Posted by: Kaplan Financial Education
Updated: July 31, 2017
Project management is an often overlooked skill set that is crucial to an organization's success. Poor project management can stifle productivity, kill creativity, and decrease worker satisfaction. In this article, we will explain project management basics and offer some tips to help you successfully develop a project plan.
In order to understand what project management is, it is useful to break down the meaning of both terms.
A project can be defined as a temporary effort made up of a set of related activities undertaken with limited constraints to achieve a unique set of goals or objectives. A project is NOT ongoing, unchanging, or repetitive.
Management is the process of setting and achieving goals for the project through planning, organizing, directing, and controlling tasks. Essentially, project management is the process by which a project is managed.
The project management process has five distinct steps, which are broken out below:
The process of creating the project plan is just as important as the plan itself. The project plan defines what will happen in the project, what will be delivered, and how it will be implemented. It also defines how the team will monitor work, make changes, and communicate.
The process of creating the project plan allows all stakeholders to participate, discuss, and understand the project. The intention of the process is to discover problems or misunderstandings upfront, identify risks, and negotiate solutions. A good project manager ensures that all stakeholders not only understand the plan, but also agree to it. Planning is not just about agreement, but about reaching an understanding.
It is also important to avoid all ambiguity in the plan. Ensure that your project plan uses a process that highlights misconceptions, different ideas, and misunderstandings upfront. Work through those situations so that all stakeholders understand and agree to the plan.
The key to creating a successful project plan is getting the buy-in of all stakeholders. Below are two ways to get a better understanding of each stakeholder's investment in the project.