Dynamism, temptations and decisions

March 5, 2014  |  No Comments

The dynamism of the project execution, while looking for quick resolutions, we may tend to accept additional tasks and changes, based on the face value, without applying the change management process. This is a wrong tendency and can serve as an invitation to some critical problems arising in the later phases of the project.

During the project execution, due the dynamics of the tasks, collaborations, communication and the time lines, when we face the heat, we tend to take quick actions. Though, these are the moments of instant gratification, in most cases, we may regret the hasty actions later on and the consequences of such actions are likely to haunt us in our professional lives.

We may also face some tough situations with our colleagues, jealous co-workers, demanding work environment and bosses, or simply the fact the time lines are aggressive. It is human to respond when threatened, therefore, we should be cautious when we respond to any challenge in the heat of a moment.

Sun TzuTherefore when Sun Tzu says,Do not pursue an enemy who simulates flight; do not attack soldiers whose temper is keen“;

the project manager knows,Do not try to solve a problem superficially, Do not get into a problem which you can’t handle“.

Delivering Projects

February 19, 2014  |  No Comments

In the third chapter, Attack by Stratagem, Sun Tzu observes;

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

This is a prophetic observation!

Applicable whenever we have to take up something new.

In the modern world of project managers, these words carry the wisdom that:

  • With skills, business knowledge, understanding of the market, skilled people, and understanding of the project needs, a project with any degree of complexity can be delivered.
  • When you have the skills, business knowledge, understanding of the market and skilled people in the team, but do not understand the needs of the project, the project will be a failure.
  • When neither the skills, business knowledge, market understanding, skilled people; nor the project needs are understood, and the project work begins, it leads to the project failure.

Therefore, just like a war is not an act of brute violent force, it is a matter of deep thoughts, deliberation and planning, same is the case with a project that an organization takes up to introduce a product or a service in the marketplace.

Risk Responses

February 11, 2014  |  No Comments

On managing the risks, Sun Tzu says…

The highest form of generalship is to thwart the enemy’s plans; the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy’s forces; the next in order is to attack the enemy’s army in the field, and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities.

ConfusedA Project Manager hears…

“Develop options and actions to reduce threats to the project objectives and enhance opportunities. As part of planning risk responses, a project manager must identify strategies for positive risks or opportunities as well as strategies for negative risks or threats. It is best is to nullify  the risks either by mitigating them or by converting them into opportunities, though there are other options like using the contingencies, risk transfer, however, the worst options are not to face the risk or trying to mitigate a risk that can neither be mitigated nor be managed using contingencies.”

Delegation in projects

January 23, 2014  |  2 Comments


Delegation is an essential part of a manager’s job simply because the manager cannot do all the work by himself. In fact, delegation is an important skill which requires the manager to identify which tasks can be delegated to others in the team. In addition, the manager should also select individuals from the team who possess the right level of knowledge, skills and attitude to perform a delegated task well.

Delegating is a balancing act. While it is important to delegate tasks to subordinates which they can perform well, managers should be aware that eventually they will be held responsible for the performance of their subordinates. Some managers become mistakenly obsessed with micromanaging their team members and spelling out each and every detail for their subordinates. This defeats the purpose of delegating because the manager is still not using his time productively. The manager should therefore issue clear instructions and performance standards for the delegated task to the employees and then give them enough freedom and independence to make decisions on their own. In this way, delegating can become a sound exercise in staff development.

You should often assess if you are delegating enough, identify the stumbling blocks, what to delegate, whom to delegate, planning and controlling the delegated tasks. Subscribe to Minimal PM for tips on how to delegate.

Subordinates are likely to appreciate the added responsibility and find their jobs to be more enriching and rewarding.  When done well, delegating can help the manager to improve the productivity and efficiency of the team. Team members are also likely to feel more empowered and experience greater self-confidence. The manager can spend more time on strategic tasks. The following tips can help managers delegate more effectively.