You will discover key project management concepts, terminology, and hopefully you will determine that project management is the career for you.
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To begin to understand project management we must first understand the definition of a project. A project is a temporary venture performed by a team of people to produce a solution, product, or service. One of the key aspects of a project is that it has a clear start and definite finish. In other words, when the solution, product, or service is delivered to the customer, the project is complete.
A perfect example of a project that most people can related to, is that of building a house. Although there are many different types of houses which vary in size, construction methods, and functionality, all houses are built for the purpose of housing people. When building a house the project likely starts with the creation of the house plans, and finishes with the constructed house ready for occupancy. Thereby we see that there is a clear start and finish to the project which is executed by a team of people who produces a new home.
Project management is exactly what it sounds like…the management of projects. Easier said than done.
Over several centuries of managing projects, people have discovered what it takes to “get things done”, yet project management is an ever evolving profession. There are several organizations around the world who have identified “best practices” on how to manage projects. Regardless of the organization, project management is a collection of tools, techniques, and processes that aid in the management of projects. This collection is often referred to as the project management framework and is usually tailored to be more specific on how a company chooses to manage their projects.
A project manager is the person who is given the responsibility to direct the activities of a project. The level of responsibility and authority of a project manager varies from company to company. Some project managers are authorized to manage all aspects of the project such as project tasks, team members, project budget, project schedule, project risks, and quality, including decisions related to all of those items. Other project managers are provided only enough authority to develop schedules and provide guidance to team members and reporting progress to management.
The path into project management is different for each person. Many project managers discover the profession “accidentally” by being exposed to leadership opportunities through their employer. They find themselves being asked to lead small projects or activities and before they know it, they are project managers. Others are deliberate with entering into project management by taking classes either in college or through third party providers. In either case, it is important to understand the tools, techniques and processes that are effective in managing projects.
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