Projects and Project ManagementOrganizational leaders are facing complex challenges through a rapid rate of change in both the technology and government which has then created pressure in new and existing organizations. As a result, the traditional structure for managing is giving way to a new form of management (Kerzner, 2003). This form is project management. How can this be? Projects have been around since the building of the pyramids (Dobson, 2003).
In 2650 B.C., the step pyramid was built by Imhotep for the pharaoh Zoser in Egypt. The building of Stonehenge occurred about 150 years later. In another 2,500 years, the Mayans began building pyramids throughout Central America. These were the very first projects in history. The builders of these structures used simple tools and did not have paper or software programs (Lewis, 1995).
The beginning of project management as a discipline began in the 1950s and 1960s in the United States but was not generally accepted until today. The purpose of this initial lecture is to help you in:1.Recognizing projects.
2.Developing an understanding of project management.
3.Recognizing the project management process.
This lecture will support these objectives by providing you with definitions, examples and descriptions of projects and project management. Additionally, the lecture will conclude with a brief description of the project management process.
ProjectsIn business today, there are many types of projects with endless possibilities. A project can be:Developing a new product or service.
Implementing a new business process.
Developing a marketing plan.
Completing an assignment.
According to Lewis (1995:2) a project is: a one-time job that has definite starting and ending points, clearly defined objectives, scope and (usually) a budget. The key words in this definition are underlined to aid you in differentiating between a project and a repetitive process or operation such as order processing or production. Operations and projects share characteristics. They are both:Performed by people.
Constrained by limited resources.
Planned, executed and controlled (PMI, 2000:4-5).
However, a project can be differentiating from an operation by its distinctive characteristics. As the Project Management Institute (2000: 4-5) explains: a project is a temporary endeavor to create a unique product or service. In this definition, temporary refers to the definite beginning and end while unique refer to the difference of the project from others. For seemingly repetitive actives like building houses from the same blueprint that are always unique features and problems. For example, the climate may vary or there could be special restrictions for zoning.
Another view of a project is provided by (Kerzner, 2000:2) as a series of tasks that:Have a specified objective to be completed within certain specifications.
Have a defined start and finish.
Consume human and nonhuman resources (such as money, time, expertise, equipment).
Are multifunctional (they cut across functional lines such as marketing, design, development, production and so forth).
Project ReviewA project is a one-time job. This is:Temporary.
With a clear start & finish.
Consuming resources (human and nonhuman)Budgeted, if appropriate.
Multifunctional (cuts across different functions).
A quality expert, Dr. J.M. Juran, defines a project as a problem scheduled for solution. From this perspective, a project is conducted to solve a problem for an organization. The problem(s) are solved by project work teams and the project manager (Lewis, 1995).
Project ManagementThe best way to learn about project management is to understand what it is not. Project Management is not software and it is not just scheduling (Lewis, 1995). Project management has two aspects (Heerkins, 2002: 6):The art leading people on a project.
The science defining and...
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