Why Project Management Matters More Than You Think
Project management is an extremely powerful discipline and skill-set that can make significant improvements to a business. It achieves this through creating new products and services, improving how businesses do things and reducing the possible impact of future changes.
For a project manager to consistently deliver high-quality projects on time, on budget and on schedule, there are a number of objectives and principles that they need to follow. In this article we explore the main areas and objectives in project management and what project managers need to do to achieve them.
The main objectives of project management
The main objectives and principles behind good project management are as follows:
- Agree exactly what a project is meant to do and what it is meant to deliver.
- Agree the scope, timescales, cost and quality of a project.
- Maintain a schedule and project plan.
- Deliver the agreed outcomes of the project to the right scope, timescales, cost and quality.
- Provide communications, reports and progress updates throughout the lifecycle of the project.
- Manage risks, issues and dependencies.
- Make sure that the business gets the outcome that it wants from the project.
- Manage policies, processes, tools, frameworks, techniques, people and relationships to a successful project outcome.
- Minimize any impact on normal business operations.
We will explore what is involved in each of these areas below.
Agree exactly what a project is meant to do and what it is meant to deliver
- Understand the business requirements of a project.
- Understand the benefits of delivering a project in terms of possible future profits, risk reduction or process improvement.
- Establish and agree exactly what a project is going to accomplish.
- Get sign-off from the business and other key stakeholders on what the project is going to do.
Agree the scope, timescales, cost and quality of a project
- Establish exactly what is and is not in scope of the project.
- Agree up-front and ongoing resource costs and budgets.
- Understand exactly when the project is going to deliver its key milestones.
- Measure how the project is going to achieve quality by meeting business requirements.
- Achieve sign-off of cost, scope, budget and quality from the business and other key stakeholders.
Maintain a schedule and project plan
- Establish and agree a detailed project plan of the tasks, actions and other activities required to deliver the project.
- Get realistic milestones in place to track delivery of the project to desired outcomes.
- Track ongoing progress against the project plan and schedule.
Deliver the agreed outcomes of the project to the right scope, timescales, cost and quality
- Allocate and track tasks, actions and activities from inception through to completion.
- Manage any risks or issues with scope, cost, quality or timescales and reduce the impact of any problems.
- Manage relationships to ensure that all individuals, teams and areas know what they need to do, when they need to do it and expected outcomes.
Provide communications, reports and progress updates throughout the lifecycle of the project
- Create and distribute reports on project performance to all relevant parties.
- Establish audiences, communications channels and messages to keep relevant areas informed of what the project is doing.
- Track and manage progress of the project against the scope, cost, quality and timescales previously agreed and alert relevant areas if these are likely to be breached.
Manage risks, issues and dependencies
- Create and maintain a risks, issues and dependencies log that tracks the likelihood, impact and mitigating actions of risks, issues or dependencies.
- Put plans and mitigating actions in place to reduce or prevent any adverse impact on the project.
- Report on any risks, issues or dependencies that threaten the successful completion of the project.
Make sure that the business gets the outcome that it wants from the project
- Track project delivery and benefits against the original business case.
- Get sign-off from business and other stakeholders at the key stages of the project.
- Ensure that the project delivers to business needs.
Manage policies, processes, tools, frameworks, techniques, people and relationships to a successful project outcome
- Establish and manage effective project policies and processes.
- Use the right frameworks, tools and techniques to deliver on time, on budget and on scope.
- Manage relationships, individuals and teams to get support for project delivery.
Minimize any impact on normal business operations
- Deliver the project without impacting on ‘business-as-usual’ operations.
- Provide training and support as necessary for the project to deliver successfully.
If a project manager can achieve these principles and objectives, they will be able to reliably and consistently deliver high-quality projects to business expectations, keep everyone happy and generate improved business success as a result.
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