Nobody has ever claimed that project managers have it easy.
On the contrary. Project managers are constantly faced with new projects, each with their own challenges. Fast deadlines, tight budgets, demanding expectations, and high pressure levels are all part of the daily life of a project manager as they tackle the essential role of bringing business-critical projects to completion.
Understanding project management
Managing a project means guiding it from its start through its lifecycle to its completion. It is the purpose of project management professionals to complete a project within a specified time goal, budget constraint, and quality parameters.
In its most basic form we can look at project management in this way:
- A project is something new that needs to be done – it has a start and a finish.
- Projects are made up of tasks.
- The project manager steers staff and third parties through the tasks to ensure each task is completed.
- Once all the tasks are finished, the project is ostensibly complete.
Surprisingly, not all project managers are officially part of a ‘project management’ team. Many computer-based corporate roles work with tasks or lists, and effectively are included in this category. Think of an ad agency’s traffic manager with a team of software developers, website designers, content creators, paid media, and analysts, all required to execute on key tasks to complete an overarching project or campaign, within a budget and a timeframe. Even accountants, architects, and human resources teams benefit from sound project management principles and technology.
For this reason, it is an important role for business profitability and accountability. Without the project manager, a project can derail quickly and be nothing more than an expensive failure. Some of the key deliverables and challenges faced are
- Time – Tight deadlines to complete a set of tasks, to manage resources – both internally and outsourced, and to deliver on the project in its entirety. Harvard Business Review stated that almost 70 percent of IT projects face project delays.
- Project scope – Often a project will morph as more issues or opportunities come to light. Sticking to the original project is a challenge and – if not adhered to – can result in uncosted-for scope creep.
- Budget – Estimating on a project, and keeping track of expenses, are major challenges for most project managers. In fact, a study published in the Harvard Business Review states that one in every six projects costs more than 200 percent of the estimated amount. Who pays for that? You do. Lack of visibility into actual cost-to-company, as well as supplier challenges, means that a scope project’s budget could be blown before the project is completed.
Consequently, project managers rely heavily on technology to keep projects on track.
There are many free stand-alone tools available for project and task management, such as Trello, Asana, and the more archaic, garden-variety spreadsheet. However, in spite of the fact that there are multiple project management resources, tools, training materials, and methodologies available, organizations still tragically end up wasting millions annually through failed projects, or projects that resulted in a loss – be it through delays or underquoting.
It is clear to see that a project system on its own is not necessarily sufficient to drive a project to a profitable completion.
Why Bring Project Management and ERP Together?
The answer is straightforward, and a little obvious if you understand ERP.
A business is not a single-stranded organism. Rather, it is made up of various people and departments that carry out their tasks in front office and admin, back office and production, management and finances. An enterprise resource planning system – or ERP – is essential to unify all of these vastly different yet deeply connected roles, spans of data, and siloed departments. That is, if a business hopes to remain agile, viable and profitable.
Here is where the overlap takes place. A project seldom involves and impacts just one person. For this reason, a stand-alone project management solution is typically not integrated enough with the rest of the business to be anything more than what it is – just another app or open tab to add to the myriad of other apps that make up the patchwork system many organizations struggle with.
Rather, an ERP system – a trusted mechanism used to integrate and unify a business into one system – is the ideal tool for project managers. However, only if and when the ERP system has project and task management capabilities. Here’s why.
QuickEasy BOS Brings the Inclusion of ERP with the Power of Project Management to Your Teams
QuickEasy BOS is well-known as the ERP solution of choice for companies who need something more affordable than big brand ERPs, but with more flexibility than off-the-shelf software. Thousands of people all over the world use BOS ERP because it is easy to use, improves efficiency across the entire business, and becomes whatever you need it to be to get the job done.
All-in-one, cloud-based, highly secure, QuickEasy BOS now comes with full-spec project management capabilities. Built-in. No extra costs. Just added value.
So what does that mean in the real world?
- Accurate estimating. The total cost of the project is accurately calculated and well-presented as a project plan to the customer on the estimate. This is because BOS allows you to either select from a library of individual tasks, or a group of tasks, that you have created. These have time and material values prepopulated with the latest amounts so customer-facing staff are always quoting the latest figures. Thankfully, no guesswork is ever required, as BOS already has your hourly rate and other costs built into the calculation, so even estimating freelance or out-of-scope work is accurate and fast.
- Seamless sales. Once a quotation is accepted, it is converted into a Sales Order on the system and automatically brings with it all the tasks that need to be completed. No duplications, no data capturing.
- Clear production tasks and deadlines. Tasks created in BOS are from a library of tasks, with each task containing detailed instructions for staff and operators to follow. Each task also states the estimated time required to complete the task.
- Total management and oversight. Managers can group tasks into an ordered list, where they can add the estimated hours for each task and review progress and time constraints at a glance. Tasks can be assigned to staff and managers can track and schedule tasks on various boards, such as Kanban.
- Time tracking, feedback, and updates. Operators and staff members can track time against their tasks within BOS ERP. This automatically generates their monthly remuneration if they are hourly-paid contractors. Alternatively, it can be used as a productivity matrix for managers to spot bottlenecks and underutilized resources. Staff and operators are able to add notes of completion on their timekeeping records. This can be used to generate a Project Progress Report for customers, or for internal review.
- Automatic invoicing, admin, and reporting. Invoicing, payments, reconciliation and business reports are all automated in BOS ERP. This ensures your projects are always paid for and nothing slips through the gaps!