The Goals of Projects and Project Management
Ultimately, both projects and project management have only one goal: to add value to your organization. You, as an executive manager, establish the values important to the organization. You then communicate these values and establish a strategic plan to foster and improve the organization along these values.
- Projects are the actions an organization performs to increase its value.
Projects cost time and money. The value the projects add must be greater than the expense incurred. In addition, the projects undertaken must be the best choice in furthering these values.
Project management, as with all activities an organization undertakes, must also add value; again, the value it adds must be greater than its cost. Perhaps a bit oversimplified, the goal of project management is to reduce the cost and time for completing projects.
To manage projects, you hire project managers and pay them a salary. They then add more activities to the project for planning, management, and oversight, which all add to the cost and time of the project. However, these costs and activities must reduce both the cost and time for the project by increasing efficiency and reducing rework. For both time and cost:
Project Planning + Efficient Execution
Inefficient Execution + Rework
Specific Goals for Project Management
Let’s examine some more specific goals for project management.
Your Clients Are Happy
You and your project managers share this goal. Of course, this is one of the key goals of project management. However, you will see that client satisfaction in projects is much more complicated than it might initially appear. Clients rarely know what they really want. Many of those that do know have difficulty articulating it in terms the project team can understand. The client’s goals frequently conflict with other key stakeholders’ goals, including yours. Political strife, conflicting objectives, and organizational silos all combine as barriers that inhibit project managers from achieving this goal.
You’re Making Money or Being Fiscally Responsible
If you are a for-profit company, this is one of the critical success factors for most projects. Yet many management structures fail to either enforce profitability during project definition or measure it after project completion. Many organizations that do attempt it fail to capture important information, which produces false results.
If you are a not-for-profit organization (I cover both in this book), then, at a minimum, you must maintain sound fiscal strategies. Although your primary objective might be preserving and presenting history; spreading a religious belief; running a city, state, or federal government (or department); or looking for a cure for cancer; fiscal responsibility is a core competency for any not-for-profit organization.
You’re Achieving Your Strategic Objectives
Organizational success relies on goals synergy, a collection of strategic objectives that work in unison for organizational betterment. Of all the activities that an organization embraces, projects are activities specifically undertaken to achieve these goals. In this book, I use simple techniques to ensure that your collection of projects works with the same synergy—reducing waste, reducing rework, and achieving your strategic goals efficiently and effectively.
You Optimize Your Resource Usage
Your resources are your most valuable (or, at least, most expensive) asset. Wasting resources is almost criminal. Yet organizations incorporate and cleave to practices that generate incredible waste. Constant resource shuffling, dynamic project reprioritization, and ever-changing goals all cause staff to abandon, postpone, or half-complete activities, in an attempt to meet a deadline.
These practices are not the only resource-wasters. Projects that don’t align with organizational objectives employ precious resources that actually hinder organizational growth. Abandoned projects, or projects that don’t achieve all their goals, absorb resources that could have been applied more productively elsewhere.
I address all these issues, making sure your resources run efficiently and focus on the organization’s vision.
Things Are Getting Better
My last objective, perhaps, is our simplest. No matter where you are, no matter what condition your projects might be in, and no matter how well your organization manages its projects, you want things to get better. Fortunately, improving project management is as simple as improving any business process. Also fortunately, the techniques are the same. I seek to present project management in the correct light to enable you, the executive, to promote improvement throughout your organization.