Regardless of what industry you work in, or what your area of expertise is, all organizations can follow the four key management functions. In the realm of project management, these four functions typically fall into project mangers’ laps. So what are these four management functions and how do they apply to project managers?
- Planning. The first key function is planning. No project, task, or goal can be completed or achieved without proper planning. Planning involves many day to day tasks such as scheduling, budgeting, and proper resource allocation. Planning is certainly a challenging area of management as it often involves executive level approvals before tackling head on.
- Organizing. Organizing is an area of management that should come easy to most professional project managers. In the sense of organizing projects, resources, and delegating tasks, organizing specifically refers to coordinating activities and assignments particular to a specific project or goal. This could be selecting vendors to work on a specific project, or recruiting resources, or it could be as simple as booking a conference room or ordering food for a company lunch.
- Leading. There is a significant difference between being a “manager” and a “leader” when working with professional teams. A manager does just what a manager does: delegates tasks, makes sure projects and tasks are completed on time, and runs reports. A leader, on the other hand, may be responsible for the same tasks, however, he or she talks with teams rather than to them. A leader helps and encourages other team members to succeed. All projects, regardless of how simple or complex, require real leaders to be successful. Which are you?
- Controlling. This is a scary word. Controlling doesn’t have to be negative in regards to the four functions of management. In fact, “controlling” and “leading” can actually be combined here. Sure, there is a certain level of control that a project manager or any manager must adhere to. However, it is all in how you go about it. There are many managers who are controlling in an oppressive, micro-managing, and negative way. Most would agree that this isn’t the best approach to accomplishing projects and reaching goals. Have some control over your level of control.
All in all, while these four functions of management greatly parallel to the roles and responsibilities of professional project managers, any type of manager or team member in any industry or organization can benefit from implementing these in any atmosphere. The four functions of management are crucial to successfully completing projects, working together, being successful, and reaching goals.