If your organization is not good at project management, you’re putting too much at risk in terms of ultimately delivering on strategy
Have you ever wondered “why is project management important?”
If you’ve never worked with a project manager before, it can be tempting to skip the expense in favour of managing a project yourself. After all, project management can be a huge financial investment, so why not we do it for you?
A good project manager is the glue that holds a project together and ensures that quality and objectives are met on time and on budget. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), organizations that underestimate project management report an average of 50% more projects that fail outright.
Clearly, we need a Project Manager. Someone has to step in to establish the ground rules, keep everyone honest and make sure that we’re not forgetting anything important. Someone has to facilitate communication between all parties.
Failed projects can quickly derail and delay your initiatives or even stunt the growth of the business.
Project management is much more than just tracking deadlines and setting budgets. A good project manager controls a project from start to finish, making sure initiatives and goals are strategically aligned, the project has stakeholder support, and that everyone is on the same page.
What is project management?
To understand why project management is important, we must first define what project management is.
PMI defines project management as “the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements”. A basic project management lifecycle includes four phases:
Project management aims at planning and managing a project to successfully meet its listed goals and deliverables. This includes identifying and managing risks, careful resource management, smart budgeting and clear communication between multiple teams and stakeholders.
Why Project Manager is Important today?
Projects today are often complex and involve multiple stakeholders, leading the project manager’s initiative and keeping everyone on the same page is critical to project success.
In fact, PMI found that organizations using any type of project management method were able to meet budget, stay on time and meet scope, quality standards and expected benefits.
Still have some doubts?
Here are six major points why you should use project management.
1. Project planning
The importance of project planning cannot be overstated. Too often, organizations overestimate how quickly they can get deliverables, underestimate costs, or both—a recipe for failure.
A good project manager considers the big picture and sets realistic and achievable goals, budgets and timelines. Without careful management, a project can quickly derail before it even starts.
To set realistic goals, budgets and deadlines, the project manager communicates with various stakeholders to understand the strategic priorities and business objectives of the initiative. Based on his research, the project manager then outlines a project plan that balances those priorities within the constraints of time and budget. This process includes cost estimation, resource management and risk assessment.
2. Clear focus and objectives
The most common reason for project failure in 2017 was the lack of clear goals. Project managers help organizations improve their priorities and define their project objectives.
When project management is left to the team, the scope and objectives can easily become entangled. Ambiguous focus can result in narrower scope, missed deadlines, and higher costs.
Also, without a project manager to oversee project plans and task breakdowns, many teams may not notice potential risk factors as they arise. If they don’t address the developing project risks, the team may prioritize the wrong tasks.
A good project manager keeps an eye on all these factors so that the team can focus on the right tasks at the right time and adapt as needed.
3. Strategic alignment
One of the most important reasons to use project management is to align projects with business strategy. “If your organization isn’t good at project management, you’re putting yourself at too much risk in terms of ultimately arriving at a strategy,” warns PMI President and CEO Mark Langley.
In other words, project management is the driver of organizational strategy. So if you’re not applying it to your initiatives, you’re missing out on a significant opportunity to grow.
As project managers oversee the planning and execution of a project, they help ensure the project’s overall goals and its subsequent tasks and milestones all align with the organization’s strategy. Strategic alignment at every level of the project keeps each stakeholder on the same page and ensures your initiatives drive the organization forward.
4. Managed process
Project management is a proactive process that helps right people to do right work at the right time. Without a defined project management methodology, many teams work reactively—handling issues—rather than actively planning for known risks and setting project goals and parameters from the start.
Project managers help teams break down projects into more manageable pieces. By breaking the project down into a clear process of assigned tasks, milestones and deadlines, project managers can direct their teams more efficiently and respond to issues with greater agility.
5. Quality control
Quality control is an essential component of project management. Your project can meet all the parameters of time and budget, but if the quality standards are not met, the project will be considered as a failure.
Unfortunately, this is a very easy trap to fall into. There is a lot of pressure on teams to complete a project on time and on budget. And this can lead to hasty work and poor execution.
That’s where project managers come in. Not only do they manage deadlines and objectives, but they also keep an eye on how well project tasks are executed. Project managers help outline deliverables and define their quality standards so that everyone knows what their goal is.
6. Reduced costs
In 2018, according to PMI, 9.9% of every dollar invested was wasted due to poor project performance—that’s $99 million for every $1 billion invested.
Project management reduces project costs by improving efficiency, mitigating risks, and optimizing resources. Even with the added cost of investing in a project manager, organizations stand to gain much more.