To answer this we must first look at the definition of project. A project can be described a unique effort to create a set of deliverables within clearly specified time, cost and quality constraints.
The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast with business as usual (or operations) which are recurring, permanent, or semi-permanent practical activities to produce products or services. In practice, the management of these two systems is often quite different, and as such requires the development of different technical skills and management strategies.
We can describe Project management therefore as the discipline of planning, organising, securing, and managing resources to achieve specific goals.
The main challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals and objectives while honouring the set limitations. Typical limitations are scope, time, and budget.
Approaches to Project Management
Over time a few approaches to project management developed. Project management is essentially problem solving steps:
* defining the problem
* weighing options
* choosing a path
PRINCE2 (Projects IN Controlled Environments) is a structured approach to project management, released in 1996 as a general project management method. PRINCE2 provides a way for managing projects within a clearly defined framework. PRINCE2 describes actions to organize people and actions in a project, how to design and oversee the project, and what to do if the project has to be adjusted if it does not develop as planned. PRINCE2 provides a common language for all participants in the project. The different management roles and tasks involved in a project are fully described and are adjustable to suit the difficulty of the project and skills of the business.
Traditionally, project management includes a number of elements: four to five process groups, and a control system. Regardless of the method or terms used, the same basic project management processes will be used. Major process groups usually include:
* planning or development
* production or execution
* monitoring and controlling
This chart will give you a visual of the key elements to project management: