Why project management is important

Project management is necessary and very important for any organization. Wise organizations understand that to grow and improve, they must be very good at implementing change; without change, there is no growth.
Project management as a management discipline underpins much economic activity. In industries as diverse as pharmaceuticals, software and aerospace, projects drive business. Effective project management can be used to monitor the schedule and budget. By clearing defining the project scope and objectives, the team will be able to execute effectively. Project management must be used to ensure that the team is meeting their objectives, without letting scope creep to occur.

Project management is an essential element of all organisations in a variety of industries: engineering, construction, defence, almost any industry you can think of will require projects to be managed at some time. In today’s world, the age old and often underappreciated discipline of Project Management is a powerful tool that will help organisations navigate their way effectively through times of change and uncertainty. An organisation with a project culture is one that knows where it is going, is focused on results and has a professional team who knows what is expected of them.

The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast to business as usual (or operations), which are repetitive, permanent or semi-permanent functional work to produce products or services.

When it comes to any Project, organization, coordination of efforts, and accuracy do not just magically happen; someone is behind it – that person is the Project Manager. And they are utilizing a vast array of tried and true Project Management tools, techniques and methodologies, along with perpetual analysis and reporting to keep the train on the rails. There are many benefits that are associated with project management. One of them is cost effectiveness. Project management enables a manager to realize the resources within reach and how to utilize then according to demand.

Proper project management comes with better productivity. If an organization wants to retain its clientele and attract new ones, the quality of its products must be trustworthy. Therefore the organization needs to keep checking on quality so that the production is better in terms of quantity and quality. Consequently, the company earns a long-term good will and promises satisfaction to customers. Some plans related to project management utilize tools like 6 sigma in enhancing the processes and elimination of defects for better productivity.

Hope is not a strategy. Project management provides a framework to help accomplish goals. Every project is different, but all share their beginnings in an idea what can be and a potential for a good outcome if that idea is guided into reality. We’ve listed top reasons why project management is important regardless of the specifics of the organisation or the work it performs:

1. What gets measured gets done!

We all must have heard of the maxim. It is true that anything that is presented in a concrete way gains more attention even if it is a mundane task. Project Management approach helps organizations to quantify goals and make them traceable through time tracker and milestone tracker. It pulls people out of the vagueness that surrounds every mission which involves people.

2. Bring Speed And Efficiency

Project management approach helps reducing iterations in tasks and therefore brings in speed in completing any undertaking. The time tracker and milestone tracker features of PM tools bring a sense of urgency to the team members and force them to complete their tasks on time. Very subtly (but steadfastly), these features of PM tools generate self-discipline and self-driven approach in the employees. They will better stick to their schedules. Clearly this will lead to faster turnout of tasks completed on-time and improve the efficiency of the organization.

3. Capture Best Practices

A good sophisticated PM tool will help you capture the instances where the project faltered. It will enable you to document the ‘Do’s & Don’ts’ for the future and help you make a repository of the best practices for your organization. The knowledge can be passed on within the organization for improving performance. Documenting the best practices will guide new employees also to get acquainted with the processes faster and hence start performing per expectations within a shorter duration.

4. Reduce The Risks of Failure

The small businesses and startups have a high risk of failure because of reasons aplenty. But if the failure happens due to lack of collaboration or management, it will be very upsetting. As an entrepreneur you would not want vagueness and ambiguity in the team tip you to your downfall. It is surprising today to see organisations that don’t value the practice of project management, or even more startling is to come across companies that don’t use it. Yet, planning is an under-emphasized process because while we can learn how to execute through experience (for most of us, the bulk of our jobs is the “doing”), planning takes education in models, tools, and techniques. Most people simply don’t get training on how to plan. Management tends to place more value on “doing” because they can “see” you doing something.

Building something without a proper plan is like doing a task without really knowing how to do it or how to go about it. People put on the parts and pieces as they go along without having a clear idea of what their unified goal is or what it is they are trying to achieve altogether. Just like the different aspects of construction- planning, designing, financing, constructing and operating- each process requires the expertise of different professionals. However, though these individuals may possess the specialised skills and knowledge necessary in the completion of a large, complicated project, they do not clearly understand how their individual roles fit in the parts together.

Phases, or stages, are very important for project managers. By thinking in terms of phases, you can ensure that the deliverables produced at the end of each phase meet their purpose, and that project team members (or sub-teams) are properly prepared for the next phase. You identify the required deliverables for each phase from the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for it.

The WBS is drafted as part of your preparation activities, and then validated by the rest of the project team. At the end of each phase, someone signs off on the deliverables from that phase. (In your preparation phase, think through who needs to approve each deliverable. Approvers may include the project board, project sponsor, or key stakeholders.) Once the deliverables are approved, the phase is completed and the project team can pass through the “gate” to the next phase. This is why the term “stage/gate” is used so often in project management.

There are many methodologies available. Picking one specific project management methodology enables the delivery organization to tackle these projects comprehensively, systematically, and in an integrated manner for acceptable risk.
Strategically, the methodology is necessary to provide confidence to customers, partners and senior management that the delivery organization can manage large projects and deliver them profitably. The methodology enables the delivery organization to realistically assess the risks and difficulties that large projects encompass and put in place the strategies needed to minimize and overcome them.

The standard methodologies follow similar steps called the project lifecycle. These are:
– Discovery Phase – This is the phase where all aspects of the project are defined. The end-goals, what needs to be done, why and when.
– Planning Phase – This is where the tasks, deliverables and milestones (important dates and tasks to be completed) are mapped out, scheduled and assigned to resources (team members)
– Development Phase – This phase is where the tasks of the project will be carried out.
– Monitoring Phase – As the project is in development it will be monitored to ensure that it is progressing smoothly.
– Closing Phase – This is when the project is being finalised and brought to a close, as well as being evaluated to determine its success.

Not all projects will have every stage, as some projects will be terminated before reaching completion for example. Some projects, usually small ones, do not follow a structured planning and/or monitoring process. And some projects will go through steps 2, 3 and 4 multiple times. Each methodology may have their own terminology for these steps and other processes within them in order to differentiate from the subtle yet defining differences between them. Some of the popular methodologies are PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments), Waterfall, Agile software development and PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge).

Many companies have created their own methodologies for getting projects done. However, there is only one international organization that compiles best practices world-wide: The Project Management Institute (PMI). This entity solicits the input of experts around the globe to produce the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). This book contains the processes, tools, and techniques related to nine areas of knowledge (Integration, Time, Scope, Cost, Quality, Risk, Communication, Human Resources, and Procurement). PMI also has several certifications in Project Management that are recognized internationally. The most popular certification is the PMP® (Project Management Professional).

Without communication you cannot manage people or projects. If you rely on reports you will fail. You need to be able to talk to your resources and ask the right questions. By doing this you will ensure that not only do you find out what is going on, but in turn you can articulate the current situation. Without this you will find gossip and inuendo taking over and then will spend the rest of your time just firefighting. Remember the old saying, failing to plan is planning to fail!