To be successful, managers must deliver results on time and within budget so project management has become an essential skill ...
As businesses grow and develop they need to adapt to change. A good project manager can ensure the successful delivery of projects that help to move the business forward. Project management provides structure, focus, flexibility but more importantly gives you, the business owner, control.
I am a massive advocate of project management training. Many years ago, before I became a business consultant, I was a director in a training company that specialised in project management.
However, formal training is not always an option, so here are a few basic tips for those that are not entirely sure what project management is about:
Projects are temporary in nature, usually with a defined beginning and end. They are normally created by businesses to develop a new product, service or to effect a business transformation.
As such, project managers must be excellent at managing deadlines and can only do so with strong time management skills.
It is important for the project manager to possess excellent interpersonal skills. They could work on more than one project at any point in time so need to give focus to each project accordingly.
Projects might not have the same team members, sponsors or stakeholders. As such, a project manager needs to be able to communicate with different groups of people efficiently.
For example, a project manager who is in charge of building and launching a new office might be required to report to senior management about project progress and also work with the different internal departments such as IT and finance.
Project managers also have to pay attention to the budget of the project while ensuring that the final results adhere to the required quality standards. In the first place, they should work out the project scope with the stakeholders, senior management and project sponsors.
Using the project scope as a reference, the project manager can then construct an estimated project budget and seek opinions to determine if it is realistic.
Once the project begins, the project manager needs to watch out for scope creep. This is when the project starts to deviate from the agreed specification concerning cost, timelines, etc.
A good project manager will be able to create and adhere to a project specification which has tolerances built in and monitoring/reporting in place to help minimise scope creep.
This is essential as significant deviations from the project specification can have an effect on budgets, deliverables, etc.
Project management has been around since businesses realised assigning an individual with overall responsibility for the project moves things along efficiently and (hopefully) within budget. Good project management is even more important in these times of tightening budgets and management scrutiny.
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