We often hear people asking why project management is essential.
It is also pertinent to know how an organization perceives project management (PM). Handling projects tends to be an intimidating task. It requires a thorough understanding of project scheduling, planning, reporting, tracking, and the importance of project management.
If you have also wondered why project management is essential, read on to understand better.
To become a competent project manager, you need to have a detailed understanding of project management, the importance of project management, and various job roles.
Here you will learn why use project management in different sectors which may have their own peculiarities. First, let us start with what project management is and what it entails.
Definition of Project Management
As defined by the Project Management Institute, “Project management is about the application of skills, knowledge, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements.” It also involves various policies, principles, and procedures to guide a project from the initial stage until its completion.
Growing Importance of Project Management
The landscape of PM is changing with every passing day. It is crucial to keep pace with the trends if you are interested in understanding the benefits of project management.
While project management skills are not easy to learn in theory alone, doing a course does come with benefits. It is worth investing your time in learning project management skills as all employers are giving PM high priority. Project management also brings leadership and direction to projects.
Here are a few reasons as to why project management is essential:
- A Clear Project Plan and Process The more multifaceted the project, there is more scope for chaos in the organization. That is where proper planning and the importance of project management comes in. The primary function of project management is to avoid confusion by outlining a clear plan and a process from the beginning to the end.
- Establish Plan and Schedule Having agreed on a project schedule, sticking to it inculcates discipline required to avoid delays. A pre-determined process through the project lifecycle gives the project a clear path.
- Teamwork People are made to work in a team on a project, due to the benefits that accrue through sharing and knowledge of skills. It inspires team members to collaborate on a project.
- Maximize Resources It is well known that human and financial resources are likely to be expensive. Project risk management and project tracking with regular reporting ensures economic and efficient use of all the resources.
- Keep Control of Costs Based on the project scope, some projects may incur high costs. So, it is essential to keep a track on the budget. Incorporating project management strategies eases the budget overrun risks.
- Build on Knowledge When businesses embark on more projects, they will acquire more experience over time. Project management serves as a knowledge asset to a company and helps to build on both experience and knowledge.
- Manage Quality It is crucial to ensure top-quality results. Project management identifies, controls, and manages standards. This results in a high-quality product/ service and a satisfied client.
- Continuous Oversight Project management methods ensure that organizations gain control over on-going projects and make sure they are on the right track and within the stipulated budget. Project deliverables should be managed well so that you do not lose track over the progress of the project.
A single failed project may not seem like a great thing to the company; nevertheless, when we talk about large organizations with multiple projects in the pipeline, the importance of project management increases manifold.
Absence of project management leads to chaos in the organization, which gradually induces higher rates of failure, uncertainty, and stress.
Why Do We Use Project Management?
Project management is about delivering outputs to maximize benefits to an organization. Listed below are some more convincing reasons on why use project management. It provides:
- Clear Focus and Objectives
- Quality Control
- Risk Management
Strategic Alignment: Benefits for Organizational Projects
“Why is having strategic alignment in an organization important?”
Globally, organizations today are challenged to adapt to the changing business environment at a rapid pace. If they are to stay competitive in the field, organizations must be able to devise strategies for long term business success and growth.
Lack of strategic alignment will see project managers spend countless hours to pursue initiatives. For instance, there may be a priceless idea, but the time may not be right to focus on a project revolving around it. If organization strategies are not crystal clear to the employees, they are bound to lose faith in the mission, vision, and value of the organization. By ensuring strategic alignment in your organization, you can be sure that the benefits of project management will accrue.
So, what are the practical benefits of attaining strategic alignment in an organization?
- Improved Speed in Decision Making: Uncertainty can weaken productivity and lead to missed deadlines. Having strategic alignment in an organization results in quicker decisions and reduced execution time. It is also why project management stresses on clarity.
- Better Employee Engagement: Strategic alignment in an organization is why project management dictates that there be collaboration and communication with employees. When employees understand how their work complements the company strategy, they become more productive and contented with their work.
- Minimal Wastage of Resources: Strategic alignment in an organization discerns between activities that spur growth and those that play more of a supporting role. A clear delineation ensures that the company uses limited resources for the right activities to facilitate growth and align functional and business priorities.
- Reduced Customer Confusion: A strategically aligned organization will have mechanisms to ensure that processes consistently deliver results. Besides, knowing what are the benefits of project management will equip teams to tackle technical glitches to ensure seamless delivery of results.
It is difficult to achieve perfect organizational alignment. However, a better-aligned organization can reap the benefits of project management best.
Why Does Realistic Project Planning Matter?
No matter which industry you are in, you will realize why project management is crucial to meet deadlines. While unrealistic deadlines can mar a project, arriving at a timeline interactively with team
members can help them identify with the project, and volunteer to deliver the tasks on time. Scheduling, interacting, sharing, and reporting follow naturally, and you will understand why use project management as a tool to control progress.
How to Create a Realistic Timeline
Before you start framing a timeline, it is essential to break your project into smaller and manageable components. These small components known as Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) makes it easier to wield control over any project. Following are a few tips on creating a realistic timeframe to realize the full benefits of project management.
- Choose a suitable project management tool
- Use WBS to breakdown work into smaller components
- Sequence activity in the order that they unfold
- Estimate activity resources and duration needed to complete the task
- Develop a timeline
Creating a timeline will put the project on the right track, but the importance of project management lies in task monitoring and execution.
Quality Control: Process and Benefits
There are strong reasons for why use project management for quality control as well. For, while projects may be planned and monitored through its execution, a project manager cannot wait for customer reviews on quality after the project closes.
