Why is Project Management Vital to Success?

project management for nonprofits

All projects are managed, whether for a business or nonprofit. The determination of success comes down to how effectively a project is managed.

Project management processes and techniques are used to coordinate resources and to achieve predictable results.

Consider these project management points and questions:

• Issues will arise with your project.
Do you want to proactively resolve them or figure them out as you go?

• Your project will face potential risks.
Do you want to try to resolve them before they happen or wait until the problems arise?

• Your project needs a thorough planning stage.
Are you going to communicate proactively or deal with conflict and uncertainty caused by a lack of project information?

• New ideas will arise as you learn more throughout your project.
Are you going to manage scope or deal with cost and deadline overruns caused by requesting more work than your budget covers?

• Quality assurance will be needed throughout your project.
Are you going to build quality into your process or fix problems later when they will be more costly to resolve?

“Great project management means much more than keeping project management’s iron triangle in check, delivering on time, budget, and scope; it unites clients and teams, creates a vision for success and gets everyone on the same page of what’s needed to stay on track for success. When projects are managed properly, there’s a positive impact that reverberates beyond delivery of ‘the stuff’.”

– Ben Aston, VP of Client Services, FCV

The Art of Project Management

Aside from ensuring a project is planned, proper resources are allocated, assets are gathered, and timeline for feedback and deliverables are scheduled, it also involves managing and relating to people. The latter requires the project manager to apply intuitive skills in situations that are totally unique for each project.

Project Planning Intake

Whether your organization works with external resources or handles all projects in-house, gathering holistic information from the onset can ensure a successful end product.

A basic project planning intake could include the following as well as other questions:

1. Background
How did this project need arise? What isn’t working or doesn’t exist currently that necessitated this project?

2. Goals/Objectives
What are the primary goal(s) and/or objective(s) of the end product?

3. Expectations
What are the stakeholders’ expectations of the end product? Based on the Golden Triangle, decide which 2 of 3 are most important: Cheap, Fast or Good.

4. Usage/Application
How will the end product be used? (List all the ways.) Will it be modified? If yes, by whom? What level of proficiency is needed to maintain, edit or otherwise modify the end product?

5. Content
Will content be delivered at the onset of the project? If no, then by when? In what format will it be delivered? And how will it physically be delivered to the resource(s)?

6. Imagery
Will imagery be delivered at the onset of the project? If no, then by when? Does the client know the format(s) in which it should be delivered? In what format(s) does it exist now? And how will it physically be delivered to the resource(s)?

7. Proposed Timeline
Please provide a rough timeline for the project, including anticipated start date, review markers, deadline, and application/usage date (as applicable.). Add as many dates as needed.

8. Special Considerations
Please provide any additional, relevant information that will aid the resource(s) in completing the project successfully.

Website Project Management

Website planning, in particular, can be a daunting task for any organization.

If done well, the resulting website will achieve the goals and impact design mapped out, the features that users will love and the functionality that maximizes the ROI you were hoping for.

The Project Planning Intake above can be leveraged for any type of project, regardless of output, number of resources, budget or timeline.

Tell Me Again: Why is Project Management So Important?

Aston breaks it down perfectly: “Without it, teams and clients are exposed to chaotic management, unclear objectives, a lack of resources, unrealistic planning, high risk, poor quality deliverables, projects going over budget and delivered late.”

Great project management matters because it delivers success—and what director or executive doesn’t want to be at the helm when projects are running like well-oiled machines and delivering results?

Lastly, good project management has a valuable side benefit, in that it creates and enables happy, motivated teams who know their work matters—so naturally, they put forth their best effort.

Author: Kelly Campbell
Kelly Campbell is an Agency Leader Transformation Coach based in New York. The former owner of a cause marketing agency for 14 years, she helps creative leaders transform their businesses and their lives—focusing on the 5 P's: purpose, people, positioning, pipeline and profitability. She speaks at agency growth conferences across the country, has been featured in The New York Times, Woman Entrepreneur and Forbes, gets vulnerable on Medium, and is currently authoring her first book on reframing leadership. She is the host of THRIVE: Your Agency Resource, a bi-weekly video podcast sponsored by Workamajig that helps agency owners navigate personal and professional growth.

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My biggest fear in re-positioning and relaunching NextCrew’s website was how someone would be able to put this together who is not part of my company. With Kelly’s help, it turned out much better than I could have ever imagined. The entire experience was seamless due to Kelly’s establishment of processes, responsiveness, creative direction, and vision—and most importantly, keeping me on track. I do not think I would have trusted anyone other than her to take on this project—or our digital marketing strategy going forward.

Chirag Mehta
Chirag Mehta
Founder and CEO, NextCrew Corporation