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Can some-one explain Project Management in a nutshell please?

(18 Posts)
PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sun 30-Aug-09 16:55:37

DH' job application. For the perfect job.

He has 'managed' small projects before, as in concieved an idea, and seen it through to fruition, secured resources to complete it, ironed out teething problems as had a successful outcome. But has he has never done it as a peice of 'formal' project management, he is struggling with how to word it to show he understands the concept of project management.

What are the key factors of project management, so that he can explain his examples to ensure he shows he has the right skills.


whomovedmychocolate Sun 30-Aug-09 19:26:11

What sort of job is it? I'm PRINCE2 qualified (it stands for 'projects in controlled environments' - an oxymoron if I ever saw one wink) but if it's public sector it generally includes a few things that aren't done in the private sector (specific forms of documentation etc.)

But in general terms:


are the general areas he wants to cover. But actually most of this will come out of an interview rather than the application form.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sun 30-Aug-09 20:12:50

Oh briliant thank you! yes it is in public sector, or more significantly the voluntary sector. He will be running a new project which is in conception stage, has funding and is ready to go and he will need to run with it. He has all the experience he needs to do it, meets all the criteria apart from demonstrable experience of project management. He has done it, just struggles to demonstrate it!!!

Your list is very helpful, thank you. It just gives him an idea in his head what he is intending to portray when he gives any examples, and as you said may come up in interview.

morningpaper Sun 30-Aug-09 20:13:44

Say "On time and on budget" a lot

Has he used Microsoft Project?

It not pretend he has - it takes 10 minutes to learn

LadyStealthPolarBear Sun 30-Aug-09 20:14:56

wmmc is a lot more qualified than me, but it's also worth talking about general skills - organisation, planning, monitoring progress, dealing with unexpected issues, dealing with clients

morningpaper Sun 30-Aug-09 20:15:36

If it's a new project, talk about how he is excited about putting together a steering group, creating policies, recruiting and supervising a team - talk a bit about his people management skills e.g. supervision and recruitment

Bang on about his passion for the project matter a lot e.g. the service users or whatever

He'll be fine, most people who have interviews in the public sector are total numpties

morningpaper Sun 30-Aug-09 20:16:40

oh for funders - talk about evaluation to demonstrate key milestones

LadyStealthPolarBear Sun 30-Aug-09 20:16:43

I'll assume I'm excluded from that wink

fluffles Sun 30-Aug-09 20:17:59


morningpaper Sun 30-Aug-09 20:18:16

yes of COURSE


morningpaper Sun 30-Aug-09 20:20:26

If it's new, he might want to think about mentionning future funding beyond the life of the project - perhaps say things like "exploring possible revenue streams for self-funding" and stuff like that

whomovedmychocolate Sun 30-Aug-09 20:45:06

He should state that he is very keen to take the PRINCE2 exam if possible and that he's very good at paperwork too - there is a lot of paperwork.

I've studied several different types of project management. If it's for a charity - so long as he can logically plan out a project and describe the processes involved in planning (what the objectives are, why we are doing it, who and what will be needed, when it will happen and how much it will cost), he'll be fine.

Tell him not to use bollocksy management speak unless he's very sure what it means - I've interviewed project managers who've come out with some corkers!!!! grin

pushmepullyou Sun 30-Aug-09 20:52:03

As others have said, critically about delviering an appropriate quality product on time and to budget. Key aspects in my job are delegating tasks appropriately, managing the tasks/staff to ensure they are delivered, regular review, ensuring outputs are fit for purpose/Quality Assurance and management of budget costs both in terms of actual costs/purchases and staff time.

Gantt charts are good, microsoft project, or microsoft groove are both useful. Can all be done in excel though. Key skills are understanding finances, managing people and being very organised with paperwork.

StrangeTown Sun 30-Aug-09 21:05:06

As well as formal project management methodologies, I always ask PM's how they manage:
and ask for examples.

I am not looking to catch people out, I am looking for simple things like ability to prioritise, risk and issue logs, communication skills/plans.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sun 30-Aug-09 21:12:07

Excellent! He knows the project matter very well, from several different angles, which is his biggest strength. He has already mentioned service users and how they fit into the project.

His weakness is probably budgets. He has never been in control or had much to do with budgets other than a few hundred pounds that he has managed to squeeze for materials. Most of the projects he has been involved in have been resourced through additional staff time rather than money, that element has been left to higher powers.

This is the first job he has gone for at this level. His main role is to work with other agencies to ensure service level objectives are/can be met, to establish collaborative working with new agencies, but he already has funding ideas for after the 3 years of the project life!!!

wmmc - luckily he does not know much management speak with which to embarrass himself!

He is very pleased with the responses so far and has thus downgraded his opinions of MNers (collectively from) the great satan/witches to 'the oracle' grin grin

whomovedmychocolate Sun 30-Aug-09 21:35:53

Ah budgets are not that important - you can fuck up a project with a £10 budget just as easily as a £1m budget wink

And staff cost money you know, if he's been assigned extra staff, that is a budgeted item - if not directly by him someone will have budgeted for them (wage + 30% overhead per person).

Tell him, I for one am happy to remain a great bitch witch in his estimation as I do not wish to be a text service only watched by insomniacs who don't have Sky. grin

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sun 30-Aug-09 21:41:47


TheYearOfTheCat Sat 05-Sep-09 00:09:46

Worthwhile looking at Prince 2. Also discuss negotiating / influencing others, managing risk - ie likelihood / impact, and change management.

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