Project management is about knowing exactly what your goals are, how you’re going to achieve them, what resources you’ll need, and how long it will take you to reach that specific goal. In fact, project management’s goal is to make sure that everyone involved in a project knows these and is aware of the purpose of the project.
The discipline itself is an organized manner of managing a project from its beginning to a defined ending. All projects need a structure. Hence, the complexity and length of the project are equivalent to a more advanced and detailed project plan.
Almost every project goes through these five steps during its life cycle:
- Discover what the client needs to determine the project’s goals.
- Elaborate a plan that will tell you what needs to be done, by whom, how much it will cost, and when the project should be delivered.
- Start working.
- Check if work goes according to the initial plan, identify problems, and make adjustments.
- Deliver the project and close all contracts once you get the client’s approval.
Sometimes, projects can follow four phases if project execution is done together with monitoring activities. If you’d like to know more about these, check out this guide to the four essential project management phases.
The “project manager” is in charge of the planning and execution of a project. He makes sure that everything is following the client’s vision and quality standards. He will also be held accountable for the project’s success or failure.
People have been “managing projects” for centuries. They went from using traditional tools such as pen and paper to the use of advanced technologies. Currently, project managers employ the use of project management tools to speed up and ease the entire work process.
Take a look at this visual representation of what project management is to better understand the concept:
The importance of project management
Why is project management important? Without project management, a project’s development would be chaotic. The discipline’s main goal is to ensure that everyone involved in a project knows exactly what needs to be done, for how long they have to complete an activity, what resources are available, and whom they should talk to in case they encounter a problem.
If everybody clearly knows what they have to do, there will be much higher chances of meeting the project’s requirements. Also, mistakes that otherwise would require additional time to fix are eliminated from the start. These could lead you to lose important data and resources in the process.
But, what makes project management successful? Its main goal is to ensure the final success of a project. A project is successful once all objectives have been followed on time and on budget and the client is pleased with the quality of the project.
Some key indicators that can show you whether a project is on track include defined goals, an organized project plan, team collaboration and commitment, enough funds and resources, respected deadlines, few errors, and effective mistake correction.
The main benefits of using project management principles in your daily work are:
- You can see what task you’re assigned to and which resources should be used including budget and available tools.
- By tracking your time, you can create timesheet reports, analyze them to find free time for additional tasks, establish the next steps of the project, or estimate deadlines for future projects.
- The monitoring stage of project management allows you to identify errors and mistakes whenever they occur through a detailed look at what all employees are doing and which resources they are using.
- Assign a team member to solve a problem using available resources within the available time frame.
- Different team members can be assigned to a project or task and collaborate in real time to successfully complete it.
- Through project transparency, everyone in charge of a project will be able to see what the team is working on or bring their own contribution to the development of the project.
- Project management allows you to gather information, log data that was not predictable on the go, and use it to make the right data-based decisions.
- Allow your client to see everything that’s going on with the project and suggest improvements whenever something is not going according to the project vision.
Project management might look complicated, but chances are you’ve already been involved in a process such as this one. So next time you’re planning your friend’s birthday, know that you’re actually working on a project and you are your own project manager.
Thinking of going for a career in project management? Check the best project management courses and other training opportunities available right now. Also, take a look at some of the most often used project management terms.
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