1 Project Management Role Achieving Project Success 1.
Introduction Considering the increasing complexity in the business environment, companies are using different methods and tools, such as project management, to achieve their goals and remain competitive. Project Management has become very popular in recent years and the definition of project success is one of its most discussed issues. Even though there are different ways of defining project success, it’s well known that the quality of project management skills applied play a fundamental role in achieving the project goals.
This paper aims to critically discuss the role of the project manager in attending critical success factors. 2. Project Success An often-discussed issue under project management is how to define and measure project success. According to Anton de Wit (1988) there is a distinction between project management success and project success.
In most of the cases there is correlation between them, however they can be evaluated in different ways. The measurement of the triangle of cost, time and quality is an essential tool to evaluate project progress and is related to project management success. On the other hand, the concept of project success is connected to achieving project strategic goals.
The strategic goals of a project should be aligned with the strategic goals of the organization and should be defined according to stakeholders’ perspective. This will accomplish the project critical factors of success (CFS). The concept of CSF’s has been in discussion for several years. Caralli (2004) defines CSF as the crucial performance factors that a company needs to accomplish its mission. Although not necessarily contradictory, there are different definitions in literature depending on the perspective adopted and the type of project considered.
That said, there is a consensus that the concept of CSF’s is dynamic and that focusing on no more than a few well-discussed CSF´s is important to achieve adequate focus and clarity on the execution of a given project. A common practice to ensure that CSF´s are going to be achieved is to define a set of key performance indicators (KPI) that evaluate project progress towards the strategic goals. The definition of KPI’s varies according to the critical success factors. The KPI´s are the quantitative methodology to measure the qualitative factors described by the CSF’s.2 KPI’s and CSF’s must be clearly defined and agreed between all stakeholders. They also need to be prioritized in order to achieve the global business strategic goals of the project.
They have to be clearly identified, achievable, quantifiable and defined in an appropriate manner in order to adequately fit a specific project. 3. Project Manager Roles in achieving Project Success Once the goals of the project are clear and well aligned with success criteria, the project manager will use tools and concepts to support the project management success. The most widespread reference is PMBOK, which is a group of standard terminology and guidelines for project management. The PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition (PMI, 2013) is based on ten knowledge areas.
Each of them comprises a set of concepts, terms and activities that will drive the project to success. Each area has specific KPI’s throughout project life cycle. These KPI’s are used to measure project success and the main role of the project manager role is to assure their achievement.
3.1 Project Scope Management It is the area that includes the processes to ensure that the project comprises all the work, and only the work, necessary to reach the project goals. Not only monitoring and controlling the scope, the project manager is responsible to validate that all deliverables have been accepted by the all stakeholders. Over the project life cycle, the project manager should play a proactive approach trying to foresee changes, impacts, risks and deviations in the scope.
In this way, the communication and negotiations with stakeholders in advance will favour a smooth and effective evolution of the project. An effective scope management approach will guarantee that the sponsor is spending only the time and the money that is necessary to achieve the goals. 3.2 Project Time Management This area involves all processes required to manage the completion of the project within the scheduled deadline. All specifications regarding time duration and tasks interdependencies will be defined within this area. The manager needs to interact productively with the team to ensure that all activities considered are tangible and realistically estimated.
Another important point is3 the manager having a critical view of the interdependencies across all activities, which will result in a reliable critical path1. Furthermore, the project manager performs an important role controlling the tasks completion. Being close to ongoing activities, mainly the critical path tasks, allows him/her to take actions in advance to prevent unexpected delays.
3.3 Project Cost Management Cost management is the process of predicting, allocating, and monitoring a project’s expenditures. It allows organizations to forecast their future expenses, so that they do not exceed the budget.
Cost management is often one of the most important areas for determining the project success and, therefor, a key area of knowledge for the Project Manager. In order for the project to be completed within the planned budget, the project manager must identify and interact with the stakeholders involved in the process of preparation of the feasibility study, technical and commercial proposal. As well as the time management knowledge area, the project manager must perform a careful control of project expenditures. When the manager has a proactive attitude and can outline risks, impacts and potential alternatives to stakeholders it generates trust and align expectations of deliverables. 3.
