Project management is a job that may not be as popular as most other jobs are. If young kids are asked about what they want to become when they grow up, project managers may not be among the top answers. In fact, not a lot of people know much about the industry and the people who do it. There are so many misconceptions about it which is why it is necessary to set the record straight and define and describe project management.
What is project management?
In order to define project management, it is first necessary to define the word ‘project’. A project has a distinct start date and end date which makes it temporary. However, it is unique because it is not a routine operation but involves a set of operations aimed to accomplish a specific goal. Moreover, a project can involve various people who come from various departments who are brought together to work on a common task.
Examples of projects are the construction of a building, development of software, and the expansion of sales into another market, among others. It can be said that these projects need to be delivered on time and within the budget allocation.
Based on this information, project management is the application of tools, knowledge, techniques, and skills to activities that can lead to the completion of a project. It has definite deliverables that are bound by time and a budget.
Types of project management
Various types of project management have been developed in order to meet the specific needs of different industries. Among these are the following:
- Waterfall project management
This type of project management approach is similar to the traditional approach. A project is completed in stages but each stage or task should be completed before moving on to the next. From its name, the flow of the project is linear and requires keen attention to sequences and timelines. The size of the team working on a project can grow as larger tasks begin.
- Agile project management
Unlike the first type of PM, agile PM is focused on the improvement of deliverables by using the iterative process. This means that it does not follow a sequential approach but completes the phases of the project within a given period. It is helpful in avoiding making major changes to a project and causing to revamp.
- Lean project management
The basic concept of lean project management is avoiding waste, both of time and resources. It is aimed to give customers more value with fewer resources.
What are the skills good project management should have?
Project management has grown over the years and now has numerous teams competing for projects. What does it take to have good project management? What are the skills project management teams and project managers should have?
A team cannot move forward in one direction without good leadership. Leadership means leading and managing a team, setting their vision, and inspiring them to reach that vision. The saying that goes ‘leaders are made, not born’ gives people hope that leadership skills can be learned. There are many seminars and training that help develop leaders. But in the end, it should be a skill mastered by heart.
Communication is essential in everything, especially in project management. And project managers should be able to communicate themselves in a way that they understand their team and that their teams understand them. Communication is not only important between the manager and his team but also between him and his clients or stakeholders. Clients prefer project managers who consistently update them with the progress of the project. This solidifies the relationship and helps ensure the project’s success. As projects work with a budget and time frame, communication ensures that everyone is on the same page and no resources are wasted.
Scheduling is one of the hard skills that every team’s project manager should have. If it isn’t clear enough yet, projects are time and resources-bound. The only way to meet the demands and goals of a project is by proper scheduling or by breaking down the goal into tasks on a timeline. By scheduling, the team is able to manage the resources to make it last until the completion of the project. Fortunately, there are many online Gantt charts that can be used for this purpose. Gantt charts are a good way for teams to visually understand their schedule as it includes milestones, duration of tasks, and schedule of tasks.
- Risk management
Risks are inherent in every activity or endeavor, be it big or small. It is, therefore, important to see these risks even before they happen. With risk management, teams are able to identify, assess, and control these which results in greater chances of the project succeeding.
- Cost management
Cost management is critical to project management. It is basically about making sure that the budget is realistic and that it is sufficient to meet the project’s financial needs. There will be times along the project’s duration where budget realignments will become necessary. Having this cost management skill comes in handy, especially when finances become tight and need adjustments.
- Negotiation skills
In every project or endeavor, there will always be conflicts and the last thing teams need is a manager who doesn’t know how to resolve them. Project management teams can greatly benefit from managers and members that aim for a win-win resolution.
- Coaching skills
Project management teams are composed of members whose talents and skills complement each other. But a fact is that they don’t have the same level of expertise. While some of them are pros in what they do, some others need help and a little bit of coaching. This makes coaching skills necessary, especially for project managers. By monitoring the output of the members, the manager can decide on doing a little bit of coaching with those who can still improve their work.
- Quality management
It is not enough for organizations to produce an output but they should be producing ones that are of good quality. Quality management means making sure that deliverables are fit for their purpose. Managers have to make it a habit to spend enough time looking at the quality angle of their projects to ensure the satisfaction of their clients.
Good project management skills are not acquired overnight but with experience, they are not difficult to achieve. Teams just need to work together, hand-in-hand, to make sure that they are able to reach their goals on time and with good quality.