Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, securing, and managing resources to achieve specific goals. A project is a temporary endeavour with a defined beginning and end (usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or deliverables), undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value. Project Management is the skills, tools and management processes required to undertake a project successfully. It incorporates: •
A set of skills: Specialist knowledge, skills and experience are required to reduce the level of risk within a project and thereby enhance its likelihood of success. •
A suite of tools: Various types of tools are used by project managers to improve their chances of success. Examples include document templates, registers, planning software, modelling software, audit checklists and review forms. •
A series of processes: Various processes and techniques are required to monitor and control time, cost, quality and scope on projects. Examples include time management, cost management, quality management, change management, risk management and issue management. Traditionally, project management includes a number of elements: four to five process groups, and a control system. Regardless of the methodology or terminology used, the same basic project management processes will be used. Major process groups generally include initiation, planning or development, production or execution, monitoring and controlling, and closing. In project environments with a significant exploratory element (e.g., research and development), these stages may be supplemented with decision points (go/no go decisions) at which the project's continuation is debated and decided. Most projects have four or five phases, but some have nine or more. Even within a single application area there can be significant variations—one organization’s software development life cycle may have a single design phase while another’s has separate phases for functional and detail design. Subprojects within projects may also have distinct project life cycles. For example, an architectural firm hired to design a new office building is first involved in the owner’s definition phase when doing the design and in the owner’s implementation phase when supporting the construction effort. The architect’s design project, however, will have its own series of phases from conceptual development through definition and implementation to closure. The architect may even treat designing the facility and supporting the construction as separate projects with their own distinct phases.
PROJECT LIFE CYCLE
A project lifecycle is defined as a series of phases undertaken to deliver a required project outcome. The phases of a project are divided based on the project undertaken. The phase sequence defined by most project life cycles generally involves some form of technology transfer or hand-off such as requirements to design, construction to operations, or design to manufacturing. Deliverables from the preceding phase are usually approved before work starts on the next phase. However, a subsequent phase is sometimes begun prior to approval of the previous phase deliverables when the risks involved are deemed acceptable. This practice of overlapping phases is often called fast tracking. Project life cycles generally define:
What technical work should be done in each phase (e.g., is the work of the architect part of the definition phase or part of the execution phase?). •
Who should be involved in each phase (e.g., concurrent engineering requires that the implementers be involved with requirements and design). Most project life cycle descriptions share a number of common characteristics: •
The probability of successfully completing the project is lowest, and hence risk and uncertainty are highest, at the start of the project. The probability of successful completion generally gets progressively...
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