Project Management is the discipline that covers the end to end efforts associated with an identified limited cycle effort to produce a unique result. This is different from Business Operations which implies a set of operations required to run the business on a day to day basis. Project Management covers identification, initiation, planning, execution and closeout of an effort with generally a defined start and end date and defined budget. There is a controlling function that spans the entire process. The challenge of project management is to attain the desired goals with the time and financial constraints.
We provide project management largely inside the information technology, engineering, finance, research and operations functions in large organizations. We combine project management with other management concepts such as Six Sigma to improve quality or LEAN to reduce waste.
This effort encompasses determining the nature and scope of the project. The high level project plan should include an analysis of needs and requirements, a review of the ‘as is’ process, cost / benefit analysis and end user acceptance of the plan. The project plan needs to be expanded to provide more detail on deliverables, schedule and resource requirements. This will result in a detailed project budget. Risk management is an important consideration here. The execution portion of the project ensures that deliverables are met within the timeframe and budget allocated. A monitoring / controlling effort runs in parallel with the execution phase to determine ‘where are we’ as measured by ‘where should we be’ and the development of corrective action plans for ‘how do we get back to where we should be’.
Industry has reported that a large number of projects are either late to delivery or over budget. Increased focus on the front end of the process is critical to overall success. Effective project management, especially in the initiation and planning phases can temper these issues.