how to manage small projects? understanding project management basics and fundamentals. What is 'Project Management'?
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Project management involves planning and organization of a company's resources to move a specific task, event, or duty towards completion. It typically involves a one-time project rather than an ongoing activity, and resources managed include personnel, finances, technology, and intellectual property. A project manager helps to define the goals and objectives of the project and determines when the various project components are to be completed and by whom; s/he also creates quality control checks to ensure completed components meet a certain standard.
Generally speaking, the project management process includes the following stages: planning, initiation, execution, monitoring, and closing. Different industries have also developed specialized project management templates that are specific to the unique needs of their respective fields. The templates make project planning efficient and easily repeatable from one set of deliverables to the next. For example, IT project management specializes in facilitating the process of delivering technical products that pass through several life-cycle stages including development, testing, and deployment.
What Does a Project Manager Do?
For many people, the title of project manager does not really mean much. It may seem like a fluffy title for sitting and supervising. While supervision is one important part of the job, a lot more goes into project management than just watching everyone work.
Project management is often associated with fields in engineering and construction and, more lately, health care and information technology (IT), which typically have a complex set of components that have to be completed and assembled in a set fashion to create a functioning product. But no matter what the industry is, the project manager tends to have roughly the same job.
A Project Manager Plans: From start to finish, every project needs a plan that outlines how things will get off the ground, how they will be built and how they will finish. For example, in architecture, the plan starts with an idea, progresses to drawings and moves on to blueprint drafting, with thousands of little pieces coming together between each step. The architect is just one person providing one piece of the puzzle. The project manager puts it all together.
A Project Manager Facilitates: When there is a large team working on a single project, communication can quickly break down. This especially holds true when some parts of the job are outsourced. For instance, if you want to start a company that sells widgets online, you need to build a website, get your marketing tools together, talk to suppliers, find a sales crew and have someone in charge of shipping. As a small business, you would not have all of that done in-house, so you act as the project manager to bring all the pieces of the crew together and facilitate cooperation and collaboration. (For more, read How Agile Project Management Works.)
A Project Manager Does PR: Public relations (PR) is a huge part of any business. It’s not enough to only make sure that the company has a favorable view in the eyes of the public; internal public relations aims to ensure that the head of the company knows what is going on and holds a favorable view of the department. The project manager is in charge of making sure that the higher-ups are kept in the loop and know what is taking place.
A Project Manager Closes: Every project has a budget and a time frame. Blow either of those, and the whole project may be lost. The project manager makes sure to keep everything moving smoothly, on time and on budget. That means when the planned time frame is coming to an end, the manager can keep all the team members working on the project to finish on schedule.