Selling the benefits

Project management must address issues that matter and that people want to solve. It is essential to ask questions before presenting solutions. What are the problems that the individual or organisation faces? Where do their priorities lie? Where could the greatest gains be achieved for the least investment?

For example, if there is a concern that too much project work is duplicated, it could be suggested that effective project management encourages everyone to work to a plan. But what is the benefit of a plan? It helps to explain that once people are clear about their own and each other's responsibilities, there is likely to be a reduction in rework and duplication. In seeking a form of words persuasive enough to overcome the objections of others, it is often illuminating to ask "So what?" in order to expose the heart of the benefit and to make it clear how the changes the project will bring will make their lives better.

Not every benefit will carry the same weight with every stakeholder. Some, such as the project's end users, will be encouraged to hear that effective project management "provides for the definition, design, implementation and control of quality, thereby reducing the risk of a poor outcome". Others, such as those with commercial responsibilities, will be more interested in knowing that it "requires the justification for the initiative to be regularly reappraised, thereby managing the risk of making a poor investment". Arguments should be tailored to meet the interests of different stakeholders.

It can help to have a list of the benefits to refer to when facing objections to the introduction of project management, or simply to articulate how it will make everyone's lives more ordered. Effective project management allows an organisation to:

e involve the right people at the right time for the right reasons to ensure that the best quality decisions are made; e encourage customers and suppliers to participate so that the result is mutually beneficial; e focus on the milestones of the endeavour to encourage a greater and common understanding of what will be delivered; e reappraise the justification for the initiative regularly, thereby reducing the risk of making a poor investment; e demonstrate how resources can be used as effectively as possible, thereby allowing their efficient use across the organisation; e emphasise the risks the project faces so that the likelihood of their occurring and their impact can be managed; e agree on the definition, design, implementation and control of quality, so reducing the risk of a poor outcome; e minimise the dangers of unmanaged "change"; e be clear about who does what, thus reducing duplication of effort and removing the potential for "responsibility without authority"; e manage unforeseen problems sensibly and practically.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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