Romer: Project management valuable in industries beyond construction (column) | VailDaily.com

Romer: Project management valuable in industries beyond construction (column)

Chris Romer
Vail Valley Partnership

Project management is valuable in any industry, not just construction.

Consider: a "project" is any endeavor to create a new product, service or result. A project can be defined as any temporary task, such as an effort to reduce turnover or increase profits.

Who hasn't been tasked with a project at work and ended up frustrated because you felt like you were herding cats?

Projects can extend beyond our work lives as well. Even our summer road trips are, by definition, projects. Whether it's work or play, our job is to get a bunch of passionate, opinionated people to agree on where to go, then plan what route the team needs to take and keep everybody on track for getting there on time and on budget. It's not easy, and we can quickly lose track of the schedule and expenses.

Project management can help. The benefits of project management serve everyone involved in the project: the manager who oversees the project, the client or end user who anxiously awaits the result, and the team tasked with carrying out the project activities.

Project management applies to all industries and doesn't need to be overly complicated. Yet human nature often makes things more complicated than they need to be. Have you ever struggled to finish a project because your boss changed the rules along the way? Or maybe the end goal was a constant moving target? Or your teammates didn't fully buy into why they were needed?

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Many organizations have "hidden project managers" who they task with project work. Your hidden project manager is an employee tasked with leading a temporary endeavor to create a new product, service, process, or outcome for your organization. You — as a manager or business owner — have selected this person because of their leadership and organizational skills. They likely do not hold the title of "project manager." Nonetheless, they perform project-related tasks while facing the challenges of budget and schedule constraints.

However, you may not want to provide training because you look at the project as temporary. Training provides tangible value and benefits including understanding impacts of decisions and identifying and preparing for potential roadblocks along the way.

The Project Management Institute has quantified the value of project management training. Benefits include:

• Decreased failed projects by 31 percent.

• Delivered 30 percent of projects under budget.

• Demonstrated a 21 percent improvement in productivity.

• Delivered 19 percent of projects ahead of schedule.

In reality, project management is just a set of tools — a road map, if you will — that enables managers to guide a project from point A to point B and do so in a way that demonstrates efficiency, cost-savings and plain old ingenuity. That's certainly relevant across any industry sector. Consider an investment in your organization that comes with measurable benefits.

Vail Valley Partnership is partnering with High Country Human Resources to co-sponsor the certification course, "Project Management for Non-Project Managers." The course will run on Friday afternoons from June 8 – June 29 at the Partnership's office at The Riverwalk at Edwards. For more information, or to register, visit http://www.peakbusiness.org or call 719-237-5692.

The Project Management course is approved for 16 continuing education hours for anyone who has his or her SHRM certification. This will add value to the course for human resources professionals who must earn 60 credits within each three-year cycle.

Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at http://www.vailvalleypartnership.com.