Yes! And this is something which I will never stop telling! And the most important reason for that? To trigger all those who use the word “Project” so easily, without considering what exactly a project is and how one should manage it. There are of course and other reasons that are going to be mentioned subsequently.But let’s start from the basics. Let’s learn first to speak the same language in order to understand each other.
There is a confusion associated with the use of the above mentioned words/terms-Project, Program, Process. Many people instead of the word project use one of the other two words.
Let’s clear out what exactly these terms mean.
According to the Project Management Institute (PMI) a:
Project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.
Program is a group of project, subprograms, and program activities managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually.,
Process is a systematic series of activities directed towards causing an end result such that one or more inputs will be acted upon to create one or more outputs.
So, these terms corresponds to total different meanings.
What exactly is Project Management?
Project Management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.
Project Management requires the existence of:
- Stakeholders: an individual, group or organization who may affect, be affected by or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity or outcome of a project (PMI, 2013).
- A Project Manager: the person assigned by the performing organization to lead the team that is responsible for achieving the project objectives (PMI, 2013).
- Project Management Team: the members of the project team who are directly involved in project management activities (PMI, 2013).
The Project Manager
The role of the Project Manager is the most important of all. Whether a project will be completed successfully or not depends on the Project Manager. Project Manager has the full responsibility for planning, implementing, monitoring and completing a project. So he must have multidimensional skills and competences in order to be able to respond successfully to this demanding position.
A well trained and educated Project Manager can make the difference! regardless of our occupation, should obtain all the positive qualities of a Project Manager. Here’s why!
The Other Reasons
In order to convince you that Project Management is a scientific field in which all of us should be trained I cite some more reasons (except of the main one which is triggering all those who use the word project without knowing what they are saying):
- Everything in our lives is projects. From going to the farmer market, up to build a house, write or read a book, deliver a workshop, manufacture a car… And the most important! Each phase of our life, each expression of our life is a project. If we want to evolve, to reach our goals and to live in harmony with the others we have to know how to manage our projects
- The use of Project Management principles helps us to provide people with quality products and/or services at the right time, within budget which are meet our customers’ needs.
- Information volume during the implementation of a project is huge. However, by applying the appropriate project management practices we can manage all the information effectively
- Project Management best practices enable and promote the effective and constructive communication among stakeholders
- The application of Project Management principles leads to the operational costs reduction of an enterprise either because a better management of resources takes place or because Project Management processes allow us to abandon early projects which anyway they would fail
- The blind focus on goals leads us to opportunities lose. Project Management backups focus while, in parallel, helps us to have “open eyes” so as to see the opportunities behind the problems.
- Lessons-learned is one of the deliverables of any project. It facilitates to learn from our mistakes so as not to repeat them
- Projectized enterprises are more flexible thus, they can better manage uncertainty
- The fast but correct reaction to the changes occurring in our environment, as well as, the identification of risks which could come up protect us and lead us where we want to be. And Project Management supports all these challenges.
Every project is related to something which is substantial and refers to the purpose of the existence of every organization or/and person. This purpose is closely connected to the strategic objectives of an organization/person. And these strategic objectives are expressed through Ideas. Ideas that must be materialized successfully!
Dimitra Zervaki, EMBA, PMP, TTT
PMI, (2013). A Guide to the Project management body of Knowledge (PMBOK), fifth edition. NY:PMI