Changes, challenges, and problems are just some of the compelling reasons why businesses and organizations are being prodded to innovate and explore doing different kind of projects. Some also do it as a way to expand and grow, while for others, it is the means to grab the opportunities along the way. There are also businesses that are project-based by nature, such as construction companies. While there are many reasons for innovation and projects to take place, both are essential undertakings for both businesses and organization alike in terms of a number of benefits whether in profits, reputation building, or experience alike.
Every project initiated comes with different reasons and unique requirements. The way to deal one depends on a number of considerations too, such as the nature of the problem, the environment where the project will be staged, the industry you are operating in, and the number of people who will be taking part of it. There are also considerations with budget and resources to use, the level of support it will receive, and the time frame that it is given. Through all of these, there is a need for a project manager and a project management system that will serve as the leader and backbone in order to effectively guide, manage, and lead the team towards the success of the project.
What Is Project Management?
Basically, a project is unique from the usual activities that a business or organization undergoes everyday. For a project not to interfere with a typical business routine, it should have proper management and control. Having a project management system also places a single command of all processes, resource allocation, and control under the single command of a project manager. The success of the project management strategies is greatly influenced by the skills, knowledge, and experience of the project manager.
Most projects fail mainly because of poor management. Other factors include the following:
- Inexperience in proper project management,
- Unreliable resources and estimates,
- Unclear objectives,
- Inadequate business support,
- Lack of attention to outside influences like human intervention,
- Poor communication, and
- Failure to involve all concerned parties in important decision making.
Project management is essential in building the foundation of success in any endeavor. It serves as a road map that directs the team members with their individual tasks in order to be valuable contributors to the project. For the project manager, a project management system serves as his guide to be better in leading the team and in overseeing the process involved from start to finish.
Grasping the basic principles of project management starts with knowing its life cycle:
- Initiation – includes the statement of the problem and its impact or importance to the organization or business.
- Planning – pertains to knowing the scope of work, the time table to follow, the resources to utilize, and the risk management system to follow.
- Execution – the actual rendering of individual and collaborative tasks. A project manager must oversee every simultaneous and sequential activities involved.
- Control – the project manager must constantly assess the performance of all staff and processes involved in the project against an established measurable criteria.
- Closing – turn over all pertinent documentation and make proper reporting to the stakeholders about the whole project undertaking.
According to Price water house Coopers, 97% of organizations are believers of project management as an important and critical aspect of success in business performance. Project management is not as simple as it appears. While a project manager is called for leadership, the team members are then called for collaboration and teamwork. For the team members, doing their individual tasks according to their skill sets make them effective contributors to the success of the project. Having a sense of responsibility and accountability to the group will enable them to share a positive influence over other team members. Overall, project management is a win–win method for the project manager, the team members, the stakeholders, the organization, and the clients as well.
Techniques in Project Management
Project management tools and techniques are incorporated within how each phase should be executed. When deploying such, the project can experience the following:
- Effective “merging” of organization and stakeholders’ objectives and best interests while incorporating it within the formulated project management’s structure in order to achieve a common set of goals.
- Focus on meeting the client’s needs and overall satisfaction.
- Being able to build solid and high performing project teams.
- Working beyond functional limitations and becoming more creative with dealing with innovations or solutions.
- Able to develop an appropriate work breakdown structure.
- Come up with a realistic estimate about the project costs and its time to complete.
- Meeting and delivering the project output within the designated time.
- Able to accurately compute the risks involved in a project and formulate a counter contingency plan in order to minimize negative impact.
- Establishing a reliable control and management system.
Project Management Tools
Different types of projects may have differing requirements and tools to use as well. As modern project management evolved, technology has also been utilized, in order for mundane and time-consuming tasks to be addressed, making the project manager and his team to become more efficient in doing their core tasks. Traditional project management tools remain effective until today and was made even more effective because of technology.
Here are the basic project management tools that modern project managers still use today. The traditional ones came from Research Gate and has been incorporated with a brief description of the technology based on what we called project management software.
- Risk Management
There are certain project conditions where uncertainties are obvious, and anticipating these specific occurrences will help the project manager to adjust its plans accordingly. Having a flexible project management plan will be able to accommodate some risk planning, which can minimize, if not completely eliminate, the negative impact of these risks and uncertainties. It can also enable a project manager to distinguish the uncontrollable from the controllable and apply the necessary countermeasures in order to gain control or make it more manageable.
It is important to have an upfront budget planning and control procedures to make sure that the project is well supported until its completion.
- Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
This is a method or a tool that helps project managers dissect major tasks into smaller units of tasks, which can make it more manageable to accomplish. It details all activities, which aids in better costing, scheduling, and resource planning. Cost Breakdown Structure or CBS is another related aspect, which itemizes and quantifies all resources used up for the project, in order to properly assess each task and its financial impact to the project overall.
- Gantt Charts
This is s traditional scheduling and time management tool used in organizations but remain to be popular and effective up to this day. It makes use of a horizontal bar chart where a project manager may record real time task performance and measure it against the designated schedule and performance level.
- Critical Path Analysis (CPA)
When a project is more complex and its implementation is for long term, a Gantt chart might not be effective anymore. This is when the critical path analysis is used instead, wherein it can display a more logical and sequential timing of activities.
- Resource Histograms
A resource histogram is a kind of bar chart where the number of resources assigned to the project is plotted against time. This is a valuable tool for project coordination and resource planning.
These refer to significant events or phase reached within the execution of the project, which is a vital aspect to consider when evaluating the performance of the project in relation to its distance to completion.
This is a formalized way of updating authorities and stakeholders with the on goings and progress of the project. In some instances, especially with larger projects, it is important to give out specific details and milestones in order to make them informed and make some pertinent feed backs and suggestions alongside.
- Project Management Software
This is a product of technology wherein it centralizes the main aspects and all the people involved in the project in one web-based platform. A task management software is able to use technology in automating repetitive tasks, in order to free up more time, which can be allocated to other important tasks in the project. It can also centralize the communication system to be utilized within the team and to the organization and to its partners too. This kind of task management tool also enables reporting to be more detailed and accurate, which uses analytics in measuring the key performance indicators of the project, and return a high valuable report based on facts.
The best project management tools will be able to complement your project manager’s skills, knowledge, and experience when it comes to handling different types of projects. To gain better insight about a host of benefits and disadvantages of using a tool for project management, see CrowdReviews.com’s project management tool reviews.
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