Friday, December 12, 2014

Project Management Fundamentals

The first question that comes up is: What is a Project? Project is considered a temporary endeavour whose aim is to deliver a product or service or result. The temporary nature of project does not means that the duration is short. It just means that there is a beginning and an end in the project. It has a start and an end. It's transient in nature. So on time scale, you would really see a project having a distinct start time and end time. Projects are also different from operations as operations are repetitive in nature. For example, going to office daily is an operation. However building a house is a project. Even building multiple houses is a project as each house even if they are same in design, still will involve a unique outcome. 

A project outcome may be a product like a new car. It could be a service like painting a house. It could be a result like reorganization in a company. 

From PMP perspective, three aspects are very important to the landscape of Project management.
  1. Process groups 
  2. Knowledge areas
  3. Processes

The first is the Process groups. This is also a project life-cycle The project life-cycle consists of 
  1. Initiation
  2. Planning
  3. Execution
  4. Monitoring and Controlling
  5. Closing.
These can also be termed as phases of a project and a project follows them in sequence. A project is initiated by getting the buy in from relevant stakeholders. Than required planing is done which essentially results in schedule to be followed. Actual execution takes place after that. Simultaneously the project need to be monitored and in case of variances control needs to be applied. Once the desired outcome is reached or it gets clear that the project will not be successful, the project is formally closed and all the resources released.

The second aspect of Project management is Knowledge areas. PMP identifies 10 knowledge areas which are as follows:

  1. Project Integration Management
  2. Project Scope Management
  3. Project Cost Management
  4. Project Time Management
  5. Project Risk Management
  6. Project Quality Management
  7. Project Human Resource Management
  8. Project Communication Management
  9. Project Procurement Management
  10. Project Stakeholder Management
Each knowledge area brings out a particular facet of project management. It points to aspects which a Project manager need to have a good grip on for the success of the Project. 

The third important element of Project management are Processes. PMBOK5 identifies 47 distinct processes. Process lie at the intersection of Process groups and Knowledge areas. 

PMP Processes
PMP Processes
Each process area belongs to a Knowledge area and sits in the context of a Process group. For example Communication management is a Knowledge area and there is a process to do it for planning, execution and monitoring and controlling process group.

Each process is outlined by 
  • Inputs
  • Tools and Techniques
  • Outputs
Inputs are the precondition for that process to start. Any process needs certain set of data/information and that's what input covers. For executing each process, there are certain tools and techniques that can be employed. A successful execution of the process results in certain outputs. Outputs for one process become the input for further downstream processes.

The aspect of Project Management in PMP is build around Process groups, Knowledge areas and processes.

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