Having a strong and effective approach to project management is essential for the success of organizations of all sizes. A systematic and well-thought-out plan is necessary to accomplish the goals and objectives set by the company.
In today's fast-paced business world, organizations must have a competent project management team aware of its responsibilities and can execute them with excellence.
What is a Project?
A project is a unique endeavor to achieve specific goals expressed in deliverables, outcomes, or benefits. The success of a project is evaluated by its ability to fulfill the pre-determined objectives within the agreed time frame and budget and based on established standards for acceptance.
The fundamental elements of project management include:
Time: The estimated duration of the project Cost: The budget allocated for the project Scope: The specific deliverables or objectives of the project Quality: The level of excellence or standard expected in the project outcome
What is Project Management?
Project management is a journey of turning dreams into reality. It's a process of taking a goal, mapping out a plan, and executing precisely to create desired outcomes -products, services, or processes. Each stage of project management (initiation, planning, and execution) requires a unique blend of methodology, skills, knowledge, and experience to meet acceptance criteria.
Unlike an organization's ongoing work, project management is a time-limited endeavor with specific, targeted deliverables at its core. This makes it a special and distinct field, setting it apart from simple management.
Types of Project Management?
Every project is unique and requires a tailored approach to ensure its success. With various project management methodologies available, choosing one that aligns with the project's specific needs and goals is essential. The purpose of project management is not just to reach the end goal but to do so in an organized and efficient manner.
This approach is ideal for organizations involved in product development. Inspired by the restart of a rugby game after a foul, the Scrum process emphasizes the importance of teamwork in creating a market-worthy product. Developed in 1993 by the Easel Corporation for software development projects, Scrum is a flexible methodology that requires the team to work cohesively and within a defined context.
The project is broken down into small, time-boxed segments, usually lasting 2-4 weeks, each with a result-oriented end. This methodology is popular due to its quick turn-around time and is best suited for short-cycled product development that must meet customer deadlines without sacrificing quality.
The waterfall approach involves working on a project in a straight line, divided into different phases. Each phase can only start once the previous one is completed, making it the simplest and most traditional of all methodologies. Team members are assigned specific roles and responsibilities, and the project moves forward without on-the-way changes or adaptations. This method is best suited for projects with extended plans and a single timeline, but it's relatively inflexible and not recommended for knowledge-based projects. However, it works well for replication workflows.
Lean and Six Sigma Methodologies
This methodology eliminates waste and minimizes technical shortcomings to improve team performance. It combines the Lean methodology, originally developed by the Japanese automaker Toyota, which eliminates non-value-adding activities, and the Six Sigma strategy, created by Motorola, which improves manufacturing processes by identifying and removing defects. Combining these two methodologies aims to improve a company's operational processes, resulting in lower production costs and higher revenue.
When is Project Management Utilized?
Project management is utilized when a specific set of customer-defined deliverables must be completed. This involves identifying and managing risks, allocating resources, budgeting, and maintaining clear communication with the operational teams. Most projects have tight deadlines and limited budgets, so strict regulations must be followed. Additionally, the customer's functionality and quality requirements must be considered. The project scope may not always be clear from the outset, and the client's needs may change during the project. Despite this, the budget remains unchanged, and the tasks are diverse and complex. In such cases, a project management tool can be extremely helpful in managing all aspects of the project.
Phases of Project Management Lifecycle
This is the starting point for a project and marks its official beginning. A feasibility study is conducted to determine the project's purpose and goals. Then, a project initiation document outlines the project goals, scope, budget, resources, possible constraints and risks, stakeholders, reporting framework, and assessment and closure criteria.
Proper planning is key to a project's success. Goals must be defined and set using the smart or clear method. The project scope must be clearly articulated, a comprehensive project plan developed, and a work breakdown schedule created.
In this stage, the project plan is put into action. Each activity planned should be carried out to work towards the desired project deliverables.
Monitoring and Control
This stage goes hand in hand with execution and deals with day-to-day issues and progress measurement. Key performance indicators (KPIs) may be used to track progress, including schedule, budget, completed tasks, and issue resolution.
Once the project is completed and ready for handover, the closure stage begins. This involves handing over the desired outcome to the client, formally releasing staff and resources, filing or handing over project documents, closing contracts, completing all project activities, and preparing a final report.
The final words
The business world is becoming increasingly complex, and the successful execution of projects is more important than ever. There is a growing demand for experienced and knowledgeable professionals who can manage these complex projects. Project managers with a strong understanding of project management principles and techniques are in high demand to deliver successful results.
With the ability to handle multiple aspects of a project, trained project managers are valuable assets to any organization. From completed projects to successful launches, the impact of a skilled project manager can be seen directly.