Project Management is a vast and growing field of science which deals with the question of how to manage your projects more effectively.
Project management is defined as the process and activity of planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals in scientific or daily problems. Project management is a process of solving problems, or taking advantage of new business opportunities.
What is a Project?
A project is an activity with a beginning, a specific goal to accomplish, a budget of time & resources, and an end. The goal can be constructing a new apartment building, expanding your business into new product categories, or expanding your distribution network. All projects have constraints of man power, time and money.
A Project Manager has to be good at getting things done. She should have the technical and interpersonal skills required to complete the project. Her job includes identifying the work that needs to be done, building a schedule, launching the project and monitoring performance to make sure it stays on time and within budget. Strong leadership skills are a necessary trait in a successful project manager.
The process of the Waterfall Approach to Project Management consists of five basic steps.
1. Initiating the Project
This stage of Project Management defines the problem clearly. This is the preliminary stage of project management. In this stage, the project manager has to define the problem clearly. The main project goal should be determined, along with major time-bound and measurable objectives to be achieved. Success criteria should also be defined in a measurable way to track progress.
2. Planning the Project
Once the main problems to be accomplished are defined, the work of planning to solve those problems begins. A project manager has to define a plan of action to solve the problem, evaluate various strategies for accomplishing the stated objectives, a schedule of time and resources required to achieve success. The project manager is responsible for building the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and building a schedule according to WBS. The budget is created to which include all the man power, equipment and material resources required to achieve the objectives. Probable risks are identified and a Risk Management Plan is created to offset any unknowns. Standards for quality are set in a measurable way and a quality management plan is created, Important stakeholders of the project are identified, and a communications plan is created to facilitate quick feedback during the execution of the project.
3. Executing the Project
Once the planning stage is complete, and a plan of action is developed, to accomplish the goals set in the preliminary stages, the project is launched. The plan designed by the project manager is set put into action.
4. Monitoring & Controlling the Project
In this stage, a plan for gathering and reporting progress is followed. The project is monitored closely to make sure it is on track and can fulfill the set objectives. If any obstacles are encountered, then proper steps can be taken bring the project back on track.
5. Finishing the Project
Finally, once the goals of the project are achieved, the project is deemed completed. The project performance can now be documented and lessons learnt for the future. A project manager should find out what worked, and what did not, so that better efficiency can be achieved in the future.
Recommended resources for further study
Open2Study is an Australian Online Education resource. This site offers a free video course, Principles of Project Management by Sue Dowson from Polytechnic West — https://www.open2study.com/courses/principles-of-project-management
Thousands of students have studied this course. You are free to register. You can also get accredited qualifications which can be helpful in your career.