Project Management for the Real World

Project management is the process of planning and delivering a specific goal (or goals), usually within a set timeframe and budget. Some businesses might work on an entirely project basis, such as a festival organiser for whom each new festival is a new project.

Others might find that a specific project evolves into being over time, driven by a need within the business. For example, moving a growing company into a larger premises can take some logistical planning! Not only would a key outcome be getting everyone in on time, there’d also be a need for it to happen without too much chaos at the other end.

What is involved in project management?

Project management basically applies the broad responsibilities of a good managing director to a specific project. It’s a process of planning, strategy design, budgets, monitoring and control, reporting, communication, and delivery. Supercalifragalisticexpialidocious!

Project design

Targeted research and considered planning can do a lot to enhance a project’s chances of success. Consider what each stage of a project needs in terms of key resources like time and money. This sort of forward thinking can often protect a project from nasty (and expensive) things cropping up.

If the project is a collaborative effort, this is the time where tasks are discussed and assigned. Communication is absolutely key in helping efforts stay focused, both at the start of the project, and throughout its life. The project plan will become a shared document, so everyone knows where they’re up to.

Some projects might need to be designed with a little bit of ‘wiggle’, especially if customers are involved. The first time running a project, whether that’s ‘ever’ or ‘one like this’, comes with a learning process. Building a bit of slack into the schedule and the budget can help manage expectations, but keep it realistic. Too much slack might cause concern!

Setting and monitoring project goals

Managing a project means spending time monitoring its progress, and taking control where needed. Small overspends or delays over the course of an assignment can add up to something much more significant. So, have robust monitoring procedures, and an action plan to bring things back in line when necessary.

Project financial management

Research and planning are an important part of estimating the costs involved in any strategy. Understand the financial constraints (such as the customer’s budget) and plan the project accordingly. Of course, some costs are justified, and it the customer might benefit from the wisdom of someone in the field to point this out. But, if the answer is still no, work an alternative route.

And whilst we’re sort-of on the subject… A project with a customer at the end of it might have additional expectations to one undertaken for an employer. That is, someone designing and installing bespoke bathrooms is also trying to make a living doing it. In that sense, the desirable outcomes therefore include a beautiful new bathroom for the customer, and a profit for the worker!

Manging the financial aspect of a project ensures there is enough budget to see it through to completion, too. Identifying consistent areas of overspending from one project to the next can be used to formulate a different approach the next time.

Controlling the expenditure helps the project accomplish everything it sets out to do. Learn more about Pandle’s Projects feature, now available on our Pandle Mobile app, too!

Elizabeth Hughes

A content writer specialising in business, finance, software, and beyond. I'm a wordsmith with a penchant for puns and making complex subjects accessible.

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