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This paper aims to identify the overlap between the definition of the project and project management and to discuss how the confusion between the two may affect their relationship. It identifies the different individuals involved on the project and project management, together with their objectives, expectations and influences. It demonstrates how a better appreciation of the distinction between the two will bring a higher possibility of project success.
This paper consist of a discussion and argument that distinguish between project management and the project. In order to fully understand the diferences the two terms, this article will also highlighting the factors that can affect their success, the individuals involved and their respective orientations and the relationship between these elements. In addition to that, the implications of the situation where the project fails but the project management process is perceived to have succeeded or vice versa.
A project can be defined as the achievement of a specific objective, by which it may involves a series of activities and tasks which consume resources. A project normally has to be completed within a set specification, having definite start and end dates. In contrast, project management can be considered as the process of where the achievement of the project objectives are being controlled where by the existing organisational structures and resources is being fully utilized , managing the project by applying a collection of tools and techniques, without adversely disturbing the routine operation of the company.
According to Munns & Bjiermi (1996), the project is concerned with defining and selecting a task which will be of overall benefit to the company. This benefit may be financial, marketing or technical, but this will tend to be of a long-term nature, oriented towards the expected total life span of the completed project. In contrast, project management is orientated towards planning and control. It is concerned with on-time delivery, within-budget expenditures and appropriate performance standards Munns & Bjiermi (1996).
Discussions on the reviews
Based from the definition provided previously, it is obvious that project management is somewhat differs from that of the project because it is short term, until delivery of the project for use. In contrast the project itself is considered as a long term basis, wihch is based on the whole life rather than just the development cycle. By having this differences between the project and project management it is possible to start a discussion that will helps to distinguish between success and failure of the two.
In discussing the success and failure of the two, there are several points that has been discussed in the article. Some of the authors from the previous literature did stress on several factors that may contribute towards the success of project management and project.
According to Morris and Hugh (1986), they have suggested that the success of a project is dependent on having:
â€¢ a realistic goal;
â€¢ client satisfaction;
â€¢ a definite goal;
â€¢ third parties;
â€¢ market availability;
â€¢ the implementation process;
â€¢ the perceived value of the project.
As for the project management success, Munns and Bjeirmi (1996) has stated that the success factor of project management would include:
the obvious indicators of completion to budget
satisfying the project schedule
adequate quality standards
meeting the project goal
Other than success factors, Avots (1969) have also indicates of the opposites by which the factors which may cause the project management to fail to achieve which is because of:
â€¢ inadequate basis for project;
â€¢ wrong person as project manager;
â€¢ top management unsupportive;
â€¢ inadequately defined tasks;
â€¢ lack of project management techniques;
â€¢ management techniques mis-used;
â€¢ project closedown not planned;
â€¢ lack of commitment to project.
Such factors shows that eventhough the project management is failing, a project may still be successful because it meets the higher and long-term objectives. At the point when the project management is completed the short-term orientation could be one of failure but the long-term outcome could be a success, because the larger set of objectives are satisfied instead of the narrow subset which constitutes project management.
Implementation of techniques
Other than the success factors, previous literature on project management did also outline how successful implementation of techniques contributes to a successful project. The concentration on techniques may be considered as the 'hard' issues in project management. The discussion on implementation of techniques were presented and discussed as below.
Avots (1969) and Duncan & Gorsha (1983) both claim that project management is an important part in project success. Avots (1969), studying the reasons for project management failure, argued that failure could be avoided by paying careful attention to the project management factors which caused failure. Such factors are inadequate basis for project; wrong person as project manager; top management unsupportive; inadequately defined tasks; lack of project management techniques; management techniques mis-used; project closedown not planned; lack of commitment to project.
As for Duncan and Gorsha (1983), in referring to an implementation of technicque, they have identified three problem areas which indicate the success of a project. These are under-costing, overspending and late delivery. To overcome such problems, they suggested that project planning is needed to overcome these problems whereby project planning is part of project management aspect.
In the previous literature, Lackman (1987) has also discussed the different tools or technique available to a project manager to achieve success. These include work breakdown structures, client information sheets and project plans, among others.
As for Kumar (1989), he stated that the early development of strategies, philosophies and methodologies of project implementation have are the most important factor in achieving success. He suggested that by gathering sufficient site information and being aware of project considerations and constraints; it is possible to tailor strategies and methodologies which are specific to a certain situation. Such well-defined strategies will assist in providing a satisfying and successful implementation of a project.
Other writers have incorporated what might loosely be called people skills alongside these more administrative functions. These people skills are 'soft' issues in management. As for this issue, Randolph and Posner (1988), Posner (1987) and Jaafari (1990) stressed personal, technical and organisational skills as being necessary to help control projects and achieve successful results.
The other issues being discussed in the article is about the assumption that the projects ends when they are delivered to the customer. That is the point at which project management ends. Wit (1988) and Nicholas (1989) make a distinction between project success and the success of project management, bearing in mind that good project management can contribute towards project success but is unlikely to be able to prevent failure. They also emphasise that a project can be a success despite a poor project management performance.
Munns and Bjeirmi (1996) also stated that project management is purely a subset of the project as a whole, then it is suggested that the broader decisions in selecting a suitable project in the first place are more likely to influence the overall success of the project than can be achieved merely through the techniques of project management.
Individual responsibilities is also part of the important factor that may contribute towards the succesfull in both project and project management. Reviewing the previous literature, Kerzner (1989) states that "the major factor for the successful implementation of project management is that the project manager and team become the focal point of integrative responsibility". This shows that each individual plays an important role in ensuring the smoothness of every project. The completion of a project requires input from a variety of groups including the client, the project team, the parent organisation, the producer and the end user. Each party has a role in defining and determining success. They all have specific tasks and responsibilities that they must fulfil in order to achieve success (Kumar, 1989)).
Munns & Bjiermi (1996) also stated that the project originates from a requirement to meet a need that exists for the client. That initial need must be kept in focus by all those involved on the project. The user is the group or individual who makes use of the completed project or product. Oakland (1989) defines quality as "the satisfaction of users needs". Success for the user will be oriented towards long-term utilisation of the project outcome rather than project management techniques. As such, the project team concerned with the development, may have little or no direct contract with the user, who may remain unaware of the management processes and whether these have been successful or not.
Then there will be a link between project management failure and the failure of the whole project, but here the breakdown in project management must be extreme. The result is that three issues need to be addressed by all those involved in projects. These are the project definition, the client role, and the evaluation process.
Summary of findings like key information
The conclusion is that to make the project management team totally responsible for success would appear to be inappropriate and that the client should take an increased interest in the development and use of the project.
Thus, for a project to be successful there must, first, be an improved appreciation of the role of project management within projects, and this role must be placed within the context of a wider project alongside other outside criteria and long-term expectations. Second, the project manager must allow the client to contribute actively in the planning and production phases and at the same time the project team involvement has to be extended into the utilisation phase.
This would be accommodated properly in a project evaluation technique that examines not only the implementation processes but also the economic and financial performance. Finally, one must always bear in mind that successful project management techniques will contribute to the achievement of projects, but project management will not stop a project from failing to succeed. The right project will succeed almost without the success of project management, but successful project management could enhance its success. Selecting the right project at the outset and screening out potentially unsuccessful projects, will be more important to ensuring total project success.