Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Saving time, money and avoiding disaster - guest slot

This week's blog is by Cara Evans, Deputy Director at The Communication Trust:

I started at the Trust almost at inception and with my most esteemed colleagues I have developed the governance, working principles and structure at the Trust. Through this blog I want to explain the values and impact of good project management. Now I know if I had included that as my title I would have turned you off at the first hurdle. I ask you to bear with me so that you too can save time and avoid disaster in all that you do!

Someone recently almost referred to me as JUST a project manager and quickly corrected herself. I will be bold in my next statement but very confident it is correct. The Trust would not have been as successful in such a short space of time without good project management principles at its very core. Simply we make sure that everything the Trust does is delivered on time, on budget and to an agreed quality. It is all very good having creative ideas but they need to be delivered. It is essentially very simple, but requires a certain skill set and knowledge to do this with charm and finesse. Good project managers are in short supply and seriously undervalued in the third sector in my experience (having worked for 15 years for 10 charities).

Let me ask a question would you ask a project manager to assess a child with speech, language and communication needs and suggest ways to support that child and their family. I think not, so why are we asking these experts to manage a project.

So what is project management and why is it so important. Essentially you follow a simple path ; you decide what you want to do, why, you agree how it can be delivered, who is involved and why, when does it needs to be done and how much will it cost. You plan and monitor, you get on with it, job done! Ok there are a few more things you need to consider and this is a very short list but you get the idea.

I say to all you project managers out there don’t let anyone call you JUST a project manager, stand proud of your skills and expertise and show them how it’s done!