurable in a substantive way. Generally, the program director (in a company that sells services) or a product manager (in a company selling goods) is considered a key personnel in the project. Further, no project can succeed without the inclusion of the following key personnel, in their equivalent forms depending on the scope, scale and type of project.
Project Team: Essentially, most projects should include ‘significant contributors’ such as the project manager or coordinator, project team members, training coordinator, accountant or administrator and others involved in the planning and execution. The Project Team may also include vendors.
Executive Sponsors: This is the manager who is responsible for securing resources and spending authority for the project. The executive sponsor is ideally the highest-ranking manager depending on the scale of the project, who provides the support needed to Project Sponsors, Project Managers and/or Project Directors.
Project Sponsor/Project Director: The director or sponsor is the major decision maker in the project, who keeps abreast of the project’s progress, legitimizes the objectives and goals, participates in high level project planning, provides support to the Project Manager, assists with major problems or issues, removes obstacles etc. This position is therefore key for project success.
Steering Committee: This committee manages the reps from all the key organizations involved as well as other stakeholder groups who have an interest in the project’s outcome. It may help with funding, provide resources, act as liaisons to sponsors and executive groups or fulfill other roles given to it.
Customers or Clients: The clients or customers, who are the business units with the need for the product or service being developed, should also be included as having a special interest in the project. This group may include representatives as well as decision-makers.
Stakeholders: These groups of units, individuals, groups or organizations who can affect or are affected by the project are usually at the heart of the project. The Sponsors, Project Team, Steering Committee, Clients and Customers and others are stakeholders of the project.
Key People for Success
Key stakeholders are those whose support is essential for the success of the project. Were this support to be withdrawn, the project could fail. These include the project manager and his or her team, who have the highest involvement. But without the Project Sponsor or Project Director to makes major decisions and offers support to the Project Manager or a Steering Committee, the project may not run as smoothly as possible.
Poor project communication can cause many projects to fail. To avoid poor communication, proper communication channels must be established to eliminate some of the common problems with poor communication. These problems include differences in expectations among stakeholders because they are not kept informed about the status of the project and other important details. It is also important for the project manager to communicate proactively well in advance with other people who have an interest in the project or are impacted by it. This will prevent surprising last-minute requests to stakeholders.
Communication is the key to the success of a project, and this means communication between all those involved in the project – the significant contributors, the key personnel and other stakeholders who have a special interest in the outcome of the project. The solution for a successful project is for project managers to put communication at the top of the priority list, as well to include key personnel on their list of people involved in the project.