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Understanding the 8 Functions Associated with Project Management

By: Hajime Estanislao, PMP, CSM

Are you struggling to effectively manage your projects amidst evolving requirements and stakeholder expectations?

Project management involves various critical functions, from ensuring seamless coordination to task deadlines, articulating clear objectives, and managing resources. However, navigating these functions can pose significant challenges for project managers, impacting progress and success.

Discover strategies to boost your confidence and overcome these challenges. Leverage resources like PMBOK and Standard for Project Management, seek mentorship on the various project management methodologies, and invest in continuous learning to develop the skills needed to tackle obstacles.

Take the next step in your project management journey by taking actions based on the knowledge and the system. Embrace agile methodology and structured approaches, build a support network, and invest in professional development to enhance your project management skills and capabilities and drive project success.

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What are the 8 Functions Associated with Projects?

Project management involves various functions crucial for achieving project objectives. These functions are integral across domains, such as business operations, digital transformation, and agile projects. These functions exist within overall project management methodologies applied by organizations in their project work; hence, there is a need to understand and internalize them.

Here are the 8 Functions Associated with Projects and related contexts:

Provide Oversight and Coordination

  • Ensure seamless coordination between departments to optimize project planning, processes, and resource allocation.
  • Oversee the integration of new technologies and systems to align with strategic objectives.
  • Coordinate cross-functional teams to adapt quickly to changing requirements and deliver incremental value.

Preset Objectives and Feedback

  • Articulate clear objectives to align efforts with organizational goals and provide constructive feedback to enhance performance.
  • Communicate project objectives to stakeholders and the project team to foster alignment of strategies.
  • Presenting sprint objectives and providing timely feedback during retrospectives to improve collaboration and outcomes, further strengthening project teams.

Facilitate and Support

Perform Work and Contribute Insight

  • Execute tasks according to defined processes and contribute insights to improve productivity and manage workflows.
  • Implement solutions and leverage data insights to drive innovation and enhance the experiences of stakeholders and members of the project team.
  • Deliver user stories iteratively and provide insights during sprint reviews to improve product and process quality.

Apply Expertise

  • Apply specialized knowledge to optimize performance and decision-making.
  • Leverage expertise to design and implement robust digital solutions to solve problems.
  • Apply domain-specific knowledge to guide product development and deliver customer-centric solutions.

Provide Business Direction and Insight

  • Provide strategic direction to align activities with business objectives and market trends.
  • Offer insights into emerging technologies and market opportunities to steer strategies.
  • Provide visibility into project progress data and market feedback to guide decision-making.

Provide Resources and Direction

  • Allocate resources effectively to support operations, tasks, and activities throughout the project phases and achieve targets for project costs and the whole project scope.
  • Provide funding and staffing human resources, to support technology implementations.
  • Allocate teams and provide clear direction to ensure alignment with objectives.

Maintain Governance

  • Establish policies and procedures to ensure compliance and monitor adherence to frameworks.
  • Maintain governance structures to oversee project governance and risk management.
  • Establish agile governance processes to monitor progress and ensure alignment with objectives.

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Reasons You Need to Know the 8 Functions Associated with Projects

Understanding the pivotal role of people in driving projects and value delivery within organizations is foundational. It underscores the significance of effective coordination, collaboration, and leveraging individual expertise and teamwork to achieve project completion and maximize value creation. Here are three reasons why understanding this topic is helpful:

Enhanced Project Performance

Recognizing the importance of people in projects enables teams to harness individual strengths and expertise. By coordinating efforts and promoting collaboration, a project manager can optimize resource utilization, mitigate risks, and identify opportunities for innovation, ultimately enhancing project performance and outcomes.

Aligned with Organizational Goals

Understanding the role of people in driving projects ensures alignment with organizational objectives and strategic priorities. When individuals within teams actively contribute to the process of defining project objectives and aligning initiatives with broader organizational goals, projects are more likely to deliver tangible value that supports the organization’s long-term success and growth.

Maximized Stakeholder Value

Project management must be people-centric. By emphasizing the importance of stakeholder engagement, communication, and satisfaction, project teams can ensure that project deliverables meet stakeholders’ and end users’ needs and expectations, thereby maximizing the value perceived by all involved parties.

People’s involvement in driving projects and value delivery spans various levels, from executing tasks to fulfilling project requirements and contributing to other functions associated with project programs and portfolios. Individuals within teams perform the necessary work that would bring their expertise and insights to enhance project outcomes. Moreover, coordinating their efforts is necessary for project delivery, as it ensures alignment with organizational goals and maximizes the value delivered.

In the context of tasks, people are responsible for executing specific actions outlined within project plans. Their contributions directly impact the progress and quality of deliverables. By leveraging their project management skills and knowledge, individuals can identify efficiencies, mitigate risks, and optimize processes, ultimately driving value creation within projects. Furthermore, their active participation in project activities ensures that tasks are completed by project requirements, timelines, and quality standards, reinforcing the foundation for successful project delivery.

Through collaboration and communication, individuals facilitate the integration of project activities, ensure coherence across related initiatives in most projects, and promote synergies that enhance value delivery. Through different project management tools, a project manager can coordinate these efforts to foster a cohesive approach to project management, optimize resource utilization, and maximize the collective impact of projects within the organizational ecosystem.

