Jory MacKay
Jory is a writer, content strategist and award-winning editor of the Unsplash Book. He contributes to Inc., Fast Company, Quartz, and more.
May 21, 2024 · 10 min read

How to get the biggest benefits from project management

How to get the biggest benefits from project management

Whether you’re a smaller team, early-stage startup, or even an established enterprise, the success of your business depends on making constant changes to adapt to your customer’s needs. But making these changes without a proper project management approach inevitably wastes time, effort, and money.

Project managers bring order to chaos, help align cross-team projects, wrangle budgets and schedules, and so much more.

If you’re seeing inefficiencies in your business or are continually failing to hit your goals, there’s a good chance you need a project manager (or, at the least, to start following proper PM tactics).

Jump to a section:

In this guide, we explore how to know if you need a project manager, what a trained project manager really does and the benefits you should expect to see, and how to get the most out of hiring a PM for your team.

How to know if you need a project manager

Project management is the process of planning, organizing, coordinating, and managing changes within an organization.

In reality, great ideas become reality by combining many project management skills, such as scheduling, budgeting, and communication, to ensure changes are made in a controlled and effective manner.

Behind the scenes, most companies have some level of project management structure in place, be it budget approval meetings, design workshops, software development cycles, and customer communication plans.

But, side-of-desk project management delivers patchy results.

If you don’t follow a consistent project management structure, you’re likely to overspend on budgets, take longer to implement changes, and deliver sub-par outputs to your customers.

Don’t believe us? Here are some common signs your company could benefit from a dedicated project manager or project management framework:

The bottom line: If you’re failing to hit goals, your team is confused, frustrated, and overworked, or you’re constantly going over budget and missing deadlines, you need a project manager.

What project managers do: The basic project management practices

For many organizations, project managers are the glue that sticks everything together. Their job is to be at the center of a change, ensuring all moving parts come together to drive the company forward.

It’s a big job that changes and evolves as a project progresses. If you’re looking to bring your first dedicated project manager on board, here’s what you can expect from them through each phase of a traditional project lifecycle.

What project managers do: The basic project management practices

Initiation: Setting you up for success

The Initiation phase is all about getting a project properly set up, ensuring it has solid foundations to move forward and become a reality.

During the project initiation phase, a project manager will:

Planning: Laying out the path ahead

With the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of the project established, the planning phase determines ‘how’ to turn the objectives into reality.

During the planning phase, a project manager will:

Execution and monitoring: Ticking off the to-do list

The execution and monitoring phase is where the real action happens as the solution comes to life.

Screenhot of a burndown chart showing a sprint almost finished as all issues are nearly completed

A project management tool like Planio is essential during the execution and monitoring phase to ensure all tasks are tracked and being completed on time.

This is the busiest phase of the project, where the project manager will:

Testing and handoff: Making it a reality

Once the project deliverables have been created, they must be tested and validated before launching them.

During the testing and handoff phase, project managers will:

Closure: Dotting the ‘I’s’ and crossing the ‘Ts’

With the objectives achieved, the project needs to be formally closed.

The project manager will complete their job by:

A project manager’s exact roles and responsibilities vary from company to company. While some companies choose to adopt an agile project management framework, where project managers take a more hands-off approach, largely, the roles and responsibilities are the same.

The 9 greatest benefits of project management (and how to get them)

Project management provides organization, communication, and structure, but how will that improve your organization?

Let’s look at nine of the biggest benefits of adopting a project management framework in your company:

The 9 greatest benefits of project management part 1

1. Greater clarity of roles and responsibilities

By working at the helm of your initiatives, project managers gain a helicopter view of what needs to be done and who’s going to do it. That makes assigning clear roles and responsibilities easier, making the project a more efficient machine that people enjoy working in.

How to ensure you realize this benefit:

2. Improved team effectiveness through clear goal setting

The most effective teams know their goal and how to get there. The best project managers are great leaders, too, helping set the vision, objective, and roadmap for a project. When they do this, the team knows exactly what they’re aiming for and can focus on driving success.

