Project management is a term used a lot in the business world, often by people that don’t truly understand it. Many people assume that project management refers to the general organization of a team during a project and the challenges involved are very similar to those of general management of day-to-day operations.
However, this is a misunderstanding of what project management is and why it is crucial to businesses. Keep reading to find out what project management is and why it is so important in the first place.
What Is Project Management?
A project is defined as a specific set of operations designed to meet a specific goal. It has a clearly defined beginning and end, a budget, and a clear aim. Projects also exist outside of the normal day-to-day operations of the business.
During a project, it is likely that different teams will come together to deliver separate aspects that contribute to the end product. Everybody is working to a predefined schedule using the allotted resources and budget.
By the end of the project, the end goal must be achieved within the project requirements set out at the beginning. Project management processes are designed to make sure that this happens.
The 5 Phases of Project Management
Project management processes can be broken down into 5 phases and this makes it easier to understand the specific role of project management. These phases are:
- Monitoring and controlling
- Project closing
During the initiation phase, basic ideas are discussed and honed into a clear goal for the project. This may be a new product or service or it could be something like improving website traffic, for example. The planning stage then covers the project in more detail, drawing up a roadmap and setting the parameters for the project. At this stage, the requirements will be determined.
The execution phase is when the tangible work for the project is completed. During this phase, the project manager must create and manage efficient workflows to ensure that deadlines are met and budgets are adhered to. Monitoring and controlling run alongside the execution, ensuring that the requirements and parameters of the project are followed.
Finally, the closing stages are when the project is delivered. Usually, follow-up meetings will be held to assess the effectiveness of the project and determine how improvements can be made with future projects.
The project manager is responsible for delivering these 5 phases. In many cases, outsourcing to a project management company is the most effective way to ensure that the aims of the project are met within the parameters defined in the first two phases.
Why Is Project Management Important?
Project management is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, the initial stages ensure that the aims of the project will deliver real value to the business and the use of resources is worthwhile.
The later phases bring defined leadership and direction to projects, which is especially important when multiple teams are working on a single project. Without a clear project management strategy in place, disparate teams work separately without anything to bring them together, and this leads to inefficiencies throughout the project.
Project managers also ensure that plans for executing the project are realistic and achievable, so deadlines can be met. Things like budget estimates and project delivery timelines are a crucial part of this.
Finally, project management ensures quality control throughout the process. If teams are responsible for assessing the quality of their own work, there is no impartiality and there will be huge disparities in the quality of work between different teams on the project.
Project management is so much more than simply organizing information and keeping people on task during a project. You have to learn skills like how to use collaboration software. It is a clearly defined process for planning and executing projects that add value to the business and ensure that the project is delivered on time and within a certain budget. Without project management, it is impossible to develop projects that push your business forward.