WHEN YOU HEAR PROJECT MANAGEMENT, IT'S PRETTY EASY TO TAKE A GUESS AT WHAT IT ENTAILS — THE MANAGING OF PROJECTS — BUT IT'S A LITTLE MORE THAN THAT.
Similarly, when you hear the word art you associate it with creative practises e.g. writing or painting, but again it is so much more than that.
If you search up the meaning, one definition describes it as:
A skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice.
Project management is a form of art because it involves a process of applying practises to achieve the end goal of a project.
In this blog post we’ll look at what project management is, the challenges involved and tips on how to overcome such obstacles.
In a nutshell, project management is the practice of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and completing work to achieve definitive goals within a specific time frame; and in many cases a specific budget.
It can apply to any project, but it is often tailored to accommodate the needs of highly specialised industries. Take the world of information technology for example which has its own form of project management, commonly referred to as IT project management or ITPM for short. It involves the delivery of technical assets and services required to pass through various life cycle phases — planning, designing, developing, testing, and deploying. Since IT generally covers all areas of the enterprise, the scope of projects can be large and complex.
Software project management is the art of planning and leading software projects to ensure they are implemented, monitored and controlled.
In order for something to be managed, there needs to be a manager, right?
Right. Project managers exist to deal with the challenges involved in interdependent integrations, rapid upgrades, and version changes occurring throughout a project timeline.
Project Managers develop and utilise templates specific to the industry they’re working in to allow plans to become thorough and highly repeatable, with the specific intent of increasing quality, decreasing costs of delivery and speeding up results.
The Challenges of Project Management and How to Overcome Them
As you can imagine there are challenges that come with project management, the most fundamental being the achievement of project goals with surrounding constraints.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common:
Start from the inside out. An Enterprise may not have defined the goals or objectives of a project before going into it. This often spells trouble for project managers because a poorly planned project will surely fail. It is vital to set goals, a budget, and a time-frame before a project commences.
The success of a project is very much dependent on the people involved. Project managers need to be able to work with all kinds of people. Certain personality traits can pose a risk to the longevity of a project and in worse case scenarios this can lead to the termination of a project. It’s important for the PM to understand individuals within the team, including their level of skill so that training can be provided to ensure they’re ready for the task at hand.
Risk factors need to be determined early on to identify internal risks and infeasible actions. This should be established at the very start of gathering information. Building a circle of trust amongst team members is also important and should be done at the very start of a project.
Project managers need to be open with team members so that they feel comfortable enough to approach them with any issues or concerns. A lack of communication or miscommunication poses a huge risk to the entirety of a project. Being transparent from the start and establishing preferred methods of communication amongst team members can be a massive help.
The need for the project manager to determine his or her expectations of a team prove just as important as that of the teams expectations of the manager. Once these have been established by both parties, reaching desired goals becomes easier. Availability of resources, deadlines, training and payments are just some of the issues that need to be discussed on a regular basis between project managers and team members to ensure the overall success of a project.