I think that for a PM, the lack of awareness of process is a "hidden killer" of Project Control. What do you think, and why? You can discuss both PM process and organizational (both internal and external) process...both will have an impact on the project. From a PM process perspective, you can discuss either Project Management process or Product Development Life Cycle process but you must indicate which your describing. Even if you have no PM practical experience, you have already had to follow processes in your business experience, and should be able to extrapolate from that to answer the question.
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One could safely conclude that a project manager who is disengaged from or ignorant of process constitutes a “hidden killer.” In fact, one could safely remove the “hidden” part of the label and simply substitute “project,” as the odds of a successful outcome under such circumstances would not be very good. The whole point of designating a project manager is to establish a single point of failure should the process – which involves assembling a team, defining objectives and scope, ensuring availability of and access to resources, coordinating myriad elements of the project, and executing the project – prove dysfunctional. Overseeing the execution of a concept requires careful attention to details and a willingness to engage every step of the process. While numerous individuals or teams may be involved, it is the project manager who is ultimately responsible for ensuring that everyone works toward a common goal and that transitions from phase to phase flow smoothly. Depending upon the scale and complexity of the project, those responsibilities can be daunting, but that is why certain individuals are elevated to management status: because they have demonstrated a proclivity or aptitude for the requirements of such a position.
Among the responsibilities of a project manager is oversight of what is known as “total quality management.” What this means is that meticulous attention to each phase of a process has to be made to identify potential problems that could develop along the way and to work collaboratively with section heads to rectify those problems before they impede the process. A glitch in any phase of the process can derail the enterprise with expensive consequences for the company involved. Especially in the case of technologically-complex manufacturing processes, a consequence of a failure to respect the concept of total quality management will likely involve the loss of one’s job. Precision measuring, grinding, cutting, and other aspects of a manufacturing process requires constant attention to the care of the machinery involved. Periodic testing of components to ensure that the equipment does not need to be shut down and recalibrated is essential, as discovering that calibration has slipped only after products have shipped or even only after many parts have been improperly produced risks loss of a customer or, at a minimum, loss of revenue.
In conclusion, the notion of having a project manager who is not very well versed in the process by which a project goes from concept to customer is somewhat specious. As the student’s question referred to the “PM,” however, it was unclear whether the intent was to focus on the project manager, or on the program manager, the latter generally further up the ‘food chain.’ Whereas the project manager oversees an individual project from the ground-up, the program manager oversees, concurrently, multiple projects the aggregate impact of which generally contributes to a single unified objective. Should the student’s intention have been to focus on the program manager, then the above analysis continues to apply, but with the scale of the manager’s responsibilities being considerably greater.
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