The Business of Project Management

the business of project mangement

The title “The Business of Project Management”  is meant to show the link between business and project management, a link that is so strong that you cannot have successful businesses without employing project management knowledge, tools, and techniques.

You may have landed on this website and be thinking why a website has both business and project management.  You obviously are used to a business website or project management website.  I am one of those who believe literally in the definition of work as defined as:

work comprises operations and projects

What the above signifies is that there are two aspects to the term work.  The every day doing of activities that sustain the business and the doing of activities that bring about change – project management.  The two are managed differently. You do projects without knowing it and without using project management knowledge, skills, tools and techniques which are needed for project success.   Projects require project management while operations require business process management or operations management.

Many businesses fail, not because of a lack of entrepreneurial skills, but because of a lack of project management skills.  To start or grow a business you need to employ project management knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques.

To understand the link, you have to carefully assimilate the following quote from the Project Management Institute’s Project Management White Paper entitled the Value of Project Management:

“The delivery of business outcomes is realized through the success of projects, and in essence, that is the way that project management strategies drive organizational success,” says Adrian McKnight, PMP, program director at Suncorp-Metway Ltd., a financial services firm in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

The following quote from the said White Paper further substantiates the need for small business persons to have on board skills in project management to ensure business success.

An Economist Intelligence report showed that 80 percent of global executives believed having project management as a core competency helped them remain competitive during the recession.”

Examine the following chart for more information on projects and operations.





Operations and projects

So let us test your knowledge so far.  Determine which of the following are projects or operations by putting P next to projects or O next to operations.  The answers will be at the end of the blog post.

  1. An election campaign __________
  2. Doing a pay sheet _________
  3. Developing a training programme for a new curriculum __________
  4. Manufacturing a batch of Television set ___________
  5. Maintenance of company infrastructure __________
  6. Construction of a shopping mall _____________

In my blog post entitled starting a business the need to prepare a project management plan  I made the point that the business plan establishes the feasibility of the business idea and possibility of its success but it does not advise   on how to set up a business either in the preliminary stages or in the stage of the establishment of the business.

So what do I need to know about project management?

Project management is “the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements.” PMBOK® Guide.  This means that the project manager and team in the execution of the project utilize project management knowledge, their project management skills, project management tools and techniques to provide the requirements.  Requirements are the quantified and documented needs, wants, and expectation of the sponsor, customer and other stakeholders.

Another definition is that Project management is the discipline of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria.

The following are key points about the use of project management

  1. The project management body of knowledge comprise of best practices in project management which are proven ways of having successful projects. By following a proven methodology, doing proper requirements management and having executive management support,  you are able to achieve project success every time.
  2. Done properly, they help achieve organizational goals when aligned with organization’s strategy e.g. if our local brewery wants to penetrate the United States of America’s market then a project to produce a beer to meet the requirements of that market is a project linked to organization’s strategy.
  3. Using a proven project management methodology leads to better planning with solutions that fit the problem and project management becomes less unpredictable.
  4. It allows for communication with all relevant stakeholders is more effective. There is an improved work environment as project teams work together to achieve project objectives and better products and services are delivered to the customer.
  5. There is improved financial management and bad projects are stopped more quickly.

The need to change even our thinking on the Business of Project Management espouses the need to move from traditional project management where the concern is to get the job done on time, on budget and within requirements, etc. to one geared towards getting business results, meeting multiple criteria and having a project plan that is flexible, changing, adaptive and one in which changes in the environment are identified and the plan is adjusted accordingly.

There is a shift also to agile project management which is suitable in situations in which the requirements will change significantly over the course of the project and the customer does not know exactly what he/she wants.  In these situations, requirements are discovered in an interactive way.  As the team works on the project it will determine the level of documentation, the level of detail in the plan, etc.

The post the Business of project management is meant to sell you on using Project Management?

In the white paper entitled Project management is vital for business success,  BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT stated the following:

“In today’s challenging economic environment, senior management needs to understand the fundamental supportive and strategic role that project management plays in business.”

It saw project management’s role in helping businesses as helping them to:

  • Deal with the unexpected
  • Gain management support
  • Protect the company
  • Ensure consistent and dependable delivery every time
  • Provide informed decision making about people resources

Are you now sold on Project Management – Come on board?

Let us hear from you.  What are your experiences? CONTACT US

Answers: 1 project, 2 operations, 3 project, 4operations, 5 operations, 6 project