I interviewed Brenda Gallagher who discussed Project Management Tips You Won't Get In a Book.
Today we're speaking with Branda Gallagher, and she's going to discuss project management tips that you won't get in a book. So, Brenda, before we start, can you provide a brief background of yourself?
I have about 20 years operational experience in transport, distribution management, and also project management. Since we're talking about project management, I've project managed the operational Go Live of a 42,000-square-meter, multi-chamber distribution center. I've also done Go Live’s commissioning of 50,000-square-meter distribution centers down to SAPW MISCO lives and brownfield sties.
Great. If we dive right into the topic, can you talk about some of the things that aren't covered in project management textbooks?
They cover, in project management textbooks, in my opinion, about communication plans, about managing your project plan, but there's other aspects, more so the softer aspects, that they don't cover so much in a textbook about project management. The first one is getting the culture right. So even though there's a fixed end date of a project deliverable, you still need to make sure that they team can work together, that you share similar values, and that your goals are aligned, which is obviously about delivering that project. If you don't get that culture right, you're not going to achieve your project within the scope in terms of time, quality, or cost.
Another one is that people throw up their arms about [inaudible 0:01:42]. That isn't always a dirty word. For an example, when I was commissioning that 42,000-square-meter distribution center, it was only supposed to be two chambers. Towards the end of the project, the client decided that they were going to add another chamber for confectionery which was very different from a chilled zero-to-four degrees or a frozen, which was the -18. It made really strong operational sense in terms of synergies and efficiencies and being in Queensland, where it's very humid and hot at times, it did make sense to put the confectionery in the ambient DC. So the scope was changed to include that chamber for the confectionery there.
Another one is you're going to have bad days. Even though you have your plan, and everybody may be on the same page, and you're all working together really well and achieving your goals, sometimes things aren't going to go how you expect them to, whether that be that you're testing doesn't seem to go to plan or somebody might leave the team or the project. Some days are going to be really, really hard.
Another item is – and this is particularly getting towards the pointy end of a project --there's going to be doubts. People get tired. They're under pressure, and you're thinking to yourself, "I'm not going to get this done on time. This is going to fail." It can be quite tempting to see if you can push back to project. I think you need to take a breath and actually look at it from a logical, systematic point of view in terms of the project, rather than from that emotional or fatigued aspect. There will be doubts, whether that's you doubting the effectiveness of the project or somebody from outside the team questioning whether you can actually achieve this.
Finally, delivering a project can be intoxicating. So it's a really, really exciting high-energy time when you're going live in a project. And people come out of the woodwork because they want to be a part of it. It could be for political reasons. It could be things in terms of just sharing or communicating that project. I remember I was commissioning our 5,000-square-meter distribution center, and I had very poor internet connectivity. I had brand new team members, a brand new process, and I had the communications manager from Interstate wanting me to send her photos of the site so that she could put it in the newsletter. It was totally a priority for her but not for me. But she really wanted to be involved in the project from that point of view. It's important to [inaudible 0:05:09] and understand your priority at the time.
And for me, that's all the topics that really aren't covered in a textbook about project management.
Thanks, Brenda, for sharing today.
About Brenda Gallagher
Supply Chain | Logistics | CoR Compliance | Lean | Project Management | Demand Planning