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Project Management is considered a relatively old profession. Some people argue that it shouldn’t be considered a profession, but more of a methodological work or a sequential group of activities. Others define it is a discipline, a business practice that is somewhat challenged in the complex world of business. Regardless of its perception, project management is considered an integral function across all industries and organizations over the world. With the steep rise in globalization and digitization, project management has evolved. Project management in the 20th century has generally evolved as a tactical endeavor. The technical tools of the trade, such as work breakdown schedules, earned value, and Gantt charts, are still focused and utilized. To this date, the success of a project is measured in terms of time, budget, and scope metrics. Consequently, business management and bottom-line benefits are often ignored.
The 21stcentury has been a real challenge for the business world. With the new changes in technology and its adaption at a fast pace. Traditional jobs are changing, so is the case with the field of project management. There has been a trend of increased demand for skilled project management professionals worldwide. Organizations require professionals to demonstrate broader skills in the field and business management, such as strategic management, customer relations, leadership, and emotional intelligence. In today’s world, project managers are challenged to be adept in dealing with tactical and strategic matters across the spectrum of the project. With constantly changing digital economy, principles, and practices in project management need to evolve accordingly. The continuous changes in the field have created the demand for its professionals and its future scope.
The discipline itself is a systematized manner of managing a project from its commencement to a defined ending. All projects need a defined structure. Hence, the more your project is complex and lengthy the more advanced and detailed project plan will be.
A project is a unique, transitory work undertaken to achieve planned objectives. These objectives could be defined in terms of desired output or benefits. A project is usually believed to be a success story if it achieved the desired objectives set according to their timescale and budget. Following are the building blocks of every project:
"At its most fundamental, project management is about people getting things done." – Dr. Martin Barnes, APM President 2003-2012
Project management is defined as the applying processes, methods, skills, knowledge, and experience to achieve specific objectives according to the project criteria within agreed parameters. Project management has deliverables that are controlled according to a finite timescale and budget. A key factor that differentiates project management from simple 'management' is that it has this final deliverable and a finite timescale. Unlike management, which is considered as an ongoing process. Because of this, a project professional needs an extensive range of skills, most importantly technical skills, and certainly people management skills along with good business awareness. The core components of project management are:
Modern project management focuses on unique projects. These could be one-time projects, such as website development. Because of its tailored results, it requires flexible processes and highly specialized resources. Projects are usually delivered in stages, and certain common project management processes run through these stages. Let’s look into these processes in detail. The key project management processes, which run through all of the project stages, are:
It is necessary to carry out high-level planning for the whole project at the start of the project. Moving forward, do more detailed phase-wise planning at the start of each specific phase. Ensure that you have the right people for the right job, adequate resources, methodologies, and supporting tools in place for each planning phase. Ensuring this enables you to deliver the project on time, within budget, and according to appropriate quality standards.
In this process, you make sure that you sufficiently satisfy the conditions for completing each phase before starting the next one. To do this, make sure that you fully understand the deliverables which must be completed and approved by the right stakeholders before you can exit a certain phase. Deliverables and sign-off requirements are usually identified and laid down in the Project Initiation Document. A continuous and proper review of this particular document is necessary during the project.
It's essential to control the scope of the project, cost, and issues. Furthermore, effective management of time, risks, and benefits are crucial too. Create reports that reflect the required information to depict a dependable picture of how the project is proceeding. A popular way of doing this is to use Project Dashboards.
Project managers are usually responsible for managing the project team. Working on a project is different from most usual business activities. Project work may also require a different approach and set of skills. In this regard, specific project management training and support is often crucial. And there are also some additional complexities in managing team members who have project responsibilities and other roles at the same time. So effective team management is an important process that cannot be ignored.
Effective communication is key to a successful delegation of work and, ultimately, the optimal output. It is important to define the roles as per responsible resources for communicating with team members, the project board, the different stakeholders within the business, and other relevant third parties. Poor communication is a frequent problem area for most of the projects, and it needs considerable attention to communicate well.
Procurement is usually considered a specialist area. Many projects prefer hiring third parties to manage the procurement, especially when it involves technological systems. Project managers are responsible for managing and dealing with these third parties. Effective and accurate procurement is a key to a successful project.
Most of the projects do not execute as standalone projects. They are often connected to other business activities and impact other areas of the business as well. Make sure that you take into consideration how your project will interfere with other projects or functions.
Projects, whether big or small, have multiple moving parts. To execute a successful project, there are so many elements to coordinate and track. That’s why projects are further broken down into smaller, more focused pieces, known as project phases. Project phases allow you to manage heavy project workflow and organize it so that you can wrap your mind around it and make progress accordingly.
Project management have five phases: initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing. Throughout these project phases, there is a need to constantly monitor and report, where project management tools come handy. Without these project management tools, you’ll be struggling to gather actionable data, track progress, and meet deadlines.
The conception and initiation phase is where the project begins. The project initiation phase allows us to turn an abstract idea into a meaningful goal. In this stage, a business case is developed and further defined on a broad level. To get a broader view, it is vital to determine the purpose of the project and create a project charter. The project charter is a very important document containing details like project constraints, goals, the appointment of the project manager and other staff, budget, and expected timeline, etc. Once you have the project goals and scope set aside, identify key project stakeholders.
These stakeholders are the people who are to be involved in the project in one way or another. Create a stakeholder register with the roles, designation, communication requirements, and their influence on the project. The key to the conception stage is to examine the project for feasibility and value addition to the organization. An easy project will be useless if it does not benefit the company. Similarly, a useful project will waste resources if it’s not plausible in the first place.
