Project management principles

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Introduction of project management

Project management is a planned and structured effort to achieve an objective or is the process of managing, allocating, and timing available resources to achieve the desired goal of a project in an efficient and expedient manner, for example, creating a new system or constructing a project. Project management is widely recognized as a practical way of ensuring that projects meet objectives and products are delivered on time, within budget and to correct quality specification, while at the same time controlling or maintaining the scope of the project at the correct level.

Project management includes developing a project plan, which includes defining and confirming the project goals and objectives, identifying tasks and how goals will be achieved, 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 usually follow major phases or stages (with various titles for these), including feasibility, definition, project planning, implementation, evaluation and support/maintenance


Project management has been practiced since the early civilization. Until 1900 civil engineering projects were generally managed by creative architects and engineers by their selves, among those for example Christopher Wren (1632-1723) , Thomas Telford (1757-1834) and Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) It has been since the 1950s, that organizations started applying systemic project management tools and techniques to complex projects.

Henry Gantt (1861-1919), the father of planning and control techniques. As a discipline, Project Management developed from diverse fields of application including construction, engineering and defense. In the United States, the two forefathers of project management are Henry Gantt, called the father of planning and control techniques, who is famously acknowledged for his use of the Gantt chart as a project management tool, and Henri Fayol for his creation of the 5 management functions, which form the basis for the body of knowledge related with project and program management. Both Gantt and Fayol were known as being students of Frederick Winslow Taylor's theories of scientific management. His work is the forerunner to modern project management tools including work breakdown structure (WBS) and resource allocation.

Principles of project management
The Success Principle

The main goal of project management is to create a successful product. Without making a successful product there is no good point in incurring the project Management overhead cost. opposing to conventional wisdom, there have been many Projects that have been “On time and within budget” but the product has not been successful, and similarly many that have not been “On time and within budget” yet the product has been very successful.

The Commitment Principle

A mutually acceptable assurance between a project sponsor and a project team must exist before a viable project exists. A project sponsor is a knowledgeable person in place of the eventual owner of the product of the project and who is responsible for providing the necessary resources (money, goods, services, and general direction, as appropriate.) A project team is a knowledgeable and qualified group capable and willing to undertake the work of the project. A mutually acceptable assurance is one in which there is agreement on the goals and objectives of the project in terms of the product's scope, quality grade, time to completion and final cost.

The Tetrad-Tradeoff Principle

The core variables of the project management process, namely: product scope, quality grade, time-to-produce and cost-to-complete must all be mutually consistent. The core variables of scope, quality, time and cost are interrelated rather similar to a four-cornered frame with flexible joints. One corner can be anchored and another moved, but not without affecting the other two.

The Primary Communication Channel (or Unity-of-Command) Principle

A single channel of communication must exist between the project sponsor and the project team leader for all decisions affecting the result of the project. This principle is essential for the effective and efficient administration of the project Commitment. The owner of the eventual product, if represented by more than one Person, must nevertheless speak with one voice. Similarly, at any given time, the project's team must have a single point of responsibility, a project manager, for the work of the project. Such person must have the skills, experience, dedication, commitment, authority and tenacity to lead the project to success.

The Cultural Environment (or Suitability) Principle

An informed management must provide a helpful cultural environment to enable the Project team to produce its best work. An informed management is one which understands the project management process.

A supportive cultural environment is one in which the project is clearly backed by management, and plan team members are enabled to produce their best work
without unnecessary bureaucratic hindrance. This rule includes the need for management to ensure that the leadership profile and management style are suited to
both the type of project and its phase in the project life-cycle.

The Process Principle

Effective and efficient policies and procedures must be in place for the conduct of the project commitment. Such policies and procedures must cover, at a minimum, clear roles and responsibilities, delegation of authority, and processes for managing the scope of work, including changes, maintenance of quality, and schedule and cost control.

The Life-Cycle Principle

Plan first, then do. A successful project management process relies on two activities - planning first, and then doing. These two sequential activities form the basis of every project life-cycle, and can be expanded to suit the control requirements of every type of project in every area of project management application. The project life-cycle, characterized by a series of ‘milestones' determines when the project starts, the ‘control gates' through which it must pass, and when the project is finished. Appraise the viability of projects and develop success/failure criteria


There are a few factors to consider before any actual projects begin. The project developers must contain steps or project phases, most importantly, the original concept must be determined, and so as feasibility study, business plan, risk assessment, public enquiry, permission, organization, planning, design, procurement, fulfillment, test, handover, economic life. Project managers has the task of monitoring projects to be guided into a success, unfortunately, there are some projects that were not completed on time, over budget or being canceled in the process of building it. In general, there are common reasons that are usually found for project failures, these are a few reasons: lack of user involvement, incorrect planning or lack of planning, incomplete requirements, lack of resources, incorrect estimations. According to the 1994 Standish CHAOS statement there are top 10 factors found in successful projects. These factors are listed in Table below

