Why Use Project Management?
Welcome to the third lesson of the course. Having discussed what makes a project a project, we will now be learning about why to use Project Management.
Benefits of Project Management
Although there are several components to achieving project success, the benefits of applying Project Management are rooted in three key concepts:
1. The focus that the project receives as a smaller part of the whole effort of operations
2. The special attention that a project receives from having a dedicated Project Manager
3. The specific action items and deadlines assigned to project team members
The focus a project receives as a smaller part of the whole effort of operations is an important component in the success of a project. The fact that it needs this focus indicates it should be defined as a project, and is often vital to getting the support and securing the resources required. This can mean the difference between something needing to be done and something actually getting done.
Reiterating our example of a dinner party, it doesn’t matter if your goals are related to the menu, venue, or invites; if no special focus is made in regards to performing the unique-to-this-project activities to meet those goals, the risk that they will not get done increases and the likelihood for success is inversely decreased.
This is just as true in business. When activities are not part of the core process or are otherwise outside the normal spectrum of responsibility, they likely will be overlooked or pushed to the back burner. Many businesses fail at activities like enacting process changes or new initiatives because of failure to recognize these as projects and to dedicate the necessary resources.
The Project Manager
The special attention of a dedicated Project Manager is the driving force that ultimately culminates in the initiation and completion of every step of the project. Because of this, Project Managers are the most critical element of project success.
Expecting a project to succeed without a Project Manager is like a sending your kid off to school without them knowing how to get there. You can pack them a lunch and push them out the door, but the lack of direction and instruction will cause them to become lost, if they ever leave the porch at all. A project cannot guide itself to success. Repetitive portions of a project can be automated, but someone needs to initiate that automation and then move the project to the next step.
A Project Manager ensures that the purpose for the project is kept in focus and that the project’s goals are the priority of the efforts made by the project team. The Project Manager is vital in defining the project, making assignments, and expediting those assignments. If a project was a hand-cranked machine, the Project Manager’s job is to continuously turn the crank to keep the machine running.
Action Items & Assignments
Assigning specific action items to team members is an extremely important step in planning a project. A mixed set of skills is often required to achieve project success, and a mixed availability of team members adds complication to this process. As this is especially true at larger companies, a Project Manager must be an artist at team building to ensure the right mix of skills to deliver within deadlines.
A deadline is arguably the most important component of an action item. One way to ensure that something doesn’t get done is to not put a deadline on it. This is exponentially true when collaborating with busy people, whether your coworkers or your children. Defining a deadline is more important than defining a task, because it gives the assigned team member motivation to find that definition and complete the task before becoming the cause of failure.
Whether at home or in a business, applying the right style of management is paramount to success. With any project, Project Management is the style best suited to creating assignments and making sure those assignments get done.
In our next lesson, we will learn about a few different methodologies in applying Project Management.
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