Project Managers are leaders and managers. While their focus is generally centered on managing the actual ERP project, they always need to lead and manage themselves first. Over the years I’ve had a great deal of experience, dealt with a variety of clients, and managed a diverse group of projects. Over the years I have learned a lot about ERP software and myself.

Below is a list of thirty-five principles and reminders that I revisit before starting an ERP project. While I visit this list at the start of an ERP project, I’ve also found it wise to revisit the list multiple times throughout the ERP project’s life.

  1. As much as possible, get status and updates from everybody every day. Everyone is important. Everyone has been doing more than you know.
  2. Listen intently. Use deliberate eye contact. Give attention.
  3. Give a heart-felt effort to understand.
  4. As much as possible, make your communications a gift to others.
  5. Create order out of disorder.
  6. Give and give and give without needing to receive back.
  7. Try not to block the words of others. You don’t want to miss the good things that others have to share.
  8. Project Managers are leaders. Take the lead. Have a plan. Prioritize. Have an agenda. Anticipate. Be an example. Lead the way.
  9. Adapt to local terminology when you can. Create terminology and definitions when you must.
  10. Be curious within your need to know.
  11. Stimulate imagination and adherence to purpose to ignite and sustain vision.
  12. Re-frame and re-frame information and concepts until people “get it”. Aim to explain with new phrases, new diagrams, and whatever it takes.
  13. Keep team and end user involvement high to generate more buy-in and to keep progress moving.
  14. When there’s too much to do and you don’t know which step is best, just do the next thing that you see in front of you.
  15. Respect everyone’s time by being prepared.
  16. Remember that it’s the business processes that count. Technology provides the tools.
  17. Hi-tech is great but sometimes lo-tech, high-touch (as in touchy-feely solutions are a better fit).
  18. Sometimes it helps to plan backwards. Keep the end purpose in mind.
  19. Use simple tools when you can.
  20. Use posters, wall charts, white boards and projectors at times rather than email and file attachments.
  21. Applaud strengths and excellence. Applaud the overcoming of obstacles.
  22. Email is a great tool for communication but don’t forget that the phone and face-to-face will sometimes work better.
  23. When you reach important milestones, celebrate!!
  24. Celebrate the small wins too (even if you’re a party of one).
  25. Use all of the sincere confidence that you can muster.
  26. Be discreet.
  27. Be a cheerleader. Encourage. Avoid scorning and scoffing.
  28. Keep secrets and maintain your trustworthiness.
  29. Give honor where honor is due.
  30. Give gratefulness where gratefulness is due.
  31. Build relationships ahead of your need to ask for a favor. In some relationships, you will give more than you receive. In other relationships, you will receive much more than you give.
  32. Collaborative teamwork and working together is beautiful to behold and something to celebrate.
  33. As basketball Coach John Wooden said: “There is no substitute for work. Worthwhile things come from hard work and careful planning.”
  34. There exists science and there exists art. Both have their place.
  35. Pursue excellence. Pursue Kaizen (continuous improvement). Keep pursuing when the project is complete.

The complete list of principles may not apply to every project, so pick and chose those items that are relevant to your project and your project management style. They have helped me over the years and I believe they have provided a strong foundation for both me and my project teams.

Blog post written by Greg Griffith, a Project Manager at Panorama Consulting Group.

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