What is Project Management?

If you’ve taken any kind of class on Project Management you covered this definition, most likely, on the first day of class. According to the Project Management Institute, Project Management is the application of knowledge, skills and techniques to execute projects effectively and efficiently. It sounds so simple. And so easy. If it’s so simple, and so easy, why do most companies suck at it?

A project is routinely defined as a temporary endeavor that has a defined start and stop. This also means it has a defined scope and resources (i.e. people, time, money), is unique in that it’s not a routine operation and employs personnel who usually don’t work together. All of these things must be expertly managed in order to deliver the project on-time and on-budget. Project Management is the application of skills and knowledge to execute projects successfully and efficiently. Project Management is commonly made up of the following process groups:

  • Initiating – This is the development of the Project Charter and identification of the project stakeholders.
  • Planning – Planning is the writing the Project Management Plan, collecting requirements, defining the scope, building the project schedule and determining the project budget.
  • Executing – Is the processes of directing and managing project execution, developing and managing the project team, distributing information, and managing stakeholder expectations.
  • Monitoring and Controlling – This is the monitoring and controlling of project work, scope, and schedule; conducting integrated change control, reporting project performance and controlling risks.
  • Closing – Closing is the process of closing out all aspects of the project including work, procurements, and finances.

These may seem complicated, and perhaps even overkill, but for anyone whose been involved in projects they do make some sense. Not every organization performs, or even calls, the processes the same but the premise of each remains the same. My experience is that regardless of what you call them, if an organization has some defined processes in place for the management of projects they will see far more successes than failures. Unfortunately, few organizations take the time to develop project management processes and leave it up to individual project managers or controls personnel to try and keep projects on time and within budget.

Do you work for an organization that has defined project management processes or do they just leave you to wing it and hope for the best?

Author: Bryan

Bryan served in the military for 16 years then broke into the field of project scheduling. When not working he enjoys cycling, watching sports, and messing with the cats.

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