Project Management can be seen as the application of tools and techniques utilised to guide the use of resources towards achieving an intricate task within the constraints of time, cost and quality. From conception to completion, a mixture of these tools & techniques is necessary to fit the task environment and project life cycle.
The British Standard for project management (BS6079 1996) defined project management as, "The planning, monitoring and control of all aspects of a project and the motivation of all those involved in it to achieve the project objectives on time and to the specified cost, quality and performance." The UK association of Project Management (APM) have produced a UK body of knowledge UK (BoK) which also provides a definition for project management as "The planning, organisation, monitoring and control of all aspects of a project and the motivation of all involved to achieve the project objectives safely and within agreed time, cost and performance criteria. The project manager is the single point of responsibility for achieving this."
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Project Management as we know today has evolved in order to plan, coordinate and control the complex and diverse activities of modern industrial, commercial and management change projects. (Lock 2007)
To allow for effective planning and control of projects, a requirement for systematic and logical methods should be applied along with proven techniques, thus ensuring a successful project outcome for all concerned parties, particularly the client. Without planning it is difficult to envisage the successful conclusion of any project or the effective control of time, money or resources. Planning is also essential in order to deal with construction risks and devise safe working methods. (Cooke 2008)
Project Planning is defined as the establishment of a set of directions in sufficient detail to tell the project team exactly what must be done, when it must be done and what resources to use in order to produce the deliverables of the project successfully. (Zwikael 2008). Construction planning is an essential and challenging activity in the management and implementation of construction projects. It occupies the choice of technology, the description of work tasks, the estimation of the necessary resources and durations for individual tasks, and the identification of any interactions among the different work tasks. Hendrickson (1998) believes a good construction plan is the basis for developing the budget and the schedule for work. It is therefore
David Arditi and Ann Rackas compiled a short report in May of 1986 with an aim in ascertaining the need for computer software to assist is construction planning and scheduling. This report concluded, the individual needs of a given construction company are the primary reasons for choosing a particular software package. For example, one of the participating general contractor's basic requirements was to have a 40-character activity description field: "a particularly individual need".
They continued to suggest if a program is to survive the inevitable shakeout that occurs after the initial development and interest have peaked; it must offer the features and capacities that are required by the user. In addition, every effort should be made to make computers less mysterious and confusing as they will be dealing with the construction market.
Today there are many planning software packages available to the construction industry. Asta Powerproject, Microsoft Project, Primavera, PERT Master to name a few. Each package is commonly suited to the individual needs of the planner. Some programs present a blank Gantt chart on the screen as soon as they are booted up, and it is apparent to the user that task data can be typed in immediately.