Project Manage Like You Mean It

Organizations of all sizes and across all industry sectors have been steadily embracing project management as a way to control and improve project results. The reason is simple: Adhering to project management methods and strategies reduces risks, cuts costs and improves project success rates.

Project management, when implemented properly, helps to anticipate and mitigate or avoid challenges that come up. It allows companies to stay on top of problems that can potentially derail a project, provide the resources to manage and collaborate with team members in different locations and time zones (if applicable), and foster good communication between all parties involved.

Project management also ensures team members are clear on who is responsible for what and by when, helps provide the resources to meet deadlines and make the necessary accommodations to address shifting deadlines, and minimizes the possibility of scope creep – something that plagues all organizations. Scope creep refers to uncontrolled changes or continuous growth in a project’s scope. It tends to occur when new features or services are added to a project that have already been approved, without providing the necessary increases in budget, time and/or resources. Breaking large portions of work into manageable sizes (limited number of tasks, resources and project duration) can help avoid scope creep, because the teams can stay focused on the smaller set of deliverables and goals.

Effective project management begins with having dedicated managers to oversee projects from conception to completion. Good project managers work well under pressure and are comfortable with change and complexity in dynamic environments. They can shift easily between the “big picture” and the essential details, knowing when to concentrate on each. They have the people skills needed to develop trust and communication among all of a project’s stakeholders: its sponsors, those who will make use of the project’s results, and the project team members. Their duties involve planning, organizing, leading and controlling the project at hand.

Project management organizes chaos and helps manage risk, the quality of the project, and any changes, all while keeping projects on time and on budget.