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The Need For Project Management
First, all projects must have a goal. What needs accomplished? Building a deck? Restoring a car? Planning a company move? Without a clear goal you cannot expect a successful outcome.
To begin, the project must have a sponsor. Someone or some group that wants something completed. The sponsor will help procure necessary resources and the support needed to complete the project.
Someone responsible for completing the project needs to be identified. This person may be the sponsor or it may be someone hired specifically to complete the goal. He will be the project manager. The project managerís role will be to plan the project, ensure the project stays on track, and ultimately accomplish what the sponsor wants.
The project manager should begin by understanding what the sponsor wants. Does the sponsor have a time window to meet? The project manager can then begin the task of sorting through what resources are available and what resources are needed.
Next will be the task of planning the project. The project manager will conduct research and use existing resources to help plan the various task required to complete the project. Most projects need tools for keeping up with the project. These tools may involve formal project management tools or a simple spreadsheet. A gantt chart may be used to track the status of the tasks and time line. A spreadsheet may be used to outline and manage the budget. Problems that are encountered also need to be tracked and resolved. Regardless of the tools, keep it simple. Over planning or complex tracking systems can impact the completion of the project by draining the use of valuable resources.
Once the project is planned, the Project Manager needs to get the project moving in order to meet the expected time line. He has to keep up with the resources, update progress on the tasks, and quickly resolve problems that arise
The project manager must always communicate well with the team members, the sponsors, and other interested parties. This communication will come in various forms like summary project reports, gantt charts on the key milestones, and fiscal status. A lack of effective communication usually leads to major problems with most projects and even possible project failure.
Regardless if a project is complete successful or failed miserably a GAP analysis on the project should be performed to evaluate the sponsorís original goal versus the final results. This is also the time to review the life of the project, what went well and what didnít go well. An honest post mortem will help improve future projects your organization may undertake.
Celebrate your completion of a successful project and recognize the team.
About the Author: Mark Combs is a partner with IntraLink, a Cincinnati Ohio based consulting company. He can be reached through http://www.intralinkinc.com. A Cincinnati Ohio based computer consulting and website design, search engine optimization business since 1994..