Project Management Automation
What is Project Management?
A process that aims to organize, plan and implement a project to produce specific results. Coordination of resources, tasks, and schedules is required to guarantee that deliverables are delivered on time and within budget. Project management is vital for organizations of all sizes to manage and ensure the success of a project.
In today’s fast-paced world, project management automation is becoming increasingly important. It assists enterprises in streamlining their procedures and increasing efficiency. One such platform that offers project management automation is Flokzu. We help businesses automate their workflows and manage projects more efficiently.
Project management skills
To effectively manage a project, one must possess diverse skills. There are several skills that are essential for a great project manager, including:
- Leadership, to lead and motivate a team to work together to achieve the project’s goals.
- Project success is dependent on effective communication, and a project manager must be able to interact with team members, stakeholders, and sponsors.
- A project manager must be extremely organized and capable of managing many projects, timeframes, and resources.
- Planning and Scheduling, developing schedules, and setting realistic deadlines.
- Risk Management, to identify and make contingency plans to avoid losses.
- Budget Management, forecasting, tracking, and controlling the financial resources of a project or business. It ensures that funds are allocated efficiently and effectively, helping to achieve goals within defined financial constraints.
- Problem-solving skills, including the ability to recognize and handle problems quickly and efficiently in order to keep the project on schedule.
- Flexibility, because projects can change quickly, so he/she must be flexible and adaptable so that it is easy to change direction if necessary.
- Technical Knowledge: Depending on the project, a project manager may need to have a good understanding of the technical aspects of the project in order to manage it effectively.
The basics of Project Management involve the following key concepts:
- Project Scope defines the objectives, deliverables, and tasks that need to be completed in order to meet the project goals. The scope provides to keep the project on pace and under budget.
- Project Planning involves establishing the project’s objectives, defining tasks, setting timelines, allocating resources, and devising a detailed roadmap. This strategic blueprint guides the team toward successful project completion.
- Project Execution involves the implementation of project plans, coordination of resources, and direct work on deliverables. It’s a critical stage where the project’s intended outcomes start to materialize.
- Risk Management includes identifying, assessing, and controlling uncertainties affecting a project’s objectives. It includes developing strategies to minimize potential negative impacts, thereby ensuring smoother project progression and increasing the likelihood of successful project completion.
- Effective Communication is the clear, concise, and accurate exchange of information in an understandable and actionable way. To ensure that everyone is on the same page, project managers must communicate effectively and frequently with stakeholders, team members, and vendors.
- Quality Control means monitoring and evaluating the work being done to ensure that it meets the project requirements and standards.
- Project Closure includes wrapping up all project tasks, documenting lessons learned, releasing resources, and providing final deliverables to stakeholders. It’s a formal way to signify the project’s successful completion.
By adhering to these principles, you can be sure that projects will be successfully completed in accordance with all agreements.
The 5 steps of the project management process
We can identify five basic stages, which to a greater or lesser extent, appear in all methodologies and literature on project management:
Step 1: Initiation
Initially, the project management process, setting goals and determining the feasibility is determined. During this phase, project stakeholders are identified, the team is assembled, and the project charter is created.
Step 2: Planning
A complete project plan is created at this phase, which contains a summary of the work to be done, schedules, budgets, resources, risk management, and communication plans. The project plan provides a roadmap for the entire project, and it is used to guide project execution.
Step 3: Execution
This is the phase where the actual work of the project is done, and the project team works to complete the tasks identified in the project plan. During this phase, progress is monitored, and any issues that arise are addressed to keep the project on track.
Step 4: Monitoring & Control
In this phase, progress is measured against the project plan, and any changes that are necessary are identified and managed. This includes monitoring the project schedule, budget, and quality to ensure that the project is meeting its objectives.
Step 5: Closing
The project is concluded during this management of a project‘s phase, and the final deliverables are handed over to the stakeholders. The project team assesses the progress, and any lessons gained are documented for future initiatives. This phase also includes the closing of project accounts, disbanding the project team, and celebrating project success.
Naturally, the role of the project manager is key to overview project management. He/she is responsible for overseeing the execution of all stages, as well as for applying the necessary corrective measures and ensuring the alignment of all parties involved (especially top management), with the project’s objectives.
6 frameworks can help guide project management
There are several frameworks and good practices, so here are the main project management tips:
- Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK): is a standard terminology and guidelines for project management. Published by the Project Management Institute (PMI), it is a comprehensive guide outlining best practices, processes, and methodologies for effective project management. It’s globally recognized and widely used by professionals across various industries.
- Agile: an approach that promotes flexibility, cooperation, and continual improvement. It is particularly useful in software development, where requirements are often changing and the development process needs to be adaptable.
- PRINCE2 (Projects IN Controlled Environments): a popular approach in the United Kingdom and Europe. It provides a structured approach to project management, and it is based on the principles of product-based planning, risk management, and change control.
