Project management: What it is and define your project

Published on 02/04/2024

Project management: What it is and define your project

Published on 02/04/2024
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Project management: What it is and define your project

Before starting the planning of any project, it’s essential to understand what project management truly entails. Knowing the phases it comprises and the benefits it provides are determining factors. Whether you’re just starting out in the world of project management or have already gained experience, this article will surely be useful to you.

What is project management?

Project management consists of all the actions you must take to meet a defined goal within a specified period, during which resources, tools, and people are used, all of which have a cost that must be considered when budgeting. In the end, you always obtain final products that should match the initial objectives.

To a greater or lesser extent, any company today practices project management. Regardless of its size, the activity it develops, or the sector in which it operates, a project can range from a significant, specific job for a client to optimizing an internal process within the organization itself.

The goal of project management, in the end, is to create an original product that meets a specific need of the client. It tends to be more complicated than the standard way of marketing, where a client buys a product to meet their needs. However, in a project, the product has to fulfill a specific need that must be clear. This is one of the difficulties of project management, as there are usually no precedents in the organization.

Project management encompasses a methodology that we will see in this article and subsequent ones, some of the most important of which are:

  • Defining the phases of our projects
  • Defining the budget of the projects
  • Defining the scope
  • Defining the duration
  • Defining the goal

Benefits of project management

When managing a project, you can find several benefits that will help your company in different areas, making it much easier to achieve business objectives:

  • It enables a quick response to different market demands, as it maximizes the reaction capacity of employees, achieving more at a lower cost. Beyond meeting budgetary objectives, it is very important to provide added value and quality. When managing a project, you must ensure that workers know all their responsibilities to fulfill the mission. Consequently, they find ways to improve the project and save on costs and time.
  • Externally, thanks to project management, you provide an overall vision and improvement in the company’s communication. Global objectives are set within the organization, so there is also a general budget and company costs for the entire organization. With good project management, there is a better transfer of information between different departments, and priorities are more easily set.
  • It allows you to learn from past lessons, creating what is known as “know-how,” allowing you to use planning experience for future projects. During the execution and development phases of the project, errors will be identified and corrected, allowing for defining more optimized processes and creating good practices that can be reused.
  • You have accurate information about the true capacity of the work team, as project management maximizes synergies between employees of the organization. One of the main roles of the project director is to get people to work in a synchronized, harmonious manner. Identifying problems, managing conflicts, negotiating, and encouraging cooperation are essential qualities that a good Project Manager must have.
  • There is a customer-focused vision. As we mentioned before in the benefits section, a project always focuses on the client to meet a specific need of theirs.
  • It ensures quality, as it allows you to provide the client with a product that meets their requirements and has the appropriate use. A timely delivery, exceeding the budget, and meeting the client’s quality expectations allow for the consolidation of the brand image and generating business opportunities for your organization.

Phases in project management

When managing a project, it is necessary to keep in mind that it has several phases, which are always the same, and there are four:

  1. Planning: Planning is the first phase in the management of a project, and it precedes the development of it. In this phase, you have to define what activities will have to be done and estimate the duration of the project. It’s the task management phase that consists of defining the tasks, assigning them to the people responsible for their execution, determining their duration, defining the dependency between tasks, and prioritizing them. You also have to indicate what resources will be necessary to successfully carry out the project.
  2. Scheduling: This is the second phase of project management, and it involves creating the project execution calendar, indicating the dates when each part of the project will be done, including the start and end dates. This phase, along with the planning phase, is before the start of the project.
  3. Project monitoring and control: This phase is the only phase of the entire management process that occurs during the project. It involves monitoring and controlling its execution. That is, gathering data on progress and taking appropriate measures in case there are any issues. Flexibility and the capacity to react are fundamental for good project management. Let’s not be naive; no matter how much we plan, there will always need to be changes made to resolve an issue, facilitate the work of the men and women involved, etc. The ability to adapt and manage change are two important factors if we want to be successful.
  4. Analysis and evolution: This is the fourth and final phase of project management, which takes place after the project has been completed. In this phase, the focus is on measuring the differences between what was anticipated during the planning phase and what actually occurred, typically focusing on the planned budget and the actual cost. This phase is also important because it allows for the identification of errors made throughout the process and learning from the experience for future projects.

The Importance of the Project Manager

Less than two out of every five organizations consider project management to be an important success factor in their strategy. A recent study by the Project Management Institute (PMI), “The High Cost of Low Performance,” confirms this. This report also highlights the advantages associated with project management and the dissemination of best practices. According to the study, organizations that utilize project management methods and tools typically achieve a success rate of 71% with respect to initial objectives, whereas companies that do not use them only reach a success rate of 52%.

The role of the project manager is to develop the project within a pre-established budget and timeline. Success depends on the good coordination of the involved parties and the strategic initiatives that are launched to achieve the pursued objectives. To achieve this, Project Managers rely not only on their experience and knowledge, but also on solutions that allow them to effectively monitor the project’s evolution (timeline, progress, costs, deviations from what was planned, etc.).

Skills in project management will not only help you avoid risks, but also make efficient and effective use of the resources available to the work group. On the other hand, team members will be adequately guided, understand their responsibilities and the expected results from them, and always be involved in respecting the task schedule to complete the project on time and within the assigned budget.

Another important aspect for the project manager to consider is understanding how people work and why they work this way. Only then can more efficient work dynamics be detected, good practices applied, processes standardized, and tasks carried out optimally. Achieving this can optimize project management by minimizing risks, controlling costs, and maximizing the chances of success within the organization. These are the keys to success.

Projects carried out smoothly, within budget, and on schedule send a very clear message about the competence and professionalism of the company and help consolidate the reputation and image of the organization. A strong brand can increase the commercial value of a company, as well as establish solid relationships with stakeholders based on trust.

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