The way that we work is changing. We are seeing a lot of collaboration and a lot of virtual work forces. We are also seeing pressure to push prices down, and to get more done with less. In this video, Richard Harrington walks through why project management is essential in today’s workforce.
- By now, you probably have a good understanding of some of the soft skills when it comes to project management. Philosophies to employ, as well as having a good understanding about the products that you're going to offer and the people that you're going to be working with. Let's move on and talk about some of the harder concepts. The straight up formal practice of project management. As I promised you at the start of this course, we're going to try to keep things very straight forward. So, while I'm going to use business terms, I'm going to try to make sure that they're clear and understandable.
Now, I'm not going to make things any harder than they need to be, but the formalized practice of project management does have it's own language. And so what I'm going to try to do here is make these concepts clear and understandable. I promise you that there's no management jargon here, just for the sake of jargon. Everything we're going to cover is pretty important. So, the bottom line is this. Project management is a collection of business practices and it really does work. But you have to realize that you can't just do a couple of these things and expect to see a difference.
For example, you can do all sorts of changes to tracking the time that's being spent, and making sure that you have agreements with your team, but if you don't scope out the project and give the client a clear, written description of the work to be done, well, then you're going to have nothing to measure against when it comes time to making adjustments in the bill. If you don't time track, all you've got is instinct to tell you if you've gone over budget. It's important that you try to do all of the things that we've identified here. Some you're going to do well and some will be really painful, and take a lot of getting used to.
But ultimately, all of these things will combine to make the situation better. Keep in mind though, project management is not a fad. This has been around for decades. We mentioned before that the project management institute started in the 1960's. This isn't new. It's just starting to get attention though. And this is largely due because of the way that work is changing. Thanks to new technologies with the internet and online collaboration, video conferencing, we're seeing a lot more work being done virtually.
People working from different locations and collaborating internationally. There's also a lot of pressure to push price down. And to get more done, with less resources. Because of this, project management has become increasingly important. As the pace gets faster and faster, project management becomes more and more needed. Your client's expect more done in less time, and a lot of times they have less money to give you. And, the number of people that work in your company, or the number of people that you can hire, is probably going down.
I'm finding that not only are budgets shrinking, but team sizes are shrinking. People are having to be multi-faceted and talented. It means that you have to get more done, with less. Now because of this, this is going to be important that you get your arms around it and really control the process. Clients can always find another company willing to do the work for less. It doesn't mean that it's going to be as good as the work you do, or even get done on time, but it does mean that you might lose the job to a vendor that's not qualified, but willing to charge less.
What we're getting at here, is that it's important to be smart. And if you apply project management effectively, you should be able to get more things done in less time. If you employ an organized tactical approach, you can thrive in this challenging economy. Now, there are a lot of changes going on in the film, video, and photo industries right now. But, you need to accept that these are pretty much going to happen. We have smaller teams, competition is fiercer. You are competing on a global scale.
And technology keeps making it easier to get the job done with less skill. These days, it's possible to shoot a pretty good photo, with a camera out of the box. And there's a whole lot of software that makes it easy to retouch images. Video cameras are cheaper than ever before, and you can even edit on a tablet. Now, it's not the same as a full blown editing suite, or color grading suite, but the client doesn't neccesarily know that. Without formalizing your practice of project management, it's going to be very difficult for you to succeed.
These days, a lot of people can hang a shingle out and call themselves a photographer. Same things happens in the video industry all the time. People buy a computer, they buy few pieces of gear, and suddenly, they're a video production company. I'm not saying that you're not valuable because of the workforce diminishing. What I am saying here, is that the amount of people who are competing for the jobs just keeps going up. There are all sorts of people drawn to the creative industries because they think the jobs are cool or interesting. If you are one of those people, no problem, welcome, just make sure that you're charging fairly for your work.
Make sure that you employ good business practices and that you're getting paid for the work that you're doing. These days when I lose a contract, it's pretty much always about price. The client is feeling pressure or is being required by their employer to choose the lowest cost vendor. Now, I hope that things will change and we'll go back to the best person gets the job, but that's not always the case. What I'm finding, is that I need to be creative and figure out new ways to tighten up budgets. Fortunately, this is a short term solution.
These people that are underbidding, usually can't last. So what's happening here, is that they're just going to churn through. Eventually, your client will mature and understand that's not good business practice either. But that doesn't help with the short term loss. What's in your best interest is to instead figure out how to sharpen the pencil, get the project as tight as possible. Get a fair price, with a clear scope of work. Once you've done this, it will be easy to go back and collect on additional money when the project goes over.
And it will also insure that the client understands how you are a better vendor. When I do get a project, it's not just because our work is good, or because we're creative or we have the best technology. It's because the client has confidence that we're going to be able to succeed and deliver the project on time and within their budget. The true bottom line is this, you cannot be too busy to manage a project. If you're too busy to manage a project, you're too busy to make money. You're too busy to have a good night's sleep and you are too busy to be successful.
I'm not saying that you have to get super formal, we're not going to make Gantt charts here. I'm not going to show you how to use any fancy, specialized, project management software. What we are going to do, is take a common sense approach, and some very straight forward tactics to get the job done. I will show you a couple of simple tools that are easy to use online, as well as a couple of documents that you can make in Word Processor that will remove the stress in your life.
- Understanding the benefits of project management
- Investigating outsourcing and partnering opportunities
- Defining project objectives
- Understand the project life cycle
- Scoping the project
- Identifying key roles
- Estimating time
- Managing projects with tools like Facebook or Basecamp
- Building a control cycle
- Managing a team