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Project Managers

Updated on December 29, 2011

Are Project Managers really worth the business expense?

As most Companies struggle in the U.S. Economy, we often wonder where it is best to cut costs and avoid layoffs. Do Project Managers really add value to your business in hard economic times? Well, that's a question that most CEO's would like to understand from any business perspective. There is no doubt that project Managers contribute to the bottom line in any business. But can you really afford to keep project managers or should you groom employees to be working managers?

Its never a bad idea to start grooming young employees to take on additional management activities. Its good for employee development and it also helps contribute to the bottom line. But how far should you go before employees start reaching a level of burn out? If you want to maintain employee satisfaction and keep your employees, then its wise that you plan for some disgruntled employees as well. Never overwork your employees to the point at which they are dissatisfied coming into work. Don't forget what they have done the last 10 years in contributing to the success of the business when the economy was flourishing.

Project Cost Management

Do you need to cut costs now? If so, then its probably time to start looking at Overhead. That doesn't necessarily mean laying off employees. Its just means, reducing cost of goods and planning projects to reduce cost in your facilities. How can this be done? You can do this by having your Project Managers prove there worth to the Company. So what better way of getting a Project Manager to prove there worth? Have them lead up cost reduction activities that can significantly help with the Companies bottom line. Remember, your in survival mode and its important to put your resources where you need them. The key to a successful business, is to keep growth at a medium rate and maintain all of your employees. You can recover from hard economic times if you work your business successfully within.

Importance of Project Management

Project management is vital to a Companies long term success. It is most important that all tasks and schedules are completed on time to ensure profitability success and payback of project overhead. Hitting business schedules are important when lenders or investors are looking to see a successful launch of a product that is profitable. Setting Project Management deadlines for your business is critical to all aspects of the business. Typically the Operations teams are the ones who will successfully pull a project in ahead of schedule. It takes a lot of hard work to launch a New Product and meet schedule especially when roadblocks or significant obstacles run course causing schedule slips.

Project Management Tools

Most often Project Managers are looking for tools to be able to manage an effective long term schedule for implementing milestone goals and achievements. It is important that Project Managers continue to monitor the success of each Milestone set fourth by the business teams and goals. This assessment of achievement can ultimately help a Project Manager bring in a product ahead of schedule. The best tools used for Project Management are:

  • Business Plan
  • Milestone Checklists
  • Microsoft Project
  • Business Case Justification
  • Project Charter
  • Risk Assessment
  • Score Cards and team Building

At the end of each business day, the Project Manager has contributed a lot towards success. Any Project Manager can lead a team effectively by continuing to monitor milestones, contribute to employee satisfaction and team building and awarding people for accomplishing significant milestones.


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    • Beth100 profile image

      Beth100 7 years ago from Canada

      I understand where you're coming from. I don't live in the States, but I know healthcare. Up here, the pharmacuticals run everything -- their endorsements into the hospitals, private practices, clincs, free drugs to get the patients hooked and proprietary attitude takes a toll on our healthcare system. One has to look at the root of the cause in order to fix the whole. A large machine such as healthcare is affected by many facets and it is these facets that have an allowance to provide a spread to facilitate cutbacks. If manufacturers could take 2% off their costs without cutting or increasing anywhere, the savings could be passed downwards with each phase taking 2% off their costs. If all parties were honest, the savings passed onto the companies and customers would be astronomial in this economy. It's ideal thinking, but the industry needs to work as a whole to keep itself alive. It's nice to see someone trying to be creative in finding a solution, especially one that is win-win. Good job!

    • eculligan profile image

      eculligan 7 years ago

      @Beth: Thanks for the response. I understand your frustration and could only imagine having to deal with Unionized workers. I work in the Healthcare industry and we are not doing so well since Obamacare passed law. We are getting ready to downsize significantly. I think Project Managers are worth the business expense and I guess if I were leading my own Company and I had to worry about an excise tax on all medical devises, I would find a way to lower the Cost of goods of each product by 10%. That way you can reestablish what your used to earning rather then make cuts. Because Obamacare is taking affect, the medical device industry is planning for the worst. Most hospitals are tightening there belts and not spending. People want healthcare and prescription drugs for free but don't realize whats involved in making this technology for saving lives. It takes years and years of research and billions of dollars to make medical equipment and prescription drugs. And we are also regulated by the FDA which even costs more money to try and release a product. When people want healthcare for free its impossible, and that's why Obamacare will never work. We do have an excess number of Project Managers where I work. I thought it would be a good idea to have them manage cost savings initiatives which could really help the business rather then cutting jobs. I understand your frustration and I know you have a very tough job.

    • Beth100 profile image

      Beth100 7 years ago from Canada

      As a project manager, we are worth our pay. We have skills and knowledge that many managers do not have. We do cost analysis to budgeting to milestone setting to customer satisfaction. We work both sides of the agreement -- company must maintain a profit and customer must be on or under budget. It is not an easy task to arbitrate between the two and it is even more difficult when trades and unionized workers threaten to stall the project for more pay or holidays. The job does not end at the end of the day. We plan in our sleep and we plan ahead for unknowns that most cannot foresee. Without a strong and dedicated project manager, the majority of projects would skid off track and never come to fruition. Cutting overhead can be done in many ways, including paperless offices where photocopy and printing can reduce overhead by as much as 45%; better management of employee time -- I have seen employees sitting at their desks "making work" to look like they are busy; discontinue access to the Internet for personal use -- I have tracked usage on a daily basis, and some staff stay on their personal agendas for 2 - 3 hours per day. These are a few suggestions which can be felt across the board and all staff would feel like they are contributing to the viability of the company. It is never smart management to target one sector of a company to reduce costs -- it alienates the staff and makes the remainder wonder when it will be their turn. Remember, you want to keep staff loyalty.

      It's a great idea to consider how and where to cut overhead costs, especially during these times. Perhaps overhead and going green could go hand in hand with a net result of win-win for all.

    • onegoodwoman profile image

      onegoodwoman 7 years ago from A small southern town

      Generally speaking, yes, they are. In the industry that I am familiar with anyway.

      Being from PA, chances are high that you are associated with coal or steel. But, I will assume nothing.

      My husband has followed construction all of our adult lives. In fact, I refer to him as a construction whore.

      He always went where the money was. As a result, we have lived in 47 of the 50 states. At times, I have only had a few hours warning that we were moving. Sometimes, far too many, I was left behind, until the school year ended, until I could give my employer a decent notice, sometimes, I did not care to do that. It haunts me professionally........I simply do not stay anywhere long enough.....though every single employer says that I did my job well.

      I have had far too many goodbyes, so have our kids. So has my hubby.

      His trade is structual steel welding, his speciality, " red iron". He has been so high in the air, that I could not pick him out from the crew, and he carried a 75 pound tool belt going up there. He learned to read blue prints and to push a crew. With some help from me, he learned to budget and do cost projecting. He demands expertise and when he pronounces a building as sound and well built, you can be sure it is without structual flaw. He worked himself from the ranks, living for years in a feast or famine reality. His life has been at risk more times than I care to think about.

      He keeps his crew far safer that some of his previious project managers cared to keep him.

      Yes, he is worth his pay, and so is his family. Persistance, loyalty and determination should be rewarded in a free market system. His day does not end at the whistle's blowing. He brings home, worry, concerns, disappointments and pressure. Some nights he does not sleep well, yet, he still packs his 75 pound tool belt every morning. Most days, he uses it.

      It costs to be the boss.