Project Management in Practice

Beyond the alphabet soup of PRINCE2, MSP, MoP, PMBOK, ITIL, Agile

Category Archives: Project

Does multi-tasking enhance on-time delivery?


In every organisation I have worked on, there is a constant need to review priority of work at regular intervals. There is pressure to show progress. If one is required to deliver three different items, they are constantly under pressure to show progress on all three. Your stakeholders start getting nervous seeing no progress in some tasks. Other times as a Project Manager, we fall into the trap of starting many tasks thinking it will help us deliver quicker. Becasue of this pressure there is a huge temptation to make a start on all three before actually delivering on any of the. This is a recipe for delaying the delivery for all three.

Regardless of your deadlines, the work required to produce your items are no less, whichever order you do it. Let me illustrate this. Suppose someone has three tasks to deliver – that each take two days to deliver. If they are concentrating on one task at a time, this is the timeline that they will achieve completion of all three.

No multitasking

If you now try to show some progress on all three tasks, then the profile will be

Multitasking

Now compare at which point each of tasks A, B and C finish. By multi-tasking all you have achieve is to delay tasks A and B, while C finishes at the same time. In effect, that too is a folly. In reality, when someone is switching tasks in the middle of another, there is always time lost to recover from where they left off. In this case, a three day gap between leaving the task and picking it up again is likely to cause all three tasks finishing later.

So next time there is pressure on you to release one of your developers (or for that matter any project discipline, even non IT), for a short period of time, consider if that is really likely to achieve delivery any sooner; or are you simply falling into the same trap.

It pays to have your people focused on getting a single task finished and then starting another.

PRINCE2, ITIL, Agile … can I have the best of all?


There is a lot of discussion about what the best methodology is to adopt for an organisation. As soon as the discussion moves in that direction, it moves away from realities of any Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Projects simply do not mushroom out of thin air. Something causes a realisation in the organisation that moves them to  mobilize and start a project. The project than needs monitoring and control to bring the desired transformation in the organisation. Read more of this post

Knowledge sharing


I came to project management from a software development background. Later, I took on responsibilities of leading teams and designing solutions and most recently managing entire projects. I started off by running projects based on my experiences in delivery teams and approaches that I saw worked and failed. After some time, I did the PRINCE2 certifications. Then what? I found PRINCE2 had validated many of my practices, and in some cases given me food for thought on how I could do things better. Unless you work in a PMO environment, where there are other Project Managers you can learn from first hand, implementing many of the principles become a much harder task. Read more of this post

How to handle resistance to change


If you have read any of my posts you will realize I am a fan of PRINCE2 as a project management methodology. In most cases I consult the manual regarding process and required content for the various management documents. The other day I struck a situation and realized a key limitation of PRINCE2.

Our organisation has grown significantly, twofold over the last few years. More recently our client profile has changed from a lot of small clients and projects to fewer larger clients with bigger projects. This shift has necessitated more emphasis on process and governance. Read more of this post

What happens when communication fails

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