A project profile gives a look at a project from a measurable point and provides valuable insight in the development of a project action plan. This project profile can also help determine the resource allocation of the project.
An analysis of the environment, both internal and external, gives information about the project that helps the project manager to allocate resources and effectively assign leaders to be involved in the project. Most organizations will have a simple approach, focusing on attributes such as project size, technology involvement, and location.
Every project is different. The demands and scope of every project will vary, however there are some common attributes of projects that can be used to build a profile for any given project. By using as few as two attributes from a project profile, a project manager should be able to develop some initial understanding of the project as a whole.
For example, a small project that only contains one location will have a very different profile than a large project with multiple locations. These two factors (size and location) give information about the project that will aid an authority figure for the parent company to designate an experienced project manager for the job. After this is completed, the project manager can start to develop a project plan that fits best for their expertise and the project profile.
Project Profile in Use
Project managers have not always been chosen to lead projects based on their expertise, but rather based on availability. Project managers that have demonstrated general PM skills have been demanding a skill set for a while, yet more recently there has been a shift to hiring a project manager based on industry knowledge and experience.
A project manager who has knowledge and expertise in software development will not be the ideal fit for a large construction project. Project leaders and investors are now looking for project managers with the technical skills to manage these projects in order to ensure project success.
Project profiling is the practice of taking the known characteristics of a project and roughly defining the project based on these. Using the characteristics of the project will allow for the project team to develop a deeper understanding and draw back from past projects with similar characteristics. This in turn will often lead to more efficient execution of the project plan, as well as enhancing the resource allocation of the project.
This profiling procedure should also consider the geographical location of the project and similarities to other projects that have been successful. Size and location are perfect examples of project profile categories, which can then be used by the project manager to draw comparisons and gain intelligence on best approaches.
Each organization may have their own criteria for how projects are profiled, which tasks the project manager with learning how to view each category. For example, A company may only classify any project over $5 million as “large”, and everything under that would be classified as “small”.
Furthermore, the group may decide any large project requires a project manager with at least 6 years of experience, the VP of the group as a sponsor and will yield one report per update period (ex every month).
In this example, this project profile already has its action items in place (reports, experienced PM). This makes the job of the project manager easier, as they already know how to approach projects that fit in each profile.
A project profile is a tool designated to aid project managers by categorizing projects based on similar characteristics to other projects. These profiles are immensely valuable to the project team, as it allows them to use past experience and insights with limited to no project information. By defining a project in a measurable way, the project manager can easily allocate resources and labor efficiently.
Project profiles can be specific to each organization, and will most likely be defined by the most common characteristics of the project (size, location, etc.). This leads to developing an effective action plan, as well as hiring the best-fitting project manager.
Many project managers will be selected based on their level of experience and industry knowledge/experience, with the most educated and qualified being those who are given the largest projects.