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Why Project Management is Important

        posted by , September 09, 2012

Everyone has a plan: until they get punched in the face.
~ Mike Tyson
Project management is one of those things that looks easy — until you try it.

It's often the same stakeholders who believe that project management is easy who question its importance.

The idea that project management is needless overhead is surprisingly common. This idea is most prominent in small organizations and organizations that are new to project management.

Stakeholders who are accustomed to cowboy approaches to project management are often resistant to a comprehensive methodology.

Stakeholders may see project management as bureaucratic nonsense. In other words, that project management is paperwork that gets in the way of getting things done.

Often the best way to sell the value of project management is with a back-to-basics look at its importance.

Project management is important for several reasons:

1. Organizing Chaos

Projects are naturally chaotic. The primary business function of project management is organizing & planning projects to tame this chaos.

It's hard to think of any complex business endeavor that was ever achieved without organization & planning.

Project management is the organization, planning and control of projects.

2. Managing Risk

Any good project has plenty of risk. After all, the nature of business is taking risks.

Risk is a fundamental part of business strategy. However, risk needs to be managed.

Risk is that chance of a negative event or loss. Uncontrolled risk taking ends in asset destruction and compliance issues.

Project management identifies, manages and controls risk.

3. Managing Quality

Quality is the value of what you produce. There's not much sense producing something that has no value.

Leaving quality to chance is analogous to producing something of random value.

Project management identifies, manages and controls quality.

4. Managing Integration

Projects don't happen in a vacuum. They need to be integrated with business processes, systems and organizations.

You can't build a sales system that doesn't integrate with your sales process and sales organization. It wouldn't add much value. Integration is often key to project value.

Project management identifies and manages integration.

5. Managing Change

Projects always happen in an environment in which nothing is constant except change. Projects are always a moving target.

Managing change is a complex and daunting task. It's not optional. Unless you can put your business universe on pause, change happens whether you manage it or not.

Project management manages change.

6. Clearing Issues

Business initiatives typically encounter regular issues that must be managed to achieve objectives.

Project management plays a critical role in identifying and clearing issues.

7. Retaining and Using Knowledge

Projects generate knowledge — or at least they should.

Knowledge represents a significant asset for most businesses. Left unmanaged, knowledge tends to quickly fade.

Project management ensures that project knowledge is captured and managed.

8. Learning From Failure

Projects fail. When they do, it's important to learn from the process. Learning from failure is key to business innovation and quality improvement.

Project management ensures that lessons are learned from project success and failure.

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