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Op-Ed: 10 reasons why you need a project manager

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Any effort toward something new, strategic or challenging in an organization, usually becomes a project, which involves project management. This requires carrying out many tasks that an operational team often does not have the time to perform, as its main goal is to stay focused on hitting the milestones. Consequently, organizations need to appoint a Project Manager (PM), who could be an internal or external resource.

Professional and experienced project managers add value to projects in the following ways:

  1. Vision for Success — A PM is an accountable, strategic busines partner that shares an organization’s vision of creating a positive impact that goes beyond the deliverables of a single project.
  2. Standardized approach — A PM can help to introduce industry-standard methodologies that enable teams to work more efficiently to help execute a project successfully.
  3. Strategic Alignment — A PM ensures that project goals and deliverables bring real value and are aligned to business strategies.
  4. Leadership- A PM brings direction to the project team.
  5. Continuous Oversight — Delivering late is a luxury few organizations can afford. Therefore, a PM ensures the project progress is tracked and reported properly to avoid deviations from plans.
  6. Control Scope — All projects have an agreed upon dimension set. A PM has the skills to respond timely and fairly to scope-change requests to avoid or reduce scope creep.
  7. Manage Budget — Project funds are limited, and the PM monitors them to reduce possible project cost overruns.
  8. Communication Management — A PM is the chief communicator for all stakeholders.
  9. Risk Management — Every project has risks and requires a PM to accurately anticipate what could happen and develop appropriate contingency plans.
  10. Quality Control — A PM ensures continuous improvement on project outcomes to deliver business values.
Author Indhira Caraballo is a director in the management consulting division of RSM Puerto Rico, where she leads the management consulting and project management team. She is also a Project Management Professional (PMP), certified by the PMI, an association for project management and of which she is the President-elect of the Puerto Rico Chapter.

According to the report “Pulse of the Profession” published by the Project Management Institute (PMI), including project management as part of the organization’s strategy increases the success rate of a project by as much as 67%.

Nevertheless, a PM is not a silver bullet. While assigning a PM does not guarantee success, having the right professional does increase the likelihood of a project’s success. For this reason, organizations must be cautious when appointing a PM, and seek for the following characteristics:

  • Experienced PMs who can sprinkle their own touch into the project to help deliver success.
  • Highly-trained professionals formed to adapt to the continually changing dynamics of a project.
  • Individuals who have domain expertise, since they are knowledgeable of the project’s subject matter.
  • Individuals who hold professional project management-related certifications.

In Puerto Rico, ever more organizations are relying on external certified PM professionals to carry out their projects, trusting their expertise to deliver successful projects.

Organizations can contract project management advisory services from firms such as RSM Puerto Rico. Alternatives range from appointing loaned PMs through implementing a Project Management Office (PMO) with internal and external resources.

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