A Definition of Project Management
Project management (sometimes called project portfolio management, product portfolio management or program management) helps ensure that products get developed, made, launched and delivered on time. It's how companies manage the resources, timelines and deliverables needed to get products done. Project management can be as simple as a task board to track activities to something as sophisticated as project portfolio optimization. Regardless of the complexity of the project (or product), collaboration across and outside the project team is critical for project management.
Key Capabilities for Project Management
- Portfolio management: companies use portfolio to make better decisions on what products or projects they should be investing in. Portfolio management considers projects against criteria like strategic fit, potential revenue, required resources, and technology alignment. Companies may re-balance a portfolio periodically or when there is a significant change to their current and potential list of projects.
- Resource management: resource management is sometimes considered the holy grail of project management. Top-down resource allocation helps companies determine project feasibility and schedule estimates, while bottoms-up task completion provides a more granular view for the work actually accrued to a project. As dates, hours and deliverables move around, keeping track of actual resources gets exceedingly difficult. Resource leveling is a common top-down practice for trying to figure out how to move resources to complete projects based on changing conditions.
- Project management and project scheduling: project managers or program managers are responsible for determining the tasks, deliverables, milestones and activities for a project. They often create a work breakdown structure (WBS) to scope the project, and assign specific resources to tasks. Getting project updates from the team is a critical element of keeping the project on track.
- Project costing: besides time and scope, cost is the third leg of project management. Keeping track and predicting costs through methods like Earned Value helps companies determine whether their projects will stay within budget.
- Risk management: good project managers stay on top of potential risks, and they determine a risk mitigation strategy for anything that can jeopardize a project's time, scope or budget.
- Project collaboration: getting teams to collaborate on projects is the heart of project management. It's critical for project team members to easily understand, update and communicate their tasks, deliverables and activities. Integrating project data to product data is especially helpful in getting new products launched on time and within budget.
Benefits of Project Management
Companies who excel in project management can expect the following benefits:
- Faster time to market
- Lower overall costs
- Higher product quality
- Fewer surprises
- Higher stakeholder satisfaction
Find out more about PLM, or learn more about Propel's approach to project management, which offers a highly collaborative project management solution that is tightly integrated to all product changes.