4 Project Quality Management This area is responsible for ensuring that all the requirements will be achieved and, consequently, that the end customer will be satisfied. It includes the processes for incorporating the organization quality policy with respect to project and product quality requirements to meet stakeholders’ objectives. The project manager responsibility includes activities to ensure that the quality procedures are being followed all over the project life cycle. For example, guiding the team to conduct a deep diagnosis at the beginning of the project raises information regarding the risks of the project and enables actions to mitigate them. 1 Critical path is the longest series of sequential activities within a project schedule and it defines the project duration.
4 3.5 Project Human Resource Management It is responsible for selecting, organizing and preparing the project team to perform well and reach expectations. Involves all aspects of people management and personal interaction such as leadership and coaching. This englobes essential project manager attributions.
Managing the project team is intended to track their performance, provide feedbacks, solve problems, and coordinate possible changes for a more effective outcome. The project manager must delegate tasks, follow and monitor activities to have a full understanding of what happens within the project. Therefore, it is possible to anticipate actions and mitigate project delays due to lack of resources. Besides that, the project manager is responsible to promote interaction within the team members to improve project performance. 3.
6 Project Communications Management It includes the activities that ensure that project information is being communicated timely and appropriately to each stakeholder. Communication is a core responsibility of the project manager. Activities such as connecting stakeholders by answering their needs will generate trust and stimulate teamwork and cooperation, leading to fewer discussions and conflicts. 3.7 Project Risk Management It includes the processes of planning, identification, analysis, response planning, monitoring and risk control of a project. Its goal is to maximize exposure to positive events and minimize exposure to negative events.
The project manager is responsible along with the team to identify which risks impact project performance, take actions to deal with each one of them and monitor them throughout project life cycle. 3.8 Project Procurement Management It includes the processes necessary to purchase or acquire products, services or results external to the project team. The main responsibility of the project manager is to ensure that the suppliers deliverables meet all project requirements with respect to dimensions of time, cost, quality and scope.5 Communication will play an important tool to connect the project team to external suppliers. Not only to assure the deliverable, but also to maintain a cordial relation between the parts.
Being an external element to the organization procurement management is a potentially problematic area. Contracts will run the commercial agreements and formal communication will become addendum to contracts 3.9 Project Stakeholder Management It includes the processes required to identify the people, groups or organisations that could impact or be impacted by the project, to analyse their expectations and potential impacts, and to develop strategies to reduce resistance while increasing their contribution and engagement. As well as in human resource management knowledge area, the project manager is responsible for integrating all different stakeholders into the project and the team. 3.
10 Project Integration Management This area is essentially the project manager’s responsibility and is his/her role to ensure that problems are addressed before they become critical, that changes occur according to the initial project definitions, and that all involved stakeholders are aware of the implications or changes are needed to achieve the goals and objectives of the project. The project manager must ensure that all parts of the project work together. It is an ongoing process that is performed to guarantee the project runs well from beginning to end. 4. Final considerations The project manager major role involves essential communication to stakeholders, assuring main due dates are under control, measuring project progress and others.
Each of the knowledge areas discussed contains overlaps. This reinforces the role of the project leader to ensure integration between them. Communication and alignment among all stakeholders are the prime factor in guiding the project towards success.6 References 1 De Wit, A., Measurement of project success, International Journal of Project Management.
(1988) 164-170, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0263786388900439?via%3Dihub 2 Caralli, R. The Critical Success Factor Method: Establishing a Foundation for Enterprise Security Management, (CMU/SEI-2004-TR-010). Pittsburgh, PA: Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, 2004, https://resources.sei.
cmu.edu/asset_files/TechnicalReport/2004_005_001_14393.pdf 3 Cabanis-Brewin, Jeanette., ; Dinsmore, Paul C.
The AMA Handbook of Project Management (4th Edition). United States of America, AMACOM, 2014 https://www.safaribooksonline.com/library/view/the-ama-handbook/9780814433393/ 4 A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), Fifth Edition.
Pennsylvania, USA, Project Managmente Institute (PMI), 2013 https://www.safaribooksonline.com/library/view/a-guide-to/9781935589679/