According to the American Society for Quality (ASQ), “Quality control consists of observation techniques and activities to fulfil requirements for quality.”
Quality control activities are used to assess whether the product or service meets the quality requirements specified in a project. They are:
- Validating project deliverables
- Meeting stakeholders requirements
- Identifying reasons for poor product quality
- Taking action to eliminate quality-related problems
It is essential to use right inputs like project management plan, quality checklist, quality metrics, work performance, and deliverables to implement quality control. Quality control is hence top on the list of what are the benefits of project management.
Quality Control Process
The quality control process encompasses auditing project results (deliverables) to scrutinize their compliance with quality standards. Continuous audit of project management provides ample time to come up with solutions to problems.
The quality audit comprises these steps:
- Gather and analyze quality control measurements
- Identify non-conformance to quality parameters in the deliverables
- Recommend corrective actions, preventive actions, and quality improvements
- Validate procedures for fault reduction
- Review the results of corrective actions initiated and generate quality control reports
For efficient implementation of a project, it is essential to carry out quality control activities and quality compliance processes too.
There are plenty of software tools developed to help the quality management process. The quality team and project manager should use such tools to keep an eye on errors, suggest corrective actions, and ensure that the project deliverable is produced in line with customer needs and quality requirements.
Maximum Resource Utilization: Why is it Useful?
Organizations put a lot of effort into resource allocation. As your team grows, it becomes tricky to assign people to multiple projects that are in the pipeline simultaneously.
One of the best ways to check whether your resource allocation strategy is successful is to track team utilization patterns. Before we dive deep into resource utilization and its associated formula, let us define resource utilization as it is one of the benefits of project management.
Resource Utilization: Definition, Formula, and Benefits
Tracking how much time team members spend on assigned tasks helps to track resource utilization. One of the reasons of why use project management is to assess resource utilization; the most straightforward percentage measure is to consider the number of hours worked by total time that the resource could have been utilized.
Resource Utilization Formula: Busy time/Available time
If the resource utilization percentage is lower than estimated, it indicates that pending tasks have blocked scheduled tasks. If the delayed, scheduled tasks are critical to the project, there is a danger of missed deadlines, cost escalation, and lack of deliverables. A more worrying aspect of lower utilization is that the project may be over-staffed.
Conversely, if the resource utilization percentage is higher than estimated, it could, on the one hand, mean the project is understaffed, and on the other hand, it could also mean that resources have been productive.
Maximum resource utilization is thus top on the list of what are the benefits of project management. Here is how:
- Productivity increases when resource utilization is optimized. It discourages under-performance among staff and guards against burnouts
- Maximizing resource utilization promotes visibility in project management, and there is a reduced risk of oversights
- There is a guaranteed improvement in ROI when resources are utilized intelligently without over-exploitation
- Project managers who use resource utilization can handle technical glitches through redeployment of resources
When utilizing resources to innovate, a project is also exposed to considerable risk as there are many challenges and uncertainties. Thus, risk management, one of the critical benefits of project management, plays a vital role in the success of a project.
Risk management is a methodology to identify, analyze, and minimize issues that could adversely affect the progress of projects. If the risks remain unaddressed, the project may fail in several ways, including, overshoot the budget, miss deadlines, and disappoint the client. Hence project management insists on risk management strategies.
Having a definite risk management plan helps you to be prepared to deal with uncertainties and reduce overheads by saving valuable resources like time, people, and income.
So risk management is part of the benefits of project management:
- Risk Identification The very first step in the risk management process is to identify risks early during the project. Though it is impossible to predict every single challenge to the project, sifting through individual threats will help you spot dangers in advance.
- Qualitative Risk Analysis Next, it is essential to identify risks in order of perceived severity and prioritize which of them to address first. Despite being subjective, these risks pose a real threat. Resources may then be identified to manage the risks as per a schedule.
- Quantitative Risk Analysis Some risks are “probabilities” due to which the project outcome may be adversely affected. These risks can be evaluated numerically and examined carefully before holding a dialogue with stakeholders and experts outside the project ambit to mitigate them.
- Risk Response Techniques Based on the risk in question, threats require a timely response. Determining the right solution is the essence of risk mitigation.
- Risk Control Once the planning is complete, and the project initiated, the project manager will spend time managing the risks involved. The risks identified and the adjustments made should be documented in the risk register after the scope of the project is suitable altered.
Role of Subject Matter Expertise in Project Management
At the inception of a project, both the team and the project manager require accurate inputs to discharge their duties. While the project sponsor can fund the project, only a subject matter expert (SME) can provide topic-related information, insights, and knowledge to carry forward the project.
It is necessary to hire an SME to ensure that facts and data gathered are correct, and the project deliverables meet stakeholder’s requirements, policies, and best practices. An SME ensures the benefits of project management by providing the following services:
- Guards against dilution of project deliverables, with in-depth inputs on all related issues
- Oversees changes to processes and rules, to keep project objective intact
- Shares training material and encourages user documentation
- Tailors test cases and validates the results obtained by running such test drills
- Evaluate the usability and accuracy of product or service in the final phase of the project and give feedback
- Authenticates requirements and deliverables produced by the project
The Bottom Line
Wrong approaches to work will lead to chaos and prevent you from realizing the benefits of project management; an inefficient project manager may make cardinal mistakes in planning which may increase risks and cause failure, leading to an inferior quality of deliverables and a dissatisfied customer. The importance of project management lies in the ability of the project manager to create motivated teams who deliver quality and satisfy clients.