All projects, even those within the same organisation, differ enormously in their levels of complexity, in their size and, of course, in their objectives. Some may involve the development of a ground-breaking new product, others the delivery of something less tangible such as a new business process to improve efficiency. But whatever types of project you might be involved in there are many common components that exist across all projects, large and small, simple or complex. Focussing on the elements that all projects have in common can help you to learn from other projects in order to avoid the mistakes and emulate their successes. And, just as importantly, in these uncertain economic times, they can help you transfer your project management skills to a different organisation, even one in a different industry.
It is important as a project manager to recognise that project management is starting to become viewed as a profession: one in which your experience, skills and qualifications really are transferable across a variety of industries. Whilst a project manager may have some specialist knowledge of the industry they are now working in, it is likely they have far more generic project management experience that will enable them to work in almost any industry. Just as a lawyer or accountant might work for a range of clients with different needs so a professional project manager can do the same. There are some industries (particularly some areas of engineering or IT) where some technical knowledge may be a pre-requisite but there are very many more industries where it is the project management abilities that are most important and where, indeed, someone from a different industry may have the advantage of bringing a refreshing new viewpoint and opinions about project management.
So don’t assume you are tied to one industry – work on emphasising the professional nature of your project management skills, get some up-to-date training or take a refresher course. Just as the more traditional professions do, take continuous professional development seriously and you could find a new world of opportunities opening up for you this year.
And if you need reminding of the key components of a project that are common to the vast majority of projects whatever the industry, try this list for starters:
- Statement of Business Goals
- Statement of Expected Business Benefits
- Business Impact
- Business Requirements Document
- Technical Specification Document(s)
- Project Description
- Project Priority
- Definition of Success Criteria
- Statement of Project Ownership
- List of Stakeholders
- Definition of Reporting Requirements
- Reporting Templates
- Communication Requirements & Method
- Budget Allocation
- Time & Cost Targets
- Feasibility with respect to available resources
- Detailed Project Plan
- Risk Assessment & Management
- Change Management Procedure