Project management and execution — delivery

Most managers will have some delivery responsibility, either it's product features, projects in IT organizations, or better service efficiency in KPO/BPO industry. Every individual in the team has some measurable deliverable, and the manager will have a sum total or a larger than sum deliverable.

In order to make successful deliveries, effective project planning and execution skills are necessary. While most organizations have set processes and planning tools, these are best utilized in the hands of an effective manager. Also, all good processes and tools leave some flexibility to be exploited by a skilled professional.

Finally, a plan is just a map on paper, and ground realities will almost always force you to re-calibrate and adapt to changes as they happen around you. In today's complex networked world, problems will show up that'll force you to re-plan and re-evaluate the goals, and sometimes reset the expectations of the stakeholders. These are skills that are most likely acquired through experience.

However nice and loved a manager is and however smart and educated he/she may be, the ultimate test is the delivery test. If a manager can't deliver, there isn't much point in having him/her around in that role.

In order to deliver, a manager needs to understand the success criterions or parameters of success that are expected. For example, an important software module, a fairly complex piece of code, may be delivered on time with bulletproof working and great performance, however, it may fail the success criteria of maintainability and being easy to debug, or security, if these were not taken into account.

Some of the skills tested for execution are:

Planning and tracking

Allocating resources and budgeting

Responding to contingencies

Managing change and course correction

Calm under pressure

Defining clear success criterions and communicating the same to the team

Reporting and keeping the organization informed

Delivery is what the organization is set up for. All other competencies and skills are really for achievement of delivery.

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