Chapter 7: How project management benefits different teams

Project management methods and tools can be deployed across all teams and industries to help improve efficiency and drive results. In this chapter, we’ll provide an overview of how PM benefits construction, IT, marketing, and operations teams.

Construction project management

Construction project management refers to the processes involved in executing a construction project. Project management is especially critical in construction work, which involves thousands of tasks and tight timelines and budget, to ensure the final product meets codes, plans, and safety requirements.

Construction PM can be used across all types of construction projects, including: 

  • Agricultural
  • Residential 
  • Commercial 
  • Industrial 
  • Civil 
  • Environmental

Because construction projects often involve hundreds of tasks that must be completed in order, most follow the Waterfall methodology

While general project management is concerned with managing timeline, budget, and resources, construction PM takes into account additional constraints like safety, local building codes, zoning, and more. 

As a result, construction project managers must have a decent level of construction knowledge and problem-solving skills. They must also be extremely detail oriented, as any oversights can lead to costly consequences.

Construction PM follows the same general project management lifecycle: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control, project close. Within those general phases, however, construction projects also require industry-specific work, including:

  • Design: Map out the building specifications, including materials, floorplans, sizes, colors, etc. This step requires research into building codes, safety requirements, and space constraints, to name a few. 
  • Pre-Construction: Assign a construction project manager and general contractor to lead the project, identify sub-contractors to execute on the plans, and investigate the job site to ensure your design is viable.
  • Procurement: Purchase all the materials, land, easements, etc. needed for the project.
  • Construction: Execute on the build. This part of the project includes increased stakeholder and resource management (both in terms of equipment and people), site inspection and safety management, documentation tracking, and risk identification and mitigation.
  • Commissioning: Test all aspects of the final build to ensure they are functional and up to code, and then train the owner(s) on how to use and maintain the build.
  • Owner Occupancy: The owner of the build takes over, but the work is still under a warranty period (either written into the project contract or required by law) to ensure everything is functional and safe.
  • Project Close: The structure is approved as functional once the warranty period ends.

Visit our construction project management 101 guide to learn more.

IT project management

Information technology project management (ITPM) includes all tasks involved in executing an IT initiative, such as web or mobile app development, software implementation, or fixing a bug. These projects are often complex and involve a number of systems and people.

ITPM follows the five phases of the project management lifecycle and is often managed using the Waterfall methodology, where all project requirements, schedules, and budgets are mapped out at project onset. If your IT project is likely to change — whether due to shifting requirements or unplanned system challenges — consider using a more flexible Agile method, sometimes referred to as an adaptive method

Although IT projects often don’t produce a tangible deliverable, they still benefit from formal project management. Strong ITPM organizes the many complexities of IT work, and helps to keep the project on track, regardless of unexpected events or challenges.

Here are a few common challenges in IT projects:

  • Compatibility issues among different hardware and networks.
  • Rapid rate of technological change, which can make it difficult to deploy IT changes across large systems.
  • Issues that aren’t always immediately apparent, especially with distributed teams.

Read our primer on IT project management to learn more about overcoming these and other common challenges.

The IT project management lifecycle

The ITPM lifecycle includes the five basic phases of project management, but the main difference for IT project management is how the project lifecycle is managed.

The most common ITPM method is the Waterfall methodology, which involves a predictive linear process. The entire project is defined before starting, and each phase is initiated and completed before moving on to the next phase.

Another lifecycle method is the iterative method, which uses a more incremental approach. The iterative or incremental approach repeats phases, and each iteration completes the planning, analysis, and design phases with the ability to deliver on a specific goal at the end of the iteration.  

IT project management may also use an adaptive lifecycle, such as those found in Agile methodologies. This style is even more flexible than the iterative approach by condensing timelines into shorter activity bursts called sprints.

Challenges faced by IT project managers

The complexities and interdependencies of large-scale, long-term, diverse IT projects are among the most challenging issues of IT projects. Here are a few more top challenges faced by IT project managers:

  • Making multiple assumptions when integrating different hardware, networks, and software to the existing system
  • Unclear expectations from the business, end-users, and stakeholders
  • Rapidly changing technology, leading to necessary mid-project upgrades that can affect timelines
  • Geographically diverse offices and remote work associated

Marketing project management

Marketing project management refers to the activities needed to plan, organize, and execute on initiatives that support marketing efforts, such as pay-per-click (PPC), social, SEO, email, product marketing, content marketing, brand campaigns, and more.

Marketing project management increases consistency, organization, and collaboration among the team, which is often made up of cross-functional members and external vendors. With so many different stakeholders and project outputs, marketing projects can become unwieldy without the right tools and processes in place to keep everything organized and on track. 

Marketing projects typically follow the basic project management lifecycle.  

That said, marketing PM places special emphasis on overall communication and reporting:

  • Communication: With so many different people involved, marketing projects often suffer from departmental silos, miscommunications, redundant efforts, and overlooked tasks. To mitigate this, plan regular check-ins so nothing slips through the cracks and ensure everyone has access to the right information at the right time.
  • Reporting: Marketing projects are often measured not only on their time and budget targets, but also on campaign performance. Ensure you start out your project with a clear goal of how you will measure and report on success. Common marketing key performance indicators (KPIs) include clicks, conversions, page traffic, subscribers, or engagement, such as likes and shares.

Learn more with our complete guide to marketing project management, and find out how to choose the right marketing project management software for your team.

Project management in operations

Operations management involves designing processes to create maximum efficiency within an organization. Operations teams use the principles of project management to plan, develop, and improve upon existing business processes. 

An operations department often includes project managers, who are responsible for moving large-scale initiatives from start to finish. As in other PM roles, the operations project manager is tasked with defining the project scope, budget, and timeline, identifying and responding to risks, and overseeing the project through to completion. 

Project management can benefit operations teams by providing a repeatable structure to tackle larger organizational initiatives. Applying the basic project management lifecycle to an operations issue might look like this:

  1. Identify the problem within a department or the organization.
  2. Design a new process that addresses this problem, and create a plan for implementing it.
  3. Execute your plan. Train all team members on the new, optimized process. Also consider a phased approach if shifting processes all at once would be too jarring.
  4. Monitor the new processes as they are implemented, and make adjustments as you identify things that are not working.
  5. Close out the operations project once you have fully implemented and measured the performance of the new process.

While operations and project managers can work in tandem to maximize value in a department or company, remember that the two are distinct. A project is a temporary activity, whereas operations include ongoing activities that produce long-term, repeatable outputs or processes. 

Visit our comprehensive guide on operations management tips and trends to learn more.

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