Project management is not just the act of managing a specific project itself, but it involves everything from designing a sound plan to fit the budget, making changes along the way, maintaining team cohesion and meeting deadlines on time, if not before time. Now, everybody tries to do all of it of course, but the difference between a well-prepared and adequately trained project manager and just someone who is trying to fit in the role is immense.
The Importance of Proper Project Management
The answer is really simple when you think about it, because by definition, a properly managed project is supposed to fit a budget, finish on time and meet the set goals, if not exceed them where possible.
Therefore, in order for a project to be completed successfully, it would be impossible to neglect the importance of proper project management. One simply cannot exist without the other, which is why the following points should be helpful to business leaders, decision makers and aspiring project managers alike.
Project Management Training: It’s an Imperative, Basic Requirement
Those looking to take up more responsibility as a project manager in the near future, or entrepreneurs trying to make sure that the employees can indeed complete the project for their client, should look towards project management training as a rudimentary requirement.
There are tons of training options to look into for anyone who is either looking to get project management training for themselves, or find courses for training some of their employees. Even if your company doesn’t deal with IT projects, check out the Agile PM Course for Non-IT Environments on the link above. It’s an excellent program designed to incorporate the concepts of agile management into any business environment.
Identification of Needs and Selecting the Team Accordingly
Accurate identification of the project’s specific needs and the team members who can fulfil those needs is crucial, and may often be the make or break factor. In order for a project to be completed on time and produce the desired results, the following are each necessary steps:
- Jot down the short term, intermediate, long-term and final goals of the project in no uncertain terms
- Every member should serve at least one specific purpose during the project’s course of completion
- Experience and knowledge related to the project are essential for each member of the team
- A lean, small team of assets perform better than a large team of employees, uncertain of their specific roles
- In order to work cohesively, the team members should not have a history of personal friction between them
- Given a choice, choose a team player over a more capable but less cooperative employee
Do Not Allow Scope Creep to Ruin Your Project
Scope creep is a chaotic situation which is seen when the project has been revised to add or change certain crucial aspects, but without making way for those changes in the planning, budget, deadline or available resources.
Unless these scopes are revisited, revised and put into effect in accordance with the new developments, the project is doomed to fail or at the very least, underperform.
Scope creep is unfortunately enough, a very common issue, which is mostly the fault of inadequate project managers or mismanagement by decision makers above them who do not have a proper understanding of the concept or its repercussions on the project’s final outcome.
This is part of the reason why project management training is considered essential in modern business for anyone who might be involved in decision making or leading corporate projects. Expecting unrealistic results by forcing them onto a team that isn’t equipped with the resources, time or budget to get it done is childish at best.
Testing the Two Types of Deliverables is Necessary for Success
In a project of any kind, there are usually two types of deliverables, which can be defined as follows:
- Smaller goals or deliverables at the end of every project stage
- The final goal/goals which the project was meant to deliver, aka the final deliverables
At the end of every stage, an evaluation is necessary to see if the smaller goals of that specific stage have been fulfilled so far, and the product is performing as it should be at the end of that stage. When every deliverable at the end of every stage is evaluated and tested before proceeding, it helps to recognise problems and implement solutions if necessary, early on.
Perfect each stage of the project by testing the deliverables to make sure that by the time your team is done with the entire project, and the final deliverable is ready to be tested, every part of the product fits perfectly in sync with the other. This may at times require more work, a longer timeline, and additional resources, but the end result is much more likely to be satisfactory, which is the main goal here.
Risk Assessment and Management
Risk assessment should be completed during the planning stage itself, and detailed understanding of the steps to manage potential risks should also be part of the planning phase. However, the bigger a project, the higher the chances are of running into unexpected problems, which the plan wasn’t designed to handle.
In such scenarios, outside consultation for risk management could be necessary, especially if the current team isn’t equipped to handle it. Once the problem has been managed, whether internally, or via external resources, revisiting the planning, budget, goals, etc. will be necessary to avoid the aforementioned danger of a scope creep causing even more issues down the line.
Large projects with high chances of experiencing risk factors that cannot always be anticipated should have experienced risk management experts in the team from the beginning.
Communication is Extremely Important for Practical Reasons
Modern project managers with a high success rate insist on the importance of maintaining a friendly, jovial environment within the team. It’s not only about job satisfaction for the employees, but also about communication, which is a key factor if the project is to succeed.
Most efficient corporate teams are the lean ones, which only have members that serve as an asset to it. Therefore, since no member of the team has an unimportant role to play, communication at every stage from all members is vital for efficient, error-free and fast progress through the various stages and into completion.
Now, unless the project manager is able to create that amicable environment where the communication lines are open and everything is transparent, it would be difficult, if not impossible to achieve that seamless team effort.
As long as you are diligent, intelligent and trained, most projects should not be too hard to handle and they will begin to feel easier down the line, when experience begins to back up your project management training.
As it happens, it may not even be a bad idea to take a crash course on a specific type of project management, just before you start on something that isn’t particularly familiar territory for you. This little trick stays relevant even for project managers with years of experience, because no one can be prepared for everything that they may have to face in the future.