Project Management is absolutely a valued skill and a unique career path. Organizations can meet strategic objectives and obtain greater business value from their project investments through effective project management led by skilled and knowledgeable Project Managers. It is the responsibility of the Project Manager to satisfy tasks needs, team needs, and individual needs. Most organizations today realize the value of project management and invest ample resources into it. However, there are still some environments where project management is barely tolerated as “necessary overhead” or, worse, discouraged altogether (Kendrick, T., 2011, p. 30). Such organizations will often find that little planning with no structured approach to project management leads to scope creep, exceeded budgets, and busted schedules.
Project management as a structured practice is meant to save money, meet schedule expectations, control scope and other constraints, mitigate risks, and to accomplish the desired outcomes. Project Managers get things done according to a framework that helps increase the likelihood of success. Every project is different, yet every project can be carried out in much the same manner with the proper strategies and techniques. Project Managers are able to assess the situation, balance the demands, and maintain proactive communication with stakeholders in order to deliver a successful project.
Project Managers have expertise in temporary and unique endeavors, focusing solely on the happenings of a project without the conflicting role of participating in the routine day-to-day operations of an organization. Some elements of business value achieved through project management are: monetary assets, stockholder equity, utility, good will, brand recognition, public benefit, and trademarks. Project Managers are like airline pilots: with a team of onboard staff, pilots fly us from one destination to the next, doing so safely while providing some comfort and saving us the extra time it would’ve taken to drive or use a different source of transportation.
Some barriers to project management include: organizational cultures and styles; organizational structures; budgets and resource constraints; enterprise environmental factors (e.g. government or industry standards, marketplace conditions, political climate, stakeholder risk tolerances, personnel administration, etc.); and obtaining project stakeholder buy-in. Success of projects is largely based on relationships with stakeholders. Without stakeholder support and sponsorship, projects could be going nowhere.
To combat these barriers, it’s important to make the value of project management clear and undeniable. Project management expertise is proven to lead to lower costs, greater efficiencies, improved customer and stakeholder satisfaction, and greater competitive advantage. According to the Project Management Institute, Inc. (PMI), the economic downturn has heightened the value of project management even more. In fact, 80 percent of global executives believe having project management as a core competency helped them remain competitive during the recession (Closing the Gap, October 2009).
The bottom line is, adhering to project management methods and strategies reduces risks, cuts costs and improves success rates. Good project management discipline stops organizations from spending money on projects that fail.
By: Lex R. Brown II
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