Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Project management is a crucial part of any business or organization: it involves planning, executing, and monitoring projects to achieve specific goals and objectives.
It can often feel like businesses view project management as a means to solely to improve productivity (better outputs). For those of us in the weeds, though, project management encompasses a much broader set of skills and responsibilities that go beyond just increasing productivity. In this article, we’ll explore why project management is about so much more and how it impacts the success of projects.
Table of contents
- Project Management is more than Productivity
- Project management is productivity, risk management, team culture, creativity, innovation, and quality.
Project Management is more than Productivity
Project management involves a range of tasks, such as planning and coordinating resources, managing budgets, and overseeing project timelines — and these are the things that people often associate with productivity. The thought is, if we can see the plans, resources, and budgets then we can stay on time and be more productive. In reality, these things are only a small part of what’s involved in project management.
Employee & task outputs are not enough
While productivity is certainly important in project management, outputs should not be the only measure of success. If you were to finish your tasks and project on time but the results didn’t align, it didn’t meet the needs of the project… you just built something that wasn’t ideal — even if the outputs and productivity was there. Would you consider this a successful project?
Effective project management involves much more than just ticking off boxes on a to-do list. A good project manager understands that success is not just about completing tasks but also about meeting the needs of stakeholders and achieving the project’s objectives and goals. This requires a deep understanding of the project’s goals and objectives — as well as the needs and expectations of stakeholders.
Getting this level of understanding is not simple; particularly if you have a dispersed team or if a project expands the expectations of multiple team leaders. Unfortunately, when taking this productivity only approach — many stakeholders leave this project alignment (merging goals, objectives to the outputs) solely to the project manager to determine and hunt out. When this occurs, however, the results are likely to burn out your project manager and create a heavy reliance on a single person. What happens when they leave?
Project Management is about team and culture
This leads us to another consequence of treating project management as if it were only for productivity: a heavy reliance on a sole person to carry the project. In reality, project management should be a tool for the entire team.
When the project manager spends so much time working closely with the range of stakeholders, including team members, clients, vendors, and other stakeholders, the project manager can turn into a glue that drives those outputs. As a team, however, collective outputs and the goal should be a responsibility of everyone. When everyone has a hand in the goal and the path, the feeling of ownership can increase and result in a more engaged team.
This is true for both large and small teams and with the rate that engagement is decreasing, your engaged culture & company will have a leg up in hiring game.
Project management is about creativity and innovation
While project management is often thought of as following a set of rigid processes and procedures, there is a level of ambiguity, flexibility and adaptability that has to be involved to ensure that the team still has room for creativity and innovation. A good project manager knows when to be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances, and when to stick to established processes.
In the right environment, a team can innovate and be more creative when they have the right balance of process management and flexibility. In fact, as teams are brought into the project management process (planning in particular), they can begin to be part of the innovation that drives the work to the stakeholder goals.
The ability to know when to create room requires understanding leadership and project manager. It can be hard to know when to apply which standards but this is also something that, when done well, the team can help with. Good project management practice is able to balance the need for structure and process with the need for flexibility and adaptability.
Good project planning leads to good product quality
Effective project management also requires a strong focus on quality. While completing tasks on time and within budget is important, it’s equally important to ensure that the project meets the required quality standards. It’s important to set up the project in a way that quality control, testing, and the team is able to blow the whistle and identify potential quality issues early on and take steps to address them before they become bigger problems.
If not done, the impact of delivering something not done well to the customer can make or break a business.
Risk management leads to productivity
Another non-productivity piece of project management is in risk management. Projects are inherently risky and putting that whole risk on a project manager can be a big weight to bear. The amount of strategic thinking required and the ability to anticipate potential problems is significant.
Risk management does not stop there, though. Proper project planning should include risk mitigation strategies and pre-plans / efforts to thwart their likelihood.
Again, when the entire team has a role in identifying the “can go wrong,” the odds of catching more risks and putting better plans in place goes up.
Project management is productivity, risk management, team culture, creativity, innovation, and quality.
In conclusion, we see project management as more than productivity. While completing tasks on time and within budget is important, good project management has the ability to impact your team communication, the team culture and even their engagement. As these things improve, the burden and risk becomes less on the project manager and better outcomes become possible.
Ultimately, the success of a project depends on much more than just productivity. Good project management needs to balance a range of factors: including time, cost, quality, and risk, while also meeting the needs and expectations of stakeholders. This requires a commitment to continuous improvement and team development.
In today’s fast-paced business environment, good project management practices have never been more important. As organizations face increasing pressures to deliver results quickly and efficiently, the role of the project management will become even more critical. By understanding that project management is not just about productivity and can be so much more in an organization, companies will find that their productivity will improve as well.
This covers a large reason of why project management is so important to us here at Leantime and also why we’re an open source project management system. When you’re spending more time in the work, the planning, the strategy and team building — and less in the “how do I set this up for our work??” or less in chasing down project updates — you’ll end up with better outcomes and projects naturally.
Interested in trying an easy system that still lets you do full life-cycle project management? Learn more about what we offer here.
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