Let me emphasize the need for effective project management and project manager in an organization with a famous anecdote on teamwork: It is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody would not do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have. Though this story confuses us it has a clear message about teamwork and taking ownership of responsibilities. (Source: www.lollydaskal.com). Also, it emphasizes the need for a project management team and project manager in an organization. This blog post deciphers what is project, project management, project management processes, and phases in the project life cycle in a detailed manner.
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Imagine you are in a Cloud Consulting organization. With several ongoing projects, incoming clients in the pipeline, and a million documents to be shared, received, and documented. While most architects and developers are busy building these solutions, there should be a team that is dedicated to facilitating the needs of the internal teams and the various clients. In a project development lifecycle, there are many teams that will come into a picture starting from the sales division, including Service Delivery Managers (SDM), Subject Matter Experts (SME), and manage resources. An organization bustling with so many activities needs a Project Management team for seamless and systematic workflow. Therefore, organizations, invest heavily in Project Management that can be impactful for business growth.
What is a Project
A Project can be defined as a set of tasks required to reach the end goal. The project must have pre-defined starting and end timelines. Typical examples of a project are developing a software product, constructing a house or building, designing a new automotive, implementing a new business process, etc.
Understanding Project Management
Project Management is a process of applying knowledge, skills, techniques, and tools to accomplish the tasks defined as per project requirements.
Project Management is necessary to produce answers to the following questions:
- Which tasks must be accomplished?
- Which deliverables must be generated and reviewed?
- Who are the team members involved in the project?
- How to streamline the project management phases?
Finding answers to these questions helps the project manager to seamlessly take the project through various phases. Further, a typical project comprises of various processes and these processes must be accomplished in a systematic way by taking it through various phases of Project Life Cycles.
Project Management Processes
- Resource Management– It is a process by which different businesses manage their resources, be it tangible or intangible in an effective manner. Here tangible refers to materials, equipment, finance, and intangible are time and people.
- Risk Management– The management of identifying risks or issues in a particular organization and working towards reducing it or the steps taken to minimize them.
- Quality Management– It is a process to ensure the desired level of excellence in the deliverables such as products or services is met. It includes creating quality planning and assurance, quality control, and quality improvement.
- Stakeholder Management– The process of managing stakeholders’ expectations and requirements with constant communication. Stakeholders could be a team lead, manager, or client.
- Cost Management– The process of planning and controlling the budget of an organization.
- Procurement Management– It is a process of ensuring all products, materials, goods, and services needed for a project are acquired systematically.
- Change Management – The management of changes and development in the organization. It controls the components of triple constraints which are scope, time and budget, and quality.
The 5 Phases of Project Life Cycle
- P1: Project Initiation- The first and the foremost phase of the project life cycle wherein the identification of scope, deliverables, and stakeholders are done. In this phase project manager defines project goals, creates a business case, completes the project planner, identifies the list of stakeholders.
- P2: Project Planning– This phase includes breaking down tasks and planning the timeline, costs involved, resource allocation, issues, budget.
- P3: Project Execution– Turning the plan into action, keeping the work on track. This involves allocating project resources, managing project resources, implementing the product or service, fix any issues arising then and there.
- P4: Project Monitoring and Control– reviewing the work, monitoring the quality, and keeping it streamlined.
- P5: Project Closure– Accepting the final deliverables, creating reports like performance reports, closure reports, and releasing the project resources.
Role of a Project Manager
The role usually involves planning and organizing the work, identifying stakeholders, managing and monitoring the day-to-day activities of the project, and delivering the project deliverables to the client.
Project Management Tools and Software
A wide array of Project Management (PM) tools are available to effectively implement projects. Here is an overview of important PM tools:
- Jira: It is an agile project management tool that helps in managing agile software development projects. This tool helps to manage agile boards, roadmaps, backlogs, reports, and integration of plans, tracking the processes and other activities involved in the agile development sphere.
- Microsoft Project: Microsoft’s Project management software product helps project managers to develop schedules, allocate resources, track progress, manage budgets, and analyze workloads. It is available in standard and professional versions. It is usually employed to manage complex tasks with detailed tracking of all activities.
- Microsoft Planner: It is a lightweight project management tool used to handle ad-hoc projects and teams, allowing team members to work together on boards and update tasks. It is available along with Microsoft 365 suite.
- Wrike: A project management tool that helps teams to customize dashboards, workflows, request forms, provides greater visibility across teams, helps to share files, tasks, and reports instantly for better collaboration across teams.
- ARIS: A project management tool that has a plethora of features like interactive dashboards, fast & smart modeling assistance, social collaboration, workflow governance, and role-based viewing. It is available in four flavors basic, advanced, enterprise, and educational version.
- Microsoft Visio: Again, Microsoft’s project management tool enables communicating complex project information using data-linked diagrams, flowcharts, organization charts, floor plans, etc. It helps to collaborate and connect real-time data with business workflows.
What is Cloud-based Project Management?
An enormous number of organizations these days are storing their data in cloud software, which shows that cloud-based technology is booming, making it a global need. Research says 60% of the businesses all over the globe use cloud technology which is a great number.
Cloud-based project management software helps in planning, collaborating, monitoring, and delivering a project. The traditional method of using sticky notes, whiteboards are gone with cloud-based project management. Instead, project managers now use a network of tools within the software to get their job done. Project Management in all is platform-agnostic, but to make things simpler, project management software is designed to reach deadlines and projects more effectively and easily.
Let’s now look at the advantages of cloud-based project management software.
Project management software is:
- Easy access
- Easy to get started with
- Improved collaboration and productivity
- No additional installations and hardware
- Low maintenance technology
- Reliable and secure
- Free monthly trials
- Support remote teams
- Super time saver
- Allows web-based integrations
The next question comes, which is the best cloud-based project management software.
When there is a plethora of project management software, it gets challenging to find which software is best and can organize the organization’s workload in the manner project managers need. With all these considerations, I have listed out a few of the best project management software in the market.
- Zoho projects
We have a huge demand for Project Managers in various industries. According to a recent PMI report, organizations are looking to fill nearly 2.2 million new-project-oriented roles each year through 2027. According to Glassdoor average salary for a Project Manager in India is 15 Lakh rupees.
To take up a Project Manager position earning a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) can be the starting point. Further, as a fresher, you can take up a test to become a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) after undergoing an online course in Project Management. If you are a seasoned campaigner with more than a hundred hours of experience in project management, you can take up Project Management Professional certification (PMP). Whether you are new to project management or already have experience in risk management, communication, or time management you can get certified and build a career in project management.