Friday, January 26, 2018

Demystifying Project and Project Management

The terms, "project" and "project management", may look nothing when just look at them. But in reality, they have deeper meanings. As an aspiring Project Management Professional (PMP®), these are two foundational terms. These are crucial, not only from the exam point of view, but also while filling your PMP application form. And, it's equally important when you are undertaking a project. You need to ask yourself - are you really doing a project?

I’ve seen many applications being rejected, because these two terms – "project" and "project management" – are highly misunderstood. For example:
  • Releases are considered to be projects. They are not projects, but part of a project. 
  • Combining a set of bug-fixes in a defined timeline is considered to be a project. It's not a project. They are done as part of a project.
  • If you are doing defects removal during your sustenance, it’s not part of a project. It’s part of an operation. 
  • Manufacturing work is not project work. It’s operational work. 
  • Related to the above point - if you are enhancing the existing business processes & procedures for a manufacturing organization within a defined timeline, then it's a project!
  • Coming to project management, you as an aspiring PMP, should inform that you have worked in five process groups – Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling (or IPECC for short). 


You need to understand what Project Management Institute (PMI®) is saying with respect to project and project management. It defines a project as below. 

“A Project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.”

The definition is deceptively simple, but it packs a punch with information. Let's see. The terms used are:
  • “Temporary”, which means a project has a beginning and an end.
  • Temporary does not mean it will be very short. Also, the temporary condition does not apply to the product or service or result. Rather, the word “temporary”, modifies the subsequent noun “endeavor”. 
  • “Endeavor”, which means an effort is put forth by resources for the project execution. Temporary tells a project has a definite beginning and end. 
  • “Unique”, which means the product or service or result created by project is unique.
  • "Create”, which says a project creates. It does not co-ordinate or link or organize. It creates product or service or result.  

To understand more on project definition and related terms, a video has been made available for you. 

Project Management

Project Management, on the other hand, is defined by PMI as below.

“Project Management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to meet the project requirements”.

A lot of information in just one line! Diving deeper, it talks about:
  • Knowledge –  You need to have both Project and Product Knowledge.
  • Skills – You should be able to apply the knowledge at the right time in a right place in a right way with the right people.
  • Tools and Techniques – You need to know various techniques such as Critical Path Method, Critical Chain Method, Earned Value Measurement, Expected Monetary Value, Stakeholder Analysis etc.
    You also need to know various tools such as Software Tools, Change Control Tools, Quality Tools etc.
However, the final note in the above statement is most significant. It tells having knowledge, skills, tools and techniques are NOT enough. What needed is – application of them. But application for what purpose? To meet the project requirements. Also, it's about meeting the project objectives – such as scope objectives, schedule objectives, cost objectives and so on. That's what makes you a project manager. 

Here too, to understand what actually is project management – a video is available for you. 
This is also from PMP LIVE LESSONS.

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