Welcome to part four of contract monitoring and managing for RFAs, RFPs and RFQs. In this final section I would like to discuss two critical considerations for every project manager.
First, in today’s information driven world, it’s super important to become comfortable with, and adept at talking about, data. Every type of project has data associated with it: research, livelihoods, infrastructure, conflict resolution, gender mainstreaming… Every different type of work in international development and humanitarian aid has some type of data that is important to understanding the impact of your work. Because data is so important there are three aspects you need to master. First is the capturing of information. This includes not only making sure you’re capturing the right information, but also understanding the tools necessary to capture the information and where that information is stored for analysis. The second critical aspect is the analysis. Data is just data until we turn it into information. As a project manager, it’s essential that you identify the types of information that are important for you to understand if and how your project is having impact. The final aspect of data you need to master is reporting. You will always have multiple stakeholders who are interested in the progress and outcomes of your project. You must be able to communicate effectively and appropriately through written reports.
A second critical consideration is communication. A considerable portion of your time as a project manager will be spent communicating to your client, staff, consultants, partners and other stakeholders. I have three recommendations in this area. First, I found that it’s never a good idea to “under communicate.” At your kickoff meeting, you should establish the types of required reporting necessary for your project with your client. But, you should also determine, to the best of your ability, the types of communication your client will require outside of these parameters. When thinking of staff, consultants and partners, it’s important to make sure they have a whole picture of what’s going on in the project. You should also establish norms about how you will communicate with them. Second, no matter what your role in the project, strives to be pleasant and a team player. No one likes to work with arrogance, know it all’s or just plain difficult people. I’m surprised at how often the simple concept is missed – at ISG, we’ve worked with hundreds of consultants over the years, but surprisingly, our repeat business is limited to a fairly small circle of individuals. Attitude is a significant factor in this. Finally, get clear with the universe of people and organizations associated with your project about how you will share information. Will it be through email? A proprietary project management system? An online repository such as dropbox or Google Drive? Or some other fashion? Then, once you determine this, be consistent.
Project management is as much an art form as it is a science. Understanding how the decisions you take will ultimately affect your ability to achieve your objectives will empower you to effectively use the levers available to you in terms of time, money and resources. To understand the impact of the project, however, requires that you step back and objectively evaluate your performance. This is the topic of the next training here at Aidpreneur. Thank you for watching this training on a contract monitoring and managing for RFAs, RFPs and RFQs. Remember if you have any questions at all please email us at training@Aidpreneur.com