Project success factors

Project Success Factors % of
User Involvement 15.9%
Executive Management Support 13.9%
Clear Statement of Requirements 13.0%
Proper Planning 9.6%
Realistic Expectations 8.2%
Smaller Project Milestones 7.7%
Competent Staff 7.2%
Ownership 5.3%
Clear Vision and Objectives 2.9%
Hard-Working, Focused Staff 2.4%

Some factors that contributed to project will be discussed below:

- User Involvement

• One of the key to success in a project is user involvement, without the user's involvement, it may cause of failure to the entire project. Even if the project was delivered on time, and on budget, a project has a high rate of failing if the project does not meet user's needs.

-Executive Management Support

• This influences the process and progress of a Project and lack of executive input can put a project at a severe disadvantage.

-Clear Statement of Requirements
-Proper Planning

• Proper planning is one of the most important parts of developing a project, having improper planning of the project may cause a severe disadvantage to the project and result to a failure.

-Realistic Expectations

• Expectations of the project development outcome must be rational. If expectations in developing a project are not accurate, it may cause to a failure in building the project itself.

-Smaller Project Milestones

• One of the things to be needed for a complete success of a project is completing smaller project millstones, the small details of a project should not be disregarded for it may result to a minor failure. If these smaller milestones are not being achieved, it may cause a major problem in the completion of the project.

-Competent Staff

• Staff members play the biggest role in a project development, without the proper knowledge or skill of a staff member may cause a poor outcome to a development of a project. Staff members should be proper trained and have the proper experience before getting involved with the task that they will be handling during the project development.

-Clear Vision and Objectives
-Hard working

• Every staff of person that is involved in a project development must be passionate and responsible in achieving objectives. Uncommitted staff members may cause a improper outcome in the building process

First of all Figure out what business you are in, and then mind your own business. Figure out what business you are in. Make sure your business is viable. Select projects that are good for your business. Understand the business value in your project and watch for changes. Be diligent in your chosen business, learning and applying best practices. Define what is inside and outside your area of responsibility. 50% of project management is simply paying attention.

Understand the customer's requirements and put them under version control. Thoroughly understand and document the customer's requirements, obtain customer agreement in writing, and put requirements documents under version identification and change control. Requirements management is the leading success factor for systems development projects.

Prepare a reasonable plan.

Prepare a plan that defines the scope, schedule, cost, and approach for a reasonable project. Involve task owners in developing plans and estimates, to ensure feasibility and buy-in. If your plan is just barely possible at the outset, you do not have a reasonable plan. Use a work breakdown structure to provide coherence and completeness to minimize unplanned work.

Build a good team with clear ownership. Get good people and trust them. Establish clear ownership of well-defined tasks; ensure they have tools and training needed; and provide timely feedback. Track against a staffing plan. Emphasize open communications. Create an environment in which team dynamics can gel. Move misfits out.

Lead the team.

Track project status and give it wide visibility. Track progress and conduct frequent reviews. Provide wide visibility and communications of team progress, assumptions, and issues. Conduct methodical reviews of management and technical topics to help manage customer expectations, improve quality, and identify problems before they get out of hand. Trust your indicators. This is part of paying attention.

Use Baseline Controls.

Establish baselines for the product using configuration management and for the project using cost and schedule baseline tracking. Manage changes deliberately. Use measurements to baseline problem areas and then track progress quantitatively towards solutions.

Write Important Stuff Down, Share it, and Save it. If it hasn't been written down, it didn't happen. Document requirements, plans, procedures, and evolving designs. Documenting thoughts allows them to evolve and improve. Without documentation it is impossible to have baseline controls, reliable communications, or a repeatable process. Record all important agreements and decisions, along with supporting rationale, as they may resurface later.

If it hasn't been tested, it doesn't work. If this isn't absolutely true, it is certainly a good working assumption for project work. Develop test cases early to help with understanding and verification of the requirements. Use early testing to verify critical items and reduce technical risks. Testing is a profession; take it seriously.
Ensure Customer Satisfaction. Keep the customer's real needs and requirements continuously in view. Undetected changes in customer requirements or not focusing the project on the customer's business needs are sure paths to project failure. Plan early for adequate customer support products.

Be relentlessly pro-active.

Take initiative and be relentlessly proactive in applying these principles and identifying and solving problems as they arise. Project problems usually get worse over time. Periodically address project risks and confront them openly. Attack problems, and leave no stone unturned. Fight any tendency to freeze into day-to-day tasks, like a deer caught in the headlights.