Over the years I’ve seen many attempts to construct the “10 commandments of project management”. I believe there is an element of cheekiness in this as it suggests a divinely inspired set of rules, wholly encompassing (or should I say holy encompassing) a complete project management experience. Chutzpah or not, I am going to give it a go as well. But before I lay out my own proposal I’d like to provide a quick overview of those who so bravely came before me, putting their neck on the line in the search of the holy grail of project management.

So here we go:

Michelle Young Cavanaugh published the following in TechRepublic in 2000:

  1. Thou shalt have a project with goals
  2. Honor thy project objectives
  3. Thou shalt commit to the schedule that management hath given thee
  4. Remember thy checkpoints
  5. Thou shalt delegate tasks to thy manservant or maidservant or staff
  6. Thou shalt create a picture of thy project schedule
  7. Honor thy team members
  8. Thou shalt commit thyself and thy team to the project
  9. Thou shalt document extensively and keep thy team informed
  10. Thou shalt encourage creativity

James M. Kerr published the following in ComputerWorld in 2006:

  1. Thou Shalt Narrow Project Scope
  2. Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Fat Team
  3. Thou Shalt Require Full-Time Business Participation
  4. Thou Shalt Establish Project Review Panels
  5. Thou Shalt Not Provoke Burnout
  6. Thou Shalt Seek Outside Assistance as Needed
  7. Thou Shalt Empower Project Teams
  8. Thou Shalt Use Project Management Tools
  9. Thou Shalt Reward Success
  10. Thou Shalt Not Tolerate Quick-and-Dirty Work Efforts

 Robin Hornby, in “A brief guide to the art of righteous project management” suggests the following:

  1.  Thou Shalt Speak Thy Truth
  2.  Though Shalt Not Say ‘Yes’ in Haste
  3.  Thou Shalt Lead Thy Sponsor Down the Path of Reality
  4.  Thou Shalt Not Present a Single Point Estimate
  5.  Thou Shalt Pay for Quality, Just as Surely as Thou Payest for Thy Errors
  6.  Though Shalt Not Avoid Conflict
  7.  Thou Shalt Put Thy Stake in the Sand
  8.  Thou Shalt Not Plan The Unknowable
  9.  Thou Shalt Rid thyself of Incompetence
  10.  Thou Shalt Not Assume That Which is False

Edward Yourdon, citing the above ComputerWorld list, suggests the following in his Yourdon Report:

  1. Don’t fail to identify the key “players” who will ultimately declare “success” or “failure” for your project
  2. Don’t fail to clearly identify (preferably in writing!) what constitutes “success” for your project
  3. Don’t confuse “estimating” project schedules and budgets with “guessing” or “negotiating”
  4. Don’t ignore the non-linear nature of tradeoffs between people, time, money, and quality when negotiating key project parameters
  5. Don’t attempt to “freeze” user requirements; do expect “scope creep,” but don’t accept “requirements churn”
  6. Don’t allow developers and key end-users to stop communicating with each other
  7. Don’t commit teamicide
  8. Don’t ignore whatever software processes the project team has committed to
  9. Don’t skimp on risk management
  10. Don’t forget the importance of a “daily build” approach

 There are others, but I think I will stop here.

And now, without any further ado (drums in the background….), here’s my humble go at The Ten Commandments of Project Management:

  1. Know your goals
  2. Know your deliverables – Know what DONE looks like and Know how DONE is measured
  3. Know your schedule, cost and technical performance measures
  4. Know your risks and your risk plan
  5. Know your stakeholders
  6. Know your team members
  7. Adapt your communication to the listener
  8. Treat your team members with respect and with dignity
  9. Expect your team members to do their job but don’t demonstrate blind faith
  10. Take it easy – enjoy what you do – or else find another job

Think about it!

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