What is Project Management?
Project Management is the application of processes, methods, skills, knowledge and experience to achieve specific project objectives according to pre-agreed project parameters. Project management has final deliverables that are constrained to a finite timescale and budget. The construction of a building, the relief effort after a natural disaster, the expansion of sales into a new geographic market, a marketing campaign for an artist's forthcoming album - these are all examples of projects.
Project Management Software is a collection of digital Project Management tools used by a wide range of industries for project planning, resource allocation and scheduling. It enables project managers as well as entire teams to control their budget, quality management and all documentation exchanged throughout a project, and features the below project management tools:
All of these tools can be accessed via desktop or mobile devices keeping your business responsive and agile. The less time wasted on admin, the more time can be spent actually getting things done.
What types of businesses require Project Management?
Industries that use project management software include construction, manufacturing, engineering, architecture, and real estate development. Project managers work in many different industries, but of the most common types of businesses that apply project management to deliver services are:
- Field Service & Trades Businesses
- Creative & Design Agencies
- Construction & Development Services
- Engineering Firms
- IT Services
- Accounting and Bookkeeping Firms
But there are many, many more types of business and several more relevant industries (for example, landscaping, painting, wedding planners) that can all use project management software to organise and streamline their work. Likewise, there are many types of job roles that can benefit from project management software: Project Managers (of course…), Service Coordinator, Business Owners, Tradespeople and Engineers of various industries can all help their business grow with Project Management Software and bespoke Project Management Tools.
What are the stages of Project Management?
Project Management can be a unique process for every project manager or business, but there are five widely agreed-upon stages or phases within the project management life cycle, that most project managers work with; according to the Project Management Institute, they are:
These stages don’t need to happen in one set order, and many can be carried out at the same time. Also, it’s important to remember that info collected at one stage is often necessary to carry out another activity further on in the cycle (for example, timesheet management and work-in-progress management). This is known as Critical Chain Project Management and by following these steps, you can ensure project success:
1. Project Initiation
The beginnings of the project. The goal of this phase is to define the project at a very general level. This is when you will research whether the project is feasible and if it should be undertaken. If feasibility testing needs to be done, this is the stage of the project in which that will be completed. This is when sign off from stakeholders happen and you can begin moving into the planning stage.
2. Project Planning
This phase is key to successful project management and focuses on developing a roadmap that everyone will follow. This phase typically begins with setting goals. Here are some of the documents that a Project Manager will create during this phase, to ensure the project stays on schedule and on budget:
3. Project Execution
This is the part where deliverables are developed and actually completed. A lot happens in this phase, like status reports and meetings, development updates, and performance reports. A “kick-off” meeting usually marks the start of the Project Execution phase where the team members involved are informed of their responsibilities. Work begins, and often, so does the next phase, simultaneously:
4. Project Performance & Monitoring
This is all about measuring project performance and ensuring that everything happening aligns with the project management plan. Project managers will use key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine if the project is on track. Check out this excellent blog post on the sorts of KPI’s that trades, field service and construction businesses might want to track, along with the benefits of doing so! But in a more general project management sense, you might want to track and review the below:
5. Project Closure
This final phase is the completed project. Contractors hired to work specifically on the project are terminated at this time. Once the project is complete, a Project Manager will often hold a meeting to evaluate what went well in a project and discuss areas of improvement. This is a key part of the Project Management methodology, and leads to learning and useful insights.
Project Managers will likely still have a few tasks to complete event after the project is complete. They will need to create a project punch-list of things that didn’t get accomplished during the project and work with team members to complete them. Perform a final project budget and prepare a final project report. Finally, they will need to collect all project documents and deliverables and store them in a single place. And of course, ensure they get paid too!
Project Management: powering efficiency, innovation and insight
Project Management has always been practiced informally, but it began to emerge as a distinct and formalised profession in the mid-20th century when forward-thinking individuals and businesses in the aerospace, engineering, pharmaceutical and telecommunications fields realised a changing and increasingly digital world needed new tools. Motivated by the need to address the scheduling and resource issues associated with increasingly complex projects, they began to set down and standardise the tools for a new profession, and Project Management methodologies were born.
Projects are the driving force behind how a lot of work is completed, change is realised and value is delivered. A basic knowledge of project management can provide value to people with a variety of roles in a vast range of endeavours. Project management skills can help a student working on a science project get their work completed on time, or a corporate executive settle personality disputes. These skills can help a nurse streamline shift changes to improve patient response times on their ward. They can help an IT professional deliver innovative software in record time or help a government agency improve the services they provide in a more economical manner.