What is project management?
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This is an essay exam. Note the weight of each question and budget your space and time accordingly. Please format in APA style. References are required, you are welcome to use them to support your answers if you feel it useful. well thought-out approach to your responses. Surface-level answers will not receive full credit. Let me know if you have any questions! Question 1 (30%): Project Management a) What is a project? b) What is project management? c) Give 3 examples of projects you have worked on (at work, at home, etc.); explain. d) Give 3 examples of projects you have managed; explain. e) What are 5 skills that are often necessary for project managers? Explain. f) How does project management differ from general management? should like 5-7pages
- What is a project?
A project can be described in a number of ways as it is a prevalent concept found across several fields. Generally, a project can be defined as an opportunity for individuals and organizations to accomplish their objectives, both business and non-business, more efficiently through the implementation of change. Broadly, a project can be comprehensively defined as a unique set of coordinated activities, with a specific starting and end points, carried out by an individual or an organization to achieve set objectives within preset requirements to produce a result that is observable and measurable (Turner, 1998).
From the provided definition, a project has the following features. First of all, a project is temporary. This is a key feature and it means that a project should a definite starting point and a finite ends. The start is the time of the project initiation and development of its concept. On the other hand, the end is when the objectives or goals of a project are realized. If the objectives are not met, the project is rendered incomplete and it is terminated. Secondly, a project should have unique deliverables. The aim of any project is to have desired result which can be a product, service or change (Kerzner, 2015). The significance of a deliverable is to address a need or problem before the initiation of a project. Importantly, a project should progressive elaboration. With a project’s progress, constant evaluation and improvement becomes obtainable which allows for plans that are more accurate and comprehensive. This means that the continuous restatements of the planning process lead to the development of effective solutions to improve a project.
A project, through its objectives, should satisfy three key criteria. First, a project should be completed within the allocated time. Secondly, a project should be achieved within the budgeted cost. Also, a project should satisfy the set quality requirements.
- What is project management?
The success of a project is dependent on project management. The application of good project management discipline is regarded helpful to reduce the potential risk to be encountered by a project. In that context, project management can be described as the application of skills, knowledge, tools, and techniques concerned with project activities, and is mainly aimed at meeting the requirements of a project. However, it should be understood that having good project management skills does not rule out the possibilities of risks and problems. The primary objective of project management is to come up with a complete project which complies to the set objectives.
Traditionally, project management is influenced by three key constraints which are time, cost and scope of the project. In regards to time, properly controlling the schedule requires the identification of tasks to be carried out, the correct approximation of durations, the sequence of performing the tasks, and the allocation of human and other resources. Looking at the cost, it is the approved budget for the initiation and completion of a project. More importantly, the project scope is described as what the project is striving to accomplish and includes the work involved in the delivery of project outcomes.
Even though there are various approaches and methodologies, project management entails five key stages. The first stage is project initiation and it involves a project manager defining the objectives of the project to the stakeholders and sponsors. The second stage involves planning. This phase is characterized by the project manager recording the tasks and assigning deadlines for the same, and also describing the relationships existing between project activities. Execution forms the third stage and comprises of the project manager building a project team and allocating budget and other resources. The fourth stage entails monitoring and a project manager is required to supervise the progress of a project as well as making updates and improvement to realize its objectives. The last stage in the process of project management is closing and it involves the project manager ensuring the outcome delivered are accepted by the organized and eventually closing down the team to complete the project.
- Give 3 examples of projects you have worked on (at work, at home, etc.); explain
School assignment is a good example of project. This is because it is characterized by having a fixed duration with a starting point and an end point. The starting point is the date in which the assignment is announced whereas the end point is the deadline the assignment should be submitted. A school assignment requires one to be organized in terms of looking for relevant sources and analyzing them for suitability. Thereafter, I am needed to draft my assignment. After completion, I am supposed to countercheck for any errors before submitting it.
Baking at home is also a good example of a project. Generally, baking is progressive process and requires one to have key ingredients and an oven. Mixing the ingredients requires knowledge to ensure the dough gets to the desired texture. Thereafter, getting the oven to the right amount of temperature is also part of process. A good cake is likely to be the end result if the recipe is followed keenly.
Building a garage is also an example of a project. Before building the garage, it was important to devise the type of garage that was wanted. It was also crucial to have a budget that could help us build this garage. Resources to be considered included building materials, building tools, skills, and labor. The duration in which the garage was to be built was also an important factor.
