Project management is where skills, knowledge, experience, methods and processes are applied with the goal of achieving the objectives of a specific project. A definition of the term ‘project’ can be found in the short video attachment. The key factor distinguishing project management from more general management is the delivery of a specific objective within a finite, pre-determined timespan, rather than any business practice which is ongoing.
Project managers therefore not only need a broad range of skills such as people management, organisational ability and business awareness, but often also need project-specific technical skills and knowledge. John Hiscocks is an architectural design director with more than three decades of experience in project management, delivering objectives to some of the industry’s most challenging clients.
Core Components of Project Management
The first task of the project manager is identifying and defining why the project in question is beneficial or necessary. The project manager will estimate the cost and timescale of the project, specify quality requirements of deliverables, and capture the requirements of the project so they can make a case for justification of the required investment. They will then need to secure the funding and corporate agreement necessary and develop and implement the management plan for the project.
The project manager is responsible for monitoring and maintaining the budget, managing the project delivery team, managing any risks, and monitoring the progression of the project against the plan. The project manager is the main point of communication between those involved with project organisation and all the stakeholders. Once the project is complete, the project manager is then responsible for closing it down in a controlled and appropriate fashion.
Why Is Project Management Used?
Project management is used for the benefit of an organisation, through instigating a project that will ultimately work to the advantage of the business, the stakeholders and the employees. Effective project management involves the use of resources to achieve the best value, the management of change, and the satisfaction of all the stakeholders’ needs. A successful project manager is capable of initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, controlling and closing a project. In the embedded PDF you can find an overview of the qualifications and experience required to become a successful project manager.
There are ten areas of knowledge which a project manager draws on: communications, cost, human resources, integration, procurement, quality, risk management, scope, stakeholder management and time. These areas of knowledge are used to fulfil the five groups of project management processes: closing, executing, initiating, monitoring / controlling and planning.
A career in project management requires leadership and organisational skills. Project managers need to be able to choose the right team, and motivate and lead that team, including internal and external stakeholders. Objectives for the project need to be set in line with the needs and vision of the client or organisation, which include timescales, scope, budgetary limitations and content. The work needs to be thoroughly planned out, with deadlines set for each aspect of the project. Work needs to be monitored, evaluated and controlled throughout every stage, and the various tasks need to be delegated appropriately and coordinated.
Risks need to be properly identified and managed to ensure the project completes within the planned timescale and budget. Any changes required throughout the lifecycle of the project need to be identified and implemented, and the project manager must make regular reports to the client and to management. In the infographic attachment you can find some information about typical salaries for a project manager in the UK, although this will of course vary between projects, companies and industries.