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11 Jan 2013 - 07:38:20 am

Project Management Basics for Organisations

Project management can be defined simply as using available resources in an organization or enterprise to achieve the goals and objectives of such organization or enterprise, within a specifies period of time and within a specified budget. Organizational resources can be identified in terms of human capital, (i.e., people), equipment, money, methods, time, processes, procedures, materials, etc.

Project management is not restricted to certain organizations or industries; rather, its application covers all types of businesses (whether small or large; multinational or sole proprietorship) and industries (whether cottage, expanding or developed). It has become an invaluable tool in organizational planning and development. When we say 'project' it does not necessarily have to involve huge sums of amounts or manpower, or be complex in design. It can be as simple as planning a company meeting or chasing and closing a deal to more intricate issues like carrying out stock taking of available manpower within an organization, identifying places with manpower needs and sourcing for extra manpower to fill up vacant positions.
What are the project management phases?

There are 4 phases that make up project management; they are:

  • The investigation phase
  • The planning and design phase
  • The production or execution phase
  • The evaluation and monitoring phase

In the Investigation Phase, the project is sourced, identified and commissioned. Then goals, aims and objectives of the project are identified and drawn up. After this, alternative ways of carrying out the projects are investigated and the best option is adopted and a project brief is sent to the project manager.

The Planning and Design Phase is next and it lays the foundation for consequent phases. In this stage, the project team is picked out and assembled. Then, the project manager briefs his team on what needs to be done and expected results and objective that are to be achieved at completion. Then the project is broken down into tasks and activities and the team is further split into sub teams with each sub team handling a separate part of the project while the project manage oversees the entire operation. He creates milestones to be achieved, draws up a calendar of events and creates time markers to ensure that the project is on track and on schedule. He gives continuous reports to management from time to time on the progress of the project. Then the project is pushed into production or execution phase.

At the Production or Execution stage, the plans are put into operation and made a reality. Resources are provided, activities are completed and progress is monitored and recorded on a chart. Actual progress is then compared to expected progress to see if things are going according to plan. Schedule might be updated or altered as deemed fit or as necessary. Resources are strictly supervised to prevent wastage and reduce additional expenses to the barest minimum. At the end of the stage, a product, service, or method is created and the final product handed over to management for evaluation and monitoring
Evaluation and Monitoring Phase is kicked off when the project is handed over. This is followed by decommissioning the project and reassigning resources to new projects or tasks. Management will then make their assessments to see if the project has achieved the desired objectives or not based on its level of efficiency and effectiveness. Project result is assessed in terms of quality, cost, time, accuracy, relevance, completeness and timeliness and a maintenance structure is designed and put in place.

When looking at project management basics for a project, the purpose and aim of the project must be identified; stock should be taken to ascertain available human and material resources; costs should be drawn up and possible human, material and time constraints should be identified and taken care of.

How is project management useful to any business?

Project management takes care of all details involved in a project undertaken in any field; from the time of idea generation down to the point of execution and even further till maintenance. It keeps costs in check and ensures that things are done efficiently, effectively and as when due.

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