The basic definition of a project is, ‘a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.’ The project environment is very different from that of typical day to day operations or a regular team that performs similar activities on a day to day basis.
Small businesses don’t need a complex methodology when it comes to managing a project, but they benefit from a designated project manager.
Having a Project manager increases the likelihood a project will be successful and profitable, enabling your business to grow.
1. Provide vision and direction – the project manager identifies the aims and vision of the project and gives it purpose and direction. They also provide the point of contact for the project. They are responsible for all communication between stakeholders, customers and the project team, which decreases confusion and increases accuracy.
2. Increase efficiency – the project manager works with the project team to define the tasks which need to be undertaken in order to complete the project, and in what order they should occur. This ensures that they are completed efficiently.
3. Control scope – The scope of the project is comprised of what has to be delivered (the project deliverables) and what work has to be done to deliver the project deliverables. The project manager will continually address scope management throughout the life of the project by regular monitoring and controlling. This in turn saves effort and cost.
4. Manage costs – Delivering on time and within budget are two constraints of any project. The project manager controls not only monetary costs but also the people resources, both internal and external, and the equipment costs as well.
5. Manage time – time is arguably the biggest challenge of any project. The project manager must control the project schedule by examining milestones, key dates and the critical path throughout the project lifecycle.
6. Schedule the work – the project manager ensures that all the project team members work on their tasks in the appropriate order. This includes calculating the time a task takes and solving any problems which may delay them making their deadlines.
7. Deal with potential risks – there is always a chance for potential risks in a project no matter how well planned. A project manager will identify potential risks, assess the impact they may have and consequently make a plan to avoid or manage them. The aim of risk management is to reduce the undesirable consequences (impact) to a project of a risk occurring.
8. Administer procurement – if your project requires products and services from outside your organisation, the project manager manages these contracts and controls the terms of these contracts.
9. Communicate with stakeholders – Once the project is up and running, it is crucial to communicate progress of the project to both the project team and the stakeholders. The project manager communicates the goals and performance to business leaders in a regularly scheduled report.
10. Close the project – After the project has met the goals and expectations of the project customer, the project manager documents and reviews the project phases with the stakeholders. Evaluation of the project is undertaken with lessons learned duly noted for the next project.
Do you have what it takes to be a Project Manager? Take a look at our Top 10 Qualities of a Project Manager article.