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A disciplined project management process is important to any project. Project managers are expected to deliver results, on time (if not sooner) and on budget. Solid project planning reduces the risks associated with any project you take on. Here are ten reasons why there’s a need for project management:
Why Is There A Need For Project Management?
1. Control Scope Creep and Manage Change
Small changes in demands occur on every project. They come from management, the customer, your project team, suppliers, or other stakeholders. Individually, they may appear acceptable, but collectively these project demands can add up to a significant project expansion (referred to as “scope creep”) that can overrun your budget. With project management, if the manager effectively manages the scope of their project, they have a better than even chance of effectively managing project resources — time, money, etc. — and managing change.
2. Deliver Project Results On Time and On Budget
The project management process starts with a well thought out business case justification that usually includes some type of cost calculation associated with Return On Investment (ROI). Once these measures are established, it is up to the project manager to ensure that on-time, on-budget performance is maintained; otherwise, the project will never produce the expected results. That’s what good project management is all about, and why there’s a need for project management.
3. Focus the Project Team on the Solution
The project team can easily drift off topic and spend too much time on the wrong tasks. A good project manager keeps the project team focused by using a clear and concise project charter, resolving barriers, or shielding the team from unnecessary interference.
4. Obtain Project Buy-In from Disparate Groups
As President Lincoln once said, “Public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.” A good project manager uses the tools in the initiation phase of project management to collect user requirements, project constraints, and a feasibility study to build a strong business case justification. Using input from various sources, the project manager overcomes dissent and obtains buy-in by communicating the project benefits as the different stakeholder groups see them.
Every project is made up of a series of connected activities, each of which has its own constraints. The project manager identifies the critical path of activities — the optimal sequence of actions that best ensure the project’s successful completion.
6. Provide a Process for Estimating Project Resources, Time, and Costs
Using project management software, previous project experiences, and a solid project initiation phase can provide the discipline needed to reduce project estimating errors, increasing the likelihood that the project will finish on time and on budget.
7. Communicate Project Progress, Risks, and Changes
As a project progresses, stakeholders must be kept informed of the outcomes, changes, stumbling blocks, or successes that the project experiences. The need for project management exists partly because it creates a project communication plan to address these communication issues, provide a format, and lay out a process for execution.
8. Surface and Explore Project Assumptions
All projects are based on assumptions to some extent. A good project manager delves into user requirements, project constraints, and management expectations to understand what is said and what is not said. Relying on too many unconfirmed assumptions can invalidate a project schedule or, worse, sink the project.
9. Prepare for Unexpected Project Issues
Every project runs into unforeseen issues, such as changes in market conditions, and is hit with random cause variability. Experienced project managers plan for the unexpected by lining up alternative courses of action.
10. Document, Transfer, and Apply Lessons Learned from Your Projects
The last phase of project management focuses on “closing out” the project. The project manager reviews how well each prior phase — project initiation, project planning, project execution, and project monitoring and control — was performed. As part of good knowledge management, all project review notes should be dissected and analyzed for patterns, trends, and opportunities for improvement. These “lessons learned” should be documented and communicated to other project managers before starting the next project.
Reasons Why There’s A Need For Project Management
- Control scope creep and manage change;
- Deliver project results on time and on budget;
- Focus the project team on the solution;
- Obtain project buy-in from disparate groups;
- Define the critical path to optimally complete your project;
- Provide a process for estimating project resources, time, and costs;
- Communicate project progress, risks, and changes;
- Surface and explore project assumptions;
- Prepare for unexpected project issues; and
- Document, transfer, and apply lessons learned from your projects.