Wikipedia defines project management as the discipline of planning, organizing, and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives. It is often closely related to and sometimes conflated with program management. The primary
challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals and objectives while honoring the preconceived project constraints. Typical constraints are scope, time, and budget. The secondary—and more ambitious—challenge is to optimize the allocation and integration of inputs necessary to meet pre-defined objectives.
There are many different project management lifecycle templates, the one on the left is from Method 123 and has the four basic phases of Project Initiation, Project Planning, Project Execution, and Project Closure. The details of each of these phases is representative of other project management disciplines, and tracks with the Project Management Institute (PMI) project lifecycle phases.
Another key consideration of project management deals with risk, and risk mitigation. Risks are where a particular part or facet of the project comes with potentially detrimental occurrences or events. It is imperative that risks are identified throughout the project lifecycle, categorized, and do everything possible to mitigate the risk in order to lessen the negative impact on the project. If the detrimental occurrence or event does take place, then it becomes an issue instead of a risk.
A project manager is usually responsible for the success or the failure of the project. There is an entire team under the project manager, which helps to achieve all the objectives of the project. However, if something goes wrong, the project manager is ultimately accountable.
The tasks to be handled by a project manager to successfully manage a project include:
- Integration Management - This is developing and managing the direction of the project
- Scope Management - This includes planning, defining and managing the scope of the project.
- Time and Cost Management - This covers developing a schedule, allocating resources and managing funds for the project.
- Quality Management - This involves taking care of the quality of the process in question such that it meets or even exceeds various quality parameters set earlier.
- Human Resource Management - A manager needs to take care of his team, encourage and motivate them and make sure the team moves in the right direction.
- Communication Management - The manager needs to prepare a communication plan and make sure that there is a healthy communication, both horizontally and vertically.
- Risk Management - Various risks involved in a project should be identified and a mitigation and contingency plan needs to be developed to ensure that the project is not derailed at any point.
- Procurement Management - Various materials needed during the project need to be procured and managed with the vendors and suppliers for successful completion of the project.
There are a variety of project management certifications available. The main ones are the PMP, CAPM, and Project +. More information is available here and here.
Agile project management is becoming a larger part of the overall project management discipline. This will be addressed in later posts as part of Agile Development.
This is a very brief overview of IT project management. I welcome your comments.