Project Managers: Are They Worth it?

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, only 2.5% of companies successfully complete 100% of their projects. Research by Spikes Cavell found that 57% of projects fail due to a breakdown in communications, while 39% of projects fail due to lack of planning, resources, and activities.

By having a clear-cut project plan with a single point of contact to manage the deliverables, organisations can rest easy (at least, easier) that objectives will be met.

What Do They Do?

Outline the Scope

Every project has multiple stakeholders. Every stakeholder has a vested interest. Some of those interests are delivered more forcefully than others.

Yet, not all those interests are to the benefit of the business. You need a strong-willed individual to sit at the heart of this chaos and outline what will – and will not – make the cut.

Outlining and monitoring the scope, documenting change requests and maintaining a constant stream of communication is the bedrock of any successful project.

Watch the Bank Balance

Every task costs money. Every project has a budget. Two plus two should equal four and so you should have someone to manage the cost of delivery.

Your Project Manager will not only set out ballpark costs pre-commencement but will also control the spend on an ongoing basis and may even spot an opportunity for efficiencies.

Manage Expectations

Unfortunately, resources are finite. Setting a timeline – as much as sticking to it – is critical in appeasing management.

Having an experienced individual to deploy skilled workers where they are needed most is fundamental to hitting deadlines and where there is a risk one will be missed; the Project Manager can make a judgement as to who can lend support, or when to warn the superiors.

Reviewing time taken on previous tasks will inform on prospective issues, so the Project Manager can request additional resources if needed or identify reasons why tasks are taking longer than they should.

Mitigate Risk

Project Managers have a sixth sense: they spot risk where we only see progress.

Not only can they see what others may miss, but they also know how to handle a crisis. So, when the inevitable cracks appear, they will jump into action and direct resources to minimise the risk.

A Filter for the Business

There must be space between those working on a project and those waiting for the project’s completion. Constant queries, requests for updates and incessant interruptions are a dead weight on those tasked with delivery, so the PM must do their best to protect their resources. By managing a steady stream of communication with the business, stakeholders will stay up to date while steady progress is maintained. Should any disquiet emerge, the PM can step forth and offer the best route forward, decreasing the risk of further disruption.

Organise a Project Retrospective

To understand the path forward, we must first look back.

Every completed project should include a comprehensive review to recognise successes and failures. Not only does this optimise future processes, but it also elicits any pending requirements should there be outstanding objectives that were not entirely met.

The only individual with an accurate insight as to what has happened in the whirlwind few months before completion is the PM, and they will be invaluable for future success.

Key takeaways

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, an astounding 97% of organisations believe project management is critical to business performance and organisational success and yet 75% of business and IT executives anticipate their software projects will fail. Much of this is due to not having the correct people in place to manage the project.

Project managers are the foundation on which success is built and the webbing that holds the organisation together when everyone else is pulling apart. They create, control and maintain all documentation, delivering projects on time, and on budget.

Moreover, they will be the person to stop this molehill growing into a mountain and ensuring what you want is what you get (see our article on ‘Scope Creep’ to understand what we mean!).

The savings they produce will more than outweigh the cost incurred, and delays will be avoided. Time is money, after all.

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