“Business-as-usual” has been redefined in the past few years as the government-mandated shutdowns rocked economies, disrupted supply chains, ushered in the era of remote work and contributed to spiraling inflation and interest-rate increases that threatened recession.
The upheaval also compromised companies’ ability to manage projects, which assumed critical importance as they tried to keep up with changes that jeopardized their survival. Professional development consultant Simplilearn describes the impact of remote work and telecommuting on project management collaboration as “catastrophic.” However, digital tools such as cloud-based systems, artificial intelligence and automation, data analytics and project management software “can empower your remote workforce to yield exceptional results.”
Deploying innovative project management tools will be projects unto themselves. That has created a “huge demand for experienced, skillful project managers,” according to PMI, a project management certification organization. “Companies need to be creative about hiring and retaining them.”
What Value Does an Effective Project Management Office (PMO) Add?
A company initiates projects to keep its processes, products and services on pace with the changing business environment. While the specifics differ from one project to another, the goal is always the same: bringing about change for the benefit of the business.
Yet, as critical to success as projects are, they fail at alarming rates and can be costly:
- Two out of three projects fail to meet time, budget and target goals
- One out of three projects fail to achieve their goal
- Seven in 10 companies reported at least one failed project in 2020
Those grim numbers highlight the need for an effective project management office (PMO), an internal or external organization that acts as a hub to support, control or direct project administration, strategic planning, resource allocation and best practices across departments.
PM Majik, a PMO resource center, identifies 10 key processes that help ensure efficient management of projects, waste reduction and maximized project return on investment. Those attributes include:
- Organize clear timelines and monitor task completion.
- Define key project roles and reporting.
- Monitor outcomes to ensure progress meets strategic objectives.
- Report to key stakeholders and executive management.
- Audit and provide access to project data.
While calculating a precise return on PMO investment is tricky — as many of the benefits are intangible and accrue over long timelines — PM Majik suggests that developing key performance indicators that align with business objectives will help you “measure the value your PMO contributes to your organisation.”
What Tools Do Project Managers Use?
The market for project management (PM) platforms is constantly expanding as vendors add functionality such as data visualizations, automation, project set-up, spreadsheets and integrations to their offerings. For instance, Microsoft Project — used in Avila University’s online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Project Management program — is a leader in the project management software vertical. It includes features such as:
- Gantt charts and Kanban agile/DevOps boards to simplify project planning
- Communication and collaboration spaces to support critical teamwork functions, including stakeholder permissions to edit and update task lists and schedules
- Click-and-build reports and roadmaps to track progress, resources, programs and portfolios
- Timesheets and resource management for monitoring allocations
Gaining familiarity with this popular PM platform provides MBA in Project Management program graduates with the insights and expertise that give them an advantage when seeking high-demand, lucrative careers as project managers, team leaders, project leads and project directors.