How to ensure you realize this benefit:

3. Less wasted budget through strict cost management

A core pillar of project management is to ensure finances are closely managed. All good project management frameworks include regular review of budgets, including tracking and escalating any variances from the forecasts.

How to ensure you realize this benefit:

4. Reduced risk and less chance of issues and conflicts

Risk management is another core part of a project management framework, with regular controls and processes in place to identify, mitigate, and monitor uncertainty. The better you are at risk management, the less chance you have of costly mistakes and conflicts within the team.

How to ensure you realize this benefit:

5. Better communication and alignment across the organization

The best projects are the ones that put great communication at the heart of everything they do. Project management is a people-focused endeavor, so to get the best results, you must ensure all of your stakeholders are happy and aligned as your project progresses.

How to ensure you realize this benefit:

The 9 greatest benefits of project management part 2

6. Creates a stronger team culture through servant leadership

Chaos and uncertainty breed negativity and stress. Through structured project management under the leadership of a great project manager, teams have the platform to build effective ways of working and a stronger culture.

How to ensure you realize this benefit:

7. More reliable source of truth from PM tools

To get the best out of your project team, you need the help of project management tools. Not only do they help the team stay aligned, plan their work, and improve communication, but they also provide a valuable source of truth for all project management documents and data.

How to ensure you realize this benefit:

Project management tools, like Planio, are easy to get on board with, with customization options to ensure they fit into how your business works.

Screenshot of an issue being filled out with a lot of custom fields, that have been set up specially for their account

With Planio, you get a single source of truth for all of your projects — including tasks, Agile boards, team chat, file storage, code repositories, and more.

If you’re ready to start, you can try Planio free for 30 days (absolutely risk free — no credit card required).

8. Higher quality outputs by following a consistent process

One of the best benefits of following a project management framework is that it’s designed to ensure consistency and quality. Requirements gathering, testing phases, and regular project reviews help ensure everyone clearly understands what’s needed and ensure it’s been delivered to a high standard.

How to ensure you realize this benefit:

9. Drive greater customer and user satisfaction

Talking of customers, the final and most important benefit of adopting project management is that project frameworks make customers and users the key focus. Whether it’s gathering feedback, prioritizing customer-focused requirements, or providing guidance on launch, customer satisfaction is always improved by project management.

How to ensure you realize this benefit:

When building out your project management framework, build in regular customer touchpoints to ensure their needs remain the focus. This could include completing user interviews in the planning phase, fostering strong client relationships, or bolstering the customer onboarding and offboarding journey.

How to get the most out of hiring a project manager for your team

The first step for many companies looking to take on project management is to hire their first project manager. If that’s you, here are three things to consider before making your first hire:

  1. Leader vs. manager. As the first project manager through the door, you want to ensure they have the right level of seniority to make a difference. To check this, consider testing leadership and management skills separately to ensure they have the right mix.
  2. Specialist vs. generalist. By their nature project managers are usually quite adaptable people, able to take on a challenge and deliver the right results. But sometimes, you want a specialized project manager, such as a Technical Project Manager, to help you solve a specific problem. When hiring, make sure you know what you’re looking for.
  3. Tenacity vs. flexibility. When entering a business to implement project management controls, a project manager will inevitably face resistance. Good governance takes time, effort, and behavior change to get right. To move everyone through the initial change curve, back your new project manager and provide them with all the support they need.
Side-of-desk project management delivers patchy results.

Planio gives your project managers everything they need to succeed

Most businesses run projects without even knowing it, but fail to get the full benefit without a dedicated project management framework.

The benefits of implementing one, alongside hiring a dedicated project manager, go far beyond just completing the project. With a proper project management framework in place, stakeholders feel more connected, aligned, and motivated to deliver outstanding results for the customer.

Project management tools, such as Planio, are great at helping you reap the benefits of project management. With all of your tasks, risks, issues, communications, and documents in one place, they help the entire team stay aligned, leading to fantastic project deliverables that your customers will love.

Try Planio for yourself — free for 30 days (no credit card required!)