Improved performance comes from improved processes, which can best be obtained through project management. Many organizations disregard this discipline in favor of a silo structure that consequently disconnects departments throughout the company, but project management turns complex and extensive projects or objectives into a streamlined process with clearly outlined tasks and responsibilities. This allows for optimal use of company resources and employee efforts, which helps companies be more goal-oriented and reduce operational expenses.
The following is a breakdown of the four essential functions of project management and how you can implement them into your business operations.
4 Essential Functions of Project Management
1. Formalize role and responsibilities
Any business endeavor, whether it be product development, a marketing campaign, or a service launch, must begin with determining what needs to get done and by whom. Project management establishes the scope of the project in order to outline those specifications. Developing the scope should answer:
- What is the timeline?
- Who are the key stakeholders?
- What are the stakeholder expectations?
- What are the deliverables? (aka the tangible products, documents, resources, etc. that are to be produced)
- What are the KPIs/measurements of success?
Without forming the scope first, your projects are prone to inconsistencies and inaccuracies that slow down the work. Project management helps ensure that successful processes are measurable and repeatable to enable long-term development for your company. This is especially crucial for any company that has plans of increasing scale in the future, i.e. hiring new employees, opening new branches, expanding services, etc.
2. Develop workflow
Once the roles and responsibilities have been determined, project management can be used to develop the precise workflow for employees to use when accomplishing a project. The workflow is typically broken down into individual tasks and action steps with a specific order and schedule that maximizes the amount of time spent on the project and the quality and quantity of the overall output.
An efficient workflow often takes numerous rounds of trials and testing to put together. Project managers are responsible for facilitating this development by creating and documenting the process of managing, tracking, and reporting the progression. An essential element of developing the workflow is conducting detailed follow ups that address whether or not the deliverables were provided and if the correct KPIs were accomplished.
Afterwards, project managers are able to manage the execution and implementation of the workflow, and they can track any problem spots or pain points to find expedient solutions. Project management allows for the centralization of what would otherwise be an overly complex and convoluted undertaking.
3. Improve collaboration
One of the greatest barriers in efficiency and productivity that many companies face is the disconnect between their departments. Rather than operating in an inter-connected manner, businesses often operate in silos that prohibit fluid collaboration between teams. Project management can help bridge this gap by creating an effective method of communication and collaboration between employees.
This involves configuring a method of direct communication between teams for discussing and updating each other on projects, as well as distributing relevant files, documents, and other pertinent resources. The right flow of data and information determines how easily teams can work together, so file-sharing should be made as accessible as possible.
Project managers can determine what methods of communication are most conducive to different tasks or purposes, whether it be a specific platform or software that is utilized or instructions on how one can manage those correspondences.
4. Resolve problems
Project management helps mitigate risk by monitoring potential threats or concerns in relation to a new or existing project. Tracking the progress and outcome of an operational process helps determine what gaps there are that could result in inefficiencies or mistakes. Without project management, those mistakes are often repeated or forgotten about, so having a designated role for it helps to prevent this.
Additionally, project management allows your company to be proactive by putting a response system in place for whenever problems do arise. For example, if there was an error with fulfilling a certain customer order, having an established workflow for said order helps determine what went wrong, where the error occurred, who was responsible for it, and how the error can be resolved.
Overall, project management fortifies your company’s operational structure and strengthens your productivity and capacity. Project managers are able to work side by side with other integral members of your team to improve the standards of your company by optimizing your employees’ workflow. It can serve as a powerful tool for setting your business apart from others and taking your abilities to the next level.