God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference. (Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Niebuhr)

Project Management

Project management, then, is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements. (Project Management Institute). Project management is the practice of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time.

project is a temporary endeavor designed to produce a unique product, service or result with a defined beginning and end (usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or staffing) undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value. The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast with business as usual (or operations), which are repetitive, permanent, or semi-permanent functional activities to produce products or services. (Wikipedia)

Temporary means that every project has a definite beginning and a definite end. The end is reached when the project’s objectives have been achieved, or it becomes clear that the project objectives will not or cannot be met, or the need for the project no longer exists and the project is terminated (PMI PMBOK v3, 2004).

A project creates unique deliverables, which are products, services or results (PMI PMBOK v3, 2004).

The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals within the given constraints. This information is usually described in project documentation, created at the beginning of the development process. The primary constraints are scope, time, quality and budget.[6] The secondary — and more ambitious — challenge is to optimize the allocation of necessary inputs and apply them to meet pre-defined objectives. The object of project management is to produce a complete project which complies with the client's objectives. In many cases the object of project management is also to shape or reform the client's brief in order to feasibly be able to address the client's objectives. (Wikipedia)

Project Lifecycle

The Project Lifecycle means that projects pass through several defined stages as they progress. The phased (or staged) approach breaks down and manages the work through a series of distinct steps to be completed, and is often referred to as "traditional" or "waterfall". Although it can vary, it typically consists of five process areas, four phases plus control:


Typical phases for a project include:

  1. initiation
  2. planning and design
  3. construction
  4. monitoring and controlling
  5. completion or closing

Many industries use variations of these project stages and it is not uncommon for the stages to be renamed in order to better suit the organization (Wikipedia).

Project Stakeholders

Project stakeholders refer to, "an individual, group, or organization, who may affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project" (Project Management Institute, 2013). ISO 21500 uses a similar definition (Wikipedia).

Project stakeholders are entities that have an interest in a given project. These stakeholders may be inside or outside an organization which:

  1. sponsor a project, or
  2. have an interest or a gain upon a successful completion of a project;
  3. may have a positive or negative influence in the project completion.

Project Scope

Project Scope: "The work that needs to be accomplished to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions." It is also the definition of the end result or mission of your project (Wikipedia). The primary purpose is to define as clearly as clearly as possible the deliverable(s) for the end user and to focus project plans. Rresearch shows that a poorly defined scope or mission is the most frequently mentioned barrier to project success.

Gantt Charts

A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule. This chart lists the tasks to be performed on the vertical axis, and time intervals on the horizontal axis. The width of the horizontal bars in the graph show the duration of each activity. Gantt charts illustrate the start and finish dates of the terminal elements and summary elements of a project. Terminal elements and summary elements constitute the work breakdown structure of the project. Modern Gantt charts also show the dependency (i.e., precedence network) relationships between activities. Gantt charts can be used to show current schedule status using percent-complete shadings (Wikipedia).

Project Network Diagrams

project network is a graph (weighted directed graph) depicting the sequence in which a project's terminal elements are to be completed by showing terminal elements and their dependencies (Wikipedia).

This is used with the  critical path method (CPM), or critical path analysis (CPA), which is an algorithm for scheduling a set of project activities.

The essential technique for using CPM:[7][8] is to construct a model of the project that includes the following:

  1. A list of all activities required to complete the project (typically categorized within a work breakdown structure),
  2. The time (duration) that each activity will take to complete,
  3. The dependencies between the activities and,
  4. Logical end points such as milestones or deliverable items.

Using these values, CPM calculates the longest path of planned activities to logical end points or to the end of the project, and the earliest and latest that each activity can start and finish without making the project longer. This process determines which activities are "critical" (i.e., on the longest path) and which have "total float" (i.e., can be delayed without making the project longer). In project management, a critical path is the sequence of project network activities which add up to the longest overall duration, regardless if that longest duration has float or not. This determines the shortest time possible to complete the project (Wikipedia).

Project Estimation

A common estimation approach for each activity is:

  1. Estimate the most likely length of time for the activity (ML)
  2. Estimate the worst possible length of time for the activity (W)
  3. Estimate the best possible length of time for the activity (B)
  4. Calculate the estimate by (B + (4 * ML) + W) / 6

Project Control

Project control is not performed well in most organizations.  Control is one of the most neglected areas of project management. Any system for monitoring project performance should provide the project manager and stakeholders with the ability to answer questions such as: