Project management is the practice of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time.
The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals within the given constraints. This information is usually described in project documentation, created at the beginning of the development process. The primary constraints are scope, time, quality and budget. The secondary – and more ambitious – challenge is to optimize the allocation of necessary inputs and apply them to meet pre-defined objectives. The object of project management is to produce a complete project which complies with the client’s objectives. In many cases the object of project management is also to shape or reform the client’s brief in order to feasibly be able to address the client’s objectives. Once the client’s objectives are clearly established they should influence all decisions made by other people involved in the project for example project managers, designers, contractors and sub-contractors.
A project is a temporary endeavor designed to produce a unique product, service or result with a defined beginning and end (usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or staffing) undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value. The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast with business as usual (or operations), which are repetitive, permanent, or semi-permanent functional activities to produce products or services. In practice, the management of such distinct production approaches requires the development of distinct technical skills and management strategies.
The core components of project management are:
- Defining the reason why a project is necessary.
- Capturing project requirements, specifying quality of the deliverables, estimating resources and timescales.
- Preparing a business case to justify the investment.
- Securing corporate agreement and funding
- Developing and implementing a management plan for the project.
- Leading and motivating the project delivery team
- Managing the risks, issues and changes on the project.
- Monitoring progress against plan
- Managing the project budget.
- Maintaining communications with stakeholders and the project organization.
- Provider management.
- Closing the project in a controlled fashion when appropriate.