The Holistic Approach to Project Management, Explained

13 March 2018
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How many project managers have been told to take the holistic approach when dealing with a task? Holistic medicine refers to treating the whole person while taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease. In project management, it means you examine the brunt of the issue, not just the individual tasks that make up the project. Let’s say a client has 4 projects in play with your PMO, but that client also needs to upgrade their network and database to a new version. The holistic approach means means there is one person designated to see the big picture.

This means that every project essentially gets a QB who has a bird’s eye view at what’s happening with the projects, where potential bottlenecks can pop up, and what changes need to be made. This is not to be confused with the Portfolio Manager, who is in an even more specialized role. The holistic approach is cheaper for the client, and that makes it more popular in an ecosystem when everyone is aiming to do more life less. This way of working complicates things if it’s not done with full transparency, since it’s the unknown information that could potentially derails everything. The holistic approach has the QB knowing everything, constantly in communication with everyone involved to make sure nothing is out of their scope.

If you know everything that needs to be done, you can create a realistic plan using the holistic approach. But if you don’t know every single element, your plan could potentially be subject to constant delays, push-backs, and an ever-growing cost.

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