Project management problems frequently arise as questions, and most good project management questions have the same answer: ”It depends.”
By definition, each project is different from other projects, so no specific solution for a given problem is likely to work exactly as well for one project as it might for another. That said, there are general principles that are usually effective, especially after refining the response with follow-up questions, such as “What does it depend on?”
This blog series is based on questions, and in general discussions on project management regarding frequent project problems. The discussions here are not on theoretical matters (“what is a project?”), nor do they dwell on the self-evident or trivial. The focus here is on real problems encountered by project managers working in the trenches, trying to get their projects done in today’s stress-filled environment. These responses are based on what tends to work, at least most of the time, for those of us who lead actual projects.
Some problems here relate to very small projects. Others are about very large projects and programs. Still others are general, and include some guidance on how you might go about applying the advice offered in a particular situation. In all cases, your judgment is essential to solving your particular problems. Consider your specific circumstances and adapt the ideas offered here if they appear helpful. Disregard them if the advice seems irrelevant to your project.
Several general themes recur throughout. Planning and organization are the foundations for good project management. Confront issues and problems early, when they are tractable and can be resolved with the least effort and the fewest people. Escalate as a last resort, but never hesitate to do so when it is necessary. People will treat you as you treat them, so act accordingly. Good relationships and trust will make solving any problem easier—you really do get by with a little help from your friends.
I hope that this blog series will help you to successfully complete your projects, while retaining some of your sanity in the process.