If you review many of the international project management standards as well as many of the project management courses, you will see a great degree of complexity. Standards have evolved overtime to meet the demands of increasingly complex requirements of project management. I can see the need for such complexity with large detailed projects such as systems development and implementation. The question I raise is, has all this complexity confused and deterred the basics of sound project management particularly in smaller businesses?
In my view, project complexity is a continuum. At the one extreme are the complex projects requiring structured and complex project management, for example, IT projects. The other extreme are projects that require flexibility in the approach to project management. Such projects would include strategic projects around which there is uncertainty often requiring frequent re-planning.
Just as there are a wide variety of projects at different levels of complexity, there are project managers who feel more comfortable with different types of projects. I, for example, am more conformable in the unstructured segment of the continuum.
So what does this all have to do with a small business owner?
Project management is a core skill that nearly all managers should have in their skills arsenal. Don’t be put off by the complexity you see in standards and in training courses. These complexities have their place, but start simply by getting to know the core elements of project management. Once you have mastered the basics, you can bring in the complexities as they are required. Similarly, don’t over complicate your projects with trying to meet all the requirements of a project management standard. Many of the elements of standards might not be applicable to your project.
In simplifytom.com we define a simple approach to project management highlighting those elements that are essential to nearly all projects. Find out more by becoming a subscriber.
What is all the song and dance about organizational values?
Values have become a tick-box exercise with organizations thinking they need values so they define them and display them as a pretty picture on the wall. What a waste of time and effort not to mention ignoring a possible great tool for improving business performance!
My view is if you can’t capture the minds and hearts of your employees with your values, you are better of not having them at all!
So what do I mean by this last statement?
Firstly, defining values is a complex process that needs to be led by the business owner together with a few key staff members. It is not a free for all involving all employees.
Secondly, it is a process of carefully selecting values that make sense to a business and that will guide future behavior. It is not a dump of motherhood and apple pie statements that make you feel good. If you can’t define values that make you unique and give you a competitive edge, then go back to the drawing board.
Finally, if you and your management team are not prepared to live by your values continually, then don’t have them. It can be tough to live by your values. You might encounter challenges where an employees or supplier does not fit with your values. You might find that your values conflict with a business decision you are about to make. What will you do in each of these scenarios?
So why have values?
There is evidence that companies or leaders that focus on their values are more resilient, more sustainable and more successful than their counterparts. Sounds a good enough reason to have values to me!
So what are values? They are the unseen drivers of a company’s behavior. They are based on core beliefs that drive decision-making. They drive the company’s core identity that need to be fulfilled by all employees.
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