Project management is the discipline of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria. 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 deliverables) 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 these two systems is often quite different, and as such requires the development of distinct technical skills and management strategies.
The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals within the given constraints. This information is usually described in a user or project manual, which is 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 integrate them to meet pre-defined objectives.
Traditionally (depending on what project management methodology is being used), project management includes a number of elements: four to five project management process groups, and a control system. Regardless of the methodology or terminology used, the same basic project management processes or stages of development will be used. Major process groups generally include:
In project environments with a significant exploratory element (e.g., research and development), these stages may be supplemented with decision points (go/no go decisions) at which the project's continuation is debated and decided. An example is the Phase–gate model.
A project manager is a professional in the field of project management. Project managers can have the responsibility of the planning, execution, controlling, and closing of any project typically relating to the construction industry, engineering, architecture, computing, and telecommunications. Many other fields of production engineering, design engineering, and heavy industrial have project managers.
A project manager is the person accountable for accomplishing the stated project objectives. Key project management responsibilities include creating clear and attainable project objectives, building the project requirements, and managing the triple constraint (now including more constraints and calling it competing constraints) for projects, which is cost, time, and scope for the first three but about three additional ones in current project management.
A project manager is often a client representative and has to determine and implement the exact needs of the client, based on knowledge of the firm they are representing. The ability to adapt to the various internal procedures of the contracting party, and to form close links with the nominated representatives, is essential in ensuring that the key issues of cost, time, quality and above all, client satisfaction, can be realized.
Project management can apply to any project, but it is often tailored to accommodate the specific needs of different and highly specialized industries. For example, the construction industry, which focuses on the delivery of things like buildings, roads, and bridges, has developed its own specialized form of project management that it refers to as Construction project management and in which project managers can become trained and certified. The Information technology industry has also evolved to develop its own form of Project management that is referred to as IT Project management and which specializes in the delivery of technical assets and services that are required to pass through various lifecycle phases such as planning, design, development, testing, and deployment. Biotechnology project management focuses on the intricacies of biotechnology research and development.
For each type of project management, project managers develop and utilize repeatable templates that are specific to the industry they're dealing with. This allows project plans to become very thorough and highly repeatable, with the specific intent to increase quality, lower delivery costs, and lower time to deliver project results.
The United States Department of Defense states; "Cost, Schedule, Performance, and Risk," are the four elements through which Department of Defense acquisition professionals make trade-offs and track program status. There are also international standards. Risk management applies proactive identification (see tools) of future problems and understanding of their consequences allowing predictive decisions about projects.
The work breakdown structure (WBS) is a tree structure that shows a subdivision of effort required to achieve an objective—for example a program, project, and contract. The WBS may be hardware-, product-, service-, or process-oriented (see an example in a NASA reporting structure (2001)).
A WBS can be developed by starting with the end objective and successively subdividing it into manageable components in terms of size, duration, and responsibility (e.g., systems, subsystems, components, tasks, sub-tasks, and work packages), which include all steps necessary to achieve the objective.
The work breakdown structure provides a common framework for the natural development of the overall planning and control of a contract and is the basis for dividing work into definable increments from which the statement of work can be developed and technical, schedule, cost, and labor hour reporting can be established. The work breakdown structure can be displayed in two forms one in form of a table with subdivision of tasks two in form of an organisational chart.
There have been several attempts to develop project management standards, such as:
An increasing number of organizations are using, what is referred to as, project portfolio management (PPM) as a means of selecting the right projects and then using project management techniques as the means for delivering the outcomes in the form of benefits to the performing private or not-for-profit organization.
Project management software is software used to help plan, organize, and manage resource pools, develop resource estimates and implement plans. Depending on the sophistication of the software, functionality may include estimation and planning, scheduling, cost control and budget management, resource allocation, collaboration software, communication, decision-making, workflow, risk, quality, documentation and/or administration systems.
Virtual program management (VPM) is management of a project done by a virtual team, though it rarely may refer to a project implementing a virtual environment It is noted that managing a virtual project is fundamentally different from managing traditional projects, combining concerns of telecommuting and global collaboration (culture, timezones, language).Source : Wikipedia