Project Management 101

Managing projects is a fundamental competency of any organization or enterprise in. The goal of this Project Management series is to provide you with the fundamentals to effectively manage projects and deliver on unique business objectives.

In this first post, I’ll cover: 

  1. What is Project Management?
  2. Project Characteristics
  3. The Project Life Cycle

Let’s  start with some definitions.

What is Project Management?

The Project Management Body of Knowledge 5th edition gives us the following definitions:

“A project is a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.”

“Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.”

Combining the 2 definitions, we get:

“Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to  a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service, or business result.”

Project Characteristics

Let’s dive in a bit further. Typically, projects possess the following characteristics: 

  • Unique. They are not a repetitive business process, such as quarterly budget planning. Projects are endeavours to deliver on a new product or business result.
  • Have a defined timescale. They have a clearly defined start and end date. 
  • Have an approved budget. They have a finite amount of financial resources allocated for its completion.
  • Have limited resources. They have a finite amount of capital, labor and equipment allocated for the project. 
  • Involve risk. There is a degree of uncertainty of the project’s success. Therefore, they carry a potential business risk.
  • Deliver value. The goal of a project is to improve an organization and deliver a beneficial desired outcome.

The Project Life Cycle

Projects are broken into a series of phases that describe the work required to carry out a project from initiation to completion. The names and nature of the phases will vary based on the industry, scope and objectives of the project. Regardless, each phase can be broken down into a set of inputs, key activities, and phase deliverables (outputs).

Project Life Cycle

The PMBOK Guide breaks down the Project Life Cycle into 5 main phases:

Project Phase Phase Deliverable Focus Area
Initiation The customer authorizes the creation of a project to deliver a specific objective. Understand the customer’s need.
Planning The planning of the project’s scope and deliverables are captured into a detailed project. Define what needs to be done.
Execution The project team carries out the project plan. Coordinate. Get it done.
Monitoring & Controlling Progress is reviewed against the project plan. Issues are identified and corrective actions are taken. Staying on track.
Closure The final product, service or business result is delivered and handed off to the customer. Deliver it to the customer.

The Goal of Project Management

As stated earlier, the goal of project management is to successfully deliver a specific objective or business result within the project constraints.

The challenge of effective project management is really about being able to satisfy your customer’s expectation by meeting all of the initial project requirements within the allocated schedule and budget.

I hope this post provides some early light on what Project Management is and how it can empower you and your organization to carry out endeavours to achieve specific company goals.

In the next few posts, I’ll tell you how to effectively manage a project from conception to closure throughout the many Project Life Cycle Phases.

Cheers till next time!

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