Key benefits of CRM

Accepting projects and completing them within the specified time and budget are the most important factors that determine the success of an organization. In order to complete the projects to satisfaction of the stakeholders within the specified time and budget, a project needs to be extensively planned and executed with skillful management of the various aspects of the project and coordination of the teams that implement the project, right from the beginning all the way to the completion of the project life-cycle. Effective project Management software enables you to achieve all that in a systematic manner and paves way for your long-term success.

What is Project Management?

Project management is the process of planning and implementing a project to meet certain objectives, by following a pre-determined schedule and action plan. Project management involves constantly setting the priorities, and judiciously allocating resources for various tasks and events in a logical way to achieve maximum efficiency, and sharing responsibilities with various teams and departments to create collective outcomes for the fulfillment of project objectives.

Being a vast domain, project management encompasses various principles of management based on cost, time and resources constraints.

Basic Principles of Project Management

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1.Integration:

Integration involves handling the complexities of vast projects by managing conflicts between various key elements of the project and making suitable compromises for a smooth flow of the project. It involves coordinating various tasks, teams that handle tasks, resources and other key elements of the project to avoid conflicts and setbacks, and to ensure progress towards the objectives.

For example, if you or following lean manufacturing practices and you get everything needed for production only when needed, then as a project manager, you have to coordinate with your sales team to forecast demands accurately, communicate with your procurement team to get everything from vendors just before you start the production and ensure the availability of human resources to carry out the production at the right time. If one of those teams faces delay or a setback, such as a vendor not supplying a key raw material for the production, then it is the responsibility of the project manager to work out a solution so that the delay does not cause a ripple effect, affecting the operations of other teams involved in the production.

Scope:

Right from the planning phase, the project is bound to a project scope that clarifies what the project can or cannot achieve. However, during the project implementation, the scope may need to be altered according to the changes dictated by market conditions or client demands. At the same time, in order to complete the project successfully within specified time and budget, the project needs to remain within the confines of scope as much as possible. Scope management is the process of constantly monitoring whether the project is progressing within the purview of the proposed scope and determining whether the proposed changes to the scope can cause a serious impact on the project. Scope management is all about accepting the changes that you can allow and rejecting the ones that can cause a significant impact on the project.

Time:

While finishing the project is important, it is equally important to deliver it on time. This can be achieved only by creating a culture of time management, where every employee in the organization sticks to the schedule and follows the timelines to achieve all the milestones as per the project plan. Only then, the collective outcomes come together to fulfill the project objectives on time. Time management is the process of managing the progress of the project according to the proposed timelines and delivering a project before the deadline.

Cost:

The total budget of a project is determined after a thorough analysis of the project requirements. A lot of effort goes into analyzing whether the effectiveness of project outcomes do justice to the proposed budget. So, there is a strong rationale behind budgeting and fund allocation. There is a fine line between allocating too little that can lead to low quality deliverables and spending too much to have the return of investment and profitability. So, spending within the allocated budget is crucial for the success of a project. Cost management is the process of constantly monitoring the spending in various areas and ensuring that funds are judiciously spent on the right priorities at any given time. Cost management involves constantly managing the spending and re-allocating funds to different areas of focus based on the changing priorities of the project. Cost management prevents overspending and leads to consistent quality outcomes.

Quality:

The quality of the deliverables is key to the success, growth and the reputation of the organization. In order to ensure quality of deliverables, it is essential to manage the quality of outcomes from every single initiative, task and activity. Quality management ensures that every employee produces outcomes that meet the quality standards that you agreed upon during the planning phase. With proper quality management, the individual and collective efforts of the employees lead to quality outcomes, and ultimately high quality deliverables.

Human Resources:

People are the key ingredients of project implementation. Project managers need to carefully assess the skill requirements to complete the project successfully and efficiently. He/she needs to allocate the budget and resources to recruit the right people with the right skillsets for every position. In addition to recruiting people the project manager has to bring the best out of them as well. Work gets done with the contribution and collaboration of so many individuals and teams. Building a harmonious relationship within the organization amongst individuals and teams goes a long way in building teamwork and synergy, in order to get work done efficiently and to collectively move towards the common goals in a balanced way.

Communication:

A project has many stakeholders, including the clients, creditors, vendors, employees, management, etc. They all play a key role in decision making and in deciding the course of the project. In order to make these-business critical decisions, it is indispensable to have all the latest data, facts and insights in hand. Communication management ensures that all the key parameters related to the project’s performance are tracked, measured and documented properly, and promptly disseminated to all the concerned stakeholders in the form of detailed reports that contain all the relevant data and insights. The project manager has the responsibility of implementing communication strategies to ensure timely internal and external communication through various channels, in order to share these data and the reports and disseminate information to the stakeholders.

Risks:

Implementation of the projects do not always necessarily go according to the plan. Various factors including market conditions, competition, financial uncertainties, legal liabilities, strategical mistakes, management errors, natural disasters, etc., pose serious risks to the project. The project manager needs to constantly assess the risk factors and proactively come up with solutions to manage/mitigate from those risks and complete the project. Risk management processes are put in place right from the planning phase, the project manager subjects any potential risk to go through this process so that the decisions made to manage risks are all thoroughly discussed and analyzed by all the concerned individuals.

