What is Project Management?

A project in any organization is collaboration across departments to achieve a single well defined objective. The process of planning, organizing and managing resources to achieve the organizational objective is called project management.

Project management is very important in production of goods and services. Idea generation to final production of product or service, each step can be categorized as individual projects. Any project requires a project manager, who leads the project to its logical conclusion. Project manager is responsible for appointing team members with different background but essential in completion of the project.

Project Characteristics

A project is not normal day to day activity undertaken by organization rather it is specific, non-routine activity of varying time frame and impact viability of the business in the long run. A typical project has following characteristics:

  • Timeline: A project has a definite timeline with measurable starting and end point.

  • Resources: A project has limited resource of capital and manpower.

  • Tools: Special type of tools and techniques are used for project management (Gantt Charts, etc.)

  • Team: Project management requires diverse team stretching across departments and functions.

Project Life Cycle

A typical project is divided into following phases. Each phase of the project has its own importance and impact on overall success of the project.

  • Initiation Phase: In this phase of the project, feedback received from customers is analyzed and brainstorming is done as to develop new product or modify existing product to meet the new demands.

  • Project Definition Phase: In this phase of the project efforts are made to define the solution for the problem posed by customers.

  • Feasibility Study: In this phase, planning of the project is made and definite milestones are established.

  • Project Execution: In this phase all activities and milestones established in the earlier phase are executed in a timely and orderly manner. This phase utilizes maximum of all resources.

  • Project Conclusion: This is the last phase of the project. In this phase, final product or service is handed over to the operations team for commercial production.

Project Management Activities

Project management activities are mainly divided into three main categories Planning, Scheduling and Controlling.

  1. Planning: Planning activities include defining project objective, resource planning, etc.

  2. Scheduling: Scheduling activities include developing detailed milestones and guidelines for the project. These activities are performed typically before actual initiation of the project.

  3. Controlling: Controlling activities include developing budget and finance control points, measuring of scheduled tasks are performed.

Project Management Techniques

There are several techniques utilized for project management. Some of the techniques are as follows, and they are mainly used for project scheduling.

  • Gantt Charts: These charts are used to depict the project tasks against time. It monitors progress of individual project tasks and also highlights dependency if any between those project tasks.

  • Network Planning Techniques: These techniques show the relationship between project activities, project duration, critical path, constraints of non-critical activities and resource utilization. There are two types of network planning techniques Critical Path Method (CPM) and Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT).

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Project Management