Handling projects can be extremely challenging for most managers. Your organization may be working on multiple projects but are the ones who are handling the project capable of succeeding? Statistics reveal that an astounding 97% of organizations believe that project management is critical to business performance and organizational success.
There are many challenges facing project managers that can derail the success of their projects. It may be hard for them to keep up with the pace of the project, manage resources, and ensure it stays on track and within the budget. Most organizations have a 70% failure rate and the main reason is poor project management. In order to become successful with project management, you need to possess certain traits. In this article, we shall cover the following topics:
- Importance of Project Management
- Benefits of Project Management
- Common Mistakes In Project Management
- Habits of A Successful Project Management
Importance of Project Management
Managing several projects is always a good thing for a company. It means that your business is doing well. Most managers feel that they don’t need project management because it can be expensive taking up as much as 20% of the overall project budget. But can you really afford not having project management?
In reality, project management goes beyond keeping the project in check, delivering on time, budget, and scope. It is designed to unite clients and teams, create a vision for success and get everyone on the same page. Proper project management can create a positive impact that will have a long lasting effect on your business. Here are some reasons project management is important for your business:
1. Strategic Alignment
Project management helps ensure that what you are delivering is right and will be of real value to the business opportunity. Clients have strategic goals they want to achieve and projects are designed to advance their goals. Project management helps ensure that the project will fit well within the broader context of the client’s strategic framework.
Project management is important because it brings leadership and direction to your projects. Without project management, a team can be like a ship without a rudder, moving but without direction, control, or purpose. A project manager will allow and enable team members to do their best. It will remove any stumbling blocks by providing coaching and inspiration to do their best work.
Project managers provide service to the team but also ensure clear lines of accountability. This way, there will be no confusion as to who is in charge and in control of what’s going on in a project. They enforce processes and keep everyone on the team in line as well because ultimately, they will be responsible for the failure or success of the project.
3. Clear Focus & Objectives
With project management, there is a proper plan for executing strategic goals. Without it, teams will work without proper briefs and without defined methods of management. Projects will lack focus, can have a vague or nebulous objective and leave the team unsure of what should be done and why. Project managers can help prevent such situations and deliver timely accomplishments by breaking up projects into team tasks.
Project management gives oversight. It can break up tasks into smaller chunks so teams can remain focused on clear objectives and bring their efforts towards accomplishing goals using smaller steps and quickly identifying risks.
4. Realistic Project Planning
With project management, you can ensure that proper expectations are set around delivery schedule and amount. Most tasks will take longer than initial expectations. Project managers are able to analyze and balance available resources within the required timeline and develop a realistic schedule. Some managers tend to be overambitious or lacking in analogous estimating insights from similar projects. Without project management, projects could get delayed and exceed the budget.
5. Quality Control
Project management also ensures the quality of deliverables are consistently hitting the mark. Most projects are constantly under huge pressure for completion. Without project management, the quality of projects could be jeopardized. With project management, you will not only have the time and resources for delivery but also good project quality.
A good project manager can help in the assessment for quality, applicability, and ROI of a project. Project management allows a staggered and phased process allowing teams time to examine and test outputs along the way.
6. Risk Management
Project management helps reduce risks and mitigate them to avoid becoming an issue. Risk management is critical to the success of your project. Having a robust process around the identification, management, and mitigation of risk will help in preventing them from becoming issues. Project managers are most effective in dealing with risks.
With project management, you can carefully analyze all possible risks, quantify them, develop a mitigation plan against them, and a contingency plan should any issues arise. Good project managers are able to uncover risks early. They also know how to deal with changes and adapt their plan to the changes to ensure success of the project.
7. Orderly Process
Project management ensures that tasks are done by the right people at the right time. It ensures that the process is followed throughout the project lifecycle. With project management, the team will know who is doing what, when, and how. They will be able to clarify their roles, streamline processes, anticipate possible risks to ensure checks and balances and make sure that the project is continuously aligned with the overall strategy. Without project management, your project is at risk of failing and may lose the trust of your business partners.
8. Continuous Oversight
Project management helps track the progress of your projects and report it properly. Status reporting may seem boring and unnecessary but doing so will add some oversight to your project. Project reporting makes it easy to check if your project is deviating from the original plan. The easier you detect deviations, the easier it is to correct.
9. Subject Matter Expertise
Project management helps ensure that everyone understands what they should be doing. Project managers have built technical skills and have become subject matter experts over the years. Project managers know about the work their teams execute, the platforms and systems, possibilities and limitations, and the possible issues that typically occur. This means they can have intelligent and informed conversations with clients, teams, stakeholders, and suppliers.
10. Learning from Success and Failure
With project management, you can learn from your successes and failures in the past. If you have bad habits in delivering projects, managing it properly will help break those habits. Project management will help you identify what went well, what didn’t, and what can be done differently next time. Project management will help keep you from making the same mistakes over and over again.
Avoiding Common Project Management Mistakes
Few projects can be completed smoothly because many issues can arise throughout the project process, from concept to approval. Calm and effective problem solving is a key aspect of the project manager’s role, and some of the problems you’ll face as a project manager can be solved relatively easily and instantly. However, other projects will have a greater impact on the success of the project.
Basically, project management is about reducing risk and ensuring predictability. Regardless of the project management strategy you use, the first challenge is making sure that the project is progressing as planned.
One way to accomplish this is to avoid common project management mistakes. These mistakes can extend to even the most basic projects and affect their success.
Here we will focus on five of these project management mistakes and the steps you can take.
