Project Management key to business growth, success
Companies with historically bad project track records are now jumping on the Project Management bandwagon, recognizing how important the project manager is to the overall success of a project.
An Economist Intelligence report entitled ‘The link between project management excellence and long-term success,’ showed 80 percent of global executives believe having project management as a core competency within their companies has helped them remain competitive.
This report also found nearly 60 percent of senior executives said building a strong project management discipline within their companies is a top-three priority as they look to the future.
Lily Yeh, Executive Director, Strategy, Programs and Planning at DISYS, and a certified project manager with more than 15 years experience in the field, agrees. ‘I think companies of all stages should take project management, into account,’ she said. ‘The formality and complexity (of each department and project) may differ, but all companies are working to accomplish goals which require a series of activities to be completed in a high-quality and timely manner.”
Understanding this fully, companies such as DISYS that specialize in managed services leverage proprietary project management tools so program and project managers can track every aspect of a project. DISYS’ tool, the Capability Delivery Management System (CDMS), allows for knowledge and process sharing, and emphasizes team collaboration and contribution throughout the project lifecycle. With information from multiple projects accessible in a single source, data integrity and flexibility is maximized, and projects are run at the highest level of efficiency possible. Giving clients access to CDMS means real-time visibility into project status and accelerated productivity due to improved communication between DISYS and client’s project teams.
‘It is important to see the big picture from the start and have a clear plan to reach the finish line,’ Ms. Yeh said.
According to a Gallup Business Review Survey, the United States economy loses $50-$150 billion per year due to failed IT projects. A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which reviewed 10,640 projects from 200 companies in 30 countries and across various industries, found only 2.5 percent of the companies successfully completed 100 percent of their projects.
‘Having an individual focused on coordinating the various moving parts to achieve an overarching goal and deadline is vital to the success of a project,’ Ms. Yeh states. ‘A project manager is accountable to management and focused on the communication and progress of a specific project – they are an unbiased force in guiding a team through issues and helping them stay on track.’
More than half the executives in the Economist Intelligence Report said adhering to project management methods and strategies reduced their risks, cut costs and improved their overall success rates.
Ms. Yeh agrees. ‘Time is money. A delay in a key project is costly and a lack of quality in a project is also costly,’ she said. ‘Having a project manager helps drive projects to completion and can improve the overall team’s efficiency.’
With little room for error and fewer resources to rely on, businesses say project management expertise and oversight is helping streamline their delivery process, cut costs and sidestep risks, enabling them to implement stronger project management practices in the future, according to a White Paper released by the Project Management Institute on ‘The Value of Project Management.’
‘Good project management discipline stopped us from spending money on projects that fail,’ said Ron Kasabian, general manager at Intel in Folsom, Calif.
In the last 10 years, more than 16 million people have stated their official occupation is within the project management discipline – proving it is a growing field corporations need to pay attention to and utilize.
‘More people lately have been talking to me about Project Management than they have in the last 10 years,’ says Don Christian, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. ‘PMs can help CIOs by providing the structure needed to standardize project management practices and facilitate IT project portfolio management, as well as determine methodologies for repeatable processes.’
So how do you know when your project needs a project manager?
‘Almost any project that has identifiable goals and milestones and is dependent on multiple moving parts should incorporate a project manager,’ Ms. Yeh says. As roles of project managers evolve in the workforce, the PM’s primary goals are:
- Gathering and writing official requirement documents involving all stakeholders
- Getting all the key players and assets on the same page
- Managing a project within the time, cost and quality guidelines set out by a company
- Clearing roadblocks by others and resolving them or facilitating the project team towards a solution
- And the most important, communication of project status, outlining key updates, issues and/or milestones.
As the Economist Report indicates, 32 percent of companies directly attribute their failed projects to lack of project management and communication, it might be said a good project manager is considered to be an excellent communicator – the best the company has in some instances.
The report continues by saying top executives are aligned in their results that project managers serve as a powerful bridge in creating and managing the link between strategy, results and making sure upper management is informed.
‘When senior management wants to launch a new product before the competition, they come to the Project Management Office,’ says Patricio Romero, head of the IT Project Management Office at DirecTV. ‘They know that (my department) knows how to deliver it, how to speed the process up and how to measure results.’
‘It’s hard to imagine how you would go about delivering a project without program and project management,’ Mr. Kasabian of Intel concludes. ‘Without a consistent approach and clear milestones, decision points and metrics to measure your success, you’re just flying by the seat of your pants.’
Note: Digital Intelligence Systems, LLC (DISYS) is a global managed staffing and services company that has placed more than 700 project managers at companies worldwide with a median salary range of $70 an hour. DISYS has placed project managers in all vertical industries – ranging from tech to finance, healthcare, retail and oil and gas. DISYS will also be presenting at the Project Management Institute’s Houston Conference & Expo June 8-10.