Procurement:

A project may need a lot of resources, from infrastructure, technologies, critical equipment, etc., all the way up to mundane tools such as office stationery. The project manager has to implement procurement management practices to assess the needs, take purchase requests into account, review the project requirements, allocate budget, evaluate the options, place purchase contracts, manage those orders, approve project invoices, make payments and keep track of the inventory, so that everything the project needs is at hand at all times.

What are the core components of project management?

Following are the Core components of project management.

  • Baseline research to get all facts right
  • Establishment of rationale behind the project
  • Defining scope of the project
  • A strong business case
  • Project plan that captures the requirements, objectives and specific goals, budgets, timescales and quality of the deliverables
  • The formal approval and allocation of funds
  • A robust management plan incorporating change management and risk management
  • Allocation of work to teams, management of team synergy, building teamwork and motivating them
  • Monitoring, time tracking and measuring key performance indicators
  • Time management and budget management
  • Documenting and reporting to stakeholders
  • Completion and delivery of the project

Five Phases of project management

The five stages of project management cycle are:

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Initiation:

Initiation is the phase of project management where the need for a project is determined. Details such as the problems that necessitate the project, how your project will solve them, what the project will achieve, who all will be benefited, who all should be involved in the project, etc., are discussed and identified during the initiation. Initiation of a project involves creating a project charter, doing a baseline study to collect relevant data and writing a business case.

Planning:

During the planning phase of project management, the scope of the project is defined, and the overall objectives of the project are identified, discussed and finalized. Planning involves setting specific and measurable goals of the project and listing out tasks, activities and events that will help you accomplish the objectives of the project. It also involves creating a project roadmap with clear milestones, timelines and a detailed schedule. During the planning phase, budget and resources are allocated, the quality of deliverables are determined and a change management plan is put in place to tackle unforeseen changes midway through the implementation of the project.

Execution:

Execution phase in project management involves implementation of the project as per the project plan, splitting and allocating responsibilities to various teams and individuals, managing them and building teamwork to complete tasks as per the schedule within the specified budget. During implementation, any changes that need to be made to the project plan will be subjected to the change management process that is put in place. Finally, the project objectives are completed at the deliverables are produced. The progress made in the project are all documented and disseminated to stakeholders in the form of records and insights.

Monitoring and control:

During this phase of project management, various aspects of the performance of the project are tracked, measured and monitored. Initial expectations from the project and the quality of deliverables finalized in the planning phase are compared to what the project has produced and delivered in the end. Based on the analysis, successes and failures in the project are determined. The learnings from the project are discussed and internalized.

Completion and closure:

In this final phase of the project management, the successes and failures of the project are reviewed, learnings from the implementation and the challenges you faced are discussed and internalized by the organization and the teams, so that they can be applied during the execution of subsequent projects. The project is finally delivered, the contracts are closed, pending payments are cleared, the resources are reallocated, and the project is formally closed.

Why do organizations need project management?

A project has a starting point and point of closure. Between these two stages, the project needs to be managed carefully and systematically in order to create the best outcomes, meeting all the objectives and completing the project to the satisfaction of the clients. Without a methodical approach that the project management brings, the project will merely be a collection of random tasks carried out by individuals in their silos without any coordination or teamwork, doing things that are not clearly connected to project objectives. As a result, a project without proper project management cannot meet its objectives or fulfill the project requirements within a reasonable time frame or a fixed budget. So, project management is crucial for any organization to take up and complete projects like clockwork with great efficiency and quality.

8 key benefits of project management

  • Efficiency and consistency in execution
  • Timely completion of projects with judicious use of resources
  • Alignment towards objectives that enables your workforce to work towards a common purpose
  • Teamwork, coordination and cooperation between teams to overcome challenges and complete tasks efficiently
  • Change management and risk management to proactively manage challenges that can otherwise derail a project
  • Meeting the diverse expectations of various stakeholders
  • Ability to complete projects within specified budget
  • Quality management of deliverables and outcomes

Project management is a vast domain that encompasses various responsibilities. The project manager is the leader of the project, and is ultimately responsible for the project and its deliverables. So, the project manager faces so many challenges and has a lot of responsibilities. Following are some of the responsibilities of a project manager.

Role of a project manager

1.Understanding requirements and expectations of the stakeholders and writing a strong business case

2.Managing various aspects of the project, from planning to completion

3.Coordinating tasks and teams to build teamwork and bring the best out of employees

4.Motivating employees and evaluating their performance

5.Defining the scope of the project

6.Planning the project, setting milestones and timelines and defining tracking mechanisms

7.Identifying the skills sets required to complete the project successfully and hiring people

8.Budgeting and taking audit of the resources required to complete the project

9.Change management and risk management

10.Forging business relationships

11.Conducting periodical meetings with the teams to review the completed milestones

12.Tracking the progress of various tasks and the project, reviewing performance and providing feedback to employees

13.Documenting and reporting project status and development

14.Identifying training needs and creating knowledge resources

15.Time management and managing the scope, costs and resources

16.Setting priorities and reallocating resources to what is currently important

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