The Value of Project Management

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The ‘value’ of project management… we see this come up quite a bit. 

There’s only one value proposition for project management (hint: it’s NOT delivering to a ‘plan’).

Project management isn’t ‘necessary’.

Give enough time, money, people, resources, etc., any person or org trying to accomplish something could ‘eventually’ get there. 

It might take a hundred years, be exorbitantly expensive, and require several restarts or ‘do-overs’, but ‘anything’ can eventually get done. 

But we don’t live in a world of unlimited resources. 

Things cost… money, time, effort, attention, opportunity…. doing anything exacts a toll of some kind.

And that’s the value of project management.

Project management (note: *not* waterfall) is simply about *bringing efficiency and effectiveness* to the attempt.

It’s not about ‘certainty’, or ‘following a plan’, or a specific methodology.

Project management is about accomplishing the thing faster and more cost efficiently than you could have without project management. 

It’s about charting the most likely effective path to the thing. It’s about learning from past successes and failures and applying those lessons to be even more effective and efficient this time. It’s about not wasting time, money, or effort recreating the wheel every time something new is started. 

“We do it this way now, because we ‘used’ to do it that way and realized that this way is more effective and efficient.”

But that’s it. That’s the value, and the only reason project management exists – to do something more efficiently or effectively than you could have otherwise. 

The challenge is in defining or quantifying that value. Because the value lies in the difference between how long it took/cost ‘with’ project management vs how long it would have taken/cost *without* project management – and we can’t know that number. 


Note: The ‘value of the PM’ is a separate discussion specific to individuals, not the role. 


Originally published on LinkedIn

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