planning, organizing and managing
What is Project Management?
See the images below. What do they have in common?
The pyramids of Egypt
Plan a Vacation to Walt Disney World
A program to help war refugees
All these images have a direct link with project management. In fact, all these images are examples of projects.
So tell me, what is a project?
According to the definition of “Project Management Institute” (PMI), the international association of professionals in project management…
“A PROJECT is a set of temporary activities, carried out in groups, designed to produce a single product, service or result”. Let me try to explain this definition better. For something to be considered a project, 3 characteristics must be respected:
- It must be temporary, that is, there must have a start date and an end date. If it’s something that never ends, then it’s not a project.
- It must be unique in that we do not talk about routine activities such as operations, but we identify a product, service, or unique outcome at the end of the set date.
- You must perform activities to achieve the objectives set. These activities can be carried out by people or machines, sequentially or in parallel, in a single place or in different places.
Now back to the images above. Do they all meet these requirements? Yes.
According to historians, the pyramids of Egypt were built by the pharaohs and their main purpose was to show their power. The construction of the largest pyramid lasted about 25 years and involved more than 10,000 people who stacked more than 2 million blocks of stones, each weighing more than 10 tons … Can you imagine managing all this without technologies? A family who has never been to Walt Disney World can not just pack their bags, get to the airport and travel to Orlando without having booked a hotel, bought tickets, budgeted and without telling the boss that he was going to be away for a few days. You must plan a vacation project like this.
Let’s look at the situation of people fleeing the war to start their lives elsewhere. Several international organizations, such as the United Nations, are running projects to help refugees, such as building refugee camps. To do this, thousands of people are involved, various types of resources are used and all these projects have a specific duration and goal to achieve.
How do the best practices of project management come into play? ALL OVER. It is obvious that the degree of professionalism and knowledge in the management of these projects makes a big difference. Most likely, the family that went to Walt Disney did not follow any formal principles to plan and execute this project, as did the team that ran the refugee camp. In the construction of the pyramids, the engineers and architects did not have the technological resources, the materials and the formal knowledge of project management that we use today.
However, they all adopted the principles of project management. According to the PMI:
“Project management is the application of knowledge, skills and techniques to execute projects effectively.“
How does project management work?
There are many ways to manage a project and it varies depending on the type of project, the context in which this project is inserted, the culture of the company, the people involved in the project, etc.
In short, a project goes through 5 steps:
- Monitoring and control
There are also 10 areas of knowledge that identify the activities to be performed in each of these 5 steps:
- Integration management
- Scope management
- Cost management
- Time management
- Quality management
- Procurement management
- Resource Management
- Communication management
- Risk management
- Stakeholder management
These areas of knowledge are interdependent within the 5 stages, allowing the project manager to organize all the activities and resources needed to complete the project.
What is a program?
Some steps can be repeated several times during project execution, which allows us to identify projects within other projects. The more complex and vast the end goal, the more we will need to work on a strategy to identify one or more projects that will eventually be completed for delivery of a larger product or service. This is what we call programs.
“A PROGRAM is defined as a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to gain benefits and control that would not be available if managed individually“
Of course, the refugee assistance program involves a number of related projects for the construction of the land: a lighting installation project, a tent project, a refugee project, a project to feed the refugees, a project… They must have dozens of projects in this program.
So, if I want to manage a project, do I need to know all these steps and all these areas of knowledge? YES AND NO.
These steps and areas of knowledge are used by people who follow the project management model and good project management practices. There are other institutions that work and develop knowledge for project management. Learn more about these associations:
- PMI – Project Management Institute
- IPMA – International Project Management Association
- APM- Association for Project Management
It is important that you use a methodology for managing your projects. You do not have to go into details if your project is only to spend a few days at Walt Disney with your family. But if you have a project that involves multiple people, a high financial cost and you need to have adequate control over the expected outcome, I recommend you refer to one of these models.
What is the next step?
The mere fact that you read on the subject already shows your interest in this expertise. This is the first step.
Now, try to learn more and apply this knowledge in the realization of your projects. I will always update the content of this website to share best practices in project management. Participate and share your experiences!
START PROJECTING NOW!