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Relating to the System for Value Delivery

The system for value delivery serves as a bridge between project management practices and the overarching goal of creating tangible value for stakeholders. It provides a structured framework that integrates processes, principles, and best practices to optimize project outcomes while aligning with organizational objectives and customer preferences. Within this system, people drive projects forward, from executing tasks to contributing insights and expertise that enhance value delivery. By coordinating their efforts, project teams ensure that project requirements are delivered, associated programs and portfolios support the strategic goals, and value realized throughout the project lifecycle.

At the heart of the system for value delivery is the value for stakeholders through project initiatives. It involves identifying and prioritizing outcomes, benefits, and deliverables that align with organizational strategies and stakeholder needs. Emphasis on value creation throughout the project lifecycle, organizations maximize return on investment and enhance overall success. Furthermore, effective organizational governance systems provide structure and oversight to ensure project alignment with strategies, promoting accountability, transparency, and ethical conduct.

The project environment, influenced by internal and external factors such as organizational culture, industry dynamics, and market trends, significantly impacts value delivery within projects. A system for value delivery acknowledges this complexity and adopts adaptive strategies to navigate uncertainties and capitalize on opportunities effectively. By incorporating product management considerations, such as defining product requirements and managing life cycles, projects can deliver results that align with customer requirements and market demands, thereby enhancing the relevance, usability, and marketability of deliverables. Ultimately, by aligning project management practices with the system for value delivery, organizations ensure that projects fulfill their intended purpose and contribute to organizational success and growth.

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Four Ways of Figuring Out the Functions Associated with Projects

In project management, functions encompass oversight, coordination, feedback provision, and more. These provide a comprehensive framework that enables effective coordination of efforts among team members and acts as a bridge between project management practices and the goal of creating tangible value for stakeholders. By aligning with this system, project leaders ensure project objectives, contributing to organizational success and maximizing stakeholder value.

Below are four steps to consider:

  • Understand the Functions
  • Recognize the Relevance Across Domains
  • Coordinate Efforts Effectively
  • Embrace the System for Value Delivery

Functions provide a comprehensive framework for managing project domains such as: oversight, coordination, objective setting, feedback, provision, facilitation, resource allocation, governance, and expertise application. Each should be relevant across domains, so whether you’re streamlining processes in traditional business operations, integrating new technologies in digital transformation initiatives, or adapting quickly to changing requirements in agile environments, these functions remain integral to project delivery.

Because of that, a system for value delivery is necessary, and it assists by making the steps repeatable. It also promotes project teams to coordinate effectively and maximize return on investment, enhance stakeholder value, and navigate complexities with greater ease.

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Key Challenges Project Managers Face Regarding the Functions

This section explores the considerations for overcoming issues when managing projects. Three critical challenges include ensuring seamless coordination, articulating clear objectives, and managing resources effectively.

Ensuring Seamless Coordination

Coordinating efforts between departments, integrating new technologies, and managing cross-functional teams can be quite difficult. Moreover, this may be compounded when coordination is required across a matrix organization or with team members from around the globe in different time zones. A keen eye toward establishing clear communication channels is recommended.

Articulating Clear Objectives

Defining and communicating clear project objectives to align efforts and foster stakeholder buy-in must also be considered. This is because diverse stakeholder expectations may be diametrically opposed to one another, and therefore, continuous feedback loops are needed to ensure the project team understands what is required and that project objectives remain aligned.

Managing Resources Effectively

Allocating resources, including funding, staffing, and team allocation, requires careful planning and decision-making. Project managers must balance competing priorities, optimize resource utilization and project costs, and provide clear direction to ensure alignment with project objectives and maximize stakeholder value.

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Taking it to the Next Level: Face the Challenges!

Facing challenges as a project manager can be daunting, but there are strategies to boost confidence and navigate obstacles effectively. Leveraging resources available such as the PMBOK Guide can provide invaluable guidance and best practices. It offers frameworks and methodologies for managing projects, from initiating to closing, and helps project managers develop structured approaches to address challenges.

Additionally, seeking mentorship or networking with experienced project managers can offer insights and advice tailored to specific challenges. Building a support network within the project management community allows for knowledge sharing and learning from others’ experiences, enhancing confidence and productivity in handling various situations.

Furthermore, investing in continuous learning and professional development can equip project managers with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle challenges. Pursuing certifications such as PMP (Project Management Professional) or attending a course, workshops, and seminars can deepen understanding and proficiency in project management principles and techniques, empowering project managers to overcome obstacles and drive project success.

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Wrapping Up and My Experience with the 8 Functions Associated with Projects

Mastering the eight functions associated with projects is an effective way for project leaders to navigate the landscape of project management. Despite the challenges, including seamless coordination, articulating clear objectives, and managing resources effectively, there are strategies to overcome these obstacles and enhance confidence.

Leveraging resources like the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) and Standard of Project Management, seeking mentorship, and investing in continuous learning, project managers can equip themselves with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle challenges with confidence. Embracing a people-centric approach and understanding the system for value delivery further enhances project outcomes and stakeholder satisfaction.

Finally, remember that every challenge presented is an opportunity to grow and improve.

References

Project Management Institute. (2017). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK guide) (6th ed.). Project Management Institute.

Project Management Institute. (2021). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK guide) (7th ed.). Project Management Institute.

Project Management Institute. (n.d.). Value delivery system explainer. Retrieved from https://www.pmi.org/-/media/pmi/documents/public/pdf/pmbok-standards/value-delivery-system-explainer.pdf?v=8cf8f772-736c-4cb7-b3f9-814e29f40c94

Integrated Institute of Professional Management. (2022, September). Value Delivery System (Ver. 1.2) [Lecture slides]. Retrieved from https://iipmi.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Value-Delivery-System-Ver.-1.2.pdf