Project management is the process of leading the work of a team to achieve goals and meet success criteria at a specified time. The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all the project goals within the given constraints.
Why Project Management is Important?
Project management is important because it ensures what is being delivered, is right, and will deliver real value against the business opportunity. Good project management ensures that the goals of projects closely align with the strategic goals of the business.
Project management brings leadership and direction to projects. Without project management, a team can be like a ship without a rudder, moving but without direction, control, or purpose. Leadership allows and enables team members to do their best work. Project management provides leadership and vision, motivation, removing roadblocks, coaching, and inspiring the team to do their best work.
Project management also ensures there is a proper plan for executing on strategic goals. Often a project’s goals must change in line with a materializing risk. Again, without dedicated oversight and management, a project could swiftly falter but good project management is what enables the team to focus, and when necessary refocus, on their objectives.
6 Rules to Ensure Good Project Management
Rule 1: Develop a Strong Business Case
The business case is the justification for the project and should list the expected benefits. The business case is something everyone involved in the project can focus on, and the reason the project is taking place. Projects move us from one state to another, by delivering change, products, or other required outcomes, with the business case explaining why.
Rule 2: Define Critical Success Factors for Your Project
Define, with your customer, the critical success factors that will lead to project success. Make sure they are measurable, such as, a 15% cut in the cost of raw materials by the end of 2021. Use these factors at the end of the project to measure your success. Critical success factors are what counts, and the must have items the project needs to deliver. All other issues are secondary to these, as the critical success factors effectively form the contract with your customer.
Rule 3: Create a Good Project Plan
Time spent planning is time well-spent. A good project plan provides these benefits:
- Documented project milestones and deliverables
- Valid and realistic timescale
- A way to produce sound cost estimates
- A detailed resource plan
- Early warning system for task slippage
- A way to keep the project team focused and updated on progress
Rule 4: Manage Expectations
Managing expectations is the number one activity of a project manager. One way to do this is to break projects down into smaller chunks, or sub-projects, with frequent milestones and deliverables. This way, you manage expectations by making regular deliveries and letting the customer see work as it progresses. This approach makes sure the project delivers to the customers’ expectations by giving them early visibility of what you are building and allowing them to voice questions and concerns.
Rule 5: Keep Your Team Motivated
A motivated team will go the extra mile to deliver a project on time, on budget and with the right quality. Keep your team motivated by involving them throughout the project. Plan frequent milestones to help them feel they are making progress. Communication is important – so let your team know when they are performing well, not just when they are performing poorly.
Rule 6: Communicate and Never Assume Anything
There is an adage, never assume anything, and this is especially true in project management. Good communication with customers, end-users, your sponsor and the project team are necessary for project success. You cannot overstate the importance of good communication, so make sure you are talking to all your stakeholders regularly. Do not assume people know what you expect of them.