As Lockdown ends, many companies are asking “what now”? We need to do things differently but how? Over the next months, and possibly years, managers will need to run a series of one-off activities to bring their businesses in line with the new reality.
Since a project is defined as a temporary activity intended to deliver a specific result, they need to become Project Managers. So how does this differ from “normal” management?
Project Management is a lot like herding cats. Everybody wants to go off and do their own thing and everybody knows best what needs to be done. The Project Manager has to bring together all the interested parties (aka Stakeholders) in such a way that they are committed to the success of the project.
What Does a Project Manager Do?
It is the job of the Project Manager to ensure that the project requirements are delivered, in full, on time and on budget, meeting the stakeholders’ expectations. In order to do this, the project manager needs to have skills in three areas:
Leadership: The Project Manager is the leader of the project team. The main leadership role is to ensure that the team understands what the project is about, why it is being run and what the desired outcome is.
The project manager creates the environment in which the team can deliver the project. Skills such as coaching and mentoring, negotiation, problem-solving, and team building are all part of the Project Manager’s toolbox.
Technical: These are the skills that most people think of as being what a Project Manager does. Planning the project, managing time, cost and quality, ensuring that the team is performing as needed and managing risk and change within the project.
Strategic: The Project Manager is the link between the project and the rest of the organisation. They perform an important role in ensuring that the project helps deliver the company’s strategy.
They need to have business acumen, a good understanding of the industry the company operates in, and of the structure of the company itself.
What is the impact of project management?
The Project Management Institute has estimated that, when all three of the core project management skill sets are developed, the rate of project success increases by about 40%
Projects, whether large or small, will be more effective if the leadership (i.e. project manager) can define objectives, roles and responsibilities, and deliverables clearly. As well as giving realistic estimates of timings and managing expectations.
An Economist Intelligence report showed that 80 percent of global executives believed having project management as a core competency reduced risks, cut costs and improved success rates, helping them remain competitive during the recession.
One of the most critical skills needed by companies, not just as we come out of lockdown, but for the foreseeable future will be Project Management. A large part of the operation of companies is becoming projectized, but staff training in how to manage these projects has fallen behind.
Now is the opportunity to correct that.