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Getting Back To Basics

by Michelle LaBrosse

When there's a lot going on, we often push the fundamentals aside and forget the basic skills that have been part of our success. Project management has been a central part of my own success from the beginning of my career. So, when I'm faced with new challenges or when I'm wondering why a project isn't going as well as I'd like, I remember this acronym: IPEMC.

As the first quarter ends, you're probably getting ready to begin some new work projects or looking at the home projects that are going to be part of your own spring-cleaning madness. So this is a great time to get back to the basics with IPEMC.


I Is for Initiate.
At any point in time, both people and organizations have more projects than they have resources to do them. During initiation, we have to prioritize the projects we will pursue, who will sponsor the projects, and who will staff them.

P Is for Plan.
Once you decide to pursue a project, the project manager and the project team develop the plans to create the final deliverables. This is your road map you're going to be living with until the project is done. Give it the care and feeding it deserves.

E Is for Execute.
This is where the project team does the work to create the final deliverables of the project. It is the largest part of most projects, and it goes far better if adequate time was taken to properly plan the work of the project.

M Is for Monitor and Control.
This phase is the truth factor. It is where you are monitoring the progress of the project and seeing what is getting done and what isn't. Make sure you account for any changes, and make mid-course corrections to keep the project on schedule and in budget. If monitoring isn't truthful, it isn't helping any one.

C Is for Close.
During this phase, the final deliverable is accepted by the customer of the project, and the project team documents what they learned that can be of value on their next project. Whether the project was a huge success or a flop, a lot was learned either way. Make sure you take the time to capture the glory and the agony.

Another place to look is at your organization. Do you have a Project Management Office (PMO)? Is it functioning well, if you don't, maybe you need to explore building one for your organization. A supportive infrastructure can go a long way to ensuring project success.

Learn how to establish a successful PMO. Want some ideas to get you going? Download our PMO Success tips and start thinking about how your organization can get its PM house in order.

Some of the smartest and most effective people and organizations I know have a "back to basics" default button. If your projects aren't going well, sometimes that's where you need to look - both for yourself and your organization.

About The Author

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP is Founder & Chief Cheetah, Cheetah Learning, the author of the Cheetah Success Series, and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring Project Management to the masses. Michelle has been designing and teaching accelerated learning programs for business since the early '90's and traditional courses since the '80's. LaBrosse holds a B.S. Aerospace Engineering, and an M.S. Mechanical Engineering. She has done extensive postgraduate work with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Advanced Educational Studies and the University of Washington Industrial Engineering Program in accelerating adult learning in corporate environments. Her research focused on using the Internet to accelerate adult learning and in determining effective adult learning strategies using accelerated learning with improvisational comedy.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.