What is Project Management

What is a Project?

A project, as defined by the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), is a “temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result”. By virtue, projects are intrinsically higher risk than business as usual (BAU), this is due to their cost, quality ,scope and time constraints or the uniqueness of the projects outcomes, that may have never been done before. Therefore, a particular skill set is required for managing projects.

So what is project management exactly?

Now that we have clarified what a project is and how it differs from functional business management, what exactly is Project Management? Project Management is the appropriate application and integration of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques of the 42 project management processes to meet the project requirements. These processes can be categorised under the 5 main process groups which include;

  • Initiation
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring & Controlling
  • Closing

What is a project management professional?

Project Management, as a profession is quite immature, this can be seen by the vast number of project managers who have no formal qualifications or certifications such as; Certified Practicing Project Management (CPPM), Register Project Manager (RegPM), or Project Management Professional (PMP). This is typically due to the vast number of accidental project managers, these are skilled technicians that have moved into the role from a technical background. Generally, these technical experts have little leadership or stakeholder management skills and thus, while they excel at the technical components of project management they often fall short on the leadership (management) side. Project management today is placing much more emphasis on the soft skills of leadership, with a preference to a background in business rather than the traditional technical or engineering background.

How to be a project manager

A successful project manager is one who can apply the specific tools of project management while harnessing the power of influence and leadership, a project manager must remove themselves from the detail roles and maintain the helicopter view, only dropping down to the detail level to resolves issues. In order to answer the question, how to become a project manager? The profession is now widely recognised as a specialist field, with formally recognised project qualification and project certification frameworks. I recommend starting with a certificate IV in Project Management and gaining some experience on a project team. Once you gain some experience, you can work towards certification and continue to build on your knowledge base.

To be a truly successful project manager, we must understand that by virtue, project managers are managing value driven change. In order for a project to exist, there must be a benefit to the business. For a better understanding of business benefits, see my blog here.

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Who Wrote This Article? ...(It was: Chris O'Halloran)

I'm "Chris O". I've managed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of projects since the inception of my career. I love helping others figure out the intricacies of project management on any scale. Come find me on twitter or google+

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