Process Improvement Vs Project Management
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Over the past few years, there has been an explosion in interest around what we now call “project management” or “PMI.” While early adopters of project management focused mostly on creating processes to manage projects, many people have started re-branding it as something more specific — project management methodology (or PM method).
Project managers who adopt these particular approaches sometimes refer to their work as “methodology” because they believe that different project management methods are simply good ways to run projects.
Others describe this field as “professionalizing project management.” This shift away from focusing only on process is due to the fact that most project types can be structured using either approach.
The main difference between process focus and methodological focus is which element of project success get the most attention. For example, some project management tools emphasize having clear roles and responsibilities for each team member, while others promote having high levels of communication and collaboration.
In theory, both concepts play important parts in successful projects. However, depending on the nature of the project, one may outweigh the other. In those cases, you would need to choose whether to prioritize strong leadership or effective teamwork.
This article will talk about the differences between process focus and methodological focus and how you can apply them to your own career. But first, let us look at the two major categories under which project management falls.
Differences between process improvement and project management
There are some subtle differences between what we refer to as project management and process improvement, but at their core, they do similar things. Both focus on creating an efficient work environment for your organization.
Project managers typically oversee projects that have a planned end date, whereas process experts help you improve how an existing system works by making changes that need to be done on a recurring basis.
This can mean improving the production workflow of an office, designing new systems or tools, or optimizing an already-existing one. They may also look into why certain processes exist and if they are needed anymore – anything from technology changing how business is conducted to external factors like legal mandates.
In fact, according to research, over half of all senior level executives feel that having project manager expertise in their department is either nonexistent or very limited.
Steps of process improvement
First, you need to determine if your organization has already done some work on improving its processes.
If so, great! You have found some initial steps to begin with.
You can either implement these processes or use them as templates for creating new ones. Either way is fine, it depends on what you are trying to accomplish.
By doing this, you will be ensuring that what needs to be done is being done properly, and people who must follow those procedures already have tools to help them do so.
It also helps create a sense of consistency across the department, project team, and overall organization. This creates a solid foundation from which to improve things further.
There are many ways to strengthen internal processes, but one of the most effective is using project management software.
Project managers make sure everything in a project goes according to plan. They keep track of timeframes, resources, and other important information.
That is why they are integral parts of any successful business.
Identify weaknesses in processes
A process improvement is an internal or external change to an existing system or procedure that makes things work better!
Project management is not related to process improvements, but it is very important to understand the difference between both terms. Project managers oversee projects, which are changes that have direct impact on something (or someone) outside of the organization.
This includes everything from renovating an office space to building a new computer program. It also includes managing time frames, resources, and logistics. All of these components make up what has been referred to as “the project”- so remember this term when you read about project manager positions at your company!
A process improvement does not necessarily need a project attached to it, unless the change impacts people or procedures in other departments or outside organizations. This can be changing how employees do their jobs, improving workplace efficiency, or developing new protocols and guidelines.
For example, let's say Your Company just opened its 20th location. A process improvement would be creating standard operating procedures for shifts, hiring practices, etc. at The New Location. That would be a good candidate for being implemented as part of the position of Assistant General Manager of Locations.
I know what you're thinking...
Create a plan for improvement
A process is something that happens over and over, like baking with dough. You can keep altering the shape of the dough, add new ingredients, re-shape it, and it will always taste good!
Project management is changing the context of the work being done. It’s not just about having all the tools needed to complete a task, but rather creating an environment where the task comes easily.
A project manager creates this environment by defining start and end dates, coming up with milestones and deadlines, establishing key people, and gathering necessary resources.
The difference between these two types of improvements is which one you should do first.
Start by looking at your processes and figuring out what parts are taking too long or if there are any steps in a process that could be eliminated or streamlined.
Then, determine whether those changes are warranted and if so, how to implement them. Finally, create a timeline and follow through on your plans.
You may also want to look into other ways to improve efficiency of current processes or find more efficient ways to accomplish tasks.
Take action on the plan
A lot of people get hung up on what project management is, but you don’t need to worry about that too much. What matters most is whether your organization uses process improvement or project management as its main method for running projects.
If you are looking at this article, then it means you’ve made an assumption already – you use project management! That’s great because that’s how almost every major company in the world operates.
But just like with project management, there is also another way to run projects. And we suggest you evaluate which one works better for you and your team.
Project managers may give you the impression that they have all the answers and everything is under control. But if you look closer, you will see that isn’t always the case.
That can make things stressful for you and your team. They might not be willing to admit when they are wrong or cannot handle something on their own.
Process experts know how to create good processes, so they should be given more respect. If a process doesn’t work, they will tell everyone why, instead of keeping it a secret.
This article will talk about the differences between process improvement and project management, and some situations where each one makes sense. After reading it, you will know for sure if using one over the other depends on the situation.
A few years ago, there was only one type of leader that people talked about – project managers. They were the leadership professionals who ensured that projects completed on time with quality.
Project management has become the most popular style of leadership in business today. People talk more about project leaders than they did years ago.
But is this the right thing to do?
Should we not focus more on process improvement instead?
You may have heard the term ‘process excellence’ before but you probably didn’t know what it meant. That’s okay though because I’m going to tell you!
What is process excellence?
Process excellence means improving the way things are done within an organization. It focuses on optimizing current processes and creating new ones where needed.
It also looks at how well each step in a given process works and if there are any areas that can be improved or replaced.
This isn’t just limited to the manufacturing sector either. You will find process excellence anywhere there is work to be done.
A lot of times, employers will talk about their senior level executives as being project-focused. This doesn’t make sense when you consider that these individuals usually hold the position for several decades.
They spend their days thinking about long-term strategies so why would they care about short-term tasks and goals?
That’s why process excellence becomes more important.
A lot of people get stuck thinking that project management is the only way to run an organization, which it can be if you’re running a small business or department within a larger company.
Project managers typically oversee several projects at once, so they are also responsible for keeping track of all their deadlines and milestones.
But that doesn’t make them experts in process improvement. In fact, there are many ways to improve how things work inside your workplace – from changing what product you offer customers, to improving the way you organize and manage your workload.
This is different than doing project-level tasks like designing new products or writing documentation. Those are good starting points, but staying focused on continuous improvements is what will keep your team motivated and moving forward together.
What is the best project management process?
First, you need to determine what projects mean to your organization and what services and products they bring in the form of income. If you are not able to identify these things, then it’s time to rethink how you manage projects!
Project managers typically have an additional degree or certification beyond their general manager position. For example, if you work for a restaurant, you would be a culinary professional. A project manager has one more piece of paper that says he or she is trained in project management.
This adds prestige to his or her job since they know about managing projects! However, this isn’t always the case. Some people were just born with a knack for organizing tasks and people and being aware of all the moving parts involved in a project. This includes having adequate resources allocated when needed and knowing how to motivate them when necessary.