Companies and organisations have certain tasks to achieve from time to time. These may range from new product development, installation of new machinery, replacing or upgrading old PP&E, constructing a new building or storage unit, etc.
These types of tasks require a combination of resources such as skills, tools, techniques, expertise, labour, finances and time. However, project management is important where the professional, scientific use of these resources at the utmost potential to complete and achieve such objectives is concerned.
So, what is project management?
Project management is the systematic professional application of processes to lead teamwork to complete projects using available resources. A project can be defined as any set of tasks or objectives that gives a benefit after completion.
These processes involve skills, finances and other available assets that can be productively used according to project management framework and methodologies to achieve maximal productive output.
Conventionally, project management-related procedures and processes are bound by limitations or specific criteria, including but not limited to:
Projects vary in nature, which is why different types of projects may require a combination of different resources for completion. Therefore, the resources required for a project and its respective limitations or bounds are also different depending on the type of project.
The art of project management for any task or project revolves around several core components. These components can be found in every project undertaken by a project manager and team members for completion.
These core components are:
Statement of Scope is the fundamental foundation of a project. It defines a project's necessity, why it is happening, and what value it brings to the customer.
Critical Success Determinants or Factors component of project management defines success for a project. It highlights deadlines, customer satisfaction, budget-specific production, employee-related expenses, and quality standards.
Deliverable Products & Services define the output of the project. Such output is to be measurable and therefore is included in project estimation. For example, building a new wall with a width of 5 inches & height of 3.67 meters; a 2.5 meters tall fence around the company plot.
Structure Breakdown for Actual Work outlines who does what exactly to complete the project. Tables are usually drawn in which tasks are delegated to relevant team members, and a record of utilised resources is kept.
Scheduling involves communicating task deadlines. It also involves the dispensation of duties relevant to completing tasks. Complex systems can be avoided if communication is maintained effectively with transparency.
Budgeting involves assigning fixed pools of funds for the completion of tasks. This also sets fixed monetary criteria against interrelated tasks. These tasks need to be completed within the given boundaries of a project fund.
Quality Assurance tasks and output quality checking procedures must be ensured. All tasks that yield any type of output must be checked against set standards. Moreover, such standards for quality checking must also be established.
HR Utilisation Plan is a defined plan that answers how, where, what, and when human resources will be employed. Project managers and teams will usually fall under the management of a resource manager for this purpose.
Stakeholder Listing all associated stakeholders must be considered before a project's commencement. For this reason, all stakeholders must be listed against their power, interests and concerns.
Communication Mediums are the most important factor for the success of project management phases. Information obtained from externalities of the project must be thoroughly and efficiently communicated to internal teams.
A Risk Register is made to draw up all project-related risks. The main purpose of a risk register is to identify risks that can arise throughout the life cycle of a project in progress.
Procuring Procedures are a thoroughly made procurement plan to obtain project materials, equipment, machinery and resources. This also involves procurement management which includes a quality check for obtained materials, usage of materials, and purchasing processes.
There are five phases of project management which every project undergoes. These are essential and are found throughout all project management plans:
The first phase of the project management process is to ensure that the project's scope meets and adds value to the concerns of the business. This phase also considers all internal and external stakeholders' concerns.
Project initiation discussions are discussed with project managers, business managers and stakeholders. The criteria against success factors are also determined in this phase against the project's life cycle timeline. A stakeholder register and statement of scope are drafted in this phase.
Planning is the second phase of project management. It involves drafting and outlining the procedures and processes teams need to perform. Specific requirements to meet deadlines and accomplish tasks with the present resources are detailed.
Experts who manage project teams establish communication to convey the requirements of all associated tasks to perform to meet project goals and objectives. Structure Breakdown for Work, Communication Mediums, Scheduling, Budgeting etc., are formulated at this stage.
The Execution is the third phase which involves all teams following the drafted plans and procedures to complete project tasks. At this stage, a project manager will ensure all project plans are followed with the utmost diligence.
Quality assurance is ensured during this phase of the project cycle so that no task is completed at a compromised quality.
Monitoring and controlling are the fourth phase of managing a project. At this stage, a project manager ensures that his teams follow the management plan. This involves tracking progress, team working time, schedule obedience, project requirements, task requirements, and consistently meeting objectives.
If, due to unforeseen circumstances, an extension is required from the stakeholder, tracking the above-mentioned factors can provide substantial proof of such a request. If a project manager has numerical data from tracking performance indicators, external stakeholder communication improves significantly.
