A Simple Definition of Project Management


Project management is a system of knowledge, skills, and tools that a manager can make use of to deliver his projects effectively. Projects often take place in an unstructured environment where the involved parties have to deal with new information every day. Clashes with outdated information further complicate the matter because of miscommunication.

Projects also often require the manager to deal with a wide range of challenges which can include solving technical issues, making sure that it complies with regulations and conducting sufficient stakeholder engagement. An untrained manager could probably survive one such project and manage to deliver satisfactory results. When the number of projects and / or complexity increases, sending an untrained manager for the job might jeopardize the projects. Managers equipped with proper skills can deal with such unstructured environment, by ensuring that proper systems in place.

As a project professional, I personally find that the system laid out in the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) to be particularly useful. It is a best practice that managers should learn and try to implement in their management practice. The PMBOK divides the entire project into 47 logically grouped project management processes that can be generally categorized into five process groups. The five process groups are as follows:

a) Initiating;
b) Planning;
c) Executing;
c) Monitoring and controlling; and
d) Closing.

This is a fine example of a proper project management system that managers can use to manage and deliver projects effectively. Project management is a system that incorporates a set of processes that enable the manager to break down the project into different groups for easy manageability. In order to manage a project effectively, the manager should include the following tasks:

a) Identifying requirements;
b) Addressing the various needs, concerns, and expectations of the stakeholders in planning and implementing the project;
c) Setting up, maintaining, and carrying out communications among pedestrians that are active, effective and collaborative in nature.
d) Managing stakeholders towards meeting project requirements and creating project deliverables; and
e) Balancing the competitiveness project constraints.

Changing one of these factors will often affect the others and cause project complications. It is almost impossible that a project can be completed without any changes to these factors; therefore it is inevitable that the project manager has to rely on a proper methodology to deal with it. A complete project management plan should also include assessing how such changes will affect the other factors, to determine if the project deliverables are affected.

Zeng Han Jun