Project management can also be viewed as an enhanced competency that allows leaders and managers to drive higher profitability at lower costs and minimized risks. It also differs from general management styles because it “brings in cross-functional collaboration, governance, execution-discipline, responsiveness, and alignment of organizational elements and procedures with features of end-products of projects” (Lewis, 2009, p. 17).
Over the years, project management has gained wider acceptance in the business community as a result of changing market as well as growing demand and higher expectations of customers / clients (Meredith and Mantel, 2009, p.
1). Heldman (2005) provides a checklist of project processes which includes project charter, cost benefit analysis, assumptions and constraints, project scope statement, critical success factors, communications plan, work breakdown structure, roles and responsibility matrix, project schedule, budget and feedback, among other things (p. 5 – 6). Phases of the Project Lifecycle
In general, the project lifecycle consists of five phases, namely, initiation, planning, execution / implementation, monitoring and controlling, and closing (Project Management Institute, 2008 / Kernzer, 2001, p. 2). Initiation At the start of every project, a manager needs to establish clear, realistic, time-bound and measurable goals.
During initiation, the project manager agrees with the stakeholders (sponsors / financiers, customers / clients, end-users, etc. ) on the project scope which includes not only the goals but also timeline, budget allocation and other important parameters.
Note that only the end-results or outcomes are established in this stage and not the strategies to attain these goals. It is also in this stage where a project manager defines the relevant tasks and milestones of the project.
Planning Here, the project manager lists the strategies, action items and deliverables to ensure attainment of the project’s goals. It is like bridging the gap between where you are now (starting conditions) and where you want to be after a specified period (goals / outcomes).
It is also good if a project manager creates a more detailed timetable / calendar to be able to estimate the timeframe for the project. Moreover, the project manager develops support plans to address issues on human resource management, communications and risk management. It is usually in this stage where the project manager spends a significant amount of time. Execution / Implementation This is when all the plans and strategies a project manager has laid down will be put to the test.
It is actually the most crucial stage of project management because it is when you spend most of your money and utilize most of your resources to ensure that the plans will materialize. It is important for the project manager to always check on the availability of resources to ascertain that the project implementation will proceed smoothly. Communication of the project’s progress to the stakeholders is likewise a critical function of the project manager in this stage. Monitoring and Controlling The project manager needs to regularly monitor progress of the project relative to the set deadline, budget and performance metrics.
If the project manager notices that not everything is going as planned, then he or she should review the plans and make the necessary adjustments. It is important to do the monitoring at every phase of the project to avoid re-doing the whole project when you realize in the end that it is a failure. Closing Closing happens when the project is completed and the stakeholders sign off as a sign of their approval and acceptance of the project. The project manager then provides the stakeholders with a detailed and/or summary accomplishments report of the project.
Benefits of Effective Project Management Effective project management can bring about positive effects on both the companies and their employees. Companies will benefit from timely completion of projects and achievement of set targets and goals and better use of existing resources. It also allows the company to implement projects at a lower cost and with reduced risks, thus maximizing potential revenues. Moreover, the company will be able to sustain or even enhance relationship with existing clients / customers who are happy and satisfied with the outcomes of the project.
Effective project management yields increased productivity levels among employees because they have clear deliverables and identified roles for the project. In addition, since project management involves close communication and collaboration among different people from different business units, employees learn to work closely together, making the company more united to reach a common goal. Through effective management, executives and other top company officials are regularly informed about the project’s progress and are thus able to make informed and wise business decisions.
As we have seen from this paper, effective project management is a necessary skill that all companies must develop to achieve their strategic objectives amidst the sometimes unstable and highly-competitive market. References Heldman, P. K. (2005). Project Management Jumpstart: The Best First Step toward a Career in Project Management. Alameda, CA: Sybex, Inc. Kerzner, H. (2001). Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling (Ed. ). New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Lewis, J. P. (2009). Fundamentals of Project Management. (Ed. ).
New York, NY: AMACOM. Means, Janet, A. & Adams, T. (2005). Facilitating the Project Lifecycle: The Skills and Tools to Accelerate Progress for Project Managers, Facilitators, and Six Sigma Teams. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Meredith, J. R. & Mantel, S. J. , (2009). Project Management: A Managerial Approach. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Project Management Institute. (2008). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge 4th edition (PMBOK guide). Pennsylvania, USA: Project Management Institute.
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