Project management: what it is and why it is important
For such tasks there is project management, whose job it is to plan and monitor the implementation from start to finish. But what exactly is project management and what strategies should be used to avoid such delays?
But what does it actually mean to organise, implement and control? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, it means "arrange things, plans, ideas, etc., according to a particular system so that they can be used or understood easily", "put a plan or system into operation", have "a tool […] for doing work" and "watch a situation carefully for a period of time in order to discover something about it". This describes project management very well.
The basics of project management
Agile approaches include Scrum and Kanban. Both use flexibility in the context of change to ensure continuous improvement. When changes occur during the project, they can be well integrated through the iterative loops. As a result, the process does not run rigidly from phase to phase but can be adapted flexibly.
This is in contrast to traditional methods such as the waterfall model. Here, the next phase cannot begin until the previous one has been completed. Therefore, the waterfall method should only be used when the goals and scope are fixed from the beginning and no changes are expected. Traditional project management is discussed in the following.
Roughly speaking, there are four phases that every project goes through.
In the initiation phase, the scope and all the basics in terms of content, duration, cost and effort are determined. The project team is also put together, as it is clear from the outset how many people will be needed.
The planning phase then begins. It should be determined when the project will be considered successful and thus when the project objectives have been achieved. It is also possible to create a project strategy plan that gives an overview of the objectives, milestones and results. This is useful because it makes it easier to keep track of the project.
During the implementation phase, the team works to achieve the results. During this time, attention must be paid to resource management, which consists of several elements. Among other things, it is necessary to check that the resources are sufficient, that the budget is not exceeded, and so on. Overall, the work must be carried out in such a way that the defined objectives are achieved.
Reports should be kept during and after implementation to track the progress of the project and the services provided. This will ensure that everything is going to plan and that the team is working well together. It can also be used to assess whether anything has gone wrong.
In the final phase, time should be taken to discuss with key participants what went well, what went less well and what can be done better next time. It is important to record the results in writing so that they can be traced.
The role of the project manager
However, it is not only the methods and frameworks that contribute to successful project management, but also the analysis of the project so that the knowledge gained can be used for future tasks and projects. In this way, working practices can be improved and leadership skills strengthened at the same time. With increasing success, one can demonstrate this externally and become more confident in dealing with the team.
However, the technical and methodological skills that are acquired over time and that can be developed and demonstrated through training and certification are also very important. But social and personal skills such as communication, leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, etc. are also necessary. A well-functioning team can only be created if the communication and interaction with the team is appropriate.
With all these skills acquired over time, the project manager can balance the iron triangle of time, cost and performance and bring the project to a successful conclusion.
Why project management is important
The goals set by the project management motivate the team because they know the overall goal, have a clear structure through good project planning and are approaching the goal step by step. Risk management was also carried out as part of the project management, in order to be able to react to unforeseen events. In this way, the team is always prepared and can pursue its goals.
Software is usually used to keep track of everything. This leads to greater efficiency as work can be done better and more productively. Confusing information or interruptions due to queries are avoided. A team working on different sub-projects knows exactly who is working on which subtasks and what the status is. An accessible overview solves this problem. For example, if you are waiting for a colleague to finish a task, you can simply consult the software to see how far along they are and work on other tasks in the meantime. This improves efficiency and communication within the team, leading to better collaboration.
Common tools and technologies in project management
Once the tool has been selected, it should also be checked how well it works in day-to-day work and whether it meets the requirements. It should also be checked whether the software is compatible with other software. After that, it is just a matter of getting used to it.
Some examples are MS Project, Trello, Asana or Jira. Which one you choose will depend on your own needs. Each has its pros and cons and can be integrated with other software in different ways.
The software is based on the network analysis and enables a variety of tasks such as planning, controlling, time recording, risk management, project monitoring and resource planning.
Tasks can be managed in lists in so-called boards (also together with other members). Tasks can be freely customised and supplemented with checklists, attachments, deadlines and much more, and allow for extensive logging.
This software is used for team collaboration and project management. Teams can create projects, assign tasks, set deadlines and communicate. It also includes tools for reports, attachments, calendars and goal tracking.
From planning to release with integrated error management and problem solving, this software is used especially for software development in agile teams.
After all, planning is half the battle and can sometimes make a big project not seem so big.