Effective project management is broken down into four P’s: people, product, process and project. These principles can be attributed to web, software, marketing and so on. Communication and collaboration is all about the people. The product must address the correct problem. A sound process keeps the project efficiently moving forward, and a project plan provides a road map to success.
Understanding the four P’s can greatly improve your project’s chances for success. Out of every 100 IT projects started, 94 will fail or start over again at least once. Understanding where a Project can go wrong and how to avoid those problems can lead to a successful project.
Keys to a project’s success
1. Do your due diligence
Do your research before starting the project! Understanding your goal, objectives, noted strategies, processes, target audiences and so on can lay a lot of the groundwork for you to succeed. Build the right team around these traits, and you’ll have your project already on the path to success.
2. Keep momentum
At the beginning of the project there’s excitement and the sky is the limit. Every team member will likely be full of energy and kick the project off to a quick start. Over time, however, this momentum will naturally begin to disintegrate. Find ways to keep the team’s eyes on the prize and keep the momentum moving forward. Momentum is one of the most powerful forces in any given project.
3. Track your progress
How do you know if your project is on the right track or moving forward if you’re not tracking your progress? Whether it’s tracking hours, completed requirements or phases you can paint a picture of how your team is progressing through the project. This tracking will be scalable to the size of the project. Small projects will have a marked decrease in metrics to keep than a large multi-million dollar project.
After your project is finished it’s important to perform a postmortem analysis. This may not help your already project succeed or become better, but the idea behind this step is to “save another project’s life.” If you can identify broken processes, team inconsistencies, technology shortcomings and other obstacles you can find ways to avoid or address them in the next project. Remember out of every 100 IT projects started, 94 will fail or start over again at least once. That’s a shocking number. Postmortems are an excellent way to start chipping away at that number.
Project management begins before any technical activity starts and continues throughout defining, developing and supporting the product. The Four P’s have a great influence on any project management experience – people, product, process and project. No matter the size and scope of the project you can find a version of the Four P’s involved. I sincerely hope this series has helped someone in the world of project management and brought clarity to such a dynamic subject and profession.
Pressman, Roger S. (2005). Software Engineering: A Practitioner’s Approach. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
This concludes Part 4 of the Four P’s of Project Management. How have the Four P’s helped you in your day-to-day project management work?