Without even realising it, we often use project management in every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s cleaning the house or doing an event, we use project management every day. We plan, execute, monitor, control and finish the things we set out to do.
In business settings, however, it takes skills, knowledge and expertise to successfully conduct a project. This is where the role of a project manager is regarded with high importance, as they are the people who make sure that things get done according to plan.
In this article, we will explain the basic aspects to note about project management.
What is a project?
A project is a temporary endeavour undertaken to carry out a unique task, service or result. It has a unique purpose and it is temporary – a project can go on for a couple of months or even a couple of years.
A project is not to be confused with ‘Operational Work’ as well. Projects terminate but ‘operations‘ are ongoing and repetitive. Another important difference to note is that projects change the status quo, while operations sustain business.
Who uses project management?
As a business expands, the nature of work itself requires rigorous management, due to increased business complexity, integration and diversification. Businesses and organisations thus use project management as they acknowledge the benefits of organising work as projects and the need to communicate and integrate work across departments and professions.
Factors in project management: Triangle of constraints
Every project wants to accomplish success. As a rule of thumb, a project has three influential factors to note: scope, time and cost.
This triangle of constraints describes the tradeoffs between scope, time and cost within projects that affect the risk, quality and resources of the product.
Why projects can fail
That said, a carefully planned project can still fail. Here are some common reasons for projects failing:
- Lack of having a business case
- Uncontrolled changes to the project requirements
- No project management methodology/governance framework in place
- Insufficient planning
- Risks are not managed
- Issues are not managed
- Poor communication
- Lack of commitment and responsibility by stakeholders
How to ensure project success
Furthermore, an individual project manager can improve the chances that his/her project will succeed by following:
- A project management methodology that is based on best practices
- Capture lessons learned throughout the project execution
- Plan effectively and stick to the plan
- Manage changes through a controlled process
- Identify and continuously maintain engagement of stakeholders
- Effective communications strategy and plan
- Managing the project team by inspiring, motivating, leading
- Always seeking to improve