One size doesn't fit all

One size doesn't fit all

I am currently working with a medium-sized plc on a change programme designed to help them manage their data more effectively. The company, although very successful in its line of work has employed no standardised approach to project management, often relying on a zealous individual or the supply chain to provide project management expertise. This expertise will often come labelled as ‘PRINCE2’ or use terms such as ‘Agile’ or ‘Waterfall’ and in effect be superimposed on the organisation regardless of the prevailing culture. These methodologies or approaches must be a ‘good thing’ as they are labels which bring credibility to a particular way of doing things (for a long time in the case of PRINCE2) or are well received buzzwords in the world of business.

Some project management approaches are clearly best suited to certain environments- The one that springs to mind is ‘Agile’ in the case of software development, but perhaps this approach isn’t so applicable for an office move. The message is that one size won’t fit all, but that something needs to fit.  Why? Well, if you don’t put some form of control around activities which fall outside the day-to-day business of the organisation you might see costs go out of control or things takings longer than anticipated. Similarly, if you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know if you’ve got there.

Regardless of the complexity of the project some form of planning is clearly needed for work outside the day to day business of the organisation.  To my mind it’s a case of picking the best bits of these methodologies to suit the prevailing culture, and to further pare these back if necessary so that there is still some form of control but in a form that’s palatable to the behaviours and values of the business.  Bigger and higher risk projects can easily create their own ecosystems- programme boards are set up, project teams, quality assurance teams and so forth, and before you know it overheads become unwieldy.

The general rule of thumb is that as risk increases so more control is needed to help mitigate that risk. At a very basic level you need someone to be responsible for the project, something that says what you are going to do and an estimate of the time and cost, and then a mechanism to see how you are getting on as work progresses. As complexity and risk increases, so more checks and balances in the form of reports and teams can be created, but they should be ones which fit with the way business is typically done. In order to mitigate the effects of unnecessary overheads, I have often suggested that a proportion of time is spent by an existing management group to monitor project progress, rather than setting up a separate project board. Although the content may seem irrelevant to some in the group, it encourages a broader perspective on the business and aids communication.

With this in mind, most projects will progress more or less as anticipated. As human beings are involved in the process, it will be impossible to predict everything, but you can get started with your eyes open, rather than relying on a supplier to tell you. Finally, and the hardest thing to do, is if things aren’t going to plan, to have the courage to pull the plug. If this happens, learn from what went wrong, and that way it shouldn’t happen again!
  • Change Management
  • Project Implementation
  • Project Management for SMEs
  • SMEs
  • Consultancy services

With over 15 years' Senior and Executive change management experience combined with a background in project management, information technology and education, I am skilled at implementing sustainable…


Financial Services

10 ways to improve your businesses cashflow

EFM offers practical advice and recommend steps which you can take to improve your…
Marketing & PR

Three key World Cup and Wimbledon tennis lessons

What a difference a day or two makes in sport, politics and business. Last week I wrote a…
Financial Services

Improve your cashflow (Free Cashflow healthcheck)

Many SMEs (small and medium sized businesses) run out of cash whilst still profitable…

More Articles

Marketing & PR


This blog on expertise and the concept of flow may have a very short shelf life,…
Financial Services

Tips For Pitching to A VC – Your business plan is your...

Before The Pitch:Getting The Business Plan Out- A large number of VC sites allow…

How to increase conversions and earn more

UK Legal Assist (UKLA)    Client Sign Up Appointments     CLAIMS, EQUITY RELEASE,…

Would you like to promote an article ?

Post articles and opinions on Manchester Professionals to attract new clients and referrals. Feature in newsletters.
Join for free today and upload your articles for new contacts to read and enquire further.

Find the right professionals in Manchester

View The Full Index

Search By:

Submit your Enquiry here

Enquiry Details

Contact Details