A project is a unique endeavor typically involving distinct deliverables. It's a temporary pursuit, commencing at a defined point and concluding upon achieving set goals. In simpler terms, it's a series of tasks aimed at reaching a desired outcome. Collaboration and meticulous planning to keep the project on course and within budget are essential, and that's where project management plays a pivotal role. Project management is instrumental for the triumph of both small and large projects. So, let's dissect it into the "what," "why," and "how." What is project management, why is it a critical component of organizations, and how does it ensure a project's success?
Defining Project Management:
As previously mentioned, project management involves applying knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to meet project requirements and achieve the intended outcome. Businesses value project management because it guarantees the timely and cost-effective delivery of expected outcomes. To illustrate, let's consider a real-life example of project management. Imagine a school district partnering with a telehealth company to ensure that students don't miss school due to medical appointments. The objective is to complete this deal by the end of the school year, allowing students to access medical consultations via tablets, smartphones, or computers during school hours. The implementation of this technology represents the project, complete with clear objectives and a defined timeframe.
Managing a Project:
But how is this project managed? It involves various tasks, each requiring careful planning, tracking, and management to ensure project completion. For instance, the project initiates with organizing training sessions for faculty to acquaint them with the technology, policies, and procedures. A budget is allocated for tablets, computers, and necessary equipment to facilitate virtual checkups. Maintaining effective communication with doctors, the telehealth company, and school staff members is crucial. To successfully launch the product in schools, all these tasks must be executed meticulously, and that is where project management comes into play.
The Importance of Project Management:
Clearly, project management is a vital aspect of an organization's success. Increasingly, companies recognize that efficient project management can save them significant time and money. Inadequate project management can result in trillions of dollars wasted annually by organizations worldwide. Specifically, it can lead to 48% of projects missing delivery dates, 43% exceeding budget limits, and 31% failing to achieve organizational objectives. Given Google's multifaceted operations, project management is a substantial part of the company. Many of our project managers are described as program managers because they oversee multiple projects for specific products, teams, or programs. Google employs thousands of individuals dedicated to ensuring the seamless execution of projects and programs. For instance, my role as a responsible innovation program manager contributes to Google's core activities by focusing on planning, organizing, task management, budgeting, and cost control to ensure projects align with Google's artificial intelligence principles.
Hopefully, you now have a clearer understanding of what constitutes a project, what project management involves, why it's pivotal for every company, and how it ensures a project's success. In our next segment, we'll delve deeper into the responsibilities of a project manager.