Learn All About The One Page Project Manager

Hi there! You know, there’s a neat framework out there for project managers called The One Page Project Manager, devised by Clark A. Campbell. I came across this tool several years ago and was curious about how it worked.

In this article, I want to help you learn all about The One Page Project Manager, so you can assess if it makes sense for you.

The One Page Project Manager is essentially a toolkit that is literally - one page long. What it does is that it forces focus on the project manager - to communicate in a sufficient and yet efficient way.

It proposes that EVERYTHING about a project’s status and progress can be captured in one page.

I used to think that many of our projects were laden by templates and we just spent so much time trying to create spreadsheets and spreadsheets to track changes, etc. It literally buries you alive as a PM!

Hence, when I discovered the One Page Project Manager, it was a breath of fresh air.

The One Page Project Manager (OPPM) compels you to communicate just the right balance of too much and too little - and I like that.

all about the one page project manager 1 The One Page Project Manage

Let’s learn more about the salient features of OPPM here.

1. Focus On The Essential

As I mentioned, one of the key tenets of the One Page Project Manager is that it focuses on the essentials. If you ask your stakeholders, you’ll realize they generally not interested in a project’s mechanics.

They just want to know how the project is progressing against the planned schedule. What tasks are outstanding, what’s the actual incurred cost versus budgeted. And perhaps some information on quality and risk deliverables.

And that’s it! There’s no need to boil the ocean and report reams of information about project status.

I find this to be particularly true in Project Steering Committee sessions. Senior management have little patience for project managers who go into too much project statistics and detail without highlighting the key messages about the project.

2. Benefits Of The One Page Project Manager

Ok, so we now know the One Page Project Manager is great for focusing on a project’s essentials. Let’s look at some of its benefits.

Firstly, I think the OPPOM is very accessible. I suggest you just pick up a copy of the book by Clark A. Campbell and have a read. The book and website contains free templates and you can get an Excel based copy of the One Page to use.

Next, the OPPM is adaptable - you see, you can customize it to your project’s needs. I once used it for a small project for delivering a hospital system and I found I could quite easily fine tune some of the metrics shown on it.

Given that it’s only one page, anybody can do that fine tuning. Compare that to traditional PM tools where you have to figure out tons of templates - and it just makes quite a bit of sense.

Also, the OPPM - being one page - is so concise and easy to maintain that you can quite readily distribute it to your team members, stakeholders and senior management.

If all the team members are aligned on the OPPM method, it helps a lot in terms of achieving common project understanding and excellence in execution.

3. Disadvantages of The One Page Project Manager

Now, one of the things you’ll want to take note of is this ... does the One Page Project Manager replace traditional PM templates like your issue log and task list, etc?

In my opinion, it SHOULD NOT.

The OPPM is well suited for high-level communication and is excellent in a Project Steering Committee situation ,or perhaps an update meeting. BUT it is not the tool for low-level, detailed management.

If you need to track one thousand tasks in the project plan, then you’re better off using a task list. If you need to track project issues, use an issue log or an online tool like BaseCamp.

I guess what I’m saying is that the OPPM is just one MORE tool you can use in projects. And it’s great for project status discussions.

However, I’d not throw away my detailed templates anytime soon.

4. Lessons From The One Page Project Manager

Another perspective regarding the One Page Project Manager - we can all learn some lessons from it. Even if we don’t apply the OPPM template to our projects, its philosophy is useful to learn.

For example, the OPPM advocates simplicity in project reporting - actuals versus budgeted - in terms of schedule, costs and tasks.

These principles are actually the key focus of any PM and should be always monitored throughout the project. I guess the OPPM helps remind us all of these basic PM principles - and from that perspective it's a valuable tool.

Wrapping Up ...

In summary, the One Page Project Manager is a great toolkit for managing and reporting on a project. If you’re a PM currently struggling with project reporting, do think about using the OPPM.

By focusing on key project metrics and information, you distill all the chaos into a single page and can use that to align the team.

And if many project managers use it in a company, it can be a way of ensuring consistency in project execution and reporting throughout the organization.

To deploy OPPM successfully, I’d suggest that you explain to stakeholders and senior management on the advantages of the tool before you actually deploy it in a project.

By the way, click here if you want to purchase a copy of the One Page Project Manager.

And that’s all I have for now. Until next time, here’s to project success!