What is Project Management?

Let me know when this situation sounds familiar: you hire someone to do a project or an portion of a project for you. Expecting great results from their vast array of promises and guarantees, you decide to not micromanage them and instead wait patiently for the final product. Then the previously agreed upon deadline flies by and you don’t hear a peep from them. After several emails, you get in contact and realize they totally forgot. Sound familiar? If so, then you need an answer to what is project management and why it is important immediately.

First off, you have to know what is applicable to project management. A project has to consist of something that is temporary and has defined time and resource limits set upon itself. Every project will have a singular, dominant goal that may be graded by either objective or subjective measures.

Project management is the process of taking your skills and expertise and applying them to overseeing a specific project from start to finish

Now, project management goes with the development and utilization of projects like peanut butter and jelly. You cannot have one without having the other and expect good results ever. Project management is the process of taking your skills and expertise and applying them to overseeing a specific project from start to finish.

The Five Groups of Project Management

There are five loosely-defined groups that most project management jobs fall into. These five are: creation, planning, doing, observing, and finishing. Successful project management will keep a business on track and on target for all five of these groups and keep the project humming along smoothly and soundly.

One of the best tips for project management success is the implementation of a work breakdown structure, or WBS. A WBS takes the theoretical concepts of budget and amount of time needed to complete the project and breaks it down into understandable and practical components that helps get the project finished.

A quality WBS makes a project go along much smoother and more efficiently from conception to close. Additionally, a good WBS naturally leads to a more detailed and comprehensive Statement of Work when applicable, which can save the company time and resources. Companies that consistently use a WBS for project management begin to see increasingly accurate estimate of projects as project managers gain valuable experience with them over time.

Learning More on Project Management

If you are intrigued by the potential effective project management can bring to your work environment, there are several places you should go for more information. The authoritative source for all project managers is indisputably A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (affectionately known by the acronym PMBOK). This beefy book should be read by all project managers that are worth their cost and is recommended reading for everyone looking to learn more on project management not just as a business enhancer but as a profession as well.

The Project Management Institute also has several informational articles on the current trends and happenings of the industry, including an entry article on how project management can help achieve business solutions. PMI is great for both workers new to the concept of project management and those that have made it their livelihood, as their constantly updated blog keeps everyone in tune with industry news.

Finally, after you check out the PMBOK and PMI as great resources, there is nothing that beats practical hands-on experience in business. The next project you have at work, see if you can get involved with the management side of it and observe how it is currently dealt with. Does your company use a WBS, for example? Start from there to help your company see improved project results.

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