Project Management

What is a project?

A project can be described as a unique undertaking on which resources work towards a mutual goal that has been agreed upon upfront within a given time and available budget.

The three basic elements of a project are scope, cost and time. Before the start of a project all three have to be defined. However a project is only rarely an unbound entity and may shift its course at any given time due to changing circumstances and unforeseen alterations.
With these changes the tension field between these three elements will shift and have its effect on the scope, the budget and/or the timing.

Why Project Management?

Under the term Project Management we understand the guarding and and where needed adjusting of the basic elements of a project: time, scope and budget. Extending on these we like to add Quality. Quality is the fourth element, as a result of the other three.

Typically a project consists of a number of phases, also called the 'project life cycle'. In its simplest form, it exists out of four phases:

Each phase requires a certain number of project management activities. The project manager is the responsible person that does these activities.

  • Planning of activities and resources in function of the scope and required work
  • Tracking of progress, timing and budget and adjusting those when needed
  • Managing and monitoring of the project team
  • Creating reports
  • Status reporting on a regular basis to all project stakeholders

A project managers is preferably someone with strong management skills over someone with relevant technical background. The danger exists for someone with a technical background to get lost in the content and losses focus for the management aspect.

A tandem of a project manager and a substantively strong team lead is often an ideal combination for success.

The ideal project manager also has good people management and communication skills. He is the oil that runs the project team and the bridge towards the stakeholders. He is the project ambassador and has to deliver his message, adjusted to the conversational partner of the moment. He has to (help) find solutions to problems, he has to manage and track his team positively, enforce agreements and be able to transfer good and bad news.

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