The project manager is the boss, the captain of the ship. The PM has overall responsibility of the project and is required as the person who keeps a roving brief on the big picture. Even a small project will have a number of tasks and of course a big project can involve vast resources. To see that everything is operating according to the appropriate plans, the project manager and project management is essential.
But having a project manager doesn’t guarantee a successful outcome for the project. To gain that desired outcome, the project manager must apply the proven practices of Project Management. These offer benefits once the appropriate tools and techniques are set in place.
A PM applying Project Management practices is in the prime position to control and properly manage the project. The opposite is true if Project Management practices are not put in place. In that situation the following results are likely or even certain.
- Timelines run over finish dates
- Budgets are not effectively monitored
- Budgets will be exceeded
- Suppliers of resources become confused
- The structure of management breaks down
- Communication fails
- Stakeholders become confused and uncomfortable
Of course every project is unique. They are specific in terms of detail. And one excuse or issue sometimes raised within a company is that due to the small or relatively small size of the project, a project manager is not required.
That is an important issue and can only be decided on the merits of every business situation. But what is not in dispute is the need for whoever is in control of the project to apply proven Project Management practices.
The obvious primary benefit when this is done is that the business has a PM who is in total and appropriate control over all aspects of the project. All parties benefit when this happens, when the project manager is running the project using proven and sound practices.
But regardless of the size of the project, the questions raised within each project are the same. And it is the very existence of these questions which justify the need for project management regardless of size. Such questions include:
- What tasks are required?
- Who will perform these tasks?
- When will each task be completed?
- Has the task been successfully completed?
The only difference here is that with a large project the answers will take some time to be found. With a small project, the questions are identical but the time taken to resolve them is likely to be less.
There are potential problems as soon as a PM departs from Project Management practices. Some possible temptations and issues include:
- Cutting corners to save time and money
- Signing off a task before it is completed according to specification
- Staff being moved during the timeline of the project
- Team morale being damaged
All of the above and other serious issues can be prevented by a project manager applying Project Management practices. The benefits in doing so bring numerous positives but include the exclusion of damaging events likely to delay or seriously harm the project.
Yes a project manager is essential regardless of the size of the project and yes, the project manager must apply sound Project Management practices.
Have you worked for an organization that did not implement sound project management practices? What sort of issues did you see arise as a result?
Leave a comment below and tell us all about it.
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