- Scrum: a framework for organizing and finishing complicated projects. It is founded on the Agile ideals of cooperation, adaptability, and continuous development. It has been particularly successful in software development (official Scrum site)
- Critical Path Method (CPM): an old but still constructive way of identifying a project’s critical path using a network diagram. It is important to follow the sequence of tasks without breaking deadlines so that the project is completed on time. (this is a great source about CPM)
- Earned Value Management (EVM): a technique that integrates scope, schedule, and cost performance measurements. It provides a way to measure project performance and predict project outcomes (read more about EVM here)
Of course, there are more frameworks and sets of best practices. At the end of the day, each organization, and each project manager will have to evaluate which ones best fit the needs of the project.
Since no two organizations, no two projects, and no two managers are alike, adapting the methodology and practices to each particular situation is key to project success.
The main tips for successful project management
If we had to choose and summarize 5 specific and brief tips to maximize the probability of success in a project, these would be:
- Clearly define the goals and objectives of your project. Make certain that all project participants are aware of their responsibilities and understand the project’s intended outcomes and success metrics.
- Create a thorough project plan that describes the project’s tasks, dates, resources, and budget. To keep organized and measure progress, use a project management application.
- Effective communication, a vital skill for business success, hinges on clarity and appropriateness. Keep stakeholders informed about project progress, changes in scope or schedule, and any issues that arise. It involves using simple, understandable language and selecting the most suitable communication platform to relay information.
- Identify possible project difficulties and create a risk management plan to mitigate them. Regularly review the plan and adjust as necessary to stay on top of potential issues.
- Double-check that the design meets the quality standards the stakeholders expect. Ensure there is sufficient quality control to ensure that the end results meet or surpass expectations.
Why use FLOKZU + BD SOLUTIONS PRO for project management?
A project can be seen as a process, and it can be managed using a Business Process Management (BPM) suite. A BPM suite is a set of software tools that can be used to design, model, execute, monitor, and optimize business processes, including project management processes.
The BPM suite can provide a number of benefits when managing a project. For example, it can help to:
- Visualize the project process: Using a BPM suite you can create process diagrams that provide a clear and intuitive view of the steps of managing a project and help stakeholders to understand how the project will be executed.
- The BPM suite can monitor the project execution using real-time and historical Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies that are hindering progress and allow project managers to take corrective actions.
- A BPM suite automates routine tasks, reducing the workload for project team members and allowing them to focus on more critical activities.
- Collaboration was improved by offering a single platform for project team members to share information, interact, and collaborate.
- Reduce errors and avoid delays, given an automated process may include intelligent forms with validators and business rules that prevent undesired behaviors.
Most used processes
There are several typical BPM Suite features that are very useful when a project is automated. Here are a few that you should pay special attention to:
- Task due date management. In an automated business process in a BPM Suite, it is possible to define a due date for each task. This due date can be relative to the date the task was created (for example 3 days after the task was assigned to a user); or it can be absolute (for example January 15th, no matter when the task was assigned).
- It is also possible to define that the task due date is calculated since the process was started (and not since a certain task was assigned). This is very useful for projects that have a defined and immovable deadline so that if there are delays in some tasks, they must be recovered in the following ones. Real-life example: given a marketing promotions process, the deadline is December 15 in order to have the merchandise before Christmas. And then all task deadlines will be defined based on that date (regardless of when each task is assigned).
- Task escalation: in case a task is not completed on time, the BPM Suite can automatically reassign that task to another person (escalate it for example), in order to avoid a delay in the project.
- The possibility of adding comments on a task by several people makes it easy to gather all relevant information in one place. Even if it isn’t formal data, it’s still useful information. In addition, it is useful to have this information in a historical form, for example, to know why a certain decision was made.
- Using a standard notation such as BPMN for the modeling of the process to be followed by the projects allows the formalization of this knowledge, as well as sharing it, commenting on it, and improving it. Note that in some projects this may be too inflexible, so it should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
- On the other hand, having a formal and defined process for projects ensures that everyone will execute in this way, without deviating from the expected course. Again, this may work very well for some projects, but be inadequate for others that require more flexibility.
- From an audit point of view, the BPM Suite will keep the entire process instance trace. Who initiated the project, who completed each task, what decisions were made, how long it took, etc. This information will be highly beneficial to an auditor!
Other processes that you may find in Project Management Automation
Project management detractors
While project management has many proponents, there are also some detractors who argue that it can be overly bureaucratic and time-consuming, with excessive focus on processes and documentation. Some people believe that project management can stifle creativity and innovation and that the focus on meeting deadlines and budget constraints can lead to sacrificing quality. However, many of these criticisms can be addressed by implementing agile and flexible project management methodologies and by fostering a culture of continuous improvement and learning.
