Understanding Basic PM: Why Do We Do Projects?
There’s no denying that the market is ever-changing. Businesses and organisations are aware of this fixed phenomenon.
As a response, projects are created and completed within a given time through specific resources.
Teams do projects to implement strategic changes in the organisation using a structured approach. It is a way of adapting to the inevitable industry transformation. With that, projects can be driven by the need for innovation, a problem at hand requiring immediate solutions or delivering business objectives.
While there are accounts of the impact of projects on an organisational system, their success still relies on several factors. Nonetheless, projects remain worthwhile and imperative for businesses to thrive.
Learn more about the true value of projects as you read on.
What Is a Project?
Before we understand more about the importance of the project, let’s understand what we call a project. A project is an undertaking that aims to improve operations, reduce risks, meet regulations and often increase profitability.
Projects are temporary. Therefore, they are set to have specific goals and an appropriate method. Likewise, they go beyond the usual business operations, which strictly adhere to the planned timeframe.
Another unique feature of a project is its more defined management requirements.
For example, one management methodology may work better for a certain business or industry but not for your organisation. In this sense, you will have to rely on the expertise of a project manager to identify which approach works best for your objectives.
Nevertheless, projects still follow a detailed plan and a process leading to new deliverables.
If you would like to learn more about what makes something a project, check out my previous post: PROJECT CHARACTERISTICS: KEY ELEMENTS THAT DEFINE A PROJECT.
Three Types of Business Projects
There are three classifications of projects common among businesses and companies:
1. Strategic Projects
A project is considered strategic if it aims to improve performance and increase efficiency in meeting targets or parameters for business success. It is formed to realise high-level company strategies.
For example, a sustainable clothing retail business for the younger generation may want to improve its online presence. In response to this goal, a strategic project will be initiated focusing on digital marketing analysis, targeting the right market within specific platforms.
So, they would create a full-blown strategy on reaching an audience; where one option could be to go for YouTube and advertise for those individuals who watch many videos around clothing and sustainability.
2. Operational Projects
Unlike strategic projects, operational projects are only indirectly associated with general business strategies. They are created to address a particular objective influencing the overall operations, which is required later to reach a strategic business goal.
One example of an operational project is when an organisation decides to upgrade its inventory system. You might need to have such an upgraded system to reach more customers and indirectly contribute to the main business objective of increasing revenues.
3. Recurring Projects
A recurring project occurs regularly but produces different deliverables each time. More often than not, the succeeding output improves from the previous ones.
If you have an iPhone or a laptop with a Windows operating system, then you’re probably no stranger to the fact that these gadgets follow a serial release.
For example, Windows OS evolved from Windows 3.0 to 365. Likewise, iPhone also changed from its first release to the latest iPhone 13 Pro.
These products were made available after certain intervals. Although their production and release have become regular after a year, the products are different from before. And by that, they are perfect examples of what recurring projects are all about.
Why Are Projects Important?
At this point, it’s clear that projects are not optional ventures in the business that wants to survive in an ever-changing world. They are indeed imperative for any business’ success.
Projects are undoubtedly crucial given that they address critical problems or needs that should be isolated from the usual business operations. There are many reasons for isolation like specific project management style needed (Waterfall, Agile and more), ability to measure return for business, cross-department work, which needs an overarching project manager, etc.
Not only do projects allow small businesses and large companies alike to survive the regular shifts in the market, but they also provide leverage opportunities, especially within a competitive industry, say a new feature that simplifies your investment capabilities.
Furthermore, projects create unique new products, improve outdated systems, enhance operational efficiency, update marketing strategies, acquire new equipment to expand, and many more.
Simply put, successful projects materialise and accelerate the achievement of specific targets and business goals.
Why Do Businesses Do Projects?
Here I mean in the sense of business that sells some clear product and a specific name. Contrary to traditional beliefs, businesses, regardless of size, need to acknowledge the demands of the modern market.
Businesses need to do projects to stay relevant and keep themselves running for competition. Likewise, projects allow business owners to elevate their services and respond appropriately to market needs.
While classic products and services, which decades-old stores typically offer, retain their merit for their reputable strategies, the new generation of consumers may start to feel distant if these establishments refuse to adopt progressive approaches.
To do so, they will need to come up with suitable projects.
For example, if you own a sneakers store, you may advertise your products online for broader market coverage. You will need a project-specific to this endeavour to achieve this goal.
Why Do Companies Do Projects?
Here I mean a separate entity that does not just sell a simple product but maybe provide a service or have multiple trading names under their belt.
