As per PMI, Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, and techniques to execute projects effectively and efficiently. It’s a strategic competency for organizations, enabling them to tie project results to business goals — and thus, better compete in their markets. Executing a project successfully is pretty much like conducting a symphony; some components have to come together in perfect harmony.

A Gartner user survey shows that, while large IT projects are more likely to fail than small projects, around half of all project failures, irrespective of project size, were put down to functionality issues and substantial delays.

Why Projects Fail:

Gartner Survey 2012 - Why Projects Fail
Source – Gartner, June 2012

The three biggest driving factors of project failure, functionality issues, delivery delays and high-cost variance clearly show that somewhere in the project lifecycle there were issues with scope definition, alignment of teams to end objective and a lack or insufficient use of tools.

In this blog, we will look at project management, not as a methodology, but as a careful and conscious amalgamation of people, tools, and organizational culture.

People

Get the right people. Then no matter what all else you might do wrong after that, the people will save you. That’s what management is all about.

Tom DeMarco

The project lifecycle has some people touch points; Project contributors, managers, stakeholders and most importantly, customers. Putting together a team with the right skills is the first step in ensuring project success.

Managing down

Project managers need to manage teams on a daily basis, delegating tasks, managing schedules, tracking issues and ensuring the project is making steady progress. They also need to manage behavioral aspects of the team such as deadline adherence, teamwork aspects and quality of deliverables to keep this massive project engine chugging along. To build knowledge capital, project managers need to encourage a collaborative and open culture where people can voice their opinions, share ideas and contribute to the organization. Teams look up to project managers as their guide and mentor. So it is imperative that project managers see it as a leadership role, not as a coordinator.

Managing up

Stakeholders within the company and customers need to be brought up to speed regularly on the status of projects and made aware of any issues that could affect the project. Managing these relationships well with a data-oriented approach can go a long way in ensuring project success.

A robust people management framework complemented with the right tools and processes ensures motivated teams on the floor, higher productivity, and better deadline adherence.

Tools

 

At times, project managers seem to forget that many of the conventional forms, charts, and tables that they must fill out are intended to serve as aids, not punishments.

Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, and Sutton

Project management tools help managers plan, execute, track and control all aspects of the project management process. To manage complex and large-scale projects effectively, companies need tools for time, resource and budget management.

Estimating, Planning, and Tracking

  • Tools can help create best and worst case scenarios, useful & intelligent forecasts, and proactive alerts and notifications when something might go wrong.

Assigning and Scheduling Resources

  • Tools can easily accommodate different aspects of resource management including (& not restricted to just) work hours, skill sets, holidays, time zones, availability, etc.

Reporting

  • Tools can quickly mine all your project data and provide valuable insights for decision making with the help of real-time reporting. Tools can help aggregate data from disparate sources into a meaningful and visual representation.

A comprehensive project management system that can help project managers manage resources, time, budget, stakeholders and customers effectively can be a game-changer for the company.

Culture

High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.

Charles Kettering

As much as it is science, project management is also a philosophy. It’s a way an organization works, bound by a set of principles that are non-negotiable. Culture, therefore, can make or break an organization. Every employee needs to believe and adopt it as the way and means to achieve the end goal. For projects to be successful consistently, employees need to relish the culture – of delivering in time, delivering in the budget and putting customer satisfaction above all.

Culture cannot be instilled overnight neither can it be forced. Therefore companies need to make this part of their HR Strategy, right from onboarding to training and appraisal processes.

So what do you get with a perfect combination of people, tools, and culture? You deliver successful projects on time, every time. You build world-class teams and a company culture that sets examples.

Project Management = People + Tools + Culture

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