Chapter 1: What Is a Project?
Congratulations on your decision to study for and take the Project Management Institute (PMI®)’s Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification exam. This book was written with you in mind. The focus and content of this book revolve heavily around the information contained in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). I will refer to the Guide to the PMBOK throughout this book and elaborate on those areas that appear on the test. Keep in mind that the test covers all the project management processes, so don’t skip anything in your study time.
When possible, I’ll pass on hints and study tips that I collected while studying for the exam myself. Your first tip is to familiarize yourself with the terminology used in the Guide to the PMBOK. PMI has worked hard to develop and define standard project management terms, and these terms are used interchangeably among industries. For example, resource planning means the same thing to someone working in construction, information technology, or telecommunications. You’ll find Guide to the PMBOK terms explained throughout this book. Even if you are an experienced project manager, you might find that PMI uses specific terms for things that you call by another name. So, step one is to get familiar with the terminology. This chapter lays the foundation for building and managing your project. We’ll address project and project management definitions as well as organizational structures. Good luck!
Is It a Project?
The VP of marketing approaches you with a fabulous idea. “Fabulous” because he’s the big boss and because he thought it up. He wants to set up kiosks in local grocery stores as mini offices. These offices will offer customers the ability to sign up for new wireless phone services, make their wireless phone bill payments, and purchase equipment and accessories. He believes that the exposure in grocery stores will increase awareness of the company’s offerings. After all, everyone has to eat, right? He told you that the board of directors has already cleared the project and he’ll dedicate as many resources to this as he can. He wants the new kiosks in place in 12 stores by the end of next year. The best news is he’s assigned you to head up this project. Your first question should be, “Is it a project?” This may seem elementary, but confusing projects with ongoing operations happens often. According to the Guide to the PMBOK, page 4, “…a project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.”
| Note | Quotations from the Guide to the PMBOK are cited in the text with the following abbreviation: Guide to the PMBOK: Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) 2000 Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2000.| Projects are temporary in nature, while operations are ongoing. Projects have definitive start dates and definitive end dates. The project is completed when the goals and objectives of the project are accomplished. Sometimes projects end when it’s determined that the goals and objectives cannot be accomplished and the project is canceled. Operations involve work that is continuous without an ending date and often repeat the same process. Projects exist to bring about a product or service that hasn’t existed before. In this sense, a project is unique. However, don’t get confused by the term unique. For example, Ford Motor Company is in the business of designing and assembling cars. Each model that Ford designs and produces can be considered a project. The models differ from each other in their features and are marketed to people with various needs. An SUV serves a different purpose and clientele than a luxury model. The design and marketing of these two models are unique projects. The actual assembly...