Project management is a critical part of running a successful business. Project managers have plenty on their plates to balance internal and external business functions. Here are some key statistics to demonstrate project management complexities
- 85% of project managers have five, sometimes ten, projects running simultaneously.
- 54% of companies fail to track their key performance indicators (KPIs), which leads to a 12% loss in resources.
- 57% of all projects go above budget, mainly because of ineffective spend tracking.
So, how does a project manager overcome the inevitable challenges that come with every project?
A comprehensive guide covering
- What is project management?
- Why does Project management matter?
- How to implement a project?
- Project Management Approaches and Methodologies
What Is Project Management?
Project management refers to using skills and processes to deliver a valuable outcome within an agreed set of terms. It involves deliverables, budgets, and time limits to achieve a result.
A project is a temporary endeavor that creates value, such as solving a problem, designing a product, or streamlining a workflow. A project manager initiates, plans, and implements every project to meet business objectives. A project management example is integrating a cloud-based productivity software to improve team collaboration.
Note: A project differs from other everyday business functions because it’s limited to a time frame. For example, a growing business may undertake a project to open in a new location within six months while maintaining daily operations. In this case, the expansion is a temporary undertaking requiring teamwork.
Importance of Project Management
A project management process is necessary to enable a business to change and grow like the following:
- Creates something new, e.g., a product, process, or service
- Significantly improves quality, e.g., a new brand logo or website
- Involves taking a risk, e.g., expanding to a new market
- Has a concrete delivery date
- Requires a team to implement
Project management is essential to keep all projects on time, within budget, and aligned with the company’s mission. Effective project management can therefore bring a business closer to success.
By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.
Benefits of Project Management
Project management brings numerous benefits to a business, including
- Team Efficiency
The right project manager ensures that team members work together to utilize the available project resources.
Project management makes a company agile in the face of change. A project management process can help you anticipate risks and develop solutions to keep your business competitive.
- Improved Work Quality
Engage a project management team if you want certain team members to focus on their expertise. such improvements lead to better outcomes as your team becomes more motivated to deliver high-quality work.
Project management assigns clear roles for team members and monitors each project step. The result is a transparent project management cycle that inspires confidence from top management, investors, and clients.
- Practical Learning Opportunities
Every project presents a fresh set of challenges and opportunities that serve as a learning platform. A retrospective of every project can inform the efficiency and success of future projects.
Project Management Structure
To understand project management, we must know the skills, tasks, and behaviors that make a successful project. Let’s start with the phases of project management that apply to every business and industry today.
What Are the Five Phases of Project Management?
The five phases of project management are
- Initiation Phase
This is the beginning of your project that sets the expectations, feasibility, and resources needed to complete it. At the initiation phase, you’ll need to gather approval from stakeholders, present the project’s business case, and provide a time and budget estimate. High-level data is sufficient to demonstrate the project’s importance to the business.
- Planning Phase
The planning phase involves creating a thorough project plan. It outlines the scope, schedule, deliverables, risks, goals, budget, communication plan, and stakeholders. The planning phase involves the project management definition of all factors needed to complete the task.
- Execution Phase
The project execution phase is where the actual work gets done. Each project team member receives their schedule, materials, budget, and targets to deliver. This phase also requires contingency planning for disruptions during implementation.
- Monitoring Phase
During the monitoring phase, the project management process compares the performance to the project plan outlined. This is where budget and schedule adjustments occur to ensure the project is on track.
- Completion Phase
The final project management step is completion, where you finalize the project, review the deliverables, and hand it over from the project team to the relevant managers. The results from the completion phase determine whether the task succeeded or failed to achieve the expected outcomes.
These essential phases form the project management process for most organizations today. However, how long each step takes depends on numerous factors, such as the project’s scope, budget, team dynamics, deliverables, etc.
What Are the Various Components of Project Management?
The components of project management should align with the project management phases to increase your chances of successful implementation. These components include:
- Project justification
- Project requirements
- Quality of the deliverables
- Resource estimates
- Securing funding
- Project team leaders and members
- Overall management plan
- Risk assessment
- Contingency planning
- Establishing metrics for project monitoring
- Establishing communication channels
- Budget management
- Service provider management
- Project closure and evaluation
OKRs is a goal-setting framework that uses these core principles to help project teams achieve more efficiently. To learn more, get started on our OKR management software free today!
Project Management Approaches and Methodologies
Different types of project management are designed to meet various industry or project needs. Consider your desired project outcomes as you choose the project management methodologies below.
- Waterfall Methodology
The waterfall project management process is a linear approach. It involves completing one task before beginning the next one in a sequence. This means that the project management definition in a waterfall relies on timelines. In addition, team sizes and potential risks tend to increase as the project tasks grow. This approach works well for complex projects with external constraints that affect each phase.
Note: The waterfall approach is also called phased or traditional project management.
