Project Management – Doing The Projects RIGHT

Projects are vehicles of change - in the modern sense, projects are strategic management tools and you may ignore the newly reborn discipline of project management at your peril. It is fast becoming a core competence which many organisations require their employees and leaders to have. It is no longer the preserve of specialists and the engineering sector, but an activity for everyone. The problem is that most people simply do not have the right skills. Project management is still seen as a specialist discipline requiring special people who are difficult to find and to retain. While this is to a certain extent true, a scarcity of ‘project managers’ should not be a barrier to any organization starting to develop a ‘projects’ approach to managing its future.

A project is a temporary endeavor, having a defined beginning and end (usually constrained by date, but can be by funding or deliverables), undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, usually to bring about beneficial change or added value. Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, securing and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives. The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast to business as usual (or operations), which are repetitive, permanent or semi-permanent functional work to produce products or services. In practice, the management of these two systems is often found to be quite different, and as such requires the development of distinct technical skills and the adoption of separate management. The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals and objectives while honoring the preconceived project constraints. Typical constraints are scope, time, and budget. The secondary, and more ambitious, challenge is to optimize the allocation and integration of inputs necessary to meet pre-defined objectives.

Project management is simply applied common sense. All organizations say that their most important asset is their people (although the shareholders may be more interested in profit), but no organization, however excellent, has a monopoly on ‘good people’; they are simply much better at getting ‘ordinary’ people to perform in an extraordinary way and their few ‘extraordinary’ people to perform beyond expectations. These organizations provide an environment which enables this to happen. Add to this a few, well-chosen project experts and you have a sound foundation for generating successful projects. Well-managed projects will enable you to react and adapt speedily to meet the challenges of your competitive environment, ensuring you drive toward an attainable, visible, corporate goal.