Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Committee Chairman is the Project Manager

The Committee Chairman is not the most important person involved in the committee project or program, nor is he the only person so involved. Successful projects are dependant upon well constructed project plans and a team committed to the delivery of a project successfully. Not surprisingly, successful Committee Chairmen are outstanding Project Managers.

Therefore, selecting a proven project manger in a role of leadership, although a very positive step, it is not sufficient to guarantee a successful outcome. Having a detailed and effective project plan and an individual responsible for keeping the project under control and within budget is the difference between success or failure.

Why must there be a Project Plan?

Your project is a vehicle for delivering change. The outcome of your project must have a defined deliverable purpose. The deliverable must be simple and easy to identify; “raise x amount of dollars for x number of scholarship awards,” “increase membership by x number of members within x number of months,” “offer x number of hours of after-school tutoring to x number of students.” The specified deliverable will help shape the budget, provide a range of available or needed resources, and the project’s life cycle.

Every project has a defined budget. There are a great many things in which we may be investing money in order to build the project’s deliverable, including, but not limited to, people’s time, contractors, computer hardware, software licenses, building materials, and marketing matter. These and similar investments contribute to what will eventually be known as the project’s budget.

A project will need to benefit from the capabilities, knowledge, skills and experience of people from a wide range of backgrounds from within and possibly outside the organization. A project has a beginning, middle and end, all are important for different reasons, and all can benefit from some order and governance. This “life cycle” and the combination of the project’s risk are at the heart of successful project management. The ability to obtain and articulate a clear and basic understanding of these variables is what determines the success of each project.

Define success

As a project manager, these are the common measures of success:
- Delivering within the expected timescale.
- Delivering within the expect budget.
- Producing the quality of deliverable as expected.
- Managing changes in expectations along the way.
- Minimizing the detrimental effect of risks and issues.
- Keeping the team motivated and focused.

Support Tools

There are a great number of project support tools and project management software to assist with the project plan. Web-based project management tools such as www.gantter.com or www.mavenlink.com can be used by the project manager to organize and outline the project’s budget, resources, timeline and deliverable.

Remember to Treat A Project Like A Business

The project manager must maintain his focus on the project’s overall success and shepard it towards its deliverable. Additionally, the Chapter must contain a layer of authority that allow Brothers at different levels to use their particular skills, knowledge and experience to make the right decisions at the right time. The project manager is designated as someone who is to be held accountable for its success and therefore must have the authority and confidence of the Chapter’s leadership to keep the project on track and pointed towards a successful outcome.

excerpts taken from Effective Project Management by Paul Roberts, KoganPage Press, 2011.

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