Guide to Project Management in 2020
Project management roles are often a formal discipline with a looser definition. It can be a large field to explore, and the addition of changing trends, employee demands, and the latest technologies only make the role more challenging to keep up with. There is also the often misunderstood relationship between project management and operations management, and that only makes it more challenging to keep with.
Unlike operations management, project managers have a clearly defined end-date to their task, have an always-changing roster of team members, and focus on introducing change to a company rather than simply keeping the business going.
In 2020, project management faces a variety of challenges, and those that find themselves in project management roles will need to know the trends and demands that are causing disruption.
Defining Project Management
Within any organization, projects come and go. Those projects all need to be planned, managed, and executed. It is the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that the collected team has access to all of the technologies and resources they need to complete the project on time and within budget. Examples of common project management tasks would include:
- New website launches
- App development
- Implementing new business processes
- Procuring and setting up new premises
- Managing an event
- Ensuring regulatory compliance
While the role of a project manager will alter depending on the type of project being managed, there are some commonalities that those managers need to be aware of if they want to excel in their role.
Technology Trends and Project Management
Today, technology changes quickly, and keeping up with the latest cutting-edge tech can be a project in and of itself. To stay relevant and to keep one step ahead of competitors, companies need to ensure that traditionally siloed departments are more collaboratively aligned. This is now achieved more easily via the adoption of a more DevOps approach. You can find out more here about Development Operations Management, but the goal is to produce software over a shortened life cycle of development. Having the right software in project management is often critical, and by adopting a more DevOps approach, it makes it significantly easier to help grow a business. Using a DevOps methodology brings a variety of business benefits, including:
- Improving agility by removing manual tasks
- Boosting efficiency via automation and optimization
- Growing revenue and reduce costs
- Adding value to the customer experience
- Delivering innovations faster
- Dramatically cutting error time
- Improving collaboration between teams
By ignoring the benefits of a DevOps strategy, businesses leave themselves exposed to unnecessary risks.
Understanding Project Lifecycles
Operations management tends to be an ongoing task, which means that they function very differently from more specified project management. There are four phases that every project will go through, and they each need to be approached and managed accordingly. The four phases are:
- Launch: The starting phase, project launch, is when the goal is identified, and a plan is formulated that will lead to the reaching of that goal. Team members will need to be brought together, and a schedule will then be created. Communication channels will need to be highlighted to ensure that the chain of comms is without any roadblocks.
- Planning: This will involve breaking down the project into manageable chunks and allocating roles to each team member. Each task will need its own timeline, especially if one task requires another to be completed first. The goal at the planning stage is to create a roadmap that will take you from planning to completion.
- Project Execution: The largest part of the workload, project execution, is when you get the project moving forward. It is important at this stage to monitor and track the completed work so that budgets are kept to, and issues with scheduling are avoided. The project manager is key at this stage, as they are the ones that will identify risks to the project, and will make changes as any challenges become visible.
- Close: Once the project is completed, the work of the project management team will shift to more of an analysis role. Reports will need to be completed so that the successes of the project have been identified and any of the lessons learned throughout the project process have been noted.
Processes within The Project Management Lifecycle
Within the lifecycle of any project, there are a number of processes that will be the key to reaching the project objective. While these may vary depending on the size of the business and the nature of the project, the common processes for project management will include:
- Risk Management
- Emerging Issue Management
- Communications Management
While these are some of the more common processes to see in project management, each organization will also have its bespoke processes that are designed around the unique nature of the business model. The key is to have a standardized approach to project management so that every new project has a clear roadmap. There are a variety of project management methodologies that have been tried and tested multiple times. The type of methodology that your business utilizes will depend largely on the goals of your organization. From the waterfall methodology to the lean or the agile, following the right methods will only make it easier to plan and execute a project of any size.
Take the time to understand the goals of project management and the best options for managing any project, and you make it far easier for your team to achieve their goals while also making them repeatable.