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Project Management Blog

An introduction to project management

11-09-2013

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A vital part of any business, project management is the science of organising the components of an idea to create something whole. This can be anything from the development of a new product, a marketing campaign or even an event.

Professional project managers know that their work is always temporary, in that it has to have a clearly defined time frame in which everything must be completed. Caps are also placed on budget, scope and resources to inform the manager during planning, with this also guaranteeing that the original objectives for the project are met.

Companies across a range of sectors employ project managers to aid them in the delivery of their grand plans. Although knowledge in a particular field is always important, workers can apply their skills in a range of industries with the right project management qualifications.

The management of a typical project involves five separate stages: definition, planning, execution, control and closure, although there are countless schools of thought on how these should be done. Here's how plans are turned into reality with successful project management.

Define and plan

The first stage sees the project manager and the commissioner discussing their visions and what they both hope to achieve by undertaking the task. Certain project deliverables will also be covered during this period, including the outcome of a specific set of activities.

Planning is arguably one of the hardest stages to contend with, as all long-term and short-term projects must run to a strict deadline. It's at this stage where the project manager lists all the tasks that need to be done, why they need to be done, how they're all related as well as how long each will take.

While a deadline for the project's completion will be outlined, the manager might also set milestones for when certain aspects of the assignment must be met.

The planning section sees the project manager identify how many people will be needed too, as well as how much the project is likely to cost and any other requirements that must be specified before work can begin.       

Execution

Once the team has been made aware of its resources and budget, the project manager then has to assign each member with a task. They will use their judgement and experience to see strengths in each individual before handing them a suitable role. 

From this point onwards, the project manager is in charge of controlling the assignment and keeping on top of its progress, changes made to the original plan as well as any issues faced by the team. These are relayed back to the commissioner for further review and, in the case of proposed changes, their own approval.

Completion

Finally the project manager and commissioner pull together the project team as well as any parties with an interest in their plans - whether they're shareholders or sponsors - to analyse the final outcome of their work. If the correct procedures have been taken beforehand, most of the attendees will have a good idea of what they're about to see. 

Author: Richard Towey

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