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Disciplined Project Management

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We can all boast of great methods of managing people and project deliverables. But what gets the job done is discipline.

And it's interesting to note how the team follows the leader: The more disciplined the leader, the more disciplined the team. A disciplined leader gives others an anchor -- a sense of stability and accountability.

You may wonder why some people are disciplined and others are not. I believe it's a choice. Disciplined project managers strongly believe that delivering on the project result is a function of project management science and disciplined execution.

Here are some ways to become a disciplined project manager:

-    Plan the next work week's activities a day or two ahead of time
-    Confirm activities the day before
-    Conduct daily reviews of what you did or didn't accomplish
-    Follow through on your commitments
-    Avoid time-wasters, such as unrelated conversations
-    Practice staying within the time allotted to the meetings, tasks and activities
-    Hold yourself accountable for your own deliverables by using a daily tracker document
-    Communicate with stakeholders and sponsors regularly, regardless of the results

What are the ways you've become a disciplined project manager? And how has it helped you deliver better results?

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6 Comments

I agree completely that PM takes discipline AND is a science. Another tremendous read is "Execution - The Discipline of getting Things Done" by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan.

The book presents a (quality) model or framework that focuses on the alignment or link between strategy, operations and people processes.

As such, the authours work is completely analogous to other quality frameworks such as Lean, CMM, Six Sigma or PMBOK.

My approach to PM in these quality engineered models and the science of metrics (EVM, FPA, Six Sigma) has been key to not only successfully managing projects but more critically leading successful change management from the ground to the low hanging fruit and beyond.

Agree. We should practice planning in all works (not only in project management). And the use of latest technology and tools helps to save time on these activities.

I cannot agree with PM Hut as you cannot expect good results if you do not plan. When, as a PM, I plan tasks for my team members, I also plan task for myself. By reviewing these tasks, I make sure that I am not missing some not-so-urgent tasks.

Weekly planning and review are also suggested by almost all time management techniques; GTD being one of them.

Hi Dmitri,

I think some of the ways listed above to become a "disciplined" project manager create even more overhead on the project manager: You are adding a lot of extra and unnecessary work (especially in the first 2 points) on the project manager that can be avoided with organization skills and reminders.

Agree

I always like to explain that Project Management is a Disciplined Approach --- it does not matter what methodology, framework, or guidelines one use - what matter is to establish the process/method and follow it; adjusting where necessary.

Nice summary and good reminders. I agree with your assessment of the influence the project leader has with the team. Those elements are often undervalued, or even go unnoticed, yet the leadership of the Project Manager directly impacts the day to day and long term project outcomes and project success.

~jill

Hi Dmitri, I agree with you that disciplined project (and program) management is a choice. It's also necessary to make the actions associated with that choice a habit. They say it takes about 30 days of repetition to make something a habit. So why not apply your choice of discipline for 30 days and then check in with yourself to see how you're doing? Then check in again in 30 more days and make sure you're still acting on your decision to apply discipline to your project management.

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