Put simply, project management is the organisation of tasks
and people, usually to a set deadline and budget. A well-managed project not
only brings better results, but also reduces potential stress for those
responsible for delivering it.
As a project manager, you will most likely be involved with:
- Planning the timeline of the project and keeping
directors informed if this requires extending
- Allocating team members to the project or
organising staff allocated to your team
- Managing, monitoring and motivating your team
- Communicating with clients and ensuring they are
satisfied with the progress and final results of the project
- Liaising with contractors and monitoring their
- Managing the budget and keeping directors
informed about issues that may affect it, in particular any potential overspend
What kind of projects require managing?
The project you are managing might be carried out wholly within
your business and delivered by in-house staff. However, many projects will have
external clients, who are paying for a service and will expect a certain level
of communication and professionalism, as well as seeing results delivered.
Some projects will involve contractors, for example
refitting your factory, introducing a new IT system to your office or producing
new marketing material for your company. This could mean:
- Researching contractors eg electricians,
builders, IT specialists, website designers, marketing specialists
- Obtaining quotes for work to be carried out
- Monitoring the work to ensure it is completed on
time and to budget
What are project management systems and how can they
A project management system includes tools, techniques and
processes that you can follow and pass on to your team. These help you define
the objectives of the project, as well as the risks, timeline and budget.
As with many aspects of business, preparation is key when it
comes to project management. Following an established project management system
will help you set up a framework for success, even before the project gets
Examples of project management systems
PRINCE2® or Projects in Controlled Environments – A
system that helps you to define the roles of those involved with the project,
manage any risk, establish a budget and ensure good communication. Used in the
UK and other countries where English is spoken.
PMBOK® or Project Management Body of Knowledge – A US
system that focuses on skills, from achieving results to managing budgets.
Agile Project Management – With a focus on
flexibility, this system is particularly well suited to projects being carried
out in complex and fast-moving environments.
What other tools might help you as a project manager?
To help you with the smooth running of your project, you
might like to create any of the following:
- A Business Case to identify risk factors
- A Project Charter with an action plan for the
various steps involved in a project
- Gap Analysis for efficiency when scheduling
- A Business Requirement Analysis to set out a
framework for stakeholders for what the project will be expected to deliver
- Scope Control to anticipate potential changes to
the project and manage them accordingly
- Responsibility Assignment (or Accountability)
Matrix (RAM) to identify roles and accountability for those involved in a
- A Project Dashboard to monitor progress
- An After Action Review (AAR) to review and learn
from the project once it is completed
A skilled project manager can be an asset to any business.
Developing the skills of managing staff, clients, contractors, budgets and
timelines will have a positive impact on your career, improving your prospects
of promotion or being engaged by a new employer.