The Importance of Project Management
Great project management means much more than delivering a project on time, within budget and scope. It unites clients and teams, creates a vision for success and gets everyone focused on what is needed to stay on track for success. When projects are managed properly, there’s a positive impact that reverberates beyond the project’s delivery.
1. Strategic Alignment
Project management ensures what is being delivered is right, and will deliver real value.
Every client has strategic goals and the projects done for them advance those goals which are closely aligned with the strategic goals of the business.
Project management brings leadership and direction to projects.
Not only does it provide leadership, it also provides vision, motivation, removes roadblocks, coaches and inspires the team to do their best work.
It also ensures clear lines of accountability.
3. Clear Focus & Objectives
Project management ensures there’s a proper plan for executing strategic goals.
Breaking a project up into smaller chunks of work enables teams to remain focused on clear objectives, gear their efforts towards the ultimate goal through the completion of smaller steps and to quickly identify risks, since risk management is important in project management. Often a project’s goals have to change in line with a materializing risk.
Project management enables the team to focus, and when necessary refocus, on their objectives.
4. Realistic Project Planning
Project management ensures proper expectations are set around what can be delivered, by when, and for how much.
Effective project managers should be able to negotiate reasonable and achievable deadlines and milestones across stakeholders, teams, and management. It enables the project manager to analyze and balance the available resources, with the required timeline, and develop a realistic schedule, bringing objectivity to the planning.
A clear process, with achievable deadlines, enables everyone within the project team to work within reasonable bounds and not unreasonable expectations.
5. Quality Control
Project management ensures that not only does a project have the resources to deliver on time, but also that the output is quality tested at every stage.
Good project management demands gated phases where teams can assess the output for quality, applicability, and ROI. Project management is of key importance to Quality Assurance because it allows for a staggered and phased process, creating time for teams to examine and test their outputs at every step along the way.
6. Risk Management
Project management ensures risks are properly managed and mitigated against to avoid becoming an issue.
Risk management is critical to project success. A robust process around the identification, management and mitigation of risk is what helps prevent risks from becoming issues.
All potential risks to the project are analyzed and quantified, a mitigation plan against them is created, as well as a contingency plan should any of them materialize.
Good project management matters because projects never go as planned. How change is dealt with and plans adapted are key to delivering projects successfully.
7. Orderly Process
Project management ensures the right people do the right things, at the right time. It ensures proper project process is followed throughout the project lifecycle.
Proper process helps to clarify roles, streamline processes and inputs, anticipate risks and creates the checks and balances to ensure the project is continually aligned with the overall strategy.
8. Continuous Oversight
Project management ensures a project’s progress is tracked and reported properly.
A project tracked properly against the original plan is critical to ensuring that a project stays on course.
Recording milestones, risks, assumptions, issues and dependencies and any outputs of the project as it proceeds helps clients gain the trust of other stakeholders in their organization, giving them easy oversight of a project’s progress.
9. Subject Matter Expertise
Project management keeps the team focused on the overarching vision and brings everyone together, forcing the right compromises to make the project a success.
Project managers know everything about the work that their teams execute; the platforms and systems used, the possibilities and limitations, and the kinds of issues that typically occur.
In short, they are the hub of communication on a project, ensuring that as the project flows between different teams and phases of work, nothing gets forgotten about or overlooked.
10. Managing and Learning from Success and Failure
Project management learns from the successes and failures of the past.
Project managers use retrospectives or post-project reviews to consider what went well, what didn’t go so well and what should be done differently for the next project.
Without this learning, teams will often keep making the same mistakes.
These retrospectives are great documents to use at a project kickoff meeting.
Great project management matters because it delivers success.
Project management creates and enables happy, motivated teams who know their work matters.
Project management enabled team ensures the right stuff is delivered; stuff that delivers real return on investment and that makes happy clients.
Author: Patrick Landry from Bloomfield Kooper