When you are undertaking a new project, there’s always the question asked – do we really need project management, or can’t we just get someone in-house to do it? And yes, sometimes there are situations where you can just get someone to do it and they will doubtless give it their all and do the best job they can.
But they aren’t trained in project management from foundation training courses through to the highest levels and they don’t have the experience in the industry that a dedicated professional does. Let’s take a look at why companies need project management.
According to Training ByteSize, project management is key because it is there to ensure what is delivered is right and offers real value against the business opportunity. Every project has a strategic goal and the role of the project manager is to assess these. All the work then takes place through the strategic framework created with these goals and ensures that all efforts align with it.
It also means the project can adapt and change as these goals evolve. The project manager is a key part in these changes, ensuring that new or amended goals are worked into the framework and that new priorities take these into account.
Another reason that project management is necessary is that it brings leadership and direction to projects. Without it, the project can easily get off course, people doing their best but being a little lost or uncertain. Project management brings that leadership and motivation, coaching and inspiring the team to do their best and ensure their efforts are always in line with the overall goals.
Project management also provides a clear line of accountability. They are the one in charge and everyone knows this, making it easy to find the right person for decisions, to answer questions or to okay changes.
Clear focus on objectives
Those strategic goals made at the start of the project are the focus for the project manager and this ensures they are the focus for everyone in the team. Teams who don’t have a proper brief, a focus on goals and are unsure of their objectives don’t get things done – they will doubtless try their best but each person’s view of what is needed can be different.
When you have a central point of control for the project, every effort can be focused on objectives and the manager can see the big picture. They can then allow the team to focus on the specific areas of the project where their skills are best used, without trying to also cover other areas that aren’t their best.
For the enthusiastic member of staff put in charge of the project, there’s the urge to overcommit, give unrealistic time scales and be overly ambitious. Then often, the reality comes along, and they cannot deliver what they have promised, leading to delays and low morale. The role of the project manager is to undertake realistic planning and ensure they use their training and experience to lay out a realistic, achievement schedule.
The same applies to areas such as budgeting. They will know if a budget is realistic, what changes are needed to accommodate it or what might not get done within it. They can raise these issues at the earliest stage to allow companies to make decisions on how to proceed.
Quality control is huge – if a goal is hit but it isn’t done in the right way, then rework occurs, and more time is lost. The project manager or team will be the ones to carry out ongoing quality control to make sure that everything is being done on schedule but also to the standard required.
Good project management uses gated phases where teams can be assessed for the quality and ROI of the work they are doing. Quality Assurance is a huge part of project management because it creates staggered and phased processes, allows for time for the teams to examine and test what they have done and ensures the highest quality output.
While there is no way to guarantee nothing goes wrong or the unexpected happens, risk management by an experienced professional will reduce the chances of this happening. Risk management is a key to project success and a good system will involve the identification, management and mitigation of risk so that chances of them coming to be are reduced.
The role of the project manager is to analyse those risks, quantify them and produce a mitigation plan. It is also to have a contingency plan to help out if something goes go wrong and ensure everyone knows what to do. Project management isn’t about making sure everything is perfect, because no-one can do that. It is about making sure that if something does go wrong, everyone knows what to do.