This post was contributed by the newest member of the Simply Placed team, Dana Diaz. Dana brings a particular expertise around project management and process improvement that will benefit our clients in numerous ways. We’ve asked her to share some of her insight in this two-part series.
Part 1: What is project management?
Project management is the planning, organization, and timely execution of each step to ensure the overall goal is completed. It encompasses the organization and implementation of any type of project, big or small. An easy way to think of it is in terms of a construction project.
There are multiple, smaller tasks that go into the big picture work that needs to get done. The overall project might be the completion of building a house, which includes many smaller tasks. Each task, no matter how big or small, is necessary for the completion of the overall project.
Some tasks must be completed before others can be started. For example, the foundation must be laid before the framing can be constructed. Some tasks can be completed in conjunction with one another. Painting and landscaping don’t really have anything to do with each other and could be done simultaneously by two separate people or teams. If one task gets delayed, it could delay a different dependent task, or the project as a whole.
Mitigating risk and being proactive about issues that may arise is also a part of project management. A solution would be to shorten the duration of one task or outsource work, if needed, to stay on track. Sometimes, project management involves just the overview and delegation of tasks to others. Often, though, the project manager is doing some of the work themselves. It all depends on the scope of the project, the budget, the time frame, and the project owner.
Ideally, the scope of a project would not change at all while the work is being done. Managing a basic or straightforward project that doesn’t change, or changes very little in scope, is considered traditional project management.
Nowadays, there is also agile project management, seen primarily in software development. Agile involves assessing the scope, budget, and time frame of a project in “sprints”. Establishing sprints, or time frames such as every 2 weeks, accounts for anything that may come up during the completion of individual tasks. Agile project management is more realistic, in some cases, because it allows for things that may need to be modified in the process.
Maybe you have a big picture goal for yourself or your work, with many smaller tasks that go into the completion of this goal. For some tasks, it might be difficult to estimate an exact timeframe. Maybe there are even multiple people working on this task, complicating collaboration and timeframes even further. Using agile project management methodologies to assess the status of tasks on a sprint basis, and then adjusting aspects of the project as needed, ensures things don’t get delayed or derailed. Based on this, agile is a much better alternative for overall success as opposed to traditional project management.
Overall, both traditional and agile project management are great techniques for getting complex work done and keeping information organized. Project management is a very helpful tool for breaking down large projects into smaller manageable chunks. By planning each step of the process, you create a schedule to stick to in order to reach your goals.
Do you have projects or goals in your work or personal life that you aren’t sure how to begin? Let us be a resource to you! Want to learn more about how you can incorporate project management into your life or work to achieve your goals? Our next blog post will share more insights.