The true value of project management

Updated: Jun 16 2014, 09:21am hrs
Project management is the driving force behind the success of any organisational venture and the need for project management is becoming increasingly apparent in businesses across the world. Industry studies on the reasons why a majority of projects fail or are at risk of not being successfully completed indicate lack of effective project management, which involves poor management skills, inadequate resources, poor planning and scheduling, and ineffective risk assessment.

Among these, the primary cause is linked to the competency levels of project managers, thereby establishing an urgent need for efficient project managers. Finding experienced and skilled project managers is a challenge facing many industries in India today. As a result, more and more companies are now recognising the importance of project management, which includes essential project management tools, and strategies and best practices that are crucial to the success of a project.

A joint survey conducted by PMI and Ficci covering six sectors in India where project management practices are predominant reveals that the higher the quality and adoption of project management, the higher the delivery performance. The survey was based on projects from different areas such as energy, aviation, IT, mining, roads and petroleum.

A common misconception is that project management is relevant only to the IT industry and to some extent the finance industry. The truth is that though most of the professionals who attempt project management certification come with an IT background, the scope and applicability is equally relevant and predominant for professionals outside the IT industry. In fact, popular certification programmes such as PMP, PRINCE2 and Agile are applicable to all industries. These programmes or methodologies advocate project management strategies and approach towards managing a project across several industries.

But what does project management entail It is all about managing scope, costs, time and change in a project. One is trained to acquire skills required to define an effective plan for a project based on the scope, understand the dependencies, and lay out roles and responsibilities for team members, manage costs and deliver end-results within deadlines. A PMP-certified professional will be equipped to handle all expected and unexpected challenges that come with project management. The entire process requires management of scope, time, budget, procurement, risks and changes that are applicable to all projects across industries.

The adaptation of project management standards in diverse industries has seen more relevance in recent years, with the retail industry, construction business and health industry acknowledging its importance and role. Lets talk about movie production. Right from the planning stage to scripting and casting artists to executing marketing promotions, the whole process is divided into processes and requires project management. Similarly, in a construction project, decisions ranging from architectural design to choosing cement materials and paint fall under project management.

Regardless of industry trends or personal motivating factors for up-skilling, the demand for trained project management professionals is on the rise. Employers seek trained and certified project managers to ensure the success of their projects while certified and trained professionals have a competitive edge when it comes to gaining promotions or better job prospects. The significance and scope of PMP is immense.

Krishna Kumar is CEO & founder, Simplilearn