Project management can often fly under the radar and be dismissed as a “nice-to-have.” However, it is far from it. Think back to a project that you participated in that simply did not function or end well. It might have disorganised, progressed too slowly, or the team might not have worked well together. Project management encompasses vital components and skills such as leadership, organisation, and change management, all of which are “must-haves.”
Who is responsible for Project Management in an organisation?
Project managers are constantly working to help businesses reach objectives. They use their skills and knowledge of organising tasks and people to achieve desired outcomes. When we think about the process of project management, companies are constantly thinking about how to improve it, but they never address where this process should fit within the organisation.
Enterprises could find a myriad of homes to place project management inside the company. It is steeped into every level of management, department, and value stream. However, because it can fit anywhere, it often ends up nowhere.
Completing projects is critical to business success.
Ongoing processes need agile management to accomplish tasks effectively with just enough self-awareness added to be constantly improving. These daily tasks are what keep the business running properly, but they are not what help it thrive.
Innovation necessitates the development and execution of projects to help give the company an edge. These projects help launch new products, develop new processes and accomplish new tasks that arguably help large organisations grow and change, provided they meet a market need. As the speed of innovation accelerates, projects need to be accomplished, streamlined and managed appropriately to minimise chance of failure by increasing efficiency, time-to-market, and agility.
In times of crisis, new projects spring up that must be accomplished, whether planned or unplanned. In 2020, many companies found themselves with new projects to facilitate working from home. A mad scramble forced tight deadlines and failing to adapt meant extreme difficulty in completing tasks. It also resulted in higher stress levels, less work-life balance, and overall decreased mental and physical well-being of managers and employees. Hence, the importance of planning and organising tasks, people and projects cannot be stressed enough in ensuring business longevity.
One example of successful project management and pivoting is Zumba. The dance class giant was facing gym closures during 2020 lockdowns and months of little to no revenue. By competently executing special projects, they created an entire online platform in only a few weeks. After the adjustment, many of their instructors found they were making more money than when they are teaching classes in person.
Project management, when done correctly, allows for higher levels of achievement. Teams are more likely to obtain the desired results, and company resources can be effectively budgeted and deployed.
Every department has projects.
While not every department in an enterprise-level business will have the same workload, they will all have projects that need to be completed. There will always be one–time deliverables that have to be organised and coordinated across teams.
Every member of the value stream will contribute to do one project or another to keep the business running. Accounting may go through the motions with tasks like payroll, but once task season approaches, the projects pile up. Marketing teams run campaigns, engineers develop software, and IT build infrastructure, all using different projects. If these projects are accomplished on time, the company runs better. When there are problems, the entire organisation can grind to a standstill. Anyone and everyone manages projects. Even if they don’t have the official title, most employees play their role in organising events and meeting deadlines.
However, if proper project management is so widespread and critical to success, why isn’t this process standardised throughout the company?
Evening out capabilities
While the logistics of running a successful project largely remain the same, the capabilities across different departments to accomplish them remain disparate. Every project has different aspects, and not all employees will be familiar with all of them. Risk management may be lacking, and they won’t be prepared when the project goes off track. They could have problems with issue management and stall out at the first sign of trouble. Not all objectives will be clearly defined at the beginning of every project, and it could be difficult to manage changes as they occur. The logistics of acquiring resources to accomplish tasks could be out of reach. Teams may not understand how to effectively communicate, especially if they are working remotely.
Additionally, some departments don’t take on projects often and lack experience. Team members may not have the tools or opportunity to collaborate. Teams that infrequently run projects will likely have inadequate training on how to run them. Others will be unclear about the final objective and will fail with their upfront planning. Not every department will have access to the same software tools to effectively manage their workload. The new technologies they have may collide with old procedures, causing tension and inefficiencies.
A manager may hand off the project to a subordinate and then fail to provide adequate support. The entire culture of the company could grind against allowing employees to plan out tasks and carry them out. Even if there are obvious deficiencies, inertia often carries these companies ahead. They resist change and are slow to adopt new processes.
Scaling the optimal process
Having the capability to apply a standardised methodology to carry out projects helps alleviate these problems. The company needs to have dedicated SMEs who are knowledgeable in running projects to oversee them and ensure that they are run effectively. Implementing these responsibilities at all levels allows the company run projects better and learn with each iteration to help accelerate how quickly they can innovate.
Using an effective method allows teams to become more cohesive and develop synergy. They can coordinate changes across the existing system and make sure that these alterations reach every level of the company.
Having localised experts that can be deployed across the organisation could help hasten the planning process and keep teams accountable for deadlines. Alternatively, having experts who have been trained in the process could serve to anchor the department and stabilise how projects are carried out.
By remaining consistent, these employees will learn how to adopt the right balance of governance and processes. They will be able to follow a rigid schedule without stifling creativity. The experience gained will allow them to apply the method without approaching every situation with a one-size-fits-all mentality.
If companies want to remain competitive with the amount that they get done, then making an effort to clearly define who is responsible for project management is crucial. Implementing these roles within the company will make the entire organisation more effective.
To learn even more about project management, our article here lists the most 8 most frustrating things about the PMO as given by our own network and clients. You may find that you might share some of the same frustrations.
Further, this article will give you 3 reasons why improving processes can give you increased project delivery success, and how upholding a strong PMO can do this.
Are you ready to improve Project Management in your organisation? Our team can help by creating simple yet effective frameworks that bridge the gap between governance and delivery so you can thrive. www.agilemanagementoffice.com