Project management

What is Project Management?

Project management is the ability to plan, coordinate and deliver projects within set timeframes and budgets, usually within a team. This involves creating budgets and timelines, allocating tasks, liaising with suppliers and stakeholders, managing risk, quality and scope, and ultimately delivering the finished project on time. Project management thus requires a variety of skills and knowledge, as well as the ability to balance competing priorities while retaining a high-level overview.

Almost all industries have projects, which is essentially any time-limited work outside of regular business operations. Some industries are more project-based than others, like for instance construction, engineering, software development or healthcare administration, but also less STEM-focused industries like the performing arts or marketing.

Why is project management important in the workplace?

To achieve the desired results, stay within budget and deliver on time, project management is vital. Without a designated project manager with the requisite skills and knowledge, most projects cannot be completed. Project managers provide continuous oversight, ensuring that each step is completed to finish the project, liaise with stakeholders, motivate the team and perform risk assessments, thus reducing the project risk.

A 2019 KPMG, AIPM and IPMA joint survey found that less than a third of projects are finished within the required time frame, demonstrating the need for effective project management across the board. Project management skills such as planning, liaising with stakeholders and effective team management can prevent projects from missing deadlines. Additionally, employees with project management skills can perform assessments after project completion to evaluate mistakes and areas for improvement and set up processes to avoid them in the future, saving organisations from repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

Not only is project management vital to business success, it is also an in-demand skill, as the technology sector grows and organisations are increasingly switching to more project-based work. According to a 2020 study by KPGM, 64% of Australian businesses believe that project management will become more important in the future, while the same number also said that they believe that project complexity has increased in the past ten years.