Solving the Project Management Puzzle
Project management has always been a puzzle. If it wasn’t, then why are there always new methods to learn, books to read or thought leaders to follow? Even those that exemplify the best of the best, still continuously strive to find new and improved techniques. So then how can we solve the project management puzzle?
Start with the overall picture.
Your project is no different than a puzzle. The first thing you do is take a step back and look at the overall image. If you could hand someone the front of a “puzzle” box that represented to your project, they would have a clear understand of the end objective. Getting to final image is what takes the most work.
Next, plan your execution strategy.
Even the most seasoned professionals understand that not all projects are created equal. At the same time, they also understand that a solid framework is essential. After you’ve determined what that big picture is, it’s time to set your pieces in motion. The same way you attack the assembly of a puzzle, is very similar to the way you plan a project. After looking at the big image, or in this case the front of the puzzle box, you then open, organize and categorize all the pieces. Corner pieces are set aside to outline the frame, edge pieces are placed in one pile and interior pieces in another. You might not know exactly how all the pieces fit together just yet, but in the very least you have broken them into smaller, manageable piles to execute.
Now it’s time to set your plan into motion.
This, by far is the most challenging part of any project manager’s job. The overall plan in place, you’ve identified chunks of obtainable tasks and the project timeline has officially begun. And then…. right as you think, that you have the perfect piece to place into your puzzle – BAM! There’s one problematic detail that reveals itself. This detail, however, could only present itself at the exact moment you go to make your next move. But alas, have no fear! Most project managers, not only rise to the challenge, but thrive in an ever evolving environment.
Lastly, modify and realign your sights!
This is the key to the successful build out of any project, no matter the size. Don’t worry about how one puzzle piece didn’t work. Instead, take a step back, readjust your approach, determine the solution and move forward. Don’t allow one piece of the puzzle erase all the achievements you’ve already made. Pause for a moment to look at the cover of that puzzle box. Chances are you’ll be able to reset your sights on the end goal and find a way to modify your approach to accomplish the job.
How do you approach a project? We’d love to hear how YOU succeed.