As a college student, I took a course that introduced us to project management and taught us some of the basic project management methodology, as defined by the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). And like any good, curious student, I said to myself, “Welp. I’ll never be using this after the exam”.
These days, I use project management on a daily basis and on nearly every task I perform. It has truly become the foundation of my professional career. The fact of the matter is that it’s everywhere and we can all benefit our organizations by applying project management methodologies.
Like everybody else who provides project management consulting services, I’ve seen it done well and I’ve seen it done poorly. With confidence, I can tell you that a project managed poorly will not produce the desired results.
Here are 10 reasons why project management should matter to you:
- Schedule Control – We’ve all experienced the terrifying panic of running late. For me, it’s usually as I’m running to the airport. Your shower was too long, then the traffic is worse than it would have been, as well as the security line. Now imagine that feeling stretched across three years and on a project that costs millions of dollars. With proper schedule management, you can identify when the project team is starting to slip, before the entire project slips.
- Cost Control – When I go to the grocery store, I rarely track my expenses while I’m shopping, or even use a shopping list. A bag of designer granola and a jar of cage free peanut butter later and my grocery bill is $100 for the week (and I live by myself). The moral of the story is, if you aren’t tracking your resources and hours with due diligence, your project is going to be over budget in no time (and 60¢ hot dog buns are just as tasty as the $5 ones).
- Stakeholder Coordination – You would never build a house without consulting with your electrician and plumber, so why would you conduct a project without consulting with your stakeholders? There are often countless inputs and considerations across a variety of stakeholders and organizations that must be accounted for. You can’t build your roof before you dig your basement.
- Enhanced Visibility – You want visibility into what your employees or teammates are doing, and so does your manager and project sponsor. Project management provides increased visibility and awareness among your stakeholders, executive leadership, and project sponsor using things like status reports and formal, regularly recurring meetings.
- Clear Responsibilities – Imagine playing 3-on-3 (basketball analogies in Indiana), tossing the ball to your friend, and he drops it. That’s what it feels like when there are no clear lines of responsibility. As a part of project management, we identify who is in charge of what and assign people to risks, issues, action items, and tasks. Long gone are the metaphorical ball drops.
- Historical Records – I was once in a meeting with the project manager and the project sponsor that quickly devolved into a heated debate between the two over a decision that may (or may not) have been made in an earlier meeting. A prepared project team member (me) pulled out minutes from our previous meeting and recited the decision that had been made in a previous meeting. This type of historical documentation can provide us all with the impetus for de-escalation and common ground for moving forward.
- Lessons Learned – If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career, it’s that if you do something well, you will probably be asked to do it again. If you maintain an active record of lessons learned you can provide your future self with the knowledge necessary to improve upon your last project using recommendations for improvement and a list of things that went well. The more altruistic project manager will think ahead and provide the lessons learned to other project managers, allowing them to start on the opponent’s 30-yard line.
- Compliance – As a part of project management, we review laws, policies, statutes, and regulations that may impact the project and we continually monitor them as the project progresses. When so much is at stake, you can’t afford to fall behind regulations; these will impact your project whether you like it or not.
- Risks – At this point you may have noticed that all of these things can impact each other. If your schedule is running over, you may also be spending more than what is budgeted. Or with no good historical records, you’ll have a harder time defining your lessons learned. A good Project Management Plan will address each these things and consider how they relate to one another and how poor performance in one will risk the performance in another area.
- Leaving it to Chance – A project can be very expensive, carry on for years, and require a massive amount of manpower (and we aren’t all John Henry). They can range into billions of dollars and carry on across a decade. With stakes this high, can you afford not to utilize project management in your organization?
To learn more about how netlogx can help you manage your projects and procurements using industry best practices, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org today.