Running a business takes time, commitment, energy, passion and skills.
No one entrepreneur started their business with every single one of these business skills nailed. Many had never interviewed a prospective employee; let alone how to run payroll, understood pension provision and the tax system.
They may have had scant knowledge on how to market their business effectively and which IT system to use, but every business owner has one thing in common: passion. They have a passion for their business, their service and their brand. And this drive is the catalyst for making the dream into a reality.
The wearing of many hats is not necessarily a bad thing. In the early days of most businesses, it is essential that the business owner can and will do everything from writing the business plan to packaging orders.
But eventually, wearing many hats hinders a business. There comes a time when you need someone to wear a specialist hat. From IT to product development, there are many specialist hats.
One of the most desired in any business, no matter what sector or industry, is project management. Although project management is included in many business management courses, many businesses look for people who have specific qualifications, skills and experience in this important field.
Do you know what project management skills are needed? Or the benefit of project management? Do you have the attributes to become a project manager?
Benefits of resourceful and skilled project managers
Business management courses examine the several benefits relating to the project management cycle. The cycle serves and includes everyone involved, from the manager who oversees the project, to the anxious client waiting for the completed project, to the team of people who get the project up and running.
Project management is not rocket science… providing you have the skills and abilities to plan the project well. Even though some would have you believe that project management is complex, the foundation of a project that is managed well, delivered on time and on budget is relatively simple – organisation.
Project management provides the road map on how to use the tools to reach the final destination, taking the project from inception to completion.
Business management courses present project management as being a triangle of communication between project manager, the client and the team delivering the project.
And they have specific roles to play;
- The project manager must manage the project to the nth degree – this means being constantly in touch with every aspect of the project, from finances to hazards, to meeting key dates etc. This allows a strategy to unfold that pulls the project to completion.
- The client provides feedback – for a project to be truly successful, the client needs to be continually ‘in the loop’, providing feedback on current progress and where the project needs to be heading. All too often, a business delivers a project, basking in their triumph, only to be told by the client that the final project is nothing like they desired. This should and could have been avoided with regular client reviews.
- The project team takes the project from start to finish – this allows them a stake in the project, a sense of ownership as they take the project successfully to its completion.
Why project management is coveted
From small businesses to large global empires, the need to deliver high quality projects on time and on budget is essential.
There are various means and methods of planning a project. Some project managers use complex software to coordinate projects that span not only long periods of time, but also many departments, some of which can be based in other parts of the country or the world.
So why does business covet skilled, qualified and experienced project managers so highly?
#1 Improved efficiency in delivery
A project is a journey, moving from point A, the starting point, to point B, the point of delivery. Along the way, there is congestion and maybe a diversion or two needed. The journey is rarely in an uninterrupted straight line. There will be curve balls and the project manager is expected to navigate these obstacles and difficulties.
Working smarter and not harder or longer is a phrase you may have heard in business, and when it comes to project management, an effective project manager should ensure that this is the case.
#2 Improved and enhanced customer satisfaction
Online project management courses will highlight how delivering a project that meets or exceeds expectations is worth far more in marketing than spending thousands on an advertising campaign. Word gets around that your business is the right one to go to or, if a project is delivered badly, the wrong one.
#3 Transferrable skills and strategies
The strategies developed within one project will last a lifetime or more. These skills become transferrable to other projects, as well as within a business. This is about developing good practice and using it across the board.
#4 Team development
Effective project managers inspire teams. Employees, in return, respect the manager who allowed them to develop as part of the project.
#5 Competitive edge
Superior performance and delivery on any project benefits a business by providing it with a competitive edge. This edge pushes your reputation within an industry far beyond your expectations. You become the ‘go-to people’.
#6 Expand your business
Many of the benefits of project management dove tail, and with a competitive edge comes the possibility to expand a business. Opportunities come looking for you!
#7 Increased flexibility
A project manager will create a strategy for a project. It’s a map of a proposed route but, if you think you must stick to this rigidly, there is a potential problem.
A project manager needs to be able to adapt. This means, when circumstances change – it may be an external threat or an internal opportunity, or it may be that the client has changed their mind on a certain aspect – they must be able to adapt the plan. This doesn’t mean knee-jerk reactions; this means a considered, thought out solution to a problem, no matter how minor it seems to be.
#8 Improved risk assessment
Risks and hazards are everywhere, and with a project manager who produces a proposed project plan in detail, the red flags of hazards and risks are raised. And these flags need to be raised at the opportune time – at the start of the project – and not appear at random points during the project.
#9 Increased quality
Enhanced effectiveness and streamlined efficiency will lead to an increase in quality of the product or service being delivered, as well as having a positive knock-on effect for a business and its brand.
#10 Increased quantity
By being more efficient, more streamlined, you can deliver more. For any business looking to expand, this is an important consideration.
What do good project managers look like?
Now we understand the benefits of effective project management, there is a need to look at the skills and attributes of the project manager themselves – what do they look like?
A project manager must have many attributes, some of which are specific to a certain specialist field or business. This is not an exhaustive list;
- An effective communicator – this means listening, responding as much as it means talking, giving instructions and so on
- Integrity – although a project manager is ‘in charge’ of a project, they need to understand what team members will bring to the project
- Enthusiastic – frankly, a negative project manager does not get the same results because the rapport with people is not there
- A deep understanding at every stage of the project – the project manager needs to know the project inside and out, in detail at every stage; many managers do this by having regular reviews of what has happened thus far and where the project needs to be
- Strategist – being able to reach a project goal is about having a plan, or a strategy, to get there; the more complex the project, the more detailed and responsive this strategy needs to be
- Organised – project management is balancing several spinning plates and juggling many balls all at one time; the only way to deal with this is by being organised
- Cool under pressure – as much as a project manager will try to avoid them, flash points in a project do happen; when this is the case, the manager needs to ‘lead from the front’, taking decisions that are based on information and feedback, rather than off-the-cuff decisions that could come back and haunt the project…
Project management courses with NCC Home Learning
Project management is a discipline, and one that can be taught through completing a series of business management qualifications, including courses specific to project management.
The benefits of project management for any business, irrespective of size, sector and industry are numerous. Managed well, projects can propel a business from obscurity to a front row player in their field.
It is not a process that should be left to chance or to the role of a dice and hope that as the cards fall, they all fall into perfect alignment.