However, a major project will often present a different type of challenge, requiring more unusual techniques, meaning that it probably cannot be tackled in the same way as the day to day, routine activities of the organisation.
In addition, a business cannot always risk distracting the people who carry out the routine work from their usual tasks by diverting their attention to a project. Even if an organisation's own people can be made available, they may not have the necessary skills and experience.
It may be stating the obvious but, if not managed properly, a project may have the dual effect of failing to produce the desired outcome while badly disrupting the general flow of regular business.
Projects may partially succeed but complete success will depend on effective planning, coordination, structures, reporting mechanisms and methods of control throughout the project life cycle. The more unique a project is to a particular organisation, the more likely it is to go wrong without the effective skills to keep it on track.
A project needs to be recognised and defined as such. Any project will usually have certain characteristics in common with other projects:
- Defined objectives.
- A stated specification.
- A life span, with a definite start and finish.
- Limited resources.
- It may be unusual for the organisation concerned to be undertaking it.
- It may be more risky than the normal business activities.
- It may create change and uncertainty.
- It may require unusual skills, knowledge and expertise, not usually available in that organisation.
Project planning and organisation are crucial to the successful outcome of a project.
A project plan — which may, of course, change as the project proceeds — can be produced by considering some of the most obvious questions about the project:
- What are the goals or what is the desired outcome?
- What is the budget?
- What is the timescale?
- Who will be the project manager?
- How can the work be structured and programmed?
- Who are the people to form the project team?
- What are the risks and problems and when might they occur?
Project managers, who concentrate fully on the successful implementation of a project, will not become distracted by the daily, routine tasks of the business but will ensure that the desired outcome of the project is effectively delivered. The job of the project manager will include:
- Drawing up the project plan to achieve the desired outcome according to time and resources.
- Identifying and quantify risks (or ensuring that a risk management process is put in place).
- Focusing on results.
- Ensuring that tasks are accomplished in the right order.
- Managing resources, using them effectively, creatively and in the right order.
- Ensuring coordination.
- Resolving people problems.
- Defining roles and responsibilities of others involved in the project.
- Defining channels of communication.
- Ensuring cooperation, motivation and commitment of the project team.
- Monitoring progress and take effective creative action.
- Ensuring reporting.
- Keeping a close watch on time.
- Asserting the right degree of authority while keeping the team on side.
Touchstone Renard Can Help Your Organisation With Project Management
How Touchstone Renard Can Provide Project Management Support and Training
Touchstone Renard can offer a range of solutions that are complementary to the mainstream management of a project. These are particularly useful when projects are complex, with several stakeholders and the ability to see the whole picture is needed.
Projects come in many different guises. There are the traditional projects that deliver assets and also those with less tangible outcomes that can be more difficult to evaluate. Touchstone Renard can help organisations to plan, execute and evaluate these, using tools that can add considerable value to the project, supplementing usual project management techniques. We can work with project teams to correct project difficulties and recover a project that has drifted off course or to evaluate what was achieved and learn from success or difficulties.
At Touchstone Renard, our aim is to ensure that our clients’ projects are successfully managed to achieve the outcome that they require while also allowing them to continue with the day to day tasks of running their routine business.
We have years of experience of managing projects of all types and sizes for a range of organisations. To assist with any project, we can offer support delivered by our skilled consultants, including:
- The services of a project manager selected from our team for any project.
- In the case of more major projects, we can provide a project management team, made up of our experienced, professional — but friendly — consultants who are accustomed to implementing successful projects and working in cooperation with an organisation's own managers and stakeholders.
Our Specialist Team Includes:
- Project managers.
- Project engineers.
- Major programme managers.
- Quality consultants.
- Risk analysts.
- IT specialists.
- Change management consultants.
- Organisational design consultants.
- Technical writers.
- Document controllers.
- HR specialists.
- Project management and other trainers.
Please Take A Look at the Specialist Project Management Solutions and Services That Touchstone Renard's Team Can Deliver for Large or Complex Projects
For large or more complex projects, sometimes with multiple partners and safety critical demands, we can offer a range of solutions. Please explore the links below for more information about our range of solutions:
For clients delivering a project in a safety critical environment with a need to achieve compliance with regulations and other legal and professional requirements, please visit:
For clients who wish to review the management of a project and discover more about what happened, please visit:
For clients who are keen to adopt a more strategic approach in the case of large, multi-faceted projects to reduce risk and head for a successful outcome, please visit:
- Project Strategy — looking at the big project objectives to increase the likelihood of success and mitigate risk.
Project Management Training
We are also able to offer a range of options at very reasonable cost for Project Management Training. We can:
- Deliver bespoke project management courses at an organisation's own premises.
- Set up one or more sessions for project management training off-site.
Training is delivered by our experienced trainers and can include the more traditional project management skills and also — if required — the leadership and / or team building skills that are essential to the successful cooperation of a project team.
- An assignment for the European Commission to review the management and technical competency of the €7 Billion Greek railway investment programme.
- Transport assignment for a global retail mall developer.
- An assignment to undertake a competencies review for a metro industry client.
- Delivering project and engineering support for a major metro client.
If you would like to know more, please take a look at still more sample case studies. Each case study provides brief details of past assignments with which Touchstone Renard’s consultants have been involved.
About Phil Austin
Phil Austin, Managing Director of Touchstone Renard, has spent much of his career managing major projects or training others in project management.
Phil has been a project manager for GEC-Avery, Four Square Division of Mars and Redland Engineering.
He has developed a project management course for an MBA programme for Surrey European Management Schools and, as a visiting lecturer, has taught project management at a range of UK business schools, including Middlesex Business School, Southampton University Management School and South Bank University.
Phil has also taught project management overseas in locations that include Hong Kong, Singapore, Greece, the West Indies, Mauritius and in the Seychelles.
If you would like a discussion on how Touchstone Renard can help your organisation with project management services or training, please contact Phil Austin on:
- +44 (0)203 954 2576.