Why You Need To Project Manage

Why should you worry about project management? Doesn’t everyone know how to get things done? Don’t we all work on different projects all of the time? If you are successful at getting things done, do you need to think any further about project management?

Yes. You need to think about project management. Project Management isn’t about getting things done. Project Management is about making a change in the world. When you are responsible for a project, you are responsible for making sure that the change that intends happens. When you are responsible for your task list, you are only responsible for getting a very narrow sliver of work done.

A project is a piece of work that has a distinct beginning, and end, and involves some sort of change happening because of the work that is done. One definition says that the change is that a “unique product, service, or result”[1] is produced. If you are creating something unique, you are making a change in the world.

Project Management is the discipline and art of pulling together many different facets of making the change happen and making sure that they all occur in the right way. When you are thinking about a project, you are thinking about how all of these pieces work together to achieve the common goal. You will continuously have to ask yourself questions about whether you are getting closer to your goal. You will wonder how you can move in the right direction and help everyone else come along. On the other hand, if you are doing a task, you only worry about the binary result: is the task complete? Yes or No.

When you are responsible for a project, you have many things to think about:

  1. Who should be involved?
  2. How much will this change cost?
  3. How much should be changed/ built at one time?
  4. What could stop us from making this change?
  5. Who do we need to tell about this change? How will we talk to them?
  6. When people are doing the work, how do I know that they are doing the right thing?
  7. How do we know that the results that the project contributes continue to be valuable to the company?
  8. What can we learn from the successes and challenges that we encountered while making this change?

You probably aren’t a professional project manager. But you probably have a lot of projects that you have to manage all of the time. Knowing the foundational principles of project management will help you deliver your projects on time and with better results more often. Project Management is not a silver bullet; it doesn’t promise 100% success any more getting an MBA guarantees you a job. But using sound project management techniques will certainly increase the chances of you delivering the change that you want to make.

In the next few posts, I’ll be guiding you through some of the key pillars that will help you be a good project manager, for whatever project you are delivering.

[1] What is Project Management? (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2019, from https://www.pmi.org/about/learn-about-pmi/what-is-project-management