“DISCIPLINE IS CHOOSING BETWEEN WHAT YOU WANT NOW AND WHAT YOU WANT MOST”, quoted by Abraham Lincoln. When one applies his/her knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to manage a project to achieve certain objectives, it is called Project Management. Kalpesh Ashar, in his book “Project Management Essentials You Always Wanted to Know”, refers to the Project Management Institutes definition of Project –
“A temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result ”.
Projects have become an integral part of our everyday life. Projects are undertaken to bring about some change in the existing scenario, either in personal or professional life. Although projects have been executed for decades now, it is only much recently that the need has been felt to manage projects using a scientific approach. Projects executed using a scientific approach ensures greater chances of achieving project goals. Much still lies in how efficient a project manager is in the organization and utilization of resources.
Typical responsibilities of a project manager include: Planning, Executing, and Closing Projects.The resources he/she manages include people, budgets(finances), technology and Intellectual Property and Data rights.
Projects at Work:
- New product development
- Enhancement in existing product
- Feasibility Study
- Developing a software application
Projects in Personal Life:
- Wedding event management
- Planning a birthday party
- Vacation Planning and booking
- Home improvement
Pre-requisites of Managing a Project:
Even though every project is different, they have two things in common : A predetermined Timeline and a Unique Outcome or goal. A project cannot carry on forever. Every project also delivers something unique or different than the outcome of the other project.Every project is started to meet certain objectives.Although it is felt that only the project manager does project management, it is usually not true. Every person working on a project is performing activities that help in achieving the Project Objectives.
Management By Objectives:
- Setting clear and realistic targets/objectives.
- Periodic evaluation of the achievement of the targets.
- Implementing corrective action, if required, to bring performance in line with the targets.
These are further elaborated in Project Management Essentials Book by Vibrant Publishers.
Constraints of Project Management:
Every project has the following 6 constraint:
- Scope: The project needs to deliver a certain scope.
- Time: The project needs to complete within stipulated time frame.
- Cost/Budget: The project needs to be done within the stipulated budget.
- Resources: The work on the project demands lots of resources – human resources, machinery, and raw materials.
- Quality: The final product will only be accepted if it meets certain quality parameters.
- Risk: Several uncertainties might come in the way, which should be managed properly by the project managers.
The above constraints compete against each other and a project manager needs to juggle between them. The detailed steps and tools to successfully execute a modern day project and manage all its complexities are outlined succinctly in the book: