7 reasons why you need a project manager
How often have you been in the position of knowing you need someone to manage a project as it is getting out of hand or too much, but instead think : “We don’t need to hire a project manager” or “Getting a project manager is to costly, I will do it myself or my staff member can do it”? ‘Why do you need a project manager?’
When your project is not too complex, you may choose a staff member who has good organisational and management skills to turn into a temporary project manager and you may get away with it.
However, if the project is slightly larger, spanning across multiple business areas, third party providers or stakeholders and has lots of unknowns and assumptions, then you are facing the following uncertainties:
- No one really knows when the project will be delivered and who is doing what when and in what order;
- Or you won’t have a full list of risks and issues;
- How much the project is going to cost;
- How to measure the success of the project;
- Who is responsible for what areas in the project;
- And quite a few more of these…
So, why should you get a project manager? The risk of not spending the money on a project manager is that you’re risking spending a lot more than these costs with your project not being delivered on time, having to spend a lot more on it and not achieving the high quality you were hoping for, resulting in future headaches.
The project manager either adds value by making things more efficient and effective and by reducing risk to the project and the business (as without that, you risk bad things happening to your project). Not to mention the time you or your staff don’t have to spend agonising planning the project, documenting everything and trying to communicate properly.
Here’s why a project manager adds value to your business
- Purpose, Direction & Documentation: the project manager helps identifying the aims and vision of the project while giving it purpose and direction. This will all be documented in the project brief and further documentation defining the project’s purpose and its direction. On top of that, all other project documentation would also be done by the project manager, so you can focus on the job to be done.
- Communication: the project manager is the single point of contact for the project. They are responsible for all communication between stakeholders, customers and the project team. This decreases misunderstandings, miscommunications and increases knowledge, information sharing and accuracy. Also, this ensures you or your staff can actually get on with the jobs to be done.
The project manager is also responsible for any communications and progress reporting to stakeholders which can be rather a time consuming job!
- Scope: it is so easy to move away from the scope or keep increasing the scope of the project (“Yes, that is a good idea, we can do that too!”). The project manager makes sure everyone stays focused, saving effort and costs.
- The Budget: when doesn’t it come down to the money? The project manager needs to deliver the project on time and within budget and will therefore control not only the monetary costs, but also the people resources (internal and external) and equipment cost. It will measure spending against the budget and will write business cases (in case of new systems, equipment, etc) to research the options available considering quality, future requirements and cost effectiveness.
- Timelines and planning: one of the most crucial things in a project. Without project planning, controlling the milestones and critical paths, the project team would not know when what needs delivering. The planning will consider the time tasks takes, people’s availability, task dependencies, lead times, etc.
- Risk and Issues Management: this brings me to risk management. Every project has risks and issues that need managing. This could be related to timelines and planning challenges, you could be at risk of exceeding the project budget or the communication is notoriously bad and there are many misunderstandings. The project manager will be responsible for identifying risks as early as possible, have a risk strategy and (very importantly) communicate that strategy.
- Free up resources: with the project manager taking care of documentation, documenting meeting minutes and writing reports, ensuring everyone knows what is happening and when, with external stakeholders apprised of the project progress and you assured that the project budget, timelines and risks are under control – your staff and yourself can focus on the job that needs to be done without all the added stress and worry.
So, instead of thinking about not investing in project management and brushing it off as ‘too expensive’, maybe think: “What is it worth to me, my staff and the business to manage this project smoothly and ensure it gets delivered on time, within budget and ensuring everyone remains on track for the duration, not worrying about having to taking on extra tasks on top of their jobs, compromising both their job and the project?”.