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Last modified date

Dec 22, 2022

What is Project Management?

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Alexandra Cote

Blog average read time

4 min

Last modified date

December 22, 2022

Project management is about knowing your goals, how you’re going to achieve them, what resources you’ll need, and how long it will take you to reach that specific goal. Project management’s goal is to ensure that everyone involved knows these and is aware of the project’s purpose.

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:

  1. Discover what the client needs to determine the project’s goals.
  2. 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.
  3. Start working.
  4. Check if work goes according to the initial plan, identify problems, and make adjustments.
  5. 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 or she ensures that everything follows the client’s vision and quality standards. He or she will also be held accountable for the project’s success or failure. A product manager, or the product owner, on the other hand, focuses on product development, making sure the product aligns with business goals. (Read more on product vs. project manager roles here).

People have been “managing projects” for centuries on a daily basis. They went from using traditional tools such as pen and paper to using advanced technologies with many applications boasting great productivity benefits—everything towards a better work management system. Currently, there are customizable tools used in project management to speed up and ease the entire work process of small teams. As well as determine the best project planning and charting the correct order in which tasks should be completed. For this, check out our top software for Gantt chart.

Take a look at this visual representation of what project management is to understand the concept better:

The importance of project management

Why is project management important? Without project management, a project’s development would be chaotic. The discipline’s primary goal is to ensure that everyone involved in a project knows what needs to be done, how much time they have to complete an activity, what resources are available, and whom they should talk to if they encounter a problem.

If everybody knows what they must do, there will be much higher chances of meeting the project’s requirements. Also, mistakes that 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 when all objectives have been reached on time and within budget, and the client is pleased with the quality of the project. For example, you’ll have to first keep an accurate log of work hours with the help of time tracking software to see whether you pulled the project off in the set time. Then, you can compare and analyze the initial project estimates and final costs to assess your project profitability.

What are other key indicators for project success? Here are a few: SMART goals and OKRs met, a straightforward project plan, good team collaboration and commitment, enough funds and resources, doable 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 and which resources you should use, 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 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.
  • Let your client see everything 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 like this. So next time you plan your friend’s birthday, know that you’re working on a project and are your own project manager.

If you’re interested in a project management career or just starting a new PM role, project management software can help you sort and manage your activities. One such tool is Paymo, which lets you keep all project details and documents in one place.

Start managing your projects effectively with our free Paymo trial.

For more help in your career in project management, check the best project management courses and other training opportunities available right now. Also, look at some of the most often used project management terms.

Found this article helpful? Please spread the knowledge on project management and share it with your teammates and followers.

First published on December 10, 2019.

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