Project management is all around us.
Project management, also known as PM, is the use of specific knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to deliver value to people and organizations. It could be a marketing program, expansion of sales into a new geographic market or the development of software for an improved business process.
The Ultimate Guide to Project Management and Technical Program Management
Behind every successful outcome or strategic initiative is one or more project managers making this happen.
Let’s unpack why project management is important.
The statistics are grim.
According to Teamstage, companies face a mountain of challenges if they lack sufficient project management resources. Consider these three:
1. 70% of projects fail
A large percentage of projects fail to deliver what was promised to customers. Data proves that implementing a management process reduces the failure rate to 20% or less.
2. Organizations that undervalue project management see 50% more failure
Organizations that overlooked the PM process reported failure of half or more of their projects. Think financial loss, missed business opportunities, and lost clients.
3. Projects are 2.5 times more successful when PM practices are implemented
High-performing organizations with proven PM practices have met their goals 2.5 times more often. Project management improves the chances for success, drives cost-saving and reduces risk.
…and we’re scratching the surface.
Projects fail for many reasons.
The root cause of failure varies from team to team and organization to organization. We’ve highlighted a few we encounter regularly.
The lack of clear goals is the most common. Setting clear goals helps you to track the milestones and the progress, giving you a clear picture of where you are at the moment.
Misalignment between business and project objectives – or lack of it – causes 44% of projects to fail. This prevents businesses from making strategic shifts in response to customer demands, leverage the expected economic growth and mitigate losses.
Budget overruns is another reason why projects fail. Over half of PMs consider budget overruns – often due to unforeseen events – the main reason for failure.
Is project management for me?
A project management process is relevant for any team that is responsible for an initiative or set of deliverables that supports an organization’s mission and strategic direction. This could be marketing, sales, IT or operations – in other words, it’s for everyone.
The difference between winning and losing.
Project management is much more than keeping a job on time and within budget and scope. It unites clients and teams. It creates a vision for success. It gets everyone on the same track to success.
When projects are managed properly, the positive impact extends far beyond the immediate team.
1. Strategic Alignment
Every organization has strategic goals – and project management enables and directs execution. It ensures objectives and scope closely align with the strategic goals of the business to have real value.
Of course, as projects progress risks may emerge and become issues. Or the business strategy may change. But a project manager will ensure that the project is part of that realignment.
Without the supervision and direction needed to execute, monitor, and control tasks, teams tend to perform without course, control or purpose.
Leadership allows and enables team members to do their best work.
PMs serve the team but also ensure clear lines of accountability. There is no confusion about who is in charge. They enforce processes and keep everyone on the team aligned.
3. Clear focus and objectives
When project management is left to the team, you’ll find that teams work without proper direction or a defined project management methodology. Projects lack focus, can have vague objectives, and leave the team not quite sure what they’re supposed to be doing or why.
Project managers prevent such a situation and drive the timely accomplishment of tasks.
Oftentimes, the foresight to take such an approach is what differentiates good management from bad. They do this by breaking up projects into smaller chunks of work enabling teams to remain focused on clear objectives.
4. Realistic Project Planning
Without proper expectations and a solid plan, budget estimates and project delivery timelines can be over-ambitious or lack insight. This increases the risk that projects are late and over budget.
Effective PMs should be able to negotiate reasonable and achievable deadlines and milestones across key stakeholders, teams and management. Too often, the urgency placed on delivery compromises the necessary steps, and ultimately, the quality of the overall outcome.
Most tasks will take longer than initially anticipated. A good PM is able to analyze the required timeline and resources and develop a realistic schedule.
5. Quality Control
Projects are regularly under enormous pressure to finish. Without a dedicated project manager, tasks are underestimated, schedules tightened and processes rushed. The result is bad quality output because quality management is absent.
Dedicated project management ensures that not only does a project life cycle have the time and resources to deliver, but also that the output is quality tested at every stage.
Project management has a cost.
Project management doesn’t come cheap – as much as 20% of the overall budget. As a result, it is often mistakenly perceived as an unnecessary burden on the budget.
The right question to ask is can you afford not to have project management? What is the risk and cost of failure? Who is holding the team together? How can you navigate the inevitable ups and downs?
On strategy, on budget, and on time.
Overlooking project management is perilous. You risk chaotic management, unclear objectives, unrealistic planning, poor quality deliverables, missed deadlines, and going over budget. Project management helps to remove these risks so organizations can make faster, more reliable progress against business goals and objectives.
Learn more about our expert project management services and contingent staffing solutions.