The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines project management as “the art of directing and coordinating human and material resources throughout the life of a project by using modern management techniques to achieve predetermined objectives of scope, cost, time, quality, and participating objectives.”
Project Management Principles and Process
Once the bidding process is complete, the construction phase can begin. Although the phases of a construction project are different than traditional project management, they still include and follow many of the same principles.
At the beginning of the project, you must create and evaluate the business case in order to determine if the project if feasible and if it should be undertaken. Stakeholders do their due diligence and feasibility testing may occur, if needed. If all parties decide to move forward with the project, a project charter or project initiation document (PID) is created, including the business needs and business case.
Next, the project team develops a roadmap for everyone to follow. During this phase, the project manager creates the project management plan (PMP), a formal, approved document to guide execution and control. The PMP also documents scope, cost, and schedule baselines. Other documents included in the planning phase include:
· Scope statement and scope documentation: A document that defines the business need, benefits, objectives, deliverables, and key milestones.
· Work breakdown structure (WBS): A visual representation that breaks down the scope of the project into manageable chunks.
· Communication plan: This plan outlines the communication goals and objectives, communication roles, and communication tools and methods. Because everyone has a different way of communicating, the communication plan creates a basic framework to get everyone on the same page and avoid misunderstandings or conflict.
· Risk management plan: This plan helps project managers identify foreseeable risks, including unrealistic time and cost estimates, budget cuts, changing requirements, and lack of committed resources
This is when the work begins. After a kick-off meeting, the project team begins to assign resources, execute project management plans, set up tracking systems, execute tasks, update the project schedule, and modify the project plan.
4. Performance and Monitoring
The monitoring phase often happens at the same time as the execution phase. This step is all about measuring progress and performance to ensure that items are tracking with the project management plan.
This last phase represents project completion. Project managers sometimes hold a post-mortem meeting to evaluate what went well in the project and identify failures. Then, the team creates a project punch list of any tasks that didn’t get accomplished, performs a final budget, and creates a project report.
The seven key characteristics of a project
- 1. This is usually specified in terms of cost, schedule and performance requirements.
- 2. It requires the doing of something different, something that was not done previously. Even in what are often called “routine” projects such as home construction, the variables such as terrain, access, zoning laws, labour market, public services and local utilities make each project different. A project is a one-time, once-off activity, never to be repeated exactly the same way again.
- 3. A project is an ad hoc organization of staff, material, equipment and facilities that is put together to accomplish a goal. This goal is within a specific time-frame. Once the goal is achieved, the organization created for it is disbanded or sometimes it is reconstituted to begin work on a new goal (project).
- 4. Projects always cut across the regular organizational lines and structures within a firm. They do this because the project needs to draw from the skills and the talents of multiple professions and departments within the firm and sometimes even from other organizations. The complexity of advanced technology often leads to additional project difficulties, as they create task interdependencies that may introduce new and unique problems.
- 5. Because a project differs from what was previously done, it also involves unfamiliarity. And oft time a project also encompasses new technology and, for the organization/firm undertaking the project, these bring into play significant elements of uncertainty and risk.
- 6. The unique project “activity” may call for special scrutiny or effort because failure would jeopardize the organization/firm or its goals.
- 7. During the process, projects pass through several distinct phases, which form and are called the project life cycle. The tasks, people, organizations, and other resources will change as the project moves from one phase to the next. The organizational structure and the resource expenditures build with each succeeding phase; peak; and then decline as the project nears completion.