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10 reasons why project management is important to organisations. (2021)

Project Management - IMM Blog Article Image

What is project management?

Project Management can be defined as the discipline and process of managing the end-to-end activities within a project life cycle from the planning, monitoring and control of all aspects of the project to budgeting, resource management and the motivation of all those involved; to achieve the project objectives on time and to the specified cost, quality, and performance.

A basic project management lifecycle covers four stages: Initiation, Planning, Execution and Closure.

The importance of project management.

When done correctly, project management is integral for any organisation as it helps all facets of the business run smoothly. It allows team members to prioritise the work that matters, freeing them from distractions caused by tasks taking them off track. It empowers team members to deliver results that positively impact the business. It also enables employees to see how their work contributes to the company’s strategic goals.

Because projects can often be extremely complex and involve various stakeholders, having a project manager lead your team and ensure everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goal is integral to project success.

The importance of project management - IMM Article Image

 

Reasons why you need project management:

1.     Clear focus and objectives

Project managers are there to take control of all this and much more. Project managers position themselves around the whole team and project so that they can execute the perfect project that consists of an efficient distribution of tasks among the team members. Breaking larger tasks into smaller chunks not only helps the team to get them done easily but also helps the project manager to monitor all of the tasks easily.

In order to perfectly execute a project, you need to ensure that your team is always focused and that your plan is flawless. When you make your team do the work of a project manager without the proper training and knowledge, you end up with improper briefs, poorly defined objectives and projects that lack focus.

2.     Realistic project planning

The importance of project planning cannot be overemphasised. Oftentimes, organisations overestimate the timeframe in which they can achieve deliverables, or underestimate the costs, or both – which leads to project failure.

A competent project manager will consider the big picture and set realistic and achievable goals, budgets, and timelines.

To set realistic goals, budgets, and timelines, the project manager will liaise with the relevant stakeholders to understand the strategic priorities and business objectives of the project. Based on their research, the project manager then outlines a project plan that balances those priorities within the constraints of time and budget. This process involves cost estimation, resource management, and risk assessment.

3.     Strategic alignment

Project management aligns projects with the overarching business strategy. It should be seen as a driver of organisational strategy. Therefore, if you are not applying project management principles to your business in order to achieve strategic goals and initiatives, you are likely not going to grow as well as an organisation that does.

As project managers oversee the planning and execution of a project, they help ensure the project’s overall goals and its subsequent tasks and milestones all align with the organisation’s strategy. Strategic alignment at every level of the project keeps each stakeholder on the same page and ensures each initiative is driving the business forward.

4.     Effective resource allocation

The biggest, most important resource project managers have at their disposal is their team members.

Project teams consist of people of different backgrounds and departments, who might have other commitments in addition to their involvement in the project. Through proper project planning however, it is possible to ensure that they are available when needed.

Similarly, other resources like the budget, tools, machinery, and more can be arranged effectively to avoid project delays during the execution of the project. Through properly allocating each resource in the beginning, it is easier to monitor the phases that are more demanding and prepare accordingly.

5.     Improved customer satisfaction

In the project management context, customer satisfaction would form part of project quality management whereby the project manager ensures that policies, objectives, and responsibilities of the project are satisfying all relevant project stakeholders.

The concept of customer satisfaction is therefore applied by project managers to generate quality products and services, in the most timeous fashion.

6.     Learning by retrospection

When managing a project, it’s important not to make the same mistakes repeatedly. Therefore, project managers use retrospectives to consider what went well, what didn’t go so well, and what should be done differently for the next project to improve overall efficiency and success.

This produces a valuable set of documentation that becomes a record of what works and what doesn’t work going forward, enabling the business to learn from their failures and their success.

7.     Risk Management

Appropriate planning means that your project is ready for potential risks that may occur. This means that you are somewhat prepared to overcome any unforeseen obstacles that may negatively impact your project.

A competent project manager will never ignore the risks, regardless of how minor their expected impact may be. Every risk deserves to be properly analysed and dealt with as soon as possible.

Risk Management - IMM Article Image

8.     Continuous Oversight

Another importance of adequate project management is that it ensures a project’s progress is tracked and reported on appropriately.

