27 Şubat 2015 Cuma

What is Project Management? The Concept of Project Management.

Before defining project management, we need to define the word, “project”. In Cambridge dictionary, project is defined as “a study of a particular subject done over a period of time, especially by students” or “a piece of planned work or an activity which is completed over a period of time and intended to achieve a particular aim”.[1] The last definition describes the correct concept of project that we will look into.

Project Management Institute defines project as “a temporary endeavor undertaken to produce a unique product, service or result”. This means that project is done only for one time and not a routine activity (the specifications of a project will be also discussed in the following paragraph). The quality guru, J.M. Juran defined the project as “a problem scheduled for solution.”[2] In this definition we should know that all problems are not negative but all of them need solution. They can be also positive such as a new product development can be a problem for a company.

The project can be differentiated from other standard set of activities by means of the following factors:[3]
·         Project is an exceptional activity which can be also called as not-routine activity. If a set of activity is repetitive then it is not a project.
·         The activities or tasks inside a project are linked to each other.
·         The objectives and the time limits of a project is pre-determined. Moreover, all projects have some constraints in terms of cost, budget, time, definite starting and ending points.

After defining the project, we also need to discuss project management. Project management is the application of skills, tools and techniques to project activities to achieve project requirements. Project management is accomplished through the application and integration of the project management processes of initializing, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling and closing.[4] These steps will be also discussed in the later parts of the study.

In the contemporary work life; project management has evolved to plan, coordinate and control the complex and diverse activities of modern, industrial, commercial and management change and IT projects. In the recent business life, the purpose of project management is to foresee or predict as many of the dangers and problems as possible and to plan, organize and control activities so that the projects are completed successfully in spite of all risks.[5]

Project management as a contemporary type of management differs from other types of managements by many ways. These are considered as follows:[6]
·        While department managers or the managers of the other organizations expect their department or organization to exist indefinitely where the project managers undertakes the projects in a definite period of time.
·         Projects frequently need resources on temporary basis whereas permanent organizations try to utilize resources full time. The sharing of resources frequently leads conflicts and it requires skillful negotiation to see that projects get the necessary resources to meet objectives.
·         In project management, there is a project or matrix organizational design where a vertical organization is found in general type of management.
·         The project management focuses on the product, service and enterprise process design and development where the general type of management concerns the shareholders.
·         In project management there are specific objectives regarding cost, efficiency etc. However, in general type of management there may be strategic management. [7]

When there is a project to be managed, there should be a person who is ultimately responsible for the success and the failure of the project. This person is called as project manager.[8] A project manager should lead the people on the project and he should define and coordinate the work to be done.[9]

[2] James P. Lewis, Fundamentals of Project Management, US, Amacom Div. American Mgmt. Assn., 2007, p.2.
[3] Michael C.Thomsett, Proje Yönetimi, İstanbul, Epsilon, 1996, p. 11-12
[4] Lewis, Ibid, p.4.
[5] Dennis Lock, Project Management, US, Gower Publishing, Ltd., 2007, p.1.
[6] M.E. Haynes, Project Management: Practical Tools for Success, US, Cengage Learning, 2002, p. 3.
[7] David I. Cleland, Lewis R. Ireland, Project Management: Strategic Design and Implementation, US, McGraw-Hill Professional, 2002, p. 42.
[8] Gary Heerkens, Project Management, US, McGraw-Hill Professional, 2001, p.2.
[9] Heerkens, Ibid, p.6.

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