May
03

What Is Project Management?

By

Project management is the process of managing a project and a project is a unique, team oriented effort with a finite beginning and a finite end.  A project can be anything from creating a new revenue stream via product development, to reducing expenses via internal systems development, to planning a speaking engagement.  Due to the unique nature of project’s, they are not part of standard business operations, however, they do consume corporate resources.  Resources can include money, time, people, raw materials, facilities, and more.  These resources are known as the triple constraints of project management.

Today, project management is a crucial element for business success. Every year tens of billions of dollars are lost in the United States do to IT project failures alone. The skill set of a project manager must address the critical areas of project planning, scope management, cost and schedule control, change management, risk management, and communication.  The project manager is the team’s quarterback.  He is the first person blamed for project failure and ultimately the person who delivers bad news and is responsible for recovery plans.  The single greatest job of the project manager is that of communicator.

Project managers can enjoy an incredible career.  They have the opportunity to build products that can change the world.  Imagine being the project manager for the moon landing or the project manager for a cancer cure.  These are exciting projects that can energize a team and inspire the world.  Even construction project managers get the opportunity to build someone’s dream home.  Those individuals considering a career in project management should seek out a mentor to learn the profession.  The relationship with your mentor can last a lifetime.

Project management is fast becoming the preferred way for companies to operate.  In a global economy, project management makes a company more competitive than the traditional methods of managing work.  While rewarding, the project management environment is tough and requires strong leadership skills and a thick skin.  It is the project manager that makes the difference between success and failure of a project regardless of how large or complex the project is.  Every project manager must find their basis for leadership be it charisma, technical superiority, vertical line authority, or purse string authority.

The best leaders are always learning and most have obtained advanced project management training and decades of experience.  They represent the very top of the industry and are generally quick to mentor others, speak at seminars, or teach in classrooms.  Advanced training should include aligning project management with corporate strategy, managing complex projects, and managing international projects among other areas.  Senior project managers not only learn in classrooms and personal study, but also learn from continuing to manage projects year in and year out.  Traditional project management is not necessarily enough to ensure success any more.  A project manager can use all of the industry’s best practices and still fail.

As with the evolution of any discipline, project management tools and techniques have changed with time.  Over the years, project management has given birth to program management and the project management office (PMO).  The PMO has the responsibility of managing a company’s portfolio of projects.  In managing the portfolio, the PMO must evaluate the selection criteria for projects, the project metrics for selected projects, and whether or not selected projects align with corporate strategy.  As economic times change as we have seen in recent years, some projects may no longer align with corporate strategy and subsequently be cancelled.  While methods of project management may change in the future, it is certain that project management is here to stay.

Your path to business success.  

Categories : Project Management

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