When I started this course, I have to admit; that I was confused about why this was relevant to marketing. Although I understood project management is a beneficial skill throughout any organization, why was it included in this program? It is safe to assume that the concept of project management is something the majority of us think we understand and use daily. However, many of us don’t know what it means or entails. That’s why I wanted to share my top takeaways and essential skills I learned about in this course and why I think everyone should understand and utilize them.
PPM is an acronym for project portfolio management; I mentioned this since it is the same acronym used for my work title and I was utterly confused for the first ten minutes of our class.
Anyway, PPM strives to answer five main questions, which are,
- Are we investing in the right things?
- Are we optimizing our capacity?
- How well are we executing?
- Can we absorb all the changes?
- Are we realizing the promised benefits?
These questions strive to learn about the projects we are working on and if they tie into our bigger picture as a company. Furthermore, these questions help us understand if we are using our time to the best of our ability. To reinforce this concept, we read a case study on Car Max, highlighting the importance of all these questions. Car Max was investing money in creating too many software-driven updates and not enough into R&D. The updates they were making, while significant, were not crucial to the customer or driving the company towards the future.
All of the above questions fall under the role of a project manager, which is someone who, as you may have guessed, manages the status, execution, and results of projects. The title project manager has always been one that interests me but also confused me. What does one do in this role apart from understanding a project’s status? How do they get their feet wet? Do they even do anything for the project, or are they watching it unfold? Well, this course taught me project managers are not only essential to the success of nearly everything in the business but also can make or break successful launches.
Project managers do much more than check in on the status of projects with the creators; while this is an aspect, they do much more. Project managers are responsible for making sure employees understand the who, what, when, & why of a project. Additionally, this role involves jumping in and doing the heavy lifting when those under you need help. This position also requires an understanding of strict deadlines and budgets. PMs need to remain aware of how much they are spending, possible roadblocks, timelines, and employees’ workload. All of these contribute to the success of projects but require hands in many baskets and sticky notes.
These concepts have provided insight into what I can do to help those in this role at my current job and how I can better help my team be successful, keeping in mind some of the concepts related to project portfolio management. The most important idea I have started implementing into my daily life is asking myself; are we investing in the right things? I ask myself this since my team has a stringent budget and can not stray from that. When completing or being asked to participate in projects, I constantly ask how this will help us/ our customers and why? Why is this project beneficial to us investing in our limited budget? This question has already helped my team, and I eliminated one project we had on the books due to being unable to answer that question adequately.
I have to admit, although I had reservations about this course, I learned how to become more productive, research better, and create a more successful environment for my team.
I would love to hear all of your key takeaways from this course.
Photo by VFS Digital Design