Status reporting may be boring and sometimes feel unnecessary – but continuous project oversight and ensuring that a project is tracking properly against the original plan, is critical to ensuring that a project stays on track.

When proper oversight and project reporting is in place it makes it easy to see when a project is beginning to deviate from its intended course. The earlier you’re able to spot project deviation, the easier it is to correct it and get back on track.

9.     Quality control

Project members are under enormous pressure to adhere to project guidelines, deadlines, budgets, compliance standards and quality control.

Project management is important when it comes to identifying, managing, and controlling the quality of whatever project is being delivered. As it is important to deliver what was promised to the client, the project manager ensures that the quality of the deliverables remains up to the mark. It’s the duty of the project manager to deliver a quality project on time.

Quality control - IMM Article Image

10.     Leadership

A successful project always consists of incredible leadership coupled with strong direction, which can only be achieved by the help of a skilled and efficient project manager.

Leadership is always key when you want your team to be performing at their absolute best. The amount of time and energy you spend on leading your project team will always help you in the long run because it builds trust and commitment to deadlines.

How can you become a successful project manager?

Now you know how proper project management can benefit an organisation. If you feel you need to upskill yourself in project management principles, and wish to develop an understanding of the project management process, then sign up[ for the IMM’s Project Management Fundamentals online short course.

By completing this course, in only 6 weeks you will be provided with the required fundamentals to initiate, establish, plan and manage a project to successful completion.

You can find more information about this online short course on our website https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online-course/project-management-fundamentals/.

 

Why every manager should have project management skills.

Project management is defined as the process of leading the work of a team to achieve goals and meet success criteria at a specified time. By this definition any task that involves a team, has goals and a deadline can be considered a project.

Managers are faced with numerous tasks that resemble projects, whether it be a stock take, determining an annual budget, planning a sales campaign, preparing for an audit or planning a staff function. The truth is that anything that does not form part of your day-to-day business is in essence a project, and as soon as you are responsible for getting others to contribute to the success of the project – be our own team, others in the business, outside contributors or any combination of these – you are a project manager.

It therefore stands to reason that having project management skills will be highly beneficial to any manager and ultimately the organisation. It also just so happens that many of the qualities that make a successful project manager are qualities that make a good manager in general. More about that later…

As a manager, there are a variety of benefits in learning project management skills. You will improve project outcomes and improve your ability to manage teamwork, which will in the end make you a more valuable asset to your organisation since you will be expanding the scope of your abilities. Ultimately, learning project management skills will give you a more competitive skills advantage that will be beneficial to your career for many years to come.

So, let’s dive right in…

What is a project manager?

Project managers play the lead role in planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing projects. They are accountable for the entire project scope, project team, resources, and the success or failure of the project.

The project manager’s role varies depending on the industry and individual business, but at its core, project management entails balancing a project’s timeframe, budget and overall scope as the team works to meet its objectives. Project managers oversee the individual tasks that move a project toward completion, so its ultimate success or failure depends in large part on the project manager’s competency.

Project managers keep knowledge and information flowing seamlessly. They need both technical know-how and first-hand knowledge of the tasks they assign to others to keep the project moving forward.

Good project managers are people with an excellent entrepreneurial mindset. This allows them to think about a project beyond the basic skills set needed to manage it, and it is the project manager’s job to direct teams and team members to the finish line.

What makes a successful project manager?

Managing a project, whether it be planning a big corporate event or developing new software, can be daunting, to say the least. The reality is that there is no secret formula that will make your project unwrap flawlessly; more often than not you’ll stumble upon a series of challenges and obstacles before you reach success.

It is the ability to overcome these unexpected obstacles and deal with them on the go that makes a successful project manager. A successful project manager will be able to picture project management within the context of their company’s culture and align objectives with the already established practices and mission. Behind each successful campaign, a superbly organised event, or a functional product is a project manager with a sharp skill set.

Let’s look at eight essential qualities that lead project managers to success and create an environment of trust, communication, and productivity:

●      Effective communication skills – A successful project manager must be a great communicator! Project management communication is a skill that is never perfected, can always be improved and is pivotal in being able to initiate and execute a project effectively. The PMI (Project Management Institute) suggests that a project manager should spend 90 percent of their time communicating!

