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, or achieving a desired result.
A project isn’t something that’s part of normal business operations. It’s typically created once, it’s temporary, and it’s specific. A project consumes resources (whether people, cash, materials, or time), and it has funding limits.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines project management as “meeting project requirement through the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities. This is accomplished through the use of initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing a project.”
More specifically, what is a project?
It’s a temporary group of activities designed to produce a unique product, service or result. 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. All must be expertly managed to deliver the on-time, on-budget results, learning and integration that organizations need.
Project management, therefore, 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.
It has always been practiced informally, but began to emerge as a distinct profession in the mid-20th century. PMI’s A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)identifies its recurring elements; Project management processes fall into five groups:
- Monitoring and Controlling
Project management knowledge draws on ten areas:
|Human resources||Communications||Risk management|
Projects are singular, but non-routine, events with precise objectives which must be achieved within a set timeframe. Projects are broken into a set of activities designed to fulfil the stated objectives. Examples of projects include the building of a house, the holding of an event like a party or even something as simple as completing a school assignment.
Project Management requires the organisation of people, equipment and procedures in an appropriate way to get a project completed within a set timeframe and budget. A Project Manager is responsible for the coordination of all these resources in order to achieve the project objectives.
The following need to be considered when planning a project
- Purpose and aim of the project
- Resources available both human and material
- Costing, human and time constraints
- The tasks, procedures or activities required to complete the project
Project management techniques are used by organisations because they ensure that organisational objectives and system objectives are being met in a timely, accurate, relevant and complete manner. They provide a way of controlling people, resources and procedures, and clearly identify the tasks that must be completed and the desired completion time.