Project completion is the last phase of a project's cycle. All tasks have been accomplished at this stage, and all relevant processes have been followed. These results are the completion and closure of the project.
At this stage, all relevant documentation is handed over to the relevant stakeholder board, and closure of the project is formally given.
Depending on the type of project, a project management methodology may vary. Seven project management methodologies are suited to specific types of projects and work best for them. These are:
Waterfall Project Management is perhaps the simplest type of project management method. Waterfall project management involves the accomplishment of a project in a sequence-based manner with long and detailed timelines.
Waterfall management divides a complete project into several sequential phases, each beginning after the prior one has been achieved, flowing in a sequence like a 'waterfall'.
Unlike Agile, waterfall management discourages flexible changes because the project team follows a linear or straightforward work pattern that conventionally does not change.
The Agile Project Management methodology combines flexibility with workflow and high-quality output. In Agile project management, project tasks and procedures are divided into small timelines segments called 'sprints'.
Tasks completed in sprints are reviewed consistently by project managers against stakeholder concerns and interests. Moreover, tasks are achieved in small increments of sprints and combined into a larger project outcome. It is more like the puzzle building blocks that, when combined, yield the full picture.
Agile methodology for managing a project is more flexible, and changes can be made easily. Although this methodology might be flexible, it still ensures that project output is of the highest quality.
Scrum Project Management is an Agile methodology which involves a Scrum Master as a team leader. The Scrum Master ensures that all team members work at optimal potential while keeping the flow of information from external and internal stakeholders, project managers and business managers transparent and timely.
A Scrum Master is an expert that ensures scrum values are being followed within the working teams. Moreover, daily scrum meetings are called, and tasks are achieved and accomplished within efficient short cycles of time called 'sprints'. Workflow is highly collaborative.
Kanban Project Management is an Agile methodology primarily focusing on visualising workflow and collaborative workflow with continuous feedback loops.
Kanban project management consists of the following principles:
Kanban prioritises continuous cycles of a project as well as team improvement. Kanban is also found throughout the world's organisations for project management.
The Lean Project Management method maximises value imparted to the customer. This specific goal is achieved by reducing all waste throughout the production cycle of the project, thus ensuring that the customer receives the highest value.
Lean project management follows the following principles for accomplishing a project:
Six Sigma Project Management is a project managing method in which the main focus is on reducing production errors, minimising waste and maximising the end value that the customer receives.
Corporate entities utilising Six Sigma use increased efficiency, which helps reduce production errors and retain maximal customer satisfaction. Consequently, Six Sigma usage allows the following:
The PRINCE2 Project Management approach focuses on completing specified projects with a concentration on controlling tasks and organisational success. That is why the PRINCE2 method of managing projects is also called Projects In Controlled Environments.
This methodology is based on seven key rules followed throughout a project. These are:
Apart from the professional frameworks of project management methods, there are ten essential knowledge areas important for project management. These are:
Project integration refers to the cohesive binding of team members in a project. Projects vary in nature and goals. Therefore, identifying teams and recognising skills, expertise, individual values, and binding factors is essential for successful management processes.
Team integration is a big part of project success, and therefore, project integration involves instilling project values and expectations to be integrated with team members and all resources collectively.
Project scope management is the management of the total time required to utilise resources in a specific manner to deliver or produce the final project, product and/or service.
Scope management is contemporary and involves ensuring that teams are aligned on proper workflows to reduce waste and outlay of labour resources, skills, utilities and potential every step of the way. Scope management keeps everyone involved in a project on the same page.
Managing time is an important asset in project management practices. Time is crucially important as it is one of the basic factors required for project completion. Completing tasks and achieving goals before deadlines are crucially important. External stakeholders are more inclined towards the deadline-meeting part of the project and finances than a project team's internal working.
Managing costs associated with a project is vital for a project. If costs are managed with proper mechanisms, then costs can decrease over time as production increases.
However, suppose unforeseen risks, events and occurrences related to a project are not considered. In that case, unexpected costs can increase over time and increase the project's total price significantly.
Ensuring quality procedures and production is followed throughout a project's life is important. Quality standards have to be ensured so that project criteria can be met consistently. If one task is completed at low quality, it can hinder the overall progress of an organisation.
