Project Management in Todays World of Business

The project manager has never had a tougher job. Companies are always in transition now, remodeling and reorganizing to meet the latest global challenges. Competition is keen and only the flexible will survive. These business conditions translate directly to the greater demands for efficient, effective management of an entire spectrum of projects.

For example, a rise in use of distributed systems technology (e.g., client/server, Intranet, and Internet computing) and telecommuting has accelerated the disappearance of organizational boundaries and hierarchical management levels. Along with this blurring of organizational levels has come employee empowerment. Many companies now grant employees greater responsibilities and decision-making authority (e.g., self-directed work teams).

And the changes just don't stop. Many companies view projects as investments, integral parts of their strategic plans. This means the project managers must continually demonstrate their contribution to the bottom line. With this alliance between strategic plan and project management comes an increasingly close but often tense relationship between project and process management. Contrary to popular belief, project management and process management are compatible; projects become integral players in using and implementing processes. But failure to effectively manage a key project could cause a malfunction in the core process! This relationship between process and project management also manifests itself in a need to integrate multiple projects when they involve common core processes, thus requiring even greater integration to ensure such processes are not adversely affected.

The nature of today's workforce has changed in many companies. Employees are no longer offered or seek long-term employment—many people and companies want flexibility or mobility. Such changes add a new dimension to the work being done on a project—a dimension that directly affects relationships and ways of doing business. And many projects now involve people from different occupations and backgrounds. The globalization of the nation's business, for instance, requires that a project manager's skills go beyond being able to put together a flowchart.

As the economy continues to expand, key resources will become limited and project managers will need alternative ways to obtain expertise, such as by using consultants and outsourcing. Certainly, project managers in the past have faced similar problems of providing alternative sources of expertise—but never on as great a scale as they do today.

Market pressures complicate the management of projects, too. Customers not only want a quality product but also want it sooner. Time-to-market pressures force project managers to be efficient and effective to an unprecedented degree. The complexity involved in managing projects has never been greater and will likely only grow in the future. So, too, will the risks for failure. It is more critical than ever that the pieces of the project be in place to ensure delivery of the final service on time and within budget and to guarantee that it be of the highest quality.

Tom Peters, the great management consultant, was correct when he said that project management is the skill of the 1990s. But it is the skill of the future as well. The need for managing projects efficiently and effectively has never been greater and so are the rewards for its success. But having good project management practices in place will no longer suffice; what is required now is excellence in project management if project success is to be the norm.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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