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What is project management?

CMS Vocational Training Hadyn Luke posted this on Tuesday 29th of October 2019 Hadyn Luke 29/10/2019

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What is project management?

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 activities
  • 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 help?

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 underway.

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 larger projects
  • 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 project
  • A Project Dashboard to monitor progress
  • An After Action Review (AAR) to review and learn from the project once it is completed

Conclusion

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.

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