Moreover, low-quality production can induce more problems at the end of the business. Not only does quality impact the project's outcome, but it also may have a butterfly effect on other interconnected departments, processes, tasks and duties.
Human resource management occurs because of the need for expert people required to work on the project. Human resource management aims to find the right people with the right skills and expertise that can productively contribute to the initiative's progress.
Moreover, managing human resources effectively ensures that costs can be kept low while labour can efficiently be employed. Project managers also hire resource managers responsible for managing human resources.
Project communication is vital as it is in any other corporate or business entity. Communication is key to ensuring all team members understand what is required and how it can be done.
Simply put, communication is key to the project's and the internal team's success, which is always viewed as a cohesive collective result.
Mitigating any risk is essential in ensuring that the project lasts until completion. Hazardous risk consideration is important, and all relevant risks to a project should be accounted for.
Risks related to HR, materials, equipment, tasks, team members, costs, transport etc., are all important elements that need to be considered for adequate management plans.
Procurement management involves acquiring project-related materials and resources in the best possible way. The means of how to acquire, where to acquire and when to acquire - all are determinants of a procurement management plan. Therefore, managing procurement procedures is also a central part of project management.
The representation of stakeholders in a project concerns their respective interests. Such concerns must be acknowledged fully for the success of a project. All associated teams, managers, and internal and external stakeholders' interests can be communicated with efficacy.
Project management is a vast discipline interconnected to all of these knowledge areas, representing actual practices.
There are numerous benefits of project management practices available to an organisation. Using project management ensures the following outcomes for any organisation:
The use of project management processes increases the productivity of available resources. Resource managers, project managers and teams increase an organisation's available output of resources.
Using efficient schedules that enhance cost optimising the combination of resources with expert project management skills ensures that the cost of a project is reduced significantly.
Furthermore, project managers are tasked with project completion duties within stipulated budget constraints. That is why, by employing project management, an organisation can greatly reduce project costs with budget optimisation.
Project management processes are highly collaborative in nature. Due to the complexity of individual team members, a team leader must be appointed to manage projects.
Consistent communication is maintained, rigorous checking of workflow and quality assurance standards are tested against work produced, exchange of skills and interrelated expertise of work members - all collectively working to achieve the project's accomplishment.
Therefore, project management promotes greater teamwork, integration and collaboration.
Project management procedures have a rigorous phase of testing deliverables' quality for output-producing tasks. This ensures that the customer receives the end product is of the highest standards within the set budget and schedule guidelines.
QA is a strict measure in project management. That is why when companies and businesses hire project managers to complete a certain task or objective, they entrust them fully because the quality of deliverables is assured.
Products and projects are produced at high-quality standards, as mentioned before. That is why customers receiving end products have greater value than production methods not optimised by project management methods.
Therefore, customer satisfaction increases, whereas waste management enhances with low errors and better factor of production optimisation.
Problems arise throughout the life cycle of a project. These problems need timely identification. Once these problems have been identified, problem-solving efforts can be fully employed.
Moreover, a project manager needs to make sure risks can be mitigated if they do arise. That is why project management, in essence, promotes problem-solving attitudes.
Are you interested in the vast field of project management as well? Do you have a problem-solving attitude and the hunger to drive successful efforts through teamwork, collaboration and brainstorming?
If your answer is yes, you are in the right place to start project management.
Finding out what area of project management interests you is the first step, such as project managing, team leading, resource management, costing etc. Once you have identified your interest, you can pick relevant certifications.
Once you pick a certification, you can register yourself with an accredited institute such as the Institute of Project Management. Once enrolled, industry experts will train you professionally in project managing practices.
A project management certification consists of theory, practice, workshops, case-study analysis, quantitative and qualitative reasoning emphasising game theory, Gantt Chart analysis and more in-depth indicators.
Once you have achieved your certification, you must fulfil CCR or Continuing Certification Requirement requisites. You must earn a certain amount of PDUs over a period of time.
The Institute of Project Management is an IPMA-accredited project management institute in Dublin, Ireland. With over 30 years of experience, IPM has committed itself to providing premium quality project management education for professionals, trainees, and students.
IPM has trained over 40,000 students and over 6,000 certified project managers - a proven record since 1989 for excellence and commitment to providing the best education in project management, which is internationally recognised.
Take the first step to transform your career prospects and project your growth to new heights.
Head over to the Institute of Project Management courses page, pick a certification of your interest and start your career transformation by enrolling today.