The Art and Science of Project Management
By Amber Knight, Senior Project Manager and Analyst
There are many roles that require both science and art and I view project management as one of them. The science is the methodology used to manage projects. These methodologies are well documented and provide tools to assist a project manager (PM) throughout the different phases of a project. Most PMs have mastered the science of project management; however, the top performers have also mastered the art of project management.
What is this mysterious art? The answer to that isn’t cut and dried. Possibly, it can be described as a set of characteristics or traits. I like to describe PMs who have mastered the art of project management as “outside the checkbox” PMs because these PMs push beyond familiar methods to add a new dimension to project leadership. They use their experience to expand their peripheral vision, which allows them to recognize threats and opportunities that will define project success. They envision more comprehensive and adaptive solutions. They are customer-centric and outcome-focused with a concrete understanding of the big picture. Lastly, and possibly one of the most important characteristics, they understand the importance of practicing servant leadership.
As a PM, below are some of the ways I support projects throughout each phase of Madison Advisors’ optiMA lifecycle, tapping into the art of project management, as needed.
Working with the project team consisting of client stakeholders and Madison Advisors subject matter experts (SMEs), customer communications goals are documented and organized to reflect revenue enhancement, cost and risk reduction, technology requirements and the customer experience. These critical success factors (CSF) result in an actionable customer communications management (CCM) strategy.
Discovery and Analysis & Target Operating Model
During the optiMA Discovery and Analysis exploratory phase, current processes are reviewed for cost inefficiencies, increased exposure to risk or negative impact on customer experience and retention.
A target operating model (TOM) is developed by identifying gaps in business processes, technology and staffing. Additionally, areas of strength and those that need improvement are identified. In addition to the traditional PM role, I sometimes wear my business analyst (BA) hat during this phase. Process improvement is a passion of mine and, when possible, I enjoy contributing to the process workflow documentation.
Utilizing the TOM, a customized and comprehensive strategic CCM roadmap is developed. In my opinion, this is both an exciting and critical phase of the optiMA methodology! As a PM, I view the Strategic Roadmap as the master plan. Once completed, the roadmap serves as the foundation for the next three phases.
Partner & Technology Selection
Project management is critical during Partner & Technology Selection. Creating selection metrics, managing responses and developing a realistic timeline can be challenging. Many organizations opt to leverage Madison Advisors’ experience and unbiased approach to the selection process. Our proven tools and techniques are specific to the CCM industry and are customized to match technical requirements that are aligned with strategic goals.
Business Case Support & Transformation Strategy
Change management provides the ability to take preemptive steps that build commitment to and adoption of change. It is my belief that at its core, change management requires the voice of the customer (VoC) and understanding the desired impact(s) to stakeholders within an organization. Our team works closely with project sponsors and key stakeholders to help steer the transition and support the business case for change.
Partner Integration Management
This is when the strategy is executed!
While projects may follow the same general phases, each project has its own unique circumstances that require solutions specific to that engagement. Having experience and the right set of tools in your toolbox not only saves time, but can also reduce risk.
Whether you are considering a new CCM strategy or embarking on a change, selecting the right project manager is essential. At Madison Advisors, our goal is to ensure that what is being delivered is right for your specific environment and brings real value to supporting your business strategy.