What is project management?

Project management is an essential endeavor that can help companies of all sizes around the globe, in all industries, transform their businesses and effectively execute business strategy. Here are some of the project management basics as well as some of the other elements that work in sync with project management.

Let’s start with some key definitions and then share key elements of project management including the project phases and knowledge areas as well as what you need to know to be as successful and effective as a project manager.

What is a project?

The Project Management Institute (PMI), the world’s leading project management organization with over 500,000 global members Internationally describes a project as “temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources. A project is also “unique in that it is not a routine operation, but a specific set of operations designed to accomplish a singular goal.”

What is project management?

PMI describes project management as “the application of specific processes, knowledge and skills, techniques and tools, as well as inputs and outputs that project managers and teams utilize to successfully meet project goals and deliverables.”

What is a project manager?

Every company will have a similar but slightly different project manager job description, but in general, the project manager is the key role behind project success. They are responsible for the guidance and support of stakeholders and in leading all of the activities throughout the planning, executing, monitoring, controlling and closing of projects. Ultimately, they are accountable to stakeholders and sponsors for the success or failure of the project. There are two other key strategic-level project related functions that should be mentioned – program management and portfolio management.

Program management

This is the process of managing multiple related projects with the goal of improving organizational performance.

Portfolio management

Portfolio management is the highest level in project management that is responsible for strategic execution.

What is a stakeholder?

A project stakeholder can be any “individual, group, or organization, who may affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project,” according to PMI.

What is a project sponsor?

This can be a person or group that initiates the project, supports the project manager and their team, champions the project, provides high-level guidance, and helps to resolve issues if the project manager encounters any difficulties.

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