The Real Value of Project Management

If you have worked in IT for any length of time, you have likely overheard the following… “this is a small project, do we really need to spend the time to plan this out?” or “I’m sure I can have so-and-so oversee this effort to keep overhead down”. I’ve been working as a project manager for 15 years, and I have made these mistakes myself (in the distant past of course). If we make a decision to avoid using project management, it’s usually not too long before we are faced with the results of cutting corners… cost overruns, schedules run amok, insufficient resource allocation, and never ending scope creep. Our best intentions to be lean and mean can, and do, bite us in the gluteus maximus.

There is a common misconception that project managers are responsible for creating unrealistic timelines and they are the bully in the room that beats the team over the head relentlessly until the project is complete and product delivered. Some organizations may run projects this way, but this is not the best implementation of PM practices. The real value of project management is having someone who can facilitate outlining a clear scope and working with the team to breakdown all associated work, dependencies, and estimates to produce a plan that everyone can work to. When the work starts, the key role of the PM is to manage scope & risk, track completion of work and promote communication within the team. Most importantly, the project manager creates and communicates predictability in cost and schedule, keeping stakeholders informed of progress and managing expectations. At the end of the day, any cost you think you may save by not using project management will be offset by the larger costs incurred from things like rework, increased scope, schedule slips and other surprises that can come up in a project if not managed correctly.

How we use project management at Guardian Eagle to ensure customer satisfaction

We believe strongly in the value of project management at Eagle and, as a result, require project management oversight for project related work that we do for customers. Assigning a PM to manage work helps us to ensure that all customer expectations are clearly defined and met. Our approach is engrained in our company proven process and includes the following components:

  • Document project scope as defined by the customer
  • Create a project plan that includes tasks, dependencies, and timeline
  • Conduct status meetings to keep everyone on the same page
  • Report project status that includes work completed to date as well as cost and schedule summary and any issues that have arisen.
  • Conduct lessons learned sessions with the customer once the project is completed and incorporate improvements into our proven process
  • Project close out checklist to make sure all work is completed and provide a summary of final cost and schedule results

It all ties back to making sure that our customers have the best possible experience, receive the highest quality service and are completely satisfied with our work.  The PM piece to the puzzle is the communication and coordination that needs to happen to make sure we understand the customer’s goals, ensure cost and schedule predictability and deliver the goods.

About the author

Michele EgerterMichele Egerter, Project Management Professional

Michele joined Eagle two years ago in order to implement standard project management techniques for technical project work. She provides our staff with insight on methodologies and assists by helping to define scope of work, coordinates with the technical team to assess estimates and creates project timelines. She monitors project progress in relation to deliverables and the project schedules by providing weekly status and budget updates to clients. She also is responsible for quality reviews and project retrospectives.