Hybrid Project Management on Small Projects

L2 Analyst, James Williamson wrote our latest blog and reflects on his first client assignment at Grayce and what he’s learnt from his time working in a hybrid project management role.

Hybrid Project Management is something of a vague term: for some it refers to the combined duties of project management and PMO, for others, PM duties and business analysis. In my case, it is an umbrella term for a multitude of tasks. As a hybrid PM, I am responsible for project planning, project management, business analysis tasks such as requirements engineering and end-to-end process mapping, and just about anything else that may be required of me.

Day to day tasks range from preparing and distributing steering committee communications and documentation, to facilitation of local process mapping workshops. In the last six months I have built KPI dashboards and task management systems, attended global policy and project workshops and written QA verification forms. In short, I have done anything I can to deliver according to stakeholder expectations.

In my current placement as PM on a supply chain programme, project budgets are low and resource availability scarce. At arrival on client site, and as is the case with many project management functions, there is a need for streamlined and standardised processes. But if you land on client site without this framework what can you do? I thought I’d share some of the lessons I’ve learnt over the past few months

Manage your time

As a multi-functional project resource with a large breadth of responsibility, it is key that you manage and prioritise your time. This can be done in many ways: to-do lists, Kanban boards and personal timelines are all viable options.

I have adopted the use of Microsoft Teams, a simple but versatile tool that can be used to manage small teams and Agile projects. By using a Kanban board approach to my own work, I assign myself a task backlog and track progress of current work in weekly sprints. Once I have assigned my weekly workload, I block out my calendar on Outlook.

Be flexible

On resource restricted projects, it can be difficult to get budgetary approval for a dedicated PM, PMO, BA and delivery team. As such, to delivery projects against tight cost/time requirements, you may need to take on additional responsibilities. But…

Don’t be afraid to push back

One of the habits I got in to early on was to take on work wherever I saw it. Whilst it certainly helped me get into my client’s good graces, I also inadvertently became first port of call for all tasks, and more than once found myself working on activity entirely unrelated to my project. Being busy and being productive aren’t the same thing. Challenging work requests that don’t contribute to the success of your project is key to managing your remit and staying productive

Implement project structure

Just because your current client doesn’t have mature project structures in place, doesn’t mean that it can’t. Implementing project structure will make it easier for you and any future project personnel who join your team. If your project requires protracted initiation or planning phases, take steps to impress the importance of these preparatory periods on your steering group or senior stakeholders.

I’m more than six months in to the Development Programme and I’ve already learnt so much. I’m gaining valuable experience at my client, whilst studying for accredited change qualifications. It’s amazing to see how far I’ve come in such a short space of time.