Everyone at some point in life manages a project, whether or not they realize it. While most use ad hoc methods, it is important to note that the various processes in formal Project Management can generally be identified at some level. This leads me to believe that learning Project Management basics would be beneficial to most people, as they plan event in their daily lives. Project Management planning would help to provide structure, and offer ways to improve time, quality, and price, while managing the risks and scope of the project. Now who wouldn’t want that?
The Project Management Institute has defined projects as any temporary endeavor that is undertaken to create a unique product or service; the key criteria being temporary as it must have a beginning and end time, and unique as it must be somewhat different from other products and services. With that said, I can safely say that everyone at some point in life has had to manage a project of some sort. Here are some everyday examples to consider:
- Building your first home
- Planning your wedding
- Creating a new menu
- Starting up your own business
All these examples fit in the definition of temporary and unique. Furthermore the five processes of Project Management (initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing) are typically utilized at some level. Let’s use creating a new menu as an example and walk through the steps for this project.
- Initiating:- This is when you, or someone else, decide that a new menu is needed and have access to resources to make it happen.
- Planning:- You gather information on the objectives and to determine the appropriate type of menu that will meet the objectives. Once that is established, a plan and goals are set.
- Executing:- This is where you begin to utilize resources. In this case it could be money, people, kitchen, etc.
- Controlling:- Here is where the project is monitored, comparing activities to the plan and making adjustments accordingly to ensure objectives are met. This is an iterative process throughout the project.
- Closing:- Finally, the menu is tested, delivered and accepted as meeting objectives.
Can you see how simple events fit the project definition? Formal process planning can provide efficiency to the process? Project managers around the world have recognized the benefits of utilizing formalized methods, instead of applying ad hoc means to attacking projects. Imagine having to work on complex projects like merging two companies together. Not so easy, huh! That is why formal Project Management knowledge, skills and abilities are important. Project Management training allows everyone to work from the same set of rules and it helps to formalize roles, and expectations. In fact, at the beginning of some projects, it is recommended that project team members go through short series of training to ensure understanding, as well as to set goals and expectations. This is critical to holding everyone accountable for delivery.