Project Management 101

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Operational work is NOT a Project !

On-going operational work is not unique and do not have a definite begin and an end. This is in direct contrast to the definition of a PROJECT.

Some examples of on-going operational work:
  • selecting suitable candidate from job applications
  • assembly line production work
  • underwriting insurance cases
  • replying to emails in a support or call centre setting
  • service counter staffs serving customers day in day out

Notice that on-going operational work produce similar products, i.e. cars and household products in a manufacturing environment.

It is easy to define what is and what is not a project, but there may be grey areas where it may be difficult to distinguish a project from an on-going operation.

Many of today's management philosophies, advocate managing work in manageable chunks, facilitating performance measurements that ties to the bottomline of the organization.

We will talk about how a project team can be organised for success in the next segment of PM 101.

Friday, March 17, 2006

What is a Project?

A unique and temporary undertaking which results in a unique product.

Every project has a definite beginning and an end. The start of a project may be somewhat unclear on many projects, but often initiated with a kickoff and a project manager being sassigned. At least the end date is clearly defined and agreed by all stakeholders, so that the project can be officially deemed closed or terminated.

Every project has a unique product. This could be in the form of services or a tangible product such as a prototype car, a bridge, a building etc...

Projects are many these days, and they are found in our lives, our offices, our governments, small and big corporations.

However do not confuse projects with on-going operations.

Stay tuned for our next article on what is an on-going operation in Project Management 101.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

What is Project Management?

Simply put, it is the application of knowledge, skills and tools and techniques to accomplish the project objectives. There is always 1 or more product when a project completes or is terminated, often called deliverables.

Throughout history, we know of many great projects like the building of the great pyramids, the Taj Mahal, the Titanic, St Peter's Basilica in Rome and many more ancient and modern buildings, bridges, and machines.

It was only in recent times, perhaps in mid-50s, that project management was recognised as a tool and profession.

There are processes involved in project management which needs to be managed by a Project Manager, and is assisted and executed by the project team.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines these processes as Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Control, and Closing.

These processes are broadly defined as Process Groups. Each of these process groups have defined processes, which fall under a defined Knowledge Area.

According to PMI, the 9 knowledge areas are:
Integration Management
Scope Management
Time Management
Cost Management
Quality Management
Human Resource Management
Communication Management
Risk Management
Procurement Management

In subsequent articles, I will talk about the knowlegde areas and Process Groups in detail.