●      Stakeholder-focused – Project managers have to adopt a stakeholder-focused approach. Good management of stakeholders will not only clear the path of any possible obstructions but will also promote steady progress and eventually improve the quality of the results you are generating. It’s not just a case of keeping stakeholders happy – it’s also a matter of using their resources, knowledge and influence to help you achieve your objectives.

●      Strong leadership skills – Developing leadership skills, is important for project management because the overall success of any project is determined by its leaders. Leaders, or project managers, oversee projects and make critical decisions that can lead to their success or failure. When project managers develop these key leadership skills in addition to their technical skills, everyone benefits. Project teams work more effectively under good leadership, and a project’s chances of success are greatly increased.

●      Team-building skills – Project success starts at the team level. Equally as important as workplace technology and sufficient resources, good project management team building allows managers to assemble teams that work together to overcome obstacles and work efficiently to meet deadlines.

Good team building is achieved by managers who go the extra mile to help their team succeed. Instead of simply delegating and monitoring tasks, the project manager works to build the confidence, decision-making skills, and agency of his or her team.

●      Have integrity – Call it integrity, honesty or loyalty. A successful project manager needs to have them all. The project manager’s actions set an example for the rest of the team members and they are ultimately responsible for setting ethical standards for the rest of the team. The project manager should practice what they preach and in turn earn trust.

●      Cool under pressure – In this line of work – the project manager is in charge – it is critical that project managers actually stay in charge and maintain the perception of remaining cool. Especially in stressful or critical situations. If the customer senses that a project manager is losing control of his team, or the project, or the situation as a whole, then they are going to become frustrated and uncomfortable.

●      Empathetic – For a project manager, empathy is very important. It puts you in a position to understand the level of creativity or competence in handling a particular task, and that helps you to adjust in terms of delegating duties.

When you are empathetic, you get to know and understand how your teammates like to work. This will bring out the best in your team.

●      Technical expertise – A strong project manager must develop an understanding of the sector, the business issues and the specialist skills as quickly as possible. Without that project managers will be unable to connect with stakeholders or truly ensure that the expected outcomes are delivered. Critically, they will be unable to facilitate the identification of solutions to problems or have the flexibility to identify opportunities when they present themselves.

IMM’s Project Management Fundamentals course

After assessing the needs of the industry, the IMM Graduate School has developed a Project Management Fundamentals short course that will teach you how to effectively and efficiently approach and execute projects.

In this course you will start off by becoming familiar with the key characteristics and features of projects and explore the role of the project manager. You will get introduced to the ten general areas of knowledge as set out in the ‘Project Management Body of Knowledge’.

You will also learn about the phases of a corporate strategy, project management methodologies and the feasibility study which is the initial design stage of any project. Following on from this, you will deep dive into the project planning process, which lays out the roadmap for the project and shows how the project scope will be achieved. Additionally, you’ll learn about the monitoring and control of a project which involves tracking the actual project performance against the project plan.

Finally, you will come to understand how to plan the time intervals for monitoring and evaluation, monitoring of team performance, monitoring the project budget and other important activities all the way up to the correct procedure to follow when closing a project.

Visit us at https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online-course/project-management-fundamentals/ to learn more about this course or to sign up today!

How to ‘wing it’ as an ‘accidental’ project manager

You get into the elevator and your boss says, “Can you just run this project?”. You say yes, of course, but now what? Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could snap our fingers and Voila! things – just – happen? In the real world, it doesn’t work that way. Organisations must use projects to drive change, step-by-carefully-planned-and-implemented-step.

 

What is project management?

Projects are how organisations make things happen. They process and deliver the changes that improve services to customers and increase organisational and operational effectiveness.

More formally defined, project management is the practice of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time. The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals within the given constraints (usually scope, budget and time).

 

What is the role of the project manager?

A project manager is a person who has the overall responsibility for the successful initiation, planning, design, execution, monitoring, controlling and closure of a project. Construction, petrochemical, architecture, information technology and many different industries that produce products and services use this job title.

