Accidental Project Managers: Who They Are and What Tools They Need
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Generally speaking, accidental project managers:
- Have little to no actual project management experience
- Don’t possess any project management certification
- Have never attended any project management trainings
The issues plaguing accidental project managersBecause accidental project managers are mostly employees who have been “forced” to rise to the occasion or people who simply “stumbled upon” the profession, it is normal to expect them to grapple with various project management issues, particularly in the early stages.
Here are some of the main problems accidental project managers face:
- Project planning
Project planning refers to the use of schedules and/or Gantt charts to plan a project, including defining the project’s scope and the methods to be used to execute and complete the project. It also covers properly streamlining and anticipating task dependencies, priorities, vacations, delays, and the like, to avoid missing important deadlines.
Replanning involves executing plans and adjusting them when bottlenecks are encountered upon implementation. Examples can include rescheduling timelines or redistributing resources when a major stakeholder provides more and more input and adds more and more tasks to the plan, team members who have been assigned tasks suddenly get sick, and other such issues.
- Resources sharing
Resources sharing and management can be a tricky proposition, as resources, even in big companies, are generally scarce, and how to optimally allocate them among project managers, while ensuring each project gets the best match in terms of skills, requires a good amount of planning and strategy.
- Work coordination
This involves coordinating with groups of people working in different locations and exchanging multiple documents.
- Reporting and visibility
Accurate reporting is required for visibility, transparency and accountability. It entails the ability to clearly understand, document, and share the actual status of a project to all concerned stakeholders.
How an accidental project manager copesAccording to PMI.org:
“Securing the right skills is even more important when you enter the profession by chance.”With testimonial examples from three executives who have been handed the accidental project manager role on top of their regular duties, the article emphasizes the importance of learning as much as you can. Undergoing project management trainings may sound a bit stressful, on top of all the duties already heaped upon you, but these executives show it can be done. The following are some of such trainings:
- On-the-job training
- Studying books such as A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge
- Attending seminars
- Networking with other seasoned project managers
- Taking project management courses or introductory classes
- Attending a webinar such as the American Management Association’s Project Management for the Accidental Project Manager – A Basic “How-to” Approach.
- Join professional organizations
- Get a professional designation like the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential
How Comindware Project addresses these issuesWhat time and training accidental project managers lack, Comindware Project can assist with. The solution is focused on accidental project manager’s needs and provides appropriate features and functionalities to make their jobs easier:
- Comindware Team Network
Comindware Team Network is a full-featured collaborative platform that allows users to effectively coordinate the work no matter how many people are involved in a project, where they are located, and what devices they prefer to use.
- Automated project planning
Comindware Project’s automated project planning feature makes project planning and replanning easier. Users define task priorities, and create and assign tasks via the software’s easy-to-use drag-and-drop graphical user interface (GUI).
- Predictive Gantt chart
Comindware Project’s predictive Gantt chart helps project managers be aware of the project’s actual status. When team members submit information about time spent on different tasks, the project plan is automatically updated and in real time.
- Resource allocation
Resource allocation features help avoid project resource issues by proactively allocating key personnel to each task/project based on required skills and other project workloads.
- iPad application
Comindware Project allows accidental project managers to completely plan and manage their projects from their iPads, thanks to the solution’s intuitive project planning mechanics.
Final wordOne of Comindware’s competitors, Clarizen, has a pretty good messageexplaining the dilemma of an accidental project manager: “You may not be a trained project manager, but you’re certainly expected to perform like one.”
Whatever the industry, a need for experts to manage projects, organize resources, lead people and meet deadlines will remain. Ergo, project management is a skill that will always be in demand. That said, trained or not, certified or not, you will be expected to deliver the results on time and within budget. As you brace yourself for the job, it pays to know that there are solutions that can assist you in completing your mission.