The planning stage requires complete attentiveness as it lays out the project’s roadmap. Once your project receives the green light, it’s time to map out the scope, timetable, and cost. Tit his is usually done by writing down a project plan, scope or charter, calculating the budget, the required resources, and a schedule. Unless you’re using a modern methodology like agile project management, the second phase of project management is anticipated to take almost half of the entire project’s timespan. Moving forward, in this planning phase, the first few things are identifying technical requirements, drafting a full-fledged project schedule, setting up an effective communication plan, and assigning goals and deliverables. There are several useful methods of setting up the project’s goals and deliverables. However, two of the most popular methods are having SMART and CLEAR goals. The SMART criteria ensure that the goals you set for your project are critically analyzed. It stands for:
The CLEAR method of setting up goals is designed to accommodate the dynamic nature of a modern workplace. It stands for:
Whichever method is chosen, the basic principles which need to be set out are the cost of the project and the quality of the result.
Next are the project launch and execution phase. The execution phase is where the project team does the actual work. Although there are one or more tasks to complete before your team starts the core of the project. The first is to make sure that the deliverables of the project are accurately set. Proper workflows must be defined to decide what needs to be completed, how it will be done, who will work on what, and when it has to be completed. Once you’re sure that you have this information collected and approved, the kickoff meeting will take place. The project kick-off meeting is vital. In this meeting, crucial communication takes place as you will meet with the teams involved.
Moreover, information on necessary resources, tasks, timelines, responsibilities, and any other aspect related to the project will be shared. Besides conveying all this information, you need to make sure that your team understands the project exactly, and they should both emotionally attached and be enthusiastic about it.
In the project management process, the third and fourth phases are not usually sequential. These phases run simultaneously with project execution to ensure that project objective and deliverables are met. The monitoring and control phase occurs over time ranging from the project’s launch to its completion. It serves as a method to measure and compare the ongoing status of the project as compared to the original plan. The phase usually involves these aspects:
Using the information collected in previously set out meetings, you need to regularly communicate with everyone involved in the project and ensure that everything is running smoothly. The phase is usually performed through the use of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), the quantifiable measure of progress mostly used in Performance Management Systems.
The last phase of project management is the project’s closing. The fifth phase indicates the end of the project after the final delivery and achievement of goals. The major task involved in it is deciding the evaluation of the project. The ultimate goal of the project are compared with the actual outcome and assess the quality, accuracy, and speed of the achieved goals. For example, a favorable outcome would be a project which was completed ahead of deadline, within or below budget without any hiccups.
Moreover, the project manager also assesses which problems arise during the project and how well were they dealt– it includes an analysis of how and why everything that took place. Performance and role of the team to achieve tasks within the timeframe.
Project management has been an important and critical business discipline for decades. Keeping in view with the unforeseen and continuous economic, environmental, technological, and societal changes and their impact on organizations and projects is important.
Most importantly, professionals, especially related to project management, should proactively prepare themselves to keep up their game. Moving forward, here are some future project management trends which we will be prominent. Hence, project management professionals must take specific steps to be prepared.
There has been a lot of discussion about artificial intelligence and its implications. Just like other fields, e.g., web development, healthcare, finance, and aerospace, the impact of artificial intelligence and automation is also on project management.
Certainly, not all projects are equal, and not all teams can stick to one particular methodology. That’s where the concept of hybrid project management comes in and has been gaining a lot of attention. Hybrid project management can be defined as a combination of methods from the traditional PM environment and the agile word. An increasing number of project managers are already using this trend, and it’s increasing every day.
In the earlier days, Intelligence Quotient (IQ) was considered important. But as the world is progressing, the ability to understand and recognize emotions and their impact on project success is getting vital. A survey done by Talent Smart revealed that 58% of respondents believe emotional intelligence is one of the strongest indicators of performance regardless of the nature of the job.
Due to technological advancements, several professionals are opting to work remotely in the last few years. And this trend is going to stay in the future. According to a survey done by Gallup:
“Remote working has been on the rise since 2012: from 39% in 2012 to 43% in 2016. The desire to work remotely is here to stay, and it isn’t limited to a few select industries.”
Remote project management offers more flexibility in the schedule, and project costs are also reduced. Moreover, it allows us to work with a diverse talent pool.
Project Management Jobs and Average Salaries
A project manager’s job is complex. Project managers around the world are often paid well due to the difficulty and complexity of the position. No matter where a project manager might work in the world, the role requires a great deal of attention to detail, planning, anticipation, experience of the right tools, and specific project management skills. Moreover, it also requires the expertise and ability to execute to rise to the top of the profession.
The quickest path to enter a project management career is to obtain at least an undergraduate degree in management studies. The undergraduate degree provides a background in important areas of management sciences and human resources management. It also enhances and strengthens crucial communication skills. Moving forward, many organizations require a Master’s degree and PMP Certification Training for highly skilled project management positions. Some requirements for the position may vary according to the company and industry demands and scope of the projects.
Some of the in-demand project management jobs are:
Average Salaries (US Based Data)
The average salary for project managers ranges around $90,000. The figure varies according to the organization, the industry, and the level of education and experience of an employee. As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, project manager salaries range from $74,000 to $100,000. Most entry-level and mid-level managers earn between $70,000 and $85,000 as annual income. Project management is an in-demand job, and people with required and up to date skills can excel and progress in the field.
As the demand of the project manager is increasing, employees are looking for ways to enhance their skills and earn a higher income. The best way to start your career or enhance your career is by taking project management courses with QuickStart. Some of the training provided by QuickStart are as follows:
For more information on PMP training, contact our experts at QuickStart. We’ll be happy to assist you in polishing your skills for a brighter future!
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