- Agile Methodology
Agile project management is the opposite of waterfall in that tasks or phases run simultaneously rather than in sequence. This approach requires high levels of collaboration and communication to ensure that each team member is on schedule.
- Lean Methodology
Use the lean project management approach to minimize wasting time, money, and human resources. This approach allows your project to generate much greater value with fewer resources. However, it requires a high level of detail, continuous process improvements, and the pursuit of perfection in the final project outcomes.
- Process-Based Approach
The process-based project management approach ensures that every task aligns with the company’s core values and vision. It involves defining the project’s processes, measuring their performance, and improving them to match business objectives.
- Critical Chain Approach
In critical chain project management (CCPM), project success relies on accommodating resource delays. This approach gives a safety margin to project tasks if there’s an error in estimating the schedule, budget, or team members required to complete the project. CCPM works well in manufacturing projects where resources fluctuate due to internal and external factors.
Project Management Process
The Roles and Responsibilities of a Project Manager
Many businesses already have a project manager in some capacity, often without the job title. So, the best way to understand what a project manager does is to identify the project manager roles and responsibilities that come with the job. A project manager has four main functions in a company:
- HR Role
A project manager works with diverse professionals through all project phases. This is one of the biggest challenges of project management because team members have different personalities and work styles that often clash during the project. A project manager understands how to build good team relationships, resolve disputes, and motivate everyone to reach project completion.
Clear and timely communication is critical to a project’s success. This means that a project manager must possess excellent communication skills to:
- Boost team morale
- Keep all stakeholders updated
- Manage meetings
- Give and receive feedback
All projects change during implementation, so project managers must make the right decisions to move the project forward. A project manager understands balancing time, budget, and team members to minimize schedule delays and financial constraints. This takes clear thinking and focuses on the project’s objectives.
A project often encompasses various business operations, from financial and risk management to recruitment and policies. Therefore, a project manager must understand how every project relates to the company’s strategic objectives. This is especially crucial when projects must continue despite disruptions and economic uncertainties.
How Does A Project Manager Implement A Project?
Project implementation means putting a project plan into action. This is where a project manager coordinates the available resources and handles unforeseen challenges to keep the project on course to completion. Use the steps below to implement your project management process.
Step 1: Assess
Ensure that everyone on the project team understands their roles, timelines, milestones, and deliverables. This unites the team and sets the standard for the project.
Step 2: Execute
Project execution involves checking in with team members and stakeholders as the real project work begins. A good project manager keeps communication open to encourage feedback and transparency during implementation.
Step 3: Adapt
Change is constant during the project management cycle. Clients may have additional requests, team members may call in sick, or markets could fluctuate. An effective project manager adjusts the project plan when needed while keeping to the overall project objectives.
Step 4: Analyze
Project implementation generates plenty of data regarding team performance, budget allocation, and more. Project management software is a great way to gather insights about the project, run projections, and create reports.
Step 5: Collect Feedback
As you meet your deliverables, ask your team and stakeholders about the overall project, challenges, and potential for improvements. You can gather this feedback through one-on-one meetings for a more personal conversation or brief surveys.
Step 6: Report
The final project implementation step is comprehensive reporting. Inform your team, stakeholders, and clients about the project’s performance, given the projected budget and schedule. These reports help to improve the project management cycle in the future.
The Project Management Process Summary:
No company runs projects precisely like another, but there are similarities across industries in the project management cycle. The project management process comprises three essential elements:
- Discovery and Planning
This involves market and user research, competitive analysis, and other activities that determine if a project is feasible. Once complete, the project manager defines the project’s goals, resources, and deliverables.
- Implementation and Execution
This is where the team collaborates to roll out the project. Project managers choose the best approach that serves the project’s goals, such as agile or waterfall methodology. Changes, delays, and disputes often arise during implementation.
- Testing and Adapting
As the project gathers momentum, it’s important to use feedback at every step to ensure it remains on target. The project team builds upon this feedback to create a solution that meets stakeholder expectations. The project manager also ensures that every change remains within the allocated resources.
- What is project management?
Project management is a process that utilizes skills, tools, and techniques to deliver a valuable outcome.
- What are the components of project management?
The essential project management components include project justification, resource estimates and allocation, securing project funding, and determining deliverables.
- What are the five phases of project management?
The five phases of project management are initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and completion.
- What does a project manager do?
A project manager is responsible for planning, executing, and delivering projects on time and within the allocated project scope and budget.
- What is the objective of project management?
Project management ensures the effective implementation of each project within its time frame and budget.
Project management effectively executes a business plan, improves products and processes, and achieves company objectives. Project managers require excellent communication skills and focus on delivering projects within the available resources. Different project management solutions and approaches can improve collaboration and reporting, but choose the proper techniques to match your team and goals. Finally, the project management cycle is a reliable learning tool to help in future projects. Want to learn more about Profit.co’s agile OKR software and how it can help in project management? Book a free demo with our OKR experts today!