What a question….! I asked myself this over the Christmas and New Years holidays. I was reviewing a booklet we have produced. The booklet contains a series of project management templates (free to download if you wish. Simply click here)
The reason I was checking them was because of a comment made by a person on one of our project management training events; that using the templates made project management bureaucratic. She felt that there were too many templates and they in themselves were too long.
I was able to say that it is about using the right tool for the right job. For example, you do not always have to complete a full project initiation document (PID). If you are working on a small quick delivery project (say 4 or 5 weeks) however, you need clear objectives, objectives that can be measured, objectives that mean something to the person managing it and objectives that key stakeholders understand. The form will help you identify what these are. However, if you involved in a project which lasts say 12 months, costs are high (you will need to define what high means!) and there are lots of risks involved then you will probably need to use all complete all of the PID plus a significant proportion of the other templates.
This same person asked me which of the project management templates had the most impact. I thought for a moment and told the group the story of the company who asked us to run the project management module of a management development programme. The company carried out their own internal evaluation of each event and asked each person what was the most valuable part of the course. We have run 3 events over a 24 month period for this company and virtually the whole of the 40 people who attended said seeing and practicing using the PID. Among other things they felt the PID was really helpful in that it:
• helped identify the boundaries of the project
• identified objectives clearly
• helped develop project roles
• made senior managers understand what they were signing off
• helped to identify key success factors
• acted as a tool to be used in monitoring and control of projects
• could be used to market and sell the project to key stakeholders
• ensured there is a ink between project objectives and the strategic objectives
I mentioned this to the group and to be fair to the person who asked the question she could see many of the above points. However…. she still felt project management was a little bureaucratic! I did guard my answer by saying that for each person in the room they may feel one of the other templates is more important. This could well be based on the project or projects they are working on.
So, which template do you think is most valuable? I’d be interested to hear and you can download the templates here. Oh, and do say whether you think project management is too bureaucratic.