- Give 3 examples of projects you have managed; explain.
From the above examples, I write my school assignments and also am in charge of baking my own cakes. As a manager, writing school assignment is a critical process that requires careful consideration. Typically, I understand that the objective of a school assignment is to test my knowledge about a particular subject. With that in mind, I look for sources that are relevant to the subject of the assignment and ensure I provide answers correctly. If there are errors within the assignment, I am bound to fail and therefore, I have to revise my draft to ensure the assignment meets the needed standards.
Baking a cake, on the other hand, requires skill and patience. As a manager, the first thing is knowing the type of cake you want to bake. Then, I find the ingredients needed for the recipe. Mixing the ingredients takes skill as ingredients are combined in ratios. When you have the right ingredients and the instructions are duly followed, one is bound to have the expected cake.
- What are 5 skills that are often necessary for project managers? Explain.
The nature of project management emphasizes on the values of a project manager being endowed with specific skills and abilities. The most crucial skills for project managers in a project include communication skills, time management skills, organizational awareness, problem solving skills, and leadership (Young, 2016).
Communication is regarded as one of the most critical skills in project management. A project manager is required to lead teams from various departments within an organization. These teams may be endowed with different skills and specific results are expected from each team. Therefore, a project manager with good communication skills can provide clear goals and instructions for these team and this enhances the efficiency and productivity of a project. In addition to this, project managers should have good relationships with the team members for clarity of communication.
Time management is also an important skill in project management. Efficient project managers should have the ability to prioritize tasks and manage time. Workers and team members are known to have a better response to managers who stay on tasks, finish work in time, and avoiding procrastination. Besides managing personal time, project managers should have the ability to reduce distractions and maximize on productivity. In addition, project manager should be flexible to adapt to changes occurring in the project.
Project managers are characterized to have organizational awareness. There are different types of structure within an organization as well as project management which determine the type of management to be used. In organizations with a functional structure, the senior management tends to be in charge of the project. However, an organizational structure that is project based, teams and workers are provided with some autonomy to oversee projects. This ultimately places project managers with the general responsibility of the project. The awareness of how an organization is operated and structured is a critical skill for project managers and professionals.
Problem solving skills are also important in project management. Successful project managers have a fundamental understanding of how problems encountered within a project are solved. This involves being proactive in assessing potential issues, defining the problems, coming up with suitable alternatives, and selecting the best solution for a particular problem.
More importantly, project managers should have good leadership skills. Good leadership combined with good communication helps to manage teams as well as communicate with them. Through leadership skills, project managers are regarded as effective decision makers. They also delegate responsibilities to skillful members of the team.
- How does project management differ from general management?
The existing difference between project management and general management is embedded in their exceptionality. Specifically, the difference between general management and project management is the varying routine in terms of operations. The general managers tend to routinely manage and step in in the exception of special conditions. According to general management, planning is crucial and the order of operations within an organization is normally prearranged. In addition, they work within a unit in the organization, focused on the internal coordination of department. General management are characterized by having reporting relationships that are well developed and this is made possible by a chain of command in which the reports are provided. In the context of allocating budgets, the general managers usually modify the budget used in a previous financial period. This is because there is little operational change in the daily activities and therefore, budgets can be conveyed across successive financial periods with minimal adjustments and still prove effective.
On the other hand, project management has its features. Primarily, project managers measure their tasks and activities on the basis of the project’s unique situations. As a result, they are expected to have the ability to conform to occurring changes and survive in a dynamic business environment, defining the order of project activities (Turner, 2016). Project managers are known to have informal reporting relationships with their stakeholders and teams as they work across different departments in the organization. They understand that planning forms the foundation of success to the project. Project managers have a clear understanding of what the project is meant to achieve and the steps needed for the desired outcome. Project managers should come up with a budget in the initiation of a project and each budget is estimated depending on the situation involved. Therefore, a new budget is developed in the event of a new project.
Kerzner, H. (2015) Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling, 11th edition. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ.
Turner (1998). The Handbook of Project-Based Management: Improving the Process for Achieving Strategic Objectives.
Turner, R. (2016). Gower handbook of project management. Routledge.
Young, T. L. (2016). Successful project management. Kogan Page Publishers.
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