All About Project Management

Sections of this topic

    Sections of This Topic Include

    Foundations of Project Management

    Project Planning

    Allocating Project Resources

    Risk Assessment and Ethics Management

    Implementing Projects

    Evaluating Projects

    General Resources and Topics

    Also, consider


    What is Project Management?

    Project management is the planning, organizing, and managing of the effort to accomplish a successful project. A project is a one-time activity that produces a specific output and or outcome, for example, a building or a major
    new computer system. This is in contrast to a program, (referred to as a ‘program’ in the UK) which is 1) an ongoing process, such as a quality control program, or 2) an activity to manage a number of multiple projects together.

    Project management includes developing a project plan, which involves defining and confirming the project goals and objectives, how they will be achieved, identifying tasks and quantifying the resources needed, and determining budgets and timelines for completion. It also includes managing the implementation of the project plan, along with operating regular ‘controls’ to ensure that there is accurate and objective information on ‘performance’ relative to the plan, and the mechanisms to implement recovery actions where necessary.

    Projects often follow major phases or stages (with various titles for these), for example feasibility, definition, planning, implementation, evaluation, and realisation. (Thanks for Kevin Lonergan for contributing to this description.)

    NOTE: There are many software tools that make project management much more effective and efficient. Software Tools to Do Project Management Process lists software resources. The reader might best be served to read about the overall project management process in the section, “Foundations of Project Management” below, and then review some of the software tools. Another approach is to review the tools as the reader progresses through each phase of the project management process.

    Overviews of Project Management

    The following links provide an overview of project management:

    Also, consider

    Basics of Project Planning

    It will benefit the reader immensely to have an understanding of at least the basic planning processes before undertaking the more detailed process of project management. See Basic Guidelines for Successful Planning
    Planning is all about asking questions, making decisions and solving problems, so it also will be useful for the reader to have some guidelines for Decision Making and Problem Solving.

    There are numerous other topics in the Library that could pertain to project management, but the reader might best be served to first review the resources linked from this topic on Project Management and afterwards see Related
    Library Topics

    Some Popular Approaches to Managing Projects

    Now that you’ve gained an understanding of the overall project management process, it’s useful to consider how projects could be managed. One traditional approach is to define and deliver your project through distinct phases. Here are two approaches that further enlighten how you might think about managing your projects.
    Project management methods fall broadly into two camps: predictive (planned) and iterative (evolving). The most common predictive model is Waterfall and its derivatives and the most common iterative methods follow the principles
    of Agile.

    Agile Project Management

    Agile is not a method – it is an approach (a set of values and principles) covering the development aspect of projects, e.g. software development. When combined with methods (such as Scrum) that support Agile principles, the result is an Agile development process. Agile methods mainly cover the (technical) development activity itself. On many larger projects there are also other elements that need to be managed which Agile methods typically do not cover. These are covered elsewhere in this guide.

    A number of development methods match the principles of Agile. They address elements of the development activity (e.g. software development) and most do not address aspects outside of the core development activity. Therefore on larger projects, many Agile methods will not cover all that has to be done. It will still be necessary to plan and manage those elements.

    Some Examples of Agile Methods:


    Prince2 originated in the 1990s as the UK Government’s method for managing IT projects. Since then authors have worked to broaden its applicability. It is primarily a framework for defining and delivering projects that focuses mainly on Governance. As with Agile, it does not cover many other core elements of managing projects, such as many of those covered in ‘Doing project management’ on this page.

    Project Management ‘Bodies of Knowledge

    A number of the more mature Professional Associations have published their own Body of Knowledge (BoK) covering project management. These are not methodologies in themselves, but do describe processes and skills or competencies associated with project management. PM Certification examinations such as PMP or APMP are based on their relevant BoK. The most popular are:

    Roles in Project Management (including Project Manager)

    Skills to Lead Teams and People in Project Management

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    There are certain skills to have when conducting project management. It’s best to have a team of planners when doing project planning. Therefore, it’s important to have skills in forming, leading and facilitating groups. The following information will help you develop these skills.

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    Feasibility Studies — Is your Project Viable or Optimised?

    A feasibility study determines if a project is viable or tests the pros and cons of different technical strategies and solutions.

    Project Planning — How Do We Determine Project Outcomes, Goals and Objectives?

    Overview of Project Planning

    Project planning includes agreeing on the overall goals to be achieved by the project, the objectives associated with each goal, and responsibilities to achieve each objective. Planning might also include specifying milestones or deliverables to be produced, and timelines for achieving the objectives and milestones.

    Project Governance

    Covers responsibilities for key decisions and may also cover business level reviews of strategic projects:

    Project Success Criteria

    It can be fundamentally useful to define crystal clear success criteria for any project, to avoid the real risk of anyone making incorrect assumptions on such an important matter.

    Benefits Planning and Realisation

    A new topic that has developed from the UK since 2000. For any organisation involved in a business improvement or change project, this is the most valuable and important task they will do.

    When Working from Requirements

    Some projects do planning by working from an initial set of project requirements. The requirements might have come from other stakeholders, or people who have a strong interest in the project and/or will be affected by the project.

    Some Tools for Project Planning

    Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) - A scheduling Technique

    Resource Allocation — What Do We Need to Implement Project Plan (People, Money, Scheduling)?

    Resource allocation identifies the resources needed and schedules their involvement. It might also consider the efficient integration of those resources and do contingency planning in case certain resources are not sufficient or available. Some planners might include budgeting as part of the resource allocation process.

    Some Tools for Resource Allocation

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    Management of Project Risk — What Could Go Wrong?

    Risk management involves identifying potential risks in a project and how to mitigate or manage each. It’s always best if risks are identified using a comprehensive and systematic approach.

    Some Tools for Risk Management

    Ethical Analysis of Project — Are We In Conformance, Morally?

    Ethics is clarifying what’s morally right and wrong, and influencing that actions are morally right. Ethics can include codes of ethics, codes of conduct, guidelines to resolve ethical dilemmas and training about these ethics tools. Ethics applies in all aspects of project management.


    Implementation of Project Plan - How Do We Ensure Implementation, While Managing Change?

    To Ensure the Implementation of the Project Plan

    The best practices to ensure implementation of the plan actually start early in the planning process. The practices are the same, whether for strategic, business or project planning.

    To Manage Change During the Implementation of the Project Plan

    Implementation of important plans, such as strategic, business and project plans, usually impact the strategy, structure and/or operations of the organization. Therefore, it’s important that project managers understand at least some basics about managing change in organizations.

    Communication and Your Project – Communication is the Life-Blood of Projects:

    It’s extremely important to communicate project plans, status and results to stakeholders. Many project managers would agree that this is one of the biggest problems in project management.

    Some Tools for Communicating Project Plans and Status


    Earned Value Management – How to Objectively Measure Schedule and Budget ‘Performance’

    Earned value management provides objective measures of schedule and budget performance during implementation. When done comprehensively and systematically, it will provide early detection of schedule or budget problems.

    Some Tools for Project Management

    Evaluating Projects and Results – How Do We Evaluate Implementation and Project

    Project evaluation is done during project implementation and after completion in order to assess the quality of activities and achievement of results.

    Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)

    When Projects Are in Trouble — Most Common Issues and What Do We Do If They Occur?


    Glossaries of Project Management Terms

    Further Sites With Many Resources About Project Management

    Software Tools to Do Project Management Process

    Professional Bodies Focused on Project Management

    Getting PMP Certification

    Some Related Fields

    Learn More in the Library’s Blogs Related to This Topic

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    For the Category of Planning and Project Management:

    To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources. Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

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