While talking about Project Management, Henry Mintzberg, a business and management academic and author says-
“Management is, above all, a practice where art, science, and craft meet.”
So, while thinking about project management, imagine a Venn diagram in which management is placed where the circles of science, art, and craft meet. While planning and moving ahead with a project, you are supposed to be methodical to proceed further with scheduling and budgeting as per the planned structure and outside influences of your project.
Project management as a profession has been accepted in the world since time immemorial.
Every single project creates a unique product, result, or service.
When we look deep into the etymology of the term ‘project,’ it merely means a temporary goal or endeavours to create a unique product, service, or result.
Whereas, the term management means a social process concerned with ensuring that the job gets done; its task centres on planning and guiding the operations that are going on in an enterprise.
To understand what project management means, we must understand the inception of this practice. Thus, Project Management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.
History of Project Management
Project management may be recognized as a discipline in recent times of modern world processes and projects.
The reality is that the entire history of the world involves innumerable examples of project management. Every crop, monument, or strategy that has been important in the course of world history was a creation and implementation of project management without which the goals would not have been met.
Every historical artefact, including the ancient monument, was not built in spontaneity but was planned out into schedules, budgeting the entire set up and equipment, and meeting the goals.
Back in the time when the Pyramids of Giza were made, it was not built in a day, like Rome wasn’t. It required a thorough process of conceptualizing, planning how they would build the pyramids, execute it, look over the process, and then take a good look at the final result.
Twentieth-century has seen an efficient and effective rise in understanding and utilizing the concept of project management.
Around the 1950s, many industries had mushroomed from every corner of the world to industrialize and help sustain their economy. These industries required a very patterned and structuralism process for management and manufacturing.
A simplified model of management called ‘Gantt chart’ was the creation of Henry Gantt, which was popularly used across several industries and companies. The chart is used to schedule the plans and goals of a project.
Similarly, in 1957, the Critical Path Method was developed by the Dupont Corporation keeping in view the aspect of proper scheduling of plans. This method allowed people to understand which programs cannot be extended or adjusted and must be completed.
First Project Management Institute
The Project Management Institute (PMI) was established in the year 1969. It is the world’s largest non-profit membership association for the project management profession.
Since its inception, it has set standards for dealing with a project, its program, and portfolio management, offering training and certification.
The PMI was accredited as an ANSI standard in 1998.
Today, there is an ISO standard even for project management (IS21500) that was created in 2012. Unlike the history where people who built the pyramids would die out of exhaustion, there are certain aspects given consideration today to provide extra care to the workers and other stakeholders of the company.
Several new elements have been integrated with the discipline of project management. Today, project managers need to have a broader spectrum of knowledge related to business management skills such as customer relations, strategy, leadership skills, etc.
When and Where Do We Need Project Management? – Contemporary Needs for Project Management
To understand the fields and areas where project management is required, we must find the difference between project work and operations management.
Change in business operations may be the focus of a dedicated project when there are substantial changes to business operations due to a new product or service delivery. The ongoing operations of a company indeed are not to be quantified as a project but as an ongoing process.
Operations management is not within reach of project management, as it involves ensuring business operations continue efficiently by using the excellent resources needed and meeting the customer demands. Whereas, projects in nature have a clearly defined start and endpoint designed to deliver the desired goal.
A project is disbanded once the desired objectives have been met.
However, there is particular work that requires project management as several operational stakeholders have a say and significant hold over the projects that will affect their future employment or endeavours.
Numerous fields require project management. It can be implemented on both big and small projects.
They are as follows
- When launching a new website
- Creating and launching a new consumer app or other product.
- Introducing business, cultural changes, and processes to the organization.
- Opening or closing a new office
- Construction of offices, roads, or shopping malls
- Executing an industry event like industry visits or conferences
- Taking steps to change elements in businesses to comply with regulations
These are the few areas where project management is necessary.
Project Management Roles
There are several roles to be allotted under a project
1. Project Sponsor
The Project sponsor typically works with the project management team to assist with matters like project funding, monitoring progress, influencing stakeholders, as well as clarifying scope.
He or she is responsible for the outcome as they are mostly the senior manager who comes up with the idea for a project and benefits their team. They primarily represent the customer of the project.
2. Project Manager
The task of any project manager is that they are distinct from a functional manager as well as an operations manager. A project manager has the responsibility to satisfy the needs of the task, team, and individual needs. They become the bridge between the team and the strategy.
Any project is accomplished through appropriate application and integration of the 47 logically grouped project management processes, categorized into five process groups that the project managers appropriately implement.
Thus, the role of a project manager is very strategic and of great importance. They apply the area-specific skills and general management proficiencies required for a project. The skills are as follows-
- Knowledge– A project manager should have explicit knowledge about the project he is dealing with.
