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What is project management?

Author: Liam James Published on: Tuesday Feb 11, 2020

The article defines project management and explains what a project is. Popular project management theories, practices, standards, and tools.

What is project management and project?

Project management is the science of projects. The project manager plays a vital role in it. According to the definition introduced by the PMBOK standard, project management is the utilization of experience, skills, means, and manners to project activities to achieve the objectives of project requirements. BVOP cites project management in the context of the Business Value-Oriented Principles as an initiative to add business value to all management practices and tools.

Project management methodologies and standards

Various organizations around the world are introducing standardized project management methodologies. The oldest and most popular worldwide is the International Project Management Association (IPMA), founded in Europe in 1965 under the name INTERNET. Another reputable organization is the US-based Project Management Institute (PMI) with branches around the world. PMI periodically publishes A Book to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide).

Founded in 1969, the American Institute for Project Management (PMI) is a leading professional project management association with more than 135,000 members.

PMI is the only ISO 9001 certified company in the world.

The current PMI standards are: PMBOK GUIDE 2000, WBS Practical standard, PMCDF, OPM3. The following standards are under development: PMBOK Extensions, Practical Standard for Earned Value Management.

The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) framework standard includes several areas of project management knowledge. This norm is an example rather than a methodology for its implementation.

National project management standards

  • NASA Project Management (USA)
  • BSI BS 6079 (United Kingdom)
  • APM Body of Knowledge (United Kingdom)
  • OSCEng (United Kingdom)
  • DIN 69901 (Germany)
  • V-Modell (Germany)
  • VZPM (Switzerland)
  • AFITEP (France)
  • Hermes method (Switzerland)
  • ANCSPM (Australia)
  • CAN / CSA-ISO 10006 - 98 (Canada)
  • P2M (Japan)
  • C-PMBOK (China)
  • South African NQF4 (South Africa)
  • CEPM (India)
  • PROMAT (South Korea)

Extended geographic standards in project management

  • ISO 10006: 2003, Quality management systems - Guidelines for quality management in projects
  • A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide)
  • PRINCE2 (PRojects IN a Controlled Environment)
  • BVOPM (Business Value-Oriented Project Management)
  • ISEB Project Management Syllabus
  • Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF)
  • Oracle Application Implementation Method (AIM)

Standards for assessing the competence of the project manager

  • ICB IPMA Competence Baseline (IPMA)
  • PMCDF (USA)
  • NCB UA (National Competence Baseline, Version 3.0) (Ukraine)
  • STC (Russia)
  • BVOP Certified Project Management examination (United Kingdom)

A trendy methodology in Europe is PRINCE2, created and maintained by the UK Government.

The pioneers of UML Rational include a methodology for managing software development projects in their Rational Unified Process.

One of the main tasks of a project manager is to manage the relationship between time, workload and value.

Areas of knowledge in project management

According to PMBOK, successful project management requires knowledge in 9 areas:

  • Integrity management in the project
  • Project Scope Management
  • Project time management
  • Price management in the project
  • Quality management in the project
  • Human resources management in the project
  • Project communication management
  • Project risk management
  • Project Supply Management

There is another area that has only been added in recent years:

Managing the code of ethics in the project

Processes and tasks of project management practices

Initiation

A project starts with getting an order for it. The contents of the project and its scope are then described.

Planning

A project management plan is developed during planning. The necessary efforts, time and cost, resource planning and risk analysis are evaluated.

Execution

During the implementation of a project, a team is formed, project implementation is managed, quality control is worked and information is provided to stakeholders. 

Controlling

Control over a project monitors risks, assesses progress and reports on it and measures are taken to improve it. In the life of a project, the steps of "planning", "execution" and "control" can be repeated.

Closing

At the end of a project, the experience gained is ensured, and contracts are completed.

Classification

There is no strict classification of the names of the elements in the composition of the work, but it can be said that from small to large, the individual components follow certain names. Depending on the specifics of the particular endeavor, there may be an arbitrary number of transitional levels between the different levels:

Assignment - considered to be the lowest level that is trivial enough to be entrusted to one or a few people for execution in a short time. Examples: Drawing sketches for the interior design of a room, programming of one separate software component

Package - a group of several assignments, most often assigned to one of the main project team. Example: Performing research within a project

Project

Program - a group of projects. Usually, not all constituent projects are clear from the start. There are also no recurring operations within programs. Examples: USSR Space Program, political platform

Strategy - Example: Lisbon strategy

Politics

Project management software

There are many software tools available to assist with project management. The most widely used worldwide is the Microsoft Project, although many other products are much more functional but also more expensive. The consulting company Gartner Group annually publishes an analysis of the market for similar products called Magic Quadrant for IT Project and Portfolio Management Applications.

