I recently attended a seminar on a topic totally unrelated to project management that stated there is no longer a need for innovation, renovation, or administration. The point being made was that policies, procedures, and processes were so well developed and tightly locked down that all a person had to do was find their place in the organization and do their job.
“How nice,” I thought, “would it be to be part of an organization that has figured out every detail so that all you have to do to be very successful is to follow directions.”
Reality then struck me and I remembered that I was a project manager. Every detail, policy, procedure, and process within my company hasn’t yet been figured out and is certainly a long way from lockdown. Even things like project reports (which you’d think would be quite easy to standardize) seem to change between projects and project managers. And that’s OK, because I like the mental stimulation, exercise, and feeling of accomplishment that accompanies innovation, renovation, and administration.
Below are 3 techniques for project management that encompass these 3 areas and suggestions for where you can apply them in your project management job. We are going to use ‘technique’ in the dictionary.com sense of “the body of specialized procedures and methods used in any specific field, or, the method of performance; way of accomplishing”.
The 3 techniques below will cause you to ask questions about how you are currently doing things and if there are any areas in which you could improve.
The first of the three techniques for project management has to do with Innovation. Innovation concentrates on creating new and more effective or efficient ways of doing things that did not previously exist. What are some areas you could apply innovation in when it comes to your job as project manager?
- If you are a “New to the Job” Project Manager–If you are new to a particular company and serving as a project manager then you have a great opportunity to objectively look around the organization and come up with new ways of getting things done.There is always a “honeymoon” period of a couple of weeks to a couple of months when someone new comes on board at a company. This is the time period that you can do no wrong. Everyone is enamored with the new kid on the block and the wisdom and insight he brings from former employers and engagements keep everyone tuned in for what’s next.Take this opportunity to get some innovative processes and procedures in motion. For example, is there a time tracking system in place? How well is it working and is it providing management with the type of information they need to make the right decisions about the projects that are underway?If not, you can take this honeymoon period to come up with a solution that fills this need. This is also a great time to do something new when you first come over to a company because you have not been sucked into all the meetings that have a tendency to consume nearly 80% of everyone else’s days. You can look around and see if there are any obvious approvals or process checkpoints that are missing that could quickly be implemented and make wholesale improvements to the company in no time at all.
- If you are a “Been There for a While” Project Manager – This is a bit of a different scenario as you’ve now been at the company for a number of years and the honeymoon period has worn off long ago. You are bogged down in the day-to-day grind of everyone else and running from meeting to meeting. You probably have a couple of battle scars to show along the way and have undoubtedly ticked a couple of people off during the process.Can you still be of an innovative mindset in this capacity? Yes, but the trick here is that it depends more upon how you sell the new ideas to management. You will undoubtedly be involved within the politics of the organization and you need to make sure the right people understand your reasons and motives for wanting to implement something new. Then, you need to find the time and resources to get something new done.This is no small feat in a company that is already operating at top speed to throw something new in and expect it to get done in a timely manner. But, it is possible as long as you come up with an innovative new idea, follow-through often, and do what you can do to assist with the innovative efforts.
Most people will think of remodeling a house when they think of renovation. There is already a house that is in existence in some form or fashion. It could be in great shape or badly in need of repair. Someone will come into this house and keep what is good, tear out the bad, and then replace it with something that is even better. The second of the three techniques for project management focuses on this type of renovation.
What are some areas that could use renovation within most companies when it comes to project management?
- Project Plan Templates – Many years ago somebody had a great idea to put together the latest and greatest starter templates to work with in your company. These templates worked great…5 years ago.Since then they have been put on the shelf and not updated since. Much has changed over these past 5 years. This is a great opportunity where you can start renovating as a project manager. Dust those old templates off, throw out the bad, keep the good, and update them to be even that much more accurate for the new projects that are starting.
- Outdated Processes – In a similar fashion as project plan templates, there were great processes and procedures that were put in place a number of years ago that are now badly in need of renovation. People are probably doing things just because they have always done them that way, or perhaps not doing something important that needs to be addressed now as circumstances have changed.This is another great area where you can make a huge difference and hone your techniques for project management by bringing this processes up-to-date.
The last of the 3 techniques for project management have to do with administration. This is probably the less glamorous of the other 2 techniques for project management but it is important nonetheless. Administration focuses on:
- Ensuring the Results of Innovation are Working Properly– If you’ve identified something brand new that you want to implement as a project manager in your company, then the last thing you want is for it to fall flat on its face.These are the activities that are related to you staying on top of the innovation you introduce, and make sure it is implemented properly and producing the desired results.If it’s not, make the necessary adjustments. If it is working properly, then focus on letting relevant stakeholders know the results.
- Ensuring the Results of Renovation are Working Properly -It’s sometimes more challenging to change something that already exists than it is to introduce something entirely new. You will need to stay on the administration side of things at this point to make sure people are accepting the changes, have been properly trained, and are comfortable with how their daily routines have been changed due to this renovation.
Innovation, Renovation, and Administration are three very broad techniques for project management. If you embrace the spirit of the three words above you will find yourself always on the lookout for those areas you can change and improve as well as the best way to track and monitor the progress that has been made.
Try ProjectManager.com free for 30 days and see how easy it is to innovate, renovate, and administrate with this powerful project management application. From the airport, internet cafe or at home, your team can update their plans, enter risks, issues and timesheets. And because it’s Web Based Project Management, you can watch their progress as it happens. This will free up your time to come up with new ways to get things done!