There is a steady demand for trained project management professionals. As companies tighten budgets amid an uncertain economy and expect quicker delivery due to increased global competition, executives and other project stakeholders are scrutinizing every part of the project management process. And rightfully so: The Project Management Institute’s (PMI) 2016 Pulse of the Profession®: The High Cost of Low Performance revealed that organizations around the world waste an average of $122 million for every $1 billion spent on projects as a result of poor project management practices.*
Effective Project Management Tools and Skills for Reducing Waste
Successful project management isn’t only about scheduling and managing tasks, it’s also about managing people. We’ve identified five common issues project managers face and ways to effectively address these issues:
Managing a geographically dispersed team
The Internet and increased global interconnectivity allow people to work from almost any location at any time. While this is not new, it requires project management professionals to employ effective leadership skills to motivate employees and help them generate results to meet the company’s goals. Ensuring the team has access to mobile collaboration tools increases access to technology—even in the most remote areas of the world—to maximize effectiveness.
Lack of guidance
Before any project begins, it’s crucial for project managers to understand the business case for the project as well as the metrics for defining success and how every team member can contribute toward that goal. Project management professionals must be able to effectively communicate these key pieces of information at the kickoff meeting and throughout the process to earn buy-in from executives and maintain support from the team executing the project.
Misfire as a result of miscommunicating
Channels of communication must be open between team members, and status meetings play an important role in ensuring everyone stays on task. However, project managers have to take care not to micromanage; instead, they must balance time needed to update and clarify issues with time the team requires to actually complete the work. In addition, project managers also need to be able to check in with each individual to ensure no professional or personal issues have arisen, and, if so, be prepared to address these issues as needed.
Coping with change of any sort
Team members get pulled off the project temporarily or permanently. Timelines shift. These things can happen during any project, so the best way project managers can handle such occurrences is to be flexible and prepare a system that tracks these changes so they don’t get out of control, resulting in missed deadlines and increased associated costs. Being able to take corrective action to deliver real business results—like making sure a project is on schedule and within budget—are keys to being a successful project manager.
Relying on technology instead of training
While project management software can help keep the team focused and on schedule, relying on technology to autocorrect problems or take the place of status meetings can potentially put a project in danger. Project managers need to have the knowledge and skills to be able to work with others and identify problems—and solutions—before the project becomes too difficult to manage. Companies are now in search of professionals with a project management degree or certification because such individuals are more likely to lead successful projects than those without the training.
Mastering Skills With an MS in Project Management
For professionals who seek the business, communication, and leadership skills needed to oversee projects and diverse teams, enrolling in a master’s in project management degree program is a good start. Earning project management certification can also help new and experienced project managers add to their skill set and equip them with the right project management tools to help them stand out in an increasingly crowded job market.
When researching which master’s in project management program is a good fit, professionals should look for an accredited program as well as one that aligns with their learning style and lifestyle. For example, those who wish to continue working while earning their degree may want to focus on earning an MS in Project Management from an online university.
Walden University, an accredited institution offering online degree programs, offers an MS in Project Management program accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs (GAC). The curriculum covers the internationally recognized standards set forth in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)—Fifth Edition, which focuses on the skills project management professionals need to succeed in today’s workplace. Walden’s MS in Project Management also can help students prepare for the certified Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam, an increasingly desirable credential in the business world. In addition, Walden is an approved provider of project management training by PMI.
Learn more about Walden University’s MS in Project Management program and discover how an accredited online university can help you earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your schedule and busy life.
*Project Management Institute, Pulse of the Profession®, on the Internet at www.pmi.org/learning/thought-leadership/pulse.
Walden University’s MS in Project Management program is accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs (GAC). PMI GAC is the world’s leading specialized accrediting body for project management education and related degree programs, affirming that Walden’s curriculum meets rigorous quality standards established by GAC.
PMI is a registered trademark and service mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
PMBOK is a registered trademark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.