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Project Management

Rich WolinBY RICHARD WOLIN, DIRECTOR OF TRAINING SERVICES AND MMTC NORTHERN MICHIGAN REGION

As the saying goes, “I know enough about it to be dangerous.” While not an expert, I have certainly been on the receiving end of little-to-no project management; to be honest, the giving end as well. Both in my day job and having served on a number of statewide and local boards and committees, I have come to appreciate and respect the value of appropriate project management in getting things moving and getting things done. Furthermore, given my long background in lean, I appreciate the direct connection between lean and project management and here’s why:

In lean, the consumer, user, or internal customer who receives the product or service is the one who determines value. The consumer absolutely does not want to pay for waste; not with their money, time, nor stress. Appropriate project management reduces wastes by clarifying the project scope, communication paths, interrelationships and responsibilities of people, necessary resources, potential risks, and timing for stages and outcomes. It fits nicely into the standard Plan-Do-Check-Adjust model with which many of us are familiar.

As a discipline, project management helps people anticipate the path and pitfalls of project development and implementation with a goal of removing wastes and failure points before they happen. If you think about it, there are a myriad of costs associated with incomplete project scoping, poor communications, lack of engaging the right people, failure to anticipate risks, budget overruns, unclear decision making authority and responsibility, unanticipated risks, and missed deadlines to name some of the big ones. The bottom line is excellence in project management delivers results, and the Project Management Institute (PMI) has statistics to back this up. From 2013-2018, organizations reported a 27 percent decrease in money wasted due to poor project performance. Furthermore, champion organizations reported 80 percent or more of projects completed on time, within budget, meeting business intent, and having high benefit realization.

Clearly not all projects are equal so not all need the same level of project management detail. As a general rule, the more people involved and the more complexity of the project then the opportunity for errors, miscommunication, and poor handoffs grows exponentially.

It’s not just customer value that is important. Think about it from your employee’s perspective. People want and need to know what is expected of them, they want to be engaged and have their knowledge and experience used and respected, and they don’t want to see resources wasted that aren’t providing value to their customer. The PMI suggests value for the individual includes:

  • Enables the project manager to be on the front lines of strategic initiatives and have major impact on the organization’s future
  • Provides a career path that is in high demand and prepares the individual for leadership
  • Develops exceptional people and teams

So leaders, before your next new product or service launch, strategic plan implementation, building or facilities relocation, or any other significant change, check to see if your existing talent pool has project management skills. If not, here are connections to build your organizational capacity:

  • Western Michigan Project Management Institute (Traverse City group)
  • Applied Project Management training from NMC (meets the educational requirements for certification)
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)

RICHARD WOLIN
DIRECTOR OF TRAINING
MICHIGAN MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY CENTER
NORTHWESTERN MICHIGAN COLLEGE
1701 EAST FRONT STREET
TRAVERSE CITY, MI 49686
(231) 995-2003

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