THE UNCOMPROMISING PROJECT MANAGER AS A CATALYST TO SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: THE ROAD MAP AND PRACTICE
PRESENTED BY G.O. OKORONKWO, B.Arch (HonsNig, MNIA, FCIPMN
1 A project is any development – meant for business or any other utility – tied to a scope, time, budget and specified quality delivery. A project manager isthe leader of the project from INITIATION (for the executive Project manager status), PLANNING, EXECUTION, MONITORING and CONTROL to a CLOSE (completion), and he takes the credit of the success or the discredit of its failure. Projects include construction (buildings, roads, bridges) petro-chemical/oil and gas, computing (IT), telecommunications, aerospace, defense, natural political elections, census, etc. One of the project manager’s first duties is to get the project sponsor’s approval for the scope and planning details
2 Project managers today includethose: –
(i) By position without related training butrole
(ii) By work experience due to cognate/related profession and role eg a leading Consultant in a project – say an Architect in a Building Construction project
(iii) By training
(iv) By role/experience and added training
(v) By training and added experience
3 On the lighter mood:From the foregoing analysis,everybody in high rulership/leadership position is a project personnel with Mr. President being the GrandSponsor-General of the projects/programmes/portfolios and the honourable8thNational Assemblybeing mega-programme managersin view of their over sight roles and for signing and enacting the CIPMN Law respectively.The Governors should be Grand Sponsors. The 9th Assembly should continue from where their predecessor stopped to avoid some primary conflict issues.
4 Roles and Responsibilities of the Project Manager as Listed by Duncan Haughey(P.ENG, PMP)
(i) Planning and defining scope
(ii) Activity planning sequence
(iii) Resource planning
(iv) Developing schedules
(v) Time estimating
(vi) Cost estimating
(vii) Developing a budget
(ix) Creating charts and schedules
(x) Risk analysis
(xi) Managing risk issues
(xii) Team leadership
(xiii) Strategic/tactical (military)influencing
(xiv) Business partnership
(xv) Working with vendors
(xvi) Scalability, interoperability and portability analysis
(xvii) Controlling quality
5 BACK TO THE THEME AND TOPIC:THE UNCOMPROMISING PROJECT MANAGER, A CATALYST TO SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
A catalyst is an independent substance/factor to speed up an action or process. Socio-economic development implies wealth-creating& wealth-growing development for the society. How? It means that when a project manager refutes/damns compromise and delivers a project successfully it leads to social and wealth-generating/growing developments. If the project is one out of a portfolio of programme the completed project would beget the next, and so iteratively there would be a wide development that would benefit the relevant community and the project manager who certainly would get more from the programme. This places a high demand on the project manager because his failure is critically killing and poisonous to socio-economic development. Thus each successfully completed development implies among other things – new job opportunities,new lease of life, new wealth creation and wealth growing opportunity etc.
6 WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE FACTORS FOR COMPROMISE IN A PROJECT MANAGER?
a) INCOMPETENCE& INERTIA: When a project manager does not master his
work he is subject to intrigues by contractors, various corrupt/corruption agents;unsure of his job, easily manipulated by all and sundry having a weak point.The project manager may be a client’s or contractor’s agent. Contractor, suppliers and site staff may always play a fast one on him with impunity, all resulting into one project failure or the other. Delays, quality deficit and utter failures may affect the project, truncketing socio-economic development.Inertia is being inert, or unresponsiveness to stimuli, change, moves, situations, and unwillingness to take necessary action
A(i) Solution/antidote:The project manager should train profusely in techniques, skills, acquire knowledge of systems and methods, keep updating themselves continually. He should master M.S. projects/office to be able to do scheduling, master methods such as work breakdown structure (wbs), project evaluation review techniques (PERT), critical path method (CPM), PRINCE2, etc. By browsing for project management tools/softwares you would be guided adequately.
Besides, not only are the training channels or outfit in Nigeria now CIPMN is also established to train, update, regulate and cater for the project manger’s and projects interest and wellbeing; and legit the profession solidly in Nigeria.Remember failure may result in practice license revocation!However, all project management training outfits should register with CIPMN to legit their activities for acceptance.
a(ii) At the inception of the project, the project manageris handed the project case (project charter)and other contract documents. Studying, following and implementing the contents would add to his competence. King Solomon wrote “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings, he will not stand before mean men”. The project manager should exercise his listed roles and responsibilities and address strictly the process/phasinginvolved in a project.
a(iii) Using construction management as a model, the project manager’s roles are exercised along the frame work of the project phasing/process (there are otherswhich include, IT/Computer, telecommunication, aerospace,, defence, etcproject managements): –
• Initiation: This contains all the economic/business reasons for the project, the potential economic benefits to client/sponsor, the budget time, etc. Digesting and understanding is a great boost to the project manager’s performance. The executive project would have been part of this production or excogitation
• Planning: This entails design detailing, budgeting/cost estimating, all to be done to realize the project, methodology of execution, developing the scope statement,etc.
