Project Management for Increased Efficiency

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By Margaret Wiens
 
A project can be represented by any combination of tasks (large or small) that must be carried out, or by bringing a concept or idea to life. Therefore, projects are not limited by scope, number of personnel involved or complexity. Depending on how it is organized, it is possible for a high-profile project with multiple parties involved to be completed on time with minimal issues or added expenses. At the same time, even a simple, straightforward project has the potential to deteriorate into a series of miscommunications, mistakes and delays. Project management works because it forces businesses to identify and assess each stage of a typical (or atypical) project, to anticipate the outcomes of those stages and to prepare a contingency plan in case the predictions do not match the outcomes. Project management also affects businesses on several levels, from the macrostructure of company policy to the microstructure of each employee’s work day.
 
Project management practices are not only beneficial to translators and other language professionals: all different kinds of work environments can use features of project management to improve the quality of their work and save time and money on their current and future projects. This article will examine how project management can have a positive effect on three main aspects of efficiency: time, resource allocation, and quality.
 
First, project management decreases the amount of time spent on a given project. When businesses corroborate with all personnel involved in a project and calculate how much time each portion should take to complete, they are able to set their own deadlines rather than be forced to adhere to deadlines set by those who don’t understand what the work entails. This detailed preparation serves to hold the other team members to their word and deliver their work on time due to the fact that they will have to answer for any delays within their department. An added boost in morale can also be felt around the office when employees feel their needs are being met while still being held accountable for their work.
 
Second, project management helps businesses determine how best to allocate resources, and by extension, determine when to acquire new resources or replace obsolete ones. Resources can include technology, personnel and work space. By dint of recording how long each stage of a project takes to complete, businesses can pinpoint areas that need improvement and work to bring that area up to the standards of the others. Whether that means buying new software to build databases and templates, reallocating personnel to play to their strengths, or maximizing the workflow of current work spaces, using the correct resources at the correct time ensures that projects are consistently completed as efficiently as possible.
 
Third, project management helps businesses regulate and maintain the quality of their work without sacrificing time or cost. By clearly establishing client standards early on in the project, all departments can carry out their individual tasks more effectively and concisely. As employees learn to document their actions and note what strategies work best for them, they will continue to improve their management techniques for different clients, both in the short and long term. Therefore, as the quality of individual work is increased, the overall quality of the project increases exponentially. When tasks are delegated evenly and feedback mechanisms are implemented at every stage, less time is needed to ensure the project is coherent and up to the client’s standards.
 
An additional side effect of a highly developed project management strategy is increased communication—both internal and external. If a company knows what their client need from them and recognizes that their requirements may change at any moment, they are more likely to maintain open lines of communication throughout the process. They will then communicate these changes to colleagues and superiors to ensure that everyone has the same information so that the timeline and cost of the project are unaffected.
 
The key to successful client relationships is to meet both their spoken and unspoken expectations. A business may deliver a project on time and on budget, but that does not guarantee the client will return. Clients prefer to work with businesses that understand their needs, are available to answer their questions and address their concerns. Companies that implement these techniques have the capacity to provide quick turnarounds and high quality work, as well as to earn a reputation for reliable and speedy customer service. As a result, they will attract an increasing number of clients that bring new and challenging projects to the business, the diversity of which will increase the scope of their expertise and ensure that how their projects are managed is continually evaluated for optimal efficiency. Above all, since every project is unique, project management teaches a workplace to be adaptable to changing circumstances and to apply order and a system to every project that will enable them to avoid mistakes and to prepare for inevitable problems.

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