Defining Project Management

Project management is the process of guiding a project from its beginning through its performance to its closure. Project management includes three basic operations:

i Planning: Specifying the desired results, determining the schedules, and estimating the resources i Organizing: Defining people's roles and responsibilities i Controlling: Reconfirming people's expected performances, monitoring actions and results, addressing problems, and sharing information with interested people

Successfully performing these activities requires:

i Information: Accurate, timely, and complete data for the planning, performance monitoring, and final assessment i Communication: Clear, open, and timely sharing of information with appropriate individuals and groups i Commitment: Team members' personal promises to produce the agreed-upon results on time and within budget

Projects are temporary, created to achieve particular results. So when the results are achieved, the project should end. But this transitory nature of projects may create some challenges such as the following:

^ Additional assignments: Project managers may be asked to accept a new project in addition to — not in lieu of — existing assignments. And they may not be asked how the new work may affect their existing projects. (Higher management may just assume the project manager can handle it all.) When conflicts arise over a person's time, the guidelines or procedures to resolve those conflicts may not exist or may be inadequate.

^ New people on new teams: On small projects, project managers often seek the help of other people. But on larger efforts, people who haven't worked together before may be formally assigned to a project team. In fact, some people may not even know each other. These unfamiliar relationships may slow the project down because team members may

• Have different operating and communicating styles.

• Use different procedures for performing the same type of activity.

• Not have had the time to develop mutual respect and trust.

^ No direct authority: For most projects, the project manager and team members have no direct authority over each other. Therefore, the rewards that usually encourage top performance (such as salary increases, superior performance appraisals, and job promotions) aren't available. In addition, conflicts over time commitments or technical direction may require input from a number of sources. As a result, they can't be settled with one, unilateral decision.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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