Definition and Introduction
Project management is the discipline of defining and achieving targets
optimizing the use of resources (time, money, people, materials,
energy, space, etc) over the course of a project (a set of activities of
Project Management is quite often the province and responsibility of
an individual project manager. This individual seldom participates
directly in the activities that produce the end result, but rather
strives to maintain the progress and productive mutual interaction of
various parties in such a way that overall risk of failure is reduced.
In contrast to on-going, functional work, a project is "a
temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or
service." The duration of a project is the time from its start to
its completion, which can take days, weeks, months or even years.
Typical projects include the engineering and construction of various
public or consumer products, including buildings, vehicles, electronic
devices, and computer software.
In recent years, the Project Management discipline has been applied
to Marketing and Advertising endeavors as they become more
technologically oriented and multiple communication channels become part
of the marketing mix.
Project Management Activities
Project Management is composed of several different types of
activities such as:
- Planning the work
- Assessing risk
- Estimating resources
- Organizing the work
- Acquiring human and material resources
- Assigning tasks
- Directing activities
- Controlling project execution
- Reporting progress
- Analyzing the results based on the facts achieved
Project control variables
Project Management tries to gain control over five variables:
- time - The amount of time required to complete the project.
Typically broken down for analytical purposes into the time required
to complete the components of the project, which is then further
broken down into the time required to complete each task
contributing to the completion of each component.
- cost - Calculated from the time variable. Cost to develop an
internal project is time multiplied by the cost of the team members
involved. When hiring an independent consultant for a project, cost
will typically be determined by the consultant or firm's hourly rate
multiplied by an estimated time to complete.
- quality - The amount of time put into individual tasks determines
the overall quality of the project. Some tasks may require a given
amount of time to complete adequately, but given more time could be
completed exceptionally. Over the course of a large project, quality
can have a significant impact on time and cost (or vice versa).
- scope - Requirements specified for the end result. The overall
definition of what the project is supposed to accomplish, and a
specific description of what the end result should be or accomplish.
- risk - Potential points of failure. Most risks or potential
failures can be overcome or resolved, given enough time and
Three of these variables can be given by external or internal
customers. The value(s) of the remaining variable(s) is/are then set by
project management, ideally based on solid estimation techniques. The
final values have to be agreed upon in a negotiation process between
project management and the customer. Usually, the values in terms of
time, cost, quality and scope are contracted.
There are several approaches that can be taken to managing project
activities including agile, iterative, incremental, and phased
A traditional phased approach identifies a sequence of steps to be
completed. This contrasts with the agile software development or
flexible product development approach at the other end of the spectrum,
in which the project is seen as a series of relatively small tasks
conceived and executed as the situation demands in an adaptive manner,
rather than as a completely pre-planned process.
Regardless of the approach employed, careful consideration needs to
be given to clarity surrounding project objectives, goals, and
importantly, the roles and responsibilities of all participants and
In the traditional approach, we can distinguish 5 components
of a project (4 stages plus control) in the development of a project:
- project initiation (Kick-off)
- project planning
- project production or execution
- project monitoring or controlling
- project completion
Not all projects will visit every stage as projects can be terminated
before they reach completion. Some projects probably don't have the
planning and/or the monitoring. Some projects will go through steps 2, 3
and 4 multiple times.
Many industries utilize variations on these stages. For example, in
bricks and mortar architectural design, projects typically progress
through stages like Pre-Planning, Conceptual Design, Schematic Design,
Design Development, Construction Drawings (or Contract Documents), and
Construction Administration. While the names may differ from industry to
industry, the actual stages typically follow common steps to problem
solving--defining the problem, weighing options, choosing a path,
implementation and evaluation.
Critical chain is the latest extension to the traditional critical
In critical studies of project management, it has been noted that
several of these fundamentally PERT-based models are not well suited for
the multi-project company environment of today. Most of them are aimed
at very large-scale, one-time, non-routine projects, and nowadays all
kinds of management are expressed in terms of projects. Using complex
models for "projects" (or rather "tasks") spanning a
few weeks has been proven to cause unnecessary costs and low
maneuverability in several cases. Instead project management experts try
to identify different "lightweight" models, such as, for
example Extreme Programming for software development and Scrum
techniques. The generalization of extreme programming to other kinds of
projects is extreme project management, which may be used in combination
with the process modeling and management principles of human interaction
Links to Project Management Resources
Some of the following websites may not let you read the content
without registration. In addition some of them may charge fee to access
ALLPM.Com: ALLPM.Com was founded in 1998 with one simple vision: to help project managers succeed in their careers and in their projects by leveraging the power of the internet to build an world-wide open and free community of project managers. In furtherance of this vision, ALLPM has grown over the years to encompass new tools, features and information, all intended to help project managers help themselves and others be more successful.
