Introduction to Project Management
Project management involves planning the allocation of resources and leading a team to achieve pre-set aims. The objective of project management is to use methods, skills, knowledge and tools to successfully complete a project within the deadline and budget. Project management is a transferable skill and is useful in a number of fields, from academic research to business planning.
One of the most important factors that affect the success of a project is coordination and teamwork. This is especially important when the project team consists of people from various departments, such as sales, HR, finance and so on. To ensure coordination, project management software is used. The project is broken down into tasks, which are assigned to the team members based on their competencies.
The Role of a Project Manager
A project manager is a person who is in charge of a particular project. Therefore, they have various responsibilities including:
- Creating a team of people to work on the project
- Breaking the project down into tasks
- Assigning tasks to different members of the team based on their strengths
- Organising meets to discuss the project, such as a meeting on how the project management process can be improved
- Ensuring the completion of tasks within the deadline
- Ensuring the completion of tasks within the budget and other resource limitations
Those who want to become project managers must acquire certain certifications and qualifications. However, you don’t need a degree in a particular subject. Project managers have degrees in subjects ranging from economics to engineering.
Moreover, project managers must also have certain soft skills to be successful in their job. The following are the most important soft skills:
- Adaptability- For example, if the budget has been reduced, they should be able to adapt to their new financial situation.
- Attention to detail- Every detail makes a difference. This skill is especially important for projects that have multiple stakeholders.
- Communication skills- They must ensure that everyone in the team is clear on the bigger picture as well as their tasks. They must also communicate any changes, such as a change to the budget, to the team in a timely manner.
Benefits of Project Management
Project management allows a company to complete its project in an organised manner, thereby improving its efficiency, optimising the use of resources, lowering risk and cutting costs.
For a business, successful project management can also improve customer satisfaction. This is especially true of companies that manage the work of clients. Project management allows them to complete the task in time and within the agreed budget, resulting in client satisfaction and loyalty. This builds the company’s reputation, which brings them more clients.
Project management also promotes the professional development of employees as it allows them to develop crucial skills such as using project management software and teamwork.
Project management also allows a company to factor in risk assessment into its project. For example, if a company is working on a project to launch satellites into orbit, it can first calculate the risk of failure and plan its resource utilization in a way that minimizes this risk.
Most importantly, planning is at the crux of project management. Effective planning allows the team to complete the project to the best of its ability and expectations (or clients’ expectations). It allows the company to plan for both the short run and the long run.
Project Management in Depth
Resources are necessary for all projects. These resources can be intangible resources such as time and workforce, or physical ones like equipment and materials. Resources must be always taken into consideration when planning a project. For example, if a company’s project goal is to manufacture a specific quantity of products every month, it must have enough high-quality resources. When the resources are insufficient, they must plan around the limiting factors.
In a project, some tasks must be completed before others. Taking the example of a manufacturing company, resource extraction must be completed before resource processing. Other than the extraction of raw materials, the company must also find other resources for as equipment of the workforce.
Meeting deadlines is also important for the successful completion of a project. This requires good timekeeping skills on the part of the project manager as well as other team members. Moreover, it is also necessary to make sure that the budget of the project isn’t exhausted before the expected results are shown. One of the worst things that can happen for a project is running out of resources such as raw materials.
The Phases of Project Management
Professional project management requires a disciplined approach. Although each project is different, there are various principles of project management that must be used to maximize the chances of success.
The evaluation of the project idea always comes first. The planning of the project can only begin once the project idea has been determined to be realistic and feasible.
After evaluation comes the planning stage. Planning should always be done during the initial phase and all involved parties must be satisfied with the proposal. This is important to avoid conflicts during the later phases of the project.
The roadmap must be finalized during the planning phase. All costs should be accounted for and a clear list of objectives must be established.
The company must also plan the extraction of resources and answer questions such as:
- What are the resources necessary for this project?
- How can we obtain these resources? For example, which suppliers should we contact?
- (For employees) Do we have a good enough workforce for this project, or should we contract some of the work to third parties (such as freelancers)?
In order to create a clear image of the roadmap, all relevant parties, including internal and external stakeholders, must come together and discuss the project. It’s necessary to define dates for each important goal.
In this phase, all members of the team are assigned tasks and informed about the details of the project. During this phase, all resources will be distributed among the various teams and team members, ensuring that everything goes as planned.
While the project is in execution, the progress of the project and the efficiency of the workforce will be analyzed. This is when the adjustments related to all resources are made. Everything must proceed according to plan, always keeping in mind the decided deadlines. Meetings to review the status of the project and of the budget can be organized on a regular basis.
In the final phase, or conclusion phase, the products will be delivered but before that, all participants of the project must come together and review the results. This is when the outcome of the project in its current form is thoroughly analyzed. It’s an important task that helps to identify areas of the project that can be improved. This way it’s possible to prevent future mistakes and improve efficiency.