All organizations use projects as the way to translate strategies into actions and objectives into realities. Many companies are project-intensive as they live and breathe project management because they are in that kind of business, such as construction, aerospace, engineering design, engineer-procure-construct (EPC), general contractors, consulting, software, and so on. For them, organizing around projects is a natural way of life as almost all senior staff have “come up through the ranks”, and top management understands what it takes to be successful in project work. On the other hand are less project-intensive organizations such as food, retailing and textiles. But even such companies have projects, e.g., setting up a new distribution depot or a new plant. Even in public sector, it is effective project management that translates politicians’ visions of new roads, schools and hospitals into gleaming new constructions that improve everyday life.
When creating a project plan it must be documented in order to identify the scope of the project. This is the only way you can avoid scope creep. Scope creep is the evil villain in every project manager’s life.
“Scope Creep,” also called “requirement creep,” refers to uncontrolled changes or continuous growth in a project’s scope. This phenomenon can occur when the scope of a project was not properly defined, documented, or controlled. It is generally considered a negative occurrence, and needs to be avoided. Documenting the idea of the project entails a manager to create a Work Breakdown Structure. The WBS illustrates a map of the project and aids in the efforts to align all elements involved in the project into workable components. The framework of the WBS provides the project manager with detailed estimates of cost and the controls needed to maintain the schedule of the development.
Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, motivating and controlling resources to achieve specific goals. Very few people start in the field as full-fledged project managers. Most are offered an assistant position on a project management team. The superheroes that show these strong skills sets required of project managers are hard to come by.
Realization of objectives is not easy, though; especially in today’s increasingly complex and high-stake world – richer technology, distributed / global / outsourced workgroups, culture differences due to inorganic growth, cost pressures, new services and products, mass customization needs for demanding customers, compressed time-to-market, increasing market volumes and stricter regulatory requirements. Numerous studies and observations have shown that strong business growth or other ambitious endeavors frequently bring the following risks in deployment of strategies to manage the endeavors:
· Delays due to ineffective project planning, monitoring, coordination, risk management and follow-through
· Poor realization of financial goals due to ineffective scope management and staff utilization / accountability
· Customer dissatisfaction due to lack of responsiveness, communications and stakeholder management
Thus, the key for most organizations to remain competitive in a high-growth and fastchanging environment is strong delivery capability made possible by uniform and effective processes, structure, and discipline of planning and monitoring initiatives that translate strategy into reality.
Project Management is a competency that leaders can use in their organizations to handle increasing complexity with higher success rates and acceptance, and lower uncertainty and costs. Following are just a few examples of the organizational inefficiencies that pose the above-mentioned risks, but can be effectively handled through use of the Project Management competency:
· Schedules managed in silos and dependencies are not integrated.
· Delays in one area not communicated to a dependent area, so resources not allocated efficiently.
· Schedules having short-term forecast range. Long-term planning at the activity-level non-existent.
· Schedules not identifying true critical paths and not including non-working time and defect estimates.
· Many communication channels informal, and therefore information not documented and communicated to all appropriate stakeholders in a timely manner.
· Responsibility for decision-making not clearly defined (decisions affecting shifting priorities or resources, changing dates, etc.).
· Lack of proactive risk identification and management. o Inadequate reporting – lack of visibility / insight into the true status of the projects.
· Frequently forgotten or delayed activities and decisions
The art of managing projects is about having consistency in achieving stated objectives within limits of time, budget, and stakeholders’ satisfaction, by directing and coordinating human and material resources. Project Management is a way of life for enhanced collaboration, governance, execution-discipline, responsiveness, and alignment of organizational elements and procedures with features of products and operations. Project Management skills are quite different from technical design, engineering or construction skills usually associated with most projects, and cover aspects outside of the scope of these technical areas that have to be well managed, if the project objectives are to be met. Project Management also differs from traditional management in that it brings in cross-functional collaboration, governance, execution-discipline, responsiveness, and alignment of organizational elements and procedures with features of end-products of projects. It can help leaders bring in agility in innovation, growth and response to changes in the external environment.
Applying effective Project Management for deployment of strategy and goals can thus provide organizations the following advantages:
· Business advantage through timely achievement of goals, optimal resource utilization and information based decision making
· Competitive advantage through workforce energized by culture of execution and collaboration and customer satisfied by getting the “right” results reliably
Project Management can also bring in some tangible benefits for individuals at various levels in organizations. For example, through project management:
· Executives get accurate and timely information so that they can make sound business decisions and make course corrections quickly so they can maintain a competitive edge.
· People who execute understand their roles and responsibilities and how their work relates to the bigger picture. Minimization of conflicts and confusions through effective communications increases productivity and enthusiasm.
It can be concluded that project management as a management discipline, individual competency and organizational culture underpins much economic activity and is a critical source of multiple advantages. The specialized role of project management in bringing agility to organizations that want to innovate, whether it is for new products or new initiatives, cannot be ignored.
Start with finding the project champion. Every project needs a champion who can bring together the resources to make it happen. Your champion must be someone who is passionate about the project, believes it will make a positive impact on the organization, and is willing to put in the time and effort to make the project succeed. It could be an executive director, an administrator, a clinician, or anyone who understands the client data requirements. Begin by identifying the project champion. Try to find someone who is a leader within the organization. As with most iniatives, the chance for success is better if the project receives support from the people at the top. Make sure your project champion is always kept in the communication loop. Involve them in all of the major decisions regarding the project. Let them know when key milestones have been achieved and invite them to celebrate with the rest of the team.
Designate a Project Manager
In addition to a champion, your project needs a project manager. This is the person who will be responsible for setting the objectives for the project, keeping the team on track, and making sure the goals are achieved. A project manager is accountable for continually balancing the golden triangle of time, money, and system features. All three of these must be reconsidered and prioritized several times throughout the process. The project manager must be given enough time in their workday to devote to managing the project. Some of their duties may need to be temporarily reassigned until the project is completed.
Identify the Subject Matter Experts
Within the organization are many people who have expert knowledge of your current client data management system. Some may have actually designed and built the system. Others may not have developed the system, but use it on a daily basis. And still others may never use the system directly, but receive important reports, spreadsheets, and other bits of information that are produced by the system. Subject matter experts from all of these groups need to be represented within the project team. The SMEs can tell the system developers what the system needs to do, and how they intend to use it. They also participate throughout the process in testing the system design to make sure it is fast, accurate and user friendly.
Arrange for Technical Support
You might need to bring in outside help to design, develop and/or purchase a new client data system. Or you might have people within your own organization who can create it. Either way, once the system is completed, someone with technical knowledge will be needed to keep it up and running. Identify this person early in the process and consult with them often while designing and building the new system. Ask for their input on hardware, network and security issues. If you don’t have someone on staff with this kind of technical expertise, be sure to find someone who will volunteer or who can be trained to be the administrator of the new system. This may involve create user logins and passwords, writing reports and queries, making modifications, doing backups, and handling updates.
Develop a Communication Plan
Once you have your team in place, you will need a plan for how you will communicate with each other about the project. There are many options for this, depending on your access to technology and the internet. You can use phone, email, or collaborative websites. Decide as a group who needs to be informed of issues and included in decisions. You will also need a shared calendar for arranging meetings and setting target dates for project milestones.