Companies love to do projects for two main reasons. First, they allow operations to run smoothly as problems are addressed without interrupting the production of the deliverables. Second, projects provide creative spaces for innovation.
It’s easy to think that established companies run like machines with well-oiled cogs. However, it’s not necessarily the robotic operations that make these giants prominent in their industries.
But it’s the opportunity for teams to think outside of the box and develop innovative solutions. To do so, projects become imperative to harness creativity within the parameters of the goal.
As the need for innovation becomes apparent, more large-scale businesses turn to project managers to help them plan and execute the tasks. Large companies will not adapt and fall when their product or service becomes irrelevant without projects.
What Are Some Common Business Projects?
The need for a project depends on the status of the business. In most cases, a company would come up with a project to look for gaps and find the proper fix.
On the other hand, even without critical problems within the organisation, companies will still develop multiple projects to expand their business and create new products. This may come with risks, but the rewards are also worth it, given the proper planning and management.
Nonetheless, here are some of the typical projects businesses often target:
- Improve Manufacturing Methods
- Add New Equipment and Tools
- Develop a New Product
- Find New Markets
- Implement a New Accounting System
- Analyse Consumer Behavior
- Incorporate Automation in Check and Pack Procedures
- Improve Information Security
- Increase Revenue Through Higher Customer Satisfaction
- Implementing Sustainable Practices
What Are the Elements of a Project?
Projects may vary in many ways, but they also share similar elements crucial for the direction and completion of the venture. Here are the basic components of a project that will most likely succeed in the end.
1. Project Plan
The project plan contains the goals/objectives, scope, work breakdown, statement of work, project team members and their roles, resources, schedule, budget, communication plan, quality baseline, and success parameters.
This document becomes your guide in ensuring work is done accordingly.
2. Controlled Budget
Before the project is laid down, the budget should already be allocated based on precise projections. An excellent way to measure the effectiveness of the project is whether or not the team stays within the budget.
3. Established Timeframe
All projects are designed within a specific timeframe to fit the resources and evaluate their effectiveness. It is up to the project manager to ensure that the task remains on schedule.
4. Risk Management
Even with the potential risks listed on your project plan, other challenges could still come from different angles that could threaten project completion. With that, it is imperative to use the necessary problem-solving skills prepared beforehand or when these issues arise.
More often than not, companies allot a significant amount of money on projects. Therefore, it is only justified to report the project’s progress at different stages.
If you like to learn more about what impacts every project, check out my post: WHAT ARE PROJECT CONSTRAINTS? SIX YOU NEED TO KNOW.
Why Is Project Management Important?
Since we established the crucial role of projects in attaining business goals, it’s only justified to discuss the importance of project management.
While projects may seem like a set of defined steps, their chances of successful completion still depend on the leadership and team dynamics.
In this sense, project management becomes necessary to provide a unified realistic direction for the team, quality control, orderly process, and progress tracking.
Without proper management, the project can fall apart even as early as its conception. Therefore, organisational leaders need to ensure that the project manager has the right skills and expertise to lead the entire team towards the desired output within the given time.
Is a Project Management Method Necessary?
Yes, project management methods and practices are crucial for completion.
Projects can follow a general or tailored strategy depending on their design, type, and direction. Also, the process could adhere to a specific approach that is expected to provide the greatest results.
For example, software companies tend to use Agile practices over Waterfall methodologies.
It can be attributed to the nature of Agile, which allows developers to create the product in stages or “sprints” instead of a linear flow which is how Waterfall works. This iterative process eradicates the likelihood of complete product failure.
On the other hand, the Waterfall approach, traditional as it is, remains influential in projects with well-defined constraints.
Why Do We Do Projects Conclusion
If there’s one thing that could kill your business or organisation in a gradual but surefire way, that would be stagnation.
It happened to many companies from the 90s, which could happen again without warning. So, how do you fight stagnation?
Simple. Do projects. Projects are your vehicle towards progress and away from complacency.
Your business may be in a good place right now, but if you can’t say the same for the next few years, then it’s high time to do an undertaking that will guard your company. The primary goal of projects is to benefit the organisation.
And if you’re unsure how to take your next project in the right direction, you can always hire a project manager and get the peace of mind you need.
Alternatively, check out my blog post around the subject, which might set you on the right path in this project management world: Link.
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Check out the Fiverr marketplace if you do not have time to run your own projects or just need extra help. They do have multiple project professionals, including project managers. Maybe you will find just the right fit to take some burden from you. I have used Fiverr in the past. The prices are also not too bad. If you seek PM via corporate route, it will be easily 5x the price.