The company, individual divisions with their departments and also service providers are often involved in projects of all kinds. In addition to external projects - e.g. when a new system has to be installed and put into operation at the customer's site - there are also internal projects in one's own company or department. In order to maintain an overview of this abundance of projects and the associated information (on costs, deadlines, responsibilities and tasks), efficient project management is indispensable. In the following article you will learn what is meant by this and what advantages you will gain from it.
Definition: What is a project?
According to DIN 69901-5:2009, a project is an "undertaking that is essentially characterised by uniqueness of conditions in its entirety." In PRINCE2:2009, the definition is further concretised: A project is here a temporary organisation that is set up with the purpose of delivering one or more products (here services are also meant) in a quality agreed in advance in a business case.
The success of each project is determined by three mutually influencing parameters, the so-called "magic project triangle":
If one of the three parameters is changed, this has a direct impact on the other two. For example, a time delay affects costs and performance. Or a change in performance causes costs and time requirements to change.
In order to plan, carry out and implement projects successfully, you need efficient project management. Project management is an essential aspect of project management and deals with the organisational administration of projects. Its main tasks are project documentation and project controlling (planning and steering).
Project administration ensures that all project participants have an accurate and up-to-date overview of their respective tasks, resources, time and cost plans as well as the necessary documentation at all times. In this way, project management aims above all to standardise the control and coordination of projects and to ensure transparency by generating reports and evaluations and making them available to those responsible.
1. creation of a resilient data basis for project controlling.
Since projects have a one-off character, irregularities and deviations from the plan must be determined as quickly as possible. For this purpose, the planned values are compared with the respective actual values, often also on the basis of key figures. In such a plan-actual comparison, it is compared, for example, whether the planned effort for a task corresponds to the actual effort, whether deadlines were met or whether there are deviations in the costs. Deviations can be compared and evaluated directly, and the project management can define and initiate concrete corrective measures if necessary.
2. transparency in the management and use of funds
While the budgets of an individual project are also managed and tracked by the project management, project management provides an overview of the projects as a whole. This is particularly important in companies because not only internal company and departmental projects are carried out here, but also projects with external participants such as partners, customers and suppliers, e.g. the acquisition of new systems and equipment with hardware and software. Therefore, an overall view is necessary to ensure economic efficiency.
3 Documentation and reporting
The documentation of projects and reporting are essential instruments for successfully carrying out projects and securing learnings for later, similar projects. Complete documentation is also important to make performance and costs transparent for stakeholders and to document the proper implementation of the project.
Professional project management is a particularly critical framework condition for projects. This is all the more true the more projects are completed in parallel, for example in an environment. In concrete terms, the establishment of a project management system has five advantages:
1. reduction of project effort
Project management anchors systematic processes and compliance with standards in the department and throughout the company. Such standardisation offers considerable advantages, precisely because projects are not standard processes. Professional project management means less duplication of work, less rework and less need for coordination. In other words, it reduces the project effort, and in the best case without creating additional work.
2. shortening lead times
Reducing project effort also means that more free capacity is available. Staff and other resources can thus be scheduled and used simultaneously on more projects or for other tasks.
3. increasing transparency
Efficient project management ensures greater transparency for all those involved. Through the complete documentation of project results and plan-actual comparisons, those responsible and those involved can inform themselves at any time about progress, problems and other key data of the project. Moreover, responsibilities are precisely defined in addition to the course of the project.
4. Improving adherence to schedules
Since every project administration also fulfils a controlling function, it offers a variety of tools for better planning of projects. Likewise, they can be better controlled, monitored and evaluated, so that continuous improvement is also possible with regard to scheduling.
5. Active risk management
Project management enables you to identify bottlenecks in the course of the project as well as other risks at an early stage, quantify them and take appropriate countermeasures. With appropriate risk reporting, the project manager and all those involved always have an overview of the risk factors, e.g. in the form of key figures, and can therefore react to problems at an early stage.
EcholoN represents projects as a separate entity via its standard process templates. As with other EcholoN solutions, this process template can be individually configured. The system is provided on premise or as a cloud solution. This allows projects to be defined quickly, easily and flexibly. Further details and functions can be individually expanded according to need and requirement.
In addition to dynamic team formation, responsibility, tasks, deadlines, planned time and costs, you can enter a variety of other details, define milestones, link sub-projects and create and assign work packages. You can also integrate process participants across locations or departments.
Projects, milestones and tasks can be easily planned using the interactive GANTT diagram. Dashboards simplify the overview. Interactive reporting and analyses provide information on the current status. With the integrated project Kanban board, you can easily assign and update tasks via drag and drop. Editing, recording of times, efforts or costs is also done directly and independent of the operating system on all end devices for the project, sub-project, tasks or the work package.
Collaboration with external parties such as customers, partners and suppliers can be realised via pools and roles according to the task. Everyone only sees what they are allowed to see. Furthermore, external systems (e.g. SAP, MS Project, etc.) can be integrated through the EcholoN Data Workflow System, which greatly simplifies collaboration with customers and external service providers.
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