What is Project Management?

The art of project management – a mixture of administration, planning, experience, analysis, people-skills, political wrangling, leadership and a little bit of luck"

Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements. Project management is accomplished through the application and integration of the project management processes of initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. The project manager is the person responsible for accomplishing the project objectives.

Managing a project includes:

  • Identifying requirements
  • Establishing clear and achievable objectives
  • Balancing the competing demands for quality, scope, time and cost

Adapting the specifications, plans, and approach to the different concerns and expectations of the various stakeholders.

Project managers often talk of a 'triple constraint' - project scope, time and cost-in managing competing project requirements. Project quality is affected by balancing these three factors. High quality projects deliver the required product, service or result within scope, on time, and within budget. The relationship among these factors is such that if any one of the three factors changes, at least one other factor is likely to be affected. Project managers also manage projects in response to uncertainty. Project risk is an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on at least one project objective.

The project management team has a professional responsibility to its stakeholders including customers, the performing organization, and the public.

It is important to note that many of the processes within project management are iterative because of the existence of, and necessity for, progressive elaboration in a project throughout the project's life cycle. That is, as a project management team learns more about a project, the team can then manage to a greater level of detail.

The term 'project management' is sometimes used to describe an organizational or managerial approach to the management of projects and some ongoing operations, which can be redefined as projects, that is also referred to as 'management by projects.' An organization that adopts this approach defines its activities as projects in a way that is consistent with the definition of a project. There has been a tendency in recent years to manage more activities in more application areas using project management. More organizations are using 'management by project.' This is not to say that all operations can or should be organized into projects. The adoption of 'management by project' is also related to the adoption of an organizational culture that is close to the project management culture. Although, an understanding of project management is critical to an organization that is using 'management by projects,' a detailed discussion of the approach itself is outside the scope of this standard.