The principles of project management
Project management is the process and activity of planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals in scientific or daily problems. A project is a temporary endeavour designed to produce a unique product, service or result1 with a defined beginning and end (usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or deliverables)2,[ undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives,3 typically to bring about beneficial change or added value. The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast with business as usual (or operations),4 which are repetitive, permanent, or semi-permanent functional activities to produce products or services. In practice, the management of these two systems is often quite different, and as such requires the development of distinct technical skills and management strategies. The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals5 and objectives while honouring the preconceived constraints.6 The primary constraints are scope, time, quality and budget.7 The secondary — and more ambitious — challenge is to optimize the allocation of necessary inputs and integrate them to meet pre-defined objectives. There are a number of approaches to managing project activities including lean, iterative, incremental, and phased approaches.
Regardless of the methodology employed, careful consideration must be given to the overall project objectives, timeline, and cost, as well as the roles and responsibilities of all participants and stakeholders.
The traditional approach
A traditional phased approach identifies a sequence of steps to be completed. In the "traditional approach", five developmental components of a project can be distinguished (four stages plus control):
Typical development phases of an engineering project
2. Planning and design
3. Execution and construction
4. Monitoring and controlling systems
Not all projects will have every stage, as projects can be terminated before they reach completion. Some projects do not follow a structured planning and/or monitoring process. And some projects will go through steps 2, 3 and 4 multiple times. PRINCE2 is a structured approach to project management released in 1996 as a generic project management method.8 It combines the original PROMPT methodology (which evolved into the PRINCE methodology) with IBM's MITP (managing the implementation of the total project) methodology. PRINCE2 provides a method for managing projects within a clearly defined framework.
PRINCE2 focuses on the definition and delivery of products, in particular their quality requirements. As such, it defines a successful project as being output-oriented (not activity- or task-oriented) through creating an agreed set of products9 that define the scope of the project and provides the basis for planning and control, that is, how then to coordinate people and activities, how to design and supervise product delivery, and what to do if products and therefore the scope of the project has to be adjusted if it does not develop as planned.
In the method, each process is specified with its key inputs and outputs and with specific goals and activities to be carried out to deliver a project's outcomes as defined by its Business Case. This allows for continuous assessment and adjustment when deviation from the Business Case is required.
PRINCE2 provides a common language for all participants in the project. The governance framework of PRINCE2 – its roles and responsibilities – are fully described and require tailoring to suit the complexity of the project and skills of the organisation.10
While talking about project management knowledge areas we mean: Integration management – making choices about where to concentrate resources and effort; anticipating potential issues; addressing these issues before...
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