Why Are Project Managers So Important for Business?

7 Evidences Why Project Managers Are Important for All Businesses

“A project without a critical path is like a ship without a rudder” – D. Meyer couldn’t have put it better when he was explaining the importance of project management for business. We are going to elaborate on that a bit.  

According to an Economist Intelligence report, 80% of global executives believe that project management was the main reason why their companies had managed to reverse the negative trend helping them to remain competitive during and after the period of recession.

If that’s what project management does in time of instability, imagine the things you could achieve applying project management techniques to your business during the period of economic stability and growth.

However, before we start discussing the importance of project management in detail, let’s talk about some misconceptions regarding it.

Popular Misconceptions About Project Management

‘Project Management Is for Major Corporations, My Small Business Can Do Without It’

Project management has the same effect regardless of the scale of business – if implemented properly, it ultimately increases your ROI for staff hours and other resources, which is what most businesses are after.

If you do care about your profit margin and want to increase it, project management is the right tool for that.

‘Project Management Is Too Expensive, I Can’t Afford It’

There is a bit of truth in that statement – project management does require spending some time and money on it. However, as a business owner, you should treat it as an investment – you spend now to earn more later.

Moreover, one of the main goals of project management is to optimize the project costs and keep them under control at all times so you always win in the long run.

Plus, here is a bit of statistics for you – according to this 2016 report, for every $1 billion invested in projects on the territory of the United States, $122 million got wasted due to the lack of proper project management and, as a result, poor project performance.

‘My Team Is Self-Managed, We Don’t Need an External Manager’

It’s true that some teams can collaborate really well without a designated manager and/or project management. However, this is almost always an unpredictable strategy and hardly a strategy at all. Self-managed teams won’t ultimately work in the long run.

As a business owner, you would rather have something that you could manage and control. That’s why it’s a good practice when a project manager is not a part of the team he/she is running. In this case, everyone can concentrate on their respective duties and be more efficient.

5 Essential Activities of Project Management

According to a common definition, project management is the practice of using established principles, procedures and policies to organize and manage a project from its conception to its completion.

The main objective of project management is to achieve specific project goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time.

Project management is usually narrowed down to these 5 essential activities:

Now let’s focus on each of those in more detail.

1. Initiating

The nature and scope of the project are determined at this stage.

2. Planning

A plan is created, with the required level of detail, in order to realize how much time, money, and resources the project is going to require.

3. Executing

At this stage, the administrative skills of the project manager really begin to shine. The goal is to ensure the proper coordination and management of various resources (staff, materials, budget).

4. Controlling

This stage answers three not so simple questions:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where should we be?
  • How do we get back on track (if we’re not where we should be)?

Needless to say, the project manager has to deal with a lot of analytics and metrics to measure the actual results and compare them with planned ones.

5. Closing

Though it’s a more or less formal stage where the project is officially presented to the client/management, some important actions need to be taken such as:

  • archiving and documenting the project data;
  • reviewing the project to see what’s been good and what’s not and what lessons can the team learn for the future (aka Post Implementation Review).

Understanding the True Importance of Project Management for Your Business

With these 7 points we’ll try to convince you to engage in project management as soon as you finish reading them. For the sake of brevity, we will refer to project management as PM. So why are PMs so important for different businesses?

1. PM aligns the projects you do with your strategic goals

Every organization should have a strategy. However, when it comes to channeling your strategic values into day-to-day activities, most organizations struggle to deliver.

Project management allows each and every one of your team members to be aware of the strategic goals and do their part in achieving those goals.

2. PM allows every project member to concentrate on their work

You take some pressure off your team and delegate it to a specially designated person. In this case, your team members (who are, without a doubt, all brilliant specialists in their respective fields) can concentrate on their work and not worry about anything else.

3. PM helps you keep the project costs under control

With every activity and every person accounted for, you know exactly where your money goes and how efficiently it is spent.

For example, with a project management tool like Screenshot Monitor, you can track the time and activities of their employees in real-time receiving full details on their timeline and track their work progress.

In this case, you will get enough data to see how much time each stage of the project takes, and therefore plan your resources and efforts more accurately.

Might come in handy especially if you employ an international team and have little time to micromanage them.

4. PM allows for a greater flexibility and changes

In this day and age, a 3-month plan might as well be called strategic. The technology and market are changing so rapidly that the best way to survive is to learn how to adjust to the changes rather than anticipate them.

5. PM enforces teamwork and collaboration

Nothing comes off more satisfying as being a part of a successful team where your input is visible and duly appreciated. Project management is all about collaboration and it reinforces that feeling of satisfaction with every project completed.

6. PM allows you to learn from your mistakes experience and get stronger

With every successfully completed project, your team gets stronger, which means that you can invite new members and get the veterans to share their knowledge with the newcomers thus increasing the overall level of professionalism in your company.

Here’s something extra to cheer you up – a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey (via Capterra) shows that 97% of organizations worldwide believe that project management is critical the success of their business and overall financial performance.