• Execution/implementation: Staffing, ensuring that project deliverables are achieved,work breakdown structure (wbs)allocation of resources-human and materials-scheduling tasks, identifying apparent risks and mitigating them,safety and health issues, etc. planning result should go to the project sponsor for approval, followed by field execution
• Documentation: the Project Manager must document every process and event/activity on site. This includes proceedings in meetings, visit to site of any VIP, supply/arrival of materials to site or their movement therefrom, proper filing ofcorrespondences/documents, issuing work approval forms for commencement and completion of tasks), site and all Architects instructions, etc. Daily site weatherrecord is very important, in case of extension of time or any claim by parties. On one occasion a subcontractor claimed that a whole container of equipment missed from site which would have made the main contractor liable, but on investigation, there was no record of receipt with the clerk of works. So the matter stopped there. What of if the subcontractor had bribed someone to collude with them successfully?. Any way in the same site the clerk of works (COW) relevant consultant and the maincontractor usually signed the waybill of deliveries. So the fraud would have been difficult to be perpetrated.
• The contractor’s/subcontractors/consultant project managers should work in tandem to ensure that thievery is minimized in the site. The client representative/in-house project managers (pregamme managers by role) should pursue and follow-up issues raised on site meetings or communicated by writing – with the project sponsor-with expedition. This will mitigate delays where the contractor would reduce the pace of work or shut down altogether.
• CONTROL AND MONITORING: This means evaluation of progress, viewing the work progress chart, and making up for any deficiencies and alerting all parties/project team – on progress status as per time, costs as per work done: are progressand spending in phase and on time? To monitor progress include regular daily inspection of the works for compliance of work method, materials and quality and compiling reports that would be presented at the weekly site management/technical meetings by all consultants. The project manager must have these reports as well as the monthly ones plus the minutes to aid in his own report to Client or project sponsor. In the project managers progress report the first chapter must be executive summary to capture the first attention of the busy hierarchy stakeholders
• The project manager must be familiar with the contract bill. Know the
form of contract for the project-usually the ICT in many cases-and should not try to introduce anything not in it without due process,ofapproval from the stakeholders. Conflict resolutions and effective communications must be among the hallmark of any uncompromising project manager. Experience,applied psychology and intuition must be employed in conflict resolution between the site and host/neigbour communities. Also note carefully regular statements of client/client representative. The fish pond saga on a site and a community liaison officer (CLO) bullying of a subcontractor example
• A project manager must learn the craft of administration of humans, system
and materials, or else a corrupt so-called specialist consultant may collude with suppliers to foist sub-standard materials on the client/project.
• CLOSE: The project at the end must be closed – the project and contracts;and“as built drawings” and manual for all installed equipment issued to client or end-user. A project implementation review (PIR) document should also be prepared and submitted to client to recall lessons from the project just concluded.
• For any project:
1 Where there is no engaged project managers, the lead consultant (Architect for Buildings, engineers for civil engineering site,etc) plays the role and responsibilities of the project manager – for consultancies
2 On the main contractor or subcontractor’s side, the head site person is the project manager.
• Henceforth all must be certified project managers order to operate, with CIPMN’sestablishment. Personnel from a corporate client’s office are often called client’s Representatives, their head in effect being a programme manager, since he/she oversees plural related project/sites. The project SPONSOR, eg, a director, may visit site occasionally which may result into the approval of some apparently difficult request.
• If any project manager is sound, the excesses of the foreign experts could be curtailed; they would not dupe us.You challenge them appropriately. I sent one video to the CIPMNwhatsApp platform of Dr. ChukaEzeanyaEsiobu. There you discover that the Asians when foreign experts – even UN agencies personnel – try foister some projects on their countries the project managers would analyze and say “No , this is not for us” whereas in Africa anything seems to go for our project managers. Why? Probably due to incompetency. You can go to the platform and watch the video or let office forward it to every WhatsApp number recorded in the attendance list today or still due.
6(b) THE CHARACTER OF THE PROJECT MANAGER
Slothfulness (laziness) or diligence, dishonestly/fraudulence or honesty and all the fore statements make the project manger a weak or strong project manager, comprising or uncomprising project manager.
6b(i) SOLUTION: Think of going tojail, your practice license revoked, facing ICPC, EFCC and various law courts, disgrace to yourself, your family, losing respect, etc. and repent. To repent is easier and better
The above is my view of the Road Map and Practice to the UNCOMPROMISING PROJECT MANAGER AS A CATALYST TO SOCIO-ECONOMIC development for the moment.