Do We Need Project Management?

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The scenario: a project involves enterprise-wide application integration and data migration work across multiple programs.

The project integrates functionality from multiple key programs that improves customer experience, streamlines the employee experience, and enhances the ability to support the business.


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One may ask: Where is the Project Manager?

Where is the project plan? Who communicates all issues/risks to senior management? Do we even need one?

Before we address the question of “Do We Need Project Management?,” let’s understand what it is: Project Management is the practice of initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at a specified time. Without a Project Manager, who will oversee these tasks?


The 5 phases of Project Management are:

Project Initiation

A Project Manager’s goal during this phase is to define the project with a business case and research whether the project is feasible and could be undertaken. The business needs and the purpose of the requirements should be documented.


Project Planning

A Project Manager focuses on developing a roadmap for everyone to follow. The scope of the project is defined using S.M.A.R.T. and C.L.E.A.R. goals. A project manager will develop a project management plan that will include cost, available resources, roles and responsibilities, and a realistic timeline to be used as a baseline to confirm the project is on track.

    • S.M.A.R.T. Goals are:
      • Specific – goals that clearly answers the questions of who, what, where, when, which, and why
      • Measurable – criteria can measure the success of a goal
      • Attainable –what it takes to achieve for a goal to be achieved
      • Realistic – ability to work toward a goal
      • Timely – timeframe is created to achieve the goal
    • C.L.E.A.R. Goals are:
      • Collaborative – goals encourage people to work together
      • Limited – manageable goals limited in scope and time
      • Emotional – goals formed an emotional connection
      • Appreciable – larger goals can be broken down to smaller achievable tasks
      • Refinable – goals are flexible and can be refined as needed
Project Execution

Once a Project Manager’s deliverables are developed and completed, the Project Manager should have a team of resources who are assigned to execute tasks based on the project management plan. The Project Manager directs and manages project execution, ensures assigned tasks are executed and completed, conducts status meetings, updates the project schedule, and modifies the project plan as needed.


Project Performance/Monitoring

A Project Manager determines that the project aligns with the project plan and uses key performance indicators (KPI) to ensure the project is on track.


Project Closure

A Project Manager needs to have a ‘post mortem’ meeting to discuss what went well in a project and what did not. A lessons learned list should be developed, so improvements can be made and implemented on future projects. The Project Manager will prepare a final project report and collect all project deliverables to be stored in a centralized location.


If you are still wondering if Project Management is necessary for your next engagement, let’s recap issues that can be caused by lack of Project Management, in reference to the phases as described above:

Project Initiation
  • No project manager to realistically define the scope of the project. The scope can be large and complex, and there is no one to realistically fit all the tasks in the specified timeline.


Project Planning
  • No communication or collaboration within the teams to develop an overall project plan.
  • No project manager to ensure all environments are set up. The lack of test and build environments may cause delays in the timeline and confusion within the various teams.
  • No project manager to ensure the availability of a team for build, deployment, planning, and execution. This may cause confusion with code merges and code versioning.
  • No project manager to properly prepare a project plan and hold vendors accountable.
  • No project manager to develop a roadmap for all project members.


Project Execution
  • No project manager to direct and manage project execution, to ensure assigned tasks are executed, to conduct status meetings, to update the project schedule, and to modify project plans as needed
  • No project manager to ensure everyone follows the same processes such as defect triage and defect management, test preparation, and test execution
  • No project manager to ensure proper Test Status Reporting is prepared and what data to report for each audience


Project Performance/Monitoring
  • No project manager to determine if the project aligns with the project plan, and no use of key performance indicators (KPI) to ensure the project is on track.
  • No project manager to monitor expenses and to ensure the project is within budget.


Project Closure
  • No project manager to conduct a ‘post mortem’ to discuss what went well in the project and what did not and document lessons learned list, so improvements can be made for future projects.


So, to address the initial question of “Do We Need Project Management?” – the answer is YES!

Project Management is critical to a project’s success and ability to be delivered within budget and on schedule. The Project Manager provides vision and direction, increases efficiency, controls scope, manages costs, manages time, schedules work, mitigates with potential risks, administers procurement, communicates with stakeholders, and closes out the project.


Olenick has an over 20-year track record providing Project Management services that guide projects to successful deployments. Olenick addresses Project Management challenges, mitigates risk, and ensures the project team works towards a common goal.


Reach out to Olenick to start a conversation on how we can support your organization’s Project Management efforts.


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Editha Sison    

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