Implementing effective hybrid project management on small projects
Grayce Analyst, James Williamson reflects on what he's learnt working in a hybrid project management role.
Hybrid Project Management is something of a vague term. For some it refers to the combined duties of project management and PMO. For others, PM duties and business analysis. In my case, it's an umbrella term for a multitude of tasks. As a hybrid PM, I'm typically responsible for: project planning; project management; business analysis tasks - such as requirements engineering and end-to-end process mapping.
My day-to-day tasks range from preparing and distributing steering committee communications and documentation, to facilitation of local process mapping workshops. In the last six months, I've built KPI dashboards and task management systems, attended global policy and project workshops and written QA verification forms. In short, I've done anything I can to deliver according to stakeholder expectations.
In my current placement as PM on a supply chain programme, project budgets are lower and resource availability is limited. As is the case with many project management functions, there is a need for streamlined and standardised processes. But if you land on client site without this framework, what can you do? I'm sharing some of the lessons I’ve learnt over the past few months.
Manage your time
As a multi-functional project resource with a large breadth of responsibility, it is key that you manage and prioritise your time. This can be done in many ways: to-do lists; Kanban boards; and personal timelines are all viable options.
I have adopted the use of Microsoft Teams. A simple but versatile tool that can be used to manage small teams and Agile projects. By using a Kanban board approach to my own work, I assign myself a task backlog and track progress of current work in weekly sprints. Once I have assigned my weekly workload, I block out my calendar on Outlook.
On resource restricted projects, it can be difficult to get budgetary approval for a dedicated PM, PMO, BA and delivery team. As such, to deliver projects against tight cost/time requirements, you may need to take on additional responsibilities. However, don't be afraid to push back.
Don’t be afraid to push back
One of the habits I got in to early on was to take on work wherever I saw it. Whilst it certainly helped me get into my client’s good graces, I also inadvertently became first port of call for all tasks. And more than once found myself working on activity entirely unrelated to my project. Being busy and being productive aren’t the same thing. Challenging work requests that don’t contribute to the success of your project is key to managing your remit and staying productive
Implement project structure
Just because your current client doesn’t have mature project structures in place, doesn’t mean that it can’t. Implementing project structure will make it easier for you and any future project personnel who join your team. If your project requires protracted initiation or planning phases, take steps to impress the importance of these preparatory periods on your steering group or senior stakeholders.
I’m more than six months in to the Grayce graduate Development Programme and I’ve already learnt so much. I’m gaining valuable experience at my client, whilst studying for accredited change qualifications. It’s amazing to see how far I’ve come in such a short space of time!