What is Project Management - An introductory guide

What is Project Management - An introductory guide

By M.Dan | 8 min read


What is the explanation of the success of the project management techniques?

What is a project?

What characterizes a project?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using project management?

Why do projects succeed or fail?

What tools can be used to develop a project?

What are the most sought after certifications in 2011 in Project Management?


1. What is the explanation of the success of the project management techniques?

The organization of the activities on projects and the management of the projects were, initially, a very efficient solution for reaching major objectives, in the military or the construction field.

With the development of the information systems for the management of the activities - especially with the generalization of the use of the modern techniques belonging to the information technology - the project management has been extended to all the activities of the economy, as it has proven its capacity to cope with the new trends manifested worldwide:

  • accelerated increase in information volume and knowledge;
  • increasing the demand for increasingly complex and highly personalized goods and services;
  • increasing competition on the market.


2. What is a project?

Definition: The project is an investment of resources for a given period, with the purpose of achieving a specific objective or set of objectives. In other words, a project is an idea to improve a state of affairs.

Thus, the project is not synonymous neither with the business plan (which must highlight the situation of an organization and its competitive economic environment at any given time) nor with the feasibility study (which must highlight the necessity and benefits of implementing the project idea).

The planning and realization of the activities necessary to reach the objectives of the project involve the use of techniques and tools specific to project management.


3. What characterizes a project?

  • The characteristic elements of a project are:
  • it has a well-defined beginning and end;
  • involves a number of activities, events and tasks;
  • uses a number of resources;
  • has a certain degree of autonomy from the current activities of the organization;
  • it aims at a change perceived as sustainable by its initiators.


A project can also be characterized by:

Purpose. The project is an activity with a well-defined set of objectives, it is quite complex to be divided into tasks that require coordination and control of deadlines, the succession of tasks, costs and performances.

Life cycle. The projects go through a slow stage of initiation, then grow rapidly, reach the peak, begin the decline and finally end.

Interdependent. The project interacts with the organization's current operations and often with other projects.

Oneness. Each project contains elements that make it unique.

Conflict. The realization of a project involves the use of human and material resources already used within the functional departments of the organization; very often, the project competes similar projects or actions proposed or carried out by other organizations.


4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using project management?

Project management allows:

  • very good control over the use of resources, being extremely useful in situations when the resources available in the activity of an organization are limited;
  • better relationships with customers;
  • reduced organizational development times, lower costs, higher quality and higher profit margins;
  • increasing the efficiency of the activity as a whole, by focusing on results, improving interdepartmental coordination and improving employee morale.

Project management can lead, at the same time, to:

  • increasing the complexity of the organization;
  • the emergence of a more pronounced tendency to violate some components of the internal policy of the company, given the high degree of autonomy of the personnel involved in the activities, organized on the basis of projects;
  • the increase of the costs of certain activities, the appearance of difficulties in the organization, the incomplete use of the personnel in the time interval between the completion of a project and the initiation of the next project.


5. Why do projects succeed or fail?

Project management is a complex activity, which requires compliance with certain specific algorithms.

The success of a project depends on the extent to which the initiating organization manages to avoid (or minimize) the effects of the action of some internal and external factors:

A. Internal factors

  • erroneous evaluation of the available resource base for the project development;
  • faulty planning of the activities within the project (or of the activities for carrying out the financing application, which has a negative impact on the possibilities of planning and carrying out the activities within the project);
  • supply issues;
  • lack of resources (funds or qualified personnel);
  • organizational inefficiency.

B. External factors

  • natural factors (natural disasters);
  • external economic influences (for example, the unfavourable change in the exchange rate of the currency used in the project);
  • the reaction of the people affected by the project;
  • lack of political will in the implementation of economic or social policy measures needed to carry out the project in good conditions;
  • the cultural mismatch between the objectives and activities of the project and the environment in which the project takes place, which arises as a result of not knowing the local specificity; such inconsistencies lead to the rejection of the project by the beneficiaries to whom the project is addressed.


6. What tools can be used to develop a project?

In addition to the tools currently used to collect, systematize and analyze information on the applicant organization and the economic-social environment in which it operates (balance sheet, profit and loss account, other financial-accounting evidence of the organization, market studies, etc.), Project management uses a number of specific tools and techniques (for example logic framework method, Gantt or PERT type diagrams or SWOT analysis).

Project management has been developed as a result of increasing access to modern information technologies so that today technologies have become tools that facilitate working in multidisciplinary teams (groupware), the use of information systems dedicated to project management (which use work in virtual offices). , programs for project planning, implementation and evaluation, project risk assessment, etc.). 

An equally useful tool, even if of a different nature, is represented by the professional associations for the management of the project, which facilitates the access to the last-minute information relevant to the organizations that use - or intend to develop - a project-based management organization.



M. Dan

Passionate about freelancing, programming, SEO, communities, blogging, trips and parties.

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