Do you know that 80 percent of executives believed that having Project Management as a core competency helped them remain competitive during the recession? Project Management Institute (PMI) defines Project Management as “the use of specific knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to deliver something of value to people.” But what does that mean for your growing business?
While many people question the importance of Project Management and the value it adds, the truth is that Project Management allows teams to navigate the uncertainties of a project, gets everyone on the same page, and creates a vision for the successful implementation of projects. However, 70% of the projects started fail as most of these projects are subjected to unrealistic planning, poor prioritization, and inefficient resource allocation, which accounts for this startling statistic.
Project Management lets you manage resources, tasks, and accountability efficiently while maintaining project constraints. It aids in streamlining project activities, improving project performance, and reducing risks. This blog discusses the importance of Project Management and the critical Project Management skills needed in a growing business.
Why is Project Management Important?
It is impossible to overstate how crucial Project Management is to businesses. When done correctly, it improves efficiency, helps teams to concentrate on important work without worrying about tasks going off track, and delivers initiatives on time and with the utmost quality. It also allows team members to see how their efforts aid in fulfilling their company objectives. If you are still unsure about the importance of Project Management, here are a few things to consider:
Every organization has some strategic goals, and the projects they undertake help them advance in that direction. Project Management helps you define metrics to align projects with strategy and ensures that the projects fit well within the organization’s broader goals. Whether identifying a business case, determining the return on investment (ROI), or setting up metrics for measuring success, Project Management ensures that the right thing with real value is delivered.
Clearly Defined Objectives
Without Project Management, projects lack focus and have unclear objectives. By using a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) to divide the work into smaller portions, project managers aid in the timely completion of tasks. This helps teams focus on their goals and direct their efforts towards completing smaller tasks that ultimately lead to achieving the broader project goals.
Project Management ensures that realistic expectations are set about what can be delivered, when, and for how much cost. A lack of a project plan gives birth to incorrect budget estimates and over-ambitious project timelines. With the help of Project Management, you can create a realistic schedule by balancing the stakeholder expectations and the resources you have available.
Project Management ensures accurate tracking and reporting of project progress. Continuous project oversight ensures that the project execution is in line with the project plan and enables the project managers to raise flags in case of a deviation from the intended course of action. Good project managers share regular status reports with the team as part of the stakeholder management plan.
Project Management guarantees that the quality of deliverables continually meets expectations. Stringent timelines bind projects, and teams are under pressure to deliver on time. In the pursuit of timely delivery, the quality of the deliverables might get compromised. A good project manager ensures that the output is quality tested at every stage and that the project gets delivered on time with the utmost quality.
Project Management enables teams to learn from past failures and successes. A good practice is to conduct a retrospective or post-project review to consider what worked, what did not, and what needs to be done differently for the next project. Documenting the lessons learned acts as a record of “do’s and don’ts” going forward, preventing the organization from making the same mistakes twice.
Critical Project Management Skills for Growing Businesses
Harnessing the potential of Project Management happens over time, and it goes beyond the project team. Organizations must actively work to shape mature Project Management practices and integrate them across all levels of the organization. Some crucial Project Management skills are:
Businesses often use the terms leadership and management interchangeably. While management focuses on managing complexity, leadership focuses on setting the vision and bringing order to projects and initiatives. Leaders are innovators who motivate and inspire others. They get project team members and other stakeholders to collaborate and cooperate, working towards a common goal. Being a better leader will unquestionably make you a better project manager.
Communication is one of the most crucial Project Management skills. Project managers have many roles and responsibilities, most important, however, is coordinating the efforts of everyone involved in a project so that goals are achieved. From delegating responsibility to collaborating with stakeholders and coordinating between cross-functional teams, a project manager enables open communication. Good communication is also integral to good Leadership. Without communication, efforts might get duplicated, goals and milestones missed, and resources misallocated.
Influential People Management
People management lies at the heart of Project Management. Project managers must influence others effectively by managing their emotions, building trust, and encouraging them to do their best. A project manager might not have direct authority over others, so they must use their relationship-building skills to gain confidence and influence others. The ability to influence could be the difference between a successful project and an unsuccessful one.
Conflict is inevitable in projects and can arise due to a clash of interests, different working and communication styles, changes in the scope of work, etc. A study suggests that project managers spend more than 15% of their time resolving conflicts. Therefore, the art of conflict management is essential for project managers.
Task management means breaking down a project into smaller tasks, allocating those tasks to team members based on their skill sets, managing those tasks, and monitoring the progress. Task management gives teams actionable insights and helps them prioritize. This skill is essential for keeping work on track and ensuring deadlines are met on time, improving team morale and productivity. Task management requires teams to constantly update their tasks and communicate progress, thereby increasing transparency.
Every complex project is susceptible to risks, ranging from a key team member departing to a lack of a skill set within the project team. An inherent skill that a project manager must possess is foreseeing and planning for risks.
Risk management focuses on identifying and creating mitigation plans for any potential risks. Project managers might get tempted to sweep any potential risks under the rug, but creating a process to identify, manage, and mitigate the risk prevents it from turning into an issue.
Cost management is the process of estimating, allocating, and controlling project costs. Projects require resources that generate costs. A project manager’s key responsibility is to estimate the cost associated with each aspect of the project using one of the estimation techniques, create a budget that is in line with the cost estimate, and control cost by keeping track of actual vs. expected expenditure. Cost management helps a project manager reduce the chances of a budget overrun.
Resource management, planning, organizing, managing, and measuring work. It helps to plan, allocate, and schedule the company resources as efficiently as possible. Simply put, project resource management entails making the best possible use of your resources. It ensures that all the components of your projects run smoothly and effectively. With resource management, you can avoid unforeseen problems, prevent burnout, and build transparency about the bandwidth.
With Project Management, teams are under a reduced risk of chaotic management, imprecise goals, lack of resources, improper planning, low-quality project deliverables, projects that run over budget, and are delivered late. The success of projects depends on excellent Project Management, which is why it counts. Project Management gives rise to happy, motivated teams that put in their best efforts as they believe their work matters. At iQuasar, we have a well-defined project management philosophy and we have developed a project canvas template to conceptualize and execute projects. We will be happy to help you, if you need any assistance on your own project management journey.