 

While there is no single way to ensure project management success, we have managed to scrape together these tips for you from proofhub.com. We have summarised them for you here:

 

  1. Know the project inside out

Identify the clients and the stakeholders and understand their interests and expectations regarding the project. Then develop a solid project plan where the roles and the job responsibilities are clearly defined. To make planning more effective, you can establish measurable and trackable success criteria to make sure if the project is on the track or not.

 

  1. Identify the project requirements

Project resources are the key factors that contribute in making a project successful. Once the plan is developed, create a team capable of implementing the plan effectively.

 

  1. Get a qualified project manager

In order to make sure the project is progressing in the right direction, it’s essential to appoint a qualified project manager. A project manager who is credible enough will leave no stone unturned to make the project a success. With the right training, this could be you!

 

  1. Define critical milestones

The success of the project depends upon the identification of the defining moments throughout the project. This can be done by providing the life cycle of a project which includes the main phases such as initiation, planning, execution and closure. You can perform an evaluation test after every phase.

 

  1. Communication is the key

To run a project smoothly, consistent effective communication needs to take place between the stakeholders and clients and new changes should be communicated to the team members to avoid ‘surprise attacks’.

 

 

  1. Tap into team members strengths and weaknesses

An effective manager will always make an effort to get to know about his team members inherent strengths and weaknesses so that he can allocate work accordingly. Tapping into the strengths of team members will definitely ensure faster task completion and better time management. With everyone in a team putting their best foot forward and making the most of their strengths, the project will be nothing less than a success.

 

  1. Use a Project management tool

Technology has given many gifts to the project managers with online project management software topping the list. The software acts as a big store-house of all the relevant project information. From files to documents, file-sharing to giving feedback, effective communication to seamless collaboration — project management software acts as a centralized platform for everything and everyone in the team.

 

  1. Manage potential risks

Risk management being one of the imperative project management practices today is essential for project success. Risks are the potential threats that can creep anytime and can jeopardize the whole progress in a project. To make sure your project is successful, potential risks need to be identified beforehand so that effective measures can be taken if they arise in the need of the hour.

 

  1. Test deliverables

To guarantee project management success, the deliverables should be tested at every critical milestone. Doing this gives you a fair idea whether the project is what it was planned to be. Testing deliverables are crucial to determine whether it is meeting or exceeding the expectations. If any fallacies are encountered, corrective measures can be taken immediately to bring it back on track.

 

  1. Evaluation of project

Each project can be a learning tool. An effective manager will always review the project as a whole, as well as analyse various project components. By doing so, he can note down the successes in a project, what went wrong in the project, and what can be improved for future projects.

 

If you want to take your project management career a little more seriously, then it’s time to upskill with the IMM Graduate School’s online short course in Project Management. This online short course will give you a broad understanding of project management, taking you through the cycle of a project (from conception to completion) and the requirements needed at each stage. You’ll explore a range of tools, techniques and standards developed by professional organisations for effective project management and you’ll take a look at your own organisation’s project implementation process. With a focus on the harder skills required in project management, you’ll master the practical capabilities necessary to define, create, plan, implement, control and complete a project successfully.

 

Because employees in all types of roles participate in projects, this course is suitable for people across the workforce. So, if you’re new to project management and wanting to lead or to contribute to projects more effectively, this course is for you. It’s presented by The Open University, a UK-based online learning and research university and an industry leader in executive education and upskilling the workforce. Their ultimate goal is to be world leaders in the design, content and delivery of supported open learning. How about making your next project personal…? You! Sign up, invest in yourself and learn to implement change personally and professionally with the IMM Graduate School. Go to:

 

During this course you will have the capable Christa Bonnet to mentor you.

 

Christa Bonnet: Head Tutor, Executive and Business Management Professional, Business Strategist and Transformative Trainer

While you study this course, you will be supported by your head tutor Christa Bonnet, an industry leader and trainer extraordinaire. Christa will be your go-to person, facilitating online tutorials and discussions with your fellow students in your group, as well as, being available for individual queries and help if you need it. She’ll also be the one carefully marking your work-based activity.

Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity: Why project management is essential in a VUCA world

Some fifteen years ago I received an amazing gift. On the first of May of that year, I started as a regional manager with a company involved in a merger. I received three things: my new laptop already set up to start working, a printer in a box, and a file. In the folder were details of a three-day project management course I had to attend, with the details of another few days to do a course on the MS Project programme.

Those courses changed the way I approached projects and events. We were taught how to do everything – small and big, personal and work projects – as a way of working through a project management approach. Today, that is still how I tackle my deliverables at work and commitments in my personal life.

Acquiring project management skills is a gift each person needs to give themselves.

It is important to know what project management is and what the role of a project manager is –especially when implementing a strategic marketing campaign.

According to the PMI Standards Committee (1987), project management is the “the art of directing and co-ordinating human and material resources throughout the life of a project by using modem management techniques to achieve predetermined objectives of scope, cost, time, quality, and participant satisfaction”.

Every project – no matter its nature or industry – has five stages in the process: defining the project, creating the business case, planning the project, implementation and control as well as completion and close-out on each project to measure its success.

According to the IMM GSM, in today’s world of business it has become evident organisations that perform best tend to be those that manage projects better and quicker. Previously, it was acceptable when project managers were mainly trained as technical specialists when required to deliver complex, technical programmes of work. No longer.

The VUCA world of work

In the VUCA world of work, more innovative marketing strategies are inspired by strategic foresight and visionary leadership to deal with Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. As a result, more and more organisations across sectors expect a wide range of staff to adopt a project management approach as part of a strategic approach. More managers are allocated to project teams – often outside the normal line management structures –tasked with delivering changes and improvements to goods, services and operations on time and within budget.

What does project success mean in a VUCA world? In an era when marketing projects have become increasingly common in organisations, this question is more relevant than ever. In answering, Shenhar et al. (2001) remind us that the distinctive skills and roles of the project manager have become much more widespread and has become a strategic imperative in marketing.

No matter what the motivation for the project, the question of its success is strongly linked to an organisation’s effectiveness. Central to this, it has become important to attend to front-end matters before jumping in and just ‘doing’ the project (IMM). In a VUCA environment, marketing projects require team members to devote more time to the early phases of their assignments.

It is crucial that the objectives, options and processes in marketing projects (including events) are clearly defined at the beginning; otherwise the success of marketing projects comes into jeopardy with adverse impact on the organisation.

Skills required to be successful in marketing in a VUCA world require specific training. According to the IMM, key skills for project managers are technical (i.e. knowledge of the business sector in which the project is being conducted; and interpersonal (i.e. communicating to and managing effectively the different parties with a stake in the project) in nature.

Three essential skills

Project managers need certain skills to ensure successful marketing projects. According to the IMM, these skills are defined in three categories.

Firstly, human skills are vital to ensure the ability to mobilise the mental and emotional energy of their sub-ordinates, team members and stakeholders involved in marketing projects. Developing human skills will also allow marketing managers to cope with situations by having an open mind, flexibility, patience and persistence.

Furthermore, project managers that focus on their own personal development through becoming a leader of self with a high emotional maturity display high self-esteem and a more empathetic approach in their dealings with both internal and external stakeholders.

Secondly, technical skills are needed for in-depth project knowledge and in the understanding methods, processes and procedures as well as specific knowledge in the use of project management tools and techniques.

Lastly, conceptual and organisational skills are required in terms of organising, planning, strong problem orientation skills and the ability to visualise the relationship of the project to the industry and the community.

Three project management techniques

Through such training marketing professionals will learn to identify why a marketing project may fail, how to avoid any failure, how to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of projects, and how to measure project success to meet time, budget and quality goals with stakeholders.

Furthermore, training should introduce the three main project management techniques that have been become prevalent in organisations:

  • Agile project management
  • Integrated project teams; and
  • Heavyweight project management (IMM)

Within the VUCA world, many organisations are now starting to adopt one or more of these techniques when delivering certain projects, and although no substitute for core traditional project management skills, they are proving useful in certain projects.

In closing, project management has become a strategic imperative for marketing. There is a solid business case with an associated return on investment (ROI) to implement a project management approach in marketing projects to understand the cost drivers for a project, identify its risks and strategies for managing them, and to develop contingency plans to ensure their success.