September 9, 2007 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Project Management Advantages
Projects are, more than ever, a fact of life for voluntary organisations. Changing patterns of funding, particularly the impact of the Community Fund, mean that it is becoming ever more common for agencies to develop their work and secure funding by developing specific projects. Funders in their turn are asking for details of how projects will be managed, with some beginning to expect agencies to use one or another established project management system.
Technical projects are more common. Many organisations are getting involved in IT and Internet based projects which bring high risks and costs, and take managers into technical developments where they may not feel confident.
Against this background there is a clear need for project management expertise, yet the voluntary sector has no great tradition of using formal methods of project management. This may be a reflection of a reasonable record of success: we haven’t suffered from high profile project failures, especially IT project failures. A string of troubled projects has plagued the commercial and statutory sectors and driven the adoption of a more systematic approach.
But as voluntary organisations’ projects grow in size and complexity it’s clear we too can benefit from the established body of knowledge that exists on effective project management. Project management isn’t rocket science. A lot of it is common sense and anyone who has been involved in running a project informally will find much that is familiar. But established methods provide a more complete and systematic framework for defining and controlling a project as well as helping with less tangible but vital areas like establishing good communication, clarifying roles and building strong teams.
Our belief is that voluntary organisations can learn from this body of knowledge and that their ability to manage the growing number of technical projects can be improved by the adoption of these techniques. Their projects tend to be smaller, the process of making funding applications can be an added complication, but they can still use these techniques to their advantage.
This Guide is intended to provide an introduction to the techniques of project management. It looks at the basic principles and available tools and provides some templates and procedures for implementing project management methods within the voluntary sector. We aren’t setting out to produce another project management manual; there are plenty of books available, and this isn’t a substitute for project management training. Our aim is to offer an introduction to technical project management, and to emphasise how it can work in a voluntary sector setting with particular reference to managing funding applications.
Lasa Information Systems Team provides a range of services to community and voluntary organisations including ICT Health Checks and consulting on the best application of technology in your organisation. Lasa IST is responsible for maintaining the ICT Hub Knowledgebase.
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