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I am a project manager – help me, please!

When delivering PRINCE2 training courses, as I have done for over 20 years, there is always a number of common concerns and frustrations that most delegates raise during and particularly at the end of the course. Whilst it is not unusual for training courses to be used as a “dumping ground” for frustrations in the workplace, there is quite a lot of credibility for those concerns and frustrations.

One of the most common concerns raised is the ability to go back to the workplace and apply the knowledge gained from the course to improve the efficiency and delivery of projects. Comments provided at the end of the course for feedback include “Great course Paul, this is a really structured way of delivering projects, but why aren’t the senior management on the course?”

As a framework for best practice project management, PRINCE2 is most beneficial to the organisation not just an individual in a project manager role.

Project managers need the right people to “support” and “direct” the project to ensure the project is successful. Too often, it seems, organisations want their staff who will lead or manage projects to be trained in frameworks like PRINCE2 and expect them to then come back to the workplace and be able to make a difference. But these frameworks need the involvement of Senior management to:

  • direct the project and make key decisions
  • authorise commitment of resources to plans
  • monitor the continued business need and justification of the project
  • set the limits of authority and responsibility for the project manage
  • and inform the project manager of any external events that could impact the project.

The role of the “Project sponsor” or “Project Executive” is, and should be, accountable for the overall project success or failure – NOT the Project manager.

PRINCE2 provides a perfect platform for Senior management to understand their role in projects, and what they should be doing to support their project managers that they have invested in.

PRINCE2 enables a degree of confidence in the project for accountability to be accepted by ensuring the project manager captures and provides the correct information for informed decisions to be made by senior management. But Senior management need to know what information they need before making the key decisions in projects.

So, come on Senior management! –  SKILL UP & STEP UP – support your project managers by understanding your role in the project – wouldn’t you want to be accountable for something that is much more likely to be a success through proper involvement of your skills, experience, knowledge and authority at the right level?

Paul Kelly
Project Management Trainer

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