In our experience at Flokzu with companies all over the world, both in software deployment projects and the digital transformation of organizations, having a project management methodology has produced the best results. Although it’s true that it carries an overload of work and a specific role with its associated costs (the project manager), the benefits are evident and the probability of project success increases significantly, as we will see below.
Project success rates
How many projects are finished on time, how many are delayed, and how many are canceled? It’s difficult to give a precise answer to this question as project success rates can vary widely depending on the industry, project type, and other factors. However, research conducted by the Project Management Institute (PMI) suggests that project success rates have been improving in recent years. According to their 2020 Pulse of the Profession report, 69% of projects were completed on time and within budget in 2019, compared to 51% in 2018. The report also found that 11% of projects were canceled in 2019, while 20% exceeded their original budget and 23% missed their original deadline.
It’s worth noting that these figures are based on a survey of project management professionals and may not represent the full range of project outcomes. The success of a project can depend on many factors, including the project management approach used, the technology available for managing the project, the level of stakeholder engagement, the availability of human resources, and the ability to manage risks and adapt to changing circumstances.
The future of Project Management Automation
The project management discipline has a bright future ahead. The need for effective project management is only increasing as businesses continue to become more complex and global. Companies are increasingly relying on projects to drive innovation, achieve strategic objectives, and stay competitive in the marketplace.
The project management discipline has also expanded to include new approaches, tools, and technology that may assist businesses in managing projects more efficiently and effectively.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for digital transformation, remote work, and new ways of collaborating. Project management has become more critical than ever in helping organizations navigate these challenges and adapt to a rapidly changing business environment.
Furthermore, the demand for project management professionals continues to grow, with an increasing number of companies seeking certified project managers. The Project Management Institute (PMI) estimates that there will be over 22 million new project management jobs created by 2027, with a projected value of $6.6 trillion in economic activity.
The next generation of project management software
The next generation of project management software is likely to focus on the following key areas:
- Process management support: As mentioned above, there are several typical functionalities of a BPM Suite that are extremely useful for managing projects. Project and process management tools will increasingly share features so that organizations can choose one or the other depending on the fit to their specific needs. Project management software will also enable teams to customize their workflows and procedures to match their unique requirements.
- Collaboration and communication: Future project management software will likely include more advanced collaboration and communication features, such as real-time messaging and video conferencing.
- Artificial intelligence and automation: AI and automation will play a greater role in project management software, helping to automate routine tasks (for example, using RPA), provide insights into project performance, and identify potential issues and risks.
- Integration with other tools and platforms: Project management software will need to integrate with a wide range of other tools and platforms, such as a CRM, an ERP, finance systems, and project management frameworks, to provide a seamless and integrated experience.
- Mobile and remote access: As remote work becomes more prevalent, project management software will need to provide robust mobile and remote access capabilities, allowing team members to access and collaborate on projects from anywhere, on any device, and moreover, asynchronously.
What is project management?
Project management is the structured process of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing a project. It follows a project management guide to ensure activities are accomplished on schedule, within budget, and to stakeholders’ satisfaction. IT project management further involves aligning technical elements with business goals, managing software development, and implementing IT services. It’s a strategic discipline that drives efficiency, adds value, and fosters successful project completion.
How to manage a project?
To manage a project effectively, follow a structured approach that includes defining clear objectives, creating a detailed project plan, assembling a skilled team, and utilizing appropriate project management IT tools. It’s crucial to establish and maintain open communication channels, monitor progress, and adapt the plan. Managing project tasks involves assigning responsibilities, setting deadlines, tracking progress, and addressing any issues that arise to ensure the project stays on schedule and meets its objectives.
How to start a project?
Starting a new project involves following project management guidelines. Initially, define project management‘s goals and objectives. Next, identify stakeholders and form a project team. Develop a comprehensive project plan detailing tasks, timelines, and resource allocation. Once approved, launch the project, monitor progress, adjust as needed, and ensure regular communication. Finally, when the project is completed, assess its success.
How to be an effective project manager?
The best way to manage projects as an effective project manager is through clear communication, strategic planning, and adaptability. Create a detailed project plan, set realistic expectations, and delegate tasks efficiently. Regularly monitor project progress, and be open to adjustments as necessary. Build strong relationships with your team and stakeholders, encouraging collaboration and feedback. Finally, always continue learning and improving your project management skills.
Why use project management software?
A Business Process Management (BPM) Suite streamlines project management by automating routine tasks, enhancing transparency, and enabling real-time monitoring. It assists in reducing manual errors, optimizes resource allocation, and boosts efficiency. A BPM Suite fosters improved communication and cooperation by offering a consolidated platform. Additionally, it offers invaluable data analytics to assist with decision-making and future project planning.
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