What is Project Management?

Project managementProject Management is the process of planning, structuring and controlling all the elements of a project from start to finish.

The Project Management Institute defines it as “the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.”

Project Management can involve many disciplines depending on the type of project methodology used. Generally the job of the Project Manager will involve some or all of the following tasks:

  • creating project initiation documents
  • defining budgets
  • building project plans and schedules
  • identifying deliverables and creating the work breakdown structures
  • getting project resources together (the team)
  • reporting project progress
  • managing risks (things that may impact the project’s success)
  • estimating time and cost for deliverables
  • managing project scope (what’s included)
  • ensuring quality and client satisfaction

Project Management activities may also involve writing business plans, performing cost benefit analyses, assessing technology options and  gaining approval for the starting or continuing of work.

Project management phases

A Project Manager will need to know and move through the basic phases of the project life cycle:

  1. Project initiation  – deciding the objectives of the project, gathering stakeholders, and agreeing budgets
  2. Planning or definition – putting the team together, establishing requirements, developing a schedule of work and deciding what tasks need to be completed
  3. Execution – this is when most of the work gets done! Requirements are finalised and the project tasks are completed
  4. Controlling and monitoring – runs concurrently with the execution. The project’s progress is monitored, changes and scope are managed and the project plan is adjusted if necessary
  5. Closing the project – the project is completed, delivered or handed over, and its success (or failure) communicated. The project team may be dissolved

Once a project is complete, it could have ongoing business, social or economic impacts. If it is a software system for instance, it may need to be handed over to another team to run and maintain it.

Posted in Project Management Basics.

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