Effective project management lowers costs, improves stakeholder satisfaction, and allows you to gain a greater competitive advantage.
What comes to mind when you think about project management? Do you use it? Is it a necessary evil? Do project managers actually do anything, or are they just sitting back whilst others work around them?
At TSC Projects we’ve encountered all manner of preconceptions when it comes to project management. So in this blog post we’re going to start at the beginning: what is project management, and why is it important? We hope that, once you’ve read it, we’ll have shifted some of those preconceptions and started to explain the true value that project management brings.
What is a Project?
Let’s not try to run before we can walk. What is a project? Broadly speaking, a project comprises the following three elements: –
- Outputs or Goals: There needs to be a goal – a reason for a business to undertake a project. Some projects have multiple, complex goals; others have one goal, and it’s straightforward. But there should always be an output of some kind behind a project.
- Teamwork: Projects invariably require teamwork between otherwise disparate parties. These parties can be within the same organisation or representing third party suppliers. They can be in the same building or half-way across the world. But they need to work together as a team to achieve the project’s goals.
- Temporary: As a rule, projects take place outside of a business’s everyday operations. Your Finance Team does not need a project to carry out its everyday purchase ledger activities. However, it probably will require a project to upgrade or replace its purchase ledger system.
Each project is unique, and so the three elements above will apply to a greater or lesser degree. But they should always apply. So, now we know what a project is. What is project management?
What is Project Management?
The Association of Project Management, an organisation that is committed to developing and promoting project management, describes project management as being “about people getting things done”. And at its most basic, that’s what is!
Consider the three project elements described above. Project management touches on each one: –
- Defining Goals: Why is a project necessary? What are the defined outputs, and is there a business case to justify the outputs against the required investment?
- Bringing People Together: This element of project management is key. Effective project delivery will often involve getting disparate parties to work together towards a common goal, even when their individual roles are entirely separate. They can even conflict. Consider a new office fit-out: the connectivity provider needs to install a fibre circuit to the comms room, but their plan conflicts with the interior designer’s proposed office layout. Meanwhile the IT provider can’t (or won’t) attend site to install equipment until all of this has been resolved. Sound painful? More than likely, but effective project management will overcome these issues and bring the separate parties together.
- Being There When Needed: Since projects are temporary, project managers need to be adaptable to different requirements. At TSC Projects we understand that projects are transient, and that effective project management requires flexibility and adaptability.
Project management, then, is “about people getting things done” to carry out projects that deliver outputs to businesses. But why is it important, and how does it deliver value?
Why is Project Management Important?
Effective project management is essential to successful project delivery. But more than that, project management enables businesses to deliver the most value from their project investments: –
- Lower Costs: Project management defines costs and then manages them throughout the project lifecycle, ensuring that they are agreed between all parties and do not spiral out of control.
- Improve Stakeholder Satisfaction: A single project will have many stakeholders, all of whom have different needs. Project management improves stakeholder satisfaction by ensuring that the project scope takes into account these needs, balances them and delivers to an agreed level to all stakeholders.
- Gain a Competitive Advantage: Through significantly improving the chances of successful project delivery, lowering costs through efficiencies and budget management, and taking into account the needs of all stakeholders, project management delivers value that allows businesses to gain a competitive advantage.
So, quite a lot to consider. But these are the fundamental elements behind project management, and they are important to the services that TSC Projects deliver to our customers. In the next blog post we’ll go into a little more detail around time, scope and costs, the three key attributes of project delivery. In the meantime if you’d like to discuss any of the points raised in this blog post, and how they apply to you and your business goals, please feel free to contact us.