Read the articles on Fortune 100 companies and you’ll see common themes revolving around heroes in leadership, innovation, technology, branding, design and culture. However, to bring all of these together to deliver that meaningful product or service to people requires this “hero” behind-the-scenes: the project manager.
“Projects are often viewed as being fundamentally rooted in technology. This is because most projects are technical. Unfortunately, this orientation toward technology has obscured the true purpose of projects. The truth is that projects are all about business – not technology. The fundamental objective for a project is to achieve a business result, such as improving effectiveness, increasing sales, or making operations more efficient. No matter what that underlying cause, the ultimate purpose of a project is very simple: to make money or to save money.”
Brief Case Books – Project Management, by Gary R. Heerkens, PMP
Driven by the need to change, most businesses today are placing more emphasis on project-related rather than functional work. Repetitive functions, like payroll, bookkeeping, data entry and IT support, are being outsourced so that employees can devote more time to projects that add real value.
These can range from ongoing process improvement projects to short-term projects such as competitive analysis. But in order to run effectively, whatever its level of depth or duration, a project needs to be based on a clear understanding of the driving objectives and a sound framework.
Below we’ll outline nine fundamentals of project management – its superpowers:
1. Managing integration
Most projects comprise a wide variety of activities and it’s important to keep the whole thing moving forward together. This means integrating all the dynamics involved.
2. Managing scope
Projects need to have defined parameters or scope. This should be broken down and managed through a work breakdown structure (WBS).
3. Managing the schedule
Projects have definite beginning and end dates. To avoid delays it’s important to manage the time spent on each stage using a project schedule, which may need to be reviewed periodically.
4. Managing costs
Projects consume resources. In order to ensure it delivers value, the investment in it must be managed to ensure that the benefits derived exceed the amount spent.
5. Managing quality
Projects involve specific deliverables or work products. These deliverables need to meet project objectives and performance standards.
6. Managing human resources
Finding the right people to be involved, then managing their outputs and keeping them on schedule are a big part of managing a project.
7. Managing communication
Every project touches a lot of people, including participants, the managers overseeing it and external stakeholders who have an interest in its success. Effective communication between them is vital.
8. Managing risk
Projects are a journey of discovery and will often uncover customer needs and critical issues you had not previously been aware of. You may also encounter unexpected hitches, such as team members resigning, budgeted resources suddenly changing, new technologies being introduced or trouble within the wider organisation. There is a real need to properly identify the potential risks so they can be managed.
9. Managing procurement
Projects may require the services of outside vendors and contractors as well as equipment and supplies. It’s important to manage the procurement process throughout the project life-cycle.
Taking these fundamentals into consideration at the outset of any project and throughout is the hallmark of effective project management.
Through our years of delivering projects on-time and within budget for businesses across the globe, the Renoir team has garnered specialized tools to help businesses implement projects successfully. So if you feel your in-house project management capabilities need a boost or you simply need expert support due to a short time-frame, please get in touch. We’re here to help.