With projects becoming more complex and demanding, good project management skills are becoming increasingly important for companies in South Africa. The necessary systems and skills need to be in place to ensure projects realise success.
This is according to Rory Burke, international author of several project management books, who is currently in South Africa to run a number of Master Classes on Project Management.
"While project management techniques originated from military and construction projects, these techniques are now used across all projects within various disciplines. But for these projects to be successful, they require effective project management systems skills and dynamic project leadership and people skills," he says.
Burke, who holds an MSc in Project Management from Henley (UK), says project methodology is the thread which interlinks the phases of the lifecycle and the processes within each phase.
"Without this link you run the risk of components in the project working independently. Project leadership, team dynamics and communications are the skills which enable the project methodology to function," he adds.
Professor Barry Dwolatzky, Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) Director, says project management plays an important role in assisting companies' processes to mature.
"The JCSE has been focussing on process through its Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) pilot programme. Project management forms an integral part of CMMI and its effectiveness is measured when assigning a CMMI maturity level to a company," he says.
The JCSE has partnered with P2, a project management training and resourcing company, to offer a master class on the subject, where Burke will discuss and develop a clear understanding of Project Methodology, together with Project Leadership skills and Project Team dynamics, and discuss how both skill sets are required and critical to manage a project to its successful completion.
"At the master class we'll also be presenting the Fusion Method XYZ, which is a simple project methodology template, not dissimilar to Prince2, which uses Project Management Body of Knowledge terminology and techniques," Burke says.
The Fusion Method starts with the strategy as being the source of all projects, and the operation phase as being the purpose of all projects. By looking at the bigger picture with a common (input-action-output) template, it is easier to visualise the benefit of a fully integrated project methodology.
Project management software has become an expected given, enabling the project manager to focus on leadership issues, which are often the most difficult to address and can easily derail the project.
Do projects falter because of a lack of clear methodology or dynamic leadership? "A company cannot grow and become more competent without a fully developed project methodology that strives for continuous improvement. Anyone involved in the projects environment understands the ongoing need to critically appraise results and measure performance. If we stand still and think we know it all, we run the risk of failing behind as processes and projects continue to grow in global complexity.
"We'll be picking up on these and other issues at the master class which will take place on the 18th and 19th of September," Burke says.