Introduction to Project Management

What is Project Management?

Introduction

So what is project management? How does it differ from simply “management” and how does project management in the workplace differ from a personal project such as refurbishing a house? And, of course, could it be the type of career that will suit you?

Project management is the science (and art) of organizing the components of a project, whether the project is development of a new product, the launch of a new service, a marketing campaign, or a wedding. A project isn’t something that’s part of normal business operations, A project is a unique, transient endeavour, undertaken to achieve planned objectives, which could be defined in terms of outputs, outcomes or benefits. A project is usually deemed to be a success if it achieves the objectives according to their acceptance criteria, within an agreed timescale and budget.

A project is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources. A project is unique in that it is not a routine operation, but a specific set of operations designed to accomplish a singular goal. So a project team often includes people who don’t usually work together – sometimes from different organizations and across multiple geographies.

The development of software for an improved business process, the construction of a building or bridge, the relief effort after a natural disaster, the expansion of sales into a new geographic market — all are projects.

And all must be expertly managed to deliver the on-time, on-budget results, learning and integration that organizations need.

Project management, then, is the application of knowledge, skills and techniques to execute projects effectively and efficiently. It’s a strategic competency for organizations, enabling them to tie project results to business goals — and thus, better compete in their markets.

 

A key factor that distinguishes project management from just management is that it has this final deliverable and a finite timespan, unlike management which is an ongoing process. Because of this a project manager needs a wide range of skills; often technical skills, certainly people management skills and good business awareness.

Time, Money, Scope

Frequently, people refer to project management as having three components: time, money, and scope. Reducing or increasing any one of the three will probably have an impact on the other two. If a company reduces the amount of time it can spend on a project, that will affect the scope (what can be included in the project) as well as the cost (since additional people or resources may be required to meet the abbreviated schedule).

When would you use project management?

Projects are separate to business-as-usual activities, requiring people to come together temporarily to focus on specific project objectives. As a result, effective teamwork is central to successful projects.

Project management is concerned with managing discrete packages of work to achieve objectives. The way the work is managed depends upon a wide variety of factors.

The scale, significance and complexity of the work are obvious factors: relocating a small office and organising the Olympics [insert link 2012] share many basic principles but offer very different managerial challenges.

A good distinguishing factor is often to look at the nature of the objectives.

Objectives may be expressed in terms of outputs (such as a new HQ building), outcomes (such as staff being relocated from multiple locations to the new HQ), benefits (such as reduced travel and facilities management costs) or strategic objectives (such as doubling the organisation’s share price in three years).

Why do we use project management?

Investment in effective project management will have a number of benefits to both the host organisation and the people involved in delivering the project. It will:

provide a greater likelihood of achieving the desired result;
ensure efficient and best value use of resources;
satisfy the differing needs of the project’s stakeholders.

Project management phases

  • The core components of project management are:
  • defining the reason why a project is necessary;
  • capturing project requirements, specifying quality of the deliverables, estimating resources and timescales;
  • preparing a business case to justify the investment;
  • securing corporate agreement and funding;
  • developing and implementing a management plan for the project; There are no pre-requisites required prior to attending this course.
  • leading and motivating the project delivery team;
  • managing the risks, issues and changes on the project;
  • monitoring progress against plan;
  • managing the project budget;
  • maintaining communications with stakeholders and the project organisation; There are no pre-requisites required prior to attending this course.
  • provider management;
  • closing the project in a controlled fashion when appropriate. There are no pre-requisites required prior to attending this course.

No matter what the type of project, project management typically follows the same pattern Project management phases essentially fall into five groups:

Initiation

This first stage of a project defines the business case, the justification for the project, which will be used to ensure the project stays on track. It also states what the project is intended to achieve, how that will be achieved and the scope of the work; this is important for controlling subsequent change requests. In this phase, those involved in the project will be assigned their responsibilities.

Requirements

In this stage the project manager defines what the project is and what the users hope to achieve by undertaking the project. This phase also includes a list of project deliverables, the outcome of a specific set of activities. The project manager works with the business sponsor or manager who wants to have the project implemented and other stakeholders — those who have a vested interest in the outcome of the project.

Planning the Project

Define all project activities. In this stage, the project manager lists all activities or tasks, how the tasks are related, how long each task will take, and how each tasks is tied to a specific deadline. This phase also allows the project manager to define relationships between tasks, so that, for example, if one task is x number of days late, the project tasks related to it will also reflect a comparable delay. Likewise, the project manager can set milestones, dates by which important aspects of the project need to be met.

Define requirements for completing the project. In this stage, the project manager identifies how many people (often referred to as “resources”) and how much expense (“cost”) is involved in the project, as well as any other requirements that are necessary for completing the project. The project manager will also need to manage assumptions and risks related to the project. The project manager will also want to identify project constraints. Constraints typically relate to schedule, resources, budget, and scope. A change in one constraint will typically affect the other constraints. For example, a budget constraint may affect the number of people who can work on the project, thereby imposing a resource constraint. Likewise, if additional features are added as part of project scope, that could affect scheduling, resources, and budget.

Executing the Project

Build the project team. In this phase, the project manager knows how many resources and how much budget he or she has to work with for the project. The project manager then assigns those resources and allocates budget to various tasks in the project. Now the work of the project begins.

Closure of the Project

In this stage, the project manager and business owner pull together the project team and those who have an interest in the outcome of the project (stakeholders) to analyze the final outcome of the project.

Project management processes

A project management process is the management process of monitoring and controlling the performance or execution of a project. The key project management processes, which run through all of these phases are;

Monitoring

Planning is carried out in the early stages of a project but there should be ongoing monitoring to ensure the project remains on budget and schedule; that resources are available and the expected benefits can be delivered. Estimates, deadlines and milestones may need to be altered as the project progresses.

Control

No project is without problems but the project manager needs to control them so they do not adversely affect the end result. The control phase also deals with risk management.

Communication

Good communication is one of the most important factors affecting project success. Many problems can be avoided if there is open, honest communication between everyone involved on a project; written and verbal, formal and informal.

People management 

A project manager is responsible for managing the individuals working on the project as well as the tasks and risks. In complex projects there may be segregated levels of people management but every project manager will have some responsibility for individuals. That includes motivating people, delivering constructive feedback etc.

Pre-Requisites

  • There are no prerequisites required prior to attending this course. There are no prerequisites required prior to attending this course.

Materials

  • You will receive a courseware, exercises, and suggested solutions.

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