Project Management is for everyone

Have you ever defined a clear objective and decided on a date by which you wanted it to be achieved? Maybe you even decided on a budget and designed a plan to succeed?

Well, if you´ve ever done something like that, you have defined a project. Planning vacations, launching new websites, moving into or out of new houses or offices, starting historical databases by measuring how you spend your time, researching your market to find out more about your clients, arranging all the details for the 80th birthday party of your grandmother — all of these are projects. What makes a project a project is its temporal nature and the fact that its scope is limited – the team and resources are put in place to fulfill one specific objective or clearly defined set of objectives.

Project Management Best Practices can help improve your execution of any kind of project, both in the personal and professional areas of your life. If you clearly define the objectives, budget, and timing for the implementation of the project, and continually measure and monitor their status as you go along, your chances of completing the project successfully, on time and within budget, increase significantly and quality will not suffer. If all members of your team have a clear picture of what they are supposed to do and how to organize their time to fulfill these tasks and if you are aware of all the parties involved, either directly or indirectly, and keep them informed and/or involved, you will very likely find that you encounter far fewer obstacles and rejections and that you are able to avoid trouble as the project moves forward. If you are constantly reviewing what can, could, or might go wrong, you can avoid many pitfalls, or at least decrease the impact of risks and problems. Consistently reviewing the status of tasks helps you keep control of what is going on, it helps you keep your “eye on the ball.”

At the very beginning of your project, lay out all of your ideas about the objectives, scope, timing, and budget of the result. And also clearly define how you can objectively measure whether or not the finished project is successful — in other words define your quality requirements.  When a Project Manager is appointed, he or she will be responsible for the detailed planning and coordination of the team and the management of resources to accomplish the expected results as defined. A Project Manager, on an ongoing regular basis, will give you status reports and will keep you and all other parties involved informed about what is going on and how the project is progressing.

If you don’t have a team member in your organization that has the skills or experience to fill the Project Manager role, you can always outsource it. Some virtual assistants will do coordination for projects and you can also find specialized virtual Project Managers that will take over one or multiple projects for you.

Alethia Consultores SAS performs planning and project management for you and offers Virtual Project Office services.

María M Velasco is CEO of Alethia Consultores, Certified PMP and has more than 15 years experience in managing software projects. You can view her CV in

Photo on

Why do technology projects fail?

Technology is at the heart of most businesses, even if the organization’s business is not technology. Either because online channels are used to sell, databases exist to better understand different types of clients, workflows are set up for process automation, order tracking systems deployed to keep happy customers: companies today make use of technology on a daily basis.

However, technology implementation projects have a much higher failure statistics than most projects. Very often, projects are canceled after having many delays, cost overruns, and without completing the expected developments.

After years of managing technology projects in organizations of different sizes and sectors, I have identified 3 frequent scenarios that lead technology projects to failure:

Hire a developer and expect him to execute the entire project.

Programming is a necessary skill when a development is made, but it is not the only one. Software development groups include requirements analysts, interface designers, software architects, testing professionals, infrastructure engineers, among others. To think that a programmer can replace all the roles, or even more to assume that only programming is needed to implement a project, usually leads to failure.

Assign the project as one more task in the day to day of an operative team.

When working on a project, managing the scope is as important as meeting the planned times, the budget and achieving the planned quality. The sense of urgency is in guaranteeing the fulfillment of the objectives as planned. But, the day to day of an operation, where there are constantly incidents to attend to, is blurring that urge to comply with the restrictions of the project. Project management discipline is required, and in some things, personnel dedicated only to the management and monitoring of projects.

Address each project as if it were the first time a project is executed.

If policies for the organization are not developed, and standard methodologies, measurement models, any organization is condemned to repeat its same mistakes over and over again. Only if the historical documentation of the projects is maintained, are they measured with the same metrics and criteria, and analysis of lessons learned can an organization improve its performance in the execution of projects. Having a project office, whether full-time or not, has long-term benefits.

Software engineering, in particular, is an unknown discipline for people who do not work in it. But not being an expert in software development is an impediment to appropriating technology and using it successfully in your company.

Alethia Consultores SAS performs requirements documentation, planning and project management for you and offers Virtual Project Office services.

María M Velasco is CEO of Alethia Consultores, Certified PMP and has more than 15 years experience in managing software projects. You can view her CV in

Photo on