From highways to video games, the vast majority of the products and services we use on a daily basis are generated through project-based processes. These processes are generally executed by a coordinated team of professionals, and led by a manager who sees the project through from concept to completion. Project Managers are involved with all aspects of a given project; Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing. These Project Managers are not only the technical managers, but also the leaders of the projects – ensuring that inspired and supported technical professionals do great work.
As global organizations grow in complexity, team and project-based methods have become a ubiquitous component of the workplace. As result, project-management-related skills are increasingly among the required qualifications for professionals across a wide-breadth of industries.
While some project management capabilities are industry-specific, the project management process is universally applicable regardless of the size or scope of the industry. Whether you are looking to pursue project management as an independent occupation, or as a component of a leadership position, developing the 5 process group skills sets below will help you to move forward in your career.
Initiation: The identification of a project, examination of feasibility and overall benefit to the organization, and publication of a Charter to get the project started.
Planning: Development of a variety of plans for the project, especially Scope, Schedule, Budget, and a host of important other considerations.
Execution: Acquiring and managing the resources required for the project. Assigning tasks and responsibilities to team members.
Monitoring and Controlling: The project status is actively monitored, especially with regards to scope, schedule, costs and quality. Adjustments and corrective actions are taken to keep the project within acceptable risk tolerances.
Close: The completed project is closed from an administrative and contractual standpoint, results evaluated, and lessons learned captured for future projects.
Key Knowledge Areas
Although there are 10 distinct knowledge areas, a few key areas are highlighted in the following paragraphs for discussion.
Scheduling: A project schedule is based on analysis of resources, budget, and a host of other personnel and risk issues. The time frame for the project is established, with pre-existing plans for adjustments based on changing circumstances. Use of highly effective tools like Microsoft Project are utilized.
Scope: The scope of the project must be well defined and resistant to unnecessary add-ons in order to be brought in on budget and on schedule. An accurate scope is the result of detailed upfront analysis by use of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).
Team Leadership and Management: Although project management techniques can be focused on technical knowledge and skills, project managers are typically responsible for the leadership and management of a team. The skills required to be a truly successful project manager result for understanding the difference between leadership and management, and using both. The communications, human resources and stakeholder management aspects of a project require a healthy blend of both leadership and management skills.
Risk Management: Despite the most intricate and careful planning of a project and administration of effective leadership and management skills, projects will still face challenges for completion. It is therefore critical that a project manager be capable of assessing all the potential risks that a project can encounter, and establish risk management plans. Risk management plans not only identify risks, but qualify and quantify the risks, so that remediation plans can be established in advance.
Change Management: All project face changes. An effective project manager has a well-defined change management process, so that changes are handled in a routine manner leading to correct decisions and effective outcomes. The project manager owns the process and is responsible for communicating and implementing changes.
The Citadel offers several opportunities to improve your project management skills at the Lowcountry Graduate Center. Learn more about the Project Management program by clicking on the banner below.