Project management helps organizations approach projects in measurable and distinct stages the better to meet deadlines, expectations, and budget and with the least risk and number of issues. Project management is a set of knowledge, practices, techniques, and tools aimed at delivering project goals in a timely and predictable manner, making you better prepared if ever problems crop up.
This article will delve into the many aspects of project management to make you well aware of what it is, its intent, advantages, uses, composition, trends, possible issues, and more. For a better understanding and for a more logical flow, we’ve presented this in a Q&A format. It is our hope that you will benefit from having a deeper appreciation and greater knowledge on what project management is all about and what it can do for you, your team, and your organization. Below, you’ll find the answers to commonly asked questions on project management.
Project management is intended to help you anticipate and understand potential issues and problems and, armed with the necessary information and knowledge, prepare, organize, plan, and coordinate activities so you can complete and successfully deliver the project. Risk is always a lingering variable which can be difficult to precisely predict especially for large, complex projects. But you can be forewarned and take pre-emptive mitigating actions through proper planning and preparation, applying best practices, and utilizing project management tools.
Before we can answer the question what is project management, we must first understand what a project is. The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines a project as “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.” PMI further qualifies a project:
- It is temporary – it has a defined timeline from start to completion, and defined scope and resources.
- It is unique – it is not a routine activity, but a specific set of defined operations meant to achieve an objective.
On the above premise, project management is, therefore, the application to project activities of certain skills, knowledge, techniques, tools, and experience to meet the requirements of a project. As distinguished from “management” which is an ongoing process, project management works on a certain time span and has a final deliverable.
After defining it and knowing — what is the purpose of project management — we can now tackle its benefits. Project management provides you with proven techniques and good practices as well as repeatable processes to guide you in managing the people, activities, and resources involved in your projects. As such, it enables you to deliver projects with efficiency and consistency within the allotted time and budget. In no particular order, project management gives you the following benefits:
- Set activities that align with the project’s goals
- Enhance productivity and quality of work
- Set the budget and scope from the onset
- Encourage clear communication among teams, clients, and suppliers
- Stay on schedule and keep costs manageable
- Improve your chances of successfully completing the project
- Mitigate project risks and problems
- Ensure the priority and efficient use of resources
- Satisfy the needs of project stakeholders
- Boost your competitive edge and standing
- Increase customer satisfaction
Project management software comes into play to help you better realize the benefits listed above. With built-in tools and solutions to automate and streamline tasks and activities, project management software lets you:
- Easily collaborate
- Enhance decision making
- Improve internal and external communication
- Monitor and track project tasks and processes
- Optimize scheduling and time management
- Efficiently manage project budget
- Smoothly delegate tasks
There are several popular project management tools available often with specific functions to address particular project management requirements such as time tracking, Gantt charts, and visual timelines, budgeting, team reporting, calendar and to-do lists, scheduling and milestones, file sharing, document management, and more. Other project management platforms are complete end-to-end solutions with an array of tools to handle common project management functions.
These tools are built to streamline complex processes, automate workflows and repetitive tasks, provide valuable metrics and insightful reports, support instant communication regardless of device, store and organize documents online, track billable work hours, monitor resources and assets, and offer a collaborative workspace. Backend and front end, project management software does the heavy lifting so you can focus on leading your team and delivering the project.
Project Manager is a highly-rated and widely-used PM solution noted for its robust collaboration, scheduling, and planning features. Relied upon by over 10,000 teams worldwide including those from the UN and NASA, the software is equipped with tools to help you handle just about any kind of project – from simple to mission-critical ones. Among its array of features are real-time dashboards, multiple views that update automatically, task lists, auto-filled timesheets, status reports, resource management, portfolio management, and business intelligence. It is also able to integrate more than 400 external apps and services into the system.
Project Manager stands out when it comes to collaboration and communication. You get at-a-glance dashboards to keep track of project and team progress. Being cloud-hosted platform, you and your team can share project data as well as work together on tasks anytime from whatever location. You can create discussion groups and add members to chat by mobile or online. Its Android and iOS apps enable you and your team to collaborate and manage tasks from anywhere. You’ll also be able to start off your projects immediately using pre-built project templates, and put all your files in online storage with access permissions.
- Remote teams and virtual workers will become mainstream. The Internet-connected everyone and reshaped the workplace. People don’t need to go to the office and companies need not hire office staff to accomplish projects. Under the direction of an able project manager, projects can be worked on and delivered by remote teams from around the world. The demand for virtual workers has spawned job marketplaces such as Upwork and Freelancer.com.
- Irregular schedules are on the upswing. A result of having telecommuters and remote teams, collaboration tools, and mobile apps effectively got rid of the 9 to 5 schedule. Now, managers and staff can stay connected, access their files and documents, and work anytime from anywhere and even on the go.
- BYOD poses challenges. One setback to having remote workers is making use of “Bring Your Own Device” – laptops, tablets, and smartphones for work purposes. With different systems and platforms, poses new challenges to project managers who have to ensure the software used by team members is suitable for the tasks and the project. There is also the issues on security and new processes that may not match the device or its operating system.
- Automation will become integral to PM. Automation is becoming a standard in project management especially with the tools that are used for creating forms and documents, visualizing timelines and reports, analyzing data and organizing information, scheduling tasks, and preparing proposals and budgets. AI and machine learning are increasingly being applied to automation features of PM solutions to handle redundant tasks with minimal manual intervention.
- More PM tools are in the cloud. SaaS models and subscription-based services have sprung up as more software solutions are being hosted on the cloud and web-based platforms. Prices have gone down to affordable levels and the tools themselves have become more flexible and powerful. It also eliminated the need for complicated installations, set up, maintenance and updates.