By reading this article, readers can understand some key fundamentals in Project Management.

  • Temporary (Which will have definite start date & end date)

  • Creates unique product, service or result

  • Planned, controlled and executed

  • Progressively elaborated

  • Performed by people

  • Constrained by resources

P. Ravikumar
PMP, Project Manager,
Dimension Data India Ltd

A Project is temporary. It does not go on indefinitely, and so it must have start date and enddate. Its temporary nature doesnt imply that the project is short-lived -- some projects may last for many years, but rather the "temporary" characteristic of a project only means that its timeline is finite. A project is planned, controlled, and executed. A project requires initial and ongoing planning and work to accomplish its goals (executing), and it needs oversight to ensure that things run smoothly (controlling). Since there are few projects in which all objectives, needs, activities, requirements, and risks and are fully known up front, the planning, controlling, and executing processes are accomplished through progressive elaboration. Projects are performed by people within time, cost, or other limitations on resources. Any limitation or boundary is a constraint, and all projects have some constraints on cost, time, quality, risk, and personnel, which restrict how much work can be undertaken. A project results in something unique. In some way it creates something new.

"A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result"


  • On-going and repetitive

  • Planned, controlled and executed

  • Performed by people

  • Constrained by resource

Operations are the ongoing efforts an organization must undertake to sustain its core business. Just like projects, operational items have deadlines, are performed by people, and have some constraints on time and money. They are usually planned, controlled, and result in a product, service or result.

Stimuli behind the projects:

(Reasons 3 behind the initiation of the project)

  • Market demand

  • Strategic or business need

  • Customer request

  • Technological advancement

  • Ecological impact

  • Legal requirement

Market demand:An opportunity or need exists within the market place for a product or service.

Strategic or business need:In order to ensure the operating and competitive health of the organization, an improvement needs to be made to the organization business processes or a new process needs established.

Customer request: An organization is approached to perform work-for-hire. For example, an architectural firm is consulted to remodel a building into lofts.

Technological advancement or obsolescence:An advance in industry, commerce, science, or technology provides additional opportunities not previously feasible, or an advance results in the obsolescence of an organization product, service, or business processes.

Ecological impact:A project is undertaken to reduce an organizations negative impact on the environment.

Legal requirement:A law, regulation, or industry standard must be complied with.

Project 3 Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®):

  • PMBOK® Guide is standard for managing projects, most of the time across different types of industries. The latest edition of PMBOK® is fourth edition and we are expecting the fifth edition of PMBOK® by 31-Dec-2012

  • Describes project management processes, tools, 3 techniques

  • It is unique to project management field

Project Management:

Projects are investments of time and money, not only by the organizations but also by everyone involved in the project. Project management coordinates those investments to ensure they meet the business objectives on schedule and within budget. PMBOK lays out a framework that can be utilized for any type of project regardless of its industry, scope, or unique organizational needs.Read More

Project management brings together a set of tools and techniques—performed by people—to describe, organize, and monitor the work of project activities. Project managers are the people responsible for managing the project processes and applying the tools and techniques used to carry out the project activities. All projects are composed of processes, even if they employ any approach.

There are many advantages to organizing projects and teams around the project management processes endorsed by PMI. Project management is accomplished through the appropriate application and integration of the 42 logically grouped project management processes comprising the 5 Process Groups. These 3 5 Process Groups are:

  • Initiating,

  • Planning,

  • Executing,

  • Monitoring and Controlling, and

  • Closing.

Managing 3a project typically includes,

  • Identifying requirements,

  • Addressing the various needs, concerns, and expectations of the stakeholders as the project is planned and carried out

  • Balancing the competing project constraints including, but not limited to: Scope, Quality, Schedule, Budget, Resources, and Risk.

Program Management:

Programs are groups of related projects that are managed using the same techniques in a coordinated fashion. When projects are managed collectively as programs, its possible to capitalize on benefits that wouldnt be achievable if the projects were managed separately. This would be the case where a very large program exists with many sub projects under it—for example, building a new shopping mall. Many sub projects exist underneath this program, such as Designing, excavation construction, interior design, store placement, marketing, facilities management, and so on.

Portfolio Management:

Portfolios are collections of programs and projects that support a specific business goal or strategic objective. Example: Assume our company is in the construction business. Our organization has several business units: retail, single-family residential and multifamily residential. Collectively, the projects within all of these business units make up the portfolio. The collection of projects associated with building the new shopping mall is a program within our portfolio. Other programs and projects could be within this portfolio as well. Programs and projects within a portfolio are not necessarily related to one another in a direct way. However, the overall objective of any program or project in this portfolio is to meet the strategic objectives of the portfolio, which in turn should meet the objectives of the department and ultimately the business unit or corporation.

Portfolio management encompasses managing the collections of programs, projects, other work, and sometimes other low level portfolios. This includes weighing the value of each project, or potential project, against the business strategic objectives. It also concerns monitoring active projects for adherence to objectives, balancing the portfolio among the other investments of the organization, and assuring the efficient use of resources. Portfolio management is generally performed by a senior manager who has significant experience in both project and program management.

Programs are collections of related projects. Portfolios consist of programs, projects, and other portfolios that meet a business objective. Projects or programs within a portfolio are not necessarily related or dependent on each other.

Project Management Office (PMO):

PMO is a centralized department or function within the organization with a responsibility to coordinate and manage projects under its domain. PMO can vary from providing support to the project management team to actually being responsible for the direct and management of projects. The PMO may be given the authority to act as an integral stakeholder in an organization and take key decision at the beginning of the project.

The most common reason a company starts a project management office is to establish and maintain procedures and standards for project management methodologies and to manage resources assigned to the projects in the PMO. In some organizations, project managers and team members might report directly to the PMO and are assigned to projects as they are initiated. In other organizations, the PMO may provide support functions for projects and train employees in project management procedures and techniques. Still others, depending on their size and function, have experts available that assist project managers in project planning, estimating, and business assumption verification tasks. They serve as mentors to juniorlevel project managers and act as consultants to the senior project managers.

PMO can exist in all organizational structures—functional, projectized, or matrix. It might have full authority to oversee projects, including the authority to cancel projects, or it might serve only in an advisory role. PMOs might also be called project offices or program management offices or Centers of Excellence.

A primary function of a PMO is to support project managers in a variety of ways which may include, but are not limited to:

  • Managing shared resources across all projects 3 administered by the PMO;

  • Identifying and developing project management methodology, best practices, and standards;

  • Coaching, mentoring, training, and oversight;

  • Monitoring compliance with project management standards, policies, procedures, and templates via project audits;

  • Developing and managing project policies, procedures, templates, and other shared documentation (organizational process assets); and

  • Coordinating communication across projects.

  • Control and optimize the utilization of shared resources across projects

About the Author

Ravikumar is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with 17+ years of rich experience and performed various projects/programs in IT industry.

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