Effectiveness & Importance of Project Management

November 7, 2010

To assess the effectiveness of project management, you have to ask why it’s even important in the first place. It is crucial to know, why most of the work in today’s world is carried out in projects and why the corporations and businesses hire project managers.

A book on this subject titled “Project Management in Practice” very eloquently describes the need of projects and the project management. In this book, the authors quote the changed scenario in the business world “Our current business needs may not necessarily fall into the usual corporate work category” and that is why we need projects and the ways to manage them, especially in the IT sector. Most of the companies today operate on the restaurant model, different cuisines for different customers. To satisfy the demands of each customer, companies divide their work into projects and assign them to the appropriate project managers who can meet the criteria and deliver the project within the specified time and budget. The IT companies follow this project work model in their routine operations.

It’s also important to understand the nature of projects, one thing that is common in all types of project is that they aim towards a very specific goal. Its purpose is unique in itself for example assembling a Chevy is not a project for General Motors, but designing a new model or an assembly plant for Chevy is definitely a project for GM.

But the story does not end here. Identifying a project and assigning it to a project manager does not guarantee the success of that project. Managing a project is an art. Budget over runs, time constraints, customer criteria and human resources are not the only factors project managers should care about. In fact, they should be ready to face all the known and unknown obstacles which could hamper the progress of the project. The Standish Group, a Boston based firm which researches the IT projects and their failure, mentioned in a report titled CHAOS that every year about $250 billion are spent on some 200,000 software projects but not all of them are delivered successfully. To everybody’s amazement the reason behind these failures are not monetary or resources but the lack of skills in project management. The group also compiles reports, on the success rate of software projects. According to a sample report posted on the website of Standish group, in the year 2004 only 29% of the software projects were delivered successfully. Whereas 18% failed completely and 53% of them were challenged, which means that they faced, budget overruns, unmet criteria or delays in delivery.

These results may be disappointing but we cannot ignore the fact that the projects are now an inseparable part of business. Another report by Standish group describes some key features necessary for the success of a project. It was mentioned in the report that the executive support and user involvement are the foremost requirements for success. Even the experienced project manager accepts the fact that usually, a project without an executive support is doomed to failure. Customer is the guy for whom, the whole drill is done. It is important that his criteria should give the direction to the project, their involvement is necessary even if they don’t have any idea about their requirements. Having an experienced manager also adds to the triumph of a project. The report also gives a strong emphasis on the clarity of business objectives and scope of the project. Keeping the scope to the minimum helps in saving time and cost overrun. Other crucial factors discussed in the report were software infrastructure, methodology and staff competence.

Project management is also important in a sense that it involves lot of discipline and teamwork which not only helps in the intellectual and professional development of the team but also proves vital in identifying the talent and assets in the company who can take the organization to new heights.

Projects represent the change in the methodology of the working of corporations and project management is a tool to embrace this change. Efficient management of a project considerably increases its likelihood towards success and that’s the target project managers and supervisors should try to achieve.

By Siddharth Sehgal

References

1. CHAOS. 1999. The Standish group International Inc.

http://standishgroup.com/index.php

2. CHAOS Rising: A CHAOS Executive Commentary. 2005. The Standish group International Inc.

http://standishgroup.com/index.php

3. Project Management in Practice. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Samuel J. Mantel, Jr, Jack R Meredith, Scott M. Shafer, Margaret M. Sutton.

One Response to “Effectiveness & Importance of Project Management”

  1. Lakevia Bibb said

    Great posting…. Project management can be an integral part of any business or company. Its effectiveness is dependent upon the talent and skill of the project manager, therefore it is crucial for a business to hire project managers with valuable experience to lead their projects. Project management and a business is only as successful as its project manager.

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