Project managers – novice and seasoned – continuously strive to manage the triple constraints of scope, time and cost to ensure project success. But no man is an island and neither are projects. These constraints cannot be kept in control unless the project manager fully understands the ecosystem in which he/she is operating and able to influence the factors in a way to minimize the risks and optimize the opportunities – thereby enabling project success.
Let us have a brief look at the five key elements that comprise and influence the project management ecosystem.
Organization – Several organizational factors influence the project manager ecosystem like
- the maturity of the project management office and their involvement/support for the project.
- internal stakeholder expectations from the project
- external stakeholder expectation from the project and/or organization.
- Priority of the project within other projects in the organization
People – A project manager needs to ensure that he has the team with the right skills to execute the project. Any gaps in knowledge must be appropriately addressed either by training the team or other mechanisms. The team must work together as a unit and any issues which affect individual or team performance must be addressed immediately. The project teams must be culturally sensitive to the environment in which project is being executed and with their fellow team members for projects which involve people from disparate backgrounds.
Processes – The processes in the executing organization and the customer need to be aligned to ensure that there is a common baseline for the project agreed with all stakeholders.
Technology and tools – The technological maturity of the performing organization and the tools available for the project manager and his teams are also a significant influence. e.g. for most projects, the choice of project management software to be used in a project is generally decided by what the organization already has and not on a per project basis.
Psychological contract – The psychological contract is the set of unwritten expectations that an organization
and an individual member of that organization will have from the project. e.g. A key member of the project team is probably putting in his 110% because he is expecting a promotion soon or an organization hopes that doing this project well will bring it more contracts in same region. The project manager needs to be aware of such unwritten expectation to be able to effectively handle complications that could arise out of them.
Knowing a problem is the first step in solving it. Awareness of these factors that influence the triple constraints – directly or indirectly – are essential for every project manager to survive and succeed in the project management ecosystem.