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The following project management tips will provide you with some useful guidance for effective project management and were taken from Ranjit Sidhu’s book Titanic Lessons in Project Leadership, a practical guide to help you gain a deeper understanding of how leaders and teams can operate at their very best.

Project management tips


Tip 1: Consider your stakeholders

“Even emperors can’t do it all by themselves.”  Bertolt Brecht

Understanding the bigger picture gives a better appreciation of the different project stakeholders and what really matters to them, and how best to manage them.

  • Who are the key players involved?
  • What is important to them?
  • what are their expectations?


Tip 2: Clarify the business need

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”  Goethe

With any project, many common mistakes that stem from mistaken assumptions are made in the early stages.

  • Do you and your team fully understand what is needed?
  • What will a successful outcome look like?
  • How will you know whether what you deliver will be acceptable?


Tip 3: Ensure planning is a collaborative, team effort

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”  Benjamin Franklin

 Plans facilitate communication and provide a realistic picture of the journey ahead, showing  what needs to be done, by when and by whom.

  • Involve the people who will actually be doing the work
  • Check for constraints and test assumptions early
  • Identify and define deliverables before jumping into activity planning


Tip 4: Communicate, communicate, communicate

 “The biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has happened.”  George Bernard Shaw

Communicate extensively throughout the project, to set and manage expectations, actively involve people and report progress.

  • Identify early the audiences you need to communicate with?
  • Set your communication objectives for each audience group.
  • Consider key messages and encourage two-way communication


Tip 5: Adapt to change

“Change is certain. Progress is not.”  E. H. Carr

During any project, circumstances change which may mean changing requirements and scope. This is normal; but it is how these are managed and resolved that makes a difference to project success.

  • Are changes explored from multiple perspectives?
  • Have the wider impacts of change been considered?
  • Identify alternatives and consequences of the alternatives


Tip 6: Consider team dynamics

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”  Henry Ford

Pay just as much attention to team dynamics as you do project plans. Project team members come from a mix of disciplines with different experiences and expectations.

  • Clarify roles, responsibilities and the team’s purpose
  • In what stage of team development is your team currently?
  • Create an environment of openness and trust amongst the team


Tip 7: Don’t shy away from dealing with conflict

 “What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing.”  C. S. Lewis

Conflict occurs when there are disagreements or differences in goals, thoughts, or emotions among people and groups.

  • Encourage team members and stakeholders to express their views and concerns
  • Balance the needs of the task, the team and individuals
  • Help the team learn to recognise and deal with conflict


Tip 8: Proactively identify and manage risks

Nothing is inevitable until it happens.”  A. J. P. Taylor

A person’s attitude to uncertainty affects how they respond to situations. It also affects whether they see things as risky and what they choose to do about it.

  • Consider how you and the team feel about uncertainty and risk
  • What is the wider organisation’s attitude to risk?
  • What beliefs, assumptions and biases could be getting in the way of how risks are handled?


Tip 9: Deal with issues as they occur

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.“  Robertson Davies

During any project, problems and obstacles will always arise. Resolving and managing problems and issues in a timely way is critical for project success.

  • Regularly set aside time to openly discuss issues
  • Encourage team members and stakeholders to express their views and concerns
  • Escalate and involve the right people in helping to resolve problems


The lessons of the Titanic are startlingly relevant for business today, and invaluable for project managers and change managers.

What sank the Titanic? It wasn’t just an iceberg, it was people. Leaders whom no one dared challenge, employees unable to communicate, organisations lulled into a false sense of security.

Therefore, organisations need to create an open, safe environment where people feel comfortable raising issues and challenging assumptions.

Why not have Ranjit Sidhu present further project management tips and share some of the insights from her Titanic Leadership book with your team?

Project management tipsproject leadership