Question Mike Business & Management

What is Project Management?

What is a project management?

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Answer Internal Staff

Project management is the study of effectively and efficiently guiding a project to completion.

A project is a temporary activity set up with a specific goal, that brings together resources, including people, that are needed to meet that goal.

It is important to recognise the difference between projects and programmes. A project is as described above, created to meet a certain goal and produce an output, then it is dissolved. A programme is created to meet a wider objective, and may be made up of several projects, it seeks to use the project outputs to achieve outcomes, and once these are achieved it will normally remain to monitor success/performance for some time.

The outputs created by a project are normally specific things that can be identified and measured easily, such as constructing a new company car park, or redesigning a business process. These feed into outcomes, which are wider deliverables that represent a change in the state of the business, such as a new carpark leading to less staff arriving late to work, or a redesigned process being more effective so creating better quality services.

Projects are special tasks that are different to the day-to-day running of the business. This means that they are managed differently. Generally speaking, a day-to-day manager is interested in creating consistency and reliability – but projects are temporary and unique, so this approach isn’t applicable. Instead a project manager needs to be able to quickly recognise requirements for success and build a structure to achieve this. They need to have great planning abilities and be able to use planning tools such as Gantt charts and critical path analysis. Once a plan is created, project managers need to motivate staff to follow this plan and to control them to ensure quality is acceptable.

Source: PMI, 2008


PMI, 2008, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) Fourth Edition, Pennsylvania: PMI