What is a ‘Project’ in Project Management?
A ‘Project’ is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result. (PMBOK 5th Edition) The term ‘temporary endeavor’ defines that a project has a definite start and end. The project end is achieved once the project objectives are achieved or being terminated due to the impossibility of achieving the said / stated objectives. It also can be terminated if the client / customer wishes to stop. The term ‘temporary’ doesn’t mean that the duration of the project is short, instead, it refers to the longevity of the project.
Each project has to create a unique product, service or a result and the output of a project either can be tangible or intangible. If this is further elaborated,
- A product can be defined as a component of another item, an upgrade or an enhancement to an item or a new product itself
- A service or a capability to perform a particular service (E.g.: A new business function)
- A result such as an outcome or document (A research result)
There are few strategic considerations that lead to authorize the execution of a particular project. Those factors are;
- Market demand
- Strategic opportunity
- Social need
- Environmental consideration
- Customer request
- Technological advancement
- Legal requirement
Since the need for a project arises due to one of the above factors, hence project management is a necessary skill which every organization requires in order to survive in this competitive industry.
What Is ‘Project Management?’
‘Project Management’ is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques into project activities to meet the requirements identified by a particular project. (PMBOK 5th Edition) There are 47 processes which are grouped under 5 main categories. They are:
- Monitoring and Controlling
No matter what the industry a particular project needs to be built is, these 5 processes need to be executed in order to complete the project successfully.
There are few constraints that need to be managed in order to drive a project towards its success. They are:
- Scope of the project
- Schedule of the project
- Cost of the project
- Quality of the project
In addition to the above main 4 factors, there are 2 other factors that also need attention. They are:
- Risks of the project
- Available resources of the project
The main 4 constraints have been identified as the ‘Iron Triangle’ of a project since they are mandatory / essential factors that need to be maintained under their respective limits in order to measure the success of the project.
Each of these factors are linked with each other. Therefore, if one of them is changed, it will affect towards the other factors. Hence, it’s necessary to keep the track of each factor to maintain the project under the agreed values.
E.g.: If the client comes up with a change to the scope, the project team will require more time to do the new change which will add a cost to the project.
Due to the higher probability of changes in the project requirements, development of the project management plan has become a progressively elaborated process which proceeds throughout the entire project life-cycle. This ‘progressive elaboration’ helps the project team to define project activities into much more detailed requirements as the project evolves.