How to Decomplexify a Project

Project management can quickly become a headache, with the number and magnitude of projects underway and because of the many stakeholders and organizations involved. Some tips to keep it simple…

Breaking down the project into small parts

How do you eat an elephant? One mouthful at a time! The same goes for planning a project. Marc Lepage, PMP and communications consultant at Hydro-Québec, suggests first breaking a project down into several smaller parts, in order to understand the actual magnitude of the tasks to be performed.

Decomplexify a project by talking to experts

“There must be no hesitation to involve experts at the planning stage,” says Marc Lepage. “They will be able to tell us if we have forgotten or underestimated an aspect of the project. They will also be able to tell us if our plan is realistic, and if the solutions envisaged hold up.”

Decomplexify a project by documenting decisions

When each work team faces a problem, they discuss it, ask opinions and decide on a course of action. Marc Lepage reminds that these micro decisions have to be transparently documented somewhere, so that the project manager and the other work teams can follow and understand the project’s development.

Choosing good communication tools

Communication is a crucial issue in project management. Communication tools must be selected not only according to the project but also the culture of the company running the project, says Marc Lepage. “If staff is used to working on one platform in particular it might not be the time to come up with a whole new platform that nobody knows… Furthermore, when we have agreed on a communication tool, we must make sure that everyone uses it.”

Respecting the project’s scope

The purpose of the “scope” or the “content” is to establish everything that is part of a project and everything that is not part of it. This is because it is tempting, along the way, to add to the project’s dimensions. “It’s normal,” explains Marc Lepage, “for the people who work on the project to know every detail. They may be tempted to say, ‘While we’re at it, we should improve this or that.’ Our job is to keep focused on the initial goals and remind everyone that there is a budget and deadlines to meet.”

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