As 2016 comes to an end, it’s the perfect time to reflect on this year’s successes and where there’s opportunity for improvement. It’s a particularly fertile time of year for creative teams across all industries. Budgets are redistributed, metrics are finalized, and holiday parties run red with mulled wine.
Many teams will be able to reflect on 2016’s performance because they’ve implemented a project management solution that allows for an integrated workflow. Others will have to make decisions based on their gut and numbers pulled from disparate systems.
For creative professionals in higher education, it’s becoming more crucial than ever before to adopt the project management approach of other industries. Higher education is ultimately about the quality of education offered to your students and the reputation of your university. However, both stand to suffer if projects are waylaid by mismanagement and inconsistent data.
Integrated project management is an approach to project management that accounts for all the elements of a project—from key stakeholders to freelancers and everything in between. A well-run project is more likely to result in fully realized goals like:
- Attracting more students
- Increasing number of donors
- Capturing the attention of high-demand professors
With that in mind, here are three reasons why integrated project management belongs in higher education.
1. Diversity of Stakeholders
As with any project, it’s crucial to identify and understand the motivations of your key stakeholders. Unlike traditional industries, higher education is even more complex when it comes to the diversity of its stakeholders. Here are just a few examples of the type of roles you might encounter in your project:
- Trade unions
- Lobby groups
- Senior management
Having an integrated project management solution in place can help creative teams of any size tackle the varying needs of stakeholders to ensure your project is successful and supported throughout.
2. Length of Projects
The length of projects in higher education is another variable that lends itself to integrated project management. As with any project, team leads need to understand the scope of work and create a roadmap around milestones and goals. However, as projects in higher education can last anywhere from months to years, integrated project management can help keep a project team on course throughout unexpected diversions like turnover, budget resizing, and other unforeseen obstacles to project success.
3. The Size of Project Teams
Just like with the increased number of stakeholders, projects in higher education tend to necessitate a larger creative team. Integrated project management is all about streamlining complexity so that project managers and their teams can stay the course and see a better return on their work. By its very nature, higher education is siloed across departments, both in discipline and business expertise.
Trying to wrangle all these different people and align them to your project goals can be a Herculean effort for even the most seasoned project manager. Integrated project management can help improve collaboration and minimize time-consuming tasks like interdepartmental communication, document management, and task assignments.