Products oriented towards project management services (in alphabetical order) are:

Agresso.

Augeo Software.

CA Clarity.

Epicor Software.

IRIS Software Group SharpOWL.

Lawson.

Maconomy.

Microsoft Project Professional.

Oracle E-Business Suite.

Primavera Systems Evolve.

QuickArrow.

SAP Professional Services Automation.

The other groups of programs are focused on product service, asset management, internal process management:

DotProject - OpenSource project management system.

Entexo iProject - A project management automation system for project management.

ProjectMate - Russian PSA system for automation of professional activity. There is an output to MS Project.

Invest Sign.

eGroupWare - Free project management software.

OpenProj - Free project management software, an alternative to Microsoft Project.

ProjectLibre - Free project management software, an alternative to Microsoft Project.

GanttProject - a small free program with a Gantt chart and resources.

Devprom - a lightweight and flexible project management system that supports the complete project development cycle.

Collaboration software on software projects (software development):

SVN.

CVS.

TFS (Team Foundation Server).

Visual SourceSafe.

Git.

There are also many open source project management programs on the Internet, but for the most part, they cover only some aspects of project management.

Project Management Training

Project management is a discipline that is widely used by universities around the world. More information on training in project management practices is coming soon.

Sequence diagram in project management

A sequence diagram (also called dependency network, task flow, or activity plan) is a tool used in project management. The purpose of this chart is to provide a complete picture of project work and more accurate time planning and scheduling by depicting activities/assignments and their relationships in the form of a network / targeted graph.

The various types of charts that are widely used can be broadly divided into two categories.

Arrow Activity - In this type of chart, the various activities are depicted by the arrows/edges of the graph, and the vertices represent key dates.

Top Activity - These charts depict each activity as a peak in a graph. Then the arrows depict the dependencies between them.

Gantt chart

The Gantt chart is named after the discoverer and Henry Gantt. It is a type of top activity chart and is the most preferred way to look at a project because it visually also presents the duration of the individual tasks. The activities in the Gantt chart are arranged horizontally - for each activity, there is a row, and each vertical line represents a moment in time. This happens as each task is a rectangle whose length is proportional to its duration.

Subsequently, Gantt charts also require specific indications of activities (parentheses) that are constituent, as well as key dates (small diamonds).

Timing chart

A simplified variation of the Gantt chart is commonly known as a timing chart. It has no arrows, but the tabular view of the presentation of tasks over time is preserved. So again, each row is reserved for one task, and time progresses from left to right. The rows are filled only in those places where the task is active at the specified moment.

These types of charts are popular for their simplicity and for being readily displayed on a table or plain paper.

Critical path method

The Critical Path Method (CPM) is also an essential and widely used technique. In practice, the method of drawing a diagram is not necessarily related to it. Still, most often, the two are combined because important data about the critical path method are shown precisely in this type of diagram. Typically, activities in this type of chart are drawn as rectangles, which outline essential details for the particular activity.

A technique for program review and evaluation

Technology projects in the US Army introduced the Program Review and Evaluation Technique (PERT) in the mid-20th century. Its diagrams are of the type of activity of the arrow and, specifically, each time estimate is made with three values:

optimistic

most likely

pessimistic

Statistical values ​​(Triangular distribution or Gamma distribution) are then applied to these values ​​to calculate the expected value. This results in a better estimate of time with a reduced risk of delay.

Like the critical path method, the PERT technique is also embedded in most modern commercial project management software and can be implemented automatically.

Types of activities dependencies

There can be many types of dependencies between different activities. Point activity charts allow these dependencies to be displayed visually. The various network diagram modeling tools allow one to specify one of the following dependencies.

Finished to get started - this is the most common addiction. Example: To begin assembling an article, the necessary parts must be ready.

Finished with finishing. Example: For a construction auditor to get the job done, the builders need to get their work done. Only then can he make the final inspection and finish

Begin to begin. Example: To begin the process of quality control by a customer of software, the actual work on the product itself must also begin. Otherwise, the client has nothing to control.

It starts to end. Example: For contractors at a construction site to believe that they have completed their work, the handover process must begin for the client to come and inspect. If the client has remarks, then they have not done their job and have to correct the items that are not following the preliminary agreements.

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