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Project Management is the general set of processes and activities required to coordinate and implement changes to your business environment. Some examples of projects are: operational process changes, changes to physical locations or machinery, fulfilling a customer request, developing a new product/service or making a change to an IT system.
Understanding project management starts with defining what a project is. The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines a project as: “A temporary endeavor designed to produce a unique product, service or result with a defined beginning and end undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value”. It is important to note the temporary nature of projects in contrast to ongoing operations (business as usual) which are semi-permanent. Projects are the way companies make changes.
Project Management is a set of processes used to organize, coordinate and implement projects. This includes initiating, planning, executing, controlling(monitoring) and closing the project. Projects are often lead and managed by trained resources (Project Managers) who use industry standards, personal experience, organizational processes and a set of supporting tools and templates to give the project structure, manage information and facilitate collaboration among project team members.
IT project management is a sub-discipline of project management wherein technology projects are planned, executed and controlled. IT is one of the most common places where project management is found within an organization. Most IT investments and initiatives fit the “project” profile with a constrained timeline, a defined scope, desired outcome/objectives and a set of project resources that must be coordinated.
IT project management starts at the portfolio level where the strategic vision of the organization is transformed into value measures and the identification of investments to create value. Most organizations have a limited set of financial, human and technical resource available, so project portfolio management helps the IT organization select the best projects for generating the desired value with the resources available. By using structured project management processes to deliver the projects in the portfolio, the organization can track project performance and value delivery at each step in the project lifecycle.
Over the past few years, there have been some popular variations of IT project management adopted by companies including: waterfall methodologies, agile or iterative approaches and more specialized techniques like Scrum. Each of these variations has unique characteristics that impact the timing of value realization, the way team members interact and the way the project is integrated with other projects in the organization’s portfolio.
Project management is a broad discipline and set of processes that project managers must execute effectively in order for the project to deliver the desired results. There are 10 key components that make up the project management discipline:
Scope – things the project is chartered with delivering
Time - overall project timeline as well as the timing of specific activities, milestones and deliverables
Cost - human, financial and other resources consumed as a part of project activities
Quality - the quality of project information, decisions and product outputs
Integration - how the project outputs fit into the broader project portfolio and ongoing operations
Procurement - acquiring the resources and assets needed to complete the project
Human resources - coordinating the activities of project team members
Communications - managing internal communications within the project team and external communications with project stakeholders and sponsors
Risk management - capturing, assessing and responding to project risks and issue
Stakeholder management - ensuring that project stakeholders are properly identified along with their role(s) vis-a-vie the project.
The project lifecycle provides a clearly defined process for taking a project from its initial idea through implementation and closing using project management principles that clarify expectations, streamline communications and ensure that issues, risks and changes are managed appropriately throughout planning and execution. Most project management methodologies break the process down into 5 stages:
Some other benefits of release management include:
Planning and design
Construction and/or implementation
Monitoring and Controlling
Completion or closing
A project manager is a trained professional in the field of project management. They are given the authority (in the project charter) to direct the people and resources involved in delivering the project objectives. Project managers are responsible for leading all stages of the project lifecycle as well as supporting functions like resource management, risk management, change control, stakeholder management and project communications.
A project manager needs to understand the tasks required to complete the project including the time and resources required and correct order of operations. Managing the scope of work, the specific tasks that must be performed, project schedule and resource assignments are essential functions that the project manager performs. On larger projects, there may be supporting resources that assist the project manager with specific tasks (such as maintaining the project plan or product documentation) but each project should have a single individual (project manager) assigned overall responsibility for ensuring project success.
Project management is all about using resources efficiently and achieving results as effectively as possible. Adhering to project management methods and strategies help companies reduce risks, control costs and improve success rates. For small companies, project management can help provide structure and guidance to deliver results more quickly. For larger companies, project management can help ensure consistency in delivery and the ability to effectively plan, monitor and control large project portfolios while ensuring individual projects integrate well into ongoing operations.
Within the context of an individual project, disciplined project management processes can help ensure:
Clearly defined roles, requirements and responsibilities that lead to greater ownership, buy-in, coordination and efficiency of process
Clear communications between project stakeholders, sponsors and the project team
Pre-defined methodologies and templates that help team members know what they need to be doing and how their work fits into the overall project structure.
There are different Problem Management techniques available. Let us discuss some of the popular techniques that can be implemented easily.
There are benefits that the project produces for the organization and there are benefits of the project management process. Managing project benefits involves identifying, planning, measuring and tracking benefits from the start of the project until the benefits are fully realized as a part of normal operations. It seeks to ensure that the desired benefits are well understood by project stakeholders and the project team, and that they are specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time bound. Project management benefits, in contrast, are about the value of the project management process itself. Here are the Top 10 Benefits of Project Management:
Better informed investment decision making
Completing projects more quickly and cheaply
Delivering better quality products and outcomes the first time through thoughtful planning
Proactively avoiding project and organizational risks
Reduced project scope churn due to change requests
Improved stakeholder communication and expectation management
Stopping bad projects more quickly
Improved work environment for project team members.
The ability to capture lessons-learned to improve future projects.
While it is possible to deliver projects without project management (companies do it every day), structured project management can enable value to be delivered to the organization cheaper, faster, with greater predictability and higher quality. Project management effectiveness can be further enhanced through the right set of standards, skills and tools to help your organization manage individual projects in the context of the bigger project portfolio and ongoing business operations taking place.
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