Companies regularly execute projects to achieve certain goals that are not achievable by routine work. Projects help the company achieve certain objectives not part of regular production or service. It could be the launch of a new product, service or application. Organisations also undertake projects when they have to make some changes immediately in an existing product or service. Projects don’t come with previous knowledge, and hence companies need project management to complete them successfully. We will try to understand the characteristics of project management in this article.
You can learn all about project management and its features in the Advanced Certificate Course In Operations, Supply Chain and Project Management conducted by reputed institutions. A visit to our website will tell you more about this course. Before we go ahead and learn its features, let us understand what project management is.
What Is Project Management?
Project management involves the planning and execution of an assignment from beginning to end to achieve its objectives. Project managers must also ensure they complete the job with the available resources and time and achieve the desired quality. It also involves coordinating with various departments from where the resources are sought. Projects have become more complex over the years, requiring project managers’ application of special skills. Before we look at the characteristics of project management, we need to see the two different project management structures.
Internal Project Management
It is the most common form of project management, where a special team is formed inside an organisation to complete a task. There will be separate specialisations like sales, marketing, finance, accounting and operations. The project manager chooses people from within the firm depending on their skills and allocates them to one or more projects. The main characteristics of project management operating within the company are as follows.
- Project managers are responsible for managing the assignment.
- They are independent of normal functioning authority.
- These professionals have equal power as functional managers over shared resources.
- Until the project ends, PMs have complete authority over all resources allotted.
- Negotiations are conducted with functional managers to get resources from them.
- PMs, bring people with various skills from different departments to work as one multidisciplinary team.
- There is a possibility of conflict between functional and project managers over-allocation of time for the shared resources.
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External Project Management
In this work, a project manager is hired for the purpose and period of the project alone. The external project managers then appoint other team heads to form teams of people with different skills to complete the project. These teams work under the project manager to deliver the objectives as required by the organisation. The characteristics of project management that consist of external teams are as follows.
- The external project managers act as agents of the organisation, working within the conditions of an agency agreement.
- It is a more flexible system, as companies can hire project managers whenever needed.
- Effective communication between the PM and the organisation has to cross a boundary, which can be a hindrance.
Now that we have seen the characteristics of the two types of project management, it is time to see the features of project management in general.
Characteristics Of Project Management
Project management typically has multiple objectives. There are time, cost and quality objectives to be met. Any decision on one of these factors can affect the others. The company sets the success criteria of a project. Project management must ensure these criteria are met within the changing cost, time and quality constraints. One of the most important characteristics of project management is that there are always multiple success criteria that need to be met. A project can only be called a success if it meets the time, cost and quality objectives set by the organisation.
Each project varies from another one. The objectives, resources and type of project vary. But that doesn’t mean that the practices of project management differ. Whatever the industry or product, the methods used in project management are the same. Planning and control techniques are very important for projects to meet the cost, time and quality goals. These techniques don’t vary with projects. They apply to all projects irrespective of their objectives. It is yet another important characteristic of project management.
Traditionally companies used designers or financial experts as project managers. Companies picked them from inside the organisation to guide the project teams. These officials were expected to lead the team and ensure that they met the project objectives regarding cost, time and quality. Unfortunately, they only specialised in one aspect of the project. Engineers and financial experts can only ensure quality and cost management, respectively. One of the important characteristics of project management is that it requires someone who can control all three aspects of a job.
When companies realised that they needed someone who could control every aspect of a project, they started looking for professionals who are experienced in completing projects successfully. Today various people are specially educated and trained to head projects and make them successful. Many courses provide coaching in this subject. The Advanced Certificate Course In Operations, Supply Chain and Project Management offered by various reputed institutions is the best program to become an expert project manager. One can learn the characteristics of project management in this course. All course details are available on our website.
Managing Complete Project Lifecycle
Earlier companies used consultants to advise them on particular stages of the project. They are either used for preparing the design or manufacturing the product. It caused a lack of coordination between different phases of the project lifecycle. This can lead to difficulty because any decision taken at one stage of the lifec
ycle can impact the decisions in the later phases. Project management ensured control over all the stages of the project lifecycle. One of the most beneficial characteristics of project management is that all decisions are made keeping the whole picture in mind.
