Project Management Introduction
If you are reading this it is most likely that you handle projects day in and day out. Some of the projects are obvious because of their name, while others are less obvious, maybe it is a detailed assignment such as preparing for a presentation.
A good definition of a project is: “a unique venture undertaken to produce distinct deliverables, products, or outcomes”. You could expand that slightly by including risk, since all projects are about change in some way.
In the context of a project, a deliverable is a discreet component or item that meets the requirements of the project, such as a design document or a prototype. Most projects have multiple variables of which some are straightforward to defined while others are not.
Extracting from the above definition of a project, the definition of project management is the practice of organizing, managing, and controlling project variables to meet the project outcomes and objectives.
The Four defined variables of a project
Scope. This is the work needed to produce the deliverables, products, or outcomes for the project
Time. This is the duration required to complete the project work
Costs. This is the funds required to complete the project
Resources. These are the people, equipment, material, supplies, and facilities needed to accomplish the project
The four undefined variables of a project
Change. This is the type, timing, number, and degree of modifications from a project baseline; as such, any of these changes can affect the project scope, time, cost, or resources. It is worth also mentioning that such changes will affect the deliverables, outcome or benefits.
Risk. This is the uncertainty associated with the scope, time, cost, resources, stakeholders, or environment that can threaten the completion of any aspect of the project
Stakeholders. A person who can affect or who is accepted by, the project, either positively or negatively
Environment. The location, culture, or organization in which the project occurs
The definition of the project manager
Although understanding the role, let alone the usefulness, of certain managers isn’t always easy, you can easily spot the value of a project manager.
This person creates the master plan for a project and ensures that it is implemented successfully. Along the way, the project manager uses technical, business, and professional skills to manage the completion of tasks and keep the schedule on track.
Many people carry out the act of project management simply because they built the skills up over time, however a truly professional project manager may have a degree in project management or a professional certification. One such example is called project management professional which shows that the individual has been certified by the project management institute.
PMI is the leading global organisation establishing project management standards and credentials, and offering education and other types of resources in the field.
Identifying what a project manager does
The project manager is not always the first authority on a project. Often, the apple belongs to whoever manages the project manager – including, possibly, members of senior management.
Rather, the project manager is the person who ensures that aspect of the project are integrated and assumes hands on responsibility for the successes as well as failures.
A person who champions and funds the project is called the project sponsor. Although the project manager may work for the project sponsor, the project often also has a customer, outside the project manager’s own company or within it, for whom the end product is produced.
The project manager’s essential responsibilities
The project manager must define and organize all work that needs to be done in order to meet the projects objectives and create the deliverables
This element includes the estimated steps and associated timing involved in reaching the project goal
Here the project manager assigned resources and tracks their activities on the project as well as resolving resource conflicts and building consensus. As part of a job also involves managing non human resources such as materials and equipment.
Communicate with the project team, management and customers
Here, the project manager communicates the project status to its stakeholders (everyone who has aided get them at stake in its success), and is a key responsibility
Creating a logical balance of the define variables of scope, time, cost, and resources is at the very core of of the project manager’s job at throughout the life of the project.
Managing a project requires overseeing all of its variables to ensure that the project goals are accomplished on time, within the limits of the budget, and using the assigned resources while also addressing risks, managing change, and satisfying stakeholders.
It is worth mentioning that the project manager will almost certainly be using this offer application to help the management of the project in terms of organizing, managing and controlling the defined variables.
As you can see, not only is the job of a project manager an important one, it is also a complex and highly responsible responsibility.