The Consistent Project Manager

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The author spent the first part of her career working in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects involving the management of outsourced project teams. She now runs a digital marketing company with particular expertise in technical SEO and Content Marketing.

As Christmas once again approaches, I have been mulling over the importance of consistency in projects (maybe I’ve just had too much mulled wine).


This whole issue of consistency in projects is intriguing because great success may be achieved by the opposite of a consistent, reliable project manager. For instance, a brave and daring project manager; one who takes risks and perhaps one who doesn’t always play by the rules can often manage to achieve a brilliant result. But this style of management is erratic and will bring both highs and lows, success and failure in equal measure. At a time when organisations are striving for consistently successful delivery of projects, the risk-taking project manager should be re-thinking their approach. A bold approach to problems within a project can sometimes lead to an unexpected solution; great forward-thinking designs never arise from a group thinking in a controlled (some would say restrictive) way, but the majority of projects need rigorous controls if they are to deliver a successful end-product, whatever industry that might be in. If you take away the control the project in all likelihood will descend into chaos and a chaotic project is usually a failure.


So just how can you achieve consistency when managing projects? In some projects there can be so many variables, unexpected changes and risks that even the most dependable project manager will struggle to keep the project on course.


The most reliable way of becoming a consistent and successful project manager who will never fail (OK, rarely fail) is to study one of the well-recognised project management methodologies and then broadly follow that methodology, adapting as necessary for your own business and organisation but always retaining the key elements. Some of the iterative and interactive elements of agile project management can be combined with the more traditional approaches, providing the discipline of the formal method is not lost.


I know from experience that it is easy to be fired up about sticking to a methodology when you have just completed a PM training course but the realities of the workplace – whether it’s lack of resources, uncommitted senior management or political in-fighting – soon start to diminish that enthusiasm. This is when inconsistent project managers start to use only those parts of a methodology that they want to but it is under this pressure that the consistent project managers stick to a controlled way of working and consistently deliver successful projects.


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Project management has developed into a fully-fledged chartered profession since the granting of the Royal Charter in the UK to The Association for Project Management (APM) in 2017. Training courses for project managers were already available and highly popular to help people gain professional project management accreditation, but with this wider recognition of the profession it is now seen as a desirable career path for many. Whilst the APM has the coveted Royal Charter and continues to develop its APM PMQ (formerly the APMP) programmes, there are also other internationally recognised qualifications that continue to be highly regarded such as PMP and PRINCE2.

Organisations have become increasingly project-focused in this era of rapidly emerging new technologies and they value the expertise that comes with experienced and fully qualified project teams and managers. By investing in their project management capability businesses can be confident of delivering their new projects in time and on budget more often and more successfully. Many major corporation are now training their people to have the right project management qualifications as well as relevant experience, through internal Learning & Development (L&D) programmes; or by using external project management training providers.

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