The different stages of the project lifecycle are as follows:
Inception: It is the first stage where the client decides to achieve a goal with a project. The basic proposal for the project is made.
Feasibility: The project team studies the project’s feasibility of various factors. They explore if the project can be completed within the desired time and cost, keeping the required quality.
Prototype: In some industries, a prototype is made before making the final product. It helps the client to test the product for all aspects before they make the final product.
Final Product: Once the team has tested the prototype against all parameters, they make the necessary adjustments and go ahead with producing the final product.
Tenders & Contracts: After approving the final product, the client will enter into a contract with various companies to purchase components and raw materials.
Commissioning: At this stage, the project is fully commissioned to be used for the purpose it is intended for. In some projects, this means switching on a system for final use.
Closure: When the project is complete and it is functional, the project management team must be disbanded, and people can return to their regular jobs. It is also the time for the project manager to do a complete evaluation of the project and see where there were failures and what can be learned from them. One of the main characteristics of project management is that it allows learning from mistakes and improving the next time.
Also Read: Understanding Project Selection And Its Importance
Single Point Management
A project will have people from multiple functions. They are skilled in various capabilities and come from different organisation departments. Other resources are also sourced from different places. The project also delivers multiple goals. However, full control of the project is with one person. Project managers manage the whole process from start to end. They must ensure that the work is done successfully, achieving all cost, time and quality objectives. It is one of the characteristics of project management that gives the client the advantage of dealing with only one person.
One of the best characteristics of project management is that it promotes cooperation between different departments and facilitates people from different sections to work together. People who work on a project are drawn from different departments depending on what skills are needed for the work to be completed. This means that the department managers must coordinate among themselves and with project managers to provide the necessary resources.
We have seen the special features of project management. We must know why it is important for organisations to implement project management.
Importance Of Project Management
Companies often miscalculate the time within which they can complete a project. They also underestimate the project’s cost and don’t plan for its risks. This is where project management helps. A project manager looks at the total picture and calculates the obstacles to achieving the objectives. These professionals know the risks that can derail a project and delay completion. One of the important characteristics of project management is that it helps the companies to make a realistic estimate of the actual cost.
Clear Focus On Objectives
A project requires people from different departments to work together. All of them have their tasks in the project and goals to be achieved. If there is no project management, the teams may forget the final goal. A project manager helps to keep that objective in mind at all times and ensures that the teams remember the project objectives. Projects are started with a clear deadline before which their objectives are achieved. Project managers ensure the deadline is always in sight for the different people working on the project.
Alignment With Business Strategies
Companies plan projects to help them achieve overall business objectives. But if the projects are not being handled properly, the team members may forget about the organisational goals. This means that the project will not give any benefit to the client. One of the important characteristics of project management is that the PM always keeps business objectives in sight while ensuring that the project progresses on time and within the proposed cost. Project management is important for companies to ensure that it serves the purpose of achieving their overall objectives.
A project can run into many obstacles. A project needs many people to complete it. Many of them may not anticipate the risks and may react to them instead of planning. It can lead to delays in the completion of the project and increased costs. A project manager always has the complete project in sight and is trained to anticipate risks. It helps the person put alternative measures in place. These professionals also help break down the project into easily manageable tasks completed within the deadline.
Time and cost are not the only parameters that a project must adhere to. Quality is very important. If a project is finished on time and within budget but doesn’t match the desired quality, it is not going to give the organisation the desired benefits. Teams are always under pressure to complete a task within time and budget. It can sometimes lead to compromise on quality. One of the many characteristics of project management is that it helps the project manager always to keep an eye on quality and ensure it is delivered as desired.
You can learn everything about project management and its characteristics in the Advanced Certificate Course In Operations, Supply Chain And Project Management. Visiting our website can enlighten you completely about the course and what it teaches an aspiring project manager.
Project management is an excellent way to get a job completed within time and cost while maintaining the desired quality. Companies can rest assured that th
e project will be completed as desired because the project manager has only this objective in mind. Project managers don’t have any other routine jobs, and it helps them give their full efforts to manage the project. They are also trained to manage people from different departments with varying skills. Project management helps companies focus on their regular business even while completing projects successfully.
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