The evidence of great past projects still amaze us today as tourists flock to the ancient wonders of the world such as the pyramids, ancient cities and the Great Wall of China. In modern times the landing of people on the moon still captures the imagination. In some industries project management is a way of life, typically the armaments and construction industries. Today the project management approach and process is for everybody that wants to assure good results. Not all projects are that big. Some are small and undertaken by entrepreneurs and undertakers of various community projects. I am convinced that in our time project management has become a life and achievement skill.
Project management ensures success
Project management techniques such as a requirements analysis and a business case guide you to identify the real needs and requirements of a project. You are therefore sure to do the project for the right reasons and purpose.
The modern organisation is much flatter than the traditional hierarchy of the past. In many instances redundant middle and senior managers are replaced by temporary managers working on a project basis.
Project management is also applied for domestic, social and sport reasons. Trial and error and reliance on the contractor for performing the project alone may be costly and not good enough anymore.
A description of a project
A project is a series of inter-related activities that are undertaken to accomplish a specific goal or end result. We can also add that it is usually complex, non-routine and a one-time effort according to certain specifications to meet customer needs.
Project management is a proven method to produce deliverables according to a specified standard at a pre-determined cost within a defined time frame meeting specified quality standards.
We address risk and uncertainty management
Project management is, to a large extent, aimed at the reduction of risk and uncertainty and as such we utilise of a number of techniques which were developed for this purpose. Fundamental to all of these is the principle of breaking work down into manageable units along a principle of divide and conquer. The single most important technique towards this aim is the life-cycle approach through which a task is executed by adhering to its natural chronological life-cycle.
Goal-Orientation helps to achieve superior results
We use the project management approach to achieve excellent results through well-structured change.
To achieve goals in project management we use superior techniques that we apply in a disciplined way right through the project life cycle.
If you can dream it project management is the way to achieve it. Goal orientation means we start at the end where we would like to be and work back to develop the best plan for achieving the desired end result.
Emphasis of the importance of the result
Since project management is primarily aimed at the achievement of specific objectives within predetermined time frames its ultimate focus is on an intended outcome or result. This is achieved through the structured application of, several project management techniques:
• Clearly specified and measurable objectives
• Proper work breakdown and structure
• Clearly defined deliverables and milestones
• Defined schedule from beginning to end
• Financial discipline
Specific methodologies have been developed to support the use of these techniques. The application of these techniques, tools and methods distinguishes the professional from the amateur project manager and participant. You must look for opportunities to acquire these skills and techniques to become more proficient in project management.
Project management success criteria
The success of a project is determined largely by the following criteria, often referred to as project drivers:
• Cost (within budget)
• Schedule (on time)
• Technical Performance (delivering of physical requirement)
• Client Satisfaction (what the client wanted from the project)
• Corporate Responsibility (success of the whole business)
The importance of the project success criteria may vary from project to project.
If you want to succeed and achieve your goals there is no other way than the project management process to produce deliverables and complete successful projects. Project management is a learnable skill. As a manager or entrepreneur you must have good project management skills to achieve results.
Find out more about a public project management course that will be held at the DaVinci Institute Modderfontein, Johannesburg from 21 – 23 October 2015. Click here for access to the course brochure on ProjectManagement Principles and Methodologies.