Why everyone needs project management
The business world is constantly being shaped in previously unthinkable ways. Businesses are adopting new approaches to thrive. The way people work is changing. Work in itself is changing. The future of work is not certain.
As the world becomes more complex, it is imperative for individuals to know what really matters – what competence or skill to develop. According to the consultancy firm Bain & Company, by 2027, most work will be project-based. Now, we see the increasing relevance of teams, collaborative tools, real-time coaching and feedback, and stakeholder engagement, among others.
Since the beginning of time, humans have strived to deliver quality results. From the pyramids of Egypt to the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, humans have been on the quest for optimal quality. The concept of quality is not new. Prior to the industrial revolution, products were made manually through handcrafting and tweaking, from start to finish.
Project management bodies
Project management is an essential skill everyone should have. The application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements is called Project Management. There are many different certification bodies for project management. Examples include Project Management Institute (PMI), AXELOS, Association for Project Management (APM), International Project Management Association (IPMA), among others.
In this article, our focus will be based on the Project Management Institute (PMI) standards for projects. PMI is one of the world’s leading project management certification bodies. PMI aligns its process with certification industry best practices such as those in Standards for Educational & Psychological Testing and IPMA. In addition, the PMP certification is accredited against the internationally recognized ISO 9001 and ISO/ANSI 17024 standards.
Why you need project management
Now, let us look at the reasons why everyone needs project management.
1. Enhanced team leadership
Leading teams is an essential skill for everyone. At one point or the other, you may have led a team. A team could be made up of as small as two persons and as many as a hundred people. In leading teams, it is important for the team leads to set clear goals and objectives. Further, it is essential to know the appropriate leadership style to adopt e.g., collaborative, directive, etc. A leader should inspire, motivate, and influence stakeholders, both internal and external.
Project management skills help individuals to become better team leads and members. It provides a holistic view of how to lead and manage teams of various sizes, complexities, and contexts. In one example, a director of a technology company attended a project management course to understand project management concepts, terminologies, tools, and techniques. His goal was to understand the PMP project management language so that he could work better with his team, most of whom were project managers. Knowledge of project management helps individuals to analyze team members’ and stakeholder’s influence whilst distinguishing the various options to lead diverse team members.
2. Effective conflict management
Conflict is part of human nature. Although we may wish it does not set in, personal and business experiences have shown that we face conflict daily. What should we then do since conflict is part of our daily experience? Should we ignore them? Or better still evaluate them?
Well, there are many conflict resolution approaches. Knowledge of project management helps you to interpret the source and stage of conflict. Further, you can analyze the context for the conflict, evaluate, recommend, or reconcile the appropriate conflict resolution solution.
As the world of work changes, one thing is certain – conflict will remain a part of the change process. Those who understand conflict management and resolution stand a better chance of ‘winning’ now and in the future.
3. Better planning and management of schedules
Planning is critical in almost everything we do. From the normal day-to-day activities to planning the Olympics, planning and managing schedules are not the exclusive reserve of project managers. However, there is a need to understand the fundamental elements of effective planning.
Despite the countless number of templates on planning and scheduling many still grit their teeth and scratch their heads when planning. Planning takes time. It is a skill; it can be learned. In one example, a professional training firm adopted a work planning and goal management tool for its employees. Employees were to plan their month, week, and day from the quarterly goals and key performance indicators. An employee noted “Planning helps my thinking better organized, goals are clearer, and it keeps me in check”. Another employee stated, “Well, at first, I had issues navigating the platform. I think when goals are clear, it becomes easy to plan for the month, week, and day.”
Project management skills help you to effectively estimate what needs to be done (deliverables, milestones, dependencies), what needs to be measured, who needs to do ‘what’, and the how-to-go-about-it techniques. With project management, you can effectively plan and prepare schedules for your next project.
4. Enhanced organizational change support
Change is constant. Truth be told, it is not easy to change at the snap of a finger. However, knowledge of organizational change not only helps you to understand change initiatives but also helps you to evaluate the impact of such change at the individual, team, and organizational levels.
As organizations evolve, changes happen. Interestingly, projects are the vehicles that drive change. To remain relevant, it is important to assess organizational culture, understand and evaluate the impact of organizational change on projects, and determine the required actions to drive the change. Project management competency addresses the need to support organizational change and the approach to adopt at each changing stage as it affects projects.
5. Effective risk assessment and management
Have you heard the saying, “it is risky not to take a risk?” Whether you work in a project environment or not, risk assessment and management is essential.
Knowledge of project management helps you to assess and manage risks at the individual, team, and organizational levels. With effective risk management, you can determine different risk management options, iteratively assess and prioritize risks and adopt an appropriate risk management approach in a given context.
Failure to properly assess and manage risks can often lead to project failure.
On a final note, whether you are a service desk analyst or finance expert, you need project management skills to get things done. As organizations cope in the face of uncertainties, only those who understand the fundamentals of project management can rise above the tide.