How To Tackle The Project Management Assault Course

Project management is like an assault course. But MBAs can finish - in record time, says Jenny Beswick.

Project managers define goals and drive tasks to completion. MBAs drive the business economics in the right direction. But a combination of skills will get you ahead of the game.
 
Project management skills include being a good organizer, strong communicator and astute motivator, whilst having MBA skills provides you with the ability to utilize information, problem solve critical and strategic situations, and practice ethics.
 
Both of these sets of skills are the oil that keeps the business running smoothly, and ensures it operates at its most efficient pace.
 
However, problems can still occur on a project, and it is how you tackle the problems that are the secret to success.
 
So let’s take a deeper look into the assault course that is project management, and see how you soldiers can evaluate your strengths and weaknesses to reach the finish line in record time.

1. Know The Route

Planning is the most important task for both a project manager and an MBA. So before sitting down with the team to discuss actionable tasks, the first step is to research and thoughtfully plan the project.

From business budgeting to project scheduling to in-process inspections, a detailed agenda will be the roadmap for all future meetings. Of course, it will evolve and adapt along the way, but the project manager's job means charting the course and the MBAs job means calculating plans before anyone else. 

2. Surmount The Communication Hurdle 

Poor communication can destroy even the best-laid plans. So PMs must learn about the every development and alteration that happens during the course of task completion. 

When changes are necessary, they must not only be implemented, but also communicated to every affected member of the team. Ultimately, the project manager is the only person accountable for the interworking of the project’s many components.

And to keep them running smoothly, he/she must keep team members constantly updated by circulating emails, making phone calls and distributing revised agendas.

If communication falls down, use your soft skills to get out of the danger zone. Honesty, integrity and ethics are crucial, and a lack of these traits can cause poor economics and the shut-down of the entire project, or even the business itself.

3. Beat The Clock

While every PM and MBA wants to move the project along as quickly as possible, they must also understand the need for diligence. Double-checking important tasks, ensuring that proper inspections are made and obtaining client approval are all essential jobs to complete before moving on to the next phase.

The job is to ensure that nothing is forgotten. While the obstacle may be that things are slowed down in the short-term, due diligence will circumvent major set-backs and save time in the long-run. 

4. Expecting The Unexpected

On an assault course, expect the unexpected. No matter how skilled one may be at his or her job, no one can plan for everything. Unexpected challenges are inevitable and so the job is to quickly identify problems as they develop, and manufacture efficient ways to resolve them.

Managing a multifaceted project is never easy and nor is tackling an assault course, but a win can be achieved with determination. So, regardless of how big or small something may be, take the positive approach to each job with a clear set of goals and a lucid roadmap.

Though we often tend to focus on task execution when seeking results, the job begins long before that. Understanding the ins-and-outs and forming a clear plan of attack are the two most crucial components of every projects' success. 

So before you rush into leading a team down the obstacle path, invest your efforts in planning the route. If you feel you are lacking crucial skills in one area of your game, then look to advance those skills by studying.

This is exactly what I did myself. As an engineering project manager working on global projects, I had the expertise to run, solve and lead, but I felt my international business knowledge was lacking and so I enrolled in a telegraph MBA course.

But what did this course enable me to learn? It helped me to not only accelerate my career progression, but gave me a competitive edge while on projects.

I was able to understand the engineering industry from an economic and international perspective, learning the accounting, finance and global marketing side of projects, which then helped drive me in the right direction.  

With a diligent and methodical approach, you are bound to find success too in what you do. Project management is like an assault course, but it is one that MBAs can finish.

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