What is Project Management?
Project management professionals are responsible for overseeing the budget and time frame necessary for completing a project. Project managers use their skills, tools, and knowledge to help organizations (of various fields) complete their projects (e.g. construction of a bridge). Demand for people to oversee these projects is high and expected to grow worldwide.
Skills for Successful Management
Successful project managers have knowledge and experience in the following areas:
- Project integration. A clear understanding of the goals and elements of the project will contribute to its success.
- Project procurement. Working well with suppliers is key to finishing the project effectively.
- Communication. Interaction with project members and relaying this information is necessary in successful project completion.
- Quality management. Attentiveness to project specifications outlined at the beginning will increase the quality of the project.
- Cost management. Project managers acknowledge every aspect of a project that will contribute to its cost.
- Scope and schedule management. Project tasks and the time necessary to complete those tasks needs to be clear from the beginning to keep the project from expanding too much during execution.
- Risk management. Project managers should be aware of possible risks associated with the project.
- Conflict resolution. Many negotiations will be made over the course of a project, so problem-solving and conflict resolution skills are (particularly) helpful in managing the project team.
A project requires a lot of time and a lot of planning. There are five phases necessary for completing a project effectively:
- Initiation. Before beginning any project, it will be analyzed from many angles to ensure that it will be beneficial. A team will discuss the project and decide whether completing the project is a realistic goal.
- Planning. If the project is ideal, the team will set a budget and a schedule. They will also outline the required resources necessary for the project's completion.
- Execution. After everything is written down and approved, the tasks for finishing the project are distributed to the team members.
- Monitoring. Once the execution phase is initiated, the project will continue to develop. Project managers are responsible for monitoring the project's status and compare it to the original plan. This step is important because schedules and budgets may need to be adjusted.
- Closing. Upon completion of a project, an evaluation should be completed. Evaluations outline the success of the project and areas where the process could be improved.
Project managers are responsible for breaking down the finished project into necessary tasks and subtasks and keeping track of these project details while remaining focused on the finished project. In addition to directing and managing the project, they are expected to oversee the team members and help the team work together effectively.
They also need to interact with the project's sponsors, resource suppliers, and those who will benefit from the project's completion. For these reasons, project managers need strong people skills (including good oral and written communication skills).
Once project managers have completed projects and developed a portfolio, they can advance to become program managers. A program manager does the same things project managers are do (only on a larger scale); a program manager oversees multiple projects at a time. Project management is gathering more attention, and organizations are spending more time and money on projects than routine operations.
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