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Theory vs Reality: 5 Steps to Managing a Project


project management

Looking to manage an IT project, web build or system integration? Lighten the load by putting War and Peace-style project management books to one side and instead follow our five common sense approaches to problem solving.

Agile or Waterfall?

Every good project manager will have fought between choosing the right project management solution to use for a project. Our approach is to look at each client and project individually, as all are different. Some projects would benefit from Agile, but this needs lots of client buy-in. Others might warrant Waterfall, but this requires flexibility. We look to adapt to both project and client needs by using a pragmatic approach to the requirements.

Follow guidelines, not gospels

Authors such as Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland have written extensively on project management methodologies and their logic has made many a project walk on water. But you don’t need to hang onto their every word. Use teachings as guidelines and don’t be afraid to bend the rules.

Chew the Real Fat

Ultimately, we want as much client buy-in to a project as possible, to collaborate. But we do realise that this isn’t always possible, so excellent communication is our mantra. Knowing the right time for this, and the detail needed is the key however. As Dostoyevsky once said “Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.” 

Accept that things could go wrong

Nine times out of ten, something is bound to not go quite as you’d planned or hoped. Managing a project is a rollercoaster ride of expected and unexpected issues and challenges. Accepting this is the first step to deflecting defeat.

Trust your common sense

We all use common sense in situations in life, so why should we be so rigid in managing a project? Trust your instinct and take the opportunity to take a step back – even if you have a conveyor belt of deadlines ahead of you.


So, unless your project is almost exactly as described in the text books, always take a common sense approach to problem solving. Use theory to steer decision making but never neglect your instincts.


Need a hand? We specialise in project management that’s grounded in insight and expertise developed from years of experience. Get in touch to discuss your project requirements today.