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As a Project Manager, never take anything for granted. You must project yourself into the future at all times, always thinking about what could go wrong, be improved, and what to do about it. It’s like a chess game, always be a step ahead and anticipate. Be proactive, don’t be static. Plan for the worst in advance. Add contingency where necessary. All that extra work, especially at the start of the project, will pay off. By constantly assessing all information, constraints, dependencies and requirements, you can prevent a lot. Do not hesitate to submit suggestions. Set your project and your team for success.

That approach, on top of relying on the Project Manager’s past experience, must also come from constant interaction with the Project Team. Challenge things, ask questions, seek clarification and validation. Always have a back-up plan for your most critical items. By knowing in advance what to do in case of crisis, you will stand a better chance of getting things back on track and minimize any impact. As for the extra contingency, if you don’t need to use it, you will look good as you will be able to do things cheaper or quicker. It’s a win-win situation for all.

Real Life Project example – Looking to quickly rip the benefits of a new technology, a charity company was pushing its Project Manager Sam to start implementing it as soon as possible, as advised by the vendor. However, by looking at many variables, Sam pushed back and asked for two months of initial planning and testing, in order to efficiently integrate that technology within the existing environment. Based on the facts and by having anticipated what was coming, she managed to proactively convince the Project Sponsors that rushing things wasn’t in their best interest. The vendor did not know the specificities of the client set up. The wait proved beneficial and the project was a success.

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