As we continue to round up the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Project Managers, we’d be remiss to exclude a best practice that should be incorporated into any workplace – collaboration. Encouraging strategic collaboration is a crucial skill for Project Managers (PMs) in order to effectively solve problems through efficient communication and consistency.

No where is the need for effective collaboration more obvious than on a billion dollar, multi-vendor infrastructure project like the 2012 London Olympics. Lord Coe, the chairman of LOCOG, the Games organizers, called the London Olympics “the most complicated task Britain will ever undertake”. The organizations involved in building the infrastructure required for the London Olympics knew they had an absolute fixed date for completion and that the entire world was watching to see if the city would be ready. Poor collaboration was not an option.

 

On complex, high visibility projects, effective PMs must establish both internal and external critical management tools in order to collaborate and control projects effectively.

 

Internally, all of the PMs within an organization should have a consistent approach to managing projects. From bids to closeout, an organization’s project control system must be defined and followed. The alternative is that every individual PM will run each project differently, resulting in a larger learning curve for those involved. This tends to impact company overhead and general conditions, undercutting the team’s ability to accurately bid on projects.

 

Externally, PMs need a similarly consistent approach to collaborating with partners. Because PMs often have different ways of dealing with subcontractors and vendors, a consistent organization-wide approach leads to more clear, concise communication. Additionally, external consensus achieves buy-in to the schedule and a stronger commitment to its achievement.

 

To learn more about project and program management associated with the 2012 London Olympics, please visit: http://learninglegacy.london2012.com/themes/programme-organisation-and-project-management/micro-reports.php

 

For another great example of project collaboration, watch Crossrail’s presentation on how its team collaborated with its partners using one risk management system.

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