What is Project Management?

Before we dive into the pool of project management, let’s take a quick look at what a project is.

A project is more often a temporary endeavour undertaken by an individual or teams within or across organizations to achieve specific goals or add value within a specified timeframe.

That said, project management encompasses all those activities needed to achieve specified goals and tasks within the specified time. Project management activities typically involve:

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  • Initiating a specific task on the lines of scope, time, quality and budget
  • Planning and organizing company resources and the workforce
  • Executing the project while simultaneously maintaining top-notch quality
  • Successfully closing the project while meeting the desired criteria within the given time constraints

Projects can be a one-time endeavour or an ongoing venture.

Challenges faced in project management

Organizing a team to work on a project without hassles is easier said than done. There can be challenges faced at the initial stages, during the execution and also towards the end.

The constraints can be related to the scope of the project, time management, quality of the workforce and budget constraints. Another challenge to tackle is to produce the results that compile with clients’ objectives.

Importance of project management

To successfully complete a project and ensure a comeback, following a structured and streamlined project management methodology is the need of the hour. This ensures efficient team collaborations and an organized way of working.

The project management you undertake plays a critical role to accomplish goals and also exceed client expectations. It provides guidance through every stage of the project and projects benefit much better.

However, it’s important to note that one size doesn’t fit all. Different projects need a different style of project management.

Types of project management

Here are some of the most popular project management approaches undertaken by companies depending on the type of the project:

Agile Project Management

This style is best suited for projects that require flexibility and speed minus the stage-by-stage approach. It can help find and rectify errors during any stage of the project. Projects with real-time communication and with less need for control benefit immensely through this method.

Traditional Project Management

It’s the classic approach to assess several tasks of a project with constant monitoring. It provides the scope to coach teams and to provide feedback. This style works well in projects where small groups execute the tasks and, minimal interaction is required.

Waterfall Project Management

Following the traditional method, this approach requires the completion of one task before starting the other. This means, tasks should follow a fixed sequence. Smaller tasks make way for larger tasks. This also leads to the growth of the team.

Adaptive Project Management

Going by the title, this methodology adapts itself to the project. The scope of a project can vary and, it can be adjusted as and when its executed. Companies can derive maximum value from each project.

Critical Path Project Management

Projects where tasks are interdependent on each other choose this style. It’s a step-by-step approach that breaks down the project with specific timelines for completion. Companies use this method to calculate the time duration of every activity. You can separate critical tasks from non-critical ones and decide the time required.

PERT Project Management

Program Evaluation and Review Technique combines with critical path style to enable business expansion. Every event and activity is analysed for the amount of time required and, realistic budgets are set.

Rational Unified Process

Projects that require testing and feedback from users that can influence production go for this method. Performance testing and evaluation take place at the end of every cycle. The project can expect to enjoy enormous growth and expansion in the future, including a complete transformation.

Critical Chain Project Management

There are certain projects where eliminating some tasks completely prove to be beneficial. This method is an improvement on PERT and critical path and is adopted by highly competitive industries, including the automotive and technological industries.

Extreme Project Management

Repetitive tasks in a project are organized into daily or weekly processes to reduce the time taken for completion. They are given specific names and, any requests can be incorporated in upcoming cycles.

Scrum Project Management

Used predominantly by the software industry, scrum style includes sessions defined as sprints. Small teams with specific skillset work on each sprint within the required timeframe. Sprints usually last for 30 days where tasks are completed accordingly.

Six Sigma

This method emphasises the need for an understanding of customer requirements and, improving business processes accordingly. The data-driven method aims to increase profits by reducing waste. The process calls for a comprehensive understanding of the underlying processes while reducing or eliminating any defects.

Crystal Project Management

This method takes a different route and lays emphasis on effective communication to complete a project. Extensive importance is given to the skillsets of the team members that are inevitable to complete the tasks. Unique projects with more flexibility can be created.

Joint Application Development

As the name suggests, clients join the project at early stages to collaborate and give ideas to the project. Both the team and the client can have brainstorm sessions and achieve tasks based on the requirement and the workforce.

Client contribution benefits the project immensely and enjoys several inputs throughout its lifecycle.

Choosing the best project management method

Now that you have a substantial idea of the types of project management, how do you go about choosing the right one for your business? As pointed earlier, there can be no single project management method best suitable for all projects.

There are several factors that influence businesses and, they should be flexible enough to use the ideal method to ensure maximum returns.

The following factor can help you determine which project management methodology is right for your business or project:

  • Your organizational goals
  • Your organization’s core values
  • Team size
  • Type of the project
  • Scope of the project
  • Project constraints
  • Your stakeholders
  • Cost of the project
  • The capacity to take risks
  • Scope for flexibility

Project management process

We know for the fact that project management encompasses:

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Project Documentation
  • Monitoring and controlling
  • Closing

Let’s get into details of each of the process for better understanding and clarity.

Initiating

This step determines the nature and scope of the given project. It’s important to consider the business environment and its needs to determine its success. The following project initiation documents are critical for any business:

  • Project Proposal
  • Project Scope
  • Product Breakdown Structure
  • Work Breakdown Structure
  • Project Schedule
  • Analysis of Business Needs
  • Review of The Current Operations
  • Financial Analysis
  • Stakeholder Analysis
  • Project Charter
  • SWOT Analysis

Planning

Here time, cost and resources are planned accordingly to manage risks during execution. Thoughtful planning goes a long way in ensuring the success of the project. This typically includes:

  • Determining the project management methodology
  • Developing the scope statement
  • Selecting the planning team
  • Identifying deliverables and the activities needed to achieve them
  • Creating work breakdown structures
  • Estimating the required resources
  • Estimating time and cost for activities
  • Developing the schedule and the budget
  • Risk planning
  • Developing quality assurance measures

Executing

The planned activities should be executed in a systematic manner with proper work allocation. Managing human resources and other resources play key roles in this stage.

Project documentation

Every activity undertaken in a project should be documented to avoid any hiccups. Physical documents help keep track of various tasks, including maintaining the budget and pace of a project. It makes it very convenient to cross-check whether a requirement has been met. It’s also an effective way to monitor and control various phases of a project.

Monitoring and controlling

It’s critical to observe project execution to address potential issues and to take corrective action immediately. The process also includes the measuring of ongoing activities, identifying corrective actions and influence the outcome in better ways.

Closing

The final stage includes the successful completion of the project and closure of the contract. It’sthe formal acceptance of the project.

An important inclusion in this stage is the post-implementation review. Here, the team members take away important learnings from their experiences, useful for future projects. This stage helps analyse those activities that went bad and determine better ways to avoid such instances in the future.

Project management software and its importance

Project management software helps carry out project management activities smoothly. The software helps in planning and estimating budget, allocating resources, control costs and make decisions.

Project management software acts more or less like humans and assists in maintaining and improving quality and document important information for future use.

These are some of the popular types of project management software:

  • Desktop
  • Web-based
  • Mobile
  • Personal
  • Single user
  • Collaborative
  • Visual

The takeaway

The cut-throat competition in this digital age demands more than just advanced skills and modernization. Organizations these days should be flexible enough to adapt to the dynamics of the ever-changing consumer demands.

The only way to achieve goals and expand is through the thoughtful implementation of ideas and resources. Project management is both an art and science to oversee the timely implementation of resources to ensure desired outcomes with scope for expansion.