The 5 Cs of Project Management

If you ask any overworked and overwhelmed project manager, they might tell you the 5 Cs of their field are:

1. Communication breakdowns

2. Calendar invites

3. Can’t find that spreadsheet

4. Catchup meetings

5. And finally: “Let’s circle back on this”

Just seeing those words together can get the heart racing. But let’s contemplate calmly for a moment. Yes, project managers have a lot on their plates. However, letters can help. In fact, we’ve already broken down the many P, M, I, and O acronyms of project management. But now it’s time to hone on the 5 Cs — the real ones, that is. 

By understanding these elements of any project, managers can prepare themselves to remain focused on what’s most important — even as the meetings keep piling up — and stay on track towards their goals.

Let’s take a look.

1. Complexity

First, understand how complex your project is expected to be from the start. How many stakeholders and collaborators are involved? What are the KPIs and OKRs? What’s the scope: Are the responsibilities spread across teams and departments? Do any participants need to be onboarded or updated on certain processes and tools?

By gauging the complexity, you can better allocate your resources and prepare for potential risks before they arise.

2. Criticality

Next, how important is this project to the company’s stakeholders and business goals? How many people are involved and who will be impacted by the project’s progress and outcome? Also, if other projects emerge, should this one take precedence? Why or why not?

If you’re managing multiple projects at once, it’s crucial to rank those projects by priority, so you always know where to focus your attention.

3. Compliance

As most managers know, projects don’t exist in a vacuum. They often must adhere to sets of standards, constraints, and compliance regulations. Depending on how prepared you are, these external forces can help streamline or slow down your project timelines. 

So understand your project’s compliance needs ahead of time, otherwise you risk facing roadblocks and even potential legal issues.

4. Culture

How do the values and goals of your organization impact the project and its participants? Will they inform how you communicate with stakeholders, structure your workflow, foster collaboration, or provide progress reports? On the other hand, will the project itself affect company culture at all? Will anyone’s roles or functions need to shift to complete the project, for example?

These aren’t simple questions at all, but by taking time to address them, you can help stakeholders and collaborators feel more secure in their project roles.

5. Compassion

This one is particularly important. It’s easy to get caught up tracking numbers and making reports, but you shouldn’t lose sight of the humans behind that data — including people working on the project and those who will be impacted by it.

What are your team members’ motivations behind pursuing and completing this project? Are there any current events or company changes that might affect project scheduling or progress? What strategies can you use to keep team members motivated, celebrate their successes, and gather feedback along the way?

With an adaptive project portfolio management platform, you can achieve all of these Cs and then some. In fact, we’ll throw in a few others like clarity, collaboration, and cross-portfolio visibility. By consistently assessing these values, you can manage your projects with ease and keep communication flowing across the organization.
Learn more about adaptive project portfolio management with Proggio.