Nowadays Project Management is showing up in the business media a lot. Every few months there is a news that has something to do with the Project Management. It can be a demand that every successful business should have a PMO or the project has hit a major overrun because of poor Project Management.
But what exactly is project management? And how does it differ from any other type of management? Why is it so important?
What is Project Management?
In this journal, we will be going to explain what project management is and why it is different from regular management.
In very simple terms, Project Management is the collection of tools, system design, and people skills to lead, support, guide, and control the projects temporary endeavor. However, the definition is both complete and accurate, but you really need to take it to the next level to understand how it is different from normal management.
We will be using strategic project management to illustrate the differences. In traditional terms, the structure of the management is explained by referring to the old military structure of strategic, tactical, and administration.
Strategic: Putting the business in the right place.
Tactics: Dealing with the customer and competition.
Administration: Focus on doing the stuff that wasn’t really important.
However, there is a better view of the organization. It is based on the time view of the parts. Again, there are three groups within an organization.
Strategic group: Their main function is to think in terms of the future of the organization. Effectively, they navigate and steer the organization. They look for large changes and major improvements. Normally, it is referred to as planning.
Operations group: Doing the same things, in the same way, repeatedly. ]At most, they will initiate incremental improvement. We usually think about this group whenever we talk about management.
Project group: Their focus is on shifting the operations group so that it follows the direction set by the strategic group. Their focus is neither on the future nor the past but rather on change. Their activities are temporary. They appear and disappear as goals shift.
These temporary activities are called projects. And their management requires a different set of skills than operational management.
An operational manager has to focus on his department’s activities. This means that his knowledge should be at the same level as his people. Industry and subject knowledge are most important. Tasks and systems are not as important since they seldom change. On the other hand, project management is a generic management profession. The focus is not on the subject of the project but rather on people, tasks, and systems.
Second, an operational manager focuses on continuation. Typically, he or she will start with an existing team. They will focus on enhancing that team and gaining the most from that team. And with luck, will never have to participate in closing down that team. On the other hand, project management is focused on building a team, quickly forging that team, and then closing down the team. Because the team is temporary, maintaining it is more a matter of keeping it pointed in the right direction than in traditional management. Instead, the focus is on the beginning and end of a team.