0 - FOUNDATIONAL ELEMENTS
1- I N I T I A T I N G
2 - P L A N N I N G
3 - E X E C U T I N G
4 - C O N T R O L L I N G
5 - C L O S I N G

0.3 What is project management?

What is project management

This section will help you understand what project management is.

Lots of project managers get their start because they are good at making things happen. But project management is more than showing off your organizational skills and supervising others. It means applying knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to achieve your project’s objectives. Project management can be summed up as answering a few crucial questions.

The first question you must answer is, what problem are you solving? Clearly defining what the project is supposed to accomplish is a big step toward making it a success. If you do not know where you are going, you will pay the costs and take the time to go somewhere but that is not necessarily where you should have gone.

The second question is “how are you going to solve this” problem? Whether you are solving a problem or pursuing an opportunity, you might have to choose from several possible strategies.

Once you have picked your approach, it is time to flesh out your solution, gathering requirements, identifying deliverables, and defining project scope.

The next question is, what is your plan? A big part of project management is planning your project. You must identify the work to be done, in detail. How long it might take, the resources you need, and how much they cost. With that info in hand, you can build a schedule of when work should occur. While you are at it, you also need to spell out how you want things to happen in your project, like communication, managing changes, and so on.

Some projects seem to go on forever, but eventually someone will pull the plug if it does not finish. That is why you also must answer the question, how will you know when you are done?

Clearly defined goal, objectives, requirements, and deliverables help answer that question, but you can eliminate uncertainty by defining success criteria, quantifiable, measurable results that show that the project is complete, like a certificate of occupancy, for construction, or increased productivity measurements after a system is implemented.

When you get to the end of the project, you are ready to answer the last question, how well did the project go? This important step is often skipped, because everyone is so ready to move on to the next deal. You really need to take time to review the project. What worked well, what didn’t, why? How could we have done better?

Project management boils down to answering several questions about your project, what problem are you solving, how are you going to solve it, what’s your plan for getting the project done, how can you tell when you’re done, and how well did the project go?