The ability to manage projects is a skill that complements most professional careers
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.
THE PROJECT LIFE CYCLE
All projects go through a series of phases or stages. The following is a common sequence:
Phase One PROJECT IDENTIFICATION AND INITIATING PROCESS
This phase involves identifying project ideas and needs. The individual or group responsible for a potential project will refine an idea or concept into a project. Such a person draws up a project proposal which identifies tasks to suit their objectives. If a project is considered to be feasible, in other words realistic or with attainable objectives; then the next phase (project planning) follows.
Phase Two PROJECT PLANNING
This phase involves preparing a plan or design of what the project entails, in particular "Planning the length or "lifespan" for the expected project, the project costs, and preparation of possible task alternatives in the event of unexpected changes. Consideration is given to the needs, alternatives and techniques that may have to be applied, and once completed, the implementation phase follows.
Phase Three PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION, EXECUTING AND CONTROLLING
This phase involves operationalising the plans, or the actual development of the project. The project is implemented in a planned and controlled manner. This includes supervision and monitoring the actual progress of a project within the scope of the plan. If successful, the project then requires closing, and the results are compared with estimations determined earlier in the project cycle. Once this step is finalised, the final phase follows.
Phase Four PROJECT COMPLETION AND EVALUATION
This phase involves determining whether the objectives set out, or the needs identified in the earlier part of the cycle, have been successfully concluded. Evaluating a projects success is measured by contrasting the original goal or set of objectives, with the final outcome. This is the last and final phase of the projects cycle.
Where to Learn More?
click here for an outline of the ACS Project Management Course; available for study either online, on CD or using printed course notes
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