Conclusion

Thanks for getting to the bottom of today’s “Understanding the Importance of Project Management for Business” article – we hope it was useful for you. Try employing the project management tactics described above and you’re guaranteed to see the amazing results. Or do you already have project managers in your organization? Share with us your experience in the comments below!

 

Pros and Cons of working from home vs. working from the office

If your job offered you an option of working from home or working in the office – would you take it? Would you be more productive working in sweatpants vs your usual business casual? Would you have more time for you family if you do not have to spend two hours commuting every day? Would you miss the corporate environment or would you enjoy solitude?  Can video conferences, phone calls and remote access really make you feel like you are part of the office when you are not physically present? If you are confused about what option is right for you – here are a few things to think about.

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Auto-pause doesn’t work and activity is always 100%

Screenshot Monitor uses system API to determine user activity level.
100% activity level means there’s some hardware or software issue (like faulty mouse) that makes system think that user types or moves mouse constantly. In this case the app will not auto-pause and users would have to stop it manually by pressing button Stop themselves. Try disconnecting the mouse for a few minutes and see how it affects time tracking. If activity level is back to normal – replace the mouse. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about it on our side.

Blur all screenshots option

In Screenshot Monitor you have an option to either take the screenshots of your employee monitors or not take them. We have just added a new “Blur all [screenshots]” option that allows you to do something in between.

If “Blur all” is selected, all screenshots will be permanently blurred like below. Blurred screenshots give some idea of what the employees do while protecting their privacy and sensitive information.

To set it up go to Screenshot Settings and select “Blur all” for everyone on your team or for some of your employees only:

How to use Clients in Screenshot Monitor

If you company works on projects for multiple clients, you will appreciate the ability to create Clients, group your projects by Clients and run various reports by client. To start – go to the Clients page and add your clients:

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Next, assign your Projects to clients. Your projects will appear grouped under the customer title like below:

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You and your employees will have easier time identifying the Client as everywhere where you have previously seen a project name you will see “Project ● Client”

And finally on the Reports page you will see a new “Clients” drop-down allowing you to filter by clients, a Clients bar chart allowing you to visualize time spent on each customer and option to group by Client for easier report:

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Note that if you have not added any clients, you will not see the options to assign projects to clients or any other references to clients on reports or other pages. This is done in order to keep the interface simple for our customers who do not use Clients.

Blurring screenshots

Both employee and their managers can blur the employee’s screenshots on the timeline. This is useful when some sensitive information needs to be protected, but the user would still prefer not to delete the screenshot.

To blur the screenshot, mouse over the thumbnail or the full size image and click on a Paint icon in the top right corner:

grabilla.em7000

The image is now blurred:

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Note that once blurred, there’s no option to restore the image to the original clear non-blurred view.

If you would like to blur all of the screenshots by default, go to Settings > Screenshots and select “Blur All” option. Then all of the captured screenshots will be blurred. This may be useful in cases when you want users to retain a greater degree of privacy while still getting enough idea of what users do. In other words this option is a middle ground between normal screenshots and not capturing screenshots at all.

Cheat application detection in Screenshot Monitor

Employees may use applications that imitate mouse movements, typing or the set of pre-programmed or pre-recorded activities with a goal of cheating time tracking. Screenshot Monitor uses a combination of heuristic analysis and extensive database of cheat applications to detect the use of such application.

When we detect it, the employer receives a “Potential cheat application detected” email where we say that a particular user has used such application with a link to the app. Then it is up to the employer to decide if the use was justified or indeed it was used to cheat the time tracking. We will send this email once a day when we detect the use of such application.

Here are a few examples of such applications:

Auto Mouse Click

Automatically initiates mouse clicks. murgee.com/auto-mouse-click/

auto-mouse-click

Clicker

CLICKER is a robot design for automated mouse clicking and keyboard writing. clicker1.com

clicker_screens

Apps & URLs report

If you use App & URL tracking in Screenshot Monitor, there’s a couple of extra features that we’ve just added:

On the timeline you can now see the name of the application the user was running when the screenshot was taken (like Adobe Photoshop or Sublime Text in the example below):

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And in the Reports you have a new tab Apps & URLs that summarizes what was used the most for the currently selected employees:grabilla.Uh9596

Note that Apps & URL tracking is available on Professional Plan only.

Why you may need user Groups

If your team is small – it is perfectly fine to manage each team member individually. But once your team grows to more than 5-10 members, they are easier to handle as separate groups. For example you can create groups “Designers”, “Programmers” or “Marketing”.

You can create group on the Team page:
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Then you can run report for a Group instead of selecting each person individually:
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ScreenshotMonitor browser extensions

If you are a manager and you are using Chrome or Firefox as your browser – these’s no need to go to ScreenshotMonitor.com just to see who is working on what any more. Install ScreenshotMonitor Chrome extension or ScreenshotMonitor Firefox extension  and it will add a button to your browser like below:extension

The number on the button shows how many employees are currently active. And if you click it, it will show all of your employees, who is currently active, when they have worked last, what project and the task.