Everything is a project. Constructing a new building, hiring new candidates, setting up new processes and software, or even planning a Mars mission that is also a project. Every new initiative that your firm takes is also considered a project.
I know it sounds pretty confusing, but worry not, we will be covering A-Z of project management in this comprehensive guide to project management.
What is project management?
Project management refers to creating processes and methodologies and using tools, skills, knowledge to plan and execute a particular project.
If you look at it, project management is a task, a profession & an industry at once.
While the nature of project management differs based on the context, the objective is always to meet the end goals efficiently.
Project management is not bound to any specific industry, whether the construction industry, healthcare, IT, marketing, or anything else; project management exists everywhere.
For example, be it launching a new rocket to space, a marketing campaign, or developing new medicine to cure cancer, everything is a project.
Stages of project management
A project is divided into five different parts/phases. These phases pot together provide a blueprint for any project. This is also known as the project lifecycle. This outlines a project’s overarching steps and allows the team to plan, execute, and ultimately launch their project in small steps.
Stage 1: Conception & Initiation
It is the phase where we conceptualize and plan the project. Then, project managers, clients/stakeholders, and other essential persons related to the project sit together and play around with the idea, do the research and decide the deliverables and how they plan to complete the project within the timeframe and budget.
Stage 2: Definition & Planning
At this stage, the project manager and their team and stakeholders lay out a roadmap for the project, anticipate possible threats to the projects, allocate budgets based on tasks, and decide times frames for each job and the project.
Each project team member should know what & when they’ll be working by the end of the stage. And the best way to delegate responsibilities and authority is by developing a project management plan.
Another important aspect of this planning phase is setting goals. Most project teams use the SMART goal approach, an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Stage 3: Launch & Execution
This is the time when the dice start rolling, and the real hard work starts. You and your team begin putting the plans into action.
This stage typically begins with a kick-off meeting where everyone involved in the project revises their key responsibilities, clarifies doubts, and determines how all the moving parts will come together to form your project launch.
The execution phase is the most challenging as there’s a lot at stake as this is where your team starts working towards the project. Project managers in this stage take on the supervising role while the project team carries out the tasks and makes deliverables happen.
Stage 4: Performance & Control
The fourth phase, the performance & control phase, is where you ensure that everything you’ve done so far is producing the desired results.
You have to use different KPIs to understand if things are performing well or not, and if they aren’t, you have to bring in control measures to make things right.
For example, if the budget is being out-spend than what was initially planned, you need to research why it’s happening and then take measures to control it.
Stage 5: Project Conclusion
Finally, you’ve completed the project but wait; there are still many things that need to be done.
Things a project manager has to do before winding up the project-
- Terminating or concluding contracts.
- Holding a project conclusion meeting.
- Recognizing special achievements.
- Preparing a final project report.
- Collecting feedback from clients and stakeholders.
Project management methodologies
There is a wide range of different methodologies in project management that are used by project teams all around the world. Here are a few major project management methodologies:
- Agile- It is one of the widely-used project management methodologies in the world. The project is divided into small manageable tasks, and each task needs to be completed in a specific period. As a result, the progress isn’t linear, and tasks are constructed based on priority.
- Waterfall- Waterfall differs from Agile because the progress here is linear, and things only go according to the plan without any flexibility. Here we break the project into sequential chunks. And the team begins working on the next chunk only when the previous is concluded.
- Scrum- Though the scrum methodology comes within the broad framework of the Agile methodology. It provides the same privileges such as flexibility, speed, and adaptability to change. Here we divide the project into very short phases called sprints, where things move very quickly. Teams meet daily to discuss their current tasks and solve any problems that come up.
How to start a career in project management?
Project management is an impressive career path with a massive potential for professional and personal growth. To start a career in project management, the first thing that you should do is reach out to any project managers you know and have a word with them to guide you. If you don’t know any such person, then make the internet your best friend.
Next comes education; the best way is by enrolling in a reputed institute and pursuing professional courses and certification. The gold standard is “Project Management Professional, ” out of all certificates,” also known as PMP Certification. Jump here to know the benefits of pmp certification. There are also other certificates like “Prince2 sixth edition certification” & “Scrum certifications.” Lastly, get as much experience as possible and work on as many projects as you can.
Senior Data Scientist and Alumnus of IIM- C (Indian Institute of Management – Kolkata) with over 25 years of professional experience Specialized in Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning.
ITIL Expert certified APMG, PEOPLECERT, and EXIN Accredited Trainer for all modules of ITIL till Expert Trained over 3000+ professionals across the globe currently authoring a book on ITIL “ITIL MADE EASY.”
Conducted myriad Project management and ITIL Process consulting engagements in various organizations. Performed maturity assessment, gap analysis, and Project management process definition and end to end implementation of Project management best practices
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