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Project Mangement - Terminology and Definitions

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Project Management


1.1 A project is any sort of planned undertaking

All of us have been involved in projects, whether they be our personal projects or in business and industry. Examples of typical projects are for example:

* Personal projects:

 obtain an MBA

 write a report

 plan a event

 plant a garden

 build a house extension

* Industrial projects:

 construct a building

 provide a gas supply to an industrial estate

 build a motorway

 design a new car

* Business projects:

 develop a new course

 develop a new course

 develop a computer system

 introduce a new product

 prepare an annual report

 set up a new office

Projects can be of any size and duration. They can be simple, like planning a party of function, or complex like launching a space shuttle or erecting a multi- plex

Generally projects are made up of:

* a defined beginning,

* multiple activities which are performed to a plan,

* a defined end.

Therefore a project may be defined as a means of moving from a problem to a solution via a series of planned activities.

* A project is a means of moving from a problem to a solution via a series of planned activities.

* A project has a definite beginning and end.

* Projects consist of several activities.

Two essential features are present in every project no matter how simple or complicated they are. In the first place, all projects must be planned out in advance if they are to be successfully executed. Secondly, the execution of the project must be controlled to ensure that the desired results are achieved.

On most projects it is possible to carry out multiple activities simultaneously. Usually it is possible to perform several activities at the same time, however there will be activities which cannot begin until a preceding activity has been completed. Such relationships are referred to as dependencies or precedencies, and when planning a project it is important to establish the order of precedence of dependent activities, and to establish those activities which can be performed in parallel with other activities.

Regardless of the nature or size of your project a successful outcome can only be achieved by using sound project management techniques. The most widely used and popular methods of project management are Gantt Charts, Critical Path Method (CPM) and Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT). However, it is important to remember that projects are carried out by people, and the human aspects of project management are critical for the project success.

1.2 Terminology and Definitions

A project is an interrelated set of activities that has a definite starting and ending point and results in the accomplishment of a unique, often major outcome. "Project management" is, therefore, the planning and control of events that, together, comprise the project. Project management aims to ensure the effective use of resources and delivery of the project objectives on time and within cost constraints.

An activity or task is the smallest unit of work effort within the project and consumes both time and resources which are under the control of the project manager. A project is a sequence of activities that has a definite start and finish, an identifiable goal and an integrated system of complex but interdependent relationships.

A schedule allocates resources to accomplish the activities within a timeframe. The schedule sets priorities, start times and finish times.

Project management is:

the adept use of techniques and skills (hard and soft) in planning and controlling tasks and resources needed for the project, from both inside and outside of organisation, to achieve results.

The purpose of project management is to achieve successful project completion with the resources available. A successful project is one which:

* has been finished on time

* is within its cost budget

* performs to a technical/performance standard which satisfies the end user.

1.3 The Attributes of Successful Project Management

The effectiveness of project management is critical in assuring the success of any substantial undertaking. Areas of responsibility for the project manager include planning, control and implementation. A project should be initiated with a feasibility study, where a clear definition of the goals and ultimate benefits need to be established. Senior managers' support for projects is important so as to ensure authority and direction throughout the project's progress and, also to ensure that the goals of the organization are effectively achieved within this process. The particular form of support given can influence the degree of resistance the project encounters.

Knowledge, skills, goals and personalities are all factors that need to be considered within project management. The project manager and his/her team should collectively possess the necessary and requisite interpersonal and technical skills to facilitate control over the various activities within the project.

The stages of implementation must be articulated at the project planning phase. Disaggregating the stages at its early point assists in the successful development of the project by providing a number of milestones that need to be accomplished for completion. In addition to planning, the control of the evolving project is also prerequisite to success. Control requires



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