The Power of Demand in Project Management

4 March 2017
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The other day I read an article on how Charlie Sheen set a new Guinness World record by reaching 1 million followers in the shortest amount of time.  With the power of technology, Sheen opened a Twitter account and hit the “1 million” milestone in 25 hours and 17 minutes.  My first thought was – it is amazing the incredible appetite people have to be connected to latest news covering their topic(s) of interest.  Although the Sheen example is an extreme scenario, it does provide insight into the cyclical nature of humanity and the dynamic between people’s wants and needs and the ability to continuously fulfill their impending demands.  The fact is, demand is what makes the world go around and as long as it exists there will always be goods and services to “feed the machine.”

Traditionally the project management world tends to focus on the demands existing in living and breathing projects in action.  For those managing projects the power of demand is constantly impacting their decisions.  Do we have enough resources?  Do we have enough time?  Do we have enough money?  Do we have enough expertise?  Are we able to address our customers’ concerns?   The emergence of these questions, in one way are another, are driven by demand that arises from a variety of avenues including market conditions, economics, business processes and people.  The reality is, before a project becomes a project the answers to these questions are already impacted by the continuously evolving environment projects are born in to.  Like most business functions, projects do not live in a vacuum.  The economic, social, and environmental factors preceding a project’s existence are fundamental to its outcome.  The truth is, the best chance for project success depends on managing the project in its most nascent form.  In the new product development world it begins as an idea; for IT groups it is submitted as a request; and in the services industry it starts with a proposal.  Regardless of the form, all project environments would agree that incorporating a demand management strategy as part of their framework can only improve their project performance, and this can be achieved with demand management software.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when developing a demand management strategy:

1)    What type of metrics are you employing to assess the importance of the potential project?
2)    How do your resources impact the incoming demand?
3)    Do you have an effective process in place to share information with decision makers?
4)    Do you have true visibility into your pipeline?
5)    Is there a strategy in place in capturing the right information to make informed decisions?

For additional information on demand management and its applicability to project management, I recommend that you read this article I recently read on PM Hut.

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