What exactly is project management? Definitions, examples, tools and more – Forbes Advisor
Editorial Note: Forbes Advisor may earn a commission on sales made from partner links on this page, but this does not affect the opinions or ratings of our editors.
We all exercise our project management skills in everyday life. We run errands, do home improvement projects, throw parties and more.
In a business context, project management is different in every organization, but it always helps a team achieve a goal or solve a problem within a set time frame.
Successful project management uses systems, tools and knowledge to complete a project. Usually one person, the project manager, is responsible for ensuring that the team meets the deadline and goal.
Here is an introduction to everything related to project management.
What is project management?
Project management uses processes, skills, tools and knowledge to carry out a planned project and achieve its goals. It differs from general management by the limited scope of a project, concrete deadlines and specific deliverables.
A project exists temporarily and must balance the time of the team members involved and generally the limited financial resources of the organization – a daunting task but one that can be accomplished in a few deliberate steps that use special methods and tools.
Stages of project management
Project management begins when a manager or team initiates a project. The five stages of project management include:
- The initiation phase. The project manager will assign or ask team members to volunteer to complete specific tasks.
- The planning phase. The team agrees on a timeline with the client or between them for the project. The team can also create a schedule for communicating with key stakeholders, determining project standards, and establishing a budget during this phase.
- The execution phase. This phase is where the work is done. Employees can work independently or as part of a team on tasks that have been determined in previous phases.
- The follow-up phase. The project manager monitors the progress of each person or team throughout the process to ensure the project is on track to meet the overall deadline and meet its goals. This phase is often simultaneous with the execution phase.
- The closing phase. Finally, the project manager ensures that the team has completed the project according to the agreed standards and communicates that the team has completed the project.
Project management tools and techniques
Although each project has its own goals and challenges, team members can use similar project management tools and techniques to achieve their various deliverables.
For example, a deliberate communication plan can be one of the most valuable tools in a project manager’s toolbox. A strong project manager communicates with all stakeholders and facilitates strong communication among team members working on the project.
And during the monitoring and execution phase, well-organized project managers can also rely on software to keep themselves and their team on track.
One software won’t meet all of your needs for every project, but programs like Asana, Trello, or Airtable will help your team members track their progress and that of others. The software also makes it clear who is responsible for which task.
Additionally, project managers can use traditional tools such as the Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) and Gantt charts to guide the work of their teams. PERT helps define the scope of the project and helps monitor the tasks the team needs to accomplish. Gantt charts show the timeline and calendar view of homework due dates. Many project management software applications now do this digitally.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are the best project management software and tools?
To determine the best project management software, we’ve categorized several tools based on their ease of use, cost to your organization, each company’s customer support, and special features.
Wrike was our first choice. It won the top spot because it works for businesses and teams of all sizes. Airbnb, Google, and Dell all trust Wrike to help their project managers. Wrike also allows teams to create custom workflows, set schedules with interactive charts and reports, and create a visual representation that shows the progress of each project in real time.
Other highly ranked project management tools include Asana, Monday, and HighGear.
Who are the project managers and what do they do?
To have the best chance of success, every project needs an owner who is responsible for its completion and success. Project managers exist to fill this need, keep a team on task, and ensure that the project meets the needs of all stakeholders. This designation could be a subset of responsibilities or a formal job title.
A wide range of industries require the skills of a talented project manager. You can be a project manager in construction, publishing, finance, professional services, utilities, and many other industries. While the end result of projects is very different in these industries, the steps and skills required to maintain an organized team are commonly reflected in the business world.
Why is project management important?
Project management is important in business because it helps you carry out your projects and achieve your goals and those of your clients.
Coordinating a multi-faceted project for which multiple people need deliverables, keeping everyone organized, and ensuring the outcome meets expectations – all under the stress of a deadline – is a challenge even for the project manager on the job. more experienced.
These challenges become more achievable through best practices in project management.