Why Project Management?

There are many reasons why organizations should utilize good project management practices.  These include:

  • Improve project results
  • Improve communications
  • Lower costs - control spending
    • Tough economic times heightens the value of project management
  • Reduce risk
  • Improve customer and stakeholder satisfaction
  • Create a greater competitive advantage for your organization
  • Greater efficiencies
    • Streamline delivery process
    • Better resource utilization
  • Measurable results
    • Links strategy to results
    • Accomplish goals
  • Deliver business value

People who are concerned that project management is a lot of 'overhead' should note:  All projects are managed. The question is, how effectively they are managed? For instance:

  • Your project is going to face issues. Do you want to proactively resolve them or figure them out as you go?
  • Your project will face potential risks. Do you want to try to resolve them before they happen or wait until the problems arise?
  • Are you going to communicate proactively or deal with conflict and uncertainty caused by a lack of project information?
  • Are you going to manage scope or deal with cost and deadline overruns caused by doing more work than your budget covers?
  • Are you going to build quality into your process or fix problems later when they will be more costly to resolve?

A strong organization-wide commitment to project management leads to better results and long-term business value.  For more information see the PMI White Paper, “The Value of Project Management”

What is Project Management?

According to The Project Management Institute (PMI), a project is a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.  It has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources.  It is unique in that it is not a routine operation, but a specific set of operations designed to accomplish a singular goal. 

Project Management, then, is the application of knowledge, skills and techniques to execute projects effectively and efficiently. It’s a strategic competency for organizations, enabling them to tie project results to business goals — and thus, better compete in their markets. (see PMI, “What is Project Management”) 

The Benefits of Project Management

All levels of an organization can benefit from Project Management:

Executives

(See PMI White Paper “Executive Guide to Project Management”)

  • Customers depend on your organization's ability to deliver
  • Employees count on your leadership abilities
  • Many leading companies consider project management their best kept “secret” to success
  • Unless an organization can consistently deliver predictable results, time after time, it stands to lose a great deal more than money. Excellence in project management can guarantee the desired results 
  • Project management is about converting business strategy into business results
  • Provides a standardized process that can offer repeatable results can streamline your company
  • Do more with less
  • Greater focus on the right (strategic) things: Are you doing the right things and are you doing things right?
  • Informed decision making through metrics from project management
    • Traditionally, the only metrics reported to a client or stakeholders were metrics related to time and cost. Today, project management is being converted into metrics management. Clients and stakeholders must be able to make critical project-based decisions. Therefore, designing and using the right project management metrics allows executives and stakeholders to make informed decisions rather than guesses based upon partial or inaccurate information.
  • Greater collaboration
    • A project management methodology can help you overcome this challenge by creating a situation in which people are involved early, ideally right from the conceptual stage, and stay involved throughout the project. This allows your team to share thoughts and ideas on what’s happening and what the final outcome should look like.

“For CEOs, project management is a proven way to accomplish their strategies and is a low-risk means to an end.” - Mike O’Brochta, senior project manager at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Managers

  • Know what your staff is working on
  • Utilize staff skills more efficiently (Project Management completes projects more quickly)
  • Workloads are more predictable
    • One of the first benefits that should occur with good project management processes is that you will be more predictable. You will find that if you do a better job of planning you will better understand the work to be accomplished, and you will do a better job of estimating this work. Then, as the project progresses, you will do a better job of managing the work to hit your estimated schedule and budget. This predictablility is crucial when your company is making business decisions about which projects to execute. You should strive to achieve a level of predictability of 80%. In other words, 80% of your projects will finish on-time, in scope and within budget.
  • Better project results lead to better operations leads to higher quality products
  • Identify and resolve problems more quickly
  • Risk management - less risk, fewer issues
  • Better communication with clients
  • Stop "bad" projects quicker
  • Improve work environment
  • Establish accountability

Staff

  • More predictable workload
  • Better personal performance, better job satisfaction
  • Improved work environment
  • Reduced risks, reduced issues
  • Clearer communication of what is expected
  • Better products lead to better operations
  • Enhanced collaboration - your opinion counts