At a time when innovation and growth are key drivers of success, businesses are also increasingly constrained by reduced budgets and skill shortages. When time and resources are at a premium, many organizations are recognizing the importance of effective project management to ensure successful innovation. According to the most recent Global Project Management Report by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), 97 percent of respondents would describe project management as critical to organizational success.
But project management in today’s operating environment is challenging. Managers must make decisions in the midst of a fast-changing economic, social, and political landscape, where it has become increasingly difficult to anticipate future circumstances. Many projects take longer than anticipated or cost more than expected, resulting in missed deadlines and lost opportunities. Project managers often delegate tasks and may lose track of the project results. Others overextend resources and attempt to take on too many initiatives at one time, resulting quality loss or failure.
A recent survey by Daptiv revealed that 24 percent of the project managers responding did not engage in a formal project review. Mistakes often repeat with high costs, imposing on already constrained budgets and reducing organizational effectiveness.
So, how can project managers keep up with competing demands and ensure they remain competitive in today’s business environment?
There are solutions available that appear to facilitate effective project management. For example, many IT firms use project portfolio management systems to manage finances, deadlines, risks, and resources to improve the efficiency, quality, and costs of projects. In another recent survey of three hundred project managers, Daptiv found that 64 percent reported using the system as a project management tool.
Project management tools and software can make a difference and help to reduce costly errors. However, many managers are aware of project management issues and attempt to address these through improving processes, while neglecting the people involved.
Are key stakeholders and personnel engaged in the project? Are they actively participating in idea generation and innovation? Do they want the project to succeed? If not, how can business leaders increase engagement and innovation while still managing the processes, budgets, and time constraints?
By engaging the employees who will ultimately be tasked with executing these projects results not only in better ideas to fuel the execution plan, but it also results in better execution of that plan through greater alignment. And it makes sense – because these are the ideas of the front lines themselves.
According to a recent Gallup Business Journal article, business leaders who want to innovate must consider both the process and the people. They may benefit from project management applications that allow key staff to contribute their ideas and to monitor the evolution of the project in real time. As team members contribute and see their ideas implemented as part of the process, their motivation to invest their skills and effort into the project should increase, as well. This creates a momentum that prompts attention to detail and success of the project, whereby team members are compelled to manage and ensure a high quality, timely, and cost effective return.