Should Project Management Become More Business Driven?

Bill Rybinski
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Technology professionals rely heavily on project management to meet deadlines and ensure that their final or ongoing work functions exactly as desired. Many different methods of managing projects have emerged over time. While all the methods share the same overarching goals, the processes used to achieve them may be vastly different. Larger companies in particular may choose to experiment with more business-driven project management options than those spurred on by other forces in the marketplace.


Business-driven project management has many obvious benefits. Projects focused on the bottom line and the most efficient use of resources are likely to have lower overall expenses, which can dramatically affect the overall profits of a given technology venture, especially in fields such as hardware development. Hardware creation relies heavily on initial investors to provide funding long before the first sale is made, so return on investment quickly becomes a driving focus, and business-driven operating plans tend to have great appeal to investors looking at a project.


Yet business-driven project management can also result in subpar final work. When the focus moves from allowing tech experts to experiment to achieve the best results to keeping the bottom line looking as healthy as possible, cutting corners and cookie-cutter approaches can be the result. A stifling company culture may also arise when the creativity of tech professionals is hampered by a monetary focus, especially during the early planning and development stages of new software creation. Some companies spend large amounts of time and resources on these areas due to their creative project management; this use of resources is not always the most beneficial for investors and end users.


A balanced approach may benefit many companies weighing the benefits of business-driven project management. Many tech professionals turn to project management software to help create this balance, while others use successful techniques they've learned by trial and error on earlier projects. Creative approaches work well during early planning and development stages, but management may turn to a more business-driven style during execution. Cutting corners at any stage can be detrimental, but so can endless hours bogged down in creative development and planning, even with the use of project management software.


While it may not be possible to gauge the best approach for the industry as a whole, your company should experiment with these basic approaches and others to help find the right mix for your needs. Projects that require a heavy up-front financial commitment may benefit from business-driven management plans that can translate into documents that are easy for more money-minded business partners to grasp. Project management from a creative angle may grant more freedom to individual workers or departments, however. It is important to find the right balance for your company to get the best product possible at the lowest implementation cost.


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