How do you define project management? How does your company define project management?
The Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK®), compiled by the Project Management Institute (PMI®), defines Project Management as:
Within most organizations, there are two categories that define Project Managers:
From your perspective, which category of PM are you? And now…. from your organization’s perspective?
There is no simple way to define project management. Even the PMBOK® Guide (Third Ed.) takes 3 sections to define project management (sections 1.2, 1.3, and 1.6). Think of defining project management as:
Add to the above formula:
Without getting into detail here (I have reserved several subsequent pages for the topic of methodologies and project structure), “methodology” here refers to "standardized" project management processes, NOT to “technology”, “delivery” or “industry” focused methods (such as Waterfall, Agile, Scrum, XP, V, and Spiral).
A project is the manifestation or implementation of the effects of change, a direct result of the management of change within that organization. Fundamentally, a project is an investment and all business investments must provide a profitable return.
Project management establishes a methodology; provides discipline and structure; and rigorously applies management principles and project management processes to facilitate the successful conclusion of the project.
Although business benefits are realized by following a structured project management methodology, three necessary validations include:
During the project, communications with the stakeholders and end
users on progress and accomplishments will reinforce business benefits.
Involvement in the project by end users as early in the project as
possible will keep the project on-track to meeting the needs of the
business. Early end user involvement will also serve to shorten the
user acceptance period at the end of the project.
The Three Keys for you to realize the maximum business benefit from your project investments:
Communication, Communication, Communication
Project Management success within an organization is dependent on the organizations adoption of a project approach for the management of change. Incorporating the effects of change is an investment in the business.
How do you ensure the success of your business investments?
Although this might seem obvious, structured Project Management is often not practiced within organizations, for various reasons - cost, lack of flexibility, difficult to manage, "we have always done it differently", and so on. Within your company, how many titled “Project Managers” are there, not Product Managers, IT Team Leaders, Operations Managers, Marketing Coordinators, Auditors, etc?
Even though you may have answered “no” to one or more of the questions above, it could be for valid reasons, such as "we are a small start-up with limited staff and little structure" (start-up environments go through a business cycle that will bring on more structure, especially dealing with the management of change).
Whether you are a PM in a start-up environment, or a more mature organization, you can assist your management team by working with them to provide more structure to project management, such as:
The challenge for you is alignment across the functional groups that do project work.
Your path to success will begin with buy-in from senior management and obtaining a senior management sponsor of your initiatives (caution: your CEO must see the value; which will be evidenced by your “sponsor” being a member of the senior team, reporting directly to the CEO).
Value to the business (and to the CEO) will include: