Project Management Concepts – Why Do We Do Projects?

I’ve been giving some thought recently as to what lies behind the work we do as project managers. Too often we get caught up in the tools and techniques, the how of what we do, without looking at the concepts and ideas behind it, the why of what we do.

Let’s go back to the very basics. Why do we do projects? What are they for?

I think this one is simple, but far too often forgotten: The primary aim of every project is to benefit the business.

To begin with, let’s look at the traditional view of business as usual. A company has a particular process it goes through to create its product, to produce as many of it as the company can.

One of the things we can say about this situation is that it is steady-state – the company can continue going through the same process to build ever more of its product. But, of course, the environment that the business operates in is going to change. And that means the company needs to adapt.

This is where projects come in. A project is about change. An individual project in this case could be about improving manufacturing methods, developing a new product to make, finding new markets, and so on. While the details of the project may change, all of them are change, about bringing change into the business.

But why would we want to do this? Why bring change into the business? Well, as I have already suggested, a business cannot stay the same while the environment it is in changes. New competitors may arise, economic conditions may alter, suppliers may go out of business.

A company that doesn’t react to these changing conditions, that doesn’t bring change into itself, will fall behind. It will suffer because other companies are reacting to the changing environment. These companies will take their market share, and eventually drive the first company out of business.

This means that we need to find a way to help the business. We need to deliver a project that benefits the business.

Now, of course, that benefit can make different forms. In general, the output of the project will directly either make, or save, the company some money. For example, the project may develop a new product to be sold, or improve manufacturing processes to reduce costs.

But this is only a generalisation – it may be the project itself only touches on the financial side indirectly. For example, a project may improve brand awareness in the marketplace. While this improved awareness will lead to increased sales, the project itself doesn’t deliver them.

So that’s why we do projects – we bring change into the business, and by doing that, or at least doing it successfully, we benefit the business. And that is one of my project management concepts: The primary aim of every project is to benefit the business.

Project Management Concepts Through Interview Questions for Project Managers – 10

The aim of this series of articles is to introduce project management concepts. Interview questions one may face for project Manager position, are used as a vehicle to introduce these concepts. This is the tenth part of the series and covers further concepts. Each article in the series discussed five questions that you may get asked and explained the related issues. Concepts introduced should help you prepare for PMP certification that is often required for a Project Manager position.

Procurement administration is an important function considering how crucial procurement is. What does procurement administration involve? Initiating procurement, getting the contracts in place are important activities. Procurements that take some time, usually because the seller needs time to get the item ready, needs to be monitored. Monitoring and ensuring that the procurement will be completed in time is an important function of the procurement team. This is what the procurement administration all about.

The project team is an important component in the project delivery ecosystem. Project teams are usually filled by bringing people together from inside as well as outside at the start of a project. It is essential that this gathering of people, from different departments within an organization and from outside are able to function well. What does the team forming process involve? Typically, this is a four-stage process. The first part is the “forming” of the team. However, this is followed immediately by a “storming process. During this time, people filling the roles go through a stormy phase before the relationships are formed into working norms. Next phase is the norming process when the leaders, team leaders, team members start operating smoothly in the given structure. Then comes the performing time, when the structured team works effectively as a high-performance team and delivers the desired results.

What are the responsibilities of a project manager towards the team? A project manager has to ensure his team operates as a smooth performing team. Being conversant in HR knowledge area is very important out of the nine knowledge areas defined in the PMBOK. Right people should be in place; he should nurture along the team forming process, identify training areas and take care of appraisals and consequent rewards and recognition.

Are professionalism and integrity required qualities of a PM? Without a doubt, a manager must have these qualities. Practically everything a PM needs to do calls for these qualities. Whether he is reporting status of a project, trying to solve a conflict, appraising his team are kind of actions when he needs these strengths.

Why is being proactive a necessary quality for a PM? A PM must be able to see if any deviation is happening in the progress of the project. When PM is able to see these as soon as possible, he gets time to react and take corrective actions early enough and prevent any slips in time or cost.

That completes this series that considered 50 interview questions to look into some project management concepts. That is but scratching the surface. I intend to keep covering important concepts from the PMBOK.

Maximize Your Management Concept Training Course For Higher Work Effectiveness

A management concept training course, when applied correctly, can help to boost your company’s production and work effectiveness. When you apply the concepts that are taught in the course and are consistent, you will notice an exponential increase in efficiency in regards to personnel and operations. While there are many different types of management concept training courses available, only a handful are on a level where they can be properly utilized on an organizational level. These five tips will help you maximize and hone the skills that you learn in a management concept training course.

1. Use your Notes

All too often people sign up for training courses and skills enhancement courses and when they walk out the door they leave a good percentage of what they learned behind them. Studies show that people only retain a small percentage, in the neighborhood of 24%, of information that they are told or taught – unless they write it down. Take notes and USE THEM! Refer to them often, transcribe them to share with coworkers and apply what you learned to real life situations.

2. Have Regular Staff Development Meetings

Having regular staff development meetings where you reiterate and expand upon the material you covered at your management concept training course will help to make it a part of your organization. As you work on your skills, developing them and honing them, you are applying them to real life situations. Additionally, you are working with others in the applications of the principles taught.

3. Create a Focus Group

Create a focus group with a good, diverse team to bounce ideas off of each other. Discuss the principles that you learned, use your notes from the course and talk about ways to realistically apply the principles to your own organization. Explore creative applications for the skills and teach the other members of the focus group the skills you learned in your management concept training course.

4. Ask Questions

Ask questions and get feedback about how the principles and skills are working in your organization. Don’t, however, contain your quest for feedback solely to upper management. Ask lower level employees. They are often on the front lines, dealing directly with customers, product and operations so their feedback and suggestions could prove to be invaluable.

5. Keep on Learning

Don’t limit yourself to just one management concept training course, keep on learning! Take other courses that are related to your topic and look for courses that build on your existing skills, particularly those that you learned through your initial management concept training course. Never stop learning, update your skills, abilities and knowledge regularly.

When you attend a management concept training course, you can bring to your organization and position. There are even more ways that you can help your managers increase their effectiveness at work, never stop exploring.