Almost everything we do in society can be described as a project.
Buying the groceries for home, organising a 21st birthday party, developing a new garden bed, or redecorating a bedroom are all examples of the private projects we need to manage in day to day living. We are also continually confronted by projects in all other facets of life, from business and government to welfare and religious organisations.
Project management is thus an essential part of everyday activity in both society and the economy.
Project management as a skill and field of study is essential for successful organisational management. As a formal management function, project management is found in government, industry, and almost all other organisations.
Project Management may be called any of a number of other names such as:
Construction Management ....etc
Project management as a field of action can often be seen in self help schemes or outreach programs. Whatever the objectives, project management involves a number of phases and skills which are essential to a projects completion. To get a better understanding of this process, the term "project management" can be further broken into "project" and "management".
Distance Education Course in Project Management (click for details)
What is a "Project"?
A project can take on a number of forms. A project might be described as a package of ideas, resources and measures to achieve a set of specific objectives (or an objective), within a planned time period.
The main features of a project are:
*It does not recur and is completed within a certain time period.
*It is identified by set start and completion dates.
*It is financially budgeted for.
*It uses various resources (eg. money, people, materials, equipment, etc).
WHAT DOES A PROJECT MANAGER DO?
There are a number of mistaken assumptions about what project managers do. Some think they spend a lot of time dealing with paper work in an office, although this is a large part of the job, this is not necessarily true. Many projects require the project manager to oversee the day to day workings of a project. They may make site visits on a daily basis, or many times a day, depending on the project they are managing at the time. For example in the construction of a new building or park, the project manager’s responsibility includes the smooth running and also the quality of the project. This entails meetings with builders, supervisors, and on-site inspections to ensure that the project is on time and that quality is also assured.
Not all project managers are necessarily at the top of the management tree. In a small event management business, or engineering firm (for example), the project manager may well be the business owner. In a larger enterprise though, there may be several project managers each running projects concurrently – all of them responsible to a general manager or department head.
- Often people become a project manager by accident.
- Architects may start their career designing buildings, but end up moving into managing building construction projects.
- Hospitality managers may start out managing a hotel restaurant, but end up managing conferences, weddings and other events.
- Doctors may start out as a medical practitioner, but end up managing aid projects in overseas countries.
Many project managers may have a “dual role” in their job. They may have routine responsibilities, but are also given projects to manage (e.g. the municipal parks manager who manages the daily maintenance of parks and gardens in a city, but is occasionally given a major development project such as construction of a new sports ground).
A project manager is responsible for controlling and introducing a set outcome – defined by a set of steps. He or she requires a set of well-formed skills and disciplines in order to achieve this outcome, to include:
- Understanding all the stakeholders’ objectives and requirements.
- Knowing how to plan outcomes i.e. what needs to be done, who needs to be involved what time it needs to be done in, and what standards are expected.
- Selecting the right team, motivating them, and coordinating their work.
- Monitoring the project through all steps.
- Introducing changes to the project plan as the need arises without compromising the project’s outcomes.
- Concluding the project on time and successfully.
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