What is Project Management?
Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements. The process of project management as per the PMBOK® Guide consists of 5 process groups and these groups incorporate 47 logically grouped project management processes. The process groups are as follows:
Monitoring and Controlling, and
Process Groups of Project Management
However, the project management processes are different in each industry; the basic elements are same. Let’s understand these process groups one-by-one now:
The Initiating phase is critical to a project’s success. It determines the scope and nature of the project. An understanding of the business environment and incorporation of all necessary controls into the project are focal points of this phase.
Once the project is started, the next step is detailed planning and integration of ideas. It involves planning of time, cost and resources adequately to evaluate the work required to be done and to manage risk during execution of the project.
After outlining essential tasks and project scope, the implementation of tasks and distribution of responsibilities takes place. It ensures that the project management plan's deliverables are executed accordingly.
Monitoring and Controlling:
This phase includes keeping a check on the project as it advances. In this, the execution of the project is observed and monitored so that the errors can be identified and then rectified before they can cause any damage.
After all tasks are completed and approved, the project is evaluated for quality and precision. This phase involves the formal acceptance of the project and its closure.
Consider an example of an IT project. The first step would be analysis and requirement gathering. This is the Initiation phase of the project. Keep in mind that if your project is lacking a purpose or creativity, the stakeholders or project sponsors might not want to invest in it.
Next step would be planning for important constraints like scope, cost, quality, duration, risk, resources, etc. This is the planning phase. Some processes and activities performed in this phase are done by using GANTT charts, development of the schedule, milestone charts, etc.
Next, project deliverables are developed and completed according to an already mapped-out plan. It will include tasks like attending status meetings and project status updates. It is called the executing phase.
Once the process is in action, you will need to measure the project performance and progression based on the project plan. This is monitoring and controlling phase. Some of the processes like scope verification and control are done to check scope creep, measuring key performance indicators for time and cost are done to measure the degree of variation. If there is any scope of fault, variation, or improvement, corrective measures should be taken to keep the project on track.
As the above figure suggests, the process of planning, executing, and controlling continues till every possibility of error is removed and the project is going in-line with the set plan. If everything goes well, delivery of the product, relieving of resources, distribution of awards or recognition to the team members and formal termination of contractors follows. This phase marks the closing phase of the project.
Functions of Project Management
To manage a project successfully, one needs to:
Acknowledge the various concerns, needs, and expectations of the stakeholders when planning and executing the project.
Arrange, maintain, and execute active, productive, and collaborative communications among stakeholders.
Manage stakeholders towards meeting project requirements and create project deliverables.
Balance the competing project constraints.
Project Management Constraints:
The management of a project is dependent on many factors. Some of them are:
All the project constraints are related to each other in such a way that if one-factor changes, minimum one other factor has to be adjusted too. For instance, if the initial schedule is shortened, usually the budget has to be increased to get additional resources and finish the work with same quality in less time. However, altering the project requirements or objectives may generate more risks. The team needs to be able to assess the situation, balance the demands, and uphold proactive communication with the stakeholders to deliver a successful project.
Since a project is modified continuously throughout the project lifecycle, the progress of the project management plan is an iterative task. When more precise and elaborate information becomes available as the project evolves, it is improved and detailed to a higher level of depth and accuracy.
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