Project management is a profession that requires knowledge, skills, abilities and appropriate management tools. Since it is primarily a managerial effort, the project manager might not necessarily be the best technical, professional person but it is essential that he possess general management skills, the most important being the ability to make decisions. A manager who […]
All projects exist in order to achieve certain objectives. In order to accomplish these objectives, the project’s plan has to take into account constraints and existing resources. At the same time, the early planning or idea stages are often plagued by a lack of information that limits the ability to plan the project with certainty. […]
A successful project is defined as a project that meets its goals, and whose output is of value to the client. It seems, then, that the success or failure of any given project is primarily a function of its goals. Therefore, a clear definition of those goals and an objective way to measure whether or […]
‘A Lot – Fast – Cheap – Good’ is a set of expectations that can never be achieved simultaneously. These expectations are the result of the customer’s (completely understandable) lack of understanding regarding the realistic efforts required to achieve the project’s goals, as well as lack of trust regarding the estimates presented at the project’s sale. Why is this? Well, most projects deviate—often quite significantly—from their original timetables, the resources assigned to them, the budget and even the content that was to be delivered within the project’s framework.
One of the clear differences between projects and non-project activities is the high level of uncertainty associated with the ability to meet a project’s goals, simply because each project is unique. Despite the fact that some projects are similar to each other, each project begins at a ‘low-point of certainty’ of the project’s ability to meet its goals. Fortunately, for most projects this point is relative to the project itself, not an absolute low point, since we usually manage projects in fields where we have previous experience. In new or innovative projects, where no prior experience exists, this ‘low-point of certainty’ is absolute. In such cases, it is crucial to utilize tighter planning and control systems—ones that are operated through smaller cycles.
Project Management rests on three distinct pillars: planning, control and communication. These are the building blocks of the profession, and every single project, regardless of type of industry or specialization, depends on them.
If we use the process of baking bread as a metaphor for project management, then the bread represents the project’s end product, which is the combination of all its ingredients: flour is the basis; yeast is the means for leavening the dough and turning it into bread and water is the glue that bonds all the ingredients. The same applies in a project: planning is its basis; control provides the means needed to achieve the project’s objectives and communication bonds all the project’s stakeholders and expresses the project’s management tone and pace.