GanttHead.com: gantthead provides help to project managers in a number of ways. It is a community for IT project managers, giving you Connections - to others who are managing projects like yours. It is a place to get started - processes that you can customize for your needs, where you can get in touch with experts - real people who understand what you are going through News that matters - stories that relate to what you are trying to accomplish and Advice you need - tips on the art of managing your effort 'Just-in-time' Consulting - Providing services ranging from answering questions, reviewing deliverables, and participating in meetings remotely. These
services can be an hour on the phone with an expert or live consulting on your site, whichever is best for you.
Microsoft Project Users Group:
MPUG-Global (Microsoft Project Users Group) is the official international community supporting Microsoft Project. Launched in 1997, the organization serves as an ongoing resource for members to improve their understanding of MS Project and to help maintain their investment in the tool. Currently,
MPUG-Global has over 2100 members and 30 chapters worldwide.
NewGrange Center: Welcome to the NewGrange Center for Project Management. We are an international web based organization. Our mission is to further the discussion of project management as a professional discipline. Our focus is a hands-on, practical approach to project management. We want to know what really works, why it works and how to replicate it consistently.
American Society for PM: asapm is a not-for-profit professional society dedicated to advancing the project management discipline. Working with members, asapm provides the leadership for professional growth of both members and the profession. Enhancement of the profession benefits project practitioners, their respective organizations, and the project management community. asapm is working at the forefront of the project management discipline to push practices, procedures, and techniques to their best use.
Project Management Wisdom: Welcome to my project management site I have been engaged on projects all my working life and have been studying project management for the last three decades. The reason is simple — I just enjoy the satisfaction of getting things done...It is not for me to tell you how to run your project — that's your decision. Nor am I trying to teach you about project management — there are plenty of excellent books and courses to do that. You see, any fool can make things complicated, my purpose is to help you keep it simple!
PMFORUM Library: Welcome to the PMFORUM Library, your gateway to project management knowledge and information from around the world. Open a door below for access to PM books, journals and publications produced by project management experts and organizations worldwide. If you don't find the resource you need, please let us know. Additions to the PMFORUM Library occur regularly.
Project Management KnowledgeBase. This is said to be Web's most extensive free PM library. You’ll find articles, tools and techniques from our 100’s of years of collective PM experience to help you in each of these areas. Visit our KnowledgeBase for free materials as well as our bookstore and training sections.
Project Smart: Project Smart is the Internet based project management resource that helps managers at all levels to improve their performance. This site provides an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With regular monthly updates it keeps you in touch with the latest project management thinking. Find out what's new this month.
PM Boulevard: PM Boulevard is an online resource delivering quality project management information designed to help you in your day-to-day tasks. As the most comprehensive PM resource on the Web, PM Boulevard offers access to an extensive Knowledge Center, a dynamic Knowledge Mapping System, an e-Learning training center, a virtual project management office
(PMO), and personalized online consulting services. PM Boulevard also provides news, links, and other PM resources to keep you up to date on the industry's latest trends.
The Project Connection: The ProjectConnections Community offers a variety of ways to interact with experts and peers, ranging from our ongoing "Critical Path" discussion forum to regularly scheduled events and learning groups on specific topics. Our Know-How section provides a wealth of resources to support your work. It includes a "knowledge base" with primers on key topics in the field as well as a rapidly growing list of valuable templates you can download and put to use immediately. We also offer guides to the most useful books, periodicals, papers, and web sites. In our Marketplace you'll find a comprehensive buyers' guide to vendors of
training, consulting, and tools as well as "storefronts" from some of the leading companies in the field.
The PMFORUM : The PMFORUM offers personal and company services for improved web use productivity. The free Time and Expense Sheet will give you recording of time and expense from any location world wide. Additionally, you can quickly establish a PM Virtual Office for remotely located colleagues to conduct a web based conference and project management related work discussions. eFax is a service that lets you receive all your faxes at your existing email address formatted as an email message! The World Time site provides the time in every major city and country in the world. Use Dialpad to make free telephone calls and the Currency Converter a quick look at the value of
expenses and costs in other international locations.
PMI: Since its founding in 1969, Project Management Institute
(PMI®) has grown to be the organization of choice for project management professionalism. With almost 95,000 members worldwide,
PMI® is the leading nonprofit professional association in the area of Project Management. PMI establishes Project Management standards, provides seminars, educational programs and professional certification that more and more organizations desire for their project leaders.
Projects@Work: Projects@Work is the only business-to-business magazine of its kind, written for professionals with front-line responsibility for project management. Published bimonthly, Projects@Work presents case studies, practical information and applications, product updates and news. Projects@Work magazine complements the ProjectWorld Conferences by providing another quality media channel and information source for project managers. Learn what your peers in the project management field are doing to manage projects more effectively.