A place for everything, everything in its place – Unpacking Project Management
When it comes to making projects a success, nothing can beat the magic of teamwork. But often, with teamwork comes miscommunication, confusion over deadlines and problems with workflow. Without the correct project management in place, this could make completing a group task very problematic.
This is why many organisations put huge focus on project management – special skills that are vital to the long-term success of projects and the organisation.
What is project management?
“Investopedia defines project management as the “planning and organization of a company’s resources to move a specific task, event, or duty towards completion. It typically involves a one-time project rather than an ongoing activity, and resources managed include personnel, finances, technology, and intellectual property. A project manager helps to define the goals and objectives of the project and determines when the various project components are to be completed and by whom; s/he also creates quality control checks to ensure completed components meet a certain standard.”
Many project managers adopt the following management system:
- Initiating: Where the project begins. During this phase you identify the main goals of the project and ensure the necessary feasibility testing is done.
- Planning: During the planning stage, a plan or roadmap is created for the individual members of the team to follow. Elements such as cost, resources and deadlines are factored into this process. This is more commonly referred to as “determining the scope of a project”.
- Executing: During the execution stage, the different members of the team work on their deliverables and aim to complete them within the defined deadlines.
- Monitoring: Monitoring of the project involves tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to ensure that the goals defined by the project plan are being met. This can also include quality assurance, cost tracking and how the project is performing overall.
- Closing: Once the project has been completed, it is important to gather feedback from the team involved, as well as wrap up any final tasks associated with the project.
In addition to being able to create and execute a project plan that is suited to each unique project, project managers need a wide variety of skills, such as communication, leadership and risk management, to handle the issues that arise during the project itself.
The study of Project Management will allow you to fulfill the requirements of the role in your organisation. Some project management programmes – such as the University of Stellenbosch Business School’s Postgraduate Diploma in Project Management – also focus on the management aspect of the field, as project managers are increasingly required to assume a more direct managerial role. By ensuring you can manage as well as create a project plan, you become a critical component in the success of your projects and the business.
Why is project management important?
While an organisation may try to forge ahead without a project manager to save costs in the short term, project management is vital in the long term. Qualified project managers will assist their organisations by:
- Defining the direction of a project by providing leadership and process
- Determining the objectives to focus on
- Establishing a realistic plan
- Setting time for quality control
- Accounting for and mitigating risks
- Allowing for tracking and oversight.
Who should consider pursuing a project management qualification?
An education in Project Management is recommended for managers taking responsibility for the delivery of projects and those aspiring to higher positions, if the programme includes a leadership or managerial component. These management roles can exist in the private or public sectors.
Individuals who are looking for an NQF level 8 qualification so that they can apply for an MBA should also consider this programme.
What are the benefits?Acquiring a qualification in project management:
- Improves your strategic Project Management skills
- Is applicable across local and international contexts
- Provides you with the skills to manage projects with confidence in a competitive business environment
- Can help to ensure employment due to the scarcity of Project Management skills
- Allows you to take on managerial positions in any industry
- Helps you empower the workforce
- Is internationally accredited by EQUIS
- Can provide access to an MBA
The University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) offers you a path to acquiring the skills necessary to be an effective project manager with its Project Management programme.
USB’s Project Management programme
Postgraduate Diploma in Project Management
In Africa and South Africa, Project Management skills are scarce, while demand to fill the skills gap is high. USB offers a Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) in Project Management. This PGD covers a multi- and interdisciplinary perspective so that students will be able to overcome the variety of challenges that senior-level management face.
If you are interested in finding out about USB’s Project Management programme, we have more information on our website. From here, you can download the programme brochure. You can also find more information on USB’s Project Management programme and the benefits it provides from one of our alumni.