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The Important Role of Project Management in Organizational Effectiveness with IT

October 26, 2009
by Travis Gathright
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An organization must execute well. The best plans do no good without the ability to execute, and like a computer-savvy user base, excellent execution can make up for a lot of mistakes in planning and IT contracting. While project management can make up for mistakes in planning, excellent project management begins in the planning phase.

Larger organizations invest heavily in project management. The complexity of the projects and the organizations require the investment. Smaller organizations tend to put project management responsibilities on service line or IT management. In all but the smallest projects, it is much more effect to move project management away from project constituents to a dedicated project manager. A project manager has the time to focus on moving the project forward instead of putting out the daily fires a front-line manager sees. Using a project manager is also effective because it puts someone dedicated to helping and unbiased at the center of the change in process. Stakeholders respond well in these types of circumstances.

Taking a more structured project management approach as an organization doesn’t mean you have to start a project management office or even invest in a full-time project manager position. You may not have the volume of work to justify it. A project manager must be talented. Among other traits, they must be a “self-starter,” have people skills, a strong work ethic, and the ability to think critically. A project manager must have a knack for “getting things done,” especially in the face of ambiguity. A project manager can come from any part of the business. Having someone be a project manager that is not a stakeholder in a project, is a way for people to see and do new things at work, allowing them to grow. Press Ganey, a leading patient and employee satisfaction survey company, highlights opportunities for growth as a key component of job satisfaction.

For larger organizations, Project Managers may not get enough of the attention of Business Units. It is a problem that might look different than the challenge of project management in smaller organizations, but it is the same matter of giving project management the necessary priority in the organization.

Recognizing project management as a key element in success with information technology, on par with the significance of picking a good system, is an important component of being effective with IT. As innovation and local needs have driven broad diversity in size and scope of healthcare organizations, not every organization can approach project management with the same structure. Even so, focusing on project management to help the organization execute well is key to being effective with IT.

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