Define Project Management
Start with the basics!
Start with the basics!
Conventionally, if you were asked to define project management you could argue that it is the planning organising and controlling of resources, to successfully complete a specific project by meeting the original objectives set.
Alternatively, and perhaps more succinctly, you could define project management as: making a project happen successfully. In this article we will explore the contrasting requirements of managing a project compared to managing day-to-day operations. We will ask how you can define project management in a way that recognises the project’s value to you, and to your organisation.
Project management is about the management process and skills needed to manage a project. It therefore helps to first understand what is meant by a project.
There are therefore a wide range of demanding challenges posed by managing a project that are often not experienced when managing a normal operation or process.
A typical definition of project management often misses the personal aspect of how you might define project management. Tom Peters suggests that we all should regard more and more of what we do as projects; opportunities to perform, to build our own track record and to find projects that make a difference.
So in defining project management for yourself, it is well worthwhile considering how you can make an impact with a project. Peters calls such projects “WOW” projects – special projects.
If we add this notion of how we gain benefit from projects to our understanding then we might define project management as:
The bringing together of people with the right skills to develop something different, or new, using effective management processes: doing it on time, to the agreed budget and to meet expectations. In doing so inspiring the project team and producing something special for those who will benefit from the project.
The implications of such a definition are that if you manage a project it is likely that:
Finally projects should result in things being better, and valuable improvements made. There are numerous ways to define a project: make sure that you don’t miss out defining it as an opportunity.
In our article: What is project management?, we explore how our view of project might be changing as more and more project management becomes a part of the day job for many managers.
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I am currently producing learning materials to support the Institute of Leadership and Management’s VRQ at Level 4 and would like to incorporate some of your stuff into the workbooks.