Project Management, some agree and even insist, is organized common sense. Simplistic as this may sound, there is some truth here. In fact, Management in itself is common sense for a good part. However, there is a lot more than common sense that goes into Project Management, because, as George Bernard Shaw said – “Common sense is very uncommon”. This is probably the reason certification thrives and is sought after by many professionals.
What then is Project Management? It is a set of sophisticated skills, concepts and tools that, when applied, help the Project Manager take the right decisions, decisions which help the project succeed. At the overall industry level, it is seen that $9.9 is wasted in every $1Million, adding up to $ 1 Million every 20 seconds, that is $2 trillion every year the world over (PMI documentation). Coming to IT projects, it is observed that more than 2/3rds of the IT projects are set to fail right from the start – from the stage of analysing requirements (https://www.zdnet.com/article/study-68-percent-of-it-projects-fail/). When one looks at Project Management from this point of view, it is not difficult to understand that Project Management is critical to the success of a project.
A project is a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service or result. However, for a PM the success of the project is not limited to how well the project performed in terms of Scope, Cost, Schedule and Quality. In addition to these, the internal metrics of project success will include how well the stakeholders were managed, how frequently the communications were sent, how well the risk was managed and mitigated, how procurement worked and so on.
A good Project Management methodology will turn out documents that can be used and referred for future projects – as in Lessons learned, Updates in Risk register etc.
While these artefacts come with their advantages, they require considerable effort activity and resources on the part of the organization to configure, maintain and keep up-to-date. For this reason, a formal full-fledged Project Management methodology may not be the right fit for small projects.
Agile works better for small projects, as it works with small teams, has a strong, high-bandwidth communication in place for facilitating development of complex software with self-organizing and cross-functional teams.