Project Management is a discipline that spans across multiple industries. Some consider it the reason for organizations to be productive and profitable. Some say it brings sanity and order to work done by a group of people. Others simply disregard it as an overkill to deal with simplicity.

In this article, I will try to define and describe project management and explain its genesis and expansion. I will throw light on project management systems and project management processes. I will share the roles and duties of a project manager and provide details of project management salaries. I will provide insight on project management software and benefits.

What is project management?

In order to define or understand project management, we need to define “what is a project?” and “what is management?”

Project Management Institute (PMI) defines a “project” as “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique result” in the PMBOK® Guide. A result could be a product, service, document, capability, a deliverable, or an outcome. There are several other definitions, but, this is the most commonly accepted definition.

“Temporary” implies it has a definite start and end. “Unique” implies there are non-repetitive elements that related to the project.

“Unique” implies it may have people who haven’t worked together at one time. Sometimes, it may be organizations or countries that were never together earlier. In some other projects, there are characteristics that are specific and new to the product being produced.

Examples of projects could be 

  1. a weekend upgrade of a network system, or
  2. a construction of a building or
  3. development of a new pharmaceutical drug

All these efforts have a start and a definite end. They all have unique characteristics such as new components, new location, new stakeholders etc.

It is important to know that a project is distinct and different from operations. Operations are ongoing, repetitive, and do not have a definite start and end.

“Management” is the organization and coordination of the activities to achieve a defined set of objectives.

So, project management is the “application of the knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques applied to project activities to meet project requirements.”

Project management aims to achieve project success by meeting the scope, schedule, cost, quality, risk, and other objectives.

In large organizations, projects are coordinated as part of program management.

When projects are large, it benefits to break it down as phases of a project.

On projects that have high uncertainty, risk management as a part of complete project life cycle is often used. Agile project management is one such example.