On Monday morning I start my new job as a Project Manager. In this role I will be in charge of business reviews for different directors across my organization, as well as process improvement, and acting as a systems expert/liaison for my group. This will be my first project management role in my career and I am very excited about it. One of my first on-boarding duties is to be the point person for capital purchases prioritization. This will be my first time dealing with prioritization of capital purchases. Given this fact, I decided that I needed and wanted to look more into selection of projects in general and specifically capital purchases to get up to speed on best practices within my industry.
In our first class, we went over project selection techniques from chapter two of our book. Some of the models that were discussed were:
- The Payback Model
- Net Present Value (NPV) Model
- Checklist Model
- Multi-Weighted Scoring Model
After learning more about these methods in class, I definitely believe that using just one of these methods to select a project would not be a good idea. However, a mixed approach would be the best course of action in making the best choice for all stakeholders involved. I believe it really comes down to aligning the criteria with the strategic plan of the organization. Some organization’s project selection criteria are going to vary a great deal from others. For example, a nonprofit hospital’s criteria may not value financial criteria as much as other nonfinancial criteria. Obviously, the institution still has to keep the lights on, but the organization may want to do that while providing the best care to all demographics in their community.
So at this point I wanted to take a look at what resources were available online regarding this topic in addition to the guidance our book gave. At first I found multiple presentations and articles regarding systems that could be purchased in order to make the whole capital purchasing selection process run smoother for organizations:
Then I found a link or two for consultants who could help in the planning or implementation phase of capital projects.
Finally I came upon a link that gave me some great information regarding what some folks in my industry are currently doing versus what they should be doing regarding capital project selection.
After taking a look at the various resources available online, I have come to several conclusions regarding the best capital project selection process. First and most importantly, there must be an overall company strategy that Senior Management has set for the company to strive for. Secondly, there are no silver bullets or one process works for all in the capital project selection process. Third, this process should be a living thing that gets discussed throughout the fiscal year, not just when budget season rolls around.
It was just a short time ago we talked about project management and even did an in class activity, “The Sky’s the Limit,” to give us the general ideas regarding project management. After researching project management a bit more online I read an article by Jennifer Mateyaschuk from Information Newsweek. As we all know, it is very important for a business project manager to have relative experience in managing a project due to the in depth processes needed to complete projects. Ron Schevlin, who is a analyst for a research company said it best, “The project manager doesn’t necessarily direct the picture, but he or she makes sure the funding is there, the right skills are used in the right places at the right times, and the projects are completed on time and within budget.”
These key ideas, “right skills, right places, right times and staying within budget,” are the key parts of a project manager’s responsibility. His/her job is to use the resources given to them most efficiently and at the lowest cost. This is why people with excellent time management and budgeting skills are some of the best candidate for this position. However, relative business skills are needed in order to effectively be in this position. This may be why a number of project managers are attending business conferences or going back to school to specialize in a particular department.
This is important when it comes to understanding the needs of customers but also listening to employees, co-workers, and other managers. Personally speaking, I would not want to be a project manager in the start of my career in a new industry because my lack of experience will negatively impact the company. I noticed when looking for jobs, any job title that has the words “project manager” will have required qualifications of at least 5 years of relative industry experience and preferred qualifications will have MBA in some business related category, listed. A lot of credit goes out to project managers as they have the weight of the company on their shoulders at all times. They are directly responsible for making sure the company remains profitable and maximizes profits. Projects that are over budget and/or completed late means lost profit for the company. Loss of profit could mean loss of jobs for employees/workers and even ultimately mean firing of the project manager. For these reasons, projects managers are usually compensated pretty well.
How many of you would like to be a project manager? I know I would, but only after having experience to manage large projects!
Mateyaschuk, Jennfier. “Project Managers Learn Value Of Business Skills.”Informationweek. N.p., 7 Dec. 1998. Web. 25 June 2012. <http://www.informationweek.com/712/12capro.htm>.