According to a report prepared by the Project Management Institute, the number of people working in project management will increase by 33% by 2027. Hence, there will be almost 22 million new jobs for Product Managers. But what kind of projects will they manage? In the following text, we will look at selected types of projects to see what challenges they’ll face in their planning and execution.
Examples of projects – table of contents:
- Small internal project
- Manufactured project
- Big-budget investment project
- High-risk research project
Can we describe every with a few apt terms and thus gain a recipe for its successful implementation? Not necessarily. However, awareness of the difficulties that most often come to the fore in ventures of a certain type will make us more effective in preparing for them. And even direct your career as a Project Manager in such a way that you have to deal with projects that present the most rewarding challenges.
Planning an innovative research project is a task fraught with great risk, and therefore much more demanding than planning a production project, where the outcome is known and well described.
The implementation of an investment project is a very responsible task, the course of which is carefully documented, and in which the entire organization is involved. Unlike a small, internal project, where both the need for implementation and the entire execution of the project may come from the originator.
So let’s take a closer look at the challenges associated with four example types of projects. These will be:
- Small internal project
- Medium-term production project
- Big-budget investment project
- Research project with a high risk of failure
Small internal project
Small internal projects often wait years to get formulated. Many would like to:
- Introduce Fruit Thursdays or Pizza Fridays,
- Introduce ingenious system for rewarding contractors for timely payments,
- The company’s commitment to charity,
- Greening the office, or
- Establish rules for the use of the coffee corner.
However, few of them decide to propose the implementation of their idea. Therefore, one of the main challenges is the motivation to start implementing such small projects. This is because their implementation itself is rather uncomplicated. The venture can be carried out independently by the originator or in cooperation with people from his immediate environment. However, it requires a time frame and a possible budget for the project. And thus it can become a good opportunity to practice management skills for the first time.
A characteristic feature of a manufacturing project is the production of a physical object – the result of this type of project can be, for example:
- Cardboard cutting and folding machine,
- A system of overhead rails and lifts for efficient placement of loads in the warehouse, or
- A luxury yacht with unique equipment.
A manufacturing project requires the coordination of numerous diverse tasks. Some of the main challenges are proper planning of resources, a realistic approach to the timing of the project, and the inclusion of quality control of execution after each stage of product development. Typically, however, the implementation of manufacturing projects consists of repetitive steps. While the layout of rails and jacks in a given warehouse, taken from the example, will be unique, already the quantity and cost of components, the composition of the crew, and the list of subcontractors may repeat from project to project.
Due to the repetitive nature, a huge amount of work can be saved by using the right project management software. This is because it allows you to create a project template that can be improved with each new product and can be used repeatedly, supplementing it with data on a specific implementation.
Big-budget investment project
Large-budget investment projects are one of the most difficult types of projects. They are carried out by the company and state and international institutions. They may include the following:
- material – when the result of the project is, for example, the development of infrastructure, the acquisition of machinery or real estate,
- equity – when the investment concerns the acquisition of financial instruments,
- intangible – when the subject of the project is the development of human capital, i.e. large-scale training of employees, or the development of the R&D sector, i.e. investment in knowledge and innovation.
During its implementation, challenges arise in terms of clearly and realistically defining the goals and intended outcomes of the investment. However, organizations planning to implement an investment project, especially one with a large budget, are primarily faced with the challenges of raising and managing capital and stakeholder trust.
A Project Manager is therefore required to have specialized and soft skills. The former include:
- Great market knowledge,
- Proficiency in using analytical tools that enable, among other things, the assessment of cost-effectiveness, or analysis of the sensitivity of a project to a change in planning parameters.
The second: having soft skills in negotiation and persuasion.
High-risk research project
The main challenges for planning a high-risk research or R&D project are:
- Obtaining the results of preliminary research that can sufficiently substantiate the feasibility of the project – for example, conducting research on a statistically representative sample of customers,
- Developing several alternative approaches and a contingency plan in case the planned ones don’t work – for example, creating a list of optional materials or technologies, and ascertaining their potential availability,
- Building an expert team that is capable of efficiently conducting research addressing using the above issues while still at the project planning stage is primarily aimed at reducing the already high risks accompanying the project, and limiting them to areas directly related to project implementation.
The examples of projects discussed above are just a few examples from an endless list of types and kinds that a Project Manager may encounter in his or her career. From one-person ventures aimed at improving the comfort of daily work to multi-year projects requiring huge expenditures, they all have in common the moment the decision to implement is made, and then the consistent pursuit of the desired results.
The most important questions
Is the implementation of a self-formulated task a project?
As much as possible, as long as the task consists of several activities that require coordination. Many companies value employee initiatives - tasks set by themselves and carried out alone or with the help of a few people from the immediate environment, that is, small internal projects.
What is the biggest challenge Project Managers face in executing projects?
According to DigitalProjectManager.com's 2020 report, interpersonal issues are the biggest challenge. This category includes both communication issues with stakeholders and agreement within the project team.
Getting started with project management:
- What is a project?
- What is project management?
- How to manage projects?
- Project management methods
- Types of projects
- 4 examples of projects
- Prioritization of projects
- Areas of project activity
- Definition of success in project management
- Why use project management software?
- How to choose the best project management software?
- Overview of project management software
- Project life cycle
- What is the project vision for?
- Project goal. What is it and how to define it well?
- Project initiation phase - what to pay attention to?
- The domain of planning in project management
- What is a project schedule and what is it for?
- How to use milestones in a project?
- Project execution
- How to prepare a successful project contingency plan?
- Importance of project closure
- Project failure. 5 reasons why projects fail
- 4P of management: project, product, program and portfolio
- Most important tasks and responsibilities of the Project Manager
- Most useful project manager skills
- How to become a project manager?
- 5 books every project manager should read
- How to set up a project team?
- Work breakdown structure - how to delegate work in a project?