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Project Management

Why Project Management Is Good for Business

Brett Harned
March 27, 2020
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It’s time to bite the bullet and bring on a real project manager. You know it. Maybe your team members know it. But others just don’t see the need to put a dedicated person in that role.

It can be frustrating to feel like the lone voice championing the role of project management in your organization. We’re here to help you make your case. 

Maybe you’re a designer or developer who fell into managing projects and is struggling to stay on top of projects while still delivering awesome work on time. Or perhaps you’ve discovered a love for project management and want to transition into a full-time PM role. You might even be a business owner who got used to doing it all but realize it’s getting harder to keep projects in check as your team and business grow.

Whatever your situation, we’re laying everything out on the table to help you understand—and even explain—the value of good project management and when a project manager is needed to help your business grow. 

Understanding the business value of project management

Let’s start with the basics of how project management benefits your business. 

Cost is a big blocker you’re bound to run into when advocating for the addition of a project manager to your team. But it’s important to consider the larger value a project manager brings to your organization and weigh the long-term benefits against any upfront costs.

Project managers take care of so many intangible tasks a lot of people don’t fully understand their worth. When making your case for hiring a project manager, put it in terms executives understand. Position your argument in a way that aligns the benefits of project management with your leader’s and/or organization’s values.

For example, you might point out that project management serves important business objectives like these:

  • Hitting goals and deadlines
  • Staying on budget
  • Improving project profitability
  • Protecting team morale
  • Earning customer trust
  • Keeping critical communications flowing

Sure, hiring a project manager will mean money spent on salary and benefits. But successful businesses run on successful projects. Having a dedicated person on staff to push you toward the win is totally worth it in the long run.

Need more evidence to back up your case? These 7 stats show just how powerful project management can be.

Why project management deserves to be a dedicated role

Project management often just gets piled onto a team member’s existing duties. That may work fine for a little while, but it’s not a long-term solution. Especially if the person managing projects on the side didn’t sign up for the job when they got hired. 

Here are 3 reasons a dedicated project manager is worth it:

Higher motivation and morale

The truth is, some people don’t even like project managers, much less want to be one. Setting clear expectations around roles is critical because it leads to better morale and motivation. Valuing people for their expertise and giving them room to flourish in their strengths not only makes them a better employee, they’ll be better at what they do.

Better use of resources

It’s also important to take the cost of divided attention into account. Think about a designer or a developer who doubles as a project manager, and consider whether you’re really using that resource to the best of its ability. If they’re switching back and forth between tasks all day, they likely won’t be as effective or efficient in either role. Putting an expert in the PM seat leads to better, focused outcomes for your team and projects.

Unified strategy and vision

A lot of people see project managers as administrative task masters. But a good project manager is a strategic resource that ensures project goals align with overall business objectives. When project management gets scattered among disparate team members across the company, the big picture gets lost in the process.

Signs it’s time to hire a project manager

No matter where you work, if you’re operating projects with deadlines and budgets, you need someone to manage them. Of course, we understand that adding a new team member to payroll is a big decision. 

So how do you know you’ve reached the tipping point? These signs are a good indicator it’s time to hire a project manager:

  • Projects keep going over budget.
  • Your team misses deadlines because projects were never considered and/or estimated properly.
  • Projects deliver on time, but don’t meet goals or intended outcomes. 
  • There’s no clear, streamlined process.
  • Your team is overbooked and stressed out.
  • Clients and/or stakeholders are frustrated with the level of insight they get on projects.
  • No one creates or updates plans, so there’s no visibility into when work will finish.
  • There’s a lot of miscommunication and/or confusion about who’s doing what when.

What kind of project manager should you hire?

Once you’re ready to formalize the project manager role, you need to decide whether to make it a full-time or contract position.

Just be mindful that even the most experienced project managers need ramp-up time. Be prepared to spend some time onboarding your new project manager so they can get to know your organization’s processes and how your team works best. 

Here are some things to consider when deciding what kind of project manager will be the best fit for your team and projects.

Hiring a contract project manager

Hiring a project manager doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing venture. If you’re not ready to commit to a full-time hire, give it a test run by engaging a project manager on a part-time or contract basis. That will enable you to see how a dedicated project manager fits into your organization and moves projects forward.

Here are a few scenarios when hiring a contract project manager makes sense:

  • You only have a couple of projects and need help managing intensive schedules. 
  • You’ve experienced a few hiccups and realize you need to put some project management best practices in place.
  • You want to dip your toes into project management to see what it would be like to formulate and formalize processes for the company. 
  • You have an established team of project managers and business keeps growing, but you’re not sure you’re ready to bring on a full-time resource. 

One note of caution: A part-time project manager isn’t a good fit if they’ll only be managing a portion of your projects (unless they’ll be an integral part of your existing PM team). Your goal should be to provide a holistic project management experience across the board.

Hiring a full-time project manager

The flip side of that is the full-time project manager. Hiring a full-time PM will depend on the amount of work that needs to be managed, especially if your team juggles a lot of tight deadlines. 

This option makes sense if you’ve identified issues and want to bring in an expert to help you level up project delivery—whether that means increasing profits, streamlining processes, improving morale, or all of the above. 

Just like with any new hire, remember, it’s an investment. No project manager will solve your problems right away. Take time to clearly define the role and prepare a plan for onboarding so you can set the whole team up for collaboration and success.

No matter what type of project manager you hire, make sure they’re an active member of the collective project team. That means they should contribute to the project in a positive way and communicate regularly with your team and clients about what’s been done and what’s to come.

For further reading: How to Hire the Best Project Manager for Your Organization

What does a good project manager do?

Let’s be honest: When projects run smoothly, no one notices all the work going on behind the scenes to keep things on track. 

So let’s dig into the day-to-day details a good project manager oversees. This will help you open up a dialogue about the tasks or functions a project manager typically performs so everyone’s on the same page about what to expect.

The PM role may look different across industries, companies, and even offices, but you can generally boil a project manager’s functions down to these basic points:

  • Facilitating team and client communications
  • Managing budget and scope
  • Planning projects and upholding process
  • Assessing risk and mitigating issues

Some people might add tasks to this list. Maybe their project managers also estimate projects and create staffing plans. That’s great—the role is going to vary. But as long as you’ve communicated what you think a project manager does—and everyone agrees on how the role will be defined in your organization—you’re ready to move forward with the hire.

Learn more about the benefits of a project manager

Ready to put the value of project management to work for your team? Check out An Introduction to Project Leadership for even more detailed guidance.

This free on-demand class digs even deeper into the characteristics you’ll want to look for in a good project manager. You’ll learn how to:

  • Clearly define the project manager’s role
  • Identify common misconceptions about project management
  • Understand the skills and qualities it takes to lead projects well

You’ll also get a sample project manager job description—plus a downloadable guide to hiring project managers—to help you find the right person for the job.

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