Principle 1 Live From Inside Out
This principle deals with the personality of the project manager. Because you can’t give what you don’t have, it is important that you as the project manager or team member develop yourself in areas and skills needed in managing the project. It highlights some soft-skills that are useful in managing projects such as emotional intelligence, public speaking etc. and how you can undergo personal transformation.
Principle 2 Never Over-Promise & Under-Deliver; rather under-promise & over-deliver
The focus of this principle is that when making plans, know that it is a statement of intent to stakeholders on what the project will deliver. We can relate it to a promise so it is wise you err on the side of caution when making those promises. Risk must always be considered when making plans, thereby making our plans realistic and not overly optimistic or pessimistic.
Principle 3 Document Everything Necessary, Don’t Assume Everybody Knows
This principle emphasizes the importance of documentation in project management. Record keeping is at the heart of project management. Certain information can only be gotten one time, miss it and miss out forever. Therefore, care must be taken in recording information and paying attention to details. Where assumptions are made, it must be elicited for the relevant stakeholders to see. Likewise with the use of technical jargons. Because a project usually involves cross-functional and multi-disciplinary team members plus a variety of stakeholders, it is important that special terms and their meanings be well documented and assessable to all.
Principle 4 Poor preparation precedes poor performance
This principle emphasizes the importance of planning in project management. Failure to plan usually lead to an undesirable outcome. It analyses the possible outcomes of no planning, poor planning and adequate planning. There are no guarantees that when you plan, the outcome will definitely be successful since not all factors are usually within your control but it increases the chances of success.
Principle 5 Always Leverage on experience
People say “experience is the best teacher” but this while this principle agrees with this, it also pushes it further by explaining why we should be smart enough to learn from other people’s experiences. Why will anyone want to re-invent the wheel if not in a bid to produce something better? It goes without saying that it’s pointless fixing something that’s not broken or changing a winning strategy except you want to improve on it.
Principle 6 Keep asking the right questions from the right sources, soon you’ll get the right answers
This principle emphasizes the immutability of information gathering when managing a project. Data can be collected from primary or secondary sources, fine-tuned into information before communicating. The level of planning conducted is directly proportional to the amount of information that can be gathered. When in doubt, data quality assessment must be conducted so as to be sure you won’t be building on a faulty foundation.
Principle 7 It’s not just about results, the process matters too
When we carry out a project, we expect to see/get a tangible or intangible output at the end. Call it product, service or result, you’re right. There’s a popular saying that “the end always justifies the means” but that’s not the case here. How you arrive at the result is as important as the result too. A simple case will be a student that cheats all the way to graduate. Good result but poor process. In project management context, our processes and methods must align with best practices for our result to be 100% satisfactory.
Principle 8 The most important task in project management is communication
The best way to describe carrying out a project and not carrying your client along (keeping in the loop of information flow), is groping in the dark. Be sure to experience numerous collision and other ugly outcomes. This principle confirms the unarguable golden rule in project management which is communication. It is the most important task to be performed by the project manager.
Principle 9 Hope for the best but prepare for the worst
The least area of focus on most projects by the team is risk management. That’s why this principle is poised to emphasize it’s importance. What can go wrong or what good surprises can pop up during the project? We must not only “be prepared” like the Boy’s Scout motto says but live prepared. It’s better to do scenario-based planning with best case, most likely case and worst case in mind. While hoping for the best, you should be prepared in case the worst happens.
Principle 10 Dot the I’s and cross the T’s before wrapping up
In a bid to be perfect, we may never close a project because perfection means different things to different persons. Therefore, this principle shows the importance of having measurement yardsticks (baselines) to help us in knowing we have achieved what we planned. Some of the tools include but not limited to checklist, Acceptance Criteria, Key performance indicators (KPIs) or Service Level Agreement (SLAs). Without these tools in place, scope creeping (uncontrolled changes to the project scope) and changing stakeholder’s requirements can lead to project failure. They’ll help us to dot the I’s and cross the T’s.
We can then confidently say we have delivered the project successfully when the client/customer/primary stakeholder accepts it and signs-off.