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Why Project Management?

Project Management profession is becoming popular over the years. The necessity for Project Management in organizations is increasing as well.
The main reason behind  the increasing Project Management importance is the deadly competition among companies with each other compared to past. The main purpose of project management is delivering a unique product or service within a limited time period with a defined budget.
First, project management enables to collect your requirements regarding your project. These requirements constitute the scope of your project, in other words “what you will deliver in your project”. Actually, requirements in a project define the overall cost, schedule, and quality parameters.
Once scope is defined, activities that need to be performed in order to meet requirements are listed. Next duration and cost estimates of these activities are done. For example, which activity will be performed by which individual or by which department or you outsource a part of your work completely to an external organization.
Then dependencies of these activities are defined. For example, you cannot test a software product before it is developed, or similarly, you cannot start painting on a construction site before you finish the construction. These are all dependencies of activities in projects and define the schedule, time plan of your project.
Once you defined activities, responsible of activities, cost of each activity and interrelations of activities with each other, you will aggregate these estimates to constitute the overall budget and schedule of your project.
If you look into the steps we defined above, first we decomposed the overall project work into smaller sections in order to identify tiny activities of project. Estimation of duration and cost for a small activity is always easier compared to a big work. When you sum up these estimations for each activity you will be able to reach a more precise estimate for the overall project compared to a rough estimation of the total project work without decomposition.
During my professional experience, whenever I asked for a duration estimate for a team member in my project, they always gave smaller estimates before decomposing the activities in smaller pieces. When I directed them to decompose each step of the activities and then do the estimation, results have shown often higher estimates for the overall activity.
Project management enables you to approach planning, executing, monitoring and controlling your projects in a structured way. If you do not plan the project work in your organization, you will not have a clear vision of where you are heading with your project.
Project management enables you to better plan and coordinates all project activities. Let’s imagine that you are delivering a project without project management where overall project has been estimated roughly and where activities do not represent realistic estimates which they require. Then there will be two options for this project.
  • Since project has been estimated roughly, you might have very high estimates which results in unrealistic schedule
In this case, when you started your project, you might have agreed on with your customer to deliver your project within 1 year. But Since activities were estimated higher than they actually require, once your resources start to complete the activities in shorter time, customers may start to diagnose your estimations and this can cause you to lose trust between you and customers.
Also this may lead to Parkinson law. Parkinson law states that, if you assign a task to a team member for more that its required estimate, actual duration passed in performing that activity will extend to estimated duration. For instance, if you estimated an activity as 10 days, and if that activity actually requires 6 days, when you assigned this activity to a resource, although he could have completed it in 6 days, since he would see that the due date is 10 days later; this will cause sluggishness in the performer.
  • Since project has been estimated roughly, you might have very short estimates for activities which require longer time.
In this case, performers of the activities will have stress in order to catch the estimated times. Think of the previous activity mentioned above. If the activity requires 6 days of work, and if you estimated 4 days for this activity performer will try to meet his or her due date. This will cause stress since he or she will try to complete the activity in a shorter time than it actually requires.
After 2 or 3 activities, he or she will give up since it will be seen that the durations of activities are not realistic and this will decrease the motivation and commitment of the resources.

Author : Resit Gulec

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