1. There is no clear objective of the project
You will be surprised to find that many projects do not have clear objectives. Stakeholders can think about desired results, but cannot define the specific objectives or KPIs they want to achieve to measure them.
This is a common project management mistake that can derail even the most carefully planned projects. In fact, according to PMI’s Pulse of the Profession 2017, “lack of vision or goals” is the fourth reason for project failure.
When stakeholders do not agree on the direction or criteria for the success of a project, goal setting is often unsuccessful. Changes in requirements or unplanned risks can also lead to unclear project objectives.
There are several ways to set clear goals for your project:
- · Make sure all goals are SMART, which means they must be clear, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.
- · Reach consensus among stakeholders on the direction of the project.
- · Use history to evaluate and recalibrate targets. If you have managed similar projects in the past, use your experience to check whether or not your current goals are achievable.
- · Involve team members in goal setting. Research shows that setting goals together can help your team be more engaged and satisfied.
2. Pay no attention to personality in the team selection process
Each member of the project team has two roles
- · Functional role based on your skills
- · Psychological roles based on your personality
The best teams not only have the right mix of skills, but also the right mix of personalities. After all, if your team members don’t get along with each other, you can’t expect them to collaborate well, regardless of their abilities.
3. Do not provide the required data
This project management error is often the result of poor reporting. Managers sometimes consider project reporting to be a routine task and do not include all the necessary information. The result is ignorant stakeholders and deferred projects.
- · A valid project status report must include the following:
- · A list of current, upcoming, and recently completed milestones, as well as their current and anticipated completion dates.
- · List of unresolved issues and risks, as well as a short history of changes.
- · A number of high priority issues that require the attention of stakeholders and the steps to address them.
4. Log in irregularly with the project team
In 2015, Deloitte conducted a corporate study to evaluate the existing performance management system. The research results are astonishing. More than half (58%) of managers said the existing system was “insufficient” to measure employee engagement and productivity.
The essence of Deloitte’s solution to this problem is regular registration. “For us, these logins are not just the job of the team leader.” This is the job of the team leader. Ashley Goodall, Director of Leadership Development for Deloitte Services LP, wrote in Harvard Business Review. She added that “very frequent checks” are “great apps for group leaders.”
Checking in regularly will create a sense of responsibility in the project team. It tells everyone that you are watching their performances. You can also tell them that you are free and committed, and if a problem arises, they can ask you for a solution.
- Lack of active control of oscilloscope fluency
The PMI defines volume scanning as “the addition of unauthorized new products, additional features, or features that are required or work (ie, outside the agreed scope).”
This is familiar to most project managers. The client requested minor changes to the project results. You have to obey because it only takes a few hours and you want your customers to be happy.
Unconsciously, “small changes” led to a radical change in the objectives of the project.
When there is no consensus on the scope of a project, it usually revolves around content. If stakeholders and managers have different expectations, one party may overcharge (or undercharge) the other.
Preventing scale expansion requires proactive change management. You need to pay close attention to each change request and stay tuned for stakeholders.
Habits of a Successful Project Manager
Why do some project managers complete projects on time, on budget, and to customer satisfaction, while others find it difficult? You don’t need ten years of experience to be successful every time. By changing habits and improving skills, you can dramatically increase the chances of a project’s success and reduce your workload. Let’s take a look at ten habits that successful project managers have.
1. Use the right team
The most effective and successful project managers know the capabilities of their team members. This means that they can assign the right work to the right people.
2. Manage project issues
All projects sometimes have problems. They don’t care about successful project managers. They know the problem management process and know how to best solve them.
3. Respond to change
Successful project managers oversee the change management process. By following specific steps, you can easily turn any behavior into a habit because it is structured and repetitive.
4. Manage project costs
You need to plan how much money to spend before you can manage project costs. Learn how to budget for a project to get started.
5. Team building
The project team may not serve you directly. So why is team building part of the habit of successful project managers? This is because you need your team for effective collaboration, and all project participants quickly begin to trust each other. This can be done by forming a team. Be careful dividing your team. Also, bullying is unacceptable.
6. Understand the process
The most successful project leader is not a slave to the process. They know that the correct approach is to follow the process. They know when is the best time to set it up to make it easier for everyone to work overall. An example is eliminating red tape on a small project by adjusting the process accordingly.
7. Updating schedule
There should be no overlap in the project schedule. The most successful project manager develops the habit of regularly checking and updating the schedule.
There are many ways to track the progress of a project. The most important thing is that you do it. If you are struggling to develop your own habits, write down short meetings with yourself and your schedule each week. Use the same time every week and spend 30 minutes checking your location and where you need it. Make any necessary changes, inform the team, and proceed with the project.
8. Manage project risks
It is one thing to know what to include in a risk register, but it is another thing to review it periodically and respond to the risks it poses. It is not enough to use the beginning of a project to identify risks and then think about it. Risk management should become part of the project habits because without it, you will find that risk becomes a problem and creates problems for you.
9. Follow-up time
Project managers know a lot about project time management, but it’s often about planning and scheduling. We are talking about the more regular daily time tracking. It’s about the schedule.
10. Delivering business changes
Finally, the habit that makes project managers the most successful is their ability to match project results with business results. If users don’t use your product, or your software quickly becomes obsolete, or customers aren’t as surprised as you are, then your project is a waste of time.
The most successful project team makes sure they know what the goal is. They have created a solution that enables sustainable business change. The content they provided at the end of the project has been fully used and accepted by the client. This is the reason for its success because it was designed from the ground up.