A project manager is responsible for completion of a project by taking responsibility of planning, procurement, and execution of a project. When organizations undertake projects that have a defined scope, defined start and a defined finish regardless of industry they succeed in business. Project managers are original point of contact for any issues or discrepancies arising in a project; their agility makes or breaks a project. Project management is the responsibility of a project manager. This individual seldom participates directly in the activities that produce the end result. The project manager’s role in a nutshell, is the overall responsibility for the successful planning, execution, monitoring, control and closure of a project.
Cochin airport made India proud because it created a record; it’s the first airport to run on solar power since August 2015. The airport has photovoltaic (PV) panels laid across 45 acres near the cargo complex. The airport can avail 50,000 to 60,000 units of electricity per day through these panels which is sufficient for all its functions. This has technically made the airport “absolutely power neutral.” The implementation of this 12MWp solar power project cost is to the tune of Rs. 62 crore and it took six months to complete. It has been set up by Bosch Ltd., Bangalore, and has a capacity to produce 18 million units of power annually. This is one of the successful projects run in India.
When ambiguity arises even big brands make mistakes and, unfortunately for them, those mistakes often end up in the headlines making them famous for wrong. Sometimes a project can be executed perfectly but eventually fails because it is the right project introduced at the wrong time.
For a Government of a nation, disaster management is considered as a big time project. On August 29, 2005 hurricane Katrina raced across the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in New Orleans, Louisiana. When it was over, a category 5 storm had broke the levees which flooded eighty percent of the city, killed 1,500 people, and left over 80 billion in damages. It was the costliest natural disaster in the history of US. What followed was a project failure of enormous proportions. It failed in planning, it failed in execution and it failed in meeting even the most basic needs of those caught in the middle of this tragic disaster. While the circumstances of disaster management failure were certainly different from those surrounding more conventional project failures, there is, nonetheless, an opportunity to look at Katrina as a project and to reflect on how lessons from this tragedy could help prevent failures in more conventional projects.
Effectively managing any project, especially one responding to an emergency situation, demands an open communication network from top to bottom. But in the Katrina project that network was never created. Instead, a cumbersome, limited, and indirect system was responsible for an information logjam of major proportions. The project manager Federal Emergency Management Chief Michael Brown was unwilling to share information with other agencies and that some information never even got to his command center which included White House, Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), and Department of Home Land Security DHS, Louisiana State officials, New Orleans Officials. Perhaps the most dramatic example of the communication failure was that it took 24 hours for the White House to confirm that the levees (embankment built to prevent the overflow of a river) had broken.
The successful project managers put the right people into the right places. The biggest ability of project manager is to pick the right people for the right job. Efficient project managers plan way in advance; they put all processes in place to carry it out. They posses mastery in scheduling and the insights brought from good scoping. They make decisions based on scientific data. They keep data to back up and always they have alternative backup plans with them. They also understand that perfection is an ideal goal for which to aspire, but it is an unrealistic end for every project. Also, in a project you will have the good, bad and ugly because different people have different approaches to delivering a project.
Steve Jobs was a great project manager. He changed the technology and design industry in ways that most people could not even dream about. He succeeded because he shared his vision clearly with his team; he worked closely with development team to push boundaries of technology. He understood the need of market because he was closely watching the market; he fulfilled a previously unmet customer need. Steve Jobs was enthusiastic; enthusiasm is one of the qualities a project manager must have. Jobs met and exceeded expectations of his stakeholders. He brought innovation in supply chain and operations. Most importantly, he had unbelievable imagination and vision with a focus on the product and he knew importance of time. A project which goes on lingering loses its significance. Steve Jobs was extremely passionate and fearless when it came to growing Apple and while many actions in his career were controversial, he had an extraordinary ability to push his people to the limits without going overboard.
Some of the key variables a project manger needs to understand and implement are that he/she needs to deal with scope of a project, time, cost, quality, and risk. Unrealistic timelines and costs, overly optimistic forecasts, blurred end result, mistakes in tracking milestones of the project mar the project badly. Projects fail when parameters are not designed; also, bungling communication and deficient prioritization are dangerous.