Project management is a means of bringing a structure to any project and although its central aim is based on schedule, tasks and quality, it also is structured around three broad themes; time, finance and scope.
So projects must be able to meet all quality controls and as such satisfy the expectations of the customer or end user. Projects must be delivered or completed on time. Projects must also be delivered within the agreed financial package and they must be within the agreed scope of the project, so that the final project satisfies the customer or client.
A project is a piece of work that has a time framework so it will start, run and then come to completion and the management process for this, which is undertaken in a formal way is the process of project management.
The Project Team
Although many projects will have a project manager who deals with the day to day management of a project, there is also a need for variety of team players, from various disciplines to all work together to make the process work. This team also has to effectively implement a risk strategy that minimises any risks associated with the project.
So a project that involves the construction of a building will have a project manager who will then organise the project team. This team will involve ‘stakeholders’ who will own the building when it is used, as well as people who are designing the building and the people who are building it.
The project team is therefore disparate, but all members have an interest in ensuring that the project is delivered on time, with the project manager having a pivotal role in driving forward the project and ensuring that all team members work together, achieve agreed goals and communicate effectively.
Role of Steering Group
Some projects, although by no means all, also have a Steering Group to help drive the process forward. A Steering Group will have a role where the project team report to the Group on a regular basis and the Steering Group have an overall management responsibility to ensure that the project is managed effectively and that it delivers successfully.
Having a Steering Group helps to form the structure of project management and ensure that all deadlines are met, as the process is underway.
Projects Requiring Project Management
Although huge contracts such as the building of the stadiums and accommodation for the Olympics, obviously require very formal project management, the process is used throughout business and even within the voluntary and public sectors.
Because project management manages to formalise the process of completing a project successfully it means that there are fewer risks associated with a project that is formally managed and that is why it is so valuable a process. If a project is subject to project management, it is more likely to succeed and less likely to go well over budget!
So any project, whether it is building the Olympic village, or opening a new school or a takeaway on a street corner actually requires project management to ensure that it opens on time and within budget and that it is the best that it can be. That is the whole philosophy of project management!