The success of any project lies in the ability of the project manager to inspire team collaboration. This implies the process of allocating skills, knowledge, money, and time in the various activities to achieve a common goal. The key deliverables in any project management task are cost reduction, timely delivery, and quality. Hence, as a project manager, your role is combining the available resources to deliver these deliverables with time, cost, and quality in mind.
To better understand your role, let’s look at each of the phases of project management as determined by the Institute of Project Management (IPM).
This is the first step in any project management activity. The goal of this stage is to define the project on paper. Thus, all stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, government, and the community must be brought on board to give their ideas and expectations. The critical project deliverables must be discussed during the project initiation stage. Some critical questions to answer during the project initiation stage include:
As a project manager, your role goes beyond outlining these questions, but to visualize every deliverable and how to achieve it. Some projects require a feasibility study, while others don't. Also, the source of funding should be clearly defined during this stage.
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail; hence planning is a crucial step in project management. During this stage, the aim is to design a roadmap to follow in achieving project deliverables. Goal setting is a critical component of project planning; hence you must set goals that are SMART and CLEAR.
Alongside goal setting, you must design a project plan which details everything about the project, including:
This stage is the backbone of every project management. During execution, the plan on paper is converted to actual tasks that can be measured. The deliverables must be completed during this stage while adhering to the project plan. Your role during this stage is allocating the tasks to the team and keeping the team on toes through status meetings, reports, and schedule reports. Some functions that happen during this phase include:
The success of any project depends on the project execution stage. Teamwork, collaboration, and effective communication are vital in accomplishing the tasks in this stage. Your role during execution goes beyond directing; you must motivate, lead, and support your team to achieve the tasks.
Monitoring and evaluation
Part of being a manager is learning the art of foresight, being able to foresee things in advance. In project management, you must monitor and evaluate the project to identify areas where you are on schedule and what needs to be changed to meet the original objectives. Here, you must locate the KPI (key performance indicators) and determine if you are on point. Some of the common KPI'S include:
Three things mark the completion of a project: delivering the project to the customers, communicating with all the stakeholders, and handing over all the project documents to the appropriate stakeholder. As a project manager, you must communicate with your team regarding the successes and failures during the project life. If possible, hold a status meeting with the team and recognize the exceptional efforts of each member in accomplishing the deliverables. Also, communicate with stakeholders regarding incomplete tasks that require extra time and budget and plan on working on them. Terminating contracts and releasing teams is also necessary during this stage.
Any project starts and ends with quality, time, and budget as the primary deliverables. As a manager, strive to deliver a quality project within the required time and cost. Thus, efficiency is a critical skill in any project management; the ability to make maximize the utility of any resource is what can make you an outstanding project manager.
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