- Performance- Refers to what the project manager can do while applying his or her project management knowledge.
- Personal– It refers to how the project manager behaves when performing or implementing the project. It encompasses traits such as attitude, leadership, core personality characteristics, motivation, conflict management, etc.
There can be someone who is doing the work, either by an internal supplier like the developmental team or an external supplier such as an external contractor.
The supplier is introduced to a project team by the main point of contact: their technical expert, project manager, or an account manager.
Stakeholders may be understood commonly as an outsider who contributes to a project. Usually, a company’s stakeholders are considered to be the people who have a stake in their company.
It also includes all members having interests in the project or gets affected by the project at its completion. Stakeholders have the right to determine what should be done in the project and get to have a say in determining the deliverables that affect the needs or objectives of the business.
The stakeholder can come from the company itself, such as employees, staff, managers, or it can be someone from the public or outside the agency.
The project manager plays the role of bridging the gap between the stakeholder and the project throughout the process to get feedback on the project step to step.
The client is the target group who needs to be satisfied or for whom the project was conducted.
Project Life Cycle during Project Management
It is the sequence of phases that a scheme goes through. It has a definite starting and ending point. The stages are generally sequential.
Their numbers, and names, are obtained by the management and control news of the company or organizations involved in the project, the project’s nature, and its area of application.
Each phase can be divided into functional or specific milestones or partial objectives or deliverables or intermediate results, within the overall scope of work, or financial availability.
Phases are time-bound and have a start and end/control point. Determining these elements, we must implement a project accordingly. Let us have a look at those phases here and now-
The Five Phases of Project Management
As mentioned earlier, Project management has a set of phases, one coming after the other. There are five phases of project management-
1. Project Initiation
This indicates the start of the project. The goal of this phase is to realize and understand the project at a broader spectrum.
This phase starts by laying out what is feasible and what can be done. This is a point when we also identify the locations from where we can initiate the way to reaching a goal. You develop the idea to achieve a specific purpose.
Bringing together all the team heads is vital as this step will be the foundation for the entire project. Relevant stakeholders here also include their inputs on whether the path to reaching the goal of the project matches their objectives.
2. Project Planning
This phase involves a lot of brainstorming as the key to successful project management consists of a set of well-planned steps.
The roadmap or the blueprint is created in this phase. The setting of goals is the idea. There are two methods used to set goals-
2.1 SMART Goals
An approach ensuring that goals have been thoroughly thought-
-The S stands for Specific, finding specific points- who, when, where, how, what, and why.
-M for Measurable, to measure the success of a goal.
-A for Attainable, to identify what can be achieved and what cannot be achieved.
-R for Realistic, to understand and think it all out by being practical and attainable.
-T for Timely, to finish things within a specified time frame.
2.2 CLEAR Goals
A method used to encourage employees to work together and create a pleasant environment.
-C for Collaborative that is employees, working together in a collaborative process.
-L for Limited that is, to accomplish and do things within the timeframe and keep it manageable.
-E for Emotional that is, to enable the employees’ emotional connection to the project and its members.
-A for Appreciable that is, break significant steps into smaller steps to achieve goals quickly.
-R for Refinable, that is, when new situations arise, one should be able to adapt to it.
3. Project Execution
There are essential steps to this phase. The deliverables are developed and completed, and it is time when tasks are completed accurately during the execution phase.
The bulk work begins here as you identify and mitigate risks, deal with problems, and bring in any changes when required. They are follows-
- Develop a team
- Assign the resources to the teams
- Execute the project management plans accordingly
- Procurement management if and when required.
- Project Manager directs and manages the execution of the project.
- Set up tracking systems to have a hold over everything.
- Status meetings to see where the teams stand with their goals and objectives
- Update the project schedule.
- Modify the project schedule when needed.
4. Project Monitoring
This phase judges and measures the progress and performance of the teams collectively into reaching the goal. Project Managers use the KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATOR to find out if the project is under control or not. The KPIs are as follows-
- Project Objectives- To measure if the schedule and budget are aligning with the goals of the project.
- Quality Deliverables- To determine if specific tasks are being met.
- Effort and Cost Tracking– the Project manager accounts for the effort and cost resources and checks if the project is achievable with the predicted budget.
- Project performance– It monitors any changes occurring in the project.
5. Project Closure
A project closure has to be a carefully executed step to achieve most of what was accomplished. It ensures that the work completed gets broader acceptance and has met all the desired goals.
Any final paperwork or reports have to be submitted at this point for future reference when any such project is conducted again.
Thus, project management is not merely an art of looking over what is to be done but a careful calculation of time and budget in hand by implementing knowledge, skills, tools, and other qualities of a project manager to reach a goal.
Not only the project manager but the team and other members involved in the project are responsible for the success of a project.