Project Management is a very important tool for companies as well as one of the most important skills in today’s world. Project Management plays a very vital role in many industries due to the large number of on-going projects taking place at different times and with different ranges. Major industries where Project Management plays a vital role are IT, FMCG, as well as construction, energy, etc. This means that Project Management plays a huge role in entities that are oriented towards material production. Nevertheless, it is also used in service companies, such as offices of state administration, hotels, accounting, consulting firms, etc. Thus, the specificity of Project Management may be different.

Project Management Explained

As explained by X-Pert Group (2000), a Project is a temporary endeavour to achieve a specific objective within the constraints of time, cost, and quality to meet participant’s satisfaction. The process through which the project is initiated and achieved is what is called Project Management. Strategic planning at the organization level results in a set of organization imperatives. The business managers convert these into business strategies. Business strategies are, in turn, carried out through projects whose strategy is the Project Approach or Project Plan. A Project Management process then delivers the outcome.

Project Management can be further explained as a set of activities performed to achieve the main and intermediate goals set in a specific, finite time. It includes initiating, planning (scheduling, budgeting), implementation and control of tasks needed to achieve project objectives. Project Management deals with effective achievement of project goals while neutralizing the impact of existing limitations and risks, as well as being a field of building motivation of the project team and proper communication between project participants.

Project Management is practical knowledge about eliminating the risk of failure at the level of the entire project life cycle. The risk in the project is mainly due to the impossibility of eliminating the uncertainties associated with future events at each stage of the project resulting from the dynamics of communication between participants, variable performance of project teams, erroneous planning, and external environment factors.

Disciplined Project Management starts at the portfolio level, where the strategic vision drives initial investments and where value measures are established. A fully aligned project, program and portfolio management strategy encompasses the entire organization, dictating project execution at every level and aiming to deliver value at each step along the way.

Project Management in Service Companies

Most organizations use three metrics to assess project success: time, budget, and requirements. There are several problems with this narrow view:

  • It often has limited bearing on real value to the client and the organization,
  • Simply meeting requirements does not guarantee optimal performance,
  • Doing the wrong thing on time and on budget serves nobody, even if it does meet “requirements,
  • It views client satisfaction and total opportunity value as lagging indicators to be measured afterwards when they are, in fact, leading indicators if the project is to be perceived as a success and be a success,
  • It directs the project manager’s focus inward toward the project’s requirements, schedule, and budget and away from the client (Manas, 2017).

Jerry Manas had developed a “lean” project management framework that shifts the focus of projects toward client satisfaction and real business value. He called it Service-Oriented Project Management (SOPM). This consists of a four-phased approach: understand, prepare, iterate, and transform. The SOPM methodology starts with symptoms, ideas, and research, validates goals and alignment, focuses on client satisfaction and value, aims to exceed expectations (Manas, 2008).

The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast with business as usual (or operations), which are repetitive, permanent, or semi-permanent functional activities to produce products or services. In practice, the management of these two systems is often quite different, and as such requires the development of distinct technical skills and management strategies. Nevertheless, the concept of project management as well as the tools characteristic of project management has a high degree of universality. The same can be transformed and adapted to both the management of material and non-material (service) production.  It is however imperative that the understanding of project management is explained and applied further in the operations of any business, be it a business in the production line or another in the service line.