Project management is best defined as a thoroughly and carefully planned and organised endeavour to achieve a specific result. This can cover a swathe of activities, from constructing a building to implementing a new software application.
The key outcome of project management is to use knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to plan and implement activities to meet and exceed stakeholder needs and expectations. This outcome is best achieved by an educated and experienced approach to managing the four basic elements of a project: resources, time, money, and scope.
ResourcesOne of a successful and effective Project Manager's critical tasks is to manage the resources assigned to the project. The project resources are the skills and tools that will enable you to lead the project through all its different phases, from definition to planning, through to implementation, and on to completion and delivery. The sub-categories under resources are People, Equipment, and Material - all of which are of equal importance to the project's success.
TimeThe next critical task is time management. This is of crucial importance as, nine times out of ten, a project that is effectively time-managed will be completed within budget. The most common cause of a project exceeding budget is a lack of effective time and schedule planning and management.
MoneyFrom the financiers' point of view budget management is the most important of all the tasks. Realistically there are many factors that influence the effective financial management of a project, and the costs can be divided into three groups: estimated, actual, and variable. So a project's budget comprises estimated costs, confirmed costs, plus a contingency allowance and any profit. It is essential to meet the project schedule in order to meet the project budget.
ScopeThe project scope defines what the project is set to accomplish by making use of resources, time and money. Managing the project scope is the most important element for a Project Manager to have a handle on. If there is a change, for whatever reason, to the project scope there must be an equal adjustment to the three elements discussed above. A common phrase in project management parlance is 'scope creep'. This is when small changes, that on their own are minor or insignificant, are implemented, but that when added up negatively influence the employment of resources, the sticking to budget and the completion of the project within the allocated time.
Now that you are know a little more about what the essential elements of a successful project are, you might very well consider enrolling in a training course that will expand your knowledge, train you in important project management skills and techniques, teach you the basic and advanced terminology used in the project management environment, and assist you in becoming au fait with project management methods and systems.