Project management practices provide value to all organizations. The exact argument to use for convincing executives is going to be different from company to company because every company has a unique culture and unique problems they face. But some common benefits should be achieved in all organizations.
1. Better Estimating, Planning and Project Definition
How many times have you heard about or been involved in a project that was not as successful as it needed to be. Did you ever spend time looking back to see what caused the project to go wrong? If you did, chances are that you said, “You know, we should have spent more time planning.”
Project management focuses first on planning the work. This is a vital discipline, and allows the project team and the customer to have common perceptions of what the project is going to deliver, when it will be complete, what it will cost, who will do the work and how the work will be done.
Value statement: Utilizing a project definition and planning process sets realistic expectations, establishes the path to success and makes sure that only the right work gets done.
2. Reuse of Processes and Templates
People intuitively understand that it is faster and cheaper to reuse something that already exists rather than to build something similar from scratch. If your organization creates a set of project management processes and templates that are used consistently from project to project, each instance represents a savings of time that would otherwise have been spent on building the processes from scratch.
Value statement: Utilizing common project management processes and templates will result in cost and time savings associated with having to otherwise develop them from scratch on each project.
3. Proactive Project Management Processes
People who complain that project management is a lot of ‘overhead’ forget the alternative. Your project is going to face issues. The question is whether you will proactively resolve them or figure them out as you go. Your project will face potential risks. Will you try to resolve them before they happen, or wait until the problems arise? Are you going to communicate proactively or deal with misunderstandings caused by lack of project information?
The characteristics of the project are not all going to change whether you use a formal project management process. What changes is how the events are dealt with when the project is in progress. Are they dealt with haphazardly and reactively, or proactively with a smoothly running process?
Value statement: Having proactive processes in place will allow you to anticipate what will happen on the project and be prepared for various contingencies. This will ultimately help projects run faster, cheaper and at a higher quality level.
4. More Effective Communication
If stakeholders are not kept informed of the project status, there is a much greater chance of difficulties due to differing expectations. In fact, in many cases where conflicts arise, it is not because of the actual problem, but because people were surprised.
Value statement: Proactive communication allows you to better manage expectations, avoid misunderstandings and conflict, and provides better information for decision-making.
5.Building a Higher Quality Product the First Time
Practicing simple quality management helps you deliver to a higher level of quality and avoid the expense and time of having to fix things after the fact. This helps avoid quality problems and rework that surface toward the end of the project.
Value statement: Quality management helps you build your deliverables correctly the first time and saves time and costs by discovering problems as early in the project as possible.
It is not possible to give an exact set of arguments that will convince executives at every company. The arguments you use for one company might fall completely flat at another company. However, regardless of your situation today, the basic value points above probably hold true in every company.