Almost everyone has managed some kind of project in their lives. Perhaps it was organizing a birthday party, a class trip, or maybe taking on the role of a team leader at work. All these activities can be called project management. This is because it is necessary to align various tasks and synchronize the activities of at least a few cooperating people in order to achieve a certain value, for example, a good birthday party or a trip recalled with a smile. What is project management? Read our article and learn more.
Project management – table of contents:
- What is project management?
- The standard for project management
- The value of project management
What is project management?
Professional project management is an integral part of business. It requires the right knowledge, tools and techniques. But above all, it requires the ability to combine them efficiently. Project management ensures that the project can be completed on time and within budget. Thanks to project management, the project team working with the project manager communicates effectively, and efficiently achieves the set goals.
With project management, a project ends with the provision of some value that is of great importance to the company or the client – something more than just going through all the stages of the process ending with handing over a finished product that conforms to the initial agreement. Although the value associated with a project may have a purely business character, often its purpose has a social or environmental dimension.
Today, we would like not only to answer the question of what project management is. We will also take a look at what the new value-based rather than process-based standard for project management looks like, and answer the question of why project management is important.
The standard for project management
The project management standard by the Project Management Institute (PMI) was created because, despite years of practice and better tools, still:
- 48% of projects are not finished on time
- 43% of projects go over budget
- 31% fail to achieve their purpose
All of this led project management researchers and practitioners to take a closer look at what is missing from daily project management practice. Reports indicate that coping with change when doing complex tasks such as projects, portfolios and programs is a problem. This is because the realities in which projects need to be managed are changing so rapidly that companies operating according to schematic processes are often unable to keep up with their dynamics. Contributing factors are:
- the digitization of business – that is, the need to improve the ability to organize the work of a hybrid or remote team, often operating asynchronously and using tools in the cloud with varying levels of access,
- increasing market dynamics – that is, the need to make changes to ongoing projects so that their results respond to current demand.
The response of project management practitioners is to emphasize:
- flexible project management – i.e., a global shift away from detailed task planning to continuous work on improving ways of working together as a team and responding dynamically to stakeholder needs,
- the organization’s culture in retaining talent, and, above all
- outcome, rather than the project result (deliverable) that corresponds to the plan, and consequently, more and more importance is placed on value and answering the question “why?”
It turns out that the main goal of project management is to create value. It involves constantly emphasizing the importance and meaning of the work being done and the product being created, and answering the “why” and “what for?” questions concerning not only the company’s vision, but also the daily activities of those involved in the project. All of this makes not only stakeholders, but also project managers and team members deeply involved in the project.
The value of project management
Project management can deliver excellent results, even if the team is quite small. However, it does not have to be a formal management that covers all aspects of the project and generates reports on every detail of the team’s performance. After all, modern project management is not a value in itself, as it often was in the last century. It is primarily intended to help implement projects. Therefore, it uses only those tools that bring real benefits. And it defines the project manager as a caring steward, not an authoritarian manager or leader.
In other words, project management is supposed to create the backbone necessary to guide a project through new, more difficult or risky moments regarding:
- planning, organizing and making knowledge-based decisions – which is usually supported by dedicated software such as Firmbee, Asana, or Jira
- creating optimal conditions for team collaboration
- budget preparation and control
- ongoing monitoring and analysis of project status
- responding to changes and managing risks
This backbone is specified according to the needs of the team and the given project with the help of tools that prove useful at a given moment. Projects are worth managing for several reasons. First, because it improves the efficiency of the team. Second, because management creates an organizational framework for collaboration that, if implemented well, becomes convenient and invisible to those using it. Third, because management creates order so that the plan being implemented is clear to all involved. This makes it easy to make sure everyone is “on the same page.”
Traditional project management was based on standardization of processes. This meant creating a framework that could be used repeatedly, thereby improving the efficiency of the company. However, this approach does not work in the 21 century. That’s why the Project Management Institute has introduced a new management standard – the value-based standard.
It allows for greater flexibility and puts emphasis on the role of the team working on the project. In other words, it has moved significantly closer to the principles of agile management (Agile) which originated from software development, and which was treated by PMI as a curious fact until now.
The most important questions
What is project management?
Project management is about supporting the work of the team in carrying out the tasks towards the goal defined at the start of the project. It requires the project manager to use the right tools, as well as knowledge and skills, so that the project can deliver the value desired by the company or external stakeholders.
What are the key areas of project management?
The key areas of project management are planning and organizing the team task execution, as well as monitoring changes and managing risks, budget and project time.
What is Project Management Institute (PMI)?
PMI is a non-profit organization that gathers project management professionals worldwide. Among others, it is involved in the creation of standards for project management, certification and education, and the publication of books and articles.
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?