So, What is Project Management?

By Mercy Deche
iHub Consulting
  Published 05 Oct 2012
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By Maureen Gitau Maureen is a participant at the ongoing project management workshops hosted by iHub. In this post she gives a summary of learning points from her perspective. A project is a temporary endeavor with results or more aptly put, activities carried out with a limited budget, resources and schedule. The three main constraints that make or break a project are Time, Money and Quality. Project Management is the delicate art of running the activities within the three constraints for a successful outcome.
Source: project elements

The course delved deep into how to set up a project, how to handle the client, how to ensure quality during execution and lastly how to successfully close the project after the product or service has been delivered.

A project life cycle consists of 4 stages:

  1. Concept Development: At this point the project team seeks to understand the client needs and how to provide a product/service to meet them. The client requirements must be clearly listed out and the client must sign off on them before proceeding. Defining the concept outlines the scope for the entire project

  2. Planning: The project team draws up the project timeline, complete with deliverables and the project budget. Since the budget is a projected figure, there are estimate formulas that can be used to come up with accurate figures that are not bloated. Other important factors to be included are the risks that can occur during the project duration. A professional plan clearly identifies all the risks and ways to mitigate them.

  3. Execution: The rubber finally hits the road, the client having signed the project charter, the project manager takes over and steers the team to meet the deliverables. Team dynamics come into play, where the project members go through the motions of Forming. Storming, Norming and Performing. There is a possibility of client needs evolving in this stage, it is advisable to halt and review the project charter to accommodate the changes, if necessary. Communication is a key pillar in this phase to ensure the client and the team are on the same page.

  4. Closing: Once the project is completed or suspended, there is final compilation of documentation of how the project ran. The documentation records the implementation of the solution, the successes and the pitfalls. It makes it easier for maintenance or handing-over to different team. It also protects the team from the liability of the client claiming some tasks were not completed.
The course was practical as the attendees were put in groups and given real clients and a project to implement. The teams shall present their final product to the clients on 13th October 2012.
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