What is Project Management?

Project management is a discipline that involves starting, planning, delegating, controlling, and finishing a team project, usually in a professional setting. The project usually has certain goals and projected outcomes which must be met for the project to be deemed a success.

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Projects might include creating a product, service, or campaign. They usually have a clear beginning and end, and may be constrained by factors such as funding, quality, scope, deadlines, or manpower. The goal of a project is usually to bring added value, knowledge, or change to an organization.

Projects are temporary, which makes them unique from recurring business operations. Recurring business operations are semi-permanent and repetitive. With project management, a large part of the challenge is figuring out the best way to achieve the projected outcomes within the timeframe. As a result, business-as-usual operations and project management operations are quite different in nature, and require a different set of managerial and technical skills.

Stages of Project Management

Project management involves several different stages. These include:

  • Initiating. In the initiating process stage, the nature and scope of the project is identified. During the initiating stage, it’s important to consider the business or organization’s needs, review current operations, analyze costs and benefits, identify stakeholders, and create a project charter. When this stage is not completed properly, it is difficult for the end result to meet the business’ needs.
  • Planning. During the planning stage, a detailed plan is drawn up. The purpose of the plan is to schedule deadlines within a larger time constraint, allocate resources, and manage risk while the project is being executed. A project plan should include a schedule, a budget, risk assessments, formal approval, cost and time estimates, resource requirements, a list of activities, and allocation of responsibilities.
  • Executing. The execution stage ensures that the points of the plan are carried out effectively and efficiently. This phase results directly in the completion of the project’s deliverables.
  • Monitoring. The monitoring and controlling stage includes a framework for identifying problems or deficiencies and correcting them. Potential problems must be dealt with in a timely and effective manner in order for the project to proceed as planned and objectives met. This includes keeping all members involved informed of the progression of the project and whether it varies from the plan. If it does vary from the plan, all members must be made aware of the corrective action to take.
  • Closing. Closing is the final stage in the management of a project. It includes the formal completion of the project and the end result. Related activities may include closing a contract and resolving any unresolved issues. It may also include a review of the outcomes of the project. If any errors were made throughout, this post-review offers an opportunity for members to learn from them. Items that were well-implemented may also be discussed at this time.

There are various project management styles, including traditional approaches, PRINCE2, critical chain project management, process-based project management, lean project management, benefits project management, and extreme project management. Each style has its own advantages and disadvantages.   

Project Collaboration Management

Project collaboration management is a type of project management that focuses on ensuring that collaboration is facilitated. This may include the use of software to share files and documents, sessions when team members can express concerns and difficulties, and identification of strengths and weaknesses of each collaborator.

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