What Is Project Management

April 4, 2018 / rgamorot

Project management is a discipline that entails the application of processes, knowledge, skills and methods that are critical to the attainment of time-bound project objectives. Recognizing that projects are transient in nature, project management differs from “management” because it requires concrete deliverables within a set timespan.

Project management is a growing field that is finding a place across all industries in businesses of all sizes. Unlike routine tasks and responsibilities, projects are separate from activities that are business-as-usual because they aim to produce a unique result, usually for beneficial changes within an organization. The typical challenge that arises with regard to project management is achieving project goals amidst the competing demands of the project scope and outcome quality- all within time-constrained circumstances.

How does project management work?

Project management entails proper execution of a plan to produce finished products and/or services. Elements of project management include the identification of requirements, establishment of clear and attainable objectives, and ensuring that a commonality of purpose is achieved. Without a systematic approach to managing projects, it would be difficult for organizations to successfully achieve objectives within the prescribed time. Essentially, it is a scientific framework that defines the structure of the process amidst the constraints of time, scope, and quality. 

Project management is integral to business operations because it is geared towards being proactive as opposed to reactive; it helps organizations attain maximum return while utilizing minimum resources. In the current business scenario, project management increases productivity by providing more space for innovation and creativity. Depending on the scale of projects being undertaken by an organization, proper management of projects helps team members complete tasks systematically.

Advantages of project management

Before the introduction of project management systems, the business process used to operate manually which saw more people handing sub-tasks thereby increasing the potential for human error. The development of technology and automation ushered in the evolution of project management which allowed enterprises to collaborate team-oriented tasks, resources and plans. Coupled with information and communications technology, project management practices have provided better accuracy, efficiency, task management, task delineation, constant communication, and better information flow.

Given the existing structure of organizations and offices, it’s common to think that project management systems may be unnecessary. However, the fact of the matter is that project management is vital to organizational sustainability for a number of reasons:

  1. Improved Organizational Efficiency: Projects are naturally unpredictable and project management is all about planning and systematic implementation that minimizes risk. Better planning and a clearly defined methodology increase the likelihood of success while contributing to productivity for enhanced business growth.
  2. Smart Resource Management: A well-oiled project management system will equip an organization and its managers with data insights through consistent and reliable delivery approaches that are able to streamline processing time, effort, and finances.
  3. Customer Satisfaction: Utilizing relevant tools and techniques, there will be greater productivity and efficiency in line with product and service delivery. This can in turn be translated into higher levels of customer satisfaction, client loyalty, and an expansion of a company’s market base.
  4. Competitive Advantages: A strong project management system offers both internal and external benefits; in an instantaneous world, word travels fast and superior performance secures your standing in the global marketplace.
  5. Innovation: Elevated performance breeds inspiration and a creative mentality. An organization that operates with a culture of innovation and flexibility increases its opportunities for success through smarter and ingenious decision making.

Project management software

Project management is a temporary venture typically undertaken by a team of individuals who have different skills and talents. These individuals are responsible for the different cycle phases from planning to execution, but attaining the objectives requires more than labor and time. Achievement of project objectives entails the seamless integration of organizational resources that maximize communication, planning, operations, budgeting, and other areas to bring projects to completion.

As businesses continue to scale up their operations, resources and responsibilities may be stretched – this is when project management software solutions can help. The market for software support is growing each day and selecting a project management solution may seem daunting to those who are not that knowledgeable about the software.

In line with the interplay between project management and technology, it is only natural to have project management software to automate and better facilitate the project management process. Below are some of the different yet critical functions that project management software provides:

  1. Organizing and Planning: This entails involving team members in the development of the project timeline while estimating the resources required for the undertaking. The software aids in mapping project tasks and describing milestones and task interactions.
  2. Task Management: This allows for the monitoring of concrete assignments to achieve project completion. Support software would typically produce status reports and deadline alerts to ensure that all components are moving along.
  3. Collaboration and Document Sharing: In order to assure everyone is in the loop, productivity is maximized when central documents are easily accessible by relevant stakeholders.
  4. Central Calendar and Directory: This allows for timeline visualization for all moving parts so a more accurate status is made known. Project management software may include due date and sub-task alerts as well as completion status across a central interface/ dashboard.
  5. Budget and Expense Tracking: While the function is self-explanatory, the software can provide team members with valuable insights on finances that can be used to manage funds throughout the duration of the project as well as forecast future project costs.
  6. Bug and Error Management: By utilizing support software, managers can capture, log, and monitor the status of bugs and errors. Reporting, viewing, and ample notification can minimize lag times, process delays and allow experts to quickly address issues.
  7. Time Tracking and Management:Activities are rarely carried out as planned and project management software allows for regular monitoring of different project components. Through such software, the system can track productivity and the amount of time contributors spend time on tasks.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit survey, 90 percent of international senior managers and decision-makers ranked project management methods as either critical or somewhat important to their ability to deliver successful projects and remain competitive. Project management and related software can greatly contribute to the expansion and growth of an organization. 

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