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What is Project Management?

written by: Regina Woodard • edited by: Ginny Edwards • updated: 6/30/2011

Project management is an important factor within certain businesses and companies and there are certainly many requests for people that have project management skills. But what is project management? Why is it important? And what do those people do?

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    There are a lot people and roles that can be attributed to project management, whether it be building a complex series of computer networks or constructing a high rise building. There are different layers within project management too, from the initial planning stages to the final deployment.

    But what actually is project management? What roles do employees play within it? What does a company do with such a team of workers?

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    What is Project Management?

    So what is project management? Essentially, project management is the organized and planned effort to accomplish a specified objective. Again, this includes anything from setting up a computer system within a company office or the construction of a building. There are four main points to project management: developing, identifying, quantifying, and determining. project man2 

    • Developing - this means putting the plan together, knowing all the details about what the project is and will be
    • Identifying - this is where you identify the tasks and goals involved and how they will be achieved
    • Quantifying - learning how much of which resource will be needed
    • Determining - this is when you figure out the budget for the project and the timelines involved.

    There are many other types of areas within project management, including implementation of a project plan, evaluation, overseeing that information is accurate and objective, and a few others.

    There are two very important names that are associated with project management -

    • Henry Gantt - sometimes called the father of planning techniques; many use his Gantt charts as project management tools
    • Henri Fayol - contributed the five functions of project management (forecasting, planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating, and controlling)

    Depending on the project that is taking place, there may only be one person who is running things - the project manager. It is the project manager's responsibility to oversee all aspects of the project. If the project is much larger - say constructing a building or office - there may be more than one project manager and a much bigger team assigned to the project.

    The project manager is a very important factor within project management - he or she is responsible for the success of the project, whatever it may be. Developing a good communication plan is very important for a project manager, as they are the person who workers on the project turn to when there are questions or concerns, as well as being the liaison to other departments or workers within the company itself. The project manager may also need to communicate with the outside personnel, like the suppliers or contractors for the project.

    Project management, depending on the project, may involve a team of people in which the project manager is a member as well as the leader. It is a good idea to involve planners within a project management group, as they are able to bring their organization and planning skills and ideas to the table.

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