Why is Project Management Important?
Perhaps you are embarking on an IT project that involves a new software implementation or product upgrades. You have your project team in place and partners secure, but do you have a project manager?
Many organizations wonder if they really need project management. After all, a project manager can be expensive, and you might wonder why your team can’t simply manage the project on their own and have direct accountability for their roles and responsibilities.
But do you know the cost of not having a project manager?
According to a study by the Project Management Institute, organizations who undervalue project management, when it comes to driving change, report that an average of 67% more projects result in failure. On the other hand, organizations that are highly mature in project management capabilities met their goals 77% of the time.
The study also reported an average 11.4% of an organization’s investment is wasted as a result of poor project performance.
Without a project manager, then, your IT project has a greater risk of failure, may lack direction, leadership and clear objectives, and cost your organization more.
What is a Project Manager?
A project manager keeps the IT project in check, delivered on time, and within budget. They unite teams, create vision, and help everyone stay on track for success. But perhaps most importantly, a good project manager will ensure the project goals align closely with the strategic business goals of your organization.
How do they do this? By focusing solely on managing the project and not also engaging in the delivery of the end product. This frees the project manager to provide organization and alignment to the IT project and ensure all members of the team have clear direction and support.
When Should a Project Manager be Introduced to the Project?
A project manager’s job is to drive projects from start to finish. Not only will they bring leadership and direction to your IT project, but they will also help your team establish a clear focus and project objectives.
A project manager should be a part of your team from the very beginning. The earlier you can identify project deviation, the easier it is to correct — don’t wait until you discover a project manager is necessary before you bring one on! Introducing a project manager to the project before you feel the need for one ensures that your project team will be ready to manage risk and move to the next level when the time comes.
How Does a Project Manager Support the Project Team?
A project manager helps relieve the executive team’s workload by managing the IT project from start to finish. While the rest of your project team is busy organizing resources to implement the project, your project manager keeps the project goals and scope top of mind to ensure everyone stays on track and within budget.
Five ways a project manager supports your team:
- Define project definitions and goals — A project manager will know the right type of questions to ask to help your team define and document the project definitions and goals. They will also support the team through developing specific plans to ensure your team reaches both the project goals and strategic business goals.
- Realistic project planning — It can be easy to underestimate the amount of time and resources needed to complete a project. A project manager will ensure reasonable expectations are established for what can be delivered, at what time, and at what cost.
- Continuous oversight — Through organizing meetings and regularly communicating project timeframes, budgeting estimates and status reports, having a project manager ensures no small detail is overlooked. In addition, once the project is finished, a project manager will facilitate a project retrospective to help the project team reflect on what went well, what didn’t, and any lessons learned.
- Risk assessments for the project — Projects never go according to plan, and the way your project team deals with change and adapts to the project management plan is crucial to the successful delivery of your IT project. A project manager should regularly conduct risk assessments for your project and have a plan in place to course correct when issues arise.
- Quality Control — Unlike many of the members of your project team, a project manager should understand the overall business needs of the project. Rather than just completing the project, a project manager will ensure it aligns with the project mission and business values through managing project resources and coordinating with the project team.
WIN’s Project Managers Can Support Your IT Project
Our IT Services team has helped many clients smoothly implement projects through our proven project management approach. If you would like to learn more, contact us.