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What is Project Management? Failure and Success.

Welcome to Project Management

The Association of Project Management (APM) offers the following definition: “Project management is the application of processes, methods, skills, knowledge and experience to achieve specific project objectives according to the project acceptance criteria within agreed parameters. Project management has final deliverables that are constrained to a finite timescale and budget”.

Many organisations underestimate the necessity of project management. They do not allocate enough budget for it and unwilling to engage external project management consultants or project management office (PMO) services. Instead, they allocate budget only for strategy consultants to help with the vision and corporate strategy development. They typically expect their employees to be equal to undertaking the endeavour, mistakenly believing project management to be a simple and straightforward task. If you want this particular responsibility to remain in-house, you should equip your team with the right knowledge, processes and systems to allow them to do their job well. Otherwise, the project will very likely fail. Organisations must also allocate the appropriate resources for project management.

How do we measure project success? Typically, a project is considered a success when it is delivered on time and within the allocated budget, while also meeting the agreed quality requirements. However, I define successful projects as those that result in happy stakeholders. How do you know what makes them happy? We ask them. The rule of thumb is that stakeholders are happy when we meet their expectations. Successful project execution and sound project management are inseparable. No organisation should expect to achieve their vision or strategic plans without establishing proper project management processes. According to Susan Hollister, 80 per cent of senior executives attribute project management to the success of their business during tough economic times.

As a general rule, they should allocate between 8 per cent to 20 per cent of the budget depending on the nature and complexity of the project. Insufficient budget provision for project management can lead to bad planning, inadequate monitoring and poor execution. An inadequate budget for project management will increase the risk of project failure.

What are the root causes of project failures? According to Dr. John McManus and Dr. Trevor Wood-Harper, 73 per cent of project failures are due to non-technical reasons9 and 53 per cent are because of poor project management.

Once you embrace it, you will find that project management is a far more rewarding, exciting and manageable experience than what many would believe.

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