What is Project Management?

At present time, the vast majority of business is project-oriented. It includes all innovative, investment spheres, consulting, engineering, etc. For productions of the above type, professional project management is extremely relevant. Until recently, the term “project” was understood as a set of estimates for the creation of buildings, structures or technical devices. In modern supervision, the stated concept involves the process of implementing a combination of targeted measures to create a new device or services through the established budget, time and quality.

Types of Project Management

The most obvious way making project more manageable is to break its execution into successive stages. It is on this 5-line linear structure that the traditional idea management is based:

  • Initiation. Meetings and brainstorming sessions are often held at this level, on which it is determined what the finished product should be.
  • Planning. A team decides how it will obtain the purpose, forms a calendar plan and budget, assesses risks.
  • Development. In the design phase, a configuration of future project/product is identified as technical methods for achieving it.
  • Testing and monitoring. Depending on the assigned task, this phase could consist of a simple transfer project results to the customer or of interaction with clients to improve it.

A big plus of such model is that it requires the customer and the company's management to define the specifics already at the first stage of the project. Potentially, a classic variant avoids stresses due to the availability of spare time. Its significant weakness is an intolerance to change.

Project Management Approach

But if in your proposal funds and time are not key constraints, it is worthwhile resorting to other project management standards. For example, according to the Agile approach, the main idea is broken not into successive phases, but into small subprojects, which are then “assembled” into the finished product. I.e., development, testing, and other procedures are carried out for each mini-task separately. This allows you to transfer results faster and edit it without much expense.

The weakness of Agile is that each team has to design its own management system independently. This is an uneasy and lengthy process will require changes concerning basic values. A more successful option is the concept of Sigma 6, focusing on eliminating problems. For doing this, a process of 5 steps known was proposed:

  1. Define: It determines the content of project by collecting information about its background, sets goals.
  2. Measure: Name which indicators will identify the success of the task and what data should be collected and analyzed.
  3. Explore: The project manager decides how a team could achieve its goals and fulfill all requirements on time and within budget.
  4. Develop: At this stage, plans and decisions adopted at previous phases are implemented.
  5. Control: It requires careful documentation, analysis of data and application of the acquired knowledge in the company as a whole.

The concept of Sigma 6 provides a clear framework for implementing ideas and continuously improving processes. It is suitable for difficult objectives, concluding new and complex operations. The problem with Sigma 6 is that customer satisfaction often breaks out to the forefront. Given some differences in goals at different stages of the project, teams frequently have confusion in priorities.

According to PRINCE2, components of project management are expressed in 7 principles, 7 processes, and 7 themes. At the beginning, you have to identify three main features:

  • 1) the business aspect (Will this project benefit?);
  • 2) the consumer one (What product is needed?);
  • 3) resource one (Is it enough for us to achieve the goal?).

Each member of the team has a clear role in mentioned processes:

  1. Starting up. The project manager is assigned, and general requirements for product characteristics are defined.
  2. Initiation. Needed documentation is prepared, as detailed project management plan for the stages.
  3. Directing. This process provides an opportunity to share overall responsibility for the success of project without going into details.
  4. Controlling. When the objective is implemented, certain changes will be made. It is the responsibility of project manager to monitor the deviations from the planned parameters of the project according to terms, content, budget, etc.
  5. Product Delivery. Such project management process provides the interaction between a project manager and the team one for creating defined products.
  6. Managing a stage boundary. Project laborer prepares necessary information for evaluating results of the previous stage and deciding on the transition to the next one.
  7. Closing a project. One of the differences between PRINCE2 is that completion does not stand out on a separate stage, but is performed within the final phase of the product creation.

PRINCE2 could be adapted for ideas of any scale or subject area. The methodology offers specific recommendations for changing the life cycle of the device, the role model and set of mandatory documents in accordance with the client’s needs.

Thus, project management is a science, but, in this area, there are no firm foundations and universal solutions. If you can find a method that is ideally suited to your project, consider that you are very fortunate, because less fortunate managers have to make efforts to create or customize their own project management systems.