What is a project? The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines it as a temporary endeavour, undertaken to create a unique product, service or result. PMI adds that a project has a beginning, an end, defined scope and resources. It often includes people who usually don’t work together and are in different locations or organizations.
Projects range from sales campaigns into new markets, software development, construction works, research, agri-business projects and many more.
PMI then defines project management as application of skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.
Thus, when starting a project, certain key things should be put into consideration to ensure its success. The project manager should possess the skills and ability to lead and manage the project from inception to completion on time and within budget. The following are three key elements to ensure the success of a project:
The objective of the project should be clear and properly articulated to the stakeholders. Once the team members are aware of the goal(s) they are working towards – as well as their designated roles – it is easy to achieve seamless work-flow throughout the entire project cycle. Proper communication is crucial in supporting this. Potential risks to the project should be anticipated, analysed and mitigation measures put in place. A project with an elaborate objective and plan, well communicated to the team members, stands a better chance of success.
Before embarking on a project it is imperative to work out the budget. The available resources must be equitably allocated and accounted for. Financial knowledge is essential for a project manager, for analysis and better understanding of financial documents and other financial components of the project. (Arcskills offers a Financial Course for Non-Finance Managers. Have a look at the course details here). Remember to include a contingency budget for any unforeseen expenses.
Every project should be pegged to a timeline. The timeline should indicate the expected dates of commencement, key milestones and completion. It is important to align the budget to the timeline and set benchmarks to ensure the project stays on track and on schedule. Progress should be monitored against milestones to mitigate timeline and budget overruns. A timeline also serves as an accountability tool for stakeholders to achieve set targets within the agreed duration.
If you are managing a project, or are in the process of starting one, sign up here for our two-day Project Management course happening this February on 16th and 17th at The Concord Hotel. Ann Cameron, our facilitator, is a renown Project Management Professional (PMP) and has shared her experience with thousands of business leaders around the world.