What is project management? ( First Part)

Project management is discipline of planning ,organizing, securing and managing  resources to bring about  the successful completion and achieving specific goals.
  1. Principles of project Management.
When we think of the principles of management we usually associate them with the management of people. The management of people includes defining what the business will do, planning for the number and type of staff who will do it ,organizing the staff, monitoring their  performance of the tasks assign them, and finally bringing close to their efforts.
Those same principles apply to Projects. Project management is a method and a set of techniques based on the accepted principles of management used for planning ,estimating, and controlling work activities to reach a desired end result on time-within budget and according to specification.
The following sections investigate how these management principles apply to the phases of a  project.                                                                                     
    Project Management.
To achieve a desired set of targets a particular project sets, it requires use of certain resources such as; capital, people, time, materials etc.
Project management can be enhanced if conducted in the following pattern:
1.    Defining the project
2.    Planning the project
3.    Executing the project
4.    Controlling
5.    Closure

§  Defining.
One of the first tasks for project managers is to define the work that needs to be done in their area of responsibility. In project management defining phase is very formal while in people management it can often be informal. For the project manager, defining the tasks to do is preliminary phase of the project life cycle and an important one. In this phase, the requestor and the project manager come to an agreement about several important aspects of the project. Every good defining phase answer five basic questions:
§  What is the problem or opportunity to be addressed?
§  What is the goal of the project?
§  What objectives must be met to accomplish the goal?
§  How will we determine if the project has been successful?
§  Are there any assumptions ,risks ,or obstacles that may affect project success?

This is the second phase of project management. It involves listing all activities and tasks. How are they related to one another, how each task is tied to a specific deadline etc. by developing relations between the activities helps management in planning the time consumption. Plus it also benefits in forecasting the maximum amount of delay that can be accepted in each task to complete the whole project in time.
Defining the requirements is also an essential component of this phase. All the relevant costs that will be incurred are budgeted and pre-defined so that future cash flows of an organization are managed accordingly. For example cost of usage of resources i.e. material, labor hours etc are calculated leading to appropriate calculations of profits.
There are three benefits to developing a project plan.
1:-Planning reduces uncertainty.
2:-Planning increases understanding.
3:-Planning improves efficiency.
Third phase of project management involves an action plan. Here the manager’s responsibility involves building a project team by grouping people with relevant skills. Here the manager has complete knowledge of the requirements of the project i.e. quantity of workers. At this stage a manager retains control over the workings of the project.
Executing the  project pain involves four steps.
1-Identify the specific resources that will be required to accomplish the work defined in the plan.
2-Assign workers to activities.
3-Schedule activities with specific start and end dates.
4-Launch the plan.
As a part of planning process, an initial schedule is created. The schedule is following.
v What must be accomplished in the project?
v When each task must be accomplished?
v Who is responsible for  completing each task?
v What  deliverables are expected as a result of completing the project?
Now matter how attentive the team is when creating the plan, the project work will not go according  to plan.
When a project is being performed actual performance of the workers can be matched with the budgeted and variances calculated. Actual performance can be controlled with the application of certain factors to make it work parallel with the budgeted. This phase of project management helps a manager plan effectively by analyzing the quantity of time required for the completion of project fully.
Closing a project is a formal means of signalizing  the completion  of the project work and the delivery of the results to the customer.
This is almost the final stage of project management. Here the manager has the responsibility of gathering all the relevant stakeholders to the project and disseminate the information regarding the outcome from the project amongst them.
Every good closing provides answer to the following questions:
v Do the project deliverables meet the expectations of the requester?
v Do the project deliverables meet the expectations of the project manager?
v Did the project team complete the project according to plan?
v What information was collected that will help later project?
v How well did the project management methodology work and how well did the project team follow it?
v What lesion have we learned from this project?
The closing phase is very important to project management, but unfortunately  it is the part that is most often neglected by management.

Project Management Life Cycle.

      In project management we found that there are a number of underlying principles that are present in the more successful methodologies. From them, we fashioned a project management life cycle that was first published by Weiss and Wysocki.

More recently the project management institute published its project management body of knowledge (PMBOK),which has an underlying life cycle that is remarkable similar to the one we adopted in our consulting practice.

Basic Phases of Project Management.

                   Project management as "the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to a broad range of activities in order to meet the requirements of a particular project." The process of directing and controlling a project from start to finish may be further divided into 5 basic phases. Which contains five steps.

1-Scope the project.

v State the problems/opportunities.

v Establish the project goal.

v Define the project objectives.

v Identify the success criteria.

v Last assumptions, risks, obstacles.

2-Develop the project plan.

v Identify project activities.

v Estimate activity duration.

v Determine resources requirements.

v Construct/analyze the project network.

v Prepare the project proposal.

3-Launch the plan.

v Recruit and organize the project team.

v Establish team operating rules. 

v Level project resources.

v Schedule work packages.

v Document work packages.

4-Monitor/control project progress.

v Establish progress reporting system.

v Install change control tools/process.

v Define problem-escalation process.

v Monitor project progress versus plan.

v Revise project plan.

5-Close out the project.

v Obtain client acceptance.

v Install project deliverables.

v Complete project documentation.

v Complete post-implementation audit.

v  Issue final project report.                                                           

     Scope the project.     

These are usually the three interrelated variables considered as an important resource for a project as an input. Change in any one of them may lead to alterations in the other two. For example if the time to complete a particular project is reduced that will directly affect the scope(what can be included in the project) as well as on money; because reducing the time availability may lead to incurring of greater costs such as automating the process, hiring more labor to achieve the desired objectives.

Develop the project Plan.

A project plan, project charter and/or project scope may be put in writing, outlining the work to be performed. During this phase, a team should prioritize the project, calculate a budget and schedule, and determine what resources are needed.

Launch the plan.

Resources' tasks are distributed and teams are informed of responsibilities. This is a good time to bring up important project related information.

Monitor/ Control project progress.

Project managers will compare project status and progress to the actual plan, as resources perform the scheduled work. During this phase, project managers may need to adjust schedules or do what is necessary to keep the project on track.

Close out the project.

After project tasks are completed and the client has approved the outcome, an evaluation is necessary to highlight project success and/or learn from project history. A number of activities occur to close out the project.
v Install the deliverables.
v File final reports and documentation